Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Like Flynn!!!

A few stills of one of my all-time fave actors, Errol Flynn! I dont think anyone would argue that Flynn was incredibly handsome, had great charisma and an undeniable screen presence but i also feel his acting chops are quite unjustly overlooked. No doubt he had a limited range but put him in a role suitable to that range and it will be impossible to think of anyone else in that role ever again! In addition to his unforgettable turns in films like "Captain Blood", "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Gentleman Jim" he gave credible and effective dramatic performances in "The Dawn Patrol", "Objective Burma" and "Edge of Darkness".

Flynn with my favorite actress Olivia deHavilland *sigh* in the film that made stars of them both, "Captain Blood". For my money one of the greatest action-adventure-romance films of all time. A tremendously entertaining picture!

An intense scene from "Captain Blood" with Flynn and up and coming Warner Bros. actor Ross Alexander, who tragically died by by his own hand just 2 years after this film was released.

Flynn with Frank McHugh and Alan Hale right behind him in a scene from my fave of all of his westerns "Dodge City".

Flynn, Alan Hale (look at the expression on his face!), Arthur Kennedy, Rondald Reagan and Ronald Sinclair in a scene from the silly and fun over-the-top war time film "Desperate Journey"

Flynn in the center with a 2nd rate actor who became a 3rd rate president, Ronald Reagan, on the left and a 1st rate actor who remained a 1st rate actor throughout his entire career, Arthur Kennedy, on the right, in another scene from "Desperate Journey"

Flynn sporting some fancy duds in "San Antonio". More Flynn stills to come!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Artwork

This past week I took a much-needed break from my "Billiard Bitches" (as they have come to be affectionately known) and colored pencils and did a graphite piece, a portrait of my 'art' friend Brandy Perez (http://brandyperez.blogspot.com/) . Both she and her husband like my work and seemed pretty excited at the idea of me doing her portrait! She is quite a beautiful woman with a unique profile and HUGE eyes so it was fun to try and capture all that on paper!

Tech stuff: It's on a piece of 18x24" strathmore 64lb tinted charcoal paper, done with derwent 2H and HB pencils with white charcoal pencil for the highlights. I started it on Friday night, worked right through the weekend and finished it monday. It's a pretty good likeness I think, and I had fun designing the earring and playing with the hairstyle a bit, but that braid, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, that was tough!!!

Anyway, it's back to the "bitches" now . . .*sigh*

edit: I worked on this a bit last night, fixing some problems with the nose and overall profile that just bugged me too much to leave alone. This is an updated scan 2/23/09.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The "Saga of the Fish Cabinet" - Part IV

Ok, so after a few weeks of staining and urethaning all these damn pieces, my sort-of-stepfather FINALLY decides to take a few days to go fishing down in the Florida Keys, which means I have an almost 5-day window of opportunity to get this tank assembled before he gets back, right? Well, sort of . . . see, I messed up one cut with the table saw (the ONLY time I've done that so far!) and need to get one more piece of Ash to cut the last 2 pieces to finish the cabinet. Sounds easy in theory except that bad weather has kept me from getting down to the hardwood lumber supplier (it's well over an hour from where I live) and then when I finally call the guy to make sure he can have ONE board plained for me within 2 days he informs me that "There have been some changes around here and labor is now $90 an hour and I wont have it ready until Friday" (I called on Monday!), so, a bit puzzled I say "So what you're telling me is I have to wait 5 days to buy ONE piece of wood from you for over $100?" (remembering that ALL the wood we bought from them before came to $136!) . . . his answer: "Yes" . . . my response . . . "I'll call ya back!" . Anyway to make a long story a little bit longer I went ahead and put the blasted thing together anyway and will finish the little bit that's left after I find someone else to get that damn board from. (I'm certainly not the first guy that's ever had a tough time finding a good piece of Ash, right?)

Here it is in all it's former ugly glory! It had some curtains attached with velcro covering the bottom and top sections.

Here the main bottom casing is glued and clamped into place. I used industrial sub-floor adhesive to attach it to the metal tank stand and screwed the casing to the stand from behind in several places as well. It aint going anywhere!

I couldnt use screws on this section at all but that glue is mega-strong and I have zero worries about the glue-joint failing.

Here you can see the 2 angled cleats attached to the wall and how the large upper casing fits into it. Doesnt look like much yet!

The upper casing all assembled and in place. Beautiful grain on those Ash doors!

The whole thing as it looked this afternoon. If you look close you can see the smaller lower side casing still needs a top edge rail and the upper side casing needs the board that runs down the far edge and joins with the lower casing (That's the one I botched on the table saw, BWAH!). The uppermost top left-hand corner needs a small piece of cove moulding cut to finish that off and there are a few more coves to be cut to dress up the window of the tank, but all the really hard work is done and I was quite frankly amazed at how all this shit fit together so well and with very little fuss, especially seeing as how I built all the pieces 12 miles up the road in my shop!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Herbert James Draper

Despite the name of this blog there hasnt been a whole lot of art here so it was high time I changed that! During the last 5 years or so i have become keenly interested in the work of the Victorian era artists, more specifically from the last half of the 19th century. So here are a few pics of some of the work of Herbert James Draper (1863-1920) one of the last of the Victorian Classicists.

One of Draper's most impressive and dramatic works "The Mountain Mists". Many at the time thought his sirens rivaled that of his good friend John William Waterhouse. The whereabouts of this painting were unknown for over 70 years and then in 2000 it resurfaced and was bought by a private collector for a record (for a Draper) 800,000 pounds. (Of which i have no idea what that translates to into US dollars! Anyone know???)

A beautifully rendered study for the left figure in "The Mountain Mists". Draper's working method was very similar to that of his mentor Fredrick Leighton in that many chalk studies for figures and drapery were done as well as small oil sketches working out every aspect of the piece before work begins on the final canvas. Often the oil sketches are nearly as beautiful as the finished piece!

"Flying Fish", first exhibited in 1910

Chalk study for the figure in "Flying Fish".

"Sea Melodies" exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904. Draper loved painting the water, especially with naked lovelies flitting about!

Another sensual siren by the sea, "Calypsos Isle"

Draper's paintings sometimes had a sense of fun and looseness of technique that was quite uncommon among the classicists. This painting "The Foam Sprite" is probably the best example of that. Draper continued to paint sea sirens and classical subjects right to the end despite the fact that the modern movement, i. e. the various "isms", and the great war had all but obliterated any interest in them.

Another of Draper's exquisite chalk figure studies. While studying at the St John's Wood life classes his school was often paid visits by Leighton (who was then president of the Royal Academy), Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward Poynter. All of these men would have a major influence on young Draper's work and working methods. A few more of his marvelous studies below.

The Gates of Dawn", possibly Draper's masterpiece. The model used for the figure of Aurora was Florence "Florrie" Bird who posed often for Draper. In 2001 the Tate Gallery included this among 3 of Drapers works in its exhibition devoted to the Victorian nude. After nearly a century in obscurity, his work is finally being rediscovered and appreciated once again! Anyway, one can only imagine how incredible it must be to be able to experience this painting in person!