Frances Byrd

Daily Drawings February 1-7

The main image for this post is the base layer for a new series I am working on for the upcoming ReHatched Market at the Gainesville Chicken Festival. I am using book pages from salvaged pulp fiction to create a series of bird themed art. Each piece will start with a line drawing on a book page. Additional layers and mixed media will be applied as inspiration dictates.

 

BE Banner

 

This bald eagle and banner is an artistic rendering of a metal bas-relief in a local historic district. I am planning to use this design on a series of tavern-style signs, as well as in the Book Pages series.

BE Sketch

 

This is the preliminary sketch for the featured image in this post. It is a simple line drawing of a bald eagle. My main focus here was catching the spirit of the bird and conveying the strength and integrity it embodies as our national symbol.
Though there are a couple of minor issues in scale and anatomy, it’s a pretty solid sketch. I will use it for graphics and the base image of future paintings.

 

 

Daily Drawings Series

In 2016, I have set myself the goal of working full time on my art. One of the ways I plan to do this is to establish a daily drawing schedule.

 

So many times, when I go into my studio to work, I find myself wandering around fiddling with stuff until I get focused. As one would expect from an artist, my studio is crammed to the gills with stuff – piles of notes and images, ongoing projects, supplies, piles of projects that I need to get started on, reference materials… in general, chaos. Though all of these items need to find a home instead of cluttering up the place, they do nothing to add to my creative process directly.

It is my hope that redirecting this energy into a daily drawing will have several benefits for my growth as an artist. At the very least, it will force me to spend time drawing; which I enjoy a great deal. In addition, it gets me on here, posting regularly and interacting with (and hopefully growing) my audience.

Because my fine art is very contemporary in style and typically politically motivated, I think this will be a good way to engage people on the meaning of that work. The daily Drawings give a foundational background to my skills as an artist and provide interest for those not particularly committed to supporting ideological art. They also give my viewers an idea of the process behind the more complex fine art pieces. Every painting begins with some kind of sketch, either in one of my many art journals, or in a sketchbook – all organized separately on themes with notes and references. Yes, I’m a little compulsive.

 

I also find that I just need time to think before I start working. A great deal of thought and research goes into every painting, both before I begin and throughout the creative process. I need to get into my own head before I start painting. I also need to master the subject matter so that references become less important and a personal style develops. I feel that this makes the work stronger and more compelling to the viewer.

Now that I have the crow concept firmly established, I am moving on to birds of prey and songbirds. Beginning now, I will be posting one drawing per day from the series. On days when it is not possible for me to work on a drawing, I will pull from my art journals and sketchbooks to share the drawings behind completed paintings or post mixed media projects that include drawing.

 

Eventually, I hope to have enough drawings to offer them for sale online and at festival shows. To anyone reading this, please take the time to share and stop back in when you can to see what is new. Thanks in advance for your support and please leave feedback!

Frances

Handcrafted for the Holidays

Please join me this weekend for the annual Christmas Market at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center in Gainesville. I will be one of the art vendors with small patriotic art, primitives and folk pieces, hand-made Christmas cards and ornaments, and painted boxes and trunks. 

Handcrafted

Federal Eagle

This primitive piece was created on salvaged pallet wood. The style is very minimal, in order to allow the texture of the wood to show through the painting. TheFederal Eagle is an icon I am developing as part of my work at Libertas Americana, designed to illustrate patriotism and American pride.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Americana Eagle

This americana painting was created on salvaged wood. The style is very simple, in order to illustrate patriotism and American pride. 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

View more work in this style on my Primitives and Folk Art page.

Liberty Bell Tavern Sign

This primitive piece was created on salvaged wood. The style is very minimal, in order to allow the interesting patina of the wood to show through the painting. The Liberty Bell is an icon I am developing as part of my work at Libertas Americana, designed to illustrate patriotism and American pride.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Hold-Up Artist

Working Title: Give Me your Money, ‘cause I can’t sell my work otherwise

This painting was inspired by a conversation I had with a performance artist one day. The general idea was that we, as artists, have a right to ‘expose’ people to our art who would not seek it out themselves. Of course, that comes with the expectation of being paid for our work, although money is evil.
The entitlement mentality reigns supreme!

I think the imagery of the painting expresses my feelings on the subject pretty well. The world owes us nothing for our art. We are not special because of our creative abilities. As with anything else, if there’s a market for a piece of art, it will sell. No government intervention is needed or appropriate. I do not support the NEA.
This piece is a companion to the paintings titled: The Gaping Maw of Entitlement and Mr. Moral Superiority. Completed – 2008

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

How to Exorcise Conservative Thought in an Artist

This painting was inspired by several conversations I have had with other artists. The first reaction I face when describing my work and point of view is shock. Disdain or anger quickly follow. My impression is that I have no right to be conservative and that I am breaking some unspoken law by creating political work from my point of view. I suppose open-mindedness only applies to ideas that conform to the status quo. The next thing that typically happens is that I am quizzed on the minutia of American History facts and dates. Inevitably, I will not know a detail and then I am proven ignorant. This is the point at which I usually learn that the other artist used to be a professor and, therefore has an unfair advantage over me. So much for acceptance of opposing points of view. Or common civility.

I find these conversations inspirational, because they lead to all sorts of wonderful imagery. This painting was executed very quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to doing more work in this style. – 2008

View more art in this series on the Art Community page.

Medium: acrylic and vine charcoal on wood panel

Dimensions: 14w x 26h x 4d

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her articles and interviews have been published at Blog Bytes , Big Hollywood, and WND . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

How do we #TakeBackOurCulture?

 

Controlling the narrative is vital to influencing our culture, but what does this mean? Does it mean wresting the culture from the progressives’ cold, dead hands and never allowing open discussion again? No, it does not. It means demanding, fighting for, and creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to express their views in the arts and entertainment industries.
Any attempt to completely silence opposing views will only lead to a severe pendulum-swing of public support for the opposition. It is also vital that we resist the urge to be petty and vindictive. This kind of expression may win you points with your peers, but it reflects poorly on our movement in the long term. We are not here to preach to the choir. That is not how minds are changed or how meaningful impact on society is made.

With that idea in mind, how do you get started? Every artist has a different style, different interests, and different preferences for medium. I would suggest that you figure out what you like to work with first. Next, hone your focus. If you try to tackle too many ideas in one piece of art, you will likely end up with something difficult to understand. Decide which ideas or issues are most important to you, then do the research. This is particularly important if you are creating conceptual art or a documentary. Facts are incontrovertible and invaluable. However, your biggest challenge here will come from developing interesting and impactful iconography and/or a story line that interests the viewer. Don’t slap a bunch of statistics and a graph together and call it done. You need to make it interesting as well as informative.

What is MachinePolitick?

My personal work has developed immensely over the last decade that I have been creating intentionally political art. Much of my initial inspiration was based on personal attacks heaped upon me by my peers in the art community who were offended by the idea that anyone creative could be pro-American or Libertarian-minded. I’m sure you have all had some kind of similar experience for expressing conservative views in your own fields. I have been called everything from ignorant to a Nazi. I have been told it would be nice if I just painted something pretty instead of all this angry political work – yet everywhere I go, I see support for progressive, anti-American art, music and movies. These experiences were the main impetus for me becoming a conceptual political artist.
A secondary motivation was the lack of initiative being taken on our side. We seem all fired up and ready to go now, but twelve years ago, openly conservative and libertarian political artists were virtually non-existent. There has always been a lot of noise on our side about how much progressive art sucks, how dishonest and detrimental modern art is, and the open hostility of the art community toward outsiders; but there was very little being done to change the culture publicly, and even less support for those who were taking this task on.
Not being of a mind to play along to get along, I started thinking about how I could inject a political message into my art without having it come across as trite or boring. It took a few years to figure out how to transform facts and research into iconography that would appeal to people. It took somewhat longer to learn how to make the work more subtle, so that it didn’t make people angry at first glance. Though I don’t care all that much whether or not people like may art or take anything away from it, I realize that minds won’t be changed if people walk away angry. I also started to realize that I was learning more about the things I oppose and find offensive by talking to people who had a progressive world-view. You can do research all day long, but it doesn’t help you understand how people feel or how they can justify oppression and redistribution. I realized, one day, that I can’t create in a vaccum, and that I was finding inspiration for art in conversations with people who were often quite hostile.

Making it Pretty

Give-Me-Liberty.jpg

One day my husband told me that he thought people need to be inspired by art, not always hit over the head with an idea. That was the turning point at which I realized I needed to find ways to be more subtle in the larger body of my work, as well as find ways to make art that was beautiful AND meaningful. This was the point at which I developed my Liberty icon and began repeating it in my work. I realized that, as angry as I was at being attacked and ridiculed, that I was missing the point of my own art and ideals about cultural change. So, this is the point at which we begin to discuss the how and why of my art.

Layering

Don't Cry for Me Amerika
Don’t Cry for Me Amerika

I have a propensity for research and an overwhelming compulsion to cram it all into a painting. This is why you will see many layers within my art, often including words. I like to stick the reference material right in the art for you to read, if you’re paying close enough attention to notice it.
This techniques gives a visual complexity to the art and draws the viewer in. It conveys ideas and boring facts quickly, without taking away from the aesthetic of the piece or beating the viewer over the head with an obvious message. Specific words and phrases can be highlighted or obscured to impact the message of the art and insure that the viewer ‘gets it’, even if they don’t realize it.

Iconography

LetThemEatCake

This is a visual tool I have developed and used extensively over the last few years. It is vital for several reasons and likely harkens back to my days at SCAD earning a degree in Illustration. I love to tell a story. I love to stylize and embellish. And I find that this technique broadens my audience considerably. People are not immediately sure what the painting is about, and often, they put their own spin on the meaning of the image. That’s okay, because the underlying message is still there.

This is particularly useful in reaching across the isle to change minds. We have to learn to engage people in ways they can relate to, get them to take us seriously, and most importantly give our views consideration. Iconography conveys messages sub-consciously without eliciting visceral reactions. Subtle elements like words, symbols, phrases, and graphics encourage closer examination and open discourse.
Most importantly, if you develop a strong icon that resonates with people, you have the potential to shift the culture, and ultimately, change it. The repetition of images and ideas reinforces an idea or belief. With repetition comes recognition, and with recognition comes familiarity. Hopefully, this leads to better overall understanding and interest. There’s a fine line between propaganda and marketing, and we’re talking about both here.
Though it takes time and perseverance, people begin to recognize your work. Once that happens you have the potential to reach a far wider audience. If you build a reputation around your work for integrity and consistency of quality and messaging, you will begin to earn support within your community for your work. Once this happens, you should strive to help others get established and lead by example. One of the biggest falsehoods in the art community is the idea that we’re all competing against one another. There is plenty of room for all of us; and the support that conservative and libertarian artists need is growing. The idea that we need to fight over a finite ‘pie’ is self-serving and ultimately detrimental to our movement. If we build associations, find ways to show our work together, and network as a group, we have the potential for a larger impact and return on the quality of our culture.
#TakeBackOurCulture
#IgnoreTheEstablishment
#SupportTheArtYouWant
#BeTheSolution

My Mission to #TakeBackOurCulture

I didn’t realize it at the time, but over a decade ago, I was laying the foundation for a movement to #TakeBackOurCulture. For years, I had been struggling with the desire to create art that would sell and painting things that I found inspiring or meaningful. My passion and inspiration took me in the direction of meaningful work, but the more involved I became in the art community, the more I realized that, as a libertarian, I was an outsider.

Two articles by my partner at Liberatchik describe the way I was treated, time and time again, when it became obvious to my peers that I did not share their social and political views.

Stunning piece: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
The Top Three Reasons Why Liberals Hate Conservatives

Over six years ago, Christopher found me, compliments of the internet, and asked me to help him find other artists who were going through the same things and help him build a community where all of us could show and discuss our art and ideas. We have gone through many metamorphoses over the years and grown exponentially. Today, there are over 40 artists working with us in some capacity, though all do not share their art in our public forums. 

Below is my artist statement, which hasn’t changed all that much over the years. I look forward to the day when I can work in my studio or write, as the mood strikes me, without the need to fight for equal representation in the arts and culture or open-mindedness and honesty from the cultural elite.

Artist Statement:

In our current political climate, a new vanguard of artists are beginning to raise their voices through works depicting previously unexpressed (at least openly) conservative political views. As an individual expression, political art is a powerful tool for political activism, and arguably crucial to fomenting political change. Propaganda techniques are indispensable. Whether or not you agree with the artist whose work you are viewing, you should be able to respect their right to free speech.
As artists, I believe we have a duty and responsibility to put forth opposing points of view to that of the establishment, whomever they may be. We need to combat lies and misrepresentations with verifiable facts and expose the treachery of blindly following ‘approved’ ideas and agendas. It is time that those of us who still hold the individual supreme stand up and make our voices heard. We now face a turning point in the history of America, where we can succumb to the whims of the State and willingly accept bondage, or lead the way to a Liberty Revolution with the purpose of restoring America to a Constitutional Republic. Mrs. Pelosi once sneered, in a statement meant to squash open dialogue, “Are you serious?”; I say “Yes Ma’am, I Am”.
As libertarians and conservatives, what should we be promoting through our art? Self-reliance, personal responsibility, a return to the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Freedom over tyranny. Reverence for beauty in reality and imagination, and the use of ugliness sparingly, as a means to illustrate a point, not an end goal.
We must define our principles clearly, then promote them effectively and repeatedly in ways that are quickly and easily understood. We have the ability to make a lasting and significant impact in this war of ideas, if only we can find the nerve and the strength to oppose the status quo.
Art, regardless of genre, has the ability to reduce complex concepts to easily grasped ideas, raise people and ideas to the status of icons, and reach wide audiences through a variety of means. It is my goal, through my personal art, to promote the ideas of Liberty and individual integrity. I believe that America is a great country and patriotism should not be a stigma. There is nothing selfish in taking pride in one’s accomplishments. I hope that America will one day return to a truly free nation, because it has not been so in my lifetime. I want to leave America better than I found it. My art is my tool for shaping that future.

Machine Politick: Art by Category

Editorial Work

Art Community

Illustrating the Constitution

Liberty

Murals and Public Art Projects

Political Figures

The American Crow Series

Writing

Creative Conservative Action Tools

#TakeBackOurCulture

Liberatchik

Physical Location

Libertas Americana