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It’s Thursday! The best kind of day to order a painting!

Hey guys, guess what’s coming up? HOLIDAYS. Now’s the time to surprise your favorite person and get in on the ground floor: order a painting from me today and I can have it to you before Christmas! You can take an adventurous leap and commission original pieces on a subject of your choice:
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Or you can help me out and commission a new piece in my ongoing series. My current work touches on theology, spiritual fantasy, childhood memories, blah blah, etcetera. For updates on the current work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @adamjamesstoner. Check back for an update to our site’s gallery as well!

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All types of work are welcome, including portraits of your favorite family members, doodles for your living room, or something way weirder. It can be something that takes five minutes or five days.

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Finally, if you’re broke like me and wondering “can I order a print of a painting I’ve seen on the blog?” the answer is YES! And lucky you, it’s pretty cheap! All prints come rolled in a mailing tube, printed here in Milwaukee, with a HANDWRITTEN NOTE detailing the most endearing aspects of having a friend like you. How do I do it, you ask? EMAIL ME. That’s all there is to it!

A big thanks to those of you who have seen my show down at WPCA. I hear tell that there will be an official opening with snacks and drinks and special things!

-A

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It’s Thursday! CHECK OUT THE SHOW

Morning friends! I’m taking a break from this to talk to you about this:

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After coveting it for years, I picked up some gouache to work on a commission piece from Anthony (Mike Rogers, I’m coming for you next), and things started off in a new direction. If you’re in Milwaukee, you’ve probably seen this series take shape over the past three or four months. Can I say that it makes me really, really happy? It makes me so happy, in fact, that I haven’t had a terrible-artist-spiral for almost half a year!

A few months back (right before the wedding) I mentioned I was entering my work in the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts annual members show. This was one of the three entries, and you may have seen it if you were in town on the 19th. My work was selected from the group for a feature exhibition, and I just installed that wonderful little show – 9 pieces all together. Josie Osborne, I’m thrilled you like my work! If any of you good folks are in town, stop by – it will be up through Christmas and New Years.

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But srsly, those giant letters tho. I feel so cool.

A

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New-Painting-Thursday-Nights, Oct 15

Hey friends!

I’m shooting out a quick blast in support of my feature exhibition over at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts! If you’re in Milwaukee this Friday, swing by for a great Dia de los Muertos party/gallery night and a special showcase of my recent work. I have nine new pieces up for three months, so you have plenty of time to get down to the south side. NO EXCUSES.

Speaking of excuses, I’ve been making so much new stuff that I haven’t even thought about posting it. But my lovely wife (whoa, wife) reminds me that sharing my work is just as important as making it. Here ya go!

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Lots of love to you all – and to friends and fam who were able to come to the wedding a few weeks back, I hope you had fun! It was, hands down, the best party of my whole life.

-A

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The Fishing Trip – Part I

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The drawings in this post were completed by hand in pencil; they were painted with the GIMP, emphasizing flat shapes and saturated colors.

There’s something in the hot and muggy air of the South that takes me back to adolescence. A heavy rain stirs up all the settled smells of the day, and I think about playing frisbee on the flats behind our school. I’m a lot younger in those moments; I know my role, my duties, my self. All my senses dilate; and the part of me that creates is suddenly sniffing around for nourishment, hungry for the things that swell with feeling.

As a kid, family time did not appeal to me. We were a group of introverts; my father and mother each relaxed with separate interests, and my brother–nine years my senior–was just too grown up for me to understand. I didn’t emotionally invest in the family, at least in an intentional way, until later. There was always love, sure; but often all we wanted was to sit silently in one another’s company.

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When I was three or four, my dad took me fishing on the Delaware. We had a scuffed-up aluminum boat with an old motor. For something as simple as a johnboat, it was always causing problems: the engine smashed dad’s thumb; there were water snakes in the hull; you’re going to throw your grandmother out of the boat, stop moving! But I loved the strangeness of it; the water made us behave differently. My father came alive; he was strong in a way I never knew, somehow willing the boat to stay afloat in the swiftest currents. And we in turn grew powerful in his presence. We struggled together against the elements and the depths and the fish that surely mocked us. We were family, then.

The fishing trips always follow the formula. Dad is hot – so the air conditioning in the cheap (and now, not cheap) hotel is always running. Nature sweats and bristles outside while my brother and I, numb and icy, stare at the ceiling. In most hotels on the lower eastern seaboard, the ceiling is spackled white. The Virginias, the Carolinas, and especially the hotels of Florida. The ceiling fan is on high. The TV is always on, talking to nobody. At night neither my brother nor I are ready for bed, but at 8 and 17 we don’t know what to do with one another. So we go to bed anyway.

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It is my curse that I actively remember the details of every insignificant moment of my life. In the same way that a certain smell can evoke a crisp memory and emotion, I spend my mental energy dutifully cataloguing all the parts of the present scene and disassembling them for later use. If I were to wake up again as a 12-year old in the hotel room in Boone at 6:30 pm, I wouldn’t need to get out of the hotel bed to tell you what I had for dinner, how the grass smelled after the rain, what color the leaves were, how long the ride was to the boat, and how many trout I caught that morning. The memories are so clear that I would probably forget about the life I’ve lived since then – I would just be 12 again. Maybe this is part of being a visually sensitive introvert–your memory is a sensory rolodex. Is memory just as storied and emotional for other types?

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Dad planned a new trip to Florida, to the gulf coast for the tarpon migration. Last week we towed the boat down, a bright new ranger with a wide hull, loaded with electronics and fancy fish-stuff. I packed my bag and flew to meet them at home in NC. While I slept, Dad packed the car. He probably started with the rods, reels, flies, and gear–the fun stuff. Then the safety stuff: lifejackets, ropes, a whistle, warm towels. There was a long list of things he had to keep track of with the new boat: testing the electrics, the trolling motor, Florida’s legal requirements for seafaring boats, the bilge pumps. He was exhausted, but so excited to have his own boat on his own schedule.

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The drive was long. In the car we had my brother, his friend André, dad, and I. Down south we met up with Elvis, another friend of my brother’s; and Jim, a family friend, Wyoming guide, and the fishiest guy we know. Within a few hours we had the boat in the gulf–the first Stoner vessel to touch salt. The rest of the night was spent in anticipation: unpacking gear, picking flies and lures, and half-tuning in to Jeremy Wade’s River Monsters. The evening air grew cool as a thunderstorm drew on. My memory turned to the past again; to all the times it had rained on a fishing trip. To plastic ponchos and sweaty gear and muddy water. When I was little it felt like disappointment. But then again, you could never be completely sure; they say the big ones only bite when the rain is just beginning to fall.

More fish coming your way,

A

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Midweek Fluff #2

What’s up Fox Fans? It’s a chilly Wednesday here in Milwaukee, but at least the sun is shining! Foxy Dog and I are chilling at home trying to get through all our emails, and we figured it was time to make something fun and colorful – Beck and I agree that the palette is either “sour candy” or “pink lemonade.”

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pink lemonade lady braiding her hair – beachfront

Good practice if nothing else! Also, if you’re in Milwaukee and are looking for a date night activity (or an activity any time in next few weeks) the Skylight Ring opens this Friday at the Broadway Theater Center! We’ve all worked hard, and the product is pretty great! Except for the set design, jeez, somebody tell that guy to get his life together.

Happy Wednesday,

-A

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May the Fluff be with you

What’s shaking friends? It’s a beautiful day and Fox and I are just in from a great day of sketching! I’ve been feeling a real upswing in my work lately, and my productivity in the studio and out in the field has been way up.

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at the bar – Shorewood

I don’t really know how I found the right rhythm this time, but I do know that things started churning around when I picked up this sweet biography of Picasso. My art history knowledge is lame and kind of superficial; did I mention I’m great at cocktail parties? But for someone who calls himself an artist it’s pretty bad. This is the first time that I’ve ever learned in depth about a master’s personal life — interests, motivations, relationships, process. And of course, getting a chance to study the man’s intense formal rigor is incredibly helpful.

Sometimes my studio work is born from dreams – it happened just this morning! I’ll see a flash of an image; and if I’m lucky it will hang around long enough for me to do a blinky ball point drawing at the kitchen table in my underwear. Sometimes I’ll wake up with a feeling that I’ve lost a good one, and I’ll lay in bed kind of marinating in the feeling until the image returns. Ever since I’ve started pushing good composition in my sketches (thanks to Picasso’s encouragement), I’ve started to dream-compose images. If you’ve ever had a lucid dream you know that it can stick with you; it’s a gift that can start the day with a fresh and unexpected perspective.

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teacher eating lunch – Whole Foods

This one is a nice gesture. Have you ever found yourself making up origin stories for the people passing through? They may be based on stereotypes, but from the viewer’s perspective a portrait is a window into the artist’s story-making brain. Not all of Picasso’s blue period subjects were poor, self-loathing, or hopeless; the artist at the time, on the contrary, had certain feelings toward the dissolute underclass of Paris, and this throughline helped him to invent the details of each image. And yes, I did pick up yet another sketch-and-wash, and this one gets those blacks down beautifully! Messy stuff, but it’s worth it for that sexy dark black line.

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dan writing his last grad school paper – Shorewood

The fude is rocking those darks. Working on composition has helped me focus less on getting things right and more on pushing the image to come alive. Arms, hands, faces, environment, etc become subordinate to the story, and one piece of the image can have the focus while the rest is just context. I am not a camera! What a great feeling!

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dan rides home – North Side

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“mom, only eat what you want” – North Street

Enjoy the weekend friends! We’ll see you back here next week.

-A