Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lots of new stuff on the way....

I'm on a creative binge... On a mission. I have determined that my website is stale. It needs more NEW material on it. And so, as always-- I have found several pieces of art that are 80% finished sitting on my hard drive as well as several OTHER traditional art paintings in the same status that I just need to finish and get em up here!

In addition to that, I went ahead and started on a new digital painting today (pictured here with this post.). I put a few hours into it already, and it's almost done. You can be looking for it on youtube tomorrow, as a time-lapse vid of the art being created. You can see by the small image here how close to being done it is right now-- but I want to tighten the realism even more. Unfortunately, I have a nasty headache, I'll just finish it in the morning.

More to come, tomorrow!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Need To Wake Up...

I'm very tired. I haven't had a decent night's sleep in at least a few years... Or so I am told. I thought I was diabetic or something, when I went in to see the doctor a couple of months ago. I expected some kind of bad news... Everyday, for the last 2 years, I grew more tired, to he point where I felt like 5pm was 3 am. All I feel like doing ever, is sleeping. Turns out that I have what a condition that is more common than I realized... Sleep apnea. Severe sleep apnea. I used to be so full of energy--- so creative. So fast at doing the creations I love. But lately, I am just so BLAH.

Well, I have the necessary treatments under way, so hopefully I can return to some feeling of usefulness as an artist (let alone a human being) in this world soon... It sure does mess a person up when he/she doesn't get the sleep and rest they need. For those who don't know- sleep apnea is when the air passage you breathe though while you sleep closes up while you are completely relaxed-- in other words, you stop breathing for up to several seconds. Then, you open your mouth and literally gasp for air, to breathe again. Apparently, I do this in the area of 315 times a night. That's like, every few minutes. No wonder I feel like crap...

Anyhow-- the relevance of me posting this here on my blog is basically an explanation-- even to myself--- why I haven't been keeping up on stuff on my site lately. But I guess we should be seeing some progress very soon... I hope.

On the better side of things, my animation work is coming along very well. As some know, I have been pursuing the concept of "paintings that move" animation... It's really interesting, and you will be seeing a lot of it here very soon. Today's pic is a screen grab from one of the latest clips.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eventually I'll Find My Groove...

I am the most disorganized person I know. I'm a slob... I'm undisciplined. I am also a procrastinator who wants to give in to laziness. And at the same time while all of the above is true-- People like my art... Which causes a terrible conflict in and of itself... I'm horrible at keeping up with the web communications. Take this blog for example: Last dated entry; JULY. And then I also have a deviantart account which I also need to update.

Don't get me wrong--- I read everything on these things when people post, and check them on a regular basis--- It's just that I become overwhelmed with all of it and end up procrastinating it. I say tomyself, "I'll respond to that later.." And then forget about it.

On youtube, I have hundreds of unanswered messages that I just didn't get around to answering. It's not that I don't find these people important enough, but I think it is the other way around. On this end, I'm just a regular guy who has stumbled into something where people think I am more than I actually am. I have a pretty modest status as a regular person, and as an artist-- I really am nobody. Professionally, I make a good living as a "ghost" creative, being paid to illustrate and bring to life other people's ideas without ever getting any name recognition for it. But it doesn't bother me...

And I think that is my main problem. It's too easy. I'm a wimp. Instead of trying to make a name for myself, and attempting to BE somebody, I hide like a coward in the everyday anonymous routine of commercial art.

AS sort of a side thing, I found youtube a while back and noticed the "speed painting" thing artists were doing. I thought I'd try it out, for fun and to stimulate that artistic part of me that never gets free reign in my "day job" work... Well, here it is almost 2 years later, and that thing has really taken off. I'm a bit overwhelmed by it, because of the pouring in of respect and recognition I get from people, and the insane spike of hits my website gets because of it. But as a procrastinator, I'm afraid I'm constantly letting people down by not responding to them. The thought of that kills me... And I am sorry. If you are reading this, and you are one of those students who are in high school who write me with big hopes and dreams of becoming an artist tomorrow-- I apologize if I have not written back yet. Feel free to give me another nudge. I am working real hard to get my life in order as an artist.

Eventually I'll find that groove.. I'll find a routine. I have to. I'm getting close to 40, just had a third kid, and have a daughter with autism. I need to take this God given gift of art, and make it mean something. So it's time for me to come out of hiding... Time to stop being a coward, and move forward...

And to all who have stopped by to write me kind words of praise-- thank you. You over estimate me in your praise, but thanks. And to those who write questions, please be patient. I'll get to them... I promise.

(Oh, and the pic that I have with this message is just a side thing I did recently... An airbrush painting of my son. Check out my youtube channel to see a timelapse vid of it.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art is so subjective...

What can I say?

I'm a 37 year old self-taught regular guy who's strongest ability happens to be art. Or it might be better stated: "I can create stuff". As far as the word "art" goes, I have been learning just how subjective that can be!

Ever since I can remember I have always been able to create and draw well... Throughout most of my life, I never had any technical understanding about what it is I can do, EVER.

Only recently, over the past few years have I been learning what others in industrial and institutional establishments have set in place as to what the "standards" are regarding that "technical understanding" of what makes art what it is...
And boy... Has it been WEIRD for me. Sometimes good... Sometimes bad. It depends on the perspective of the person(s) I am dealing with. But the closest thing I can come to for any "absolutes" regarding the matter is to observe half of it in statistics, and the other half in philosophy...

The first half, statistics-- is referring to the general populace and it's reaction to the art... Do they like it? The answer is yes. The vast majority of people who observe what it is I do has an extremely overwhelming reaction to my work. The smaller percentage that does not tends to have a very critical reaction to the work, but mostly from an institutional or industrial bias... Meaning that my worst critics are my peers. Some in fine arts, some in commercial art, but all somehow coming from a standard that they base their own experience and perspective art truly is.

And with that, we are left with the other half of the mix: the philosophy. It's a typical pattern of human nature. It really reminds me a lot of religion and politics... You get a mix of opinions and bias based on the circumstances, educations, and sometimes insecurities of the individual who presents their opposite view of what you believe in, or what makes you who YOU are.

But ultimately, I have learned there is one trait that can really help an artist cope with it all... At least for me... And that is humility. In other words, knowing you are not the best... Your knowledge or experience isn't THE knowledge and experience behind it all. Basically, just have an open mind. An interesting but HARD thing to do, is try and put yourself in the reversed role of the critic who is panning your work. Switch it around, and pretend it is his/her work and it is you saying these exact comments about them.

For example-- recently I did a google search for "chrisscalf" to see how well statistically my website (or terms relating to my website) come up... It was only a few results down that caught my eye: one of the links was a prominent CG forum where someone had found my youtube vids and was posting links for others to check it out. But I as read down-- what had started out as a compliment from this individual who seemed impressed soon evolved into an awful scrutiny from others that ranged from a questioning the authenticity of my art to extreme critism of my use of color and proportioning/composition skills. In a nutshell: they tore me to pieces.

Naturally, it bummed me out. But I quickly joined the forum to defend first and foremost my authenticity as a REAL artist and not a FRAUD. But even though I winced and wanted to lash out-- I stayed humble and accepted the criticisms of my work and admitted imperfections that I am aware of in my work.

Though I wish more of the people would have responded, I did get one person who replied in a friendly manner, and seemed to be doing his best to make somewhat of a peaceful retraction of the fraud speculations. However, this person also continued to offer a novel's worth of advice for bettering my art skills... From various resources in anatomy training to better choice of color composition.

The person meant well, and spoke very kindly-- but this is where the statistics contradict the philosophy: Here I was-- for a moment-- reduced down to the mindset of an art student-- or a person who was just about to begin a career in art...

Yet as a contradiction by reality, I was already a professional working in the field for years on countless commercial projects regarded highly and persistently sought by clients for my judgement and ability to do the very things this individual was criticizing me on.

It was a very weird feeling, and interesting situation to learn from. Not about art, but just how we as artists (let alone as human beings) treat each other in the field, even if the statistics say that we are doing fine with our own unique abilities.

...But that's why I value the importance of humility. So many times have I encountered situations like this... And I personally know other artists who have gone through the same thing, or do the very thing to others. It's best just sit back and try to find those faults that the critic is seeing... It slaps the ego a bit, but useful info can be gleened. And it can also expose the critics perspective and where their bias is truly coming from.

For me in the situation outlined above-- I got yet another reminder that sometimes when I draw without reference, my lack of anatomical knowledge shows. This person recognized that and wasn't the first one to point that out in my work. But at the same time, this person had also recommended a further study in my use of color-- which in fantasy art painting is completely subjective. (I have always felt that art derived from the artists imagination best depicts the artists feel and mood, especially in their use of color) And while I accepted this person's view that there are different teachings of "color theory", this was not a recurring weakness I had ever been critiqued on, but rather a strong point of praise from 99% of my clients. Therefore, statistics outweighed an isolated this person's personal perspective that was perhaps based on his own art educational experience.

But all in all, I observe the whole occurrence that took place in this forum and only wish that humility was used in the critics who scrutinized my work... The use of the words "in my opinion" or "from what I've learned" or even "from my experience" are all good ways that I wish they would use. But like religion and politics. It's human nature... It'll never change.

Anyway-- that's my stance... That's basically who I am as an artist, and where I come from. But that what these blogs are for, right?

Friday, June 27, 2008

How do I use this thing, again?

Don't mind me... Just testing this thing again. My wife set it up a long time ago, and I forgot about it. Just practicing how to use it!

About the Artist...

Blah, blah, blah... (in other words, I'm still working on this part...)