Saturday, February 25, 2012

Guilty Glance

I finished up Guilty Glance yesterday, just in time to submit it for it's intended exhibit. I was keeping it completely black, white and grey for a possible submittal for that show, but the painting really needed color to come together.  Not much, but enough to give it a greater sense of depth. I do have to admit that I feel I've fallen into a pattern of being some what obsessive with each painting I paint. It seems as if my perfectionist streak has just been running wild. It's not really a terrible thing, but it unsettles me to be less prolific in a time when I desire to produce twice as much work than I am.

It might just be a phase and it will simply pass. So much of who I am as an artist goes on beneath the surface of my conscious mind. I may just be climbing up the steep slope of a new artistic plateau and once I get to the top my prolific nature and snap decisions will return. For this moment, I'm caught in the struggle of reinventing the wheel with each canvas I paint.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Graphic Guilt

I have been painting like crazy for the last few days on a new work called The Guilty Glance. It's going to be my submission to a juried exhibition named "Consequences". Oddly, enough I could almost use any one of my paintings, considering that my work in general is about the passage of time and the effects of internal and external forces on my subjects. Nonetheless, I thought it would be best to relate the work directly to the show's theme without telling too much of the story. The figure in the foreground is in a half run looking over his shoulder clutching the straps to his backpack. It's unclear if he's just exited the building, just sneaking out for the evening, has just burgled a condo inside, perhaps there's something contraband inside his backpack, or he's just the nervous type. The painting isn't going to tell the viewer, it's up to the viewer to interpret and write the story as she or he feels fit. In general I paint all my works in this manner on purpose. I feel that all too often when I watch a film everything is spelled out to me as if I were three years old. Leave some mystery and I will happily fill in the blanks.

My normal technique of inking followed with painting has been employed here. What I have been finding more and more is that I really like the graphic quality created by going back and re-inking the work again afterwards. I'm not sure where this will lead.  I guess time will tell. I do like how the technique can push a figure completely into the foreground of a painting. I also like the strong chiaroscuro quality it creates as well. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nazareth Hotel

I delivered Nazareth Hotel up to the Lanning Gallery in Sedona, AZ yesterday along with some other works. It's one of my favorite paintings. The old hotel just has such a haunted feel to it. It almost makes me wonder what kind of ghosts may inhabit the rooms of the hotel. I almost have the impression though that it's actually hotel rooms that have been turned into apartments or at least are used for extended stays. I can see a character from a noir film staying there, while hiding out from the authorities or from his or her past.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Redefining Nazareth

Today I had to strike out some of the work I'd done in the last couple days to redefine the center of the building and the store fronts. I can tell already that it will make for a better piece in the long run. Even back in art school I was blessed with a healthy philosophy, that there could be no sacred cow areas of a canvas. Yes, there are times when there is just a beautifully rendered portion of the canvas, but it just doesn't work with the whole. I have caught myself spending hours trying not to paint over it only to strike it out for the benefit of the canvas as a whole. All in all, I'm glad that the delivery up to the gallery was put off until Sunday. It has allowed me to not rush and make the right decisions for the painting. I'm still shooting to finish it by tomorrow afternoon. 

I have to admit that I have a tendency to set tight deadlines for myself from time to time. I guess after years of being a graphic designer I like to have a due dates to work towards. Right now I have lined up three more juried shows that I'm going to perform work for, along with doing more work for the gallery and putting a body of work together in order to make a show proposal to some University Galleries. Truthfully, all are self imposed to a certain extent. Without the deadlines I find that I get work done, but not as much work done as I would like to. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize that working long hours to meet deadlines makes me happy. I've cursed deadlines for so long - only to realize they're a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Nazareth Hotel has been going well. I was shooting to finish the painting last night in order to deliver it along with others to the gallery today, but that didn't happen. I'm going to put the delivery to the gallery off for later this week, so I can include this painting.

This work is just the beginning of a series of similarly themed paintings. I'm planning to focus in on the architectural and street scene stuff for a while. Something about Escape Plan, November and now Nazareth Hotel is...  I don't know how to say it. It just seems to be the work I need to be doing at the moment. I find myself becoming completely lost within the intricate details and spaces of these paintings. It's wonderful to feel like you have physically inhabited the space within a work. I have been able to smell the rain in the air and the dampness on my cheeks while painting the Nazareth Hotel. It's been a painting that I have truly lived in. When I left for the Gothic Opening in Santa Ana on Friday leaving Nazareth Hotel in an unfinished state was very difficult to break away.   

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It's a double post Thursday. This evening's painting session was very productive and I was able to finish up the sky, tone down the Hotel's sign and solidify more of the building. I've included some detail shots of the sky. I need to get better about providing detail photos of my work. There are a lot of complex textures that overall photos of the paintings simply don't capture. My work has always been better in person than in photographs, but photographs are how most people will see the work initially.

Nazareth along with my recent paintings Escape Plan and November really show a clear return to heavy collage, my subdued dark palette and steak and potatoes subject matter - I feel people know me for. I'm actually planning to go with the flow for the next few months and create a large body of work maybe 30 to 40 canvases over the next few months. I have a number of reasons for this move, but the one reason that really drives my need to keep it simple and go with the flow is that I've been looking at the world outside of my studio, along with reading the news and driving around a town that has become a sea of empty store fronts - it has given me the blues. There's only one way to loose these feelings and that's to paint. With any luck my viewers can feel the release too.   

Old Hotel

I've taken a short break from the figurative works to paint some more architectural works. This is Nazareth the first of several building paintings. Actually, old hotels I have photographed over the last few years. This hotel was photographed during my last trip to San Francisco. Not soon after taking this photograph I realized I was in the wrong part of town with the sun setting. I kept having people walk circles around me after giving me a greeting and we're not talking one or two folks. It bummed me out a little, because I opted to put the camera away for safety since I was alone. As a result I missed out on photographing a lot of cool buildings. Next time I will have to take someone with me. 

I find I wonder into bad parts of town often when photographing old buildings. Sometimes the coolest distressed buildings just happen to be in the not so good part of town.