September 26, 2012
Another out-of-town trip, this time to Boston. More photos! Will I ever have enough time to finish all the paintings of places I've been and people I've seen this summer?
Well, I did get to see people I love on this last trip, and I am excited about the gorgeous landscape photos. I really don't think there's a better time to be in Massachusetts than mid-to-late September. The roadside plants are in the height of maturity, and the subtle, natural colors blend together so well. Also visited L.A. Burdick in the hope of getting some better reference for A Quiet Evening in Cambridge, but, ack! They had completely re-done the place! It looks nothing like my painting.
I put aside the domestic clean-up stuff today--- it's driving me crazy to have to move boxes around, dust, paint walls, etc.--- and worked on 3 paintings. So now I feel semi-virtuous.
A Dramatic Difference
September 14, 2012
The skin tones on the main figure in Fashion Forward have been bothering me for a while now, and today seemed like the day to try to fix the situation. S.M. had had a look at the painting when she visited, and when I talked about how the color was influenced by rainy day atmosphere that I shot the photo under, she mentioned in an offhand sort of way that as viewers we didn't have any direct reference for that fact.
I thought about it a lot. And a few days ago I read an article on limited palettes, and how to get them to work for you. So today I combined the palette information with a plan to give everything on the front of the figure a bluish cast from the rain-soaked light, while everything on the back--- bathed in the warm lighting from the shop window--- would have a yellowish cast. It's working better. I might continue to tinker with it, but I'm happy with the results of today's work.
Like other artists, sometimes I get stumped by a problem with a painting and have to just stop for a while, maybe even a couple of months, until I figure out a solution.
Finally: An End to The Summer of Complete Chaos
September 4, 2012
It's been the craziest summer I've ever had. First there was the trip to Ft. Wayne, and having to deal with the damage from the storm, which hit while we were away. Then the house was in total upheaval for the last two months due to a major refinishing job. We've spent more than enough time living in the basement, wending our way through piles of boxes and disassembled furniture, and not having access to bathrooms upstairs or on the main floor. There have been trips to California, New York, and North Carolina. There has been almost no painting, though a lot of photography. I'm trying to go through the photos now, to see which ones would make great paintings and then edit them. But the house still requires most of my time... far more than I'd like.
Recently completed reading: The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe
Recently completed reading: Long Ago and Far Away, Timothy White
Heat and Light
July 8, 2012
Had to take the paintings to the Ft. Wayne show, so we set out early last Friday and drove west. Around 4:00 p.m. we noticed a storm on the horizon, so we decided that we'd done enough driving for one day anyway and pulled into a motel. It started to rain as we got out of the car, but no big deal. Had a terrific dinner in the hotel restaurant while the weather folk were going on about gloom and doom on TV; well, it was the midwest, after all, and didn't they have stormy summer weather on a regular basis?
After dinner the modest rain had stopped, so we took a tour of the town, an old industrial city that was beginning to transform to a service economy, most of the manufacturing jobs having disappeared. I took some photos, thinking I might do a series on the melancholy deserted factories, mills, and once-lovely old Victorians.
Next day we got to Ft. Wayne, a very nice city, after viewing the visual treat of miles upon miles of windmills in western Ohio. The folks at the museum were friendly and welcoming, and said that the power was out and wouldn't be back for 3 days. Three days?! In a city of that size? We were amazed...
Arriving back home, we began to see ominous signs of storm-related tree damage everywhere, so we knew we were in for it. The driveway was impassable for all of the fallen limbs and branches. Of course there was no power, and we ended up living in the basement as usual, since it was a reasonable 75 degrees down there and 90 upstairs. The heat wave that followed the storm has continued, and is supposed to get even worse over the next few days... Power wasn't restored here until Wednesday night, and I'm grateful we have it again.
Light: A couple of weeks ago, S.M.came to visit, and she asked about how the lighting in the studio was working for me. I can't afford a really good setup, but I do have 3 natural-light bulbs in the ceiling fixture. She said the lighting in her rebuilt studio made a huge difference in her work, and I'm sure it does... Maybe someday I'll be able to install something similar. Have been checking out systems on the Internet. Anyway, I did get back to painting today after the extended hiatus, and was able to do some work on the Ocean series.I've got to get the new skies painted by the end of the month for a mini-show at Antreasian, but it's going to be tricky with all of the storm clean-up.
Recently completed reading: The Forgery of Venus, Michael Gruber
June 28, 2012
I can't keep up with the demands on my time. It's ridiculous. Enough said.
Catching Up With Friends
June 20, 2012
I've been working like a hermit in the basement for so long that I've neglected my friendships, and have been making an effort to catch up with people in the last couple of weeks. Had lunch last week with A.T., and we ate outdoors on a beautiful blue sky day. We touched on the usual subjects--- both of us are fans of Masterpiece Theatre and other British imports--- and then got onto the subject of my artwork. She shot down every argument I had for not applying to New York City galleries in a most efficient and objective way. So now I'm forced to confront my own insecurities and do something about them.
Yesterday, G.S. came to visit. We had a nice, low-key lunch and she viewed the new--- well, at this point, not-so-new--- studio. She's been having some success recently; not surprising considering the appeal of her adventurous abstracts--- so we had quite a good time chatting about art and our various plans and opportunities. After she went on her way I discovered the package from Jerry's Artarama had arrived, full of brand new panels and brushes!
Today, started the third in the Winter Skaters series. Painting the ice in the background is fun, like bringing chaos out of order. I think of my drawing teachers as I sketch in the figures, and can almost hear them talk of the need to "get the gesture right." Now, back to the easel.
Currently viewing: Sherlock Season 2, Three New Shows, PBS
Last Shift at Artomatic
June 14, 2012
Had my last shift today, and saw some really outstanding art. S.M. and her daughter dropped by and we wandered around the 3rd floor, then went up to 9. It seemed like everybody coming off the elevators on 9 wanted to see the Peeps--- no doubt about it, they create a high, and it's not just because of the sugar (see right).
Artists whose work I saw today who impressed me: Liliane Blom, Ellen Cornett, J. Nell Jordan, Jeff Wilson, and Kathryn Trillas. There were a couple of others whose names I forgot to copy, both of them assemblage artists...Oh, and a glass artist on 9.
I always come away from these things in awe, and planning to branch out into new territory, whether it's style, content, or medium. Will I actually do it this time?
Currently viewing: Einstein, The Big Idea, PBS
The Illusion of Reality
June 12, 2012
For a few years now, I've wanted to get started on a painting based on a photo I took in New York. There's so much going on inside the glass window on the right side of the picture plane, and you're not sure what's inside the glass and what's reflected onto it. It's kind of like the flip side of Inside/Out, except the point of view is from outside rather than inside.
Anyway--- all that aside, I did begin to plot a few lines on a 36" x 48" canvas on Sunday, and continued with it yesterday. Just getting all of the elements in their proper place is going to take a while. But it's begun!
Visited my local shipping office yesterday to see what it will cost to pack, insure and ship Heartland and A Long Way To Go to the museum show in Indiana. Answer: Too Much! No, wait, that should be in caps; WAY TOO MUCH. So now I have to find alternate solutions.
Have found a few other local and out-of-town shows to enter over the next few months, but will not be entering anything large. I have learned my lesson.
Currently reading: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
Currently viewing: The Buddha, PBS; The Secret Life of Scientists, PBS
A Great Review, Coffee, and Wet Paint
June 8, 2012
My work at Artomatic has been reviewed by James George over at The Examiner, and it was an incredibly positive write-up. I can live with the words "exceptional skill" for a long time! Everyone needs some kind of external validation from time to time, and this came at just the right moment for me. I feel re-energized.
Had coffee yesterday with S.T. The weather has been gorgeous lately, so we sat at an outdoor table and chatted about art and what's going on in our lives. I like it that the artists I know are all so honest about their approach to their work, so involved with it, and so dedicated to doing the best they can.
Today was fruitful: worked on six paintings, and a couple of them hadn't been worked on in months. I'm also formulating a plan to get my work to the next level, so I'm feeling less aimless and more focused.
Currently viewing: Craft in America, PBS
A Breather, of Sorts
May 31, 2012
Here it is, the end of May already. I've spent the last couple of weeks in the garden, weeding, planting, and mulching, and haven't come near the end of the to-do list yet. Working on the yard in the heat of summer is not my favorite thing, but it looks like that's going to be the case this year.
Painting? Have tried to steal some time away from the domestic chores. I was a little more successful this last week, and got caught up on some pieces that I hadn't worked on in ages. Went to Plaza this morning and bought some panels for the new sky series.
For fun, I've been watching a PBS series about Craft in America at night, when I'm too tired to work anymore, also a really interesting British series called The Adventure of English. It has made some historical events much more real to me, and has put a lot of things into perspective. I watched the first two episodes twice, since they really helped me to see the development of the English language in a new light.
All in all, things have a very relaxed feel lately.
May 13, 2012
Here's my space at Artomatic. Floor 3, area 234. Finished the installation yesterday, after we ran into a problem with one of the walls, requiring a quick trip to Target and the purchase of a tray table for the business cards and postcards. But now, all set, and excited. What a show this is going to be---- 11 floors of art!
May 7, 2012
So it looks like I can't finish the Fashion Forward painting in time. Or, I could, but it would mean rushing it to completion and doing a half-assed job I wouldn't be proud of. There are too many subtleties in the shadows, too many small gradations that would really make the piece believable, and just not enough drying time in between coats of paint.
Plan B: showing You Are Here in its place, which is fine, since it's a democratic kind of painting anyway, in the spirit of Artomatic. In the meantime, I'm finishing Each Day, which doesn't need a whole lot more work, and which ties in nicely with the other two 18" paintings I'll be showing.
Cause for Celebration
May 5, 2012
S.M. nudged me into entering an art show, and I'm glad she did. I entered three paintings, and two were accepted--- this is a little short of amazing, since according to the acceptance email there was a record number of entries and the selection process was very competitive! The juror was Frank Bernarducci of the ultra-prestigious Bernarducci/Meisel Gallery in New York, so the fact that he chose two of my works makes it all the sweeter. See the Exhibitions page for more info, if interested.
Meanwhile: Had a decent night's sleep and woke up recharged and ready to take on the world. Much painting and gardening to accomplish today.
Down to the Wire
April 30, 2012
I've got about a week left to finish Fashion Forward and Each Day Had Its Own Challenges; actually, I'm pleased with the way FFwd is developing, even if it doesn't get completed in time. Maybe I'll show You Are Here if things get too tight around the deadline. But it would be nice to show something brand new--- I wouldn't want to disappoint the folks who saw my work at the Ratner last month by displaying work they've already seen. And my S.O. thinks I should finish the telephones and hang that piece as a sort of sight gag. We had two visitors recently who really enjoyed the telephones piece, even in its unfinished state.
April 27, 2012
Fashion Forward, the painting I want to finish for Artomatic, is coming along quickly. I'm going to put in several hours on it today. The background is looking pretty good, and that, of course, is the foundation I need to work up from.
Put in 5 long hours yesterday in my first shift at Artomatic. This is going to be one interesting show--- but then, haven't they all been? I think the sheer size of the thing is going to overwhelm people, but what a feast this is going to be for the senses. Had the opportunity to visit three floors: 3. 4, and 11. Eleven is a byzantine but intriguing maze of small and large rooms, 3 and 4 more user-friendly. It was a surprise to see how little space was still available (on those floors, at least); apparently the entire arts community of the DMV area is going to be represented. I can't wait! At right: the far wall is where I'll be showing on floor 3.
More Traveling, and Artomatic
April 6, 2012
So...more traveling, and now I'm back in the studio. Had a few action-packed and exciting days trying to register for Artomatic 2012; the sheer volume of artists trying to get a spot overwhelmed the website's server. After a false start Sunday night, I got on the road on Monday and pulled over into Mickey D's a couple of times to access the free wi-fi, but to no avail. Finally got registered late late Wednesday night, and now I wonder if there's enough time to finish the two large paintings I want to show. I might have to go to Plan B.
Recently we watched "The Impressionists" on DVD, and it was an eye-opener, filling in a lot of the blanks for questions I'd had about their work and their private lives. I was even inspired enough to put a pleinair easel into a shopping cart on the internet, but now I'm rethinking that idea. Anyway--- according to history, Monet finished a large painting in four days to enter the Salon. And it ended up looking pretty good, too. Can I do something like that? Doubtful. If I can't get the two paintings done in time, Plan B has me finishing those three large portraits I'd intended for the 2010 Artomatic, which never took place.
Obligations, and Traveling
April 3, 2012
It feels like a dog's age since I've posted anything. The pro bono project I mentioned back in January ended up taking much more time than I'd thought it would; still, I wanted to do a good job on it, and it turned out pretty well. But I wasn't able to work on any of my regular paintings from the 10th of March until yesterday.
There was also a trip out of town over the weekend, and while it's normally refreshing to get a change of scene, this time I was fairly unhappy because it just prolonged the absence from the studio. I did catch a few decent photos to use for future reference, so it wasn't a waste of time, but I'm really happy to be back in the painting groove today. The pressure is on now, because there are a couple of other opportunities coming up, and I'm far behind in terms of where I should be.