A Few Digital Sketches, Soon to Be Finished Paintings

Below are a few digital sketches that represent a snapshot of what has been going on in my painting studio lately. Working digitally like this has the huge benefit of offering infinite flexibility when working with colors. I also love to dig for intuitive geometric compositions in my paintings, and Adobe Illustrator is well suited to this kind of sketching.

horizontal-studiesThis sketch should be a finished painting by now, but I keep revisiting it, tweaking the colors to try to achieve the balance of light/dark and intensity that it needs. I ended up going with the top design with the chain of small rectangles running across the diagonal.

red-pink-white-blue-conceptContinuing to play with the red/pink/white/blue palette and simple—bordering on obvious!—geometry.

austin-commission-conceptI am currently making the painting that is depicted in this digital concept photo. I created the palette after spending some time at the collectors’ land in west Texas, home of big skies, cedar, mesquite, and earth. When finished, this painting will be an important piece of the collectors’ newly remodeled home!

orange-green-red-studyThis sketch did not make the cut for the above commission, but it has found a place in my painting queue. It uses the west Texas palette, and does some of the things with simple color, light and space that keep my eyeballs coming back to look again.

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Beachfront Exhibition Layout and Photos

For my MFA thesis show at UNLV, I created a lifestyle brand called Beachfront. It was all about optimism and toothpaste packaging design. There were 5 sub-brands: Beachfront Fire, Bold, Classic, Sensitive, and Gold. I created this plan for the gallery layout of the exhibition. I am including a photo of the installation of these wall pieces and of the Judd-inspired upper gallery.

James Hough, Beachfront exhibition plan, 2004

Beachfront wall installation, 2004, by Jim Public, aka James Hough

Beachfront floor installation, 2004, by Jim Public, aka James Hough

A Set of Paintings from 2006

Koby Teith was a brand I created during the time that my friends and I were writing country songs as Ripper Jordan. We liked Toby Keith’s bravado and intelligence as a songwriter, so I paid homage to him by creating a logo that I think looks like it would be dandy on a steak sauce bottle.

As for the artwork, the logo served as an armature around which to pile up mounds of oil paint. Methinks the tedium of masking and airbrushing was getting to me!

A Set of Paintings from 2007

It is crazy to look back on complete bodies of work that you made years back. I hadn’t thought about these paintings from 2007 for a while, then I stumbled upon them recently, deep in my hard drive. I made this group of paintings while I lived in Las Vegas. They embody the romance of the Old West that still characterizes that place.

A Dry Heat vitrine, progress shots

During the Jim Public’s Truck exhibition A Dry Heat I wished I had some visual aids while I discussed the process of making these paintings. Here, at last, are the photos I took last summer when I went back to Las Vegas and retrieved the glass vitrine, from which I had not yet removed the paintings.

The water had evaporated, leaving behind the acrylic paint from the different solutions I had mixed for each painting. Click here to see the resulting artwork.

Jim Public, A Dry Heat vitrine, progress shot 1

Jim Public, A Dry Heat vitrine, progress shot 2

Jim Public, A Dry Heat vitrine, progress shot 3

New Studies Coming In

110913 jim public studies september 2011

Can I just tell you how much I look forward to having a camera that doesn’t distort the edges of my rectangular artwork? It’s like my paintings have rung your doorbell and you look through the peep-hole to see a warped, circular version of an otherwise rectilinear piece of art. Someday, this nice-sized lens of my dreams will swing open that front door of yours and show you an image of the paintings that is closer to what your naked eye would see.

But cameras don’t buy themselves, nor does anything else for that matter. So the artist must make lots of stuff, exhibit it, and hoard his pennies; only then might he be able to spring for such studio equipment. And this is the time of year for making and for exhibiting! Though it’s 100 degrees today, and should be 106 tomorrow, last week was most pleasant; the cool snap allowed me to get into the Agora, my studio, give it a deep, autumn cleaning, and make some new artwork.

Just for fun, and because I’m told that people who frequent blogs like lots of pictures, here are some photos of that fine day. It didn’t break 90 degrees! As you look them over, imagine M.I.A. jamming in the background and think of the series of photos as a montage sequence in a film in which the heroes are getting down to business. That’s what it felt like. My daughter JPG was spying on me during the cleaning, so we have her to thank for all the candids.

110913 jim public studio before

Cue M.I.A.. The song I had on repeat that day was the “Paper Planes” remix from Slumdog Millionaire, with the funk beat and 80’s synth.

110913 jim public studio cleaning 1110913 jim public studio cleaning 2110913 jim public studio cleaning 3110913 jim public studio cleaning 4110913 jim public studio cleaning 5

Fade out music. I have a warm sense of accomplishment in my belly. Or that’s the Shiner. Probably both.

110913 jim public studio after