Oakland at Night (a new series)

I started a new series of Oakland at night. I pass through Oakland on the way home and take pictures. First up was Lake Merritt. I’ve done two. Originally inspired by a book I read on Van Gogh. I’m doing my own thing with it and not trying to copy his style. Usually it takes me a month to do an oil painting. I’ve done these faster. Underpainting in a day – wait til it’s dry (3 days) – then final painting in a day. These are so different for me, I’ve been unsure of them.

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What I saw the night Van Gogh died.

I read a pretty thick book on Vincent Van Gogh by Marc Edo Tralbaut. It covered the life of Vincent Van Gogh and his work. I got to the point where he killed himself. I stayed up to finish reading – it was probably 2am. I went out on the back porch for a cigarette and saw this. Oakland in a hazy night. I decided to paint it. I kinda became obsessed. I told my roommate I was not going to try to paint this like Van Gogh. In working on it I just decided to give it a Van Gogh sky – without looking at the book. It just seemed right. I did not know where I was going with this but this is what I did. It’s Oakland not Arles, France so it’s just what it is. My view ala Vincent.

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Easy Creole Art Car

I’ve been working on painting this car. I have never painted a car before and the whole thing has been a learning experience. So far my client (my roommate) is really happy with it. Deco-Goth was the idea behind this. The staff of the restaurant go to a Goth club in SF. So I was coming up with designs to go along with that. The car is basically an advertisement for the restaurant. I have one side left to do and it will be different from the other one. The car is a 1964 Mini Austin Healy.

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Men Kissing

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I published a book on Blurb, a small one 20 pages. It contains images I created for my Instagram following which is mostly gay, although some women have liked my stuff too. These have never been published before and I’ve only known them onscreen. It was exciting to see them in glossy color. This is just a first attempt at doing something with these images. I create more as I go along. My Instagram is @williamcricket – the book can be purchased on Blurb at this link:

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AJ Davenport – a portrait

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Recently I was able to visit this painting I did of my friend AJ Davenport. It’s at her place and I was there for a party. I remember the day we got together – I was in my old Victorian which I have since had to leave many years ago now – We drank wine and took pictures. She collects vintage hats and we took lots of pictures of various hats and poses. This for me was the winner. I made up the colors of the wall and sofa. My roommate said it reminded him of Hopper – the loneliness and colors. This is a painting of a dear friend and probably me at my best in oil.

Portraits

I entered the LensCulture portrait competition because they give a review as well. This is what I submitted and the review from a photography professional.

William thank you for your diverse portrait submission.

Your first photograph, Old Master Selfie, does embody some of the qualities of Rembrandt lighting, moving from light to dark, the color hue scheme as well as some of the clothing effects. Overall nice effect. The head and eyes turned away does create curiosity and a slight mystery for the viewer as to what else might be occurring. You may want to investigate slightly darkening the background lightness in the upper left corner, which does cause the viewers eyes to wander to that region and then due it is proximity to the edge, out of the frame.

The second photograph, another selfie, has an interesting visual tension; the background is slightly off-kilter while the subject has concealed eyes behind the shades. If you were concerned about the slight tension in the image, you might want to experiment with a slight image rotation to bring the window lines a bit more horizontal. There appears to be extra space above the subject that reveals some structure above the building that includes a few light spots that I find visually distracting; thus recommend cropping this a bit tighter to eliminate it as it does not appear to add to the environmental context.

Marilyn Mitchell portrait in performance has an interesting graphic & color palette that probably created by the high contrast stage lighting and communicates that this is an event in progress. The cropping is tight just revealing feet, arms and instrument and that tight framing can also convey some visual tension. The face is lost in dark shadows, thus this image has more metaphoric qualities. If your subject’s identify is important, then I would mask the face and with a contrast layer experiment if any of the facial textures can be coaxed out of the shadows. Not much might needed to establish the identify.

Your photograph of Grant embodies some of the wonderful qualities of the night and has one of the issues of night photograph; a strong off-lens light source that introduces some bright and distracting glare into the image as well as creating high contrast tonalities. Although these lighting issues can be problematic, I think in this photograph it seems to unify the narrative as sometimes things going wrong can create something that appears right. Only quibble is the bright white object in the background (dumpster?), perhaps masking it and reducing the brightness or depending on the use of the photograph, cloning it out all together.

The last photograph of the Bart rider as a street photograph is not your strongest submission; although I can see some potential in the layering of the various individuals who are in some “far-away” emotional or physical state. The issue for me is the layering does not provide sufficient delineation (visual separation) of the stack of night-time riders. The photograph is technically strong, but an important aspect of street photographs is why is this photo important? I created a tighter cropping which creates more emphasis on the interplay of four individuals riding a train and eliminated some of the bright or light visual distractions and I recommend you experiment with some similar cropping ideas.

I enjoy your sense of experimentation and working with alternatives; that exploration of images and ideas should serve you well in your future endeavors; good luck!”

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Lost

I was lost today and then just started fucking around. I should be at sketch but can’t go tonight. So here’s a male figure in watercolor that was an experiment. I drew it on and then doused the paper with water leaving some weird texture. Then painted some more….

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Hot Russian

I was liked and followed by this guy on Instagram. When I looked at his pictures, I had to try and paint him. It’s taken me a month working off and on to complete this. I reached out to him to see what he thought and if he was cool with this. So far I have had no response. I did this for myself, changing colors of the wall and couch to be what I consider sexier. Oil on canvas, 24″ x 36″.

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