Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dreaming of Empties

I completed Dreaming of Empties and All Your False Projections this morning and will be delivering them along with Lonely Outpost up to the Lanning Gallery this afternoon. It will be a relief to get up North and out of this hellish heat for a few hours.

I have been purchasing some new brushes/tools for these paintings namely the Catalyst series from Princeton These are fantastic for achieving really nice impasto techniques. They really make a nice addition to my current textures.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Empties and False Projections

Work continues on Dreaming of Empties. I like how the addition of the yellow flowers really brings out the subtle colors that have been hiding in the painting. The studio got hot a little sooner this morning. Pretty soon I'll be out there at 4am in order to get work done on the bigger canvases. 

Started working on a small piece yesterday entitled All Your False Projections. I'm not sure about it yet. Maybe it's just a little bit different than the other desert works, so it's throwing me off. It's a great little vignette though and the brushwork in the foreground is really yummy, so maybe I'm just a little tired. It's been a long week with a lot happening and with my past rushing in. When I look at this current body of work I can't help, but feel that it speaks volumes about my childhood, but I don't fully grasp what they're saying yet. I'm just going to focus on painting, completely let go and loose myself in this work. I'll figure it out in due time. I'm pushing hard to get these works ready for a delivery at the Lanning Gallery tomorrow. I'm taking my camera with me and going abandoned gas station and modern ruin hunting afterwards. I love the freeway and searching out the places that others speed past without a second thought.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Do Empties Dream?

Here's a progress shot of a new piece entitled Dreaming of Empties. "Empties" being slang for empty soda bottles which fits with the gas station's time period.  It's based on a old gas station I photographed when heading out from Las Cruces to White Sands.  It was across the street from garage, motel and diner all crumbling modern ruins.  It's odd, but when I think about it these works really paint a sad portrait of American culture or the very Post WWII suburban/consumerism that has driven my country's culture for over sixty years.  That of course isn't really the statement behind these works.  I still feel they address my childhood in an abstract sense.  I haven't figured out what this body of work means yet in full, but sometimes I don't understand the true meaning of works until many years latter.

I recently read and interview with Haruki Murakami where when asked about the development of his stories on whether or not he knew if the protagonist in "Dance, Dance, Dance" had murdered the girlfriend he was searching for? He replied that he didn't until the end of the book like everyone else.  I guess I'm the same way.  I know as much about the meaning of my works as all the people who enjoy them.  That makes it fun.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hunkering Down for the Long Haul

Sometimes I realize with some paintings that they're just going to take time and lots of it. That there is nothing to do, but hunker down on them for the long haul. I am also reminded of the importance of working on other works while performing the long haul works to keep loose and fresh. The Color Study for Cling has helped me figure out a color scheme that will work for Cling.  I'm greying things out a little more on the actual work. This morning I realized that I really do like the current pavement's color interaction with the main figures in the foreground, so as I'm putting in more color I'm muting it back down with grey tones. It's this balancing act with a piece with this much size and detail that really slows the production process down, but I have to remind myself that being an artist is about quality over quantity. That is somehow out of sync with how the rest of the world is today, but maybe artists have always been out of sync.

Later today I plan to get back to work on a few other paintings that have been on the easel for a while as well. I'm also going to be starting the next piece in the "Lost" series that focuses in on abandoned highway structures, gas stations, diners, and like alongside desert highways. I feel like hoping in the truck and going for a drive sometime this weekend to photograph more.  Maybe after breakfast with my mentor tomorrow.

I'm preparing work for two shows this Fall. I will be part of a group showing of Arizona artists at the Lanning Gallery in September and I will have a solo show at Modified Arts in October.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Color Study for Cling

I just finished a small color study for Cling.  It's been one of the works that's spent the last couple months in the studio going slowly.  A lot of that has to do with figuring out the color palette to use with the painting.  The freeway works have a different color palette than my urbanscapes, yet somehow working on the freeway works has coaxed me out of my creative block, so last night I decided that I'd bring in the colors from the freeway works into the urbanscapes to see what happens.  In college I always did pastel or small paintings studies for the larger paintings.  It's funny how much stuff you get away from doing that you did as a student.  Ironically, though these things are still really important to do.  I think as the years have passed since art school I've simply have formed bad habits of skipping the preliminary portion of creating paintings.  Some of it has to do with time constraints of working a day job and the need to produce work for the gallery all the same.  I think more has to do with being free of the professors who made me do all that preliminary work that was so tedious at the time.  I'm sure some of my professors would like to know that years latter one of their students finally gets it.  Granted, I'm sure they were laughing to themselves at the time "you'll understand years from now", as I was complaining to them.

This morning while painting I was also thinking about the distinction between artists that have had formal training and those who have not.  In my mind I think of it as simply those who hop onto the freeway(going to school) and those who take surface streets(read, study and paint a whole lot).  In the end both groups get there, but those who chose to get there by freeway will get there sooner.  However, I don't really know if an artist is any more or less valid based on which road they choose.  Creating art is about struggle to get what is in your head out onto the canvas(feel free to insert your own medium here) the way you see it internally. It's just like everything else that's worth doing in life - not easy.  I feel that all artists are bound together by this mutual struggle.  It reminds me of riding up a really long and steep hill on my road bike, hard work, it hurts like hell and kicks your butt, but when you crest it and are flying down the other side it's pure exhilaration. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Camera Work

Above is the photo taken in San Francisco for Snap below.

With this post I thought I'd share some of the photos behind the paintings.  There are some works that are derived solely from the sketchbook, but I love the process of going out with a camera to photograph source material for the paintings. It feeds the inner explorer inside of me and gets me out of the studio and out of my head for a while for that matter.  These three photos are rare in fact there was no manipulation or editing out of elements prior to going to canvas other than desaturating them and cropping.

Below is the photo taken outside of Barstow, CA and the painting A Sense of Loss.

Below is the photo taken outside in San Francisco, CA and the painting Unwritten Rules.

Once I get to the canvas I will often edit elements out or focus in on other details.  There are also instances where I will stray from the photo and increase the light and shadow to make elements clearer or more dramatic.  To some extent once I get to the canvas it's anything goes.

I'm returning to my original photos for many of my works, because I'm planning to create silkscreen prints of these works.  With that said though; I don't want to simply re-create those works, but rather create new pieces that explore the subject matter and composition in a different medium.  I may even decide to create new paintings based on these reinterpretations.  This isn't really uncommon for artists, William DeKooning, Robert Motherwell, and Edvard Munch all revisited works.  I haven't done this nearly enough considering that when I'm working on a piece I often am faced with several different paths.  I always tell myself that I will do a version this way or that, but hardly ever circle back.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lonely Outpost Completed

I just completed Lonely Outpost. This last weekend I headed out to White Sands, NM for some fun. I also took some time to photograph several abandoned gas stations, motels, and cafes that were on the way.  There are a few good ones that I didn't see until after I flew past the freeway exit ramp and sometimes the only chance to turn around was 10 to 20 miles down the road. Next time...

When photographing one site over the weekend it occurred to me that maybe this new body of work isn't really that much of a divergence for me. When I consider that my artist statement states "that my interest is in capturing the ephemeral nature of our existence", "exposing the fragility of our existence" and "the effect mankind has had on the planet".  I can't help, but feel that this new body of work does all those things.  Granted the environments are not the urban environments I usually paint, but the message remains the same.  I'm just fleshing out my artistic vision a bit more.

The new body of work is also allowing me to explore some different color palette ideas.  I have always enjoyed when film and television directors have used color filters to mute the color of a film or cast a distinct hue on all of the scenes. It will be interesting to see how this influences the more urban works.