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.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Journey of Mersault

Started Mersault tonight.  There is a lot of under painting for this one.  The original small work didn't have much in the way of collaged elements, but for the larger one I feel it's needed.  Plus, I've performed three works in a row with very little collage and I'm feeling the urge.  I've been using photo collage sketches lately rather than my hand drawn sketches.  This is the first of three that will be completely born out of the hand drawn sketch.  I'm wanting to get back to working with dynamic perspective view points again as well.  I'm  a little shocked at how figurative this current body of work is in comparison to previous shows.  We'll see how it pans out when the balance of the Modified exhibit is completed as well.

Another one down a dozen to go

Finished Could've last night.  Trying to figure out what I'm going to work on next.  I have lots of painting to do, but heck what's new?  I'm not sure the photo does the piece justice really.  The intensity of some colors and subtly of others seems a bit lost.  It will look fantastic hanging in a gallery on opening night though.