Monday, December 14, 2009

Introverted Soundtrack

With last night's post I touched upon how I integrate sketches and photos, which of course is easier to show visually than just verbally explain. Here's a screen shot. A new composition is naturally occurring, because once photo references are added into their place other photos live within the same folder and spur recomposition and ideas for other compositions. It's all very organic and intuitive in a strange way for me. I guess after years of working with Photoshop and working as a graphic designer it's just second nature to use the Adobe suite to do art.

The interesting thing is the more I use my design tools to do art the more it becomes part of my process to do so and the richer my visual vocabulary grows.

"It's simply a matter of using the technology as it becomes available", Roger Waters. I honestly believe that if Caravaggio or Andy Warhol had the Adobe Suite available to them they would have used it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lots of eggs and lots of baskets

It's been super busy in the studio lately. I've been painting, sketching, designing silkscreens and burning them and lastly making prints. Above for starters is my studio table newly cleaned and reorganized (enjoy it while you can). I had to clear everything off to burn the What you need is just right behind you screen. Ironically, before the next batch of screens I came up with a more permanent place to burn screens. Next are the sketches for the next two really large canvases. I love sketching although I have to admit I have been relying on photos a lot lately. I like doing both. The sketch is the guide post for the composition and piecing several photos together to add to the details of clothing and realism; it just creates a wonderful painting in my mind. There are other times when the photo collages come first and then the painting diverges from that.

I recently purchased Inside the Painter's Studio by Joe Fig mainly to see how other artists organize and design their studios considering that I'm in the process of doing so. Joe Fig has a list of questions that touch upon the design of the studio, the artist's work habits, rationale for their work and advice for other artists. I'm amazed at how differently each painter works, but more amazed at the similarities. There are some things about me I just think are, well individual quarks and come to find out they're quarks shared by most of my artistic siblings as well. I was amazed at how many figurative painters share the same studio practice of using photo references as I do.

In regards to why I purchased the book. I figure if your remodeling your house you'd go out and buy books that showcase the style your into. I have those as well. I've settled on a barn structure so that I can have a high ceiling in the painting area and a sizable loft storage area above the printing, computer and music areas. It's going to be fantastic. I like the barn idea because it is - well a little Jackson Pollock. The nice thing about high ceilings is I can have indoor trees and lots of hanging plants. I am also in the process of rethinking my pallet table as a result of this book. For the time being though I'm sticking to using my huge flat file cabinet. I like throwing a drawer open to leaf through my various collage materials.

Above is the finished (I think) August Lied. I have chosen to put it to the side, because I'm at that dangerous point of over working it. I do feel the bottom with the figures is a bit rough, but as I went in to clean it up I started loosing the energy. Sometimes it is just better for a painter to leave a little bit of the work undone - just like it is for a writer to leave something unsaid.

Now for the prints. APA 105 was really just a spur of the moment mixture of two different screen prints that just works. The first printing of What you need is just right behind you is much the same. When I designed them they were meant to be much more planned. First off the collage surface of the canvas didn't prove conducive to being printed on. I carefully reprinted on top of the first pull and not liking the results flipped the canvas and did another pull with the thought of painting over the previous pulls. I mixed in elements of APA 105 and started in with a brush to glaze and fix areas and it worked.

Now I understand why Andy Warhol and others broke into series of works using the same screens. There are endless combinations, possibilities here and sometimes the screw up is just as good if not better than what you intended to do in the beginning.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting ready for the weekend

Work continues and I'm looking forward to the weekend. The first week back from a holiday is always so long, but mainly I like my weekends for working late into the nights.

Up above is the transparency for the What you need silkscreen. I was originally going to ink it, but I found getting the type crisp was nearly impossible. I figure a certain crispness will get lost when burning the screen so there is no need to help it along. I'm finding that my purchase earlier this year of a laser printer is just paying dividends upon dividends concerning my work flow. The next buy will be a digital SLR or hybrid camera. My little Power Shot has been a faithful companion and has produced the majority of the photographic fodder for my work, but I would really like to be able to be a little bit further away from the crowds and zoom in to get more discreet shots. The improved focus and resolution would be a great help as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Going into print

This is a sketch for one of the works for an upcoming show in Tempe. For this show I'm converting many of my recent paintings into a silkscreen print form along with some screen works from the get go. It's been a bit of a challenge altering my paradigm as a painter and converting my vision into print for raw canvases and t-shirts. Ironically, it's been a driving force behind the experimentations on canvas over the last month. Funny how that works.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What you need is right behind you...

Gather your thoughts is moving along nicely. The title of this post that was collaged into the painting was inspired by breakfast at the Two Hippies Breakfast Joint this morning. When I was handed my food the girl at the counter promptly told me "What you need is right behind you" in reference to forks, knives, napkins and like. Don't know why, but the statement struck a chord. I just started thinking about how many times the answers to our life's big questions or solutions to our problems are in our past. Maybe we just have to remember back to how we handled things whether the results were good or bad when plotting our next move. In short the key to our future is in our own past.

I then started getting more philosophical about things, but I'll save that for another date.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gather Your Thoughts - Goes Big

Up above is Gather Your Thoughts 2008 8x10 inches. Below is going to be the large version 48x60 inches with some places reworked and others explored further.

All and all a fairly productive weekend. I started three paintings and I am pretty far along with two of them. I started the big one and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I worked through some sketches. I little bit of it was figuring out how to address the rivets and a few interesting areas of the under painting. I decided looking through my sketchbook that Gather Your Thoughts was the right direction to go. I have many smaller paintings that I have been meaning to turn into much larger works. I guess that's one of the best arguments to do small works - they're a great arena to work with ideas before going to the really big canvases. I also like the fact that they are more affordable for the general public.

I believe very strongly that art should be for everyone. I know I was told back in art school by one of my painting professors that "we are elitists and our work is for the elite by that very fact". Well, I disagree and I think it's a shame to hear people say to me that "they don't know anything about art, so they can't say if a painting is good or not". Do you like it? Can you except it as art even if you don't? Well, thats all you need to know. Trust me I'm not moved by the majority of the art out there I see and why should it be any different for anyone else?

I know many friends that express that they don't feel comfortable with going to museums and galleries. At the same time they wouldn't think twice about going to a concert. I don't know where this disconnect starts or all the causes of it. I do know there is definitely a lack of arts education within our schools and a association with social class within films and television shows. Maybe, that's the root of it and once the seed is planted it's hard to shake people's paradigms.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What did August do to me?

Above is the new painting started tonight August Lied and a studio shot. It's a canvas that's going extremely fast. Maybe it will have finished painting itself while I sleep? I'm feeling a bit slap happy right now a combination of staying up late too often and that six shot German chocolate mocha I drank this evening. No, it wasn't my idea to have that many shots. The guy at the coffee shop wanted to try something new on me. I'll make it clear that two to three shots is sufficient in the future.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The sweet trappings of the studio

Ah, the sweet trappings of the studio. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes the studio serves as my sanctuary from the world. It's home to my soul in a way.

I've been spending a lot of time drawing out the plans for my future studio space. The big question has been for years whether to rent or to build with a preference to build. I'm really a night person when I work. While, the world sleeps I paint into the morning and call it quits a couple hours before the sun is due to rise sometimes even mid work week with a job to go to in the morning. Being five to twenty miles from home and having to drive home to crash just doesn't seem like a very sound plan for me. There are pros and cons to both needless to say. The build option is less studio space than renting or buying an industrial space, but either would be a huge increase on work space for me now.

I'm beginning to realize how coping with a lack of space is a huge hinderance to an artist's creativity. I also realize what a comfort zone a art studio is for an artist despite it's limitations there is a feeling of not wanting to give it up or trade up for a bigger space. You become very attached to the space. Nonetheless, for me it's time for a bigger studio and that's going to be my goal for the upcoming year. A new bigger studio.

On to the new work. The new painting is titled 204 Days. The title comes simply from the bus stop sign being for route 204 and the Days denotes the time the camera and the human perceptions capture. I like to use elements from the collage elements along with words that denote the overall theme of my work.

The idea of time and the perception of it is a huge part of my work. Time is very much a reality for us, but our perceptions of it become so subjective and distorted when tired, sick, drunk, or ultra healthy and energetic our understanding of events in retrospect or during is so altered. I find myself questioning the essence of it all and wondering if what I consider reality is nothing more than an elaborate illusion, because of how elusive trying to put a finger on what is real or imagined is.

Again, I don't know the answers or feel sated by the answers or others, but merely pose the questions in paint.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dreams of April Continued

Finished up Dreams of April yesterday morning then headed off to the Farmer's Market downtown. I need to start taking my camera to get people shots. Since the weather has started to cool down a little in Phoenix. I wish it would just be cool period considering it's hitting the low 90's in November here.

Drove up to Sedona to deliver four new works to the Lanning Gallery. It was a really nice drive up and back down. Most of the leaves had fallen from the trees leaving them bare. They had a nice steely look against the blue sky and red rocks of Oak Creek Canyon. It's nice to go up there and truly see the seasons change.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dreams of April

Dreams of April


Working on new pieces. Just finished Capture and started working on Dreams of April. Dreams of April is a really fun painting I think. I'm debating on how finished I want it to look. I like the sketchy quality and almost "drawing" look it has. It's the first piece of a triptych. I think I'll just keep with the flow and allow it to feel a little more sketch like.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lovely October Evening

Spent the night painting. I'm just about finished with one work and well on the way with this one above entitled Capture. I'm planning a series of bridge works based on my photos of Portland, OR. Where I'd live if I had a choice at the moment. It would be great to roam around the city on a bike with a camera and be awarded an endless supply of subject matter to paint from. I also like the vibe there. It's like a small town/big city mind think. It's hard to explain. Nonetheless, there's lots of little boutiques and wonderful eateries. I like the fact the big box stores and fast food places are scarce and that's a good thing.

The weather is cooling down in Phoenix and the ideas are just pouring into my head. It's like this every year. I guess it's my normal cycle. I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so I plan to spend a lot of time in the sketchbook figuring out the next body of work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Actions: hyper-ventilation

Things are getting back to normal finally. Still need to cope with the loss, but time heals all as they say.

Actions above is going well. I will probably have it completed this weekend. I worked more on Ascend and started a new painting called Capture. I'm going to spend the week on these works and hopefully get them finished before I leave town next weekend, so I can come back and start some more new works.

Monday, September 7, 2009

More to come

Ha, started this post and forgot to finish it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Studio Days and Nights

Painting like mad this weekend. I figured even before knowing about a pending studio visit that this weekend would be good to kick off my next body of work. It's been a crazy time for me the last few months. There's still things going on in my life right now, but I'm getting back into the swing of things.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Accept no other definition of your life, accept your own.

"Accept no other definition of your life, accept only your own", Fortune Cookie.

Leave it to a fortune cookie to say it best. I guess that's the lesson I've had to learn over the last two months. My family has been dealing with the passing of a loved one and as is the usual with most families there's plenty of hurt feelings and accusations flying around. I'm choosing not to accept the definition of my life others would like to place on me. Perspectives of others can be flawed.

The painting in progress above is Snapshot and I feel the timing of the fortune cookie, what's going on in my life right now, and the meaning of the painting flow right into each other seamlessly. Of course I have a gut feeling this painting is person walking towards a new day out of the darkness with a new sense of self-awareness.

I'm playing with the energy of yellow and orange light at night with this canvas and letting things go abstract and obscure. It's been a lot of fun.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Opening Tonight

Tonight is the opening up in Sedona from 5 to 8PM.  I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  It's always this way before an opening for me.  I think it's the same thing an actor experiences before they hit the stage.  I took drama in High School and intro to acting in College and felt the same before performances.  The funny thing about acting is even though the actor is acting on stage they're always revealing the depths of their soul to you.  In my college class the instructor told us to reach into ourselves to find the character we were portraying.  I guess that's the funny thing about us as humans.  We have so many inner demons and angels within us.  It's ultimately which ones we choose to express in our daily lives or which ones we allow to control our actions more or less.  We all have the potential to be the fireman who selflessly runs into a burning building to save someone or the arsonist who set the building a flame in the first place.  

I guess that's why I love painting the canvases filled with the people and buildings I do.  It's an bottomless well of personalities and stories to pull from.  I don't have to worry about repeating myself, naturally change, grow and yet maintain the consistency that the viewing public likes to have in an artist.  I hope, but can't allow myself to fall into formulas here.  

Yes, we like for our favorite artists, directors, actors, and musicians to be consistent to some extent.  If a band's first LP is fantastic, has this amazing sound and I listen to it 500 plus times I want their second release to effect me the same way.  I'm disappointed when it doesn't and everyone else is too.  Yes, I respect their artistic integrity not to fall into a formula, but ultimately I want the next release to be a continuation of the sound of the previous one that effected me so deeply.  It's an unrealistic expectation, but it's one we all have. The reason it's unrealistic is that every human being involved is constantly changing.  They're not the same artist they were when they created the first release and neither are we as the audience. Also the more you listen or view a work of art the more personal meaning you place into the work itself.  The beauty of being an artist and being the fan is the fact that the work has a life of it's own and grows from and within both individuals. The art is alive and is given this life by being created and enjoyed.

A little about the painting above.  It's called But Now It's Gone.  I finished it right before the Modified Opening and only showed a snap shot of it in the very beginning without any further updates.  I've been painting completely from my subconscious lately, which is fun because I figure out the meaning of the works as I'm painting them.  Simultaneously being the creator and viewer at the same time. What I've figured out is that the two men in the painting are in a deep relationship with each other whether romantic or just life long best friends.  They are at an impasse within the relationship and the innocence or the way they were with each other is now gone (hence the title).  Oddly, enough though as the randomly collaged text "Gifts" implies this isn't truly a bad place to be in.  If they get through this they're feelings for one another will deepen and the relationship be stronger than before.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

Show time

Here's the working photos for Toil & Humdrum 2 and Allegiance.  I was going to photograph them when I got up to the gallery to deliver them, but forgot once I got there.  Oh, well.  I'll photograph them up there or just bring my flash drive to download their photos.  I think their camera has more pixels than mine anyway.

That was the last delivery to the gallery for the show.  I brought up the two new ones along with Trial by Ones Peers to complete the show.  I've painted roughly 36 canvases since January, so it feels good to be at a pause.  I still have three works going right now and four more sketched out, so you'll see many more updates in the coming week.

I'm getting ready for my Seattle and Portland vacation.  I plan to take as many source photos for my paintings as I can.  I'm also planning a trip to New York for September.  The focus being on street photography and museum hopping while I'm there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three day weekend

Here's a shot of where Allegiance is at.  It's based on a photo I took in Portland, OR. I've spent the week for the most part sketching out the next batch of paintings.  I have a 4 to 6 more canvases to complete for the show.  I think the 6 is a stretch.  I'll try though.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Something on the Windowsill

Just finished the Something on the Windowsill series along with Go Home yesterday morning.  There was only a little touch up and painting the sides after an almost all Friday night painting session.  I then loaded up the new work along with what remained from the Modified show and headed up to Sedona to the Lanning Gallery. They loved the work, which was a big relief.  

Now it's the final stretch for the Sedona show.  I have two weeks really, so painting six to eight canvases might not be the best use of my time.  I think I'm going to focus in on painting four medium large paintings and hitting them out of the ballpark.

I started working on my sketch for Allegiance which will be a 24x48" canvas. I've used a photo I took in Downtown Portland, OR of the front of some embassy or hotel.  I can't really tell from the photo.  It just has the hanging flags off the building that makes me think of ticker tape parades.  I know some are going to read political leanings one way or another.  The flag is, well a politically charged symbol after all.  In this case I'm using it, because it's an incredibly strong image and will make a fantastic painting.  I leave the viewer to decide where my politics lay and maybe just maybe, the painting will be about where their politics lay rather than where mine do.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Go Home

Go Home is almost finished.  Nothing but the fine details left to do and a few glazes. I started two other works to finish the Lines (working title) triptych up. I need to finish these works up before I make the first delivery up to Sedona this upcoming Saturday.  I'm building canvases Sunday for the completion of the Sedona show.  They have a lot of space, so I'm wanting to add at least four if not six large paintings 3'x6' to the show.

Getting ready for a trip to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR the week after the show. I plan to take a lot of urban photos while I'm there for source material.  I also feel like I need to get serious about a trip to New York to take street photos.  Frankly, I will not have the money to stay long, but even a day of taking photos and a couple days visiting museums and other sites would be worth it. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Production time

Not sure of the title for this painting yet.  The working title is Lines or Entanglement.  I guess I should wait and see how the rest of the series goes.  I also performed more work on Go Home from the previous post.  Oh, that's a working title as well.  If you haven't guessed from reading previous posts the working title isn't always the title a painting ends up with.  It takes a while to figure out the title for some paintings especially if they go really quick.

The second reception at Modified went really well.  I've sold ten works so far in that exhibit which is really good.  It's pretty much a fifty/fifty of small and large works, which surprised me with this economy just a little.  I still have the ghost of "paintings are dark" haunting me.  I guess I should be used to it, but it still bugs me from time to time. It's not the intent really.  I simply paint what comes to me to paint and it's not worth the creative block to edit myself.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Missing Time

Missing a bit of a space of time there.  Just the final rush to get everything done for the Modified show.  I thought I'd taken a few photos along the way, but couldn't find them on the camera, opps.

This is a new piece that I started before the rush to get things done for the Modified show.  I'm figuring out what I'm doing for the figures now.  I'm going to put a little bit more color into the next batch of work.  I have roughly twelve to sixteen paintings to complete for the Lanning Gallery in Sedona.  They will be mixed in with work from the Modified show.  Once I had everything up on the wall I realized that it was a little more intense than I meant to be.  Honestly, I've done these works in such a thought stream that considerations of the pallet weren't considered, which is how it should be.  Nonetheless, I don't think it would be a bad idea to throw in a few works with some strong color to lighten the mood a little. The humor relief within a Greek or Shakespeare play.

I do think the almost monochromatic body of work currently at Modified is stunning.  I've heard a few remarks that it's a bit dark.  I can only nod and not think too much about it.  The work was created very quickly within a pure thought stream.  I really left the subject matter to my subconscious mind and consciously just painted like there was no tomorrow.  There's a lot of interesting stories within these paintings.  I can't wait until I can stop and decipher what my subconscious is telling me.  Usually, the work is prophetic in some sense and is telling me things about what I'm thinking and feeling that's buried beneath the surface.  Don't worry I'm not going Freudian on you guys.  I do believe the mind does bury things on us at times and it might even just be a result of being so busy rushing around doing things that we don't have much time to sit, be alone, and reflect on our feelings about what's happening in our worlds.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Contemplate Your State

Back to work and updating.  New painting on the easel entitled Contemplate Your State.  It's not too far from being finished and that's a good thing.  Really just trying to finish as much work as I can before it's time to hang the show at Modified.

The new Open Acrylics from Golden are really coming in handy with this last batch of works.  Being able to have a little of the blending time and ability of oils has helped nail down things faster.  It's not perfect though.  A little to transparent and too anxious to turn to mud.  Hey, I should just be thankful for what I have!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Crazy few weeks

Time to Call it a Night is finished.  I actually finished it last weekend, but life has just been so hectic that I haven't had the chance until now to post it.  I was thrown off a bit by a huge job at work that required a lot of overtime and working without a day off for two weeks.  It was a 166 page book including cover and divider.  It was the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce - Arizona Relocation Guide and Business Directory.  It was a really fun project and I was able to work with a lot of color and abstract compositions (background elements) within it.  As a designer I prefer publication work to all else.

This week was spent at the hospital with my grandmother's surgery and subsequent problems that the surgery caused, but she's at home and resting now.

This weekend will be about getting back on track and finishing up the Modified show that hangs during the week.  The opening being Friday, April 17th.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More to come

Progress shots for a few other works.  First off returning to working on the diptych again.  I haven't figured out the name for the paintings.  I might call them "The Fever at 3am".  I'm sure it will come to me, before I finish them.  I put them on the back burner to complete some smaller paintings. Next up another painting that I don't have a name for yet and then Once Remembered 3 and 2.  I have a feeling that I will be turning the third canvas into a larger painting.  There's just something about the composition.

17 down

I now have seventeen canvases done for the Modified show.  This weekend I started yet more paintings with a focus on small works.  I felt it was important to change the focus a little bit from large to medium canvases to the smaller ones.  I also spent more time in the sketch book.

Starting from the top Once Remembered 1, Threads 2, Night 2 and Night 1.  These are still following the Trapped In and Complements series sharing similar skyline motifs.  With the Threads series that I completed Today I was experimenting with new encaustic techniques using soft matte medium rather than wax.  I will be playing more with that technique latter.  I think that is what makes painting small canvases so important.  It's a place where you can focus in on new techniques and compositional elements of larger works.  It's also a great place to work on sketches without going to the full size canvas.

For the Modified exhibit I will have all sizes of paintings along with sketches.  I feel this year folks are going to be a little more strapped for cash than usual, so it will be nice to have framed sketches selling for $25 and up.  I'm going to have some really small sketches included in the mix as well.  I just want to have work for every price range.  I originally planned to self publish a book of my work to have for sale, but I don't feel comfortable with the timing.  I will create a book with the work of both these exhibits along with previous works that fit and have it up for sale over the summer.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Working like mad

Starting from the top Trapped In 3 (in progress), Compliments 3, Compliments 2 and Trapped In 1.  I also finished Trapped In 2 and Compliments 1, but their photos didn't turn out to my liking.  I'll post them at a latter date.

Trapped In and Compliments are really the same series.  I just wasn't sure if I wanted to go 1,2,3,4,5,6,7... Also, there is a shift midway through.  Originally the buildings in the background were just that - the background.  As I kept going they became more important and the foreground of a empty lot in the middle of the city that people cut through to get place to place became more apparent.  By the time I reached the fourth canvas I realized that the people were actually the props and not the buildings and the empty lot.  There will be three more as well with a focus on the liter in the empty lot i.e. crushed soda cans etc..  Hence the name Trapped In, the empty lot is a piece of nature that is trapped in by the city around it.  Of course originally I thought of it, because I was listening to Trapped In by Division of Laura Lee when I was sketching the series out.  I find that there is a synchronically logical reason behind my naming practices no matter how random, silly, mundane, and weird as they seem to me.

How I name work is one of four ways.  First there is that magical name that pops in my head when sketching or painting and it happens about thirty percent of the time.  Funny those are the names people object to from time to time.  Second I name paintings based on pieces of music, song lyrics, or literary titles or passages fifteen percent of the time. Third I use visual cues within the painting when text elements have been collaged in thirty percent of the time (people just scratch there heads with these names). Lastly, I sit down with a dictionary and randomly open it and read through the words on the two pages I've opened to and figure it out the rest of the time (my main way of titling work since my freshman year in College).  No matter how random the title seems I find out latter on that it's spot on. Frankly, I don't think there is a right or wrong way for artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people name works of art.  I also think that the work has it's name from the get go and we're simply figuring out what it's already named itself.  I'm a romantic.

Crazy week between figuring out the tax stuff and the neighborhood meeting I lost three nights of working total.  Not a good idea at this stage in the game of preparing for a show.  Oh well, life happens and is great at getting in the way of things.  Must simply adapt and move forward.

I also started three other new works over the weekend.  I had about eleven canvases going on at one point, but now I'm back down to six. This will be a easy week and a week where it's easier to photograph stuff as I go.