Friday, July 26, 2013

Isolated States - Working

I'm currently working on Isolated States based on a station outside of Lordsburg, NM. The station was the most graffitied of all the stations that I have made photo studies of so far. I think the fact that it is more readily seen from the highway may play a part in that.

With each of the pieces of this series I'm starting to explore the surface just a little more.  With the figurative city works I have to tone the surface texture elements down just a little. They are the most effectively used in skies and landscape elements. I haven't really explored sanding down surfaces. I'm not sure if it's a technique that will work well on canvas or if I would have to switch over to wood panels to be able to employ the technique properly. It is a technique I've seen other artists use and I think it would fit with this body of work.  I guess for me I let the work dictate the painting techniques I use rather than just having a grab bag of tricks that I use in every painting.

I have also thought of imitating the old worn out signs that I've been seeing at these sites and allowing them to fill the background. I just have to figure out how to incorporate them just right.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Worn Out Life - Finished

Completed Worn Out Life early this morning and delivered it up to the Lanning Gallery in Sedona this afternoon. It was a very rainy trip. At one point I was tempted to pull over and find a place to wait out the storm, but I pressed on. Within another 10 miles it was amazingly dry. The irony of living in Arizona's deserts during the summer. The storms are very localized. 

I painted in my studio from the evening until a couple hours before dawn this morning while it gently rained outside. The humidity slowed down the drying time of my acrylics and allowed me to paint with ease applying layers of glazes and painting semi-opaquely back into them. It's these wonderful moments that make being a painter so wonderful for me. I found that I reworked major portions of the painting and resolved many other areas differently than originally planned.  I also discovered that the painting itself became more haunting, forlorn and monumental. It became much more building focused and the landscape more desolate that originally planned as well. The give and take within the conversation between the artist and the canvas.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Worn Out Life in Progress

About midway through the first gas station painting A Worn Out Life, from my Benson to Lordsburg I-10 trip. This piece is 36x72 inches, so it's taking just a little while. This station was in Bowie, Arizona. I almost had the feeling that the rest of the town wasn't far behind this station. I have a feeling that most the population depends on the little bit of agriculture in the area. There were groves of pecan trees from the look of it.

I've been listening to Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante a lot while painting this one, so I named the piece after one of their tracks. Well, the track that I've listened to repeatedly while working on the painting. It's fitting really when I look at this station. There were a few incarnations evident.  I could see several layers of Texaco graphics, followed with a layer or two of when the station became independent.  I could also tell that the pumps were replaced at some point, because they don't match the architecture of the building.  I omitted the background buildings, but it looked like the owner and station mechanics lived on site, so it's very likely this station was open 24hrs or at least had later hours than most. It's  amazing how much you can deduct from simply taking some time to look around at the little details.

I also had a sense that the station and surrounding buildings have been used by transients. At one point I climbed down into a wash beside the station to capture both the Texaco sign and the station in the same shot. I discovered hundreds of foot prints in the wash with discarded clothes and water bottles. Just beyond where I was standing was a tunnel that led underneath the freeway, so my thought is this is likely part of a route into the country from Mexico. That of course explained why the building's lights were still on.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Color Study for Cling Available at Silent Art Auction

I have donated Color Study for Cling to my good and longtime friend Eric Stockard's S&S Art Supplies 3rd Annual Silent Art Auction. This year's auction benefits the Palmetto Place Children's Shelter!

It's a great little painting for a great cause, so check it out.