Exit Within: the Gallegos Blog

Bi-weekly musings, artwork, art-talk, and randomness.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

"Of Three Minds" Solo Exhibit Catalog

My show, "Of Three Minds" is running now through June 7th at the Indian Road Cafe. More details about the show in general can be found here.

Below is the catalog of all pieces on display. As all sales are handled directly by the artists at the IRC, you may use the links below to purchase any pieces you wish.

Work can be picked up at the IRC when we take the show down on the 7th, or can be picked up at my Washington Heights apartment afterwards. Alternately, I will ship the pieces anywhere in the world. Prices do not include sales tax in NY state--sorry, but I do pay my taxes. All pieces include frames as pictured.

Much of this work is not my usual fare, and when the show ends this page will probably disappear, and many of the works, as well. I may find other venues for the Still Life and Street Corner pieces later. This post will be up here on top the entire length of the show.

Thanks for stopping by here, for patronizing the Indian Road Cafe who graciously supports the arts, and for your interest in my work. I hope to see you at the Artist Reception, May 21st!

Street Corners

"Union Square, West"
8x16" oils on canvas over panel
Price: $800

"Cabrini and W187th St."
8x16" oils on watercolor paper
No longer available

"Broadway and W181st"
8x16" oils on canvas over panel
No longer available

"Broadway and Prince St."
8x16" oils on canvas over panel
Price: $600


"Glossai Pyros"
18x24" oils over acrylic on panel
More details on this painting can be found here
Price: $2500

"A Fractured Mind"
18x24" oils on panel
More details on this painting can be found here
Price: $2500

5x7" oils on watercolor paper
More details on this painting can be found here
Price: $950

5x7" oils on watercolor paper
More details on this painting can be found here
Price: $950

Still Life

"Green Heirloom Pineapple Tomato"
5x7" oils over acrylic on watercolor paper
No longer available

"Split Avocado"
5x7" oils over acrylic on watercolor paper
No longer available

"Brandywine Tomato"
6x8" oils on canvas

No longer available

"Baby Eggplants"
6x8" oils on watercolor paper
Price: $250

5x7" oils on canvas over panel
No longer available

"Pair of Pears"
6x8" oils on canvas
Price: $300

5x7" oils over acrylic on paper
No longer available

"Pattypan Squash"
8x12" oils on canvas
Price: $350

"Amish Paste Tomatoes"
8x12" oils on canvas
Price: $350

8x16" oils on canvas over panel
Price: $500

"Wedged Watermelon"
8x16" oils on canvas over panel
Price: $600

"On the Vine"
12x16" oils on panel
No longer available

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Of Three Minds" Solo Exhibit, May 9 - June 7, NYC

Very soon, I'll have spent seven years in New York City. This was not a big plan of mine, but it's happened and has been super interesting and definitely worth having done. In many ways, life continued on as it might have anywhere, but invariably where an artist lives can affect their work. In my case, I think the increased development of my personal studio works has been influenced by my time here, as well as a desire to experiment with a number of different genres.

(L:) "Glossai Pyros" 18x24" oils on panel
(detail view | purchase info)

As I approach my seventh anniversary here, I'll be mounting a small show of original paintings. Apart from conventions and the like, I don't really show my original paintings much. I haven't yet sought out gallery representation for any of my works, for instance. I certainly have a lot to learn about that side of things. When I was approached some time ago by Jeff Hoppa, curator of the art shows which go on at the Indian Road Cafe in very northern Manhattan, with the idea of showing my work there, I politely declined. At the time, the only thing I would have been able to show would have been some of my personal studio works and mostly illustrations. The former seemed suitable, but the later not so much for the kind of casual crowd that might pass through there.

"Radicchios" 8x16" oils on canvas over panel

A couple of years ago, while working on Alieis, I mentioned stopping and painting a still life. Since then, I've actually done a number of these. They've proved to be enjoyable in their own right and opportunities where I can play around a bit with paint handling and the like in a very no-stress way. They are also fairly broadly-appealing works (though maybe not so much to my fantasy-oriented fans?). They provided a second group of works that might be appropriate for such a show.

Lastly, I'd long wanted to find some way of engaging the city itself through painting, but hadn't really found any particular key to that door. Then, rather late, I did find an approach that excited me. There aren't many in that particular set, but they helped to add a local flavor to the work I've been doing. But they also aren't pieces that have a lot of use within my usual body of work....

(L:) "Union Square, West" 8x16" oils on canvas over panel

So I contacted Jeff again and took him up on the standing offer to show work at the IRC, whose shows he's been curating for awhile now, bringing a pretty cool series of artists to an arts-friendly restaurant and neighborhood hang-out, one where I've had brunch a few times myself.

The space is broken into three sort of hanging spaces, and so we decided to mount a "group show" painted by one person. All three series of works are fundamentally disparate in approach and subject matter, but all are mine, and will be hung as three groupings. Quite a few of the works haven't been shown at all, or very widely: a few were shown on my Instagram feed as I worked on them.

Most of the paintings will be available for sale--neither Jeff nor the IRC takes a commission of the sales, and given the wide variety of work being shown, there will be a number of pieces available at very different price ranges, all of which can be purchased directly from myself. When the show launches, I'll include a one-page catalog of the entire show here on my blog for those who can't make it. All pieces will be sold with basic frames.

I'll send out reminders via my various channels, but stick it on your calendar if you're in the area, or let friends know if they're anywhere near:

Solo Exhibition, "Of Three Minds" May 9 - June 7, 2015

Indian Road Cafe: 600 West 218th Street @ Indian Road, New York NY 10034
Artist Reception: Thursday May 21, 5:30-7:45pm
I'll be in attendance and would love to meet anyone willing to trek to the northern-most edge of Manhattan. It won't be a signing or anything, just a hangout. I'd love to see you there.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Stevie, Bridal Portrait

When I painted, "Lady Leanna Lynx," about a year ago, I was surprised and pleased. Surprised that I had agreed to paint it, and pleased with the result. Not only the result, but the production of the painting was also a ton of fun. It also occurred to me that if I wanted to push in that direction I might be able to do more costumed pooches. Whether I should push in that direction I was at the time unsure about.

It didn't take long before a second commission came, without my trying. Having been shared by the owner, another basenji owner got in contact with me about a similar commission. The goal wasn't to do another renaissance dog, which was good: it would be fun doing others of that era, but back-to-back might've killed my motivation to continue down this four-legged path before I'd really gotten going. Instead, as this dog, Stevie, was sort of amorous of one of the owner's other dogs, we talked about portrayals that might communicate that. There was of course the option for a western or other kind of wedding gown, but as early conversations indicated an eastern flair, I went this direction.

(L:) digital mockup

I proposed a bride's outfit. In particular, a traditional Japanese bridal dress, complete with tsunokakushi--the characteristic and gorgeous headdresses they sometimes wear. I mocked up a study to show the owner based on a generic dog of the breed, just to give the taste of the thing.

One of the keys to Leanna's success as a painting was that I was able to visit Leanna and shoot reference. Because Leanna was extremely compliant, it made life easy. Her particular expression was a bonus, but not unusual for her, being a bit of a goofy dog. I told myself that if I did others like this, I might want to limit them to dogs I could visit and photograph myself. There are just too many variables to try to base it on someone else's photos. Like painting a human portrait based on a random photo a person might send you versus seeing the person live, in the flesh, and getting to choose lighting and pose while getting high-resolution shots.

As it turned out, if we waited a bit, I could visit Stevie. The client, living in Southern California, was within striking distance from my parents who now live in Central CA. Not close, mind you, it's still a three hour drive or so. I was going to be visiting my folks at Thanksgiving, so I proposed driving down to take some photos. To make the drive more worth it, I promised myself a visit to Pinks Hotdogs in Hollywood on the way home. Any excuse to get down to Pinks is a good excuse.

I was thus able to shoot some reference of Stevie, another basenji, but one with such a different personality and look, really. I'm new to that breed still, so it was interesting to meet two very different examples. She wasn't quite as compliant, and had injured a foreleg that morning while playing, but we did our best and got some good shots.

(L:) "Stevie the Basenji" 8x10" pencil on vellum

From there, I set about working. I knew the look of the silk kimono through image hunting online, the way the patterned white silk has various sheens. But I wasn't confident in my ability to translate that straight to paint in my version. So I went to eBay and picked up an inexpensive under-kimono (juban) which exhibited the material qualities I needed. That set the project back a bit.

In the meantime I changed the headdress. One of the breed's characteristics are the tall pointed ears. You can see that even compared to the digital mockup above, that I was starting to back away from it in the drawing. Though the tall, horn-like ears of the basenji made a too-clever-by-half pun for those who know that tsunokakushi literally means something like "hidden horns," hiding them so much under the headdress wasn't sitting right, so I removed the headdress and added in the decorative hair pins and ribbon bow that accompany other bride's ensembles. The client loved the change and finally we were off. I used the heart-medallion on Stevie's collar and placed it over the knots of the tassels.

Once again however, trouble arose as I attempted to paint a sort of actual environment in the distance, in a flash of inspiration...which just shows that not all flashes of inspiration work out. It just didn't work, and so was repainted. As with Leanna, an attempt was made to paint Stevie in nearly life-size. I also adjusted the pose from four-legged standing to sitting on haunches quite last-minute.

As Rockwell said, "Some come easy, some come hard." I had to fight for this one! But in the end it too was fun, and leaves me wondering if there is something other than basenjis in my future? It's a great breed I've gotten to know better, but the world of dogs is so very, very wide. So far this series has been great fun, so we'll see what comes!

"Stevie, Bridal Portrait" 11x14" oils on panel

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Glossai Pyros

"Glossai Pyros" 18x24" Oils over acrylic on panel
(detail view | purchase info)

For the fifth year running, I attended a fall painting retreat last year. It continues to be an amazing highlight of each year. You'd think I would get blasé about it, but it's still a pinch-me sort of experience.

All but one year, I've worked on a studio piece, not a client illustration. As if fate was shaking its finger at me for the one year I brought a client commission to work on, it turns out that that particular painting got stuck in development limbo and has still not seen the light of day, despite being done 3 years ago!

(L:) Hard at work. Lauren will kill me for this photo, but it was the only good one of me working

This year, I was hugely busy leading up to the retreat. I spent a few months on a big, frustrating project that in the end went nowhere. The retreat landed right towards the end of it, but I certainly didn't want to spend my retreat working on it. I had an idea, but the time was approaching and I had not so much as a thumbnail, though I did have an idea in my head. I was getting worried that I would show up unprepared.

The weekend before leaving, I contacted a couple of models hoping to book a last-minute reference shoot I could take with me. I also reached out to a young lady I'd met a month before. I had asked if she'd be willing to model down the road, thankfully, and she was. She was the only one to respond with such short notice. As she lived out in the area I'd be in, we arranged for her to come down on Monday, while at the retreat. Whew.

The first day of the retreat is not always that productive. I brought a small side thing to work on a bit, but there are only a few hours after setup to work until dinner happens. Being everyone's first day in, we're all eager to catch up with one another. Afterwards, my model showed up and with the help of Lauren Panepinto--book designer extraordinaire--we set about shooting reference. Poor Lauren, she spends a lot of time attending photoshoots with illustrators, and here she was having to do it again on her "off" time. Well, it was a working retreat.

Prior to the trip, I ordered some string LED lights, and did a couple of self-tests to see if they would work. They don't let out a lot of light, being like very thin glow sticks. A tripod and time exposure and a dark room were necessary. With Lauren's help, I wrapped the LED lighting around the model, she'd hold it in place, and I'd go set the camera, shoot, review and reshoot as needed. We tried a lot of variations and got a few fantastic shots. I was thrilled by the results, and that evening got to work.

As with "A Fractured Mind" the year before, I set to work with no prior drawing. I had a board pre-primed and toned with a mixture of acrylic Raw Sienna mixed with a bit of gesso (if I recall correctly). From there I went straight into oils, drawing out the scene in oils directly on the board. As I've been happy with all my recent attempts to work like this, directly on the panel, I hope I can find more opportunities to do so in the future.

(L:) End of day 1 underpainting

The next morning, I had an under painting in Mars Violet with a bit of Alizarin Crimson in it. I thought I knew what I was going for, but just in case I grabbed a small scrap of primed paper and did a tiny little color study. I don't do these often in this way, but it became a very simple and undetailed map of where I was headed.

(L:) Color study, 2.25x1.5" Oil on paper
The notes indicate that the background would be painted in a mixture of Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, (Gamblin) Chromatic Black, and a touch of White

A few people came over that day and made especially positive comments about this little scribble. I thought it was rather funny, I mean they're all accomplished painters and artists in their own right, so compliments can be hard to come by sometimes. This often happens with very, very loose sketches. Perhaps it's that the viewer can at this stage import into the image all the ways in which they can see it turning out more awesome than the artist will actually make it. I mean, the artist rarely hits his own vision, too.

But objectively, there's nothing really there. Ah well, I'll take a compliment where I can get one.

That said, as the piece went on during the week, the feedback was generally positive, which I appreciated. The vibe is always so fun and positive with these fine folks that it really would make a pretty wonderful day-in-day-out work environment, and this from someone who can go all week without saying a word to anyone, if left alone, and be just fine (arguably).

This year, the retreat moved from where it's been held for about ten years to a new venue in rural Pennsylvania, which was gorgeous, and the shared work room had large windows with a beautiful view. As I arrived first, along with Scott Brundage (who has suffered driving me to and from every year), I snagged this prime spot. Maybe an hour or two at sundown the sun would beam straight into my eyeholes, and we had to lower the blinds a bit, but really, it made for a wonderful week to have this out behind my easel.

(L:) Sometime on day two, background blocked in

From there it was just about executing. It was an exhilarating painting that came together last second, with the help of a great model and friend, and painted among inspiring artists, with their feedback. I got about 80% of the way through by the week's end and polished up the rest here and there after.

You can see a large view of it and purchase information for this painting here.