Spoke an Old Yellow Dog
#13: “Spoke an Old Yellow Dog”, by EW. [Digital painting, 20X30 @300 dpi] 2/14/2017
Today I offer this odd painting with a Symbolist look about it. The title just came to me. The old yellow dog said something? I guess it did. This is weird art or weird art’s sake.

I finished it in my digital impasto style, for a couple reasons, even though I’d thought I’d abandoned working that way because it’s just too clumsy and difficult, when it doesn’t magically work, that is. It worked well enough here, but I don’t think I’m going to use this technique on the next image.

If you’re following the series, you will have noticed by now that I keep switching up the style, rather than hunkering down into replicated a successful scheme. Part of this is just because I keep getting new ideas for different approaches. One drawing starts with lines, one with smudges, one in black and white, one in color… Sometimes I do color before shading, and sometimes the opposite. Sometimes I add color under the lines, and sometimes on top. I’m sure I’m hoping to hit on a perfect formula, and #10 and #11 were the closest I think I’ve come to it, but they had their weaknesses as well.

The self-imposed time limit of 3 days is really helping me. Normally it can take me roughly a year to produce a dozen pieces. Here I did it in just over a month, but I don’t think most of them are the same caliber as my much more ambitious pieces. However, a few may just be, and the objective in terms of improvement is to be able to make a quality image with less laboriousness.

Labor is only as necessary as it is to achieve an impression (hence the appeal of the Impressionists), and Van Gogh could knock out an amazing painting in a single sitting. Usually I think quality is much more important than quantity, and it’s better to hone one spectacular image than to make 10 merely good ones. That’s a difficult argument to counter, except that not all those ten images might be merely good, and the one that is supposed to be spectacular could fail. In any case I’m a little put off by two things in painting right now, and it’s probably just because they are the opposite of what I happen to be interested in at present. One is the laborious work I mentioned. And the other is gratuitously large works, and pieces that require hundreds of dollars of caked on paint. Could be a passing thing.

Each piece in the series has one strength that the others don’t. This one has semi-abstract, rounded forms that evoke more than they illustrate. But there was something happening early on that I was more excited about, before this image went in a different direction. I’m going to try to recaptures what was happening early on, in the next piece, and not use the impasto technique, which, while it has it’s own flavor, is a bit unwieldy as compared to what I call my “digital pastel” technique.

As for the meaning or interpretation, I’m only engaging that as much as is necessary. It’s much more about the overall mood or feel, the aesthetics, and peculiar alchemy of it.

Here’s all 13 pieces in the series so far in a slideshow.

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Or, if you prefer, you can see them in a click-through gallery:

To see other posts about other pieces in this series, go here.

Thanks for checking out my art and my blog. Check back in a few days to see what’s next.

~ Ends

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6 replies on “New Art: (#13) Spoke an Old Yellow Dog

  1. Another great piece your working on Eric. My favorites in no particular order are 2,5,7,9,10,12,13.

    I have a hard time critiquing people’s work because I don’t like people telling me what to do with my art. I always feel like I know what I’m going for better than someone else. But every once in a while someone will give me an idea that helps me either with the painting I’m working on or just for future ideas. With that said on this last one I love the left 3/4 of the painting and if I blow it up and lose a little of the right side it image is more powerful. You might say the right side is imperative because of this or that and I might say ok now I understand. Just my 2 cents.


    1. Hi Matt: I think my favs are 4,5,9,10. Yeah, #13 would work with the right part cut off, but, do you see it as a person, in profile? I can’t really afford to invest too much in any one of the images. It’s better to try to do a better new one and keep pushing forward.

      But, yeah, that’s a good call on your part. You have a good eye. I think the piece works either way, but it’s also a bit of an abomination. I don’t want to do another one in this same style, but I do like it. We can say it’s an experiment, as with the rest. If I didn’t have my self-imposed time constrains, I’d never put out something with so many small flaws. But if I correct one than I need to take all the others up a notch. In fact, this piece has more magic when it was half done, or a different something special about it, which I lost. Point is that half-way done, it had a quality that the final, more realized product does not (though the converse is also true, but it’s a different something). So, there are two goals, which ultimately I’d hope to unite. One is the resolved image, which succeeds on formal grounds. The other is just a quality about it, for lack of a better word I’d say a certain “magic”.

      #13 I worked on zoomed in a lot so it actually will print out large wit ha lot of detail. At actual size there you can see impasto brush strokes very clearly.

      Also, it’s really interesting to me which ones different people like. Someone really likes #8, and I almost didn’t include it (that’s the B&W one). You didn’t include #4 “Watchers of the Sky”, but, that one is really unique for me. #7, the most abstract, I think was a failure, but a colorful one that appeals to a lot of people. We agree on #5, 9, 10.

      Hey, man, I’m just so glad there are a handful of people who actually look at them all and evaluate them. It’s great to have some audience, even if it’s discouragingly small at this point. I get about as much traffic and likes of my images in various social media as someone might get with their first shares, and the most mediocre work. I used to do experiments, years ago, where I’d make deliberately crappy artwork and put it out there to see if it did much better than my best work. It did. My deliberate cringe-worthy cliched bad pieces triumphed over my best work. Good for a laugh, and an exhalation, and a good head shaking.


  2. I didn’t see the person on the right until you pointed it out. It does work both ways. I do like the black and white one too. It was next on the list. I don’t think 7 is a failure, it lets your mind do some work and I like that in art.

    I take pictures of my paintings as I go and almost every time I go too far. When I look back I realize it was better a few steps back. Sometimes you can go back but often times it is never quite the same.

    The 1st problem we have is that most people don’t care about art. 2nd is the people who like to think they are cultured just go to museums casually to say they were there. They get overwhelmed with crap they think is great just because it’s in a museum. They get overwhelmed by the amount of paintings so they can’t even take in the 2 or 3 great paintings the museum actually has. So they go away not very impressed and nothing stands out in their memory of the trip to the museum. The next problem is they rely on the artists name to decide if it’s a good painting and not the actual painting. They would do better if they didn’t read the card next to the painting until after looking at the painting. Then they could rely on their own feelings to tell them if the work is good or not. Everyone has been told what is good art and they believe it. They know a few names to throw out in conversation and that’s all they need. The best thing to do is just keep painting for yourself. It’s enough of a reward just to be able to paint every day. If people ever end up noticing that would be great, but I’m not counting on it and I’m ok with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of truth there. I’m not even very good at going to museums. It’s overwhelming. Ideally one would live near one and just pop in for an hour or so at different times. It’s too much to absorb. And if one is shuttling between different eras and different artists, it can be really overwhelming.

      To really enjoy art (here I mean visual art) one has to assess for oneself if something is good or not by ones own eye and standards.

      There are some other problems I can think of to do with the beliefs about what is find art today, in which case I am doing most everything wrong. To be doing any kind of painting is already bad, but from the imagination, with an underlying assumption that originality and authenticity are possible, and ultimately that a unique visual image is valuable or interesting at all. Why, that is positively anti-Duchampian. It is also, however, anti-cynical, anti-self defeating, anti-boring, and anti-trivializing. Nevertheless, it’s anathema in the current art paradigm.


    1. Yeah, well, there’s probably something of that because I had the same sort of early exposure, and am also not religious, though I do have leanings towards Buddhism, and am not anti-religious. When I was very young, I went to Sunday school, and liked it, because of all the pictures and sense of mystery. That, I now realize, was not because of the religion, per se, but rather because of the ART. I had a couple children’s Bibles as a kid, which I poured through, and another book for, “Jesus Christ Superstar”. This is probably where I became fascinated with crucifixions.

      But, of course, in my teens and probably well into my thirties I was your typical atheist, existentialist, anti-Christian.

      But nowadays I appreciate the element of a “wisdom tradition” that is contained in religion. I think it’s safe to say that they mostly are about being good, and, at least with the Eastern varieties, spiritual awakening, and evolution of consciousness.

      So, yeah, it has some of that same sort of feel. The next one has a similar look, but, there’s no symbolism that can be attached to Christianity.

      Oh, incidentally, I thought of a good argument against scientific-rationalism (which I’m a huge fan of) when it is applied to EVERYTHING, such as in the hands of Sam Harris. The problem is that science doesn’t understand emotion, and by emotion I don’t mean the endocrine system and the mechanics of it, but rather the psychology. For this one needs experience, understanding, compassion, and wisdom. Those are a rather separate category from science, though I’m quite certain many scientists are very fluent in those categories as well.


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