Bjorn to Be Bad

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This knife painting of Bjorn was fun to paint. He’s a new acquaintance with an adorable disposition I thought worthy of capturing in his youthful state. 

I began with single knife-strokes of thick-bodied paint, with no blending whatsoever. Because I mixed my colors loosely (from red, blue, yellow, and umber), you can see the raw colors streaking through each stroke. I used a limited palette to keep things harmonious. These strokes formed a base upon which I blocked out the shape of Bjorn, then applied small stalagmite-like dots and dashes to help simulate a mottled concrete surface. It ended up looking more like a galaxy than a patio, and because I loved the effect, I kept it. I then laid in the details of Bjorn’s fur, building him up sculpturally so that he floats in the galaxy. I intentionally left off his shadow, which would have made him look more like a panda bear, and less like he’s floating in space dreamily gnawing on a rawhide treat.

See it in person through November:

Lone Star Saloon

1354 Harrison St

SanFrancisco, CA 94103

 http://www.lonestarsf.com/

Here’s some detail of the finished piece.  Scroll down to see the painting in progress. 

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lots of fun texture! 

New Solo Exhibit - Patio Dogs

I’m delighted to announce my current solo exhibit running through the first week of December.  For this show I did six knife-paintings of dogs I’ve encountered via the patio at the Lone Star Saloon.

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These are 20”x 20” acrylic paintings on panels. My sculptural approach to these pieces relies on thick-bodied paint applied with a palette knife in many layers. From 10 feet away or more, I want the paintings to look like the dogs I’m portraying, but as you get closer, they should fall apart into unrecognizable shapes made from lots and lots (and lots) of tiny knife strokes.

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I chose to paint dogs because they’re awesome, and it’s the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese calendar.  Almost every year I produce a few themed pieces based on the Chinese Zodiac. 

I am incredibly grateful to the Lone Star Saloon for honoring me with the gift of a show.  Please stop in, buy a drink, and check out my paintings (and their killer patio). 

Lone Star Saloon

1354 Harrison St

SanFrancisco, CA 94103

 http://www.lonestarsf.com/

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Bjorn to Be Bad Portrait

Work in Progress - this is the underpainting (a rendering of the patio surface at the Lone Star Saloon), upon which I will paint a portrait of Bjorn, a new Patio Dog who has found a home at the Star.  This piece is part of a series for my upcoming solo show, which will take place at said Star in November.  acrylic on panel - 20x20”

 

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here is the under-underpainting

 

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How to Prep Wood Panels for Paint

For those of you who don’t know what kind of prep work goes into something like a painting on panel, here are six awesome birch panels I got from my supplier.  They come sanded and smooth, but are raw wood.

The birch panel is a laminated product that is mounted to a solid wood frame with glue and nails.

Gesso and acrylic paint contain water, which can cause oils and adhesives in the panel to leach and eventually discolor the artwork.  For this reason we must seal the wood completely before any gesso is applied.

I use two coats of a Liquitex product called Matte Medium, on every side, front, and back.  This impervious product blocks any migration of stains from the wood to the artwork.  The matte finish also provides a nice “tooth” for the next layer — Liquitex gesso.

 

Next, I tape the sides, then apply a thin coat of gesso to the front and backside of the actual panel. One coat goes on the front and dries, then a coat goes on the back. I repeat this process, sanding each coat before recoating.  The gesso stabilizes the structure of the panel and provides a great surface for paint.  Coating the front and back equally prevents any buckling or warping — especially on larger panels.

I then give it a final sanding on the front side, and it’s ready for paint!

 Since it takes about 3 days to get them ready, I have time to do some drawings or work on other paintings.

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Tabula Rasa - Painting Season

I’ve worked with lots of different media over the past several decades:  ink, paint, wine, coffee, wax, and more.  

While I tend to gravitate toward the comfortable familiarity of ink drawings on paper, I also know pushing my artistic boundaries is a worthwhile undertaking — if not an essential part of a healthy balanced creative breakfast.

So, I’ve committed (and challenged) myself to mount a solo show of original acrylic paintings in November!

Painting, it’s not for the lazy.  I am rediscovering how much work goes into doing it right!  From choosing archival quality materials and prepping the substrate, to developing the patience for new systems of production (drying time, curing time, cleaning brushes...).

I’m finding these liberating constraints to be wonderfully refreshing!  I’m also learning to appreciate the forgiving nature of paint (it’s pretty tough to cover up a stray ink mark on paper, but with paint, it takes merely another swipe of the brush).  But painting also requires different skills, so I have to actually THINK about each strike a bit more.  This staged process forces me to live with each step, as opposed to the immediacy of finishing a drawing in one sitting.  

I’m really excited to dip brushes again especially for a larger body of work.

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20”x16” - titanium white base layer, on primed and gessoed birch panel, with 2” cradle.

First (beach) Days of Autumn

I like to mark the change of seasons with trips to my favorite local shore, Baker Beach, where the sound of waves helps me ease into the coming months.  Monday, after a thick blanket of morning fog, we had almost two hours of sunshine before the beach became enveloped yet again.  Ah, it’s finally Fall in San Francisco, which is kind of our summer.  Either way, the beach is not a bad place to go to work!

 

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Buy It Now!

Go here to buy this piece now and support Art For Aids - http://artforaids.org/portfolio/mark-d-powers/

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Dirty Diana

Acid free ink on achival bristol paper, conservation framed with uv filtering plexi

19” x 24”

Retail Value: $799

Minimum Bid: $300

Signed

BUY IT NOW! $1,050
or place

an absentee bid

This freehand mandala was produced specifically for the Art for AIDS auction.

As with most of my work, it began with random—almost accidental strokes on paper.

This Dada-like approach is an essential part of my process, keeping me from working too formally or stiffly, and making the pieces less about me “the artist”.

To that end, my mandalas and other works have portions that are intentionally off centered and unbalanced.  In this way, the compositions create harmony with a pinch of chaos, helping to bring the pieces to life.

My typical tools are fine art markers, high quality paper, and good lighting.  A self-taught artist, in addition to drawing, I also enjoy painting with ink, creating assemblages, sculpture, and etching in stone, glass, and several other media.

unicorns

here are some 14x17 originals - ink on paper


Einhorn gebären, the Ever Elusive - 14x17” ink on paper

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Coq Licorne - ink on paper - 14x17”

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orso unicorno - ink on paper - 14x17”

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this one didn’t quite work...

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