Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another day, another painting

I just finished up on Tired of Waiting and send an updated photo to the gallery.  I quickly approached the point of where each brush stroke I applied to enhance the work was doing quite the opposite, which is usually my indication that it's time to stop.  It's so easy to over work paintings.  I'm glad that with age I've become more aware of when to leave a work alone, but sometimes I still manage to overwork things.

Tired of Waiting

I spent the Christmas Holiday working on Tired of Waiting, which is almost finished.  I should finish it later today.  I plan to start another painting today as well.  This piece is the result of being in the right place at the right time for taking the reference photo.  I'm pleased that I'm getting better at street photography. I don't expect to transition from painting to photography anytime soon though. I like the fact that within a painting I can omit or add details and control the mood with my color palette and brush strokes. I love the tactile sensation of paint, but I have learned to truly love wandering around a city with a camera taking photos and becoming completely immersed - living completely within that moment and the act of capturing it.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Aimless Wandering

I just finished up on Aimless this morning.  I named it such, because it really captures the feeling of my wandering around in the San Francisco night without any real direction.  I just allowed my self both trips to just be set a drift and wander the streets with no goal or purpose outside of taking photographs in mind.  My goal/resolution this upcoming year is just to do and think less.  To become more aimless.  Sometimes I feel like I'm so focused on the ideal of getting there that I drive right past where I was headed to begin with.  It's time to smell the bouquet of flowers that I'm already holding in my hand.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Balancing Act

Work has continued on the Chinese Market painting and I started another piece as well.  The challenge with both is going to be the same.  There is a lot of wonderful paint strokes denoting action within the underpainting that I need to carry into the next stages of the works.  It seems that part of me craves detail and part of me wants to be completely loose and expressionistic capturing just the impression of light and movement.  If I can pull off the mixture of elements juxtaposing them off of each other just right I will be content.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The little thoughts that...

I finished Little Thoughts (above) and Always Caught in the Undertow (below) last night.  I find it interesting how different the mood of these two works are. Little Thoughts is very lucid and present in comparison to Always Caught in the Undertow's water logged state of consciousness.
It seems even more odd to me; when I consider the fact that they were both created simultaneously.  It's said that paintings reflect the artist's mood at the time.  I have no idea what to make of it if that's the case considering that these two works despite similar palettes are so different.

Little Thoughts was titled based on the fact that the skater waiting to cross the street is either double checking that his wallet is still there or skipping to the next song on his iPod while waiting for the light.  I suspect that it's skipping to the next song.  I know that it is very common for me to skip songs while waiting at lights when I'm riding and the back pockets work the best - at least before I purchased an iPod Touch.  Life seems to be filled with an endless supply of little thoughts that can sometimes influence our lives more than we think.

After finishing work on the others I bounced back to the Chinese market piece.  I haven't thought of a good title for this painting yet.  I have noted that there is a great deal more underpainting required for the night works.  It's really coming together nicely.  I'm glad that I caught more vignettes of city life during my last trip to San Francisco.  My focus has usually been on buildings and the movement of people on the sidewalks, excluding the interactions at market stalls and restaurants.  Maybe that's the change within my work I've been craving.  Simply a change of focus to capture the energy of the city in a different way.  I'm convinced that I will never be satisfied with whatever the current body of work on my easel is and will always endlessly strive to produce the next "big thing" never knowing what that could actually entail.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Always Caught in the Undertow

Work is going pretty well on Caught in the Undertow above.  The title hit me while listening to the Modest Mouse's song "The World at Large" with the lyric "Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?"  That sentiment really hits home with me. I could easily extrapolate upon the subject, but I feel that it's really part of the universal experience of being human and dealing with life's endless array of curve balls.  Frankly, the struggles within my own life feel rather trivial in comparison to those of others.  When ever trails come my way I always take solace in the fact that I'm not the only special one and that I don't have it nearly as bad as the majority of the world.  In short, I simply purse my lips and give a whistle.

The last couple days of rain afforded me a rare treasure in Phoenix - humidity.  With the extended drying time I was really able to capture a etherial fuzzy deep in thought look.  I usually see the world this way after several days of working non-stop at work and in the studio, while getting little sleep while driving or riding down the road in the early morning.  It is almost like I'm mentally waterlogged and looking at the world from within a fish bowl during those times.  Well, that's what it's like for me at least.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Long Awaited Rain

It's raining tonight after what seems like months since the last time it's rained.  It may only be a month, but the air quality was really starting to suffer.  I finished Rainy Night (top) over the weekend and I've been working on Nightly Bargains since Sunday.  I just finished the underpainting layers, so now I can move on to re-inking some of the detail back and start putting in the color.  This is one of the luck of the draw shots I captured in San Francisco when walking through China Town.  I found myself amazed at the hustle, bustle, pushing and grabbing the shoppers took part in.  It was really frantic.  I guess I'm very much a suburban kid in that respect or at least the product of big box grocery store shopping.  I don't have people reaching across my person to snatch apples that I was about to put in my bag.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Daily Trivialities

Sometimes the small works actually set up quickly.  Granted this is not always the case I've had to pour hours and hours of work into small 9x12 inch paintings in the past.  It is nice though when the small works come together in a day or two.  I'm just about finished with As the Rush Comes above.  Daily Trivialities below has come together very quickly as well, so it may be finished in a couple days.  It's refreshing to have work coming together quickly; considering that I've been working on a large night painting for over a month and I'm not even sure if it's even half done.  These are the first of seven small paintings that I'm working on for the gallery.  Smaller works have been in high demand lately, so I'm knocking out several.  Five of them are night works, so it's a great opportunity to figure out how well my night palette is going to work as well as perfect it as I go.

Of course the video game Limbo that is pretty much at night or late dusk and completely black and white has me thinking that maybe my perceived prerequisite of adding more color into my palette in order to perform night works could be in error or at least not as necessary as I think.  I omit or mute color in my other works, so it seems silly to not do the same for the night paintings or at least some of them.  I admit though I love the colors of an urban environment at night.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Street Lights Blur

This is the first of a handful of small night paintings I'm working on.  The focus of this one is a central figure crossing wet streets.  It's hard to know in a painting like this how much detail to add or omit.  The left side came together spontaneously and became rather abstracted, so now adding details to the right  side has to be balanced with that loose feel and just the right amount of detail.

Friday night I watched Indie Game the movie.  It was really interesting to see how the game designers approached the games they were designing.  I know many may not view creating a video game as art, but I do and much more so after watching this film.  It's simply a different medium.  As silly and trite as it may sound - I really related to their struggles and felt glad to know that I'm not  the only one to have some of the feelings I have when it's crunch time to get work done for a exhibition or commission.  It's the same passion and different struggles, but more or less the same variables of time, money, and figuring out how to make the piece of art work.  I purchased one of the games that was featured within the film without having it's development and team directly spotlighted entitled Limbo.  The game itself is presented in film noir with very minimal lighting and a creepy mix of natural,urban, and industrial elements.  Yes, much like my work in some respects, so the appeal was instant when I saw the main character a silhouetted boy hoping over the letters of a broken hotel sign.

I haven't spent too much time playing the game, but I think that I'll restrain myself in order to make the experience last.  Besides I have the painting above and six more to finish up for a delivery to my gallery in a couple weeks.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Return to Night

Getting back into the swing of posting.  I've been just working and not posting lately.  I guess I just got out of the habit while preparing for the last show and... Just excuses.

I've just started getting back into night themed paintings.  Over half the photos I took while I was in San Francisco the last two visits have been night photos, but I've only used a couple.  This is partly due to the fact that night paintings seem to set up completely different than my other works.  They also have a lot more color and it's taken me a little bit of trial and error to find just the right palette or at least one I'm happy with.  It's odd, but I wish that I could use oils, because the pigments seem to blend more harmoniously when working on night paintings. I'm not sure why that is, but acrylic paint manufacturers seem to use different pigment formulations than oil paint manufacturers.  Now the plus to working in acrylics is the greater diversity of colors, but the crux of this is that sometimes some hues when blended have unhappy chemical reactions that produce unexpected color mixes.  So I'm still working to build just the right palette for myself.  I'm admittedly picky as well.

I've also been working on another bird painting.  I was walking around China Town in San Francisco early in the morning in between when the markets receive their shipments of food and when they open up for business and saw the pigeons eating the remains of someone's discarded breakfast.  Moments after I took this source photo for this piece another 25 birds joined this pair.