Thursday, September 22, 2011

Street Lamp's Hum is finished.  It's a bit of a reference to Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel in title, but Bleaker Street comes to mind as well.  When I look at it I'm also reminded of a scene out of the Albert Camus novel A Happy Death where Patrice Mersault is wondering around the streets in Amsterdam. Of course the setting is not Amsterdam, but the feeling is still there for me.  The central figure carries his cooler in one hand and plods down the street to return home or go to work if he works a grave yard shift.  The night life establishments down the street are about mid-shift and will close in about two hours.  The folks who are not night life types are tucked into bed until their alarm clocks wake them in the morning.  Your wandering the streets enjoying the brisk air and the way the various humming street lamps make the reflections dance and the shadows creep.

The title for the piece had eluded me until I starting thinking about how it made me feel and then I heard the street lamp humming in my mind while I looked at it. I'm elated to have finished this work this week.  I've been waiting for the next wave just like a surfer, so that I can ride it and produce a new large body of work.  Well it's here and I've caught it.

Waiting for a Title

Still don't have a title for this painting and it's almost done.  It's been a really interesting piece so far.  I have a bunch more night paintings coming up as well. I've been busy finishing up two other paintings for delivery to the gallery for tomorrow.

It's been an a different kind of week for me.  I've now become a full time painter. Right now I'm trying to break into a good routine that works best for getting art done. At the moment the last week of triple digit weather has been forcing me to work in split shifts of Early Morning and Night rather than a normal 8 to 10 hour straight studio session.  I hope the heat breaks soon, because I really would like to just work straight through the day without interruption. I get more done that way.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Studio Days and Nights

Not sure of the title for this piece yet, but it's coming along.  It's based on one of the night photos I took during my San Francisco trip last November.  I'm planning on another visit this year as well.

I've been a bit lax in posting over the last few weeks, but I'm sure I'll make up for it in the following months. Getting the shadows right on the building and working in the colors of the city at night has been the challenge on this painting. With the last few works I've been bringing back the collaged text subtly.  It's interesting that of late I've questioned my motivation behind collaging the elements into the work.  I know in art school that many of my professors warned of becoming an mannerist of yourself.  There were many artists to whom they felt had "sold out" listed.  Well, in short they instilled this fear within me.

Recently, though I was told by someone who wasn't really a big art person that what they thought what made my work stand out of the crowd of other artists they've seen was that added level of subtext within my work.  They felt that the carefully blended fading in and out collaged text elements within my work addressed modern society. Oddly, this reminded me of why I've done it for so many years and that although it's become a ritualized thing that I just do that the conceptual meaning behind it hasn't been lost, but simply internalized so deeply that I just don't think about it and focus on the other elements of the work. 

As far as the artists that were labeled as "sell outs" - I'm now wondering if they just hadn't found their niche. I know for myself that I feel that the urban environments that I paint are a bottomless well of inspiration for me.  I used to struggle to find inspiration and would have creative blocks.  Now I just go out with my camera and discover meaning within myself through what I find out there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another Exit

Starting with the top is my copy of the Neighborhood Register by Marcus Jackson with one of my painting Ascension Night on the cover. Marcus signed it as well. You can pre-order a copy of the book here on Amazon

You can also visit his website here His work has a nice gritty urban feel. Something I personally respond to for obvious reasons. He has a very strong minimalistic, straight to the heart of the matter, without any fluff style of writing that reminds me of many of the American authors between WW1 and WW2 along with the beat generation. I appreciate this approach, because I know that I paint at my best when I use an economy of brush strokes.

Below the studio shot is Another Exit and Vantage Point. I've added a rolling cart to the studio and have placed a drafting tabletop upon it.  It eats up some room, but it's really nice to bounce back and forth from the easel to the table with works for laying glazes and coats of varnish.  It's also nice to have a place to allow works to dry and place another work on the easel and get to work.

It's odd that even though I have three easels - I seem to primarily work on the easel on the north wall. It's been suggested it's simply a matter of me unconsciously not wanting to have my back to the door.  The other easels serve the purpose of keeping works in progress within view, so that I can work out problems within them while painting other works.  I guess nothing is wasted. Maybe when it's cool enough to close the door and lock it while working out there I will feel more comfortable working at those easels.