Moon Girl -A very fashion-y piece, this left me feeling a little frustrated because, try as I might, and as nice a piece as it is, I still feel like it looks like something from in my wheelhouse--that is, something that's very recognizable as my style.

I find myself almost always working within the borders of the "paper", and with this one I wanted to go for a more fluid, open shape (kind of like this piece), but every time I tried that approach I didn't like it--it just didn't look right.

That said, what is here does look nice I think, and I like the contrast of the flat black outfit and the crazy pattern on the left.


Sunny Day - This piece morphed into several different things as I worked on it. The woman in the water started out as the central figure for another faux-paperback cover, but I could never get a handle on adding text to it, so I abandoned that idea.

Then it was going to be more of a straight "glamour" piece, with no background or realistic details except maybe the water. I ended up not liking any of those attempts, either. Finally, I started adding more realistic elements (yeah, that sun is pretty big, I guess...) and it became more, in my mind, of a piece of advertising art, maybe for travel or beachwear or something.

In any case, it was in this form that it worked best for me, so I called it a day. (Maybe it was more a case of wish fulfillment, since it was miserably cold and rainy outside as I worked on it)


Blue Sky - I had been meaning for quite awhile to try some pieces sans the heavy blacks that dominate most of my work, wondering if the feel would translate as well. The first of these experiments was this piece, Blue Sky. I wanted to go for something that felt happy, open, carefree, and in the artistic approach to be realistic yet also abstract (hence the sun-like object in the background).

Not using someone you're supposed to recognize also helped me concentrate more on the feeling of the piece rather than a likeness. When finished, I found I really, really liked this piece, and it's quickly developed into one of my personal favorites. A friend who saw the piece soon after described it as having "a wonderful sense of freedom" and that was exactly what I set out to do.

  Dark Forest Girl - This piece evolved mightily from start to finish. I knew I wanted the woman to be popping out from a dark background, but that was all I had in my head. As I finished up the part of it with her, nothing about it seemed to really *pop* for me, until I turned her hair, which I hard originally colored yellow, to pure white with just some silver highlights.

Once I did that, the piece really clicked for me and I then got rid of the rigid square border and added the more fanciful circular shapes. I didn't have any justifiable reason for it other than I thought it just looked cool. I then tried to add some other color outlines, but none of that worked well with the mostly black-and-white I had already.

I had accidentally left a sharp edge on one of the circles, and I liked the sharp edge amid the round shapes. So I started adding those shafts of light coming in from the top, until when I was done it did sort of look like some weird dark forest. I dug it mightily, it worked well with the figure, and it doesn't look that much like all the other ones I've done.


Goth Blue -I did this piece with a definite goal of doing something rougher, less refined. While I like my "regular" style just fine, I'm always looking for ways to expand it, twist it, and see where it goes.

So after finishing it and taking a good look, I found I really liked it. The subject still looked alluring, but also more hard-edged. Blue and white is not one my usual color schemes, so I was especially happy that I got to combine several different approaches with one piece.


Lightning Bolt - This piece started out as nothing more than me just goofing around, looking to create Something. As happens frequently when I'm goofing around, elements that seem to come out of nowhere show up and just seem so right.

As I started to work on this, I found myself removing all the detail I could. I didn't know what I was going for exactly, but the more sort of porcelain she looked the more I liked it. Eventually I was left with just her basic features, and then I added the non-sequitir background. I still don't know what the lightning bolt pin or emblem on her collar is supposed to mean (is she a superhero of some sort?), but I just knew I liked it. (and if Ispot hits are any indication, it's my most popular piece)


ScarfGirl - This is Scarf Girl. I was looking to do some more muted, relaxed-looking pieces--I was fearing that all my stuff recently was RED! BLUE! YELLOW! BLACK!--all eye-gouging bold color, and I wanted to prove to myself that not all my colors needs to be 100% saturation (ah, printing humor).

Anyway, it didn't take long in my color experiments to know I wanted her sweater to be one flat color, to provide a nice surrealistic contrast to the (relatively) realistic features. In between trying different colors, I noticed that good ol' White looked really, really good. I filed that tidbit in my head (next to my thoughts of the next Batman movie), and tried other colors to see if anything looked better. Nothing did--white gave the whole piece a nice feeing of openness, cleanness, like the subject was outside on a clear day.

I then worked on the backgrounds, again going for the same muted feeling. Not getting too intricate, I found that the shapes I had created made it look like a mountain range, which of course fit in quite well with my little Scarf Girl, bundled up in warm clothes as she is.

  SkirtGirl - I was conciously trying to do my newer glamour pieces in differing styles. I figured that these were the best times to try out new ideas and approaches which I could maybe use later on for client assingments. If the piece turned out good, then great! If not, they go into the deep recesses of my portfolio, never to be seen again.

This one, thankfully, turned out well I thought. I had a fashion art 2006 calendar, and as I took it down I looked over the pieces and remembered I had really wanted to try one with a rough, hand-drawn sort of feel, but had never gotten around to it in all of the year!

Putting together the portrait was fairly easy, but I tried a few different rough-edged outlines, all with different colors. Black looked best, and the simple colored backgrounds I thought worked very well as contrast. It's a very happy, fun looking piece.


Spirals - I've had some work displayed in a couple different art galleries (the Art Dept. in Manchester, MI, and ZonkArts in Center City, Philadelphia) so I work on an all-paper-and-paint piece every now and then to have some new work to display and, hopefully, sell. This piece is called Spirals because I'm too unimaginative to come up with something less obvious.

I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean or who this woman is, exactly, I just started messing around and when I got to this I told myself it was Done. If pressed, I'd say the piece is maybe from a guy's POV when he's spotted a beautiful, sexy woman at some club where there's constant movement and noise; and in this one moment the background fades away and they're just looking at each other eye-to-eye. Maybe. Either way, I think it's more "cool" looking than a lot of my other stuff.

A year or two later, I was asked to donate a piece for a charity auction, and since digital printouts wouldn't bring much, I donated this. While I didn't get an exact figure, I was told the piece did sell, and for a nice amount. So I'm happy the piece now has a good home, and was used for a worthy cause.

e:namtab29@comcast.netp: 856.261.2265 • all material © 2012 Rob Kelly