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.