Friday, June 7, 2013

Crying Wolf, Laughing Man

10" x 10" Acrylic on canvas [Click to enlarge]

I painted this for my oldest son who has always liked wolves.  I hope he still does.

One honest fellow I showed this to expressed the opinion that he wouldn't want a wolf on his wall. And I guess those yellow eyes could be unnerving. I should've made them glow in the dark.

I've been told more than once that I should be a dog artist.  Folks have made statements like "Dogs are your talent."

But although I am taken each time by the depth of feeling the expression of a canine can show, and challenged each time by the nonhuman dimensions, I cannot limit myself.

One reason is my fascination with people, mostly the ordinary ones with everyday experiences. 

The other day I read a poem by Mark Strand, called "Not Dying" that began like this:

These wrinkles are nothing.
These gray hairs are nothing.
This stomach which sags
with old food, these bruised
and swollen ankles,
my darkening brain,
they are nothing.
I am the same boy
my mother used to kiss.

These lines blew me away!  As soon as I read them, I had to draw the old man:


8" x 10" Ink and watercolor on Daler-Rowney Langton Prestige NOT paper [Click to enlarge.]

I cannot begin to tell you how fun this was to do.   I was remembering the works of Wendy McNaughton, and thinking of Lisa Congdon and her Reconstructivist series that showcases amazing women.  With inspirations like these, and so many ways to draw and paint, how could I just paint dogs?

43 comments:

  1. I don't see you as a dog artist somehow, even if you're good at making them look natural (going by the wolf).
    I love the poem and how you illustrated it, especially the expressive lines. Stay young forever!

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  2. Your wolf is outstanding...and I agree, you don't have to paint/draw dogs exclusively....just because you are good at it. You seem to be able to tackle all subjects, so why not? I do love that poem and your ink/watercolor that you did in response to it. You live in a part of the world where there are scads of children running around in old people bodies! haha! It is fun to realize most all people have a child inside!

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    1. I realize this because I'm a middle aged man with a child inside - hah! Thanks for your comment - it's full of delightful compliments from one of the artists I most admire. Yeah!

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  3. Every subject has its own layer of complexity the dog muzzle, the human hand etc. I like the sentiment with the old man...he looks ornery.

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    1. More impish I think. Repetitive, irascible, irrepressible, and all those other r words.

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  4. I love it all...the wolf, the quote and your rendering. I too love dogs and people. I find people endlessly fascinating but dogs are my instant friends.

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    1. Thanks! Love that word, love. Dogs are instant friends for sure, but instant is less interesting, though wonderful in its way.

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  5. I'm a dog person. I adore them. My two Goldens are members of the family as surely as my children are. But to restrict yourself to "doing dogs." that is far too limiting for a person like you. Besides, other people shouldn't dictate what another does or doesn't do. You have shown us how diverse you are, how eclectic. Keep it up.

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    1. Well, I was sort of tongue-in-cheek - I have to think of something to say in these posts! Someone really said that to me, but I never seriously considered it. "Eclectic" - I like that!

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  6. Hi, Dan, fabulous and congrats!! Both are masterpices, yet, so lovely. I have to ask you how to use acrylics. Also, your posts always make readers think about life, love and art. Thank you so much. I'm certain so many people visiting your blog find comfort, love, courage and hope for tomorrow.
    Best wishes, Sadami

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    1. Thank you so much Sadami, I hope so. Acrylics are water based but opaque, and I'm still a bit new at it. This post has been so long in coming that I'm not sure exactly all the steps I used in painting the wolf. I think it was a reddish underpainting that shows through in spots. I think I drew it in pencil because it was complex. For the painting I used both brush and a spatula-like tool - which is what worked so well with the snout.

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    2. Thank u for the info. If I find a spare time, I want to try acrylics (*I have to confess I do not like opaque and gave up oil long time ago.) BTW, sounds you really have interest in picture book illo. Keep up drawing, Dan and grab a chance. I heartily hope you will make it come true and for your family. I know you're a lovely dad and husband.
      Best wishes, Sadami

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  7. Dan! That wolf! Amazing. I am almost afraid to ask....is he for sale?

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! This is by far one of my favorite comments - ever! Unfortunately I painted it as a gift for my son, so it is not for sale. But if you are really interested, I can paint another. The only thing I can guarantee, though, is that it won't be the same. And if you don't like it, you don't have to buy it. If you are interested in having me give it a shot, e-mail me at danhkent@gmail.com

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  8. Great to see the wolf - I have always felt a special affinity with them which, considering I was born, brought up and have returned to live in the Home Counties of England, is odd! - and this is lovely. Unlike that person, I would DEFINITELY have wolves on my wall and some years ago fell in love with some wolf sculptures that I would have loved to be able to afford for my garden. But what really is making me comment is that beautiful poem. Thanks for the whole post, Dan. A joy, and as thought provoking as always.

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    1. Glad you liked it! I thought there were wolves in England!

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  9. 0H, Dan, the wolf is good but the old man is wonderful! You have captured him to a "T". Please don't limit yourself to dogs, you have so much to share.

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    1. I loved drawing him and painting him - great fun!

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  10. Both paintings are wonderful!

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    1. Wonderful. Such a wonderful word! Thank you!

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  11. A really beautiful wolf painting; I'd hang it on my wall--I love wolves.

    You can easily paint people or wolves or dogs. Wonderful work.

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    1. Thank you, Hallie! I can paint 'em. Easily? Not always. ;)

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  12. I agree with Hallie! You do BOTH remarkably well. The poem fits perfect with your man- he has character! Great work Dan. Dogs or characters? Both... but I enjoy your characters most of all. Thanks for the links too, as always.

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    1. You and my wife. She would be happy if everything I did were ink and watercolor. But it was awfully fun to do! Glad you think I was able to give him character. Thanks, PAMO!

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  13. Such talent. You can do more of either style as they each are terrific! The humor in the second painting is delightful.

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    1. Thanks! It's neat to put humor into art or illustration.

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  14. Hi Dan, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Thanks so much Chris. I definitely will. Thanks for following and visiting! You are getting me almost - almost - to that 250 mark. It's within reach!

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  15. Your wolf is fabulous and I'd certainly hang it on my wall!

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  16. Hi Dan, I like your dapper man and I like the poem; it reminds me of the special relationships with Moms and Dads. Your wolf expression is wonderful, but if you have fun drawing people, flowers, buildings, etc, why limit yourself?

    As usual, your posting is a delightful read :)

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    1. I agree - no limits! He is dapper, isn't he?! :) Glad you enjoyed the post, Peggy!

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  17. Great wolf, fantastic old man....and skillful portrait below....

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    1. Thanks, Debra! Glad you like all three!

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  18. Two fantastic pieces, LOVE IT!!!! Im a huge fan of wolfs and I still today get all excited when I think back when I heard their calls in the night a few years back while on a canoe trip. I seen them in wild too and they are so beautiful. Its a great painting of a wolf, the texture is great of his fur and the eyes are dreamy (to me)... The poem is brilliant and so it the drawing of the old (young) guy, it fits the poem to the T. Love this post, made my day!!!

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    1. Made your day?! Thank you! I thought of the wolf's eyes as dreamy too. :)

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  19. Great looking wolf and a fun fun old man :D

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    1. We should be so fun when we get that old, eh Alex?

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  20. It has been a while since I stopped by here, well anywhere really, but I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed looking over your latest work. It is all amazing! Your skill with acrylics and interpretation of subjects in watercolor and acrylic knocks my socks off. The wolf is wonderful and I love the old man with the perfect poem. I am so happy to see all of your art here :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and for such a wonderful comment! I am so glad to have made you happy. And it makes me happy to knock anyone's socks off!!

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  21. You crack me up and make me smile.. the world needs more of you .. MORE I say...love it..

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    1. Thanks, Toria! I'm so glad to make you smile, and even more pleased to crack you up! Your comment makes me very happy. May I take your words, that "the world needs more of you...MORE I say"? I need to show them to a few people. ;)

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