Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Olympian

One of the ideas that I explored during my master's degree was the imag of women where men usuaally appeared in Greek style art. This particular piece was colorized reference to black figure imagery from vase painting. This is an image of a female shot-putter. In ancient Greece, if you did not know, women were not even allowed to watch the games, let alone compete in them. So, this is a modern image making a reference to the ancient tradition. Another image combined here is the lion. Herakles, or Hercules by the Roman name, was traditionally associated with the founding of the Olympics, so this is another reference to that idea.

One of the other things I really liked about this linoleum cut process was how I was able to get such rich colors and have it reach such an intense level, especially when they are viewed in person. I usually worked small because it made getting intense colors much easier. Also, anyone who is familiar with the reduction process of printing, you have to print each color, layer by layer. One of the challenges I encountered as I worked through this process was which colors worked best as they layered over one another. One bad layering could ruine the entire piece, and that would be bad!

Overall, I am very excited to show this work all together on March 11. I will have my artist statement and a synopsis of my thesis out for people to read as they look at the work as a group. My master's work was truly fascinating for me and I loved doing the work on it. I hope people enjoy what I am sharing here.

Be sure to take the poll to the right of the post!


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Javelin Thrower

The Javelin Thrower, Collagraph Print

This is one of many in my Greek series. I did many that mimicked the Black Figure style of vase painting. I liked this style as a way of printing to remind the viewer of the powerful simplicity of black and white imagery that could be seen on the vases of ancient Greece. The ancient Olympians were often highly revered in Greek poetry, much the same as heroes in the military and ancient battle, such as Homer's Iliad. Epic poetry often immortalized athletes and heroes. Based on what I studied, back in ancient times, there was a much closer association between athletics and the military. One of the Olympic events was to race in full armor (made of bronze, I presume) for 100 yards. There was wrestling, throwing of spears, and boxing. Athletic training was closely associated with military training.

In Sparta, being a soldier was a way of life. We ofen hear of Athens during the history of 5th century BCE Greek times, but Spartans were also very influential as well. They did not have the buildings that we associate with the Acropolis, but they had the military that was leading the Greeks during the 5th BCE. The Olympics go back several centuries prior to that time. My thesis goes into greater detail about the relationship between heroes, myth, and art.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Work!

Arches at Sunset, Watercolor, Graphite, Prisma Color Pencils, 5.5" x 8.5", 2012, Copyright belongs to Jesse Brown

This is a new painting I just did. I am trying to create a seris of architectural pieces that are a combination of layered image using watercolor and pencil. I worked in a similar style when I was an undergraduate and it was very successful. This is the first one I have done in awhile. When I traveled to Italy I got to see a lot of amazing architecture that really influenced me. You can see the Renaissance style arches that are pushing and pulling with the negative and positive space in contrast to the landscape. For me, it is a fun composition to work with and brings a lot of possibilities when trying to layer images. Sometimes it can be more challenging than other times.

As we look around, there is this push to balance human made structures and creations with the natural surroundings. "Going green" is a big thing now. As my professor in college talked about, it is a coexistence of opposites. Truly, we are always trying to balance our lives. If we look at it through that lense, then we have a lot to think about. In my work I feel that I usually come back to this idea in one way or another most of the time. Especially when I do this layered imagery with organic and hard-edged shapes and lines.

Thanks for coming by to see the work! Be sure to check out the new galleries that are going to be going up soon!


An Exhibition of my Master's Degree Work

Crimson Cloak, Linoleum Block Print, 7" x 5"

When I did my Master's thesis, I never got the chance to show my work and talk about what I did. Coming up, Gina and I will be holding a fundraiser event and I will be putting some of my copies of my prints on my thesis up for grabs. The title of my thesis is Heroes, Myth, Art, and History. The piece shown here was part of the series of art work that I produced to go along with the thesis. Ancient Greece was a fascinating period of history that triggers the imagination. Recently, the movie "300" was produced and brought the story of the Battle of Thermopylae to the forefront of the minds of Americans. A larger part of my thesis, which I wrote back bettween 2000-2002, focused on this battle, among other things. Greece is in the news right now about its financial circumstances, but I like to focus on the many contributions this country has made throughout its history.

"Crimson Cloak" makes reference to the color cloak that Spartans were known to wear. The Greek 'L' on the front of the picture comes from the symbol that was often put on the front of the shield that they carried. This is only one piece of many that was created. I look forward to sharing these pieces in the coming days. Enjoy! Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Training in a positive environment

The more I train in martial arts, the more I realize that it is a process by which I learn new things. It is not a goal, or a benchmark, or some target to chase. Martial arts is a journey. Like so much of what we do in life, much of what we do is a process. The question is what will we do with the process that we put ourselves through. I realized that it is the same with work and day-to-day family life as well. We are a product of the processes that we put ourselves through. This year has been especially tough on me with work. The reality is that almost every work place is going to cut money and funding and ask more of what their workers do. How do we handle the stress? What will we do with the pressure? As I look back at this picture and remember this time, and then reflect upon my new routine of training every morning as much as possible, I realize the power of training and how it shapes not only your abilities, but also your frame of mind. I do not think anything is worth stressing ourselves out to the point our health is compromised.

When I trained with my sensei, Chuck Epperson, this past weekend, we had a conversation about training. I asked him how he made time with such a busy schedule to make time for his personal training. One of the things he pointed out is you just have to make it a priority. Kenpo is such a journey. The art of Kenpo itself can keep you busy everyday with just trying to think of new ways to train it and explore it. There are so many possibilities with the technical execution of the art. However, if you incorporate into that some of the philosophy of where martial arts comes from and what it is about, then you have this very intense and incredible experience that can take you into endless possibilities for training.

When I was on the beach last summer, training, the power of being out on the shore, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, was amazing. It fed energy into the motions that I practiced. When I was out this morning, as the sun was rising and hearing the birds and feeling the presence of water near by, I was in a different place where I could focus and gain strength as I practiced. I think it is important to practice intelligently, as well as in a place the lifts you into a better disposition. Our environment and surroundings has a huge impact on us, and it is important to remember that when we train, make art, or work. I feel that we often expose ourselves to negativity too often and it affects us at work, in daily life, or in many other places such as school, in our community, or other places.

Take some time to pick your environment carefully and let yourself enjoy the positive choice that you made. If you train or make art, then let yourself be in a creative space where you can feel your strength gather. I know it makes a difference for me.

Talk to you soon.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A blue Tint

2.5 x 3.5 inches, ball point pen and color pen, copyright to this image belongs to Jesse Brown

This is another in the series of trading cards. I really enjoyed working in one color along with black. It adds color, but with a simplistic color scheme that is effective. often times we can become burdened with too much color. I think the trick is to find where to place to color to make it effective. I think this is my favorite of the Trading Card Series. This particular work is 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The small format makes it easy to work with ball point pen. Pen can be so time consuming, so when I go small, it helps to cut down the time it takes to finish one work.

That leads me to an idea about production. In today's society, just to survive as a business person, you have to be able to compete by producing in large amounts. Making one work per week would be considered slow, in my opinion. Unless, of course, you are able to sell each work for thousands of dollars. This is completely contrary to my view on art as well. Accessibility in art is key. Price is part of the accessibility. I want people to be able to enjoy my work in their homes. That means it has to be affordable. I also think there is a separate category, and that is accessibility of ideas, but I won't get into that right now.

For those following my blog, I am going to be launching a business soon. It should open later this year. I have not official business name, but the website title is brown family art works. Keep a lookout for when I post the link here on the blog. I appreciate everyone coming by and looking through my work and the work of Gina and helping out with the fundraiser. If you can leave a comment of ask a question.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Glancing Spear

Photo by Gina Navarro Brown and model Jesse Brown
Gina and Jesse Brown retain copyrights of this photo and all other works and photos in this blog.

This was taken at Fort Bragg, California last August. I was doing a post from Glancing Spear, which can be found in Long Form 3 in Kenpo Karate. The "spear" that you see in the pose is a finger strike to the eye, as it is taught in the form. I enjoyed doing martial arts at this time on the beach. it was a most wonderful day and Gina took many different photos. It was an incredible photo opportunity for us. Gina was doing great job with the new camera.

I believe, martial arts is not just the performance or production of an art, but it is an experience. Martial arts is about an experience that helps the practitioner learn a new way of doing things and understand his or her environment around them. I am trying to get to the point where I can practice more. I understand the need for practicing, Imagine the frustration at understanding the need and value of practicing martial arts and not having the time to follow through on my practice. However, when I look at the photos like this one that we took, it truly does inspire me to get back to practicing more. I hope this photo can inpire the readers and instill appreciation of finding what helps them to find something that helps their life.

Birds at Sunrise

This work actually made it into the Pacific Art League show "Works on Paper." The opening for the show was on February 3 and it was great. There were about 200 entries and only about 40 pieces made it in. So, I was quite pleased that I was able to get into the show. This particular piece is 4 inches by 6 inches. It is titled "Birds at Sunrise." I have been exploring a number of different images as I get back into watercolor. It has been some time since I spent a lot of time using this medium extensively. One thing that is amazing about watercolor is how diverse it is. It has the ability to be so subtle and combine with so many other drawing mediums. I really enjoy mixing watercolor with some of my other drawing styles and techniques.

A short update on the fundraising efforts we have been working on. There have been two art pieces claimed for my gallery and Gina has had one of her photos claimed. We have been doing other things for fundraising and we are slowly making progress. If you have not gone by our fundraising gallery, go by and check it out.

This entry is short, but I hope you all enjoy the new piece.

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