Archive for January, 2006

New Art Gallery on Website

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Figures Art Gallery and other Website Renovations

Fielding - Digital Painting - 2005 - Dan Beck

Fielding – Digital Painting – 2005 – New Figures Art Gallery

I have being doing renovations to the Outhouse Studios website. Though not complete it has left me as an absentee blogger.

So the expectation here is just to give some of the highlights. There are more than 50 new pieces on the site – including a new gallery mentioned above.

There is a new logo used on many of the pages and there is a new musical CD with many excerpts.

Creating galleries and making sure the images look good is a creative process itself. I have just recently found myself doing some website maintenance and design for others – it is not my main focus but is proving to be a good challenge.

The piece above is one that has continued to be one of my favorite images – I don’t know if it is the lack of sensible distance clues or the colors or the figures or just its importance as a piece with figures in it – but I continue to like it very much.

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New Digital Painting Sheds Light On Seeing

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

About seeing, illusions, and reality

A State of Sky - Digital Painting 2006 - Dan Beck

See enlargement of A State of Sky – Digital Painting 2006

This is one of the last paintings I created; it is about color and space, but it was prompted by this most unusual sky. The clouds were perfectly placed within the silouhette of the mountains.

But what I painted is more what I saw – it was as though the clouds had a blue outline around them. Because I had never seen this quite this way, I decided to paint the illusion rather than the reality.

Of course, as a student of perception for years, I tend to think the illusion is the reality. And it is our sense of how the world is put together which actually confuses our ability to see.

Even those of us who know better don’t really see with just our eyes; our minds and understanding are what partition the world.

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Valley Fog Impression

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Current Weather Conjures Image of Digital Painting

Hill Mountain Fog - digital painting - Dan Beck -2005

See gallery page – Hill Mountain Fog – Digital Painting 2005

I have been seeing scenes quite similar to this lately. I look up and say – "didn’t I paint that?" And though you might not see this as being literal which it isn’t – it is remarkably like the weather we have been having.

This is not a particularly recent piece – but it has been in my consciousness because of the weather. It captures that winter pallor yet I think it was created in the Spring – probably one of those throw back days.

There are two things I love about this piece. First the feeling of fogged in and secondly the texture in the fields. You may need to see the largest enlargement for that either click here or on the gallery page.

Like a lot a my pieces this last year – this was intended to be printed quite large – at least 24×30" to captured the detail. So if you like it at all please make sure to look at the details below the enlargement.

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CD Cover Art: View From Last Season

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Creating Art from Concept and Pleasing to Look At

About Time CD Cover - Fall 2004

About Time CD Cover – Fall 2005 – Hear Clips

So above is another example of art designed specifically for a musical CD.  This was for a production last fall. The title has multiple meanings, but was important to me to convey that the subject matter was indeed time itself.

The tree theme is also laden with references to family to time span to stretching in space; and the tree is one of the first images I ever drew or painted.

The sky reflects the seasons as well – going from the bleak gray pallor of Winter to the crisp blue color of Fall.

As I have previously discussed, creating art from a concept provides a wonderful guideline – a limit which in many instances is welcome. But it is every bit as important to me that in whatever concept or impression I try to convey it is also pleasing to look at.  That is always my hope and intent.

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New Logo

Monday, January 16th, 2006

New Look On the Horizon, What’s in a Logo?

New Logo for Outhouse Studios - Go there

New Logo for Outhouse Studios – Go There

Former Look - still viable logo - not as descriptive

Former look – will stay in use – but not as descriptive

I never gave that much thought to a logo – my first image was very personal – my dog Max who had died a few months earlier – the image of out of the house being imposed on the other letters.

I like the image aesthetically – but I don’t think it conveys much of what Outhouse Studios is about.

The current logo has more of the typical logo feel – being mostly single line – in fact it started out that way until today.

Original look for new logo

It also had the animated movement of the prints and music coming out of the house; but I kind of felt it needed a little toning up – so the above.

My understanding of logos is simple – a recognizable image that uniquely represents a business – easier said than done.

If you are looking for a logo, I have three suggestions – not necessarily in order of importance. See Graphic Art and Logos and for some very creative relatives of mine who I know do good work. And third – if you find yourself enamored with my examples – send me a note – I might consider doing more logo work in the right situation.

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Artistic Expression is Result unto Itself

Saturday, January 14th, 2006

Art and Pain Relief, Art as a Place to be Oneself

Manipulated Color Play- Digital Painting 2006

View larger Manipulated Color Play – Digital Painting 2006 

Yesterday or the day before, I came across an article which struck both as an important realization and also something obvious.  That art might be useful in the reduction of pain and in self realization does not seem particularly new to me.  That such results are not tied to the results of the artwork but rather the process itself also seems like a given. But then again, I create a lot. I recognize the difference in processes. Certain things yield different types of results.

For instance, what one gains by a free flowing kind of art vs a controlled intentional type of art are different. But either way, the process  gives results whether the finished piece results in anything worthwhile or not.

The connection with the article which in some ways seemed delightfully obvious to me – is that I had just finished a piece which I approached with abandon. I wanted the feeling of painting – seeing the colors overlap – finding joy in the movement itself – yes moving the mouse quickly with a flourish is quite enjoyable to me – no corrections just flowing – and then play with the medium – flipping things and turning sections and copying and pasting and then selecting another area and moving it just so.

A great deal of fun and refuge and meditation – I like the results, but then again I wasn’t trying and I am ok with changing my mind about it.

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Original Art for CD

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Album Cover Art, Art for Music

Art for CD - Caribbean 2 - Digital Painting 2005

Art for CD – original size Caribbean 2 – Digital Painting 2005

In addition to my own recent CD, I recently did artwork for another group. The cover and information about The Latin Quarter Jazz Collective can be found on their site.

Other CD Cover designs can be seen on this site – Caribbean 1, Caribbean 4, and the cover art Caribbean 3. In addition, you can see other CD Covers at the Outhouse Studios Music page.

So if there is a point to be made, I suppose it is that the merger of music and art is a particularly fun area for me.  I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with the appropriate work for the nature of the music – and have enjoyed the challenge of coming up with the appropriate artwork for the music I have recorded.

I have discussed art coming from a concept before – but pairing with music is more than just a concept – it must fit the music as well as the theme.

As it turns out the above artwork, though not chosen for the cover can be found on the actual CD – guess that even more literally fits the music.

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New CD – Available Now – 1danband | dansingnew

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Lyrics to first song which sets tone for album

New CD - 1danband | dansingnew

New CD – 1danband | dansingnew – available now!

The first track on the album as well as the first clip on the music page is probably my favorite song – not best song, not best on album, not best played – but song I probably like the best – at least this week.

As the first song – it sets the tone of the album – it is a bit amusing, definitely energetic, serious, but not all that serious. At least so I hope. The lyrics are included below – based on current observations of life:

Something must be wrong ‘cause I’m enjoying life
Seems I’m conditioned to not be this way
I’ve been way too happy, so there must be something wrong
Everybody knows, you’ve got to pay to play


We’ve been given this time
We don’t know when it will end
It’s our nature to squander
Our lot to pretend

We’ve been given this time
We might not get it again
It’s our nature to squander
And miss life staring ahead


There’s a price we all carry
For the pain of the world
Hurting our self
Just by being alive

There’s a price we all carry
For suffering through
We are all quite connected
It’s just one universe

Please go to the music page or listen to the excerpt from this song directly. 

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New Digital Painting: Last of 2005

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Impression, Communicating without being too Literal

Houses on the hillside - digital painting - 2005

Enlarge Houses on the Hillside – Digital Painting – 2005

This is the last piece of last year.  Upon returning from the San Jose airport, I looked over to the left and saw all these white houses nestled in the hills.

To me they looked almost like stones – yet clearly man made. I didn’t look long – a glance really. I was driving on the hi-way – not a time to sight-see really.

But more and more, I think that rendering an impression is less about what I physically see and more about what I want to communicate about what I saw. And then of course, it is every bit as important that the piece itself is interesting, enjoyable, beautiful in its own right.

One of the things I have come to realize – though might seem hard to believe with my style – is that I have actually made the mistake of being too literal and missing the aesthetic opportunity.

Curiously even photographers can feel this way – note quote from book review at

Adams maintained that color photography had no legitimate place in the art of photography because it was too literal to be an art form and that it was not possible to practice it interpretively.

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CD Art: Cover Design Option

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Tropical Vision, Latin Quarter Jazz Music Project

Caribbean 1 - CD Art - Digital Painting - Dan Beck

Caribbean 1 – Digital Painting – 2005 – made for New album: 

Tesoros del Corazon (Treasures of the Heart)
The Latin Quarter Jazz Collective

This piece was used underneath the credits for this new musical CD. In addition, to the link to my website, there were links to site of the person who titled the CD and is also a musician and songwriter – Joe Strouse at and also to Fred Lipsius at

My understanding is that Bob (leader and saxophonist) was thanking Fred for his encouragement during the project. Fred is best known for the incredible arrangement he did years ago of "Spinning Wheel" for Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

As I mentioned before, this is a really fine album. Please check out the Latin quarter website for details.

As for the art, it is what I first thought of in terms of the Caribbean: hammocks, palms, tropical drinks, aqua blue water, etc. Then there is the clothing aspect – either one persons hot is another person’s cold or somebody got a sunburn. Beats me, I wasn’t there.

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