It's a lonely life...that of the necromancer, er freelancer

A blog by a designer and illustrator, for designers and illustrators which may contain musings on art, movies and random weirdness.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Strand Theater Model

I have a strong interest in papercrafts. According to Wikipedia, "Paper craft is the collection of art forms employing paper or cardboard as the primary artistic medium for the creation of three-dimensional objects".
I have a backlog of papercraft projects that I wish to build, but every now and then, I get a break in my regular work, and I get to do one.
One of these was a model of the historic Strand Theater in Ipswich, MA.
This project was on the top of my list as it holds some personal significance to me. I was born and grew up in Ipswich, and my first memory of going to the movies was seeing "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" with my family when I was six years old. Most of the movies I saw from childhood through early adulthood were seen at the Strand. Jeremiah Johnson, Westworld, Rocky, Jabberwocky, Star Wars, were all seen there (to name but a few). I also worked at the Strand as as usher in highschool.
Unfortunately, the theater fell on hard financial times in the early 80's and rather than being preserved as the historic building it was, was torn down in 1985 to make room for an addition to the Ipswich Savings bank. A lot of people are still pissed about that.

So, for all of those reasons I decided I would try my hand at making an HO-scale replica of the building facade. The only problem was, for a building that was built in 1920, there was a real shortage of good photographs showing the building in it's heyday. Also complicating the issue was the fact that the building had been extensively renovated several times through it's history (once after a fire), so I also had to decide what version of the building I was going to make.
After some extensive Googling  I was able to collect several photos of the Strand. Since many theaters were called "The Strand" I had to make sure that they were images of the one in Ipswich, MA. Most of the photos were of poor quality or in black and white, but there were a couple that were color, and taken just before it was torn down.

There was also a close up shot showing some of the detail.

I took those shots, and using Photoshop to correct the perspective of the photo, used it as a template to redraw the facade of the building in Adobe Illustrator. This is the base layer of the drawing.

I drew the raised and recessed architectural elements and the marquee separately.

I printed these on heavy card stock and then commenced to assemble the pieces. I used a piece of foamcore for the base and balsa wood for re-enforcing the structure. The hardest part was cutting out the marquee letters.

 I added an HO scale figure and voila! 

 If I get really ambitious, I might try a version with a light-up marquee and lobby. I did add the title of and posters in the display cases on either side of the entrance for the movie that was playing when I worked there in 1977; the original Star Wars.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

26 Show at the Zephyr Gallery

My piece titled: The Scarlet Letter, The Pastor and His Parishioner , 2014,
a 16" x 20" digital, archival print on paper, framed dimensions: 18" x 22", will be featured in the "26" show at the Zephyr Gallery at 37 Turner Street, Salem this month. The show features text-based art. The opening reception is Friday, May 13th 5:30 - 7:30, and the show dates are May 6th through May 30th, 2016. Gallery hours are Friday noon -6:00 pm, Saturday through Monday 11:00 am to 5:00pm. The gallery is open Memorial Day 11:00 am till 3:00 pm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ArtSunday Painting

This last weekend I organized an small art show for my church Highrock Northshore that we call ArtSunday. It's designed to showcase the breadth and variety of the artistic talent that we have within the congregation. Although we have several professional artists in our church, this show also gives people with widely differing levels of artistic skill, a low-pressure environment to display their art. This is the second one of these that I have done over the last year. The theme of the this one was "Intimacy" which tied in with our current sermon series on sex and intimacy. Above is my entry for the show, another little 5" x 5" acrylic painting titled "To Sleep". It is a painting of the bed I share with my wife Amy. Originally it was going to be called "Amy's Favorite Place" but we preferred the more subtle reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Coolidge Reservation Painting

This 5” x 5” acrylic painting, “Fall Afternoon, Coolidge #1”, is of one of my favorite places to go for a walk; the Coolidge Reservation in Manchester-by-the-Sea, at one of my favorite times of year; early fall. I did this piece as part of a gift basket that is being donated by our church HighRock Northshore to be auctioned off at the Voices of Hope spring fundraiser for Amirah, an organization that helps women rescued from sex trafficking.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wrath Painting

The church I attend, Highrock Northshore, is doing a sermon series called "Lent, The Vector of Vices and Virtues". It is covering the classic seven deadly sins; Pride, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, and Anger (or wrath). I was asked, along with several other artists, to pick one of the sins and do a piece of artwork that would be my interpretation of that sin.
I chose wrath. Anger is something I can understand on a visceral level, since I grew up with a father who had a hair-trigger temper, and I have had issues with that myself. The above image is what I came up with. A quick, acrylic painting on paper of an extremely pissed-off wolf. This is what anger feels like to me. Irrational, unreasoning, destructive.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Face to Face Show

Three of my pieces are going to be featured in a new show at the Zephyr Gallery here in Salem.
Two paintings, "The Ipswich Mermaid" and "An Unkindness of Ravens" as well as my first publicly displayed 3D miniature, "The Studio" will be on display.


Face to Face is a group show featuring portraits. The reception will be Saturday, March 12, from 5:30 till 7:30, and the show dates will be March 4 through March 28th.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Door:Closed Painting Selected as Signature Image

ZEPHYR GALLERY of Salem, MA has selected my painting  Door: Closed, as their signature image for their show Home for the Holidays. The majestic architecture, the friendly downtown, and the striking waterfront combine to make Salem, MA, a beautiful place to live, work, and play. Home for the Holidays will showcase both past and present scenes of Salem. The majority of the artists in the show are residents of Massachusetts, particularly Salem, Beverly, Gloucester, and the Cape. The show will also feature my companion piece Door:Open and a framed giclee print of Steve's Market.

Home for the Holidays will be on view from December 4 through December 24, 2015.
Visitation is free and open to the public.

About Zephyr Gallery: Zephyr Gallery opened in August 2015 and is the newest contemporary art gallery in historic Salem, MA. We represent artists mostly from the North Shore, but also from Maine, Michigan, Missouri, and New York. We feature painting, photography, sculpture, wearable art, jewelry, unique gifts, and home d├ęcor.
For further information, please visit our website at or find us on Facebook at Zephyr Gallery.