Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ding! 60

Tax-deductible. Yay.

A few months back this would've been an achievement, but now 60 is the new 50. I started playing WoW almost a year ago after getting a free copy at Comic-Con. Thanks Blizzard! 11 months later, level 60. I already have Burning Crusade (for, you know, work) so unless I'm interested in, say, Warcraft III Battlechest (which I never played), I don't think I'll have anything to get hooked up with this year, since Starcraft II is who knows how far away.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I do things in blocks. Typically, I'll gather up projects I have and sort them out mentally. I don't like going back-and-forth between the various stages of working if I don't have to. I prefer being in one mode as long as possible. So, I'll pick a group of projects and do all the research necessary for all the pieces, filing away reference shots I find online and making notes to myself. Next I'll try to do all my thumbnails for all outstanding projects. Following that, I'll take reference photos for the whole bunch.

After a long photo-shoot, I'll sit and do all my sketches next. My sketches are fairly tight and I can typically do 2 on a long day. These involve gathering all my reference and drawing, then scanning and doing some digital touching-up for presentation. Then comes the submissions and any tweaks that are necessary.

Likewise I do all my board prep work at the same time. Finally, my favorite part: the actual painting. It's intimidating to have a stack of boards ready to paint on, especially as deadlines approach. However, it is quite rewarding to see that pile of boards get knocked down in rapid-fire since all the preliminary work has been done.

Upon finishing a group of projects, I like to take a day off to recharge and clean up the accumulated mess. Usually a day or two following I'll catch up on other business, including website stuff, all the while mulling over ideas for coming projects. Then the machine cranks into life again and the whole cycle starts over.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Don't Try This at Home, Addendum

Speaking of pizza at the end of my last post on baking oil paintings in the oven, I should include these cautionary tales, lest you think my Jackass-warning sign was for show.

Episode 1

Like most people, I don’t use my oven all that often for actual, you know, culinary purposes; once a week or so is typical. Some ovens have two dials, one that only sets temperature, one that sets the oven mode (bake/broil/off/etc.). This means that you can turn the oven on without manipulating the temperature. At my old place, this meant I would just leave the dial at 200F and turn the other dial to bake or off, as needed. I’d stick a painting in, turn the dial to bake, and the oven would be set at 200F.

You can see where this is leading.

One night a DiGiorno pizza made its way into my oven. I love it when that happens (EDIT: I used to love it; in the years since I wrote this I swear their pizzas have become awful. I started making my own crusts since then). If I recall, these are baked at about 400-425F. The pizza was enjoyed and life was good. I then did an evening painting session, stuck the painting in the oven, and turned the oven on. Of course, the last temperature the dial was set at was now like 425F. My wife yelled out at me a few minutes later, “Is it supposed to smell like that?...There’s smoke coming out of the oven!” What a smell. With the speed of an Olympic hurdler I dashed into the kitchen from my studio, leaping over stacks of books and my cat along the way, and pulled the painting out. There was indeed smoke pouring out of the oven. My first layer of painting, once a brilliant cobalt blue, was now nearly black. The Hardbord had grill marks on the reverse which are visible to this day. You’ll note through all this that said wife remained upon the couch through the entire ordeal. I don’t even think the oven had reached the target temperature. Now, had I taken a nap that day or left the house, well….

Episode 2

I don’t often do painted color studies, but I did one that day. It was a small oil study, maybe 6x9”, for a personal piece I never ended up doing. Part of why I never ended up doing it was that I had done this lovely oil sketch I was quite pleased with and stuck it in the oven. I then went back and did some other stuff. The same wife as was mentioned in the first story decided to bake something, maybe some Banquet Chicken (you mustn’t assume we only eat prepackaged foods!), and preheated the oven, again to like 350F or so. A few minutes later she opened the oven to insert the breaded, yummy morsels, and some choice expletives were vocalized. I could guess what had happened from the other room. My oil study, done on treated Bristol paper, was now a lovely shade of coffee-stain, with grill marks reversed-out in white. It looked rather antiqued in a way, the colors all muted as if they’d survived for centuries. The look of guilt on her face negated any need for expletives on my part, but I lost all heart for doing that painting.

I’m happy to report that those were both probably within a year of each other, and early on. No incidents since then, and I now have an oven with one dial—you have to turn it to the temperature to turn the oven on, ensuring that you will correctly set the temperature each time. This is much safer. As well, we’re both well-trained to always check the oven first! When in doubt, I'll lodge a small brush horizontally behind the knob as a sign to check the oven before adjusting.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Don't Try This at Home

Hey all,

So there used to exist a long post outlining my method of baking oil paintings to dry them. It proved to be pretty popular, enough so that I figured the change of some litigious fool coming around and finding it, doing harm to themselves despite the warnings that were there, were starting to increase.

All I'll say is I have baked my paintings regularly. I can't recommend anyone else do it. Maybe it'll work or maybe it'll burn your house down.

I will leave up this link to the addendum post, with examples of some bad things that have happened over the years.

Sad, isn't it, that we live in a time where this should matter and one should worry about passing on knowledge without being able to trust that each person is responsible for themselves and what they do with knowledge? Nevertheless, that's where we are.

Good luck and happy painting, every one. Stay safe.

As thanks for visiting, have a tomato.

"Green Heirloom Tomato" 8.5x5.5" Oil and acrylic on heavy watercolor paper, 2014
Available for $200

Friday, June 01, 2007

Movie Night!

Fridays, when schedule allows, is movie night at the Gallegos home. Netflix is usually involved. So is homemade pizza. Sadly, tonight doesn't allow as I am behind on a deadline. So I'll let you have the fun with a collection of YouTube movies that all sorta revolve around art and stuff. All have been pre-screened for your entertainment pleasure!

I would so make this my favorite cafe.

It gets a little less impressive towards the end, but so does much of the art.

This may help explain why I've never been fascinated by Maxim.