Art Inspiration: Imagine The Impossible: Steampunk Woman 01


       

 

‘The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.’ Aristotle

 

‘This world is but a canvas to our imagination.’ Henry David Thoreau

 

‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’ Walt Disney

 

Inspiration and Imagination, something every artist needs and is elusive as an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos. Many people have told me that I inspire the children and people in general with what I do. Whether creating art, playing baseball or trying to improve my life, people say that I have inspired others to try new things and look inside themselves. I have always found this interesting because I get my inspiration from these very people. Whether it be a child asking me about Mythology or adults asking me about their children or even just talking to people about a number of different topics, they have inspired me to create and use my imagination to bring the impossible possible.

A prime example is when I draw the staff at my school as cartoon characters or caricatures. It started one year around Christmas when we have our Christmas concert and staff dinner. Always after the concert, we go out for dinner and we exchange gifts, such as a Chris Kringle. I wanted to liven things up and instead of giving Christmas cards, I decided to create my own with the staff members as a caricature.
This specific year the inspiration for the caricatures came from my own person exploration of a style known as Steampunk. Steampunk is a subgenre of science-fiction and fantasy that came out of literary works such as Jules Vern and H.G. Wells to name a couple. But Steampunk can be best described by breaking up the word. “Steam” represents the era mostly the early industrial age around the early to mid-Victorian Era. “Punk” represents rebellion or going against the norm.
The “Punk” or rebellion signifies going against what is expected on the technology level as well as societal norms. On the technology level you see cars that are steamed powered, flying dirigibles or airships the size and look of sailing vessels or even steam-powered walking machines.   Yet when it comes to rebellion on the societal side, it affects women the most. During this time women were relegated to subordinates to the men, covering up themselves, not taking up employment or independent behavior. That is why in Steampunk you will see many women showing cleavage or wearing short skirts and showing a lot of leg to show off their stockings.
It took quit a while to create the caricatures but once the staff received them they loved the cards and caricatures. In the next few weeks I will be posting a few of the characters from the cards because these people inspired me to create these characters. Hopefully they can spur imagination and inspire others.

 

Steampunk Woman 01

 

The first caricature is a person whom I wanted to show their rebellious side. I wanted to create the caricature with a skirt and high boots along with the customary leather corset. I then added the puffy shirt that highlighted the breasts and cleavage. I then added the two belts with packs, goggles and finally a steampunk style rifle. With these caricatures I created a new way of creating hair and with caricature she has long shoulder length blonde hair.

Well she enjoyed the caricature, as did the other staff. I hope you enjoy the first steampunk caricature from “Imagine the Impossible.”

Steampunk Woman 01

 

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Dead Dule — 400th Post


As part of the final assignment in my resent drawing club, I had the students create their own hero or villain. Their characters had to have up to 2 powers/abilities; a unique name and they had to indicate if they were either a hero or villain. The students also wanted me to redraw their character, in the comic book style, once they had handed their original in. I needed the original as a reference and I wanted them to do the work. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me to create a wide range of characters.

I began with my version of the villain’s leader and in the next few weeks I will post the student’s original character and my version that I gave to them.

Villain 02 – Dead Dule

Many of the students wanted to copy popular movies and comics of the time for their ideas. I have no problem with it, I feel that at least they are making the effort and hopefully it inspires some imagination. This student’s villain is obviously modeled after Deadpool, yet he did come up with unique super abilities; super speed & telekinesis.   He was very active in choosing his powers and on many occasions I would hear him debating with others how his character would hold up against another characters.

I took the student’s original drawing and simply drew him in an action pose and coloured him like the popular comic character. The only thing I did not draw in his character, and other characters, were the guns. Unlike swords, knives or bows, guns are very prevalent in our society and with the resent incidents of gun violence I decided to not draw him holding guns. Yet he does have them on his person, a compromise I made with the students.

I showed the student his character and he was happy with it. I hope you enjoy the second character from Heroes VS. Villains – Dead Dule.

Student’s Original – Dead Dule

Friday Two Cents: A Child And A Song


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‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’ Plato

It is two days until Christmas and I am in the full Christmas mood. I am feeling joyful and triumphant but it has nothing to do with the long-awaited holiday break from school or the anticipation of any gifts. No, comes from the feeling that this season brings out in me and one amazing act of humanity and a song.

I have always tried to distance myself from the commercial side of this season. From an early age I discovered that Christmas has nothing to do with the gifts you get or give but from the feeling of warmth, togetherness and love for my fellow-man. Every year it has become harder and harder to find examples or to try to get into that feeling. Yet in resent years I have been tuning into a local radio station (CHFI 98.1 FM) that plays Christmas music from the end of November to Christmas day. I have found that listening to the Christmas music has truly helped me to get into the Christmas spirit. Yet one day this past week helped me to truly feel good about this holiday season.
I was supplying at a school where the majority of the students are immigrant families, new to Canada. Many don’t celebrate Christmas as a religious celebration but are into the gift giving and good feelings of the season. While I was in a class at this school many students told me what they wanted for Christmas. Yet one told me that they just wanted running shoes for their mom, dad and brother. I asked if her family needed shoes and she said no but she knew that it would make her parents happy. To say this moved me, would be understating the fact. Instead of asking for a toy for herself, as many school children do, this kindergarten child wanted something to make her family happy. Beautiful.
Then to make a further connection to the true meaning of the Christmas season, that night I heard a song that touched me so much that all I could think of was this child. The song is called “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong. It’s about a boy wanting to get his mother shoes because she has been sick for a long time and he wanted her to look beautiful if she meets Jesus that night. With that song and that child earlier in the day, I realized that I got a glimpse into the soul of humanity. Sometimes we see moments of amazing beauty, whether in art, nature or people. I saw the goodness and love that this Christmas season has to offer and it was thanks to a child and a song. As Plato once said,
 

‘Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.’ Plato

 

That song truly speaks of the love and beauty in humanity and it comes from the most innocent member of the human race. A child. It seems appropriate.

Happy Christmas.

Friday Two Cents: A New Québec Inspired Build


 

 

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As I stated in my previous posts, I have been engaged in several artistic projects this Christmas season. One of them was to create something new for my Christmas town. A couple of weeks ago I mounted my Christmas town in the school. I started this tradition about 7 years ago at the same time when my niece arrived. I created the Christmas town several years earlier and over the span of about 10 years I added new buildings and other items to create a 19th century Dickens style town. Every building in the town is hand painted by me and I even created several unique pieces including the hill and the castle on it.

In the past few years I have added little things to the town such as trees, horses, people and a flying Santa sleigh and reindeer. Yet I have not created any new buildings, well until this year. Drawing on my experiences on my Québec trip this summer, I was inspired to create a traditional Québec home and a flying canoe or ‘la chasse-galerie’.
Stage 1) I began by creating the basic shape of the building using cardboard. I wanted a single story with two chimneys and a front and back veranda. This is typical of many early homes in Québec. The front slope of the roof is longer and curved but also the side of the roof is almost flush with the building.
Stage 2) I then got plaster of Paris and coated the entire cardboard building. It did not look pretty but I knew that I would be carving the home shape and details once the plaster dried. This stage was the most time-consuming and labour intensive. I could not simply scrap of chisel away. I had to be careful not to press too hard or the plaster would crack. Once I got the basic shape of the building I carved out little details such as the doors, windows, chimneys, verandas and a pine tree.
Stage 3) Once the carving was done, I painted the entire piece with white acrylic paint. While that was drying, I got some Fimo clay and began moulding a canoe with people in it. I modeled it after many images of the Voyageurs from early French Canadian history and culture. Fimo clay is malleable at first but it becomes hard once you bake it in the oven.
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Moulding a flying canoe or ‘la chasse-galerie’ using Fimo clay

Stage 4) I placed the clay flying canoe in the oven for about 30 minutes; I then continued to paint the building. Typically the early buildings used stone from the indigenous rocks of Canada. A lot of it was grey and irregular shaped. I painted this onto the exterior of the building with other details of the tree, doors and windows. I then used a clear acrylic varnish to paint the snow areas to give it a semi-gloss look.
Stage 5) Once the flying canoe cooled down I painted it and the people using acrylic paint. I painted the canoe to represent a birch bark canoe. I then painted the paddles and people accordingly. If you look close there are 7 people, one in the back steering and 6 paddling. As well I painted them with beards and wearing furs.
Stage 6) After the paint dried I wrapped a white pipe cleaner around the canoe and placed the ends in the chimneys of the building. I drilled small holes in the chimneys earlier to accommodate this idea.
I then placed the new building in my town with the flying canoe for the entire school to see. Many of the French Canadian teachers recognized the flying canoe or ‘la chasse-galerie’. Everyone loved the new Québec inspired addition to the Christmas town.  

Art inspiration: My Nativity Project, My Heritage


 

ArtInspirationPaulGLogo

In the last post I mentioned that I finished creating my nativity scene for the outside of my home. In total it took about 3 weeks of work to finish the project but I am more than happy with the final results.

After drawing the images onto the primed piece of wood I began the process of painting the characters. Just like any art project I thought of layers and what colours would be in the back and which ones in front. I began painting them with their main colour and the background. Painting this scene I constantly remembered the amazing frescos that Michelangelo painted. I wondered what he thought of as he painted those amazing scenes and I could not be more humbled and inspired to do my best as I painted my scene using his technique.
In the middle of my painting I created the top part of the scene with the remainder of the wood. The top part would be modeled on images of buildings from Jerusalem and places I saw in Malta on my numerous visits. I measured, cut and primed the piece as I did with the lower part/stable. Once dry I painted it the same colour as the background of the stable. I added a few details to make it my realistic such as cracks and brickwork to make it look old and weathered.
The top of the stable was relatively easy to paint in comparison to the lower piece with the characters. For obvious reasons it required extra care and more details. In the final stage you can see that I added homes and buildings, which were indicative of the Bethlehem area, in the background of the lower piece of the stable.
Once I finished painting the characters I then attached the upper piece of the stable to the lower part. I used left over wood as reinforcement with wood screws to attach the pieces together. I then attached a 2”x4” to the lower piece as a stabilizer so it can stand with some support. Once attached, I gave the entire nativity scene a coat of clear varnish to help protect the painting from the elements.
With all this complete I finally mounted the finish nativity scene onto my veranda. The interesting thing is that once it was up my family commented that in Malta the nativity scene is the centre of our Christmas celebrations and not the Christmas tree as it is in most of North America.
Here I am in Canada and I do have a tree but I have always had a nativity scene in my home. Christmas is not Christmas without a nativity scene. Now that I have one outside I feel more connected to my cultural heritage than before. Perhaps it has something to do with my visit to Québec this summer. There I felt connected to the culture both through my knowledge as well through the people I interacted with. I saw first hand the importance and beauty Canadian and Québec culture has to offer. I discovered that this is apart of my Canadian heritage but I also have my Maltese heritage that my parents gave me. The two are not separate but intertwined within the country I live in and within me.

Friday Two Cents: My Nativity Project


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Usually the Christmas season is a very creative time for me. I typically have one or two different creative projects in the works and this year is no different.

When I went to Québec this summer I saw many things that inspired me in many different ways. My friend’s family showed me a few things that they do in their town during the Christmas season that inspired me. I saw that they created their own decorations for their homes and a local parade in which they create their own floats. This was amazing to see, not just for their beauty but also for the fact that many were centred on the original meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Seeing all this, I got inspired to create my own nativity scene for the front of my home.
I have a nativity scene in my house but I would love to create one for the outside. I see people put out scary things for Halloween but many only put out Christmas lights and a few decorations, yet nothing on the true meaning of Christmas. So I decided to create my own nativity scene in my own style.
I studied art and I knew how Michelangelo created his frescos, so I took inspiration for his technic and began my nativity project. I first drew out my characters for the scene and then redrew them in the computer to create larger versions with more details. I then printed out the characters on large 11”x 17” sheets. I got a piece of ¼” plywood, cut the piece I needed and then primed it with white acrylic paint. Then, in the style of Michelangelo, I rubbed some charcoal on the back of the sheets so when I redraw the images on the wood, the image will be transferred onto the wood. Once all the images are redrawn on the plywood it is only a matter of painting the characters.
It took me about three weeks to complete the project yet there are a lot of images I took of the entire process. I will post some images in the next couple of posts to give an you all an idea on each stage of the project. For now, I hope you enjoy the first few stages of the creation of my Nativity Scene Project.

Comic Strips: Cutbacks


ComicStrips

 

The latest instalment of The Craziest Things has been sent out and with it the idea that our world can affect everything.

If you don’t know anything about government cutbacks than you are the lucky one. Yet everyone in North America is well a where of cutbacks. From reduced service to smaller portions at the supermarket everyone has been affected. Even this year at Christmas cutbacks are all around. Even as the media says that many people will be spending more people I talk to say the opposite. Therefore I thought what if the cutbacks went all the way to some things that we thought were stable.

I hope you enjoy my attempt at political satire of, The Craziest Things; Cutbacks.

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