#7 (I forgot to post this last week)

Tonight was the 7th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. Tonight I started 3 new paintings and pasted some more paper on one of the paintings I started last week. Today was all paper and no paint. So far I have 10 paintings in the works but nothing that I would call “finished.” My hope is to finish all 10 paintings by Monday and 5 or 6 of those paintings will be featured in the “Ephemeral” exhibition at Friends University.



Tonight was the 8th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. Tonight I worked on two of the paintings I started working on last week. I should be able to finish both paintings later tonight. i’ve become really obsessed with Crayola color sticks. They are really amazing. They are my new favorite drawing tool.



When I started working on my painting for ARTLESS I was overwhelmed by how much raw material I had to work with. I had drawings of pizza and dinosaurs and goats and hearts. I had fields of color and flowers and geometric shapes and squiggly lines and landscapes. I wasn’t sure how to organize these images in a cohesive way. I wanted to include everyone’s drawings but I also wanted to create a “good” painting. I wanted the painting to be an honest collaboration between myself and the ARTLESS participants. I quickly realized that if I wanted to create a successful painting I had to stop seeing these drawings as sacred objects. I needed to treat them like the old comic books and maps and scraps of wallpaper that I normally use in my paintings. Once that thought was planted inside my brain I was free to jump into the fire and start painting. I didn’t map out the composition beforehand. I didn’t plan ahead. I just grabbed paper and found a proper place for it. Sometimes I used the entire drawing. Sometimes I would tear the drawing into smaller pieces. Sometimes I would overlap the drawings. Sometimes I would draw or paint on top of the drawings. Many of the drawings are buried underneath other drawings or obscured by big brushstrokes or crayon scribbles. I tried my best to preserve as much of the original drawings as possible and use my own brushstrokes and scribbles to unify the drawings and create a more harmonious composition. I didn’t want to dominate the painting and I kept my own mark making to a minimum. I really wanted the drawings to be the focus of the painting. I’m really happy with the end result. I hope all of you like it.






Tonight was the 6th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. I left my giant rubbermaid bin full of collage materials at home and reduced my arsenal to a duffel bag full of paint brushes, crayons, colored pencils and tubes of paint. Tonight was all about scribbles and drips. I took a fistful of colored pencils and scribbled all over one of the panels. Seeing Dale Chihuly’s drawings at the Wichita Art Museum planted the idea in my brain. It was really fun to scribble with reckless abandon. When I draw / scribble on my abstract paintings I always strive to draw like a child but my drawings always feels forced or deliberate or dishonest because I am a trained artist trying to mimic the haphazardness of a child. I’ve discovered that it helps to draw without looking at what I am drawing and allow the drawing to be a surprise. The trick is getting your brain out of the way and allowing your hand to do the work. I am really happy with the progress I made tonight.

At one point I took a break and watched Jim Gross paint for a few minutes. The painting Jim was working on had a scrap of wood, a metal jar lid and a shard of glass adhered to the canvas among scraps of old newspapers, paint drips, old masking tape and other paper fragments. The painting is really wonderful. Jim’s work often reminds me that I can be a little rigid and safe and predictable when it comes to how I paint. Jim is really fearless. Any object in the room can become part of the painting or become an instrument for manipulating the paint. Tonight he made Torin Andersen paint with a giant rock and Torin ended up with a great painting and a really colorful rock. Tonight I was reminded that I need to push myself to be more experimental and creative with how I paint.


Tonight was the 5th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. I always bring a huge Rubbermaid container filled with old books, comics, paper scraps, a gallon of acrylic matte medium, tubes of paint, masking tape, paint brushes and other miscellaneous art supplies. I bring way too much shit to class and that box is really fucking heavy. I need to scale down. I might start by leaving my crayons at home because all of my crayons melted. You should never leave crayons, puppies or children inside a hot car. Tonight I continued to work on the two paintings I worked on last week. It was hot and I felt a little nauseous and I was struggling to get into a creative mindset. I added some purple to one of the paintings and it came alive and started to look like a “good” painting. The other painting went the other direction. I really fucked it up. The highlight of the evening was watching the legendary Jim Gross paint. He was working on a new painting for the “Ephemeral” exhibition at Friends University. The painting looks amazing already. I can’t wait to see the final product.


I just finished my painting for ARTLESS. I just need to apply 3 or 4 healthy coats of varnish and it will be officially done. The painting is called “I Love Pizza And Dinosaurs.” You can see the final painting at CityArts on Final Friday, July 29th – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Here is a photo of the back of the painting. I collected signatures from everyone who contributed drawings and paintings and I pasted them on the back of my painting. I have always admired how Curt Clonts and Ian Stewart do little collage paintings or drawings on the back of their paintings along with their signature and title. I usually just write my name with a sharpie or a paint pen but this painting required something extra special. See you on Final Friday!


I recently drew this illustration of David “Caveman” Rickels which will be featured on some T-shirts and tank tops. David is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in Bellator’s Lightweight division. His next fight will be against Melvin Guillard on July 22nd at the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, KS. You can purchase tickets to the fight at www.kansasstarcasino.com/events/bellator-mma.
It was really fun to draw the Caveman!
You can follow David Rickels on Facebook at www.facebook.com/David-Caveman-Rickels-194168219736.


Tonight was the 4th session of my Abstract Painting class with Jim Gross at Mark Arts. Tonight I started 1 new painting and made some progress on another painting I started working on in the previous class. I am still in love with that stupid plastic card from Cox Communications and that was my primary tool for adding, subtracting and manipulating the paint. I did splatter some paint on one of the paintings but the end result wasn’t very exciting. Wet paint is sexier than dry paint. Both paintings are far from finished but they are both heading in the right direction. I am eager to finish both of them. Tonight I am stuck on the computer working on a freelance illustration that is due tomorrow morning. I need black coffee and devil music.





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