"Watering Hole" with process ...

So, as promised, an actual art related post. I've also included some in progress shots to give you all an abridged version of my process. I say abridged because once I really got into painting I sort of dropped the ball on the play-by-play idea.

The idea for this painting was actually an old one. I doodle from time to time, though not as much as I should, and these doodles are usually little character designs or painting ideas. I took one such character doodle from a few months ago and began experimenting with some quick thumbnails, and when I got one I liked I blew it up and made a loose drawing from it. Like so ...

Then I used the loose drawing as a basis for a tighter final drawing.

You can see I made a few corrections, and changed a lot of the stuff that was bugging me about the preliminary sketch. After that was finished I decided to do a quick color study to figure out my light sources and whatnot. I don't always do this step but this painting was going to be a bit more complicated, so I opted for the extra step.

Now painting starts.

I blocked the background in in black and white, which gives me a lot more control over the value and fell. This is actually a relatively new technique for me, I've only used it a couple of times and I'm still getting the hang of it.
After I finished blocking in the background I used thin washes of color to bring it into line with my color study. In addition to being easier to control this style of backgrounds is also much faster and waists a lot less paint. Now fast forward a few nights hard labor, and ... viola!

"Watering Hole"

Wow, I apologize for my astounding powers of laziness because that kind of time skip really doesn't show you much in the way of process, but I digress. If somebody asks real nice I might actually do a more succinct play-by-play, you know one that actually shows process. In the mean time, enjoy, this piece will be up at the Hive's next group show this Saturday for a very reasonable $100. Huzzah!


prince of smarm

This picture screams internet phenomenon.

I found this in amongst my photos from the opening a few weeks ago and felt like sharing it with the internets. You can expect an actual art related post in the next couple days, until then enjoy this amazing testament to the power of smarmyness.


"They" opening night ...

Hello all, so as promised here are some photos from the opening of "They" earlier this month. Thanks again to everyone who was able to make it out to the show.

Especially these three art lovers, trucking out form San Diego to check out the show.
Me and 13:11, who had something like 40 paintings on display.
Huge Colab live painting
Live painting is perhaps the most terrifying thing I've done in recent memory, while at the same time being one of the most rewarding. And yes, if left to my own devices for a long enough period of time I will invariably create a skull. Its what I do.

Thanks to Ashley for taking all these photos, and being generally awesome. As well as to Cory, Janelle and Tasja for driving up from San Diego to see the show.


tiny paintings ...

I started working on these a while back as a sort of reward for finishing a few larger and more complex pieces. I kept the drawings super simple and just focused on having fun, so I decided to paint some tattoo flash standards on these 3"x3" canvases that I picked up in the bargain bin. Although I don't have any tattoo's myself (yet), I've always really liked the art and the culture around them, and theres something to be said for skulls and roses, I'm sure someone with a better command of the English language could whip you up a fancy metaphor about mortality and beauty, but not me. I just make pictures.

I'm hoping to get these into the Hive Gallery's store, where I would probably set the price at something like $30. I made the decision recently to begin lowering my prices, as painting has never really been about money to me anyway. The sale has always been more important to me than the money I made from it, and I'd rather my work was hanging on someones wall than collecting dust in my studio. Anyway stay tuned for more paintings, theres a show at the Hive in a couple weeks that I need to get cranking on, and I might be posting my process on this one for funsies.


post show wrap up ...

A really big thanks to everyone who made it out to Costa Mesa for "They" last Saturday. The show was amazing, and I got a lot of positive feedback about my pieces. Plus I got to meet Paul Frank, which was really cool.

On top of all this it was also my first foray into live-painting, which is something I'd always been a little skittish about, but the piece I did actually came out pretty good and it was a nice change of pace. 'Change of pace' is actually a good way of describing it. Most of my paintings take an average of 40 hours to complete, so it was really intense trying to go from sketch to finish in something like 30 minutes. All in all though, I had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next time someone offers me the opportunity to live paint.

Unfortunately with all that was going on in Costa Mesa, I wasn't able to make it out to Alpha Cult in Long Beach for their Fixed $100 show. Which is a real shame too, as I just found out I sold two of the pieces I submitted. Thanks to everyone at Alpha Cult for their continued support, I'm really sorry I couldn't make it out to the show.

Anyway, I'll try to get a hold of pictures from "They" for your viewing pleasure. Till then stay tuned, I've got some tiny pieces in the works that should be wrapped up fairly soon. Toodles.


New Old Work ...

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time"

"Time Well Wasted"


Last Saturdays show at the Hive was epic. A big congratulations to Mia for selling out her entire show, two days before the opening no less.

These paintings were from a featured spot I had at the Hive last year. I made clocks for a couple reasons, firstly because I figured they'd sell better than regular paintings as they were functional items ( the Jury's still out on that one), and secondly because each piece represented a particular time in my life (puns!). Like a surprisingly large amount of my work these pieces are autobiographical, and in these I sort of broke my life down into three chunks: childhood, the high school/college years, and post college "adulthood". Yeah, awesome-suace.


A message from the future ...

The other day I received one of my first ever pieces of fan mail, a meteoric event in and of itself, made all the more amazing because I received it from myself. That is to say, that I received a letter from another Mike Bilz, whom I can only assume is actually another version of myself from an alternate future, since the odds of someone else having the same name as me are in the range of One Quilliad to One against.

See for yourself, the evidence is indisputable.

I know this has nothing to do with paintings, but it was honestly one of the coolest things to happen to me in a really long time, and I just felt like sharing. I almost never receive fan mail, and never from such a distinguished source.

The Mike Bilz Club - current membership, 2


Sun Bather images as promised...

"Sun Bather"
for the Conspiracy theory show "They" opening the 12th

The first image I uploaded of this was fairly small, and I figured I owed it to everyone to upload a better quality image. Unfortunately, the pictures I have all have horrendous flash washout that I haven't been able to remove (if anybody has a good remedy for this I'd love to hear it). Anyway, with the size of the piece I went ahead and cropped out a few details so you all could get a better look.

* * *

On a completely unrelated note, I decided to post another recent group show entry. This one was from a show a couple months ago at the Hive, in which selected artists were asked to paint on 1/10th scale recycling bins. As a part of the show the bins would then be exhibited around the country at different events, which is really awesome now that I think about it.

The piece was a huge challenge for me at first because I couldn't work directly from a drawing. So instead I just started sketching right on the piece with paint and sort of making things up as I went along. I always had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and where I was headed, but it was still a big challenge to play it by ear. This was actually the first piece I've ever done without a preliminary drawing, and I'm actually really pleased with how it turned out.

In the spirit of recycling I decided to paint my own little Frankenstein's Monster, with a few skulls thrown in for good measure. What I ended up with is perhaps the most disturbing muppet known to man. Disturbing but awesome.