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Buddy McCue On March - 18 - 2011

the rising of the moon

Much of the time, I use a camera to take pictures of what I intend to paint, then import those pictures into Photoshop, edit them around, patch in different parts from different photos, mess with the color and so on until I get exactly what I want. Then I usually overlay a grid, pencil in that same grid on my canvas and work from that.

This is not one of those paintings. This time, I wanted to see if I could still paint well without those crutches, so I set up this arrangement of a red viola, the smaller violin, and a grapefruit. My wife & I took a ride out to the local fabric store so I could pick out a yard or two of the right fabric. I wanted the kind that has a pattern that “reverses out” when light hits it. I like that effect.

Then I set it all up, pulled up a chair and went to work. I rested the grapefruit on a small vase, and then removed the vase after painting the grapefruit in order to paint the background behind it. Looking close, you can see my reflection on the front of the viola.

This is oil on canvas, about 18″ x 24″.  My idea was to try to depict a landscape with a rising moon behind it. The instruments were supposed to represent the ground, and the strings electrical wires.  The paisley pattern in the fabric was supposed to represent clouds in the sky.

That really doesn’t come through, but I like the painting anyway.

Written by Buddy McCue

I am a middle-aged artist and musician who was born and raised in the Southern United States. I have a Flickr page where some of my artwork can be seen : http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmccue/ I post various creative things on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BMcCue7 And you can hear some of my modest musical compositions here: http://home.mindspring.com/~safeathome/artandmusicofbuddymccue/id8.html

74 Responses so far.

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  1. KQuark says:

    Fantastic work Buddy. Obviously your realist technique is extraordinary but I catch your spacial surreal spacial overtones as well. The way the orange is seemingly suspended and the use of lighting and shadow adds a delicately whimsical nature to the work that breaks up some of the staged seriousness many realist painters don’t use to add a deeper interpretation of reality.

    Or my delving into the expanded meaning of this piece could be full of shit. But that’s my favorite part of viewing art every observer has a different POV as to it’s deeper meaning.

    • Truth says:

      Fantastic work Buddy. Obviously your realist technique is extraordinary but I catch your spacial surreal spacial overtones as well.

      KQuark, you cloak in words what I feel, but couldn’t express reasonably.

  2. SequimBob2 says:

    Buddy: I’m still wrestling with the concept that your painting is not a photograph. The reflection of the violin is amazing. Wow! I’m blown away.

  3. PocketWatch says:

    This is more my usual style, though… A view of Lake Truckee, near the Donner Pass in Truckee, CA.


    • Truth says:

      PW, did you see Bob’s Eagle post? That was exactly what I had on my mind with my suggestion to you how to post your nature pictures…

    • jkkFL says:

      Now that looks like a painting!
      PW, you need to create a photography page- we have a blooming Arts section in process!
      Buddy has his painting, 2ccp has his computer art, wts has his PoohParodies.. we’re on a roll!

  4. PocketWatch says:

    Here’s something completely different…


  5. whatsthatsound says:

    What masterful technique you have, Buddy. I keep looking at it trying to find a brushstroke! I am astounded this is not a photograph. And all the more impressive that you are self taught. Amazing!

  6. ADONAI says:

    Fantastic detail, Buddy. I really enjoy this one.

    And I am in no way jealous or resentful of you artistic expertise….. :)

  7. PocketWatch says:

    Per our earlier discussion, I quickly dug up a photo that I took out in the Rockies, near Lake Tahoe…


    • jkkFL says:

      PW- that has a soft, dreamy quality..
      I Like It!! :)

    • Buddy McCue says:

      PW -- Pretty pictures indeed!

      You’re right; stuff like this would make an EXCELLENT calendar.

    • Truth says:

      That’s beautiful, PW. I’d so love to see more from the Rockies. Maybe AdLib needs to create another new section, something like: Images from America, or better still: Nature pictures. (there are better expressions, just an idea to define the subject)
      They could also be in the Art section of course, but I would like to see several pictures, and yes, I would like them to have their own place. It is soooooo good to get a respite from politics etc once in a while.
      There are such incredibly beautiful places on this earth, and I really like to look at them. Sadly I discovered the breathtaking beauty from Japan only now, when there is so much damage. But I’m in awe about the beauty I saw.

    • PocketWatch says:

      Perhaps a little larger would be better…


      • PocketWatch says:

        Oops! Don’t know what’s going … lemme check the size in the library…

        *** EDIT ***
        Don’t know why this is displaying so small… the library says it’s a full screen sized image. If you right-click on it and select View Image, it comes up full sized…

  8. PatsyT says:

    Fantastic Buddy!
    Do you use oil or acrylic?
    Is this a photo of the painting or a scan?
    What size is this work?
    I know you said grapefruit but I instantly thought of this music

    Prokofiev -- Love For Three Oranges

    • Buddy McCue says:

      PatsyT -- Answers:

      Oil, Photo of the painting, and about 18″x24.”

      I’m listening to “Love For Three Oranges” now… it’s short! Is that the entire piece?

      • PatsyT says:

        Thanks for the answers Buddy,
        I used oils back in my art school days.
        You are making me want to go back and get out the linseed oil!
        Maybe I’m nuts but I always thought that smell was intoxicating.
        Do you build you own canvas?

        more of that Prokofiev although this one cuts off the end a bit

        Another Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet -- Montagues and Capulets,
        Dance Of The Knights

  9. BigDogMom says:

    Buddy, in a rush, real quick reply, wonderful work…and by the way that is not a pasley print, that is what is called an acanthus motif or acanthus leaf, I do know my fabric prints….

    • Buddy McCue says:

      Oh, okay! I stand corrected. Not paisley.

      The only other time I’ve seen a mention of acanthus leaves is in reading about Greek columns. Acanthus leaves are used in the Corinthian design, as I remember.

      But now I’ve learned something about fabric. Thanks for the info.

      • BigDogMom says:

        Buddy, sorry was in a hurry, had to run out and drop off client work…you are extremely talented and have a wonderful eye for color and capturing light/shadows.

        Would love to see this in person to see the brush strokes, have you ever “shown” your work?

        The reason I know fabric, I spent the better part of two years in the NY Design Center and Metropolitan Museum when I was studying for my “Interior Design” degree, which I never used, and the anthus motif/leaf is one of my favorite designs.

  10. PocketWatch says:

    I have a question:

    Is photography art?

    I’m interested in others’ opinions. I’ve heard it both ways.

    • Artist50 says:

      PW -- I absolutely think it’s art -- well I suppose it’s not always good art just like all paintings aren’t good art. Good photographers have a wonderful eye for light and they know how to use their instrument! I just read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith who was a lover and friend of Mapplethorpe and his work was quite remarkable.

      Happy Birthday -- I celebrated 60 in the fall. Funny how you still feel the same inside, isn’t it?

    • AdLib says:

      Absolutely, there are a number of artists who are photographers that I enjoy. Anyone who says photographers aren’t artists doesn’t visit museums too frequently.

      Here’s a few from one of my favorites, Elliot Erwitt, whose work I discovered at MOMA:




    • Truth says:

      PW, of course it is!

      And btw, Happy Birthday!

      ” alt=”flowers” />

      • PocketWatch says:

        Truth… Um… happy birthday?

        • Truth says:

          Someone on OT congratulated you earlier, I just follow suit… so if it’s not your birthday, then you get some flowers just because.

        • AdLib says:

          Whoops, clicked the Thumbs Down by mistake! Hate when that happens!

          Anyway, is it not your birthday?

          • PocketWatch says:

            Truth & AdLib -- Actually, it is. I am trying to figure out how fox knew. I must have told her at some point, but I don’t remember doing so. Ahhhh…. old age is a bitch, isn’t it?

            I’m not much of a holiday guy… I spent so many years on the road, I sort of got over the habit. One day is pretty much like any other. Sometimes I forget what day it is… it’s all pretty much the same to me.

            But, having said that, I thank you. And I do appreciate the flowers!

    • Buddy McCue says:

      PW -- I think it is, but I didn’t always. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more open-minded.

      But when I was a teenager, I had a terrible chip on my shoulder about that. I said that photography was NOT art! I would rail on about it, saying that the camera would NEVER replace the painter, because no soulless hunk of plastic and glass could EVER do the same work as the artists’ eye! And so on.

      But I had a lot of growing up to do. I’ve known several photographers since then, and have come to respect what they do.

      So now I say, “Yes. It is art.”

      • PocketWatch says:

        Buddy, as you and others may suspect, I am a fair-to-middling photographer. I have sold prints and have been hired a few times.

        What I do not want to do is to sort of horn in on a more classic approach to art.

        I know the arguments. I have tried painting and watercolors, sketching and ink drawings, and have never liked the results. It takes a different sort of talent I don’t have, so I decided to attack photography. I built my own darkroom, developed my own film, both color and black and white, and made my own prints as well as did my own matting and framing by hand.

        Now in the digital age, since I know a fair bit about computers and digital imaging, I use the computer as a darkroom, mostly for just enhancing colors in the print and some mild cropping.

        All I know is that I am getting what I see in my mind’s eye onto paper much more effectively than I ever could using more classic methods.

        • Buddy McCue says:

          PW -- Cool.

          You should put some of your photographs up in this new Art Section, if you’re willing to risk putting them up on the internet.

          (I think Photoshop has watermarking tools, to discourage theft of your images, but I’m not sure how that works.)

          I’ve done darkroom work too, when I worked in the print industry. I’ve been a screenprinter and a film stripper, and I’ve developed plenty of film in that capacity. Kinda stinky work, but I enjoyed it.

          • PocketWatch says:

            Buddy, I have no problem setting up the images so they are useless to print but still look good on a computer screen. and I can always use my old AfterImage logo on them (if I still have it stashed away on file somewhere… it’s been a while).

            I like nature. I used to hike all over the Hudson Valley and the Birkshires when I lived back there, so my stuff is what I call “calendar art”… pretty pictures.

            • Truth says:

              Great, PW!!! Looking forward to your contributions in the Art section!!!

            • Buddy McCue says:

              Nothing wrong with pretty pictures!

              I’d like to encourage you to share some of that, if you don’t have anything against the idea.

    • BigDogMom says:

      Yes…to me it is

  11. foodchain says:

    I’m sharing this with friends. My husband is a “moon child” and we’ve been known to chase full moons around, especially blue moons. Moonrises over water, or any clear horizon, are haunting, as is this painting. The isolation of your moon gives me the same sensation. I love it.

  12. kesmarn says:

    Buddy, I saw this painting on your flickr page and it was one that really, totally leapt off the page at me. I loved it.

    Those art show judges were idiots!

    I hope that stranger appreciated the gift you gave him.

    It’s tough being an artist. It’s a very private occupation, and yet success in it depends to some extent on the approval of others. So you’re constantly in the position of placing one of your “children” — your creations — out there to be accepted or rejected by the cold, cruel world. It’s nerve wracking! And it takes courage.

    This weekend, I’m told we’re supposed to have a “super moon” in the skies. Larger and brighter than usual. So this was a great time to put this out there. Thanks for sharing your talent with the Planet, Buddy.

    • Buddy McCue says:

      kesmarn -- I’m glad you reminded me!

      A co-worker told me about the “super moon” earlier this week, and I listened to what that was, and totally forgot about it. (Honestly, I didn’t know whether he was pulling my leg, so I said I’d look it up and see.)

      Good time to go and take some pictures of the moon. I won’t let the opportunity go to waste.

      Your comments about being an artist are spot-on, by the way. It really IS a private occupation, like you say. It’s not like making music, where you can get together and jam with people. It takes a lot of solitary time. You have to be really comfortable being alone for long periods of time.

      • kesmarn says:

        Yes, Buddy, you have to be able to handle being alone. And also, I think, getting in touch with an inner “voice” (for lack of a better word) that tells you when something you’re doing is “right,” no matter what anyone else says.

        I once had a teacher who would take my brush out of my hand and “fix” something that I was working on. I can’t tell you how infuriating that was! I would rather have something I painted be “wrong” and authentic, than “right” and someone else’s work. I stopped going to her.

        One artist I talked with gave me some great advice: “The way to learn to paint is to paint!”

        Do you ever have difficulty with knowing when to stop on a given picture? I know that sounds funny, but for me, it’s tough sometimes to determine when a painting is “done.” You know how it goes: sometimes you can keep on tinkering with something and trying to “improve” it until you lose the initial vision. Does that ever happen with you?

        • Buddy McCue says:

          kesmarn -- Honestly, no, I can’t say that happens to me.

          What DOES happen is that I get 95% done with something, and rush the ending of it. I put a “quick finish” on it, and the art is not usually well-served by my impatience.

          When watching a movie, I can usually tell when the film-makers do that. You’re watching the film, and enjoying the development of the plot and the characters, and either the movie runs out of time, or the scriptwriter runs out of ideas, or whatever the reason is… and the movie just stops. They put a “quick finish” on it, and roll the credits.

          As far as my painting goes, I recognize that this is a bad habit that I need to work on losing.

          • kesmarn says:

            😆 I’ve been there, too, Buddy!

            I guess either extreme is less than desirable. Kind of like landing an airplane… can’t bring it in too fast or too hesitantly!

            I think it was Rubens who said when he was about 90 years old: “I believe I am finally learning how to paint!”

  13. Artist50 says:

    I wish I’d been the lucky recipient of this painting -- I hope he appreciates it. This is a lovely painting that’s finely executed. People don’t appreciate realism because they know they don’t have the talent to pull it off. Thanks for the website tip the other day, I’ve enjoyed reading it. I’m really agreeing with Ross’s philosophy.

    • Truth says:

      Artist, I do appreciate realism, Buddy is just marvelous at that! And I’m really a nut at drawing, so some of us can appreciate the gifts of others. As a matter of fact, I’m very glad he can express what I never could.

  14. AdLib says:

    It’s such a lyrical and lovely painting, a wonderful work!

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