Saturday, December 11, 2010


Essentially I took the day off today other than organizing photos and spending time looking through art books and finding new work of artists I admire on the web.  As an artist there are so many things that influence your work and among those are the work of other artists.  With this post I thought I would do a little show and tell.

Robert Birmelin is an artist that Jerry Schutte (my life drawing and life painting professor) back in art school shared with the class in slides and set my mind a lit. I love the movement within the works and how he captures the small details of urban living that seem to be overlooked or not consciously considered when your walking, riding or driving down the street, but if any of these details the sidewalk cracks, chipping paint, and the pan handler weren't there it would be noted that something wasn't right. It would feel like you stepped into the twilight zone.

                                  Giving and Taking by Robert Birmelin

                          City Crowd - Cop and ear by Robert Birmelin

Many times I have searched the web and only found a painting or two, but tonight I found that he now has a new website.

Now if only I can manage to purchase a book of his works.  I'm still very much in love with books and haven't managed to conform to the idea of reading books  off a screen yet.  I need the physical, tangible, and tactile object in my hands with it's wonderful pages to flip through to be content.  

I've been searching out for the last three years the artists from Jerry's slide shows.  It's odd, but somehow the works shared weren't within assessable books at the time and only occasionally within art magazines.  Nonetheless, the works have stuck with me. A few more to add to this list are Alfred Leslie and Jenny Saville (who's book I purchased at SFMOCA on my trip last month)

                      The Telephone Call by Alfred Leslie

                      The Cocktail Party by Alfred Leslie

                      Fulcrum by Jenny Saville

It's nice to finally own art books of these artists or at least be able to find more visual samples of their work online.  I'm starting to wonder if figurative art is moving back into vogue due to the increased availability?  My interpretation is that figurative and realistic art haven't been seen as important since the development of the camera.  The irony is somehow the paint although an abstraction of reality can often times capture what a camera can't - the soul of the creator of the image.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The beginning of a new series

The beginning of a new series of works begins.  Combination of remembering a dream and thinking about how I feel sometimes has set this new series into motion.  In my dream I was painting a bunch of canvases that depicted the buildings cut in half, but still standing and people in the foreground split as well, in movement or as ghostly apparitions. The name that came to mind was "Schism" denoting the fractured state of the buildings and in some ways the fractured state of how my country has become.

Tonight I watched a Nova documentary on dreams on Netflix.  It's interesting how some of the mystery of dreams is finally being revealed, but how much we still don't know about them. I do know that I'm often painting in my dreams, which usually leads to the creation of new work.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm always doing art.  Even when I'm dead asleep.

This painting has a great many challenges though.  To begin with I had no photos in the perspective I wanted and the facade I wanted was actually a combination of the side and front of a particular building in San Francisco.  My solution is simple I will draw the building out referencing the photos.  Looking through my photos I realize I will be doing this often.  There are many instances where my photos are ready to go, but most of the time they'll need work to become a work of art.  Next up will be finding the figures to work with that I want.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snap is almost there

Snap is almost there.  Right now I'm entering into the scary part of the piece.  I can easily overwork it at any moment.  I'm almost to the point that I may choose not to address the weird fold of the bag and just leave it as it is rather than try to fix it and go to far.  Thankfully, I'm heading to my sister's for our holiday get together and will have the space of going away and coming back with fresh eyes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More Linear Thinking

The work on Linear Thinking continues.  I am very close to being done.  I'm simply waiting until the varnish layer dries and I can ink in some detail.  There is a bit of a debate in my mind of how detailed I want to get with the figures.  Frankly, it's feeling just about done.  I think the focus on this piece is actually the fractured and tortured street in the foreground.  The white crosswalk line is the story.  I like the fact that what is commonly the subject matter of a painting - people, buildings, and cars are playing a supporting role.  It's almost as like going to a concert to see the opening band and leaving midway through the main act's performance.

I'm focusing in on new ways to fuse the collaged elements into these next works.  I also have a renewed interest in texture along with a greater hierarchy of brush stroke. It's truly amazing what a brushstroke from a 1" brush can do that fifty brushstrokes of a #1 flat can seem to convey.

Tomorrow I plan to finish Snap and resolve the issue of the bag.  I opted for being well rested rather than working on the piece when tired from a crazy day at work. It occurred to me recently that as amazing as it would be to not have a day job and simply spend my days painting. However my day job is a blessing in disguise in a strange since.  When painting over the Thanksgiving Holiday in my Uncle's work shed where I received very few interruptions and my body's needs dicated my breaks rather than my minds provocative.  I found myself thinking too deeply to the point where my positive thoughts turned to negative ones.  This seems really odd in some ways.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Linear Thinking

Started a new painting last night.  I'm bouncing back and forth from calling it Linear Thinking or Convergence.  Convergence was the title of the sketch, but Linear Thinking is a bit tongue and cheek critique of society and how ill fitted I am within it due to my way of approaching life.  In many ways it's a failed photograph, but somehow it's really a happy accident because the crosswalk and the distressed street are so interesting.  As a canvas the composition feels very abstract and lends itself well to a very sculptural paint application.  Again this is based on another photo from San Francisco.  China town to be exact.  I really was able to get the kind of photographs I've been hungry for.  I think a lot of it is now that I've been putting myself out there to take street photos and having come back home countless times wishing I'd done this or that.  I now can go out there and actually get the photos I need.  It's not a natural skill it's one that has to be learned.  Street photography really is a matter of really learning how to capture split moments.

I have plenty left to learn, but I still managed to get a huge cash of photos for painting fodder.  Time to start planning the next photo tour.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Productive Holiday



Saturday Mid-Morning
Saturday Evening

The Thanksgiving Holiday was very productive.  I started Snap early Thanksgiving morning and worked on through Saturday evening.  The last image shown is where I should have pretty much stopped on the central figure.  I pushed on to add more definition to the bag along with the color from the photo I took in San Francisco, but discovered some things are better left alone.  I forgot the fact of how important having a hierarchy of brush stroke can be. I thought that by further defining the bag I would further pop her out of the asphalt street below her, but it backfired in so many a ways.  First off the fold of the bag even accurately captured in paint to what reality is doesn't look real next the definition of the bag actually took the naturalism away loosing the importance of the hierarchy of brushstroke within the work. The pop isn't to be achieved through definition in this case, but rather movement of broad brushstrokes and color. I'll load that photo next post along with the present state of the work. 

I'm actually somewhat amused by my misstep here. Granted last night I wasn't and decided that it was call it a night before I made another goof around 8pm.  It was around 11pm after reading an interview with Jenny Saville about how she struggles to get her brush strokes just right without over or under working areas and getting the relationship of small and large strokes just right an hour earlier that it hit me.  I almost headed back out to my Uncle's shed where I'd been working, but figured I just finish watching my movie and leave it until I returned home. Relieved in the fact that no matter how seamless some paintings fall into place that I'm still able to paint myself right into a corner and have to paint myself out again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

End of a Busy Weekend

A very busy painting weekend comes to close.  It's going to be a short work week and with any luck I'll be able to spend some of the holiday painting. Up above is Staircase which I started Thursday and completed this morning a few hours prior to heading up to Sedona to drop off work.  There was a nice wet winter storm between Sedona and Phoenix which created beautiful cloud formations and several rainbows.  The folks at the gallery were surprised I braved the weather, but it's actually very enjoyable for me.

Staircase is the first San Francisco painting.  I plan to create an entire body of work devoted to cities at night.  I'm going to start taking my camera with me on my evening rides, so that all the night paintings aren't of San Francisco alone.    There's something really special about the night.  It's full of life, but within the darkness is filled with mystery and sometimes danger.  The dark naturally plays with our imaginations thrusting us into the unknown with the colours of the neon signs, the lit surfaces framed by the darkness and strange shadows.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Long Week

It's been a long week and I can only attribute that to spending four days away from Phoenix.  I have been working pretty consistently in the evenings finishing up on 1010 S. Jeanne and tonight I completed the piece.  It's still not photographing the way I would like it to.  I'm going to try photographing it outside during the day. With any luck I'll capture it properly and I'll update the photo. 

I'm glad to start the weekend with a completed piece.  I plan to finish a small work before Sunday afternoon when I leave to make a delivery to the gallery or new works.  I've picked about six photos from the San Francisco trip that I can just take directly to canvas.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of taking street photos for my paintings.  I can't wait to visit San Francisco again.  There's something about it that has touched me very deeply.  I felt very peaceful walking down the dark streets at night exploring the city with my camera.  The deep connection was made.  Now I have two cities that I deeply love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1010 S. Jean

So the painting now has a name, but as I've shared the digital working images with folks I've noticed that this piece isn't very photogenic. Sometimes not all artworks photograph well, or for that matter street scenes.  I spent last Thursday Evening until Saturday morning wondering the streets of San Francisco with my camera in hand.  I took over a thousand photographs and even though they're a great leap in the right direction of capturing the city's feel and providing a deep well of source material for my paintings.  I can't say these photos even come close to being there.  It's my hope that the resulting canvases will come close.

One thing I have noticed about my wonderings around Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA is how you experience buildings.  1010 S. Jean despite being born from a sketch with no photo base captures the natural perspective you view buildings by when walking down city streets.  I find myself kneeling on one knee and adjusting the angle of the camera upwards to capture the whole building and this yields a very dynamic perspective that is true to the reality of how we view buildings of any significant height while walking down city streets.  Considering that doing so requires looking up to the top and back down to the base of the structure in order to take it all in.  Unless your at a distance you can't view the whole building at once and usually loose the base of the building if you do so with your view abstructed by other structures or trees.  It's odd to realize that when artists paint structures with flattened perspectives that they are in fact to a certain extent abstracting what is being experienced and this isn't really anything new considering the ancient cave paintings throughout the world.  We somehow stylize/abstract reality in order to convey it as human beings.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Work Continues

The work continues.  The soundtrack has changed as well. Each painting has it's own soundtrack while I work on them.  I sometimes know what that will be and other times I find out.  Finding the right soundtrack results from trial and error.  If things aren't happening easily and the flow isn't there or just seems funky I switch playlists. Sometimes an entire body of work has a shared soundtrack.  There are also works that only allow me to listen to a single EP or LP over and over.  Afterwards I will not listen that band for a while afterwards.

This painting is filling in quite nicely.  I don't think I'm near the end anytime soon, but I want to complete it before next weekend if possible.  I don't want to chance loosing the energy of this painting and want to carry it into the next pieces quickly.  Next weekend I will sit down and start sketching for the next few works.  The plan will be to add drawings into the mix.  I've always loved to draw and sometimes my drawings feel stronger than the paintings that come out of them.  In this works case I feel that the pencil drawing, pen and marker drawing and the painting each stand on their own being different and a continuation of an idea without loosing any of the initial dynamic qualities.  I hope my luck continues  with the rest of this body of work.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Return of Fall

The Fall has returned and painting is getting back up to full swing.  This is the painting of the drawing in the previous post.  It's going rather well.  The windows are going to be very intricate, so there will be a lot of time involved in rendering them.  I have a several photos from Portland that depict the sun from the back of buildings or reflecting off the glass causing the buildings in the photos to appear to just fade to white.  I thought I'd depict that effect within this work.

I have always felt like my paintings of buildings were portraits and this one is very much an example.  I've decided to leave the people out  of this painting.  I was thinking of the early morning hours or maybe the hours of the day when everyone is at work and some streets are all, but deserted. I am also letting the lighting effect portray a person fading to white - slipping away.  Somewhere between the ghostly sky and the physical material world. 

I'm going to be painting a lot of buildings this time around.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I've been out of town a lot lately, so I've been spending time drawing.  In full honesty though I feel a great deal of creative work and discovery can happen within an artist's drawings.  I feel that the mood of this particular drawing reflects the mood I'd like for the next body of work to possess.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gift

Just finished Beer & Wine.  I kept the title simple since the building in the foreground is Best Market Beer and Wine. I opted not to make the sign completely legible. I worked some color in, but still kept a fairly monochromatic pallet throughout.

It always amazes me how the beginning of a new body of work is filled with an awkward sense of uncertainty about direction.  I sit and stare at the canvases and question the color pallet of the work and internally debate on which techniques I'm going to employ and how the works will relate to each other and to the previous body of work.  With the last body of work I departed from my architectural focus on urbanity and was a great deal more figurative. With my collected fodder of photos from my vacation I'm returning with full force to the architectural bias, but I'm not sure if that's the focus I really want.  I've been very busy putting my photos together.  I have several pieces that will be very tall that start at the top with the sky directly above the viewers head and proceed downward to the street.  There will be a sort of fisheye effect to the perspective and this really excites me.  I also have some compositions I'm working on that will have the same effect only on a horizontal axis for freeway interchanges and bridges.  I'm struggling with the question if to continue with the heavily collaged abstract backdrops or to opt for more textural rendering.

There's always so much to think about, thankfully.  I guess it is a luxury to have "the gift" of having these dilemmas considering I could simply have no ideas at all.  Currently, I just have to figure out which roads I'm taking. Oh, and deal with the fact Phoenix is having an extended summer and my paints are drying on the brush before they even touch the canvas.  

Once I have the new studio I'm going to experiment with air filtration and or exhaust systems to see if working with oils during the hot and dry months will allow me continue working during that part of the year.  I love working with both oil and acrylics.  I have to say that many of my collage techniques would have to go to the wayside when working with oils due to the fact that oils are very acidic to raw papers and fabrics. I might opt to collage materials and then seal the surface really well with varnish then work with oils on top of the acrylic surfaces. The huge advantage of working with oils over acrylics when working with the figure is drying time.  Just the greater window of being able to blend and smooth areas is a huge asset when working with the human form.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Working on new works.  I have three in progress and only working titles.  Above Beer and Wine and Vanishing Horizons.  Honestly, those titles will change as soon as the canvases tell me their names.

It's been a long hot summer.  I returned from my vacation in August with close to a thousand photographs for fodder for my paintings.  It's been a lot of work to just go through them all, crop and start combining all the panoramic type shots (vertical and horizontal).  I initially started a really large canvas, but decided it would be better to complete a bunch of smaller works and get into the rhythm first.  Besides the gallery wants new works and I'm set for a October delivery of some works.  I'm not sure where this month has gone though.  It has just flown by going through my photographs and planning paintings.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Back from my long road trip up the Coast of Northern California to Portland, Oregon and then back down through Idaho, Utah and through the Vermillion Cliffs back home to Phoenix. While in Portland I spent the day working on paintings at my friends tattoo shop and giving art lessons.  I went ahead and performed the same work in pastels, watercolour and acrylic to demonstrate the different qualities and advantages of different media.  It was a blast. I also finished a painting (above) that I started the previous year's visit.

I really miss Portland, Oregon.  Someday I hope to live there and return home there from vacations rather than the other way around. Some how Portland has the buildings I love with an abundance of pedestrian traffic.  Oddly, enough when I take photos I end up with only the buildings.

This time around I decided I would take several series of photos in order to collage them.  When I paint these there will be an interesting distortion of the perspective that I feel will oddly be more true to the reality of how we experience the world.  Funny how this is a case where technology is actually influencing the work. I also took a lot of photos via passenger seat which yield interesting results.  

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Silent Refrain

Just finished Silent Refrain (top).  In essence it's a maquette.  I have actually started using the small works more and more as studies for other work or simply experiments to explore color and compositional ideas.  Silent Refrain is indeed the study for a future large canvas.  I have a lot more studies to do though. Morning Coffee is on the other hand more of a color experiment and the color ideas of Morning Coffee served as the framework for Silent Refrain.  It's all very cyclical.

Now that the summer is here and the body of work for Modified and Lanning Gallery is complete I can focus on the next body of work.  Meaning lots of quality time in the sketchbook and street photography trips.  Oh, not to mention picking up a few dozen novels and watching lots of movies.

I will be exhibiting at the Lanning Gallery for the month of July with the opening First Friday July 2nd - 5-8PM in Sedona, AZ.

Click here for more info:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wrapping Up

Finished two more tonight - Mersault and Failed Snapshot.  I didn't worry about cropping them like usual. I need to photograph everything in the sunlight at some point anyway.  The gallery is open on Saturdays, so I'll probably swing by to photograph anything I miss tomorrow after work.  I'm not sure if hanging is going down Tuesday or Wednesday, but I wouldn't mind having one more evening to touch up here and there.  I'm going to be rushing to paint the remaining sides up when I get home from work tomorrow.  If it's Wednesday I will finish the one canvas I left off the list and I will have 13 works in the show then.  Everything is pretty large or at least horizontally long if not tall.  Failed Snapshot is a good example it's 30 x 60 inches.  It will take up a lot of wall to be shown.

I'm going to eat a sandwich and call it a night letting tomorrow be what it will be.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Finished both Go Fish and Reflection today.  Also installed the wires behind the canvases and almost have all the sides finished.  I have two works to finish tomorrow evening.  The show hangs on Wednesday and I will be so very glad.  

I'm needing a short break before I start in working on the balance of the Lanning Gallery Show in July.  I have one canvas I may or may not include in this show, because I forgot to turn it in on my canvas list.  I don't think I will really need it.  Kim is already talking about editing the show down a little.  It's 14 canvases total, but they are large and since it's a two person exhibit I have two rooms and she doesn't want to crowd the canvases.  That works for me.  When I worked as a gallery director the philosophy my co-director and I stuck to was that work needed to breath.  Jess had worked for museums so she really had no love for the salon style of hanging art exhibits.  I visited SMOCA twice a week when I was in High School, so that has shaped my views on how art should be exhibited just a bit.

This body of work has taken me a little by surprise in some ways.  It doesn't look like a lot of work on paper, but when you have the canvases all over the studio and the patio it feels like the largest body of work I've put together.  When you get big the amount of wall space the artwork will eat up is just as big.  The other thing is these are intense canvases that psychologically are larger than they are even physically.  The characters within are very intense and the moods are unique within each of them.  If I were the viewer I wouldn't want to see them hung three to five inches apart from each other.

Modified Show is this Third Friday and next First Friday
@ 407 E. Roosevelt Rd. in Downtown Phoenix
6-9 PM

Click here for more info


Today I purchased the first of two pieces of new furniture for the studio.  I went antiquing to find a chair to replace my broken one.  Of course I found a swivel stool with a back that is actually a little taller than the stool I've been using.  Hey, great find really and the best part is it was only $10.  We're going to go out tomorrow and hit the shops we didn't make it to today.

Our jaunt was of course after the Modified Arts' video interview.  Needless to say the whole idea of being on camera made me a bit nervous. Admittedly, I really don't like my appearance on film.  I was also rather nervous about the usual tripping on my words.  Oh well, I'll post a link when they have it up anyway.  The interview covered a lot of ground regarding my influences and the ideology behind the work, which of course my blog reveals often.

It's really remarkable how updating the blog forces me to some extent to think about what I'm doing more.  It also serves to help me remember working titles and details about the works prior to hanging and opening receptions.  When I finish a work I become fully engrossed in the works currently in production.  I often forget about the just completed works unless I keep them out, so that I can reference their color pallet to match the current works too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gone Fishing

Go Fish above is going well.  I think I will finish it sometime tomorrow.  This is the last weekend of work for the show.  I have Reflection, Mersault and Go Fish to finish.  If some of the smaller works get finished they get finished, but I'm feeling just a little toasted at the moment. This are really strong works and I think they'll be surprising to some.  There's definately a focus on the figure that other shows flirted with, but only scratched the surface.  

I have another big push for the Lanning Gallery show for July now to worry about.  I am going to take a little time to recharge and ride my bike a little before I start hammering out the next batch of canvases.  Some of the work of this show will go into the Lanning Gallery exhibit as well just like last year. I am going to make an effort to create at least seven new works for that show.  I feel that Go Fish and Reflection are the direction those works will take.  This body of work marks a change.  Yes, it's easy to see that now that I can really take a look at the last 7 months worth of work and what's on the easel.  I'm not completely sure of where it's taking me though.  Frankly, I'm not really sure I'm supposed to know or even consider it.  Sometimes you really just need to let go and ride the wave beneath you and enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Perspectives and Revelations

Work continues...

This painting is going very smoothly.  The big debate will be to use color or keep it noir.  I'm going to have to sit and stair at it for a while.  I really like how the figure in the front is painted and really hate the thought of touching a thing.  Sometimes the shading and brush strokes fall into perfect place.

This has been a crazy week.  Starting Monday I've been working under new employer's with the print shop I work at being sold to new ownership.  It's really a breath of fresh air that I've really needed.  More work, but a much better work environment already.  That's really important to me as an artist.  If I come home stressed out or worried about my day it's going to effect the work.  I really don't like the art born out of frustration and angst. I guess painting my bad feelings inside just bores me anymore.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Getting closer to the show.  Work continued on Mersault and I started two new paintings.  The one shown is titled Moment (working title for now)  I also thought about calling it Reflection, but time will tell.  The other work not show is titled Go Fish and I'll post that later this week.  

I had my Wife pose for many different photos tonight for Moment and Go Fish and other future works.  I think this body of work is a bit of a departure from last years and I can see the direction it's taking me is a good one.  I think the more you work with the figure the more important perspective - bird's eye or worm's eye along with foreshortening becomes.  The canvases are more challenging and fun for me to create.  The consequence from a physical working standpoint is that my canvases take longer to think up, design and perform.  I'm just going to have to learn new strategies of working to make sure I get things done.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Gather Your Thoughts

Just finished Gather Your Thoughts. It was a bit of a tough canvas to finish really.  I could have kept going, but I felt like every stroke I was making was blowing away something that I should have left well enough alone. Sometimes that's just how I know I'm done, when I realize that I'm not making it better, but rather messing it up.  There are the canvases however where I place that last stroke and I know it's done without having to second guess myself.  I much prefer those canvases.  This is another finishing things up weekend.  I might however start a new painting if I feel I can finish it and the others on time for the show.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dorian Gray is Finished

Completed Dorian Gray 60 x 72 inches last night late.  I was tired, but drank too much coffee and made it happen anyway.  I just felt the need to end the weekend by finishing the largest painting (physically) of the show.  The Modified Show is now close enough I can feel it's bated breath on my shoulder and everything is becoming do or die real quick.  I really just have to finish what I have in progress to make the show work.  I do need to break and knock out some small works for the show.  I'm finishing the large ones first though.

Well, more in a few days if not tomorrow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dorian Gray Continued

Work continues on Dorian Gray.  Right now I'm focused in on the sky and getting the color balance of the painting just right.  There has been a lot of push and pull with the sky.  Sometimes it's better not to get the effect you want straight off. The result of having to fight  for it is sometimes better than what you originally envisioned to begin with.  I have a strong feeling that will be the case here.  The sky is becoming very rich with texture and history as the struggle to get it to look just right continues.  Tomorrow I'm going to focus in on the figures and play with the figure ground relationship.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Burning Candles, Paint and Brushes

Work on Dorian Gray continues.  Figuring out the color scheme and the intensity of color has been a big part of the work, along with the addition of collage items.  I have a sky in mind, but it is going to be a challenge to capture it.  I'm going to spend sometime tracking down a photo reference tomorrow evening.  This I'll know it when I see it doesn't work very well and spends a lot of time and paint.  I want the sky to resemble how it looks when the sunset breaks right after a rain storm.  I think the interplay of gold and payne's grey clouds is always visually dynamic and very reflective.

As the painting continues I will have to play with pushing and pulling the tie in and out of the background.  It's funny how a tie can literally be a noose around your neck.  I don't want it to be over stated though.  I want it to be there, but something the viewer will not notice until they've spent some time with the work.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dorian Gray

Started another big canvas Today.  Dorian Gray 60 x 72 inches.  I don't know how many more mammoths I'll be throwing into the show after this work.  This is actually a cropped version of Dreaming of April, but already I've started to diverge.  Note the gentleman is holding his tie.  Also the nature of the buildings is changing as well, which will be followed by a color shift once I get past the underpainting stage of the work.  Originally Dreaming of April started off with the working title of Dorian Gray, because that title just popped in my head when putting the sketch together.  Over the course of the work that no longer fit.  This revisit of the composition is another ball game and due to the increased size of the canvas the characters are fleshed out, so I can start to see the reason for the title.

It's so enjoyable to see story behind my canvases unfold as I paint them.  It's where I get to be the viewer and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bouncing back and forth

Bouncing back and forth from canvases.  Pensive (top)  is proving to be one of my more difficult pieces to pull off.  The main character looks outright angry than just simply pensive.  I started Silence (bottom) yesterday and finished the under painting this morning.  I also worked more on Mersault.  It's just a busy day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jackson Pollock and Self Doubt

Above is a one of the new works I started this week.  I started six small canvases.  I don't have a title yet, but hopefully I will have a title before I finish it.  I took the day off today to paint.  I designed two new paintings and started one of them with a bang.  I will have to snap a photo tomorrow.  I laid down a layer of varnish before taking a snap shot of it.  The piece is entitled Silence.  It depicts a awkward social moment.  I'm not sure what the story is between the three figures, but it's obvious that the the woman and one of the men aren't speaking to each other and are looking towards each other in a dubious manner.  The man standing in front of them is either a friend caught in the cross fire or is waiting to cross the street completely unaware of the discord itself or the reasons behind it.  If he's a stranger he's just wanting to clear out as quickly as possible, before the cold war becomes hot.

This week I watched a documentary on Jackson Pollock right after a episode of art:21.  What strikes me is the forces that tore Jackson apart are essentially the forces every creative deals with whether your a painter, sculptor, musician, writer, architect, engineer (yes, they're creative too!), scientist, inventor, etc...  The episode of art:21's interview with Barry McGee was telling of this.  In the interview Barry is very concerned when doing public showings that he will loose street credibility and might be seen as selling out.  He goes out and performs street work in order to feel balanced. That's not much different from Jackson Pollock feeling like a fake after the movie showing him in the studio was being filmed. I wish he could have known how fantastic it is for an artist 50 odd years latter to watch him work.  It might have been a bit of a dog and pony show, but it's fantastic footage to watch and full of insights.

I am always confronted with these internal questions of "what do I do next now that I just did this?", "Am I being true to myself and my art/purpose?", "Am I repeating myself?", "Am I washed up?", "Am I a cliche of myself?", "Playing it safe here?", "Did I push the envelope", and it just goes on and on.  In the documentary on Jackson Pollock, just like the ones on Curt Cobain, Ian Curtis, Jim Morrison and countless others they go on and on about their lack of self-esteem.  I think it's a bit unfair to these artists to simply say they had low self-esteems and these internal questions get the bum rap.  I feel that without these internal questions that you would actually fall prey to being guilty of what this internal line of dialog is suggesting.  If you are at yourself enough question your "authenticity" then chances are your still authentic or not so far gone that you can't return to being so.  When these questions are bouncing back and forth between your ears it's proof you still have a compass to guide you through.

Here's the catch 22 of it and why so many artists self destruct. I think that the artists who don't either have really great coping mechanisms or have super human self-esteems.  I don't know where I fall here, but I think my wife balances me out.  All I know is I deal with Jackson's demons, but I don't think I am a special case.  I think every artist out there deals with these demons as well if they're worth their salt.  I remember when I was in school I thought this inner critique and doubt would subside or vanish as I aged, but it's still there.  Only now my demons have more ammo with the passage of time and a history to pull facts and details from.  With that said though - alas they're really my friends clothed as demons that sit in the studio playing devils advocate.  They keep me from performing art for commercial reasons, keep me honest by preventing me from taking short cuts and being creatively lazy.  They keep me in line.  There are nights though I wish they'd ease up just a bit.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Early Saturday

More progress shots of Mersault which may be renamed not sure.  In the upper right there seems to be a need for some visual interest to fill the blank space as well increase the perspective.  There has been a tightness in detail to the last four or five works, which is great, but I feel the need to loosen things up a bit and get back to the sketchy quality of some of my other works only bringing the detail here and there.  I just don't want to loose the frantic energy of my drawings.