Thursday, September 29, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Hey there guys! Again, sorry if you have been checking here and haven't had updates. I have been considering killing this blog feed and going with www.grantcooley.com exclusively. If you would like me to keep positing here, perhaps going back to a more content/artistic review, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me your feedback. I'd be glad to expound if someone is listening. In the meantime, here is my latest Icons Portrait: Superman!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Howdy guys! I know it has been a while since I have posted here. I have been doing most of my updates over at : www.grantcooley.com . It has been one crazy summer. I have gotten to spend a lot of time with my little girls and it has been amazing. Here is a moderate scan of my latest piece, "Darkness". I'll post the final scan at my website and on FB. If you haven;t been there, check it out! Hope you are all well out there! G
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Hello all! I finally shot some better pics of my new work and, while I was at it, shot my very first oil painting: "Big Arms". Just some different stuff that I have been showing at art shows across Nashville.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Hey there guys! Here is the Sam Final. 18x24 Oil on Board 130 min. Worked off of a toned board this time and actually added some original elements. Working from a great portrait painting book that is helping with my color understanding. Also, it is worth pointing out, that these are done in 2 sessions. Sam was 50 min and 60min. respectively. I drop in the traditional figure study layer first and then come back within 48 hours and pop out the deeps and highs. This helps keep the painting from being muddy and allows me a second dive.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
And here is the Gimli study. I had a lot of fun with this one and it took no time at all. FYI, I finally started an ebay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Grant-Cooley-Studios . I am selling a lot of my originals in order to buy a house for me and my daughters. Take advantage of some of these great deals while I still have the pieces!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Here it is; the Elrond Final.18x24 Oil on Board 132 minutes. Two LOTR portraits in one day. Wheeee. This one I really tried to push the colors and bend the reference. From now on I am really going to stretch the likeness out and go more for structure analysis and rendering. No sense being a famous cover band...
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Hey everybody! Here is the final for the first LOTR portrait. I will have a final scanned in sometime soon and priced on the website (grantcooley.com). Prospective buyers can contact me in the meantime with inquiries. Be the first to own the first in an epic collection of inspired portraits! Or at the least just tell your friends and spread the word.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Hello! Here is the prelim drawing for Legolas. Had my girls for the past few days so was busy running around playing hide-n-seek instead of painting. I'll gladly take any rebuke. I think I will knock a few of these portraits this weekend so check back soon for goodies!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Hey there guys! For those of you who haven't switched over to the grantcooley.com blog, at a glance, here is the past two days. The first Gandalf painting is about 30 min and the second is about 80 min. in. Hope you enjoy!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Hey there! I decided to do a series of Lord of The Rings Portraits as a figure painting exercise. For each character I will do a sketched rough, a preliminary tonal drawing (seen here) and then a full painted portrait without an underdrawing. I won’t make any prints of these as that would be lame sauce, but the original studies will be for sale.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Hey there Guys! Just thought I would pop in and post a pic of a sketch I completed for one of my new paintings "First dawn". I am trying to work out my dragon concept through a series of developed roughs and painted studies. By fully rendering out the concept even in "roughs" it is is much easier to realize stylistic strengths and weaknesses. I Think the next version will have larger more fully extended wings and a more puffed out chest. We'll all see soon!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Hello everybody! This year I attended Conooga for the first time. A 3 day event in Chattanooga, TN, Conooga is a young convention that prides itself on its party battles and friendly atmosphere.
My overall take on Conooga is very positive. It had a wide open space, very friendly and accommodating staff, and a decent attempt at programming. Being a a young show, they didn't really have any heavy hitter stars there, but that isn't really a draw for me as much as an indicator of a show's reputation/success. I thought it was a very pleasant and casual show.
Very open atmosphere in a nice venue.
Friendly and helpful staff.
Great reputation for such a young show. This just means upward growth and improvements all around.
I was allowed to runa very interesting panel on the art of retrofuturism.
Very open to new guests and contributions.
Good traffic flow with a diversity of tastes.
The majority of the attendees were young anime cosplay kids. Not there to spend money or do anything but be looked at.
It is still a young show and will take a few more years to be a serious draw.
No real guests or programming...yet.
A fun show that is worth heading out to. My space was comped this year and that goes a long way in showing me their commitment to a diversity of contributors. For the majority of youth, there were still a solid number of art enthusiasts and gaming fans. Would I go back? Absolutely. There are few shows I can vote so confidently on, and I am pleased to give this one a thumbs up. If you have a weekend to kill and promote your work while making a few shekels, put Conooga on the books.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Hey guys! I will be tossing up my review of Conooga in the next few days. In the meantime, here is a progress shot of God as the Architect. I don't know if I will have it done for this weekend's art show, but I will have it done soon. Just keeping you guys posted!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Few things are finer than blasting some metal on a beautiful day and working on a new painting. This WIP is entitled" God as the Architect" and is inspired by William Blake's classic concept. It is 24x26 on Gallery Canvas and should be done in time for "The Hang Up" art show in Nashville on the 26th. I don't normally like to post WIPs of Illustrations, but with my personal work, I would like to have a journal for myself and you guys of how my mind unfolds.
Anyhoo, back to work. Hopefully it is as beautiful where you are as it is in Nashville today!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Howdy doody folks! So here are the new pieces I was talking about. Confrontation, the Stone Golem piece, is my first illustration for the World of Uteria role-playing system. Final Dawn, the one with the dragons, was inspired by Mondrian and WWII Bombers. I am pretty pleased with both of these. But if you would like to know more....
Final Dawn is all shapes. I had the concept nailed early on pursued it with dogged force. This was actually my first real illustration since my Divorce began nearly 6 months ago and I felt stuck in adolescence again. Relearning last year's lessons and developing a new approach was a drain. I forced myself to work on it in public at Chattacon and it was there that I really started digging in. Spending 2 days in front of fans and casual viewers really made me hone in on my anatomy and stick to some decisions I was waffling on. The piece has its faults for sure, but really represents a breakthrough for me on composition fundamentals and how I need to view my work. My next pieces will have a more fully rendered final concept and a diverse array of environmental elements. Still not bad for my 3rd Dragon Painting.
Confrontation was born out of commission and commiseration and evolved in the exact opposite manner. Working on art night with fellow artists Adam Baker (thinkbaker.com) and Michael Bielaczzyc (michaelbielaczyc.com) I was losing my mind with the composition. I knew where I wanted the hero, but the Golem was tearing me up. My thumbs and final comps just weren't translating. Adam finally called me out and made me toss some paint on the canvas. I picked up a big brush and just dropped in the shape of the figure I wanted. And it worked. Bastard. I loved working on this once I started and absolutely love working big for %75 of the process and then picking up the little guns to knock it out. The painting remains more fresh and lively than a lot of other illos I've done and is one I look forward to hanging in my home till it sells.
So what to take from these pieces I completed over the past 18 days. Among the myriad of lessons I learned while doing them, I think commitment is the one that seems the most poignant. Whether I commit to a tightly rendered drawing for a work with several elements, or commit to big brush strokes while painting an elemental, commit to your work. And this isn't just limited to my painting. I have never really balked at commitment, but of late, I have felt lost at times and just seemed to be taking things as they come. A useful mechanism, but not one with longevity. I have learned that I am an "all in" person. Paintings, sports, relationships; it is all the same to me. Maybe you guys are different, but I find a sublime contentment when I relinquish control of myself and give over to what I am involved in. Being in the moment you are in is one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences we can have. You can't lose yourself in the moment, but you can take ownership of it and give it everything you have.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy these pieces and will come see them unveiled at Conooga next weekend in Chattanooga. See you soon!
ps: head over to grantcooley.com if you haven't already. It's starting to take real shape!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Well maybe not almost, but we take our baby steps every day.
So I just finished watching the film Almost Famous for the first time. My damn fine friend Michael Bielaczyc has been taking me on a visual exposition of his muses, motivations and artistic rations. I loved the film. I am sure there are any manner of ways to pick it apart, but watching it I found myself in so many of the characters at so many points. I am left feeling some profound feelings and thinking some profound thoughts; much like a ponderous Wild Thing but I'll leave the teeth gnashing and eye rolling to you.
Since I have a mic and you don't, I am going to talk about me and what I do.
I am a monument to folly. I am a storm-blasted limestone pinnacle that is shaved into the most peculiar fashion. I am a sum of my faults and a testament to weakness. I am a terrestrial furnace housing a blazing inferno. The artwork I create now will be the crayon cast-offs I abandon for the historians. Not because I want to be famous or I crave the affirmation. I will make brilliant and beautiful things because I dream them and they demand to be made. Do any of you know what I am saying? Honk your horn if you do. Do you ever burn with an unrequited passion for nothing more noble than to capture a ray of light in blues and reds? As a newborn painter I look around me with untrained hands and newly unshuttered eyes.
With all of the pitfalls that have accompanied my existence lately I have dimmed the lantern of my soul and plodded along a shrouded path. I feel like I have lost myself on a rocky beach and it is all I can do to hold onto my girls and my footing; like hiking in the woods and never looking up for fear of stumbling on the exposed roots. I have justified my melancholic flare-ups with morose acceptance and mutually assured promises with myself for the future. It is my need to protect and provide happiness for my children that has lent my tired body purpose and vigor.
Perhaps I will settle back down with the weight of the humdrum. But for this moment, I feel alive and tinged with electricity. I want to reach out that spark and power one of you devices out there; to awaken your Quantum Inertia engines and get you spinning.
Life is an absolutely unmerciful and pitiless bitch if you let her be. So don't. Let that hate and bitterness go and embrace the life you have ahead of you. Forget Valentine's Day; embrace the ones you love today! Take hold of the people and things dear to you and own that moment NOW. Listen to an amazing album and remember the first time you experienced it; the wonder that each note or lyric held. Reread a passage that made you cry or memorize each stroke in your favorite painting.
I recently realized how much I still carry everyone I have ever loved with me. The betrayals and disappointments all fade with time, but I still carry the promises I've made, verbal and emotional, with me to this day. It is these delicately corded knots in my weave that lend my spirit depth and breadth.
Find YOUR entrance to the sublime and draw on it like a kerosene lamp. Burn yourself up late into the night with your Muse and refill at the well often. Don't be a slave to yourself or to others.
You cannot be anything more than you are at this very moment. If you can't find resolution with this fact, then MAKE THE NEXT MOMENT BETTER.
We are all beautiful and wondrous little shits that can be more than we are today; and that is the joy of living.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Alrighty. So last weekend, January 21-23, I attended Chattacon 36 as an art exhibitor. I packed tons of extra work to display and even brought some of my painted minis to display with my maquettes. The show was well lit and adjacent to check-in. The event setup was interesting in that all of destinations were in nearby buildings rather than adjoined. The con suite and party central was in a stand alone building at the back lot near the hotel. The Art Show was across the street from the dealer's room and limited programming. This lent a strange sense of ambling around that was not unpleasant. At least we got exercise.
I spent most of the weekend days painting in the art show and the evenings partying to the utmost. I participated in a charity dragon draw with Ruth Thompson and did a neat sketch that raised some money. My Dionysius costume is still in progress and Tron 1.0 went over well. As always, massive props to the two other members of my Tri-Force of Awesome : Michael Bielaczyc and Laura Jones. We rocked the suits and suites as only Riders on The Storm can. Other than that, I just chilled, sold a few originals and cast the social nets wide.
Overall, I enjoyed the show quite a bit as it is really just a networking relaxacon. I did feel that at $50 the event was drastically overpriced. Admittedly the con suite was well-stocked and they had all hours free beer. Still you would have to glut yourself to the extreme to make up for this exaggerated cover charge. They had no real programming or guests to speak of either. That said, it was still a very friendly atmosphere and I had the opportunity to see a lot of new friends from last year as well as make some great new acquaintances. Quick shout-outs to the Sprakers for getting me in the mood, Ann Robards for putting me in the show, Coy and the lovely Frolicon gals, Amy and Gena, for making me feel at home and getting me in a swimming pool at 4am (it was indoors).
Convention Cost $50
Art Show Cost: $18 per 4x4 Panel, $18 for 8' foot table
Friendly, well lit con to show in. Fantastic con suite with friendly staff and freshly prepared munchies; quite a few veggie options as well! It is in January where any break from the humdrum norm is a bonus. Chattanooga is pretty accessible from anywhere in the Southeast. Ann Robards is a nice Art Show Director and her staff were relatively knowledgeable and extremely patient. The Tesla Coil band Arc Attack were great and are a staple of the show now.
Waaaay too expensive for a membership. It was a bit too pricey to hang as much as I did. This is offset by the fact that they don't charge a cut of the sale. The art show had lots of empty space which diminishes the overall impact. No real programming opportunities to partake of or participate in. Having the show be off on its own is always a negative as many con-goers don't even know it is there. No real flow for the show to funnel people around, but from what I understand, that is half the point.
A nice laid back show that is great for what it is. 'Nooga hosts several great shows throughout the year and this one has its own charm. The time of year is great for scheduling and the art show was well run if a little underwhelming. It is an expensive event to attend as an artist. If your motivation is sales driven, I would not attend, but perhaps mail-in your work. Even then, I wouldn't expect much. If your motivation is self-promotion, then it is a split. You will meet and hang with great folks, but you won't have many chances to push your career initially.
Would I go back? Yes, but only because my best friends are there. If I could work out an arrangement to procure a badge through programming or promotion I would definitely hang in the art show. If not, then it is a toss-up. As a business investment, this is a slow simmer.
As always, take or leave this review at your discretion.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Sorry for the delay in posting. So much has been happening in a short period of time. Tron costumes, conventions, paintings and lawsuits oh my! As I am developing grantcooley.com I am going to have a regular posting schedule and update day. Anyways, on to the news!
I attended Chattacon 36 last weekend and had a dandy time. I spent the weekend painting in the art show (progress pic above), running around in my beta Tron Costume, and selling a few originals. Since the show I have finished the painting I was working on and am currently working on an interior illo for World of Uteria and another portfolio piece called triptych. The maquette I built for Triptych will be converted in an upcoming Steampunk airship piece. I told you 2011 would be off thee hook. Anyways, I will get my review of Chattacon out in the next few days and will hopefully have a final scan of Final Dawn to you guys by Friday.
You guys take care out there and kick some ass for me!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
See! I told you I have been busy. I have hit the ground running in 2011. Recently I started doing large studies like S.A.M. (18x24 Robot Arson piece) to work out textures and applications. Staring at Ashley Wood paintings finally pushed me into doing more gestural expressive pieces and they are a blast. Not being attached to an idea or concept in a laborious sense has been incredibly liberating. I have been slowly working on my new site and schedule and will have both up for you soon. In the meantime, enjoy these pics and the ones soon to come!
Monday, January 3, 2011
Alrighty! 2011 is here and I am ready for it. I'm going to warn you that, yes, this is another revelatory blogpost, and yes, I realize I haven't posted much art lately. I took a break for awhile to get my world together and now I am stocked, sketched and ready for the next 4 paintings. Boom baby! How you like that!?! Well, maybe you'll like it when I post 'em. But anyway, on to the topic at hand:
Drawn Today recently did a podcast on this subject, and I regrettably missed out. So I will take this opportunity to toss in my views on this matter now.
For me, Inspiration comes from those around me. Pure and simple. The motivation to create comes from my heart and the deluge of ideas that floods my brain comes from my 3rd eye. In the end, it is the love and brilliance of those around me that causes my art to finally manifest. The conversations, laughter, tears and Moments are what define us at every step of the way. Believing this, I also believe that a large measure of my self worth is indicated by the quality of company I keep and the ability to truly share in those Moments with everything I am; regardless of the fears and past hurts that such communion seems to bring.
This is not to say that I don't have a bedrock foundation of "id" upon which the castle of me is built. Rather, my friends and children are the style and beauty with which my structure strives to express; the lofty ramparts upon which my imagination soars. Without this, my little black heart would find much darker outlets than Pac-Man and Pipe Dreams.
So in the end, I find that whether it is the company you keep, or the place you find yourself in, that Inspiration comes from Without, and it is up to us to find the strength Within to seize it.
When next we meet I will have scans aplenty and a confirmed Schedule of Events. IN the meantime, head over to www.grantcooley.com and see how things are shaping up. If nothing else, most of my work is collected there.