A Dying Crow

The kiddo had just gone to sleep and the sun was setting. A perfect time to go out and get some fresh air in the twilight of another beautiful day.

In the corner of my eye, under one of our trees I spotted a large, black struggling mass. I know every corner of this yard so I knew something was out of place.

It was a crow. Mortally wounded although I could not tell what its injuries were.

Now just a little but about me – I do not do well with animals in pain. I have never hunted. I say a little prayer before I handle a black widow getting a little too cozy with my sons sandbox toys. I rescue baby birds and drive them miles to animal rescues. I airlift bees out of the water plant ponds at my local nursery. So to see this crow…….

Crows are smart animals so this one had to know it was in the last moments of its life. It looked at me then looked down at its body as if to say This is it. I’m sorry you have to see me this way.

I wasn’t sure what to do so I called animal control to perhaps come by and end the suffering. They said they would come by but could not give me a time – it could be a while. So went back and sat with the crow. It was getting dark out.

I told it that I was sorry it was hurt. That it was safe and that it could pass in peace. That it was beautiful.

After about 20 minutes it closed its eyes and relaxed. It was gone. I called animal control again and told them not to come. I would take it from here.

Tomorrow I will dig a hole in a corner of our yard and lay the crow to rest. Then plant flowers where it’s buried.

As an artist I am constantly looking for inspiration. I often find it in my relationships, in nature and in history.

Tonight I feel like I found it in myself.

The inspiration of love.

photo


The Ones I Admire 

My real ancestors are artists of the past. I am comforted and excited and soothed and inspired by them.

-Clint Brown

I often get asked about the artists that inspire me and who has had the greatest influence on my work. As I thought about it I realized the answer was not as simple as I thought. After all, you don’t know where you are going until you know where you have been right?

To me there are many layers to inspiration. For example while I may admire the work of artist A it may be for more than just the intrinsic style of their work. It could be subject matter, mood or a unique element of their work. For others it truly is the method and style in which they create a work with a consistent style.

For me it often comes back to the old masters and a few from the last 150 years. Here are a some of my favorite studies.

Rembrandt 

Rembrandt

A prolific painter, drawer and etcher his use of line work was amazing. In his etchings and drawings he used lines of varying energetic widths to achieve lights and darks in his work. I firmly believe that anyone serious about drawing should see how he used the line to create energy, mood and movement. A huge influence for me.

Pablo Picasso

the-frugal-repast

Did you know Picasso was also a wonderful printmaker? But beyond creating some if the most beautiful and influential work I have ever seen he also had a desire to push the envelope of experimentation. This is clear in all if the different periods with the Blue being my favorite. Picasso certainly has inspired me to try different things and not be afraid to branch out from the comfortable.

James Whistler 

whistler doorway-thumb

A prominent figure in 19th century printmaking, Whistler drew with great technical skill. Some of his etchings he did in a day and others he reworked hundreds of times. He dedication to precision capturing tranquility is profound.

Francisco Goya

Caprichos-77

Widely considered the greatest master of aquatint – the printmaking process of creating lights and darks. Used by him widely in the 1800s the process has changed little to this day. I literally think of him every time I use the process of aquatint on one of my plates. I also have his self portrait hanging above my studio desk.

In addition to being a master printmaker Goya was a prolific master painter able to capture beauty and elegance with color then explore dark social injustice with his monochromatic etchings.

Otto Dix

'Stormtroops_Advancing_Under_Gas',_etching_and_aquatint_by_Otto_Dix,_1924

A german painter and printmaker noted for his ruthless and harsh depictions of war, specifically WW1. His figurative and sometimes disturbing work chills the viewer to the bone and makes you wonder: Is it all worth it?

Of course there are others that have inspired me deeply such as Kathe Kollwitz, Francis Seymour Haden, and William Blake. All of them in one form or another have shaped and inspired my work in one fashion or another. It’s a fun and fascinating journey studying techniques of the past and figuring out how ( if at all ) I can incorporate them into my work.

So there you go – my top loves and artistic inspirations. As a lover of art or an artist yourself.. what are some of your favorite and inspiring artists?


A New Space

After an all too long of a span I finally got a new studio space last week. It’s amazing what happened  to me after I got my sacred space set up. 

As an artist one thing I have always prided myself on was my work ethic. And over the last year despite studio time being scarce I continued to cultivate and nurture new ideas. I worked on concept drawings and plates, collected ideas and did what I could to keep my creative side happy. Now that my work space is up and running those visions are taking shape with even a more exciting element : experimentation. 

When I had limited and borrowed studio time I felt rushed. That I was there and I better be urgently producing finished work. I wanted something immediate to show for my time. 

Now there is no rush and I am starting to push the medium of printmaking further. Some of it will work and some it will not. But it’s an exciting time for me. 

I look forward to sharing some of this new work with you in the very near future. 


The End of a Journey and the Beginning of Another

Nothing beats the euphoric satisfaction of completing a new piece of art. Today I got to experience that feeling.
This particular piece was true exercise in patience, discipline and diligence. I dedicated myself to very small yet meticulous detail, chock full of personally meaningful symbology. It took me four months to complete – working late at night while the house slept.

Now it’s on to the next idea……..

Please enjoy my new etching.
Greg

Untitled
Etching, 2012
Measures 15″x20″


Remembering a Wonderful Friend

Tonight I had to handle some chores. The baby was asleep ( mommy too) so it was time to seize the moment and get some stuff done. Rain is coming so there are some things needing tending to.
Out to the garage I went. The eternal abyss of the land of chores.
I started my work – picking stuff up, rearranging things, stacking things from the outside so they don’t get wet from our approaching rain. Working my way through I came across an old dog bed sitting on the floor of the garage.
We had placed this bed in the garage because it was an extra – and it needed desperately to be cleaned. I grabbed it and held it up and decided that yeah it was an extra- and it needs to go in the garbage. But then soon after I realized something.
This dog bed, while adopted by my current amazing dog, belonged to one of my most beloved pets. A pug named Cooper who passed about 5 years ago. I had him for 15 years.
No way was this thing going in the garbage. It’s a keeper and will continue to be used by our little dog. Coop would have wanted it that way I’m certain.
I walked over to the washing machine and turned it on. While it was filling I took the bed over to the trash can and started to remove at least some of the hair that was stuck to it. As I began to pull it apart I discovered that all the little cracks and crevices of that bed had been hiding something. I found some hair. Cooper’s hair.
I began to cry. It’s been a long time since I saw Coop.
That dog was with me through a lot of changes in my life: jobs, girlfriends, apartments. Through all he stayed by me, loved me and was until the day he died ecstatic to see me walk through the door. I still can remember where he slept on my bed. The same spot every night. Snoring like a freight train.

I kept some of the tufts of hair and put them next to a little box that holds his ashes, feeling so lucky that years later I got another chance to add something to our memories. I touched part of him again. What a crazy feeling laughing and crying at the same time.

Thanks Cooper – you were a great dog. An amazing companion that kept me going. I’ll never forget you.

Cooper the Pug
1993 – 2008
Photo Etching, Gregory Bada, 2010


Zen and the Art of the Imperfect Line

A ruler. Not mine but similar.

Today I put my ruler away.
At least for the time being. I have officially decided that my works going forward will be full of true lines drawn only by my free hand. And often they are far from perfect.
Over time I have discovered that I have found that what draws me to certain pieces of art, the pieces that truly capture my interest, are the ones that have flowing line from the hand of the artist. In all it’s imperfect splendor. It has a spontaneous energy.
In nature the lines we see and process with our brain are irregular. They follow light, growth, and the path to life. The beauty is not always in the symmetry of these lines but the path they follow and the unique shapes they create.
I have often felt that my best work are those pieces where I have ” let go’. I decide that it’s ok to make mistakes and I will find a way to work those mistakes into the piece or learn to accept them all together as a part of the harmony of the work. Photorealism is a wonderful level of talent to achieve – one that I will never possess. But why buy a piece of art that looks like a drawn or painted version of a photograph? Art is about interpretation – the way the artist sees the world and rendered through his or her hands. Hands that may be rested or tired, old or young, drunk or sober. Either way you are looking at the product of the motion of a humam tranferred to a surface for you to enjoy. Take from it what you will but isn’t this the ultimate form of vulnerability? Accepting that what you are presenting to others is not perfect, embracing it, and then saying ” here you go”.
I drew many imperfect lines tonight. But after I stepped back and took a deep breath I felt a creative liberation.

I’m continuing to develop as an artist. Continuing to push myself to let go and let the line flow from my hand so you the viewer can feel like you know me a little better.
Pleased to meet you. My name is Greg and I make crooked lines.

Proof #2 of my newest etching. It has ALOT of crooked lines.


Chapter Two: The Captured Princess

The Captured Princess, Etching, Gregory Bada

Jane Austen once said ” I am half agony, half hope“.
As the Princess peered out from her prison she could not help but think of this quote. For as much worry and pain she suffered through she still held out hope. Hope that her one true and dear friend would find her. Find her and get her out of this little pickle.
The job would not be an easy one. The princess had been taken against her will in the dead of night immediately after her kindoms biggest celebration of the year – The Celebration of the Good Man.

The Good Man Celebration was a once a year event paying hommage a great man named Ludwig Von Ortwine ( or LVO as the locals called him). He is revered as the greatest example of humankinds compassion for all living things, and it was said the LVO had a house where even the ants had a bed, and mice cuddled with cats at night. He cultivated harmony amogst the species that resulted in a peace never known prior in the world. LVO lived just outside the gates of the Princesses kingdom and he would often visit, bringing her examples of his compassion, love and patience.

One day Ortwine showed up and her chambers and approached her with a small suitcase. In that, he said, was a creature that would be her gaurdian and friend forever. It was to be his ultimate gift to her – a symbol of his gratitude and love for the princess. The Princess was truly humbled.

Ortwine approached her throne, placed the suitcase at her feet and stepped away. The princess could see the joyous excitement on his face as she prepared to open the case. What was inside? What could it be, this grand thing? Ortwine knows all creatures and they him, what could this be?

The Princess Listens, Etching Gregory Bada
2.5″x3″

The princess opened the case and gasped in amazement. She knew she had found a friend forever. She knew this right away and gave her new friend a hug.

The Princess and the Elephant, Etching, Gregory Bada

That seemed like such a long time ago. The Princess now waits and hopes that her dear, brave friend can find her.

Somewhere far away a very tiny, but brave elephant set out on a journey to find his friend.