Saturday, December 31, 2011

Final Painting for 2011

Just finished my last painting for 2011. It's called Escape Plan. I'm going to submit it for a show called Gothic along with a two other works. I feel this work will fit in with the show's premise well. I've always been a bit tormented by the fact people consider my work dark, but with this painting I've went ahead and leaned into it a bit. 

I've actually become more comfortable with being considered dark. The conclusion I have reached is that I am a Alfred Hitchcock or Rod Sterling when it comes to doing my art. When I think about it though the world is really a dark place and I don't think there are many that would argue that we're not living through some dark times in some respect. Although, a quick glance through the history books leads me to think that times are always dark for one reason or another. I guess it's all relative.

2011 for me was a year of up and downs, but ultimately more up than down. I built the studio and my gallery sales have been great this year, so I can only feel thankful and forget any of the downs. With any luck 2012 will be great year for all.  Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Started working on the first stab at the drawing Crowds 2.  I don't have a name for this piece yet.  I say the first stab, because I'm not sure of how I will want to work the series.  This canvas is 24 x 48, but I almost want to make it 36" to 45" high to really focus in on the figures. I also want to have the larger versions to lack a background. For the time being however I love the painting that is evolving on the easel at the moment. I may create two individual series of the works.  One larger without backgrounds and one smaller on 24x48 canvases with backgrounds.

When I look through books of other artists I see a great deal of duplicity and returning to subjects or them painting the same composition three if not twenty odd times.  I know that I have caught myself doing the same and somehow have always stopped. Now I'm starting to wonder if it's just a tendency artists have to work and rework ideas on different canvases until it's out of their system.

Other than that I've been getting ready for the Holidays. A Christmas first I will be having quite a few guests to the house for Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crowds 3

Finished up the third drawing of the series - Crowds 3. It's been really nice to just sit and draw. I'm also feeling more satisfied with my photographs from the San Francisco trip. I can see that I'm going to get a lot more paintings from the outing than I originally thought. The great thing about these characters is that I can use them a few times with variation of detail, compositional importance or just use their clothing style on another figure. I also see the advantage of having a large photo library. Granted I can compose these pieces from scratch without the photo reference, but the light, shadow and drape of the clothing can only be approximated and with that the work resulting will always feel "mannered or stylized". The only way I know to achieve a more naturalistic rendering of subjects is by either drawing from life or the next best thing my photographs.

I framed the first two drawings of the Crowds Series this morning and will frame this one before I turn in tonight.  The will be exhibited in a show called "Drawing from Reference" at Modified Arts.  The opening will be this Third Friday December 16th from 6-9PM with the second reception the First Friday January 6th from 6-9PM. I plan to attend both receptions.

I like the minimal starkness of these drawings.  I don't know if it would work on a canvas though. I think on a canvas it would feel a touch too spartan. If background buildings and figures don't work this may be the perfect opportunity to use collaged materials and silk screened text. I'm going to give the spartan look a try first. As for the drawings: I'm going to keep knocking them out while it's in my system and figure out the size of the paintings afterwards. I'm thinking a little larger than 24x48 maybe 30x60 or 36x72. I really want canvas to be part of a show, where these and the preliminary drawings are all that's shown. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crowds 2

Finished the second drawing of the series.  I plan to have a series of twelve works in this vein. I have always loved Pause and Could've.  The absolute focus on the characters without buildings and the background figures slipping into atmospheric abstraction. I think it would be fun to have an entire show of just these works.

I'm really enjoying the fact than rather than just working with ready-made photos this time I'm working with tons of character snap shots and putting it all together with 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Just finished up Crowds tonight.  I went ahead and scanned Puddle as well, since the photo shot wasn't the best. It's nice to take a little break from the easel and spend some time drawing.  I always forget how much I enjoy to just sit and draw. I can tell already that it will be the key to working out the works of the next show.  Looking through my photo fodder from San Francisco this time around I have more fragments, characters and street elements than ready made paintings. I'm glad that's the case, because I've been wanting to create more works like Pause and Could've, but just haven't had the right photos.  Well now I do and Crowds is the first sketch to result.

I think Puddle is the first sketch of the large series to be shown all together perhaps sequentially if the storyline is that tight. I'd like to put together. I'm starting to ponder titles.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back to the Sketchbook

Back to the sketchbook. One of the things I've been missing is working in a series with a storyline that unfolds through the creation of several canvases, so I'm returning to the sketchbook to develop the next body of work with this intent. I have always wanted to design an entire show that would evolve around a single story arc.  It's the comic book and movie influence coming through, but I'd like to have twenty to thirty pieces that reflect a storyline and even have to be shown sequentially, so that the viewer has to digest each work from left to right and work their way around the room. To date my largest series has been seven works that were shown in three different shows, but I have always wanted to do something bigger and show the works alone within a single exhibit. I'm going to make this a long term goal of course- creating the work over the space of a year or two, while working on other paintings. Now for the hard part figuring out a story.  I guess this is where spending a lot of time in my sketchbook will come in handy.

I have to admit that with the demands of getting canvases painted during off work hours that I have been away from the sketchbook in recent years. Back in college I would sketch daily and fill sketchbook after sketchbook.  Unfortunately, I also cannibalized these books using the sketches directly for reference on the easel.  In retrospect I should have left the sketches in the books and found a copy machine.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Return from San Francisco

Returned late thursday afternoon from San Francisco. I don't think I'll be happy until I live there. I walked a little over 30 miles photographing everything I could. I did make a point to visit the Japanese Tea Gardens this time. Had the hard choice due to time of going through the De Young Museum or staking out galleries to show in. Since I opted to shoot photos instead the year prior I thought I'd better get down to business and check out the galleries. It would be nice to visit more often. 

I spent a lot of time in around Union Square and in China town.  I wondered into the Tinderloin, but I was a little nervous about snapping too many photos there.  Frankly a bit nervous about being there period with the sun setting, being alone and having about twenty or so people staring me down and greeting me. It was one of those walk quickly and cut diagonally to get to another part of town asap.

It was probably a good thing we returned when we did.  I caught a bad cold from the plane trip there and started feeling bad Thursday morning and was down for the count for the next two days. I started going through my photos despite being sick. I have more "characters" this time and not as many buildings, but I think that might work out better since I have been wanting to spend some quality time in the sketchbook and getting back to my city scenes being a little less location specific and more of a universal city.

This morning I'm waiting for the studio to warm up a little, so I can get out there and paint. It's been a week too long since I've been in there working.