Sunday, December 26, 2010

Windows of Cognition

Windows of Cognition, 30" x 60", oil on canvas, 2010.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Summary Judgment

In a court of law, it is the job of the jury to decide issues of fact; for example, when one person says the light was red, and the other says the light was green, the jury may conclude the light was green based on the credibility of the witnesses' testimony. When there are no disputed material facts for a jury to decide, however, prior to trial a party may make a written request to the judge to rule in that party's favor. This is called a motion for summary judgment and is made on the grounds that, by applying the law to the specific undisputed facts of the case, there is no way the moving party can lose.

Succeeding on a motion for summary judgment is rare, and denial of the motion can hinge on conflicting evidence of the smallest detail or subtlety. But when summary judgment is granted, it ends a case before it even gets to trial, and thus can be considered the ultimate victory in the realm of civil litigation.

This painting is not a literal depiction or portrayal of the motion in the abstract, but it is an expression of the forcefulness and power behind an intangible human creation, something potentially terminating while at the same time delicately balancing layers: the obvious, the subtle, and what can be inferred.

The painting is a further exploration of human imperfections in contemporary society, including the power of subtlety. In a world of global communication and digitization, the language of painting, as I see it, will become even more powerful as our custom of viewing flawless images on digital screens continues to mask what makes us human – our imperfections. The human element, emotions, and intimacy of a painting will never be replaced. Just as the human element will always be an integral part of the law.

Judgment At Sunset (Redondo Beach)
, 30" x 30", oil on canvas, 2010.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New England Fall Scene

This is the completed commissioned work to the below sketch. What you cannot see in this image, however, is the texture of the painting, especially in the leaves of the trees. Texture, layers, and brushstrokes are invaluable aspects which bring a painting to life, setting a painting apart from photographs or digital images, reminding us of the natural and imperfect human element.

Although this is a depiction of a New England fall scene, the creation of this piece conjured up memories of the three years I lived in Syracuse, New York, where I attended Syracuse University for my Master's degree and Juris Doctorate. While I was there, I frequented the numerous lakes during spring and fall. The northeastern United States is a beautiful place...

"Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water. It needs no fence. Nations come and go without defiling it. It is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off, whose gilding Nature continually repairs; no storms, no dust, can dim its surface ever fresh; -- a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun's hazy brush, -- this the light dust-cloth, -- which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still."
- Henry David Thoreau

New England Fall
, 18" x 24", oil on canvas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Process For Commissions

People have been asking me how commissions work: It involves a fair amount of pre-production. If the person has an idea for a subject, I will use that subject and create sketches of possible compositions for a painting, such as the above fall scene. The composition is influenced by what mood and emotions the painting should convey, as well as the anticipated size and dimensions. Other considerations include where the painting will be displayed, what else is in the room, and the surrounding color scheme.
Once the sketches are complete and a composition is conceived, I construct and prime the canvas to begin painting. The sketches, of course, are merely a skeleton (or blueprint) of the final painting, since my paintings sometimes incorporate a decent amount of abstraction.
Thus, a person should not feel pressure to come up with the "perfect" subject for a painting. Ultimately, the subject matter is not what makes a painting -- how the color is applied, the brushstrokes, layers, and texture is where my work is uniquely a "Lucas Aardvark" painting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Call to Edgar

Absent, 29" x 21", oil on canvas, 2010.
A call to Absinthe by Edgar Degas, this painting takes a similar perspective, reporting on the consumptive properties of a contemporary addiction.

Monday, October 25, 2010

KPFK 90.7

Today, October 25, 2010, I was featured on a radio program on 90.7 KPFK Los Angeles, entitled "Hear in the City," a look at why we do what we do.

If you missed it live, you can still listen to it at:
(My interview is near the middle section.)

Please also check out Hear in the City website at:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Falconer

The Falconer, 27" x 40", oil on canvas, completed October, 2010.
Crumbling walls surround an eroding town. A blind man walking along the sidewalk touches a shadow which cuts across the street through a healthy grove of trees. Sitting on a limb, a falcon is perhaps leading him to his destination. Although the man appears vulnerable from his impaired eyesight, the same cannot be said about his vision.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Recent Commission

Man at Dangberg Ranch, 20" x 28", oil on canvas.
Dangberg Ranch, a historic site and now a State Park, is located on the outskirts of Carson City, Nevada.

This painting, although more representational than some of my more recent pieces, continues with my exploration of the human condition in contemporary society. While the term "contemporary society" suggests the idea of populated cities at the forefront of technology and current political events, such a connotation should be considered improper. We live in a global society, impacting the global environment, climate, and human condition everywhere.

Here, snow is on the mountain and the grass is green. The sky is blue. But tomorrow it could be rainy and cold, or blazing hot, scorching the grass to a dry yellow. Not only is the climate significant, but the current economic crisis has a substantial impact on the future of the State Park. Such instabilities are metaphorically represented in the subtle contrasting colors, hints of dry grass, a broken fence, a lone cow, and snow-topped mountains on a sunny day. Carson City can be a land of highs and lows, and the man ponders as he walks the land...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Man On A Rowboat

The latest painting: Man On A Rowboat, 30" x 40", oil on canvas.
The painting features a man on a rowboat at dawn or at dusk, as tiger sharks linger in the surrounding waters. It is unclear whether he knows about the sharks, whether he is at peace with them or hunted by them. He is in a moment, whether in victory or loss.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


A product of the year's oil spill disaster: Engulfed, 17" x 23", oil on canvas, 2010.
The spill is a message that reliance on domestic oil is not a long-term option. As the war shows that reliance on foreign oil is also not a long-term option, it is time to come together as a global community and demand investments in wind and solar power.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sidewalk

The Sidewalk, 28" x 40", oil on canvas, 2010. This painting represents my further metaphorical exploration of the human condition in the natural world. Sometimes a person must go against the flow of things...

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Painting

Well it's been a while since my last post, but I've been busy painting and building frames. This is an image of one of my newest paintings: The Lynching, 48" x 33", oil on canvas.

I thought about calling it the Execution of Prop 8, as it is a reference to one of the front-running legal and social issues of today. That title is also a play off the titles of Goya's The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid and Manet's The Execution of the Emperor Maximilian. But I ultimately decided that The Lynching is a broader, more ambiguous title which opens the painting up to interpretation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Long Beach Wetland

This is the latest commissioned painting. Long Beach Wetland, 30" x 96", oil on canvas. A conference room piece, commissioned by the Law Firm of Clinton & Clinton.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Madonna Update

Just days after the Madonna appeared, the rains came and a halo appeared -- the reflection of an outdoor light from the house, which happens to be above the Madonna's head.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Madonna of the Driveway

The Madonna evolved in a permanent water spot on my driveway!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Curse of the Bipolar Bear

Bear is a bipolar polar bear, and Taffy is his sidekick, a fox. The ice is melting and they are being hunted by two trophy-seekers, but Bear can't help but fall in love with the polar bear of his dreams. When their peril appears imminent, help arrives in the forms of a mountain man and belligerent Santa Claus.

Lucas Aardvark's Curse of the Bipolar Bear is a humorous comic book for readers 12 and older, in a drawing style similar to Calvin and Hobbes. Because polar bears are symbolic of today’s global warming, this book is both contemporary and timeless.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Untitled, 24" x 24", oil on canvas

This is the newest Lucas Aardvark oil painting of the 2010 year. It actually carried over from 2009. The combination of abstract, surreal, and realistic elements is intended to convey emotion and expression, not a literal representation of a certain subject matter.