Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finding a Mob Boss

It is always a pleasure to work with author J.D. Rule. This is the finished art I recently completed for his latest book entitled

" Voices: Of The American Muse"

 This is the third book I have been commissioned by JD to do work for.  He came this time with an exact scene to capture that was utterly appealing to me. The scene as he spelled out is that of a mob boss, sitting in a dark corner and out onto the stage walks a stripper. He has immediate designs on her. She is unaware of his presence and has yet to meet him. JD's instructions for me are to give her a face to fall in love with and to make the make the mob boss very much in the shadows. The strippers pole must be prominent. All else is up to me in design and medium. And so the journey begins to climb inside another persons head and to bring their vision to life.

As an artist this kind of work is much different from gallery work or making art for myself. I am on a deadline and I have a guide line, it does not flow the same way as if I am connected with my own vision. I am trying to do right by someone else's idea and work more with in a structure. I can't get too lost... I have to stay on the path to get to where I have been hired to be.

So it begins with a million rough sketches, playing with paper choice or substrate depending on the medium,  which medium will create the atmosphere I am going for?,  and playing with design..this is illustration not gallery work, the rules are different. What do I want these characters to look like? How can I translate this? So begins the process of finding my own vision and for me all else stops. The children fend for themselves to be fed, the dishes pile up and the laundry is not done. I dive into a project like this with full focus. . . and that is one of the things I love about art.
. . . a face to fall in love with...

I love detail. So putting the mob boss in the shadows was a bit of a challenge for me. I chose to work on a cotton rag creme colored paper to push the high lights and make the darks dark, What is more shadowy than charcoal? Burnt sticks....awesome. A chunk of burnt wood to push around freely on paper, I forgot how much I loved this medium until this project. I often use it as sort of an under painting as a tool, but rarely do I use it alone for a full drawing. It is a wonderful free medium to use, but a bit of a challenge to photograph, it picks up the layers one can not see with the naked eye. I used white charcoal on the lady and outlined her in ink, one simple layer of ink with a dip pen to keep the line solid...she is supposed to be seen after all. Charcoal has a way of floating away from you, so the ink anchored her.


For the lady she is drawn out of my head with no reference. I draw women all the time, but rarely draw men. I tend to focus on the divine feminine. But it was clear I needed a dude for reference for this project. The most Mob Bossy guy I know goes by the name of CrowsNeck Boutin and he graciously allowed me to "borrow" his face for this assignment. Like me, Crow is a native Lubecer. And growing up in Lubec presents some unique challenges. We live in an economically starved area, but the land here is rich in so many ways, for the ones like us that took root here, it is a powerful place to have been born and raised.

Crowsneck is a Professional Prize Fighter and now lives in Southern Maine. He says, "A prize fighter is what I am. I battle for money. I battle to evolve as a spirit and a man."
Crow is a fierce, kind and intelligent man, very layered and very disciplined. He is in tune with the force within himself and within the world around him....all pretty mob bossy qualities.

I would imagine going into battle in a cage fight to have similar attributes to a man setting out to win a woman he has designs on, that primal part of the human race we are derived from..... And it makes a woman like me who so often contemplates the divine feminine contemplate what it means to be of the divine masculine, especially as a mother of two boys as I am. The evolution of spirit and the conquering of past demons. Living an authentic life has no gender.

I drew many sketches before I settled on the one I would is the process of my Mob Bossy dude . . .

 ...sketches for the shadowy Mob boss....

People often ask me how long a painting or drawing takes.  I tend to just make stuff and don't think about the time, it seems to take away from the process for me. And really, there is no way to answer that question in a concrete way. When involved in any kind of a project I eat, sleep, and pray it. The hours spent on it are much more than the hours spent putting charcoal to paper. On this project I spent a good solid 7 days ....if not more.

*********************************************************************************ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

JD Rule

The title - Voices: Of the American Muse - was chosen because each of the five women portrayed in the stories is forced to take action as a solitary player, with no support systems or back-up plans at the point where a decision must be made. They all take place on American soil, none have time to consider what to do, and for each the consequence of failure is severe. Not all of them succeed.
Whether their action is heroic is for the reader to decide. 
Looking to have it out by mid November. 

other work I have illustrated for JD can be found on Amazon and at local venues. Belt: Two Novellas

Find more about JD here....he is an talented amazing man.

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