Photo of "January" Painting

“January” Behind The Scenes

In-progress photo of the blue background for January
Almost nice enough to sign and call it done.

This year I’m going to do a series of twelve paintings, using Alena Hennessy’s book, “Intuitive Painting Workshop,” as inspiration.   Each month, I’ll do a new painting, inspired by that month.  So to kick things off here in 2017, I’ve started with “January,” a 24 x 24 inch acrylic painting on stretched canvas.

The prompt provided in the book for January is to set an intention for the month.  Since the uniting theme for all of my current art and music is hope, it will serve as my intention for this painting as well.

I thought a bit about how the month of January feels, and what it looks like.  Here in Minneapolis, January is typically the coldest month of the year.  On the coldest days, the air is perfectly clear, and there isn’t a cloud visible anywhere in the sky.  After the initial feeling of shock of the cold, the air smells clean and fresh.

Photo of WIP, adding a circle and square outline
For freehanding it, I think that’s a fair start to a circle.

It only made sense to start out by filling in the canvas with a bright, clear blue.  Once it was dry, I applied a strip of tape so I could get a sharp line for the layer of white I applied next.  I think it looks kind of like a snow covered plain, or perhaps the ice of a frozen lake extending to the horizon.

Once the white layer was in I added a bold, white outline to the edges of the canvas, and got to work on adding in a white circle.  Typically, I use a compass to create a guideline to follow for the circle, but this time I just sketched it in as well as I could.

I use the circle to represent chaos, and the square outline represents order.  Each of these forces needs the other to exist, at least in any recognizable sense.

WIP Photo of Lines Added to "January"
It’s amazing how many more shapes suddenly come into being just by adding those lines.

Once I had the circle filled in and looking good, I set to work adding vertical lines to the left side of the painting.  I’ve found it’s easier to paint these lines in horizontally, so I gave the canvas a quick spin and got to work.

Adding these lines in requires as much, or more, time spent doing prep work than it does actually putting the color on the canvas.  Applying the lines is still a fair amount of work, since I try to make sure that the brushstrokes are all cohesive and uninterrupted.

Once that’s done, all that’s left is to add in the secret message for this painting.

To complete this painting, I put in the message “Hope” using a woodsy brown.  I think it kind of hints at the bare trees, waiting for spring to come so they can grow fresh leaves.

I’m very happy with how it turned out.  What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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Photo of "January" Painting
“January,” by Dale A. Dahlberg III, 24 x 24″ acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas

 

 

 

 

 

A picture of my new amp

For a Noisy New Year

A picture of my new ampI was at my favorite local music store recently, and stumbled on a too-good-to-pass-up deal on a new Fender Twin Reverb.  I’d really only gone in to buy a harmonica as a Christmas present, but somehow I left with a whole bunch of new gear (including the gift, since that’s why I was there…).

So far, I’ve had the opportunity to really open up the volume once.  It’s pretty awesome physically feeling the music you’re making.  It’s an experience that never gets old for me, but I’ve heard it bothers neighbors after a while.  For that reason, I play at a less blistering volume when I’m at home just practicing.

I like to joke that I have the exact opposite of the rig I should have for the kind of music that I make, but the fact is, I’m happier with my sound now than I’ve ever been.

I’m excited to finish writing music and get to performing.

The Sky Is Always Blue

The Sky Is Always Blue

The Sky Is Always Blue
“The Sky Is Always Blue” 36 x 36

This painting was inspired by a wonderful quote I heard.  Paraphrasing, “No matter how dark the clouds are, above it all, the sky is always blue.”  (I’m not sure who said it first.  If you know, please tell me! )  It was also inspired by Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Black On Grey) paintings.

Where Rothko’s painting was about death, mine is about hope.  In addition to the layer of blue behind the black and grey layers, the spokes radiating out from the center spell out, “hope,” in Morse code.

I’ve found it’s interesting to stare at the center of the painting and watch the spokes as they disappear, reappear and merge into one another.