Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Puppy Pebbles


 Ever since I graduated from high school my parents have begun putting all their care and attention into raising puppies.  I mean, my dad was never one for spoiling our pets, but this one here sleeps in their bed with them even though she is now a full grown American bulldog!  So for my mom for Christmas, I've decided to do a painting of Pebbles when she was still a little puppy.  Though the pup has certainly lost none of her spark or hyperactive overenthusiastic curiosity, she is still as cute as a button and still does this awesome little head tilt thing when she's interested in something.  In this pic I was playing the piano and she had never heard it before, and the pose was so perfect I had to take a picture of it.  I think she's gonna love the painting and I can't wait to get it printed! (and no, my mom is not on facebook so she won't see this before Christmas :-p)

Below you will also find a few process paintings if you're interested.





2012



And here is the short that almost killed me!  I have to say I've never gone with so little sleep for so long, even when completing my thesis at RIT's School of Film and Animation.  For those of you who have talked to me about this project, you know how close it was to not being finished with the last minute technical disasters I've had over the last week before it was due, but thanks to the awesome people in the Viz Lab and a week of sleeping in the lab and only going home to shower, here it is! 4 months of hard work and dedication! Hope you enjoy :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Etsy Additions!


These are two of my more popular pieces and they have been added to my Etsy shop for purchase!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Cards are now for Sale!!!

Hello all!!  I have opened an Etsy shop with some holiday related items to make  exchanges more effiicient. :)  I will add more of my work for sale over time and will keep and steady stream of new work as the year goes by.  I will most like post on the blog anytime something new goes for sale, so keep checking and you might find something you love!  To get to the shop you can click on the Etsy mini widget off to the right side of my blog or just follow this link:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RJPena

Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lacanian Symbol


Lacanian Symbol from gunslingers19 on Vimeo.


    This project examines our need to display our lives through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other blogging type websites.  Millions of people every day post mundane statements and status updates with a desire that people will look and comment or "like" what they have written.  John Berger talks about an interesting psychological dichotomy within the realm of art history that we can apply to this phenomenon: the psychology of the audiences need to view, as well as be viewed by the object of their desires.  According to Berger, traditional European nude paintings played upon the wealthy owners, generally male, desire to be viewed by the woman (viewed in this sense as owned possessions), and also their desire to reveal to the world the wealth of which they own through oil paintings of their material possessions. 
    My question is how is this different than people in modern times taking pictures of themselves in various exotic locations and posting them, or taking pictures and tweeting about their latest new purchases or experiences which are often times exaggerated through syntax and superficial excitement or expression?  In reality we post post these updates of our daily lives with the eager expectation that these posts will impress, shock, or incite interest within those around us.  What's even more curious is our eagerness to look at our 'home feeds' and see what everyone else is commenting on or posting in relation to what we ourselves have posted. 
    There is a great sadness in the separation that has been created in technology between what people desire and what they actually receive. What we gain in turn is an odd lack of personal interaction as we respond to our peers through an isolated computer screen in an attempt to feel as if we are an active part of their lives, and they a part of ours in return, regardless of how empty and impersonal we have become towards each other.


For those interested in the formal and technical aspects of this project, I shot it with my iPhone in a mirror image of the medium most of us use to post such updates with FXF by JOBY app for the time lapse and an iPhone stand by Gorilla.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lacanian mirror


    Check out this piece of work!  Officially my first completed art project for A&M's grad Visualization program.  The Lacanian Mirror refers to the works of Lacan, who believes in 3 stages of mental process named the Imaginary. the Symbolic, and the Real.  The descriptions of these are completely different than what you think they are.  This work represents the imaginary, which Lacan describes adeptly with the example  of a baby first realizing that its reflection in the mirror is itself, but not having the mental capacity to realize that its reflection is just an image of itself, and not literally itself.  The imaginary exists in the realm of intuition, the unbridled underlying emotions that drive us before we process what they are and what they mean. 
    This piece reflects the emotion of a human being viewing itself within a space in the world, much as the baby would.  I chose to do this medium because it creates the illusion of a 3D space by a combination of transparent flat 2D cross-sections, and the fact that the image is not understandable from all angles.  I hope to create the sensation of realization and mystery as the viewer comes around the piece and ultimately comprehends the image, yet still being deceived by the illusion of 3D reality, much as the infant sees itself in the world but does not understand the separation.
    Hopefully this piece will be accepted into a show sometime soon and you all can see it in action!  But for now I hope you enjoy these images :)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

White Linen Night in the Heights

This piece painted by me will be available during the annual White Linen Night exhibition in the Heights on Saturday from 6pm-10pm.  The piece is called "Balance" and is painted in oil with some steel accents on a 12"x12" canvas.  Our tent will be on "Pink Street" between Oxford and Columbia and is juried by Lori Betz of the Betz gallery.  For more info about the event and some good paths for traveling around you can follow this link http://whitelinennightheights.com/map and a portion of the sales will go to benefit Houston Art and Culture, which helps to support and inspire art through scholarship and mentoring.  Hope to see ya'll there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Sculpture is Almost Complete!

We have delivered Julio's sculpture and set it in it's location with
the shape of the landscaping roughed in. Tomorrow we will be digging
the trench for the stones and adding sand and liner for the
foundation, and finally adding the river stones to the center and
copper accents on the piece itself. More updates to come before the
week is out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Random Doodles

Always a good practice to doodle a few gestures or characters
during the day. Here are a few I did while waiting for Gavin to get
out of a meeting. These sketches aren't by any means literal drawings
of people I saw, but I picked a shape to base my design on and used
the people around me as inspiration for the features and unique
qualities of each sketch. If the people I based them on happened to
look at them, they may see some resemblances to their own reflections,
hopefully with amusement :-p. So even when you are doing gesture
drawing, don't be afraid to caricature the gesture or apply it to a
character you are already familiar with. If you don't get it at the
time of the sketch, you can always take your initial gesture and clean
it up or apply it later. That is, after all, why my drawing teachers
insisted on us keeping journals or gesture drawings. You never know
when a pose will come in handy!

If you aren't in a place where you have a lot of people to draw from,
remember you can always find quick poses at
http://www.posemaniacs.com/ you can set a time limit for each pose and
there are hundreds to draw from. And if you're mobile, they have an
app! Though at the moment it is kind of limited.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Illustration Friday- Gesture

This week's Illustration Friday topic is gesture.  I was thinking about the Percy Jackson series with the child demigods going on their deadly quests, and I got the idea for the topic.  A gesture drawing is a quick drawing of a subjects pose, motion, and rhythm, which many times is then translated to other mediums, including sculpture.  Although the creature herself is quite terrifying, the living creatures captured by her gaze, though morbid, must have been spectacular to behold from an artists perspective: with perfect gestures of life frozen forever in stone

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lambda Photography Workshop






    A few days ago I participated in a creativity workshop at the Houston Lambda center, and went on a little photography tour of Market Square in downtown Houston.  Blistering swampy heat aside, I was able to capture some really cool scenes in some very unlikely places.  Mostly I wanted to use this opportunity to try out some abstract photo techniques, especially non-standard aspect ratios and extreme close-ups of contrasting shape and texture.  I have always been fascinated by the fact that you can look at something every day but not really notice the depth and beauty of it's lines and textures until someone photographs it.  Then all of a sudden it becomes something beautiful and creates not only a new perspective on a space, but becomes a conduit for what the individual sees in his mind's eye.  You normally don't think that something as mundane as a manhole cover or a fan can be beautiful until you're laying on the ground at odd angles, getting up close and personal with some rust.  And even if you look at a photo and it seems uninteresting, you can do some fantastic things by cropping it in crazy aspect ratios and focusing the image on the sometimes small area of the photograph that is unique..
    Above are a few samples of what I came up with, and there are many more where that came from!  What I am taking from this experience is that when coming up with a composition, or looking for a way to express your vision with a camera, don't be afraid to tilt it and get so close to your subject the lens is practically resting on it.  Then just snap away, even if it means using 20 pictures on one subject.  The more compositions and angles you explore, the more you have to examine and play with later.  The results will most certainly surprise you!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Metal Sculpture Progress

Hooray!!!! The most difficult part of our sculpture is finally
complete. Now with the form finished we can begin the final
decorative touches that should tie everything together. We will be
running a grinder over the welds to smooth them before applying some
bright green patina'd copper leaf to them. And finally, to give it
some depth, we will add various sized steel squares, patinad like a
red bronze, to either side for some contrast.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Summer Drawings

Went to Gavin's family's lake house up at Lake Livingston yesterday to
chill and get some relaxation in. One of the things I love most about
summers is the chance to just relax and do some sketching without any
pressure. Lakes and oceans are a common subject for me, since I've
lived by water for most of my life, and my I suppose maybe it's
because I'm a water sign, but I've always been drawn to water. In any
case, it gave me a reason to practice using procreate, this time
trying to get a nice India ink feel.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

My super secret delicious Fourth of July cupcakes!!!!

Every year for the Fourth of July since before I can remember, my mom
has made a flag cake with homemade whipped cream icing and a flag
pattern made out of strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. It has
always been my absolute favorite cake and I eagerly wait for it every
year. This year I'm going to Gavin's lake house and I decided to
change the recipe a bit and make flag cupcakes for a little pre-4th
treat. While I couldn't do the two layers with whipped cream and
chopped strawberries in the middle, I did bake chopped strawberries
into the yellow cake and just alternated the toppings (with plenty of
leftover cream to gorge myself on, might I add). All in all they look
to promise delicious bite sized amazingness, and i hope they love the
as much as I do.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Metal sculpture in progress

Latest update on the progress of Gavin's and my first metal sculpture
commission. We finally found a form that works and are moving right
along on the welding and bending. So excited about the pipe bender
Gavin found that works like a dream. I'd say we are only a few weeks
out on completion of the project.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Manica Depressiva

Sketch of a drag performer, one Miss Manica Deppresiva, at the Houston
Lambda Centers Miss Lambda fundraiser. These events are amazing for
character inspiration and never fail to leave your brain overloaded
with so much sensory information you won't be able to help yourself
but whip out your sketch pad and scribble something down. Once again,
this was drawn in my Procreate app with a pogo stylus. Fantastic
stuff!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Starburst iPad painting

So the painting app I use on the iPad 2, procreate, recently had an
update which made it even more the best painting app for the iPad in
my opinion. It now has the ability to utilize "wet" brushes, which
will smear and pick up pigments of color that the brush stroke
crosses, much like Corel paint. They even added new sections to the
brush editing menu that allow you to change the load and amount of
wetness the brush will have. Also, much to my utter joy and
amazement..... You can use blending modes in your layers!!!! (I may
have peed a bit in my pants on this one...shhhh!!!!).
It's limited to multiply, screen, add, lighten, and exclusion at the
moment, but it's a huge step in the right direction :D. All these
improvements plus a fantastic redesign to their GUI and menus and an increase to hd resolution to their already phenomenal resolution make this definitely the number one art app to
have for any iPad user with an interest in art. Now we just need to
figure out some way of convincing Jobs to put in the software for
pressure sensitivity...come on baby!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Business Cards!!


After much deliberation (and obsessive font searching), I finally decided on a business card design! I figure since I'm doing real work for people I need to get on that whole professional bandwagon and get my name associated with a business and whatnot :-p Now off to do some more sculpture building wOot!!!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Recent Dream

I recently had an extremely vivid dream. Unfortunately, like most dreams, much of it faded away when I woke up. There was this one
image that remained, though. I remember walking outside in my
backyard in the early morning. Just after some kind of fierce summer
storm. The entire world was painted blood red with the light of the
rising sun. I caught a glimmer of color across the lake in the sky
and saw a piece of rainbow that was so bright it appeared to be
metallic, and left spots in my vision from where lighted glinted off
of it. I reached out to grab my camera to capture this phenomenon,
and as I was looking through the viewfinder, I centered on this
magnificent tree. Just as that happened the sun came up directly
behind it, backlighting the scene with a magnificent halo. I just
remembered being absolutely stunned by the awesome beauty of these
events coming together so suddenly and so perfectly. So of course, I
had to grab my ipad and sketch it immediately! I wonder what it
means.....?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cosmic Dust

I just received my brand new Pogo Sketch stylus for my iPad 2 and
decided to give it a whirl drawing in Procreate. It works beautifully
with the app and allows me to obtain a level of detail I would never
be able to achieve trying to see through my clumsy fingers. I can't
wait to practice with it some more to see how far I can push my art
with the iPad.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lament

I was sitting on the couch doodling on my iPad and this is what came
out. Dunno why but my thoughts always turn melancholy late at
night...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Icarus


I have always loved Greek mythology, and there are a few stories that really speak to me. Gavin was telling me about his favorite Greek myth, the story of Icarus, because it related so much to his life, and the symbology of the myth struck a deep chord in me. I feel like it is applicable to so many people in today's world and I just had to draw a concept for it.

He is the son of Daedalus, imprisoned in a tower by King Minos's greed, and who is able to escape by his father's invention of wax wings. Then, overwhelmed by his freedom and ignoring his father's warnings, tries to reach the heavens, causing his wings to melt from getting too close to the sun and plummeting him to his death.

I hope to paint this and a series of 3 or 4 other Greek mythology scenes in oil over the next few months and see what I can do with them. I feel excitement at tackling such a classical theme and trying new things with materials to bring a modern twist to them. Let me know what you think, and if there are any Greek myths that you relate to as well that you feel would be a good addition to the series.

See ya!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Curls

I have never liked my hair: it's crazy, unmanageable, wavy in some places, curly in others, and downright impossible to style. If you think it looks okay now, well you should see it when I wake up in the morning! I have always been jealous of those who can just get out of the shower, shake their heads, and tackle the world looking like they just walked off the cover of GQ. It simply isn't fair.
For those of you who know me, I currently work as a bartender whose job it is to serve, entertain, and relate to the nightlife of my hometown. It is also an unsaid part of the job description that I'm supposed to be attractive and such, and actually, the better I look the more money I make. And for a guy who is as self-conscious as I am, it can be pretty stressful worrying about how I look. Therefore, I have developed the unfortunate habit of grabbing a straightener and yanking on my hair for like twenty minutes trying to get all those damn waves and curls to behave themselves.
Now, it is true that whenever I have been in a hurry and don't have time to waste with all that business, I just go to work looking like whatever. And actually, what completely boggles my mind, is that people compliment me on my hair and all its disorderly curliness. Most times, I just smile and laugh and call them crazy, but I can't help but think that the repetition of this event may actually prove its validity. And what's even stranger, is the question of why it is so hard for me to accept that my hair might just be as great naturally, or perhaps even better, than when I slave over it trying to get it to be something that it's not. Maybe true beauty is just accepting what things are in their natural state regardless of the flaws you perceive to exist, and learning to embrace what is naturally there? No matter how difficult or painful it may be to do so.

These are just a few things I have been pondering over lately

Friday, January 07, 2011

2010 Demo Reel

Demo Reel from gunslingers19 on Vimeo.



Here is new polished demo reel for 2010!!! All work aside from the music is done by me =)