L'heure bleue

Aug. 21st, 2017 17:05
[syndicated profile] edwardbgordon_feed
Wherever I go, I always make sure to have some candles with me. When the night sets in I light them up, and hope that my parens can see the lights from whereever they are…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

If you would like to purchase this daily painting, please send your bid by email. Startprice 150 Euro. End of sale August 22nd 2017 at 6.00 pm (local time Berlin Germany). Terms of Sale and Right of Withdrawal.

Wenn Sie dieses Tagesbild erwerben möchten, senden Sie bitte Ihr Gebot per email . Mindestpreis 150 Euro. Ende des Verkaufs gegen Höchstgebot am 22. August 2017 um 18 Uhr. Beachten Sie bitte die Informationen zu den Verkaufsbedingungen sowie die Widerrufsbelehrung.

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.

Woonyoung Jung

Aug. 21st, 2017 14:13
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Posted by Charley Parker

Woonyoung Jung, concspt art and illustration, Modern Witches, Athletics with Dinosaurs
Woonyoung Jung is a visual development artist with Dreamworks Animation, but most of his online presence is devoted to his personal work — in particular two delightful series.

One is “Young Witches”, in which young women in colorful — rather then dour black — witches hats are apparently on vacation or an extended road trip, accompanied by their cat familiars who occasionally photobomb the illustrations.

The other is “Athletics with Dinosaurs” in which dinosaurs, dressed appropriately, participate in athletic events with people.

Both series are rendered in a lively, colorful graphic style that has much of the charm of 2D animation drawing.

Jung has prints of some of his images available on Big Cartel.

 
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Selective Underpainting

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:39
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Posted by James Gurney

I love the silhouette shapes of these calla lilies. The trumpet-like white flowers stand out from their surroundings.

I use a variation of the underpainting strategy. I decide to do an overall wash of yellow selectively under the leaves only, not under the flowers. That groups the foliage together as a mass, allowing the flowers to stand out.
Calla lilies, watercolor and gouache, 4 x 7 inches
I allow the area inside the flowers to stay bright white until late in the process, and then I place pale washes of transparent watercolor over them.


(Link to video)
So in summary: 1) Careful drawing. 2) Background leaves painted over yellow watercolor underpainting. 3) Transparent watercolor on white lilies.

This demo is not part of the new video, Flower Painting in the WildI just didn't get much coverage on this one.

“Of all of Gurney’s terrific series of “In the Wild” videos, Flower Painting in the Wild is the best.” —Matthew Innis, Underpaintings

Merry-Joseph Blondel

Aug. 21st, 2017 03:37
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Posted by Charley Parker

Merry-Joseph Blondel, French Neoclassical painter
Merry-Joseph Blondel was a French Neoclassical painter active in the early part of the 19th century.

He studied with the well known painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault, and from fairly early in his career formed a lasting friendship with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Blondel had a tremendously successful career, garnering numerous awards and prestigious commissions, including major works for the Palace of Versailles, the palace of Fontainebleau, the Louvre Museum and the Luxembourg Palace.

His refined, exacting style varied from naturalistic to classicaly styled.

Among reproductions of his works on Wikimedia Commons, you will find a number of greyscale images (images above, second and third from bottom). These are of large scale (6 foot high [190 cm] or larger) commercially hand-printed “wallpapers” produced by Dafour, Paris, and designed by Blondel and Louis Lafitte. The figures in these have a fascinatingly sculptural quality to them. (More info on Sotheby’s, and here.)

 
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In the midday sun

Aug. 20th, 2017 18:40
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The pine trees today in the midday sun…

Die Strandkiefern heute in der Mittagssonne…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.

Live Event This Weekend!

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:50
[syndicated profile] muddycolors_feed

Posted by Muddy Colors


This month's Live Event will be 'Photography for Illustrators'.

Few things can help improve an illustrator's end product as easily as a great piece of reference. Find out how to get that perfect shot that's going to help push your realism to the next level. In this 2 hour demo, we will discuss and demonstrate a variety of photography topics that specifically pertain to illustrators, including:

  • Hiring & Paying Models
  • Lighting Techniques
  • Action Poses
  • Blending Reference
  • Photographing Original Art

Please join us Saturday, August 26th from 3-5 PM for this highly informative demonstration and lecture.

As usual, all $5 Patrons get access to the live event, and $10 Patrons receive a digital download of the demo afterwards.

Sign up, or get more info at: https://www.patreon.com/muddycolors


The Farmers' Museum

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:41
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Posted by James Gurney

Brooks Barn, Farmers' Museum, gouache, 5 x 5 inches
The Farmers' Museum of Cooperstown, New York demonstrates the daily business of a 19th century farm.



You can watch — and sketch — as re-enactors milk cows, make cheese, harvest garlic, weave cloth, and print pamphlets. (Link to video on Facebook)
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César de Cock

Aug. 20th, 2017 03:54
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Posted by Charley Parker

Cesar de Cock, Belgian landscape painter
César de Cock was a 19th century Belgian (Flemish) painter who spent much of his career in France. He initially studied at the School of Fine Arts in Ghent, where he was born, but in France became a pupil of Charles-François Daubigny,

Cesar de Cock, along with his elder brother, painter Xavier de Cock, became friends with Barbizon School painters Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Théodore Rousseau, and the influence of the French artists is evident in the work of both of the brothers.

César, in particular, had a wonderfully textural approach and an affinity for compositions with small streams.

Web resources for César de Cock are more scattered than for many artists, but a number of auction sites offer detailed zoomable images of his work.

 
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Die letzten Strahlen

Aug. 19th, 2017 17:17
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The last rays of sunlight reflected by the pine trees…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.

Ruskin and Wild Roses

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:00
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Posted by James Gurney

John Ruskin gave challenging advice to young artists.

Wild roses, gouache over casein, 5 x 8 inches
He said: "They should go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her laboriously and trustingly, having no other thought but how best to penetrate her meaning; rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing." 



I take that advice to mean willfully discarding the idea of improving on nature, and translating what I see into paint as faithfully as possible.

I soon discover that painting every detail is impossible. As Ruskin points out, individual leaves can rarely be seen apart from the others, given all the overlapping and cast shadows. Plus, there are tens of thousands of tiny forms, and those forms morph from moment to moment, and from day to day. (I spend four consecutive mornings on the painting).

Instead, the character of the masses of leaves has to be reinvented in terms of paint.

The making of this painting is the main segment of my new video, "Flower Painting in the Wild."

“I think this is the best 'in the wild' video yet. Great demonstration of lost and found edges, painting negative space, keeping your place through a complex scene, dealing with plein-air distractions, excellent close-up views of superb brush work, emphasis when depicting reflections, glazing with gouache (and casein) and even how to make friends with green. Great Stuff!!” —Biff (Customer)

Flower Painting in the Wild
1080p HD download from Sellfy
1080p HD download from Gumroad
1080p HD download from Cubebrush
DVD available direct from the manufacturer
DVD from Amazon
Trailer on YouTube

The Ruskin quote is from Modern Painters, Vol. 1

Related Previous Posts:
Chernyshevsky's Philosophy of Art
W.T. Richards "Into the Woods"
Leighton's Lemon Tree
Month Long Field Study
W.T. Richards Field Study
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Posted by theothermurdockpapers@gmail.com

This post will contain spoilers for the full show, stay away if you’re not done watching it! I’ll keep this relatively brief though, as this is not a definitive review. I’ll probably have more to say after I’ve at least had a chance to watch it again (I have a Defenders marathon scheduled with some friends tomorrow).

So… Wow. And not a good kind of wow, I’m afraid. Despite some excellent moments, scenes and characterizations, I would argue that this is the weakest show out of the Marvel/Netflix collaboration to date. And it mostly comes down to the plot.

But, let’s start at the beginning, and the beginning is actually very good. The early reviews of the first four episodes where somewhat mixed, and many pointed to the fact that it takes a while for the four heroes to get together as the biggest weakness of those early episodes. After having watched the whole show, I felt like their time apart, each pulling at one string of the bigger mystery, and their gradually moving into each other’s orbits was the best part of the show. And I very much enjoyed watching the first three episodes. Within the context of the story, it made sense that things would have to happen for these four character to have a reason to get together, and that this needed time. I thought Jessica’s bit was especially good, as I do like a bit of detective work, and I loved how Matt ended up in Jessica’s story through Foggy.

Their big fight/meeting at the end of episode three did its job, and was fun to watch, as was these characters feeling each other out during episode four, even though I’d argue that this is where the real pacing issues begin. That’s right, as the bigger story starts to pick up speed here, my feeling is that this is where the creators start phoning it in, relying too much on the chemistry between the characters to keep us hooked.

And that chemistry is there, definitely. I hope The Defenders gets a second season so that we can see these guys team up again, I just really hope they get to do so in a story that makes sense. And, I’ll say it, even the scenes they are in could, in many cases, have been much better written. I had actually expected more banter, more of them getting to know each other. I found the scene where Jessica tells the story of Matt’s father to be very moving, and the dynamic between those two is perhaps the best, but even with the five full episodes they had to devote to these characters existing in the same world, much less is actually accomplished than I had expected.

The team gets ready to fight Alexandra at the restaurant, as seen in episode four of Marvel's The Defenders

So, my big issue here has little to do with Matt/Daredevil, who I think has a strong outing. Sure, the fact that they’re trying to replay the emotional drama with him and Elektra from the end of season two at the end of this show (and having it feel even more out of key on account of Elektra’s transformation), is not my cup of tea, but for the most part, Charlie Cox gets to put in a fine performance. My big issue is the plot holes. Let’s make a list:

  • Why does the Hand need to destroy New York? I’m serious. Aside from wanting to cause mayhem, and because it’s their M.O. (they were apparently the bastards behind Pompeii and Chernobyl), why would they want to go the extra step beyond mining whatever is behind that wall that only Iron Fist can open? The destruction of New York beyond what is needed for their mining operation makes no sense. And, if it hadn’t been for their discovering that wall that they need Danny to open, wouldn’t they have been pretty much done after the first tremor?

  • How would the three month plan have been different? In the first episode, we see Alexandra and Madame Gao meet at the park to discuss their plans, and Gao says she’s got someone in the Mayor’s office. Alexandra, who has recently learned that she’s dying wants to speed things up. Gao points out that doing so will not be quiet, which is presumably why they have to go the plan B earthquake route. And, if I’m understanding this right, the point of the earthquake was to aid in the mining operation to get the substance that lets them live forever (at which point they come across that wall and suddenly realize they need an Iron Fist to get them all the way). But is Gao suggesting there was a less messy way of doing this that would have involved the mayor’s office? And if that was less messy, then it makes even less sense to speak of war and the destruction of New York.

  • Alexandra. Image episode one of Marvel's The Defenders.

  • Why is Alexandra dying a problem when they just tried to kill her themselves? When Elektra gradually grows a mind of her own, and decides to kill Alexandra, the remaining “fingers” of the Hand seem to have a problem with this, as she is needed for their front activities. If that’s the case, why did they conspire to have her killed something like the day before?

  • Why is Elektra suddenly so big on immortality?

    Elodie Yung is fantastic and I really dig her performance here, even tough I think she gets way too much air time in the context of this story. However, there are a lot of things about her that don’t quite make sense. First of all, the fact that she starts to “wake up” as early as the first time she comes across Matt really brings into question whether the Hand can do anything right. I know there’s supposed to be some “oh, but he was the one she loved” kind of magic going on here, but that kind of feels like a cop out.

    Once she does begin to find herself, she goes off on her own, and even visits Matt’s apartment. So, you definitely see her humanity coming back. Which is why it comes out of the blue when she decides to kill Alexandra and take over. I get that she’s starting to realize she’s being manipulated and thus would want revenge on a personal level. But the way she puts herself in the driver’s seat when it comes to the Hand’s big plan seems contrived to me, and not something that follows naturally from anything we’ve seen from her previously. I mean, I guess is shows that her dark side won, which Matt foolishly still decides to ignore, but it’s a plot twist that, while shocking and at least a little interesting, doesn’t feel earned.

  • Elektra wakes up. Image from the trailer for The Defenders.

  • And the big one: In what way was Elektra/The Black Sky essential to any of this? The Black Sky, as a concept, was introduced in season one of Daredevil, and has remained somewhat enigmatic ever since. Clearly, there can be more than one at a time, they seem to be a particular kind of endowed human (though everyone in the know appear to treat them as things rather than people), that can be trained and activated to become a very powerful fighter with what looks like superhuman strength.

    This is all well and good, and excellent reason to want to have one of these in your stable of ninjas. But, in a world where the weaponry and how battles are fought have moved on a bit since the Hand was formed, I don’t quite understand what’s so essential about having a “living weapon,” or why it would be so disastrous for it to fall into enemy hands (if that’s even a concern). More to the point, I don’t understand what having this living weapon has to do with the plan to mine more of that immortality substance from underneath New York City. I, too, would question Alexandra’s reasons for spending the last of their resources on resurrecting Elektra, unless she actually wants an ersatz daughter (my favorite explanation at this point, since it at least makes sense on some kind of twisted human level). The fact that no one else in the Hand leadership actually thought the Black Sky was essential to their plan should tell you everything. Is the Black Sky, at the end of the day, just a big red herring?

Two seasons of Daredevil and one season of Iron Fist building up to this mess of a resolution is just a damn shame. I can and still do enjoy spending time with these characters, but we should be able to expect more from this Marvel/Netflix collaboration. I at least hope we’re done with ninjas for a long time, because I’d much rather see these guys team up to address street-level threats (shoot me, but I actually cheered when Stick died).

I had other problems as well, with Foggy and Karen in particular. The way Foggy is written is, at times, so unsympathetic that I wonder if they are preparing fans to celebrate his possible death in an upcoming season. And for Karen to be so anti-Daredevil, given her stance on vigilantes (and his having saved her life more than once), doesn’t feel like it’s consistent with her earlier portrayals at all. It feels as if they’re using Foggy and Karen as mere plot devices to thwart Matt’s desire to put on the suit again, and build up this false notion that there is no way Matt would truly want to pursue a life outside of (and in addition to) Daredevil. Please, please let us see this put right in the third season of Daredevil. I just fear there’s so much groundwork to be done, they’ll run out of time, with Matt and Foggy’s relationship in particular.

Oh well, these were my thoughts after seeing the show once. If you guys felt this show brought everything you asked for and more, I’m not going to argue. In fact, I envy you. Maybe I’ll be more forgiving after a second viewing (this has actually tended to be the case for me for all of the Netflix shows). I’m just a bit frustrated by the missed opportunities. Comment away! Full spoilers allowed, obviously.

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Posted by William O'Connor

-By William O’Connor


In our line of work as illustrators we all use photography to a lesser or greater extent. Some illustrators, like myself, have a very stylized technique where our use of photography may be merely inspirational, while other artists I know have photo studios, set up models with costumes and lighting while others actually go as far as to paint directly on top of photographs. There is no wrong way to work, but whatever way you do illustration it's unlikely that photography has not played at least a small part in your work. Despite our effusiveness of Caravaggio or Sargent its arguable that modern photography has been as important (or more) than painters in our vernacular as contemporary artists. I realize that I have not highlighted a single photo artist yet so I hope to start today.

When I think of photographers who influence art there are Steiglitz, Adams and Sherman, but few who I can see more of a direct impact to our contemporary fantasy illustration aesthetic than Annie Leibovitz (1949-) Born a baby boomer in middle class America Annie traveled around the world with her Air Force family taking photographs and later studied painting in San Francisco in the 1960’s. Taking a job with Rolling Stone in the Seventies and later with Vanity Fair in the 1980’s Leibovitz became the foremost portrait photographer in America. Her early art education is well evidenced in her use of lighting and composition infusing her images with a classical elegance that seems almost Baroque. Her painterly use of the figure sumptuously draped in color and an attention to detail that captures a stark reality of her often fantastical tableaus is remarkable. In her portraits she is able to capture the essence of the person’s character by use of body language, detail, lighting and sometimes in a candid unposed moment, which is the real art of any photography. 


Today, Annie Leibovitz is one of the most sought after and copied photographers in the world both by photographers and artists alike. The next time you are leafing through the latest edition of an illustration annual take a look at how many beautifully composed images look uncannily inspired by Leibovitz and you can begin to see her influence.

Enjoy

WOC

**Please leave a comment below or DM on what artists you’d like to see me explore. Remember, this column is for artists who are outside the illustration field that you feel we may be overlooking as illustrators.



  A Gallery of Works by Annie Leibovitz:










Moncler Photo Shoot

Sunset

Aug. 18th, 2017 16:52
[syndicated profile] edwardbgordon_feed
Another day comes to an end… the sound of the chirping crickets, the smell of the cypress trees, the promise of a glass of wine, soon to be enjoyed… that peace, I want to bottle it up and take it with me. Sent it to those that suffered again in yesterdays and todays atrocities…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.
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Posted by James Gurney



"Flower Painting in the Wild" is now available, and today only it's 10% off Buy now
(scroll down for more links). Here's what the reviewers are saying:

“Who doesn't love to sit in a garden? Translucent and highly chromatic, flowers are the most challenging subjects to render in the studio. Put them in a mass outdoors in flickering light, moving in a gentle breeze...even the most accomplished plein air painter will head for the hills instead. James Gurney takes you with him to observe and paint on a larger panel as well as his iconic sketchbook pages. Practical, erudite and charming, James shows you how he integrates that devilish chartreuse leaf green into his impressionistic paintings of flowers on site. Watch him create a formally satisfying composition while only selecting details that are botanically relevant. He also puts it all in philosophical context, quoting Ruskin no less, that urges you to go outside to smell, see and paint the roses!”
Elissa Gore, Landscape Painting Instructor, New York Botanical Garden

"Set at the New York Botanical Gardens, you get to see how an artist tackles the complexity of nature. With shifting light, wind blowing and pedestrians passing by Gurney does an elegant painting. Taking the time to see the structure of the flower, Gurney develops the painting to a high level of finish. The combination of his ability to understand solid depictions of light and form as well as structure and brush handling, make this video a joy to watch for every level of artist. Whether you are just starting out or have mastered your own technique, to behold a fresh alla prima painting in plein air is a treat for any artist. Gurney filmed the video himself which gives it a raw, personal touch. I highly recommend it and look forward to viewing others in the future.”
Michael Klein, East Oaks Studio

"With this DVD James Gurney provides the viewer an excellent opportunity to learn about flower painting in a natural setting while paying keen attention to different shapes and light, general value and color in nature, and how to bring them all together in a finished painting. He demonstrates not only the painting techniques but gives also information about the surrounding environment and how to engage with the public while painting. Gurney is a master at explaining how to handle clustered masses of plant parts, without absolute delineation of detail so that one’s mind is inspired to build the final picture."
Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Ph.D., D.Sc., Manager of School of Botanical Art & Illustration, Denver Botanic Gardens


"Flower Painting in the Wild" is another excellent video from James Gurney, particularly if you're interested in casein paint. Using casein in most segments, he paints several varieties of flowers, demonstrating its opacity and versatility. As in his previous video demonstrations, solid technique, sharp and useful video images, and Gurney's obvious humility and good-humor make this a must for the student of painting. Highly recommended.”
Gary Hoff

“The video is a great way to learn painting flowers outdoors in any medium.”
—Eleinne Basa


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Flower Painting in the Wild
1080p HD download from Sellfy
1080p HD download from Gumroad
1080p HD download from Cubebrush
DVD available direct from the manufacturer
DVD from Amazon
Trailer on YouTube

New Blood

Aug. 18th, 2017 02:00
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Posted by Howard Lyon

by Howard Lyon

New Blood sounds like it could be the title of a WB show where a clique of teenage vampires looks for new and worthy recruits for their brood, all while dealing with unrequited love, math finals and looking fabulous. So I must apologize, because this post is about a new piece of art that I created for Magic: the Gathering Commander 2017.

Within the Magic: the Gathering universe, among the many worlds I think that Innistrad is my favorite. Any chance to paint something in that setting is a treat. Gothic spires and tri-corner hats with baroque sensibilities and dramatic lighting. Please sir, I'd like some more.

Mark Winters was the Art Director on this piece (thank you Mark!) and I jumped at the chance to revisit Innistrad.

The idea was to show the vampire Olivia Valderan stalking a victim. The hapless young man enjoys his drink, not knowing that he is being eyed by the powerful woman behind him. She gently raises her hand to his neck, hungrily eyeing his jugular. Good times were had by all.

The sketch


Painting steps


The final - Mark made the good call to crop in a little bit to bring more attention to Olivia's face and her hand on his neck.


Here is the final image on the card:



Thanks for taking a look! Come and join me on Instagram and Twitter to see various sketches and paintings in progress.

Howard

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Posted by theothermurdockpapers@gmail.com

I ran out of time, and wanted to get this up before the premiere of Defenders. So, for the time being, no pictures. Will add them later. And, I didn’t proofread it either so I hope it’s legible. 🙂

As I mentioned in my review of episode six, I decided to tackle the tail end of season two of Daredevil in a single post rather than one episode at a time. This not only saves a bit of time and space, but it also actually makes it easier to talk about the bigger picture and the broader strokes. As you can see below, I’ve divided this post into various relationships, simply because I think that’s a good way of actually analyzing what’s going on. There are certainly big events happening that lie far beyond individual lives, but the story is just as much about the various players happening to each other.

Before going on, I should add that season two remains difficult for me to watch, though much less so these days compared to a year ago. It is an amazing twelve plus hours of television, but is also really took an emotional toll on me and is one of the big reasons I had to take a break from all things Daredevil for a long time. Over the course of the season, several of the characters end up disappointing both their friends and, to a great extent, themselves. In many ways, this makes for very compelling and lifelike drama, but there are few heroes standing. Ironically, Elektra is the one who most obviously manages to to redeem herself at the end, though Matt is taking steps to do the same by “coming out” to Karen.

At the same time, I have to commend the creators for daring to take the characters in these different directions, and showing their uglier sides too. Hopefully, by showing all of them what doesn’t work in season two, they can be brought back together again, with a more mature understanding of themselves, in season three.

Matt and Foggy

It’s clearly evident at the start of the season that Matt and Foggy still have unresolved issues to address and a questionable willingness to actually address them. For Matt, being Daredevil is something that he enjoys and feels compelled to do, whereas Foggy doesn’t yet understand Matt’s position. Foggy’s reluctance to accept Matt’s choices, meanwhile, is probably both selfish and selfless. Foggy misses the simpler times when there was “just” Matt, and no Daredevil. At the same time, he is genuinely (and legitimately) concerned for his friend’s safety. When we see him yelling at Matt in episode two, after finding him passed out on a roof top, I understand Foggy’s frustration when Matt completely fails to acknowledge the severity of the situation. Compare this to a parent who loses their child at the park. Their priority when reunited is to hug the child in relief and thank whatever higher power they believe in that everything is okay. The second is to firmly tell that same kid that they must never walk off again. I’m not saying that Matt is a child, or that the comparison is perfect, merely that intense worry often turns into anger once the danger is over. Would it have served their friendship better for Foggy to express himself differently? Certainly, but people tend to say a lot of stupid things when they’re hurt or worried.

And the hurt continues throughout the season. Foggy is actually a lot nicer to Matt than I would have been at the end of episode six, considering he just had the entire Frank Castle situation dumped in his lap while Matt went off with Elektra. But, things start to go downhill from here. Much of this is Matt’s fault. Had he been honest about Elektra being the new client, much of what happens next would have turned out very differently. Instead, Foggy is faced with, once again, learning too late that he’s been deceived, as Elektra sabotages their case. Which in turn is not actually Matt’s fault. At this point, Foggy doesn’t want to hear it, and says things that he shouldn’t have. Matt is desperate to explain what’s going on, but is faced with the fact that his past actions have eroded whatever trust in him that Foggy had left. Step by step, these two begin a spiral of hurt, miscommunication and a stubborn unwillingness to see the other person’s point of view.

One of the most poignant scenes of the season, in terms of Matt and Foggy’s relationship, is when they officially decide to break up (around episode nine, as I recall). Foggy comes to ask for a temporary break-up of Nelson & Murdock, and Matt decides to make it permanent, catching Foggy completely off guard. This is also where Matt makes it clear that Foggy’s friend and “the vigilante” are the same person, and that he’s tired of “apologizing for who he is.” I think this is a very important statement for Matt to make, and a necessary one if they’re ever going to form a relationship of true and mutual acceptance. However, Matt’s resolve here is not what it seems, as is evident from the hurt he’s obviously feeling when Foggy leaves and his eyes start tearing up.

One thing to remember about Matt, and this has major consequences for how things turn out, is that he’s got a lot of baggage when it comes to forming attachments to other people. After his father died, he had no one until Stick showed up.
Stick then turns around and leaves when Matt tries to express his emotions (with the ice cream wrapper bracelet). And before he leaves, he makes sure that Matt is told to not let other people get too close. So, when Matt feels rejected by Foggy and Karen (more on that below), it reinforces Stick’s “programming.” There is a pull and push between Matt’s exciting exploits with Elektra on the one hand, and his civilian life on the other, where he’s beginning to feel that his friends don’t want him and are better off without him. If it weren’t for the fact that this part of his life pretty much implodes, the pull of Elektra, while still obviously there, might not have been as strong.

When we get further along, we’re beginning to see more of a truce between Matt and Foggy. Matt is redeemed somewhat in Foggy’s eyes when they learn of Frank’s escape, and Matt’s suspicions that someone “got to” Frank and caused him to have a meltdown on the witness stand, are validated. Foggy also offers some helpful practical advice near the end when Matt is looking for the tunnels where the Hand might be hiding out. Is this the beginning of Foggy actually accepting Matt’s “other side”? If he can’t make him abandon his vigilante activities, he can at least do something to help. In the end though, they do go their separate ways professionally and that’s another string tying Matt to his civilian life severed.

Matt and Karen

The big irony of Matt and Karen is that they actually have a lot in common, mostly things the other person doesn’t know about because they’re not being honest with each other. Not only does Karen have secrets of her own, she also shares Matt’s tendency to chase danger. It is interesting to see that Matt treats Karen almost the same way Foggy treats Matt when it comes to danger and risk taking. This makes Matt a total hypocrite, in my mind. True, Matt is obviously better able to protect himself against most dangers, but it’s not as if he’s invincible, as evidenced by his many injuries. He feels that these risks are worth taking, but seems completely unable to take in the fact that Karen obviously feels the same way about what she does. One theory, though a rather sad one, is that Matt may actually have a tragically low sense of his own worth.

Matt is a hypocrite in more ways than one, however, in his interactions with Karen (especially when compared with how willing he is to forgive Elektra’s murderous side). In episode seven, the two meet to prepare for Frank’s trial and end up having a conversation about what Frank does. Matt reacts with something akin to disgust when the differences between Karen’s morals and his own on this topic become evident. Which, with his secretly being a vigilante, feels extremely harsh. And while he may like to pretend that his “no kill” methods are beyond reproach, we can be sure he’s given more than one guy permanent brain damage at this point. Maybe it’s simply the case that Matt reacts so strongly because Karen is unwittingly sniffing around those parts of him that he’s ashamed of. Few things get to us more than when people bring our attention to weaknesses or inconsistencies that we know to be true, and Matt’s reaction to Karen might be a result of his trying to distance himself from the shadier aspects of his night job.

Karen, like Foggy, will go on to distance herself from Matt over the tail end of the season, and in so doing further underscores Matt’s existing programming, which tells him that it’s a bad idea to have people in your life that you care about, and that you may not really be worthy of their love. Many have pointed out that Karen overreacts to finding Elektra in Matt’s apartment, and I would agree. Especially with Stick being there which would indicate that this is something other than an affair with some strange woman. And, when Karen tells Matt that he’s no hero, after the Castle case falls apart, your heart aches for poor Matt. On the other hand, in Karen’s defense, she still doesn’t know about Daredevil. She strongly suspects that something big is being hidden from her, and that Matt (and, by extension, Foggy) is not forthcoming on this matter, and that Matt is not emotionally available to her in the same way that she is to him. Combine this with seeing the effect that his no-shows in court has on Foggy, and it’s easier to understand how she might read the whole situation with Matt and Elektra the wrong way. And, she may not even suspect an affair, just that this further proves that something big is up with Matt that he obviously prioritizes over everything else going on in their lives. That would be enough to piss her off, though her unwillingness to really listen to what Matt has to say is not admirable.

Matt and Elektra

I think Elodie Yung nails Elektra and gives us the most interesting take on the character I’ve ever seen. However, she still comes across to me as a bit of a mix between original Elektra and the version of the character we saw in the Man Without Fear mini-series from the 90s where she comes across as much darker. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there was definitely a difference in the dynamics between Matt and Elektra in her original appearance (innocent college student lost to the dark side after her father’s death), and her MWOF appearance (where she’s this borderline psychopathic vixen right from the get go). In the latter case, Matt’s relationship with Elektra feels almost primal. Elektra plays with him, he chases her, there’s passion, and exuberance. This relationship is similar to the one on the show, intense and passionate, but that also means that it makes more sense as that big and exciting college fling, than as a healthy adult relationship. In fact, in MWOF, Elektra simply vanishes, and they don’t meet again.

Much of the narrative of Matt and Elektra’s relationship hinges on this notion that they have so much in common, and I don’t think this makes perfect sense given this particular version of Elektra and their in-story history. There’s a false equivalency between what Matt does, and what Elektra does (even more so when you take into account why they do what they do), that seems even more jarring when you take into account how harshly Matt judges Karen’s take on the Punisher. The fact that they both like “extreme sports” certainly unites them, but there’s more to their respective escapades than that. Another part of the appeal for Matt, which I can certainly emphasize with, is that Elektra knows the whole truth about him, and accepts him. Foggy knows the truth, but doesn’t fully accept everything that comes with it. Karen doesn’t know, but probably would be more accepting (it may be too little, too late considering the way she finds out at the end of the season, but we don’t know that yet). In this sense, Elektra fulfills Matt’s need to be understood and validated, and even cheers him on. In the context of Matt’s civilian life imploding, it’s not hard to understand his “good riddance” attitude. Why not sail off into the sunset with Elektra? He’s already lost everything. And she makes him feel good.

But, the problem remains: Matt probably does get a kick out of the amount of hurt he brings to his “victims,” which means that Daredevil, to him, isn’t just about physical freedom and thrill seeking, or justice. But, he also does value his morality. He definitely has a dark streak, the “devil inside,” and Elektra likes that part of him and encourages it. But unlike Elektra, Matt doesn’t want to give that side of him free reins. At the end of the day, he does draw the line at killing. And he tries to keep himself on an even shorter leash than that. We should not view this as him denying some important inner truth whenever he exercises restraint. Seriously, the difference between a grown person in civilized society and a two-year-old is that the former doesn’t impulsively do whatever their lower instincts tell them to do. Matt’s sense of right and wrong is important to him, and absolutely central to who he is as a character. In this sense, he and Elektra are complete opposites, at least initially. Elektra actually enjoys killing, she’s manipulative, and aloof.

Thankfully, Elektra does go through some interesting changes. She finds her “inner light,” and recognizes that it was that side of him that she loved in Matt. I’m not sure this makes perfect sense, or is enough of a reason for Matt to love her the way he apparently (supposedly?) does. Remember, the story itself has to lead us to this destination, it shouldn’t be enough to say that, “Oh, but this is what happens in the comics.” On a personal level, one thing that does make sense from the perspective of how people usually work, is that he believes he can save her, and falls in love (again) with this idea of her. And I’m not saying Elektra is all bad at the end – she’s not – but it’s Matt’s idea of who she can be that compels her to change.

This in itself is an interesting contrast when you compare Karen and Elektra. In many ways, Elektra can carry her own in ways that Karen can’t, but Elektra needs Matt more (whether she realizes this or not) in ways that appeal to Matt. Karen doesn’t want Matt to save her (and not knowing about Daredevil doesn’t matter much, Matt is still an authority figure in Karen’s live for much of the show). His role when it comes to Elektra is much more clear. Aside from letting him indulge his Daredevil side, Elektra also brings out the side in Matt that wants to do good. This still doesn’t play out for me perfectly, and there’s still something about the Matt-Elektra dynamic that doesn’t sit right with me, but it makes more sense now than it did the first three times I watched this show. I just hope that the Matt and Elektra storyline will be over after Defenders. In the comics, she has always been this enigmatic presence that pops in and out of his life at irregular intervals, not a steady love interest (beyond their college years and her first death).

Matt and Claire

Matt and Claire don’t see a lot of each other in season two, compared to season one. I’m including their relationship here though, because her scene with Matt up on the roof of the hospital, before the ninjas show up, is one of my favorites. Mostly due to the fact that she echoes my own sentiment when it comes to how Matt chooses to distance himself from the people he claims to want to protect. I guess we need to remember that this takes place after he’s gone to see Fisk in prison (a scene that really needs its own discussion, but I’m seriously running out of time before the Defenders airs), where Matt is both still really hurt over being misunderstood, and, at the same time, very much aware of what a target he’s put on the people in his life that he still very much cares about.

What Claire does, though, is point out his arrogance in putting himself above everyone else. She invites him to not let the hero get in the way of also just being a human being, a friend. But Matt refuses to go to see and Foggy. He’s not at that point yet. One thing I hope to see in season three is what Born Again did so well in the comics, which is to make Matt appreciate his civilian life. Disbarred, and away from his friends, Matt starts to completely spiral out of control due to the Kingpin’s machinations. This is another reason I’m a bit ill at ease with Cox’s comments (see my previous post). Cutting the “blind lawyer” out of his life and going full Daredevil, if you will, has historically not been a great choice for Matt. He needs his balance. I hope he realizes that on screen as well.

Karen and Frank

On the one hand, I really do like Karen and Frank’s budding relationship and look forward to seeing it on screen in The Punisher, later this fall. On the other hand, I think there is a tendency to milk the “similarities” between the characters for much more than they’re worth, in ways that are in some ways analogous to what’s happening with Matt and Elektra. Yes, Karen has killed (at least) one person, but with Wesley, we know it was self-defense. And yes, Karen finds ways to personally relate to Frank’s “war” and feels sympathy for what happened to his family. But, unless Karen has actually taken a machine gun to a house full of mobsters, it becomes a bit of a stretch to overstate how much they actually have in common.

I also have to question Frank’s speech regarding how the only people who can really hurt you are the ones you love. This may be true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or desirable for a loved one to make you feel like shit on any sort of regular basis. If Matt has hurt Karen, it’s not simply because she loves him. It could be because things happened between them where none of them were at their best. Not a big deal, but I’m not sure I’d recommend that Frank pursue a second career writing advice columns for the Bulletin (hey, it’s supposedly easy to get a job there.) 😉

I do like that Karen goes off and does her own thing though, and this kind of goes for Foggy too. Matt is such an overwhelming presence, that maybe everyone is better off just finding themselves before they’re ready to patch things up again.

In closing

After Monday, I just ran out of time this week, or else this post would have been at least twenty-five percent longer. And, it would have had pictures (I’ll add them later). As is, we’re just over nine hours away from Defenders, and I’m at a work conference, and in dire need of sleep. 😉

Tomorrow, I won’t be able to start watching Defenders until about 12PM ET, which is still a lot sooner than a lot of people, but I expect to finish some time after midnight my time and get it all in before bed. Needless to say, I’ll stay off Twitter and Facebook. If you want to comment here and talk Daredevil, though (no Defenders spoilers!), I’m all ears.

A la Plage 2

Aug. 17th, 2017 17:13
[syndicated profile] edwardbgordon_feed
And the view to the right…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.
[syndicated profile] linesandcolors_feed

Posted by Charley Parker

A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Hans Hoffmann,
A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Hans Hoffmann

Watercolor and gouache on vellum; roughly 8 x 12 inches ( 21 x 31 cm). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

16th century German artist Hans Hoffman was noted for his detailed paintings of animals and other natural forms. He was tremendously influenced by the watercolor and gouache nature studies of Albrecht Düer, and that influence is evident in this wonderful study of a hedgehog.

 
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A Note on Confidence

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:00
[syndicated profile] muddycolors_feed

Posted by Lauren Panepinto

By Lauren Panepinto
  
It's funny how sometimes trends will happen in conversations, and I think it's the universe (or at least the Muse of Muddy Colors) trying to tell me what my next post should be. Recently I've been having a ton of conversations about confidence. People seem to think I am a confidence expert, and I think they assume my ability to be silly and geeky and loud and have green hair has to do with an abundance of confidence...when in reality they're mixing up the chicken and the egg a bit. The more weird shit I do, the more people love it and the more positive reinforcement for my decisions — that's what gives me the confidence to go do more weird shit like dye my hair and wear leggings and be walk into rooms full of strangers and get up an speak in front of heaps of people. But even more than the wins, it's the fails that reinforce my confidence, because nothing builds your confidence more than surviving something you were afraid of, and finding out it really wasn't that bad. You pick yourself up and keep going, even more secure inside.

By the way, this isn't the first column I've written on the topic, so definitely check out Confidence 101 in The Con(fidence) Game, then come on back.

In that article we talked about Imposter Syndrome, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and Power Poses. Now we're going to fine-tune the conversation a bit.

When we talk about confidence, what we're really talking about is fear. What's the opposite of confidence? Insecurity. And all insecurity comes from fear—generally fear of rejection. Rejection sucks and feels horrible. There have been studies that prove being rejected actually physically hurts. And there's a reason for that. Back in the caveman days, when we were all huddled together in tribes,  we had to work together to stay safe and fed. If you got kicked out of the tribe's cave, it was a toss-up whether you were going to starve or become a sabertooth tiger snack first. Rejection equaled death, and rejection still feels, instinctively, like pain and dying.


But we are not cavemen anymore, and you are not going to die from rejection. Embarassment is not fatal, or none of us would have made it out of high school. Fear exists to warn of us risks. Your goal is actually not to never feel fear, but really to embrace fear and choose to do a thing anyway. That's risk-assessment. And that is the way to gain confidence.

So we fear rejection. That's evolutionarily valid. The fear is there to warn us of a possible risk. But we have to dial the fear back down to match the real-world risk. You shouldn't have getting-eaten-by -a-sabertooth-tiger-level fear for a situation where the worst thing that could happen to you is embarassment.

Confidence is not fearlessness. Confidence is acknowledging that you do feel fear, telling yourself that's a rational response to a scary situation, but then adjusting your response to the actual risks. It's saying I know there is a chance, at worst, that X might happen, but the payoff is probably going to be worth it. And if the worst thing happens, you know you'll be ok. It's saying I know the risks, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Confidence is also not arrogance — It's not I AM THE BEST HERE. It's I AM WORTHY OF BEING HERE. And that's a big difference.


Here's a list of things that people I've talked to lately have said they wished they had the confidence to do:

—The confidence to post sketches and process online, not just the perfect final image.
—The confidence to email art directors their work.
—The confidence to go to a networking event that you don't know anyone at.
—The confidence to go to a new convention.
—The confidence to ask an art director for a portfolio review.
—The confidence to start a big crowdfunding project.
—The confidence to walk up to a group of strangers and work your way into a conversation.

So, ask yourself...what's the worst case scenario? But also remember to think just as hard about the BEST case scenario, because it's at least as likely to happen, statistically. And is generally more likely to happen, in my personal experience:

—The confidence to post sketches and process online, not just the perfect final image.
Worst Case Scenario: people post mean comments about how your art sucks.
Likely Scenario: some friends will like it, no one will say anything bad, maybe some people will say something nice.
Best Case Scenario: It gets a bunch of shares and new followers and nice comments.

—The confidence to email art directors their work.
Worst Case Scenario: an AD will write back and say your work doesn't fit their needs, and ask to be taken off your list.
Likely Scenario: you will get no answer.
Best Case Scenario: An email hits an AD just at the right moment and you get a job out of it.

—The confidence to go to a networking event that you don't know anyone at.
Worst Case Scenario: You stand around awkwardly and don't talk to anyone.
Likely Scenario: You'll make some perfectly fine smalltalk, some awkward smalltalk, you'll make a new friend or two. No one remembers the awkward bits but you.
Best Case Scenario: You end up meeting some art friends, strengthen your peer network, and maybe meet someone that leads to being hired.

—The confidence to go to a new convention.
Worst Case Scenario: you hate it and people are creepy and you go home.
Likely Scenario: You'll meet a ton of new people, get a little tipsy in the hotel bar, and spend the rest of the year on social media keeping up with the new friends.
Best Case Scenario: You make a new art bestie or meet an AD that leads directly to a dream job.

—The confidence to ask an art director for a portfolio review.
Worst Case Scenario: they say they're too busy and walk away.
Likely Scenario: they'll give you a time to meet them later or they'll give you a business card and ask to email your portfolio to them.
Best Case Scenario: They say yes and you guys have a great in-depth review

—The confidence to start a big crowdfunding project.
Worst Case Scenario: it won't get backed.
Likely Scenario: it'll get backed and you'll have to spend way more time than you expected figuring out shipping to all your backers.
Best Case Scenario: It will get 500% backed and be a career launcher.

—The confidence to walk up to a group of strangers and work your way into a conversation.
Worst Case Scenario: everyone stares at you when you try to join the conversation, acts awkward and conversation dies until you leave the group.
Likely Scenario: the conversation will expand and you'll feel a little awkward at first, but settle down and have a nice conversation.
Best Case Scenario: You exchange info with the group, expanding your peer group, and maybe get a job out of it.



Look back up at all the worst case scenarios. Not such a big deal, right? You'd survive any of them and move on. In most cases the potential reward with beat the potential damage by multiple times over. 

And that's how you build confidence. You realize most things fall into the "likely" or "best" case scenarios, and you survive a few "worst" case scenarios and realize they're not actually so life-threatening. Keep flexing that confidence muscle, and after a while that insecurity voice inside you will slowly start to starve and lose volume. And poof, like magic, you too are a confident person, and people will talk about you in that wistful tone of "If I was as confident as you I could...X" and you'll smile and send them the link to this post.






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