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Rob Dunlavey
Night Studio
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Mr. Owl Eyes
I'm usually up and in my studio well before the sun makes its way to this side of the Atlantic Ocean. This gives me one to two hours before I have to get my kids ready for school. So it's just right for extremely concentrated personal studio time. I make a conscious effort to leave the computer off and avoid any commissioned work during this period. I work in my sketchbooks exclusively. The effort has paid off: in January and February (2009) alone, I've been able to post about 130 drawings, painting, and doodles to my flickr pages.
Stimulants are essential
This diligent compulsion feeds on itself and I'm never stuck in my practice. I have enough varied materials and ways of using and abusing them that they have become my trusted accomplices as I search my memory with pen and brush in hand.  I'm just working through things as I engage in a dialogue with the materials and what ideas and themes have been predominating. Right now, it's an ongoing series of "postcards from a love story" and it involves an owl and a tern and the emotional spaces between them. The pictures are never planned beforehand. So far at least, this is not a picture book (although I will try to bend it to that purpose eventually). Here are a few postcards from my nocturnal studio while the house is sleeping.
the current book I'm working in. It's part journal so there's often some writing that accompanies whatever ends up on the page.
Meet some of my friends
Whatever works
Yes, that's a set of expensive, archival Crayola watercolors. Other materials include: ballpoint pen, different dip pens, inks, gouache, watercolor, fabric paint, water-based Speedball inks, oil pastels, crayons, markers, collage, leftover latex paint and acrylic paint. The kitchen sink basically.
I first dampened the absorbent page and dragged some yellow and red ink into it. Then I added this pale aqua latex blending it in with a big mop.
Then a NEED for trees expressed itself and, lo! these bushes appeared.
a blurry photo of a tree that got into the act and made the composition a bit more interesting for me.
The completed painting ("02-25-09a"). The birds are collage and ink.
With that tree finally in place, I knew I had created a meaningless, empty world. So I snapped my fingers and my two characters deigned to inspect and (briefly) inhabit this snowy postcard. Thank you for reading to the end here. It's 6:00 am and the birds are starting to sing ouside. Before I can join them, I just need to scan in today's catch!


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