Archive for December, 2005

CD Cover | Art from a Theme

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

Music and Art Reflecting Each Other

CD Cover - Caribbean 4

Caribbean 4 – CD Cover option – the one that got away

I did a CD cover for a friend of mine’s new album. I gave him a few options. He used some of all the other artwork I sent him but not this particular piece.

His is a Latin jazz album – just being released but I will put the link to his site anyway – I don’t know when info on the new album will hit his site, but I will show off the album artwork when that happens.*

So this colorful piece came from a song list of which I only knew some, the sound of some previously recorded music, and some instructions about the album being Caribbean and Romantic.

All I know is those would be mighty nice legs to be owning – particularly this time of year – certainly a place I would like to be.

* Apparently it has been updated since I last checked – CD art and album info now visible.

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New Music from 1danband

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Group Sound, Word Puns, Dance to Music

1danband | dansingnew - new release Dec 2005

Listen to Clip of The Rainbow Song

1danband is a name I came up with a number of years ago. Like on this CD, I had created a group sound by multitracking different instruments I had played all myself.

Obviously, I enjoy puns on words which is why my first musical release (on tape) many, many years ago had the pun of being produced by "outhouse studios" since it was a homemade production.

I don’t particularly mind the bathroom reference, because we have to be able to make fun of ourselves first and foremost – laughing at ourselves is healthy.

So with 1danband it is not so much making fun – but perhaps a more fun artist name than just my own – and it felt right with the title – oh yeah – guess that is a pun on words too.

The CD contains all new songs from 2005 which dan sings and also has enough of a beat and bass line (new for this album) to make you possibly feel like dancing. So many puns, so little time.

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New Art: Feeling of Rain

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Inspiration, Intended Feeling, Results

Feeling of Rain - Digital Painting - Dan Beck 2005

Feeling of Rain – Digital Painting 2005

Inspiration can come from anywhere, from a thought, a sight, a sound, any sensation at all. Well in this case, the winter rains have started here. The "storms" here become the STORMS of anywhere East of here.

Storms here are rain and wind, but they still feel like a storm in comparison, even though I know better having lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast most of my life.

In any event, the piece above is about the feeling. It does look at the cloud and mountain scene to grab the feeling, but it is intended to be something more than a grasp at reality.

Lighter than snow, and clearer than fog – whether it works or not is up to the observer; but for me I am quite satisfied with it. The results have the feeling I was looking for and that is probably even more important.

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New Music

Monday, December 26th, 2005

New Song Writing, Adding Bass Guitar, Overall Sound

1danband | dansingnew cd cover

Cover of new music CD – Listen to clip from 1st track

Over the last year, I have been remarklably prolific as a song writer – well for me anyway – over 30 songs last year. Given that, I couldn’t resist recording some of the music that I have come up with.

I am mostly a guitar player – but have managed to develop enough technique with various drums and percussion to create a small band sound.

In this venture, I have added bass guitar, which on the surface seems like would be a simple adjustment from the bass strings of the guitar – since the notes are the same though the octaves different. However, it is another thing to think like a bass player or hear like one.

Finding the right bass line was a new kind of challenge and that is probably part of the freshness here though the songs are very positive as well. All in all, I am really pleased with the results and overall sound.

Though not available for purchase at this writing, I expect the cd to be available soon at And I will be posting more clips.

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Drawing on the Desert

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Painting, Memory, Beauty, Artistic Impression

Mojave Desert - Dan Beck - Digital Painting 2005

Mojave Desert – Digital Painting 2005

If I had to pinpoint where this is other than an impression from my memory, I would say it is the stretch of old route 66 between Kingman and Oatman, AZ.  In any event, it is how I processed that stretch of land.

The colors of the desert, the rocks, the cragginess, the brush, the aridness, the open space and the quiet isolation are what I took.  I can only make something beautiful in different ways; there is no way to compete with nature.

Even a photograph won’t do that. Three dimensions into two and active experience into something you can hold on to are not really possible.  It is curious what we attempt with art and scrap books.

But then again, the art can become something which is beautiful in its own right and that to me is the goal.

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Describing Art & Method

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Digital, Computer, Painting, Giclee

Irrigate 1 - 2004 - Dan Beck

Irrigate 1 – Mouse Painting – 2004

Stepping back a bit, it seems to me I have never quite accurately come up with a name for what I do. I have been using the term "digital painting" because the painting is both stored digitally and created on a computer.

However, even I would wonder by such a term whether the artist was starting with a digital photograph. Digital encompasses a very large world. The work I do starts with a blank page and I am not using photos.

"Computer art" or even moreso "computer generated art" implies the computer is doing the work. The computer provides some of the palette and some of the painting tools, but doesn’t generate anything.

As you can see from above, I kind of like "mouse painting", but my guess is that this term is even more obscure.

Truth is – I see this medium as an alternative in all sorts of ways – but particularly love the fact that every print is an original as intended and that the work does not have to be transferred to be rendered.

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Miniature Art: Museum Fund Raiser

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Small pieces are contribution to community art

Field Hand - digital painting 2005

Sunset Field Hand – Miniature – Digital Painting 2005

This piece was created for a  show at the Monterey Museum of Art.  The work among others by 329 other artists is up until the end of the year.  This is the size of the piece – the image prints 3.5 by 5.5 inches and was framed in a 5×7 frame – matted like a big piece.

I enjoyed making billowing quilted looking maroon sunset clouds. The tractor driver waiving is another important element of the piece – for it is very rare that a field worker doesn’t wave and acknowledge your presence. I admire this quality.

As far as the show – it is a fun event with kind a of raffle for each piece to raise money for the museum. My piece was displayed next to a very well known artist – who quietly lives in Salinas – David Ligare.  His work is quite incredible and is in numerous museums around the country/world.  His oil still-life of a lemon in this show makes you want to reach out and grab it.

I was glad my piece has enough space from his and also flattered that it is so close.  It amused me that I could say my work was hanging next to his at the MMA. 

Though I have a lot of confidence in my own work, I have not achieved anything close to his level of recognition and am not so presumptuous to think I have the right to claim anything more than being a fellow Salinasan (if that’s even the word).

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Art Print | Salinas Valley 1

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

archival print – lasting image

Salinas Valley 1 

Salinas Valley 1 Digital Painting – 2003

I find myself showing off a piece from a couple years ago.  My work has grown since this was created, but I still find this to be a strong and significant piece.

The way the hills and in particular the row crops are represented was a first at the time, but has remained fascinating to look at. Please see gallery page and the image enlargement.

There is no attempt at reality, but the cloud seems wispy – and although the sun and hills are a bit of a caricature, they capture the way the land is around here – the rolling, overlapping  layers of field crops – exaggerated a tad but then again quite reminiscent of reality.

Like the other art on my site, it is created using a computer and mouse and each print is done on watercolor paper using fine archival inks and is considered a giclée.  The work will last for generations and what I find particularly exciting is that each piece is by design an original.

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Artistic Communication: Sharing a Feeling

Monday, December 12th, 2005

Creating from memory – true to experience

Cacatacious - Dan Beck- Digital Painting 2005

Cactacious – Digital Painting 2005

This is a  painting from memory of the Joshua Forest Parkway  on US Highway 93 between Kingman and Phoenex, AZ – more specifically, the section where there are both Joshua Trees in the foreground and the Saguaro Cactus on the slopes behind.

The Joshua Tree had a big impact on me. They look like they are from another planet – tree-like at the bottom – they are spiked with ferocity.  Not only do we need to be careful or distant, but it seems they need space from themselves as well – as they do not grow close together.  They are also very slow growers and can get up to a 1000 years old.

I keep saying that I am more concerned with feeling than literalness of what I am painting.  Though I am fairly true to the landscape and look of the two species, some of the colors and specifics of the scene are created to be more interesting to the eye.

With that said, I still believe this is a piece mostly about recording/recognizing a really wonderful experience and keeping alive some of the feeling.

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Finishing Touches – Painting the Desert

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Definition, How the art reads, Final Flourish

Desert 1 - Route 66 - Dan Beck - Digital Painting 2005

Desert 1- Route 66 – Digital Painting 2005

From the last version to the finished version are some fairly clear changes which help pull the piece together.

I added rocks/stones to the precipice of road to make it read a little better. I also gave the mesa more solidity giving it more texture and definition. Creating a 2-dimensional piece from 3-dimensional world is about creating illusion. 

Though my work is not a particularly realistic approach to painting, it still requires the interpretive look of whether something reads the way I hope it will.

As in listening, any sort of seeing, any sort of interpreting – one cannot imagine all the ways someone might look at something. Noted in the Daily Yomiuri Online(The Natural World of Olafur Eliasson – no longer available):  "Contemplating a work of art, we each bring to it our own memories and experiences, creating a mental image that is uniquely our own." 

With that said, it is our job to try to be clear – just as it is our job to try to understand all the possibilities.

The final thing I did to the piece was tint it a color which gives it more of the mood I was looking for and additionally pulls the piece together like a varnish might.  It is kind of a final hurrah – a bit like an unveiling – or unwaxing a batik – a final coat making it just that much better.

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