Rockford Fosgate. The very reason my wife and I live in Arizona. Rockford Fosgate, or “Rockford” as they’re called by employees, hired me in 1986 and moved my wife and me to Arizona. It was a work “adventure,” and accounts for nearly 15 years of my career. Now, some 20 years later, I find myself painting a piece including both the Rockford name and another very popular brand for the company’s president. Giclée prints of the piece are available now.
The folks at Rockford had worked with Maker’s Mark, a wonderful brand of bourbon whisky, to flavor two different barrels to their taste, the bottles to be the stars of the design. I also had a barrel top to work with, so I laid it all out and it worked very nicely. We sold Rockford Fosgate neon signs way back, so I plugged one of those into the background to get the logo and the red color to balance the wax bottle tops. I initially used a gray surface, but decided to keep the entire background black for dramatic effect. Rockford’s colors were always red and black, so that figured in as well.
The last 18-plus months have been extremely busy for me. I’m grateful for all of the commission work. Fortunately, I’ve been able to squeeze a few of my own, related creations into that time.
I’ve lived in Arizona for the last 34 years, and during that time, I’ve been taken by many traditions of nearby Mexico, especially the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. Some of the folks who’ve seen my latest works, which are related to Dia de los Muertos, have said that the tradition seems morbid to them, while others–like me–understand its significance.
The more I paint, the more I realize how much I don’t know.
Every painting is a learning experience, and–like every other painter out there, I’m sure–I want to get better every time.
Recently, I realized that I am a “conceptual” painter. That means that I know what I want the painting to look like when I’m done. I just thought every painter was the same in that regard; not so.
I continue to get emails from artists who say “do this” and “do that,” but I only know one way to paint. I watch other painters to see how they work, and am often blown away at how they structure a painting, how they use color, all those things, and it’s exciting to me to learn new things.
Everyone who knows me knows that I have a fondness for really good tequila. Several years ago a close friend gifted me a bottle of Señor Rio añejo tequila, and it was signed by the owner, John Gach – an Arizona man! Señor Rio is locally owned, but made in Jalisco, Mexico. It was a very special gift. Fast forward, I met John’s wife, Debbie for lunch to find out that, sadly, John had passed away about a year ago. Debbie had seen my work at Los Dos Molinos in Mesa, and asked if she could commission me to paint a portrait of her and John. It was an honor to do so.
Portraits can be difficult, especially if you know the person (or people). I had never met John, but Debbie provided me with a number of pictures of him, and her, and them together. John was a dynamic man – an avid body builder with a variety of tattoos on both of his huge arms, which made the painting interesting and challenging. Getting both John and Debbie just right was a struggle, and I also incorporated a bottle of Señor Rio – per Debbie’s request. In the end I was pleased with the result, and Debbie was as well. She recently had the painting framed and sent me a photo of it. She knew exactly what end result she wanted, and the framed portrait looks amazing. The right frame can totally change a painting’s look.
Debbie was featured on Fox 10 news in Phoenix. Señor Rio is a great success story, and a very happy reminder to me of the process of painting John and Debbie’s portrait.
The last few months have been rather exciting and a bit crazy at Lazy K Studio. I’ve had quite a lot of commission work, and I’m really enjoying it.
Prior to Christmas, a good friend asked me to paint a portrait of their family dog, Brandi, who sadly had recently passed. I did the work, which was a real joy as it was to be a surprise for the husband. The painting came out nicely, and when I posted it to Facebook, the response was amazing.
Since then, three other people have asked me to paint portraits of their dogs, and another asked for a portrait of a cat. So, it’s been rather busy, and thoroughly enjoyable. I have the opportunity to paint completely different subjects–call them portraits–and now I’m wondering: Where do I go from here?
I’m fortunate, and feel honored, to have my work in so many places, both here in the United States and internationally. Below are some recent shots of my art that I’m thrilled to see in peoples’ homes and offices.
Jim and Gail Shaner
Jim and Gail are great friends, and we each have several pieces of each others’ work in our homes. Jim is a very talented metal sculptor, and Gail creates beautiful custom jewelry. This is a shot of Jim with Reserva, a milestone birthday present from Gail, in their home in Gilbert, Arizona. Thank you Jim and Gail for your endless encouragement and friendship! Continue reading →
About Giclée Prints
High quality giclée (gee-clay) prints are virtual copies of an original piece of artwork, but sell for a fraction of the cost, making fine artwork available to more people. Read more...