Thursday, September 23, 2004

Today was one of those days when I was really excited about what I was working on and couldn't wait to see the results of my labors. However, some things take time and the painting I was working on has some time left to work itself out. I was working with some Golden Tar Gel on a portion of a 16"x24" painting and I have to let it set for a number of hours before I can paint on top of it. That's ok, because I just went and did a bunch of small graphite and colorless oil stick grid drawings while waiting for the painting to dry. I'll get to work on it some more tomorrow morning.

I also have to call Bridgette after 11am. She wants me to talk to her about the new paintings I'm working on. She wanted me to come over to the gallery tomorrow, but I don't know if I'll have the time. I'll see.
Spent three hours last night in the studio bagging up promotional materials for the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. It went much smoother than I thought it would. I had two out of three people come by and pick up their bags of goodies (postcards, posters, brochures and balloons). One couldn't make it and she called. It's amazing what can happen when I finally get down to having myself organized. Not that I'm never organized in the studio or elsewhere in my life, it's just that I had a lot of reservations about taking on this particular task. Now that I've tackled it, it's much less intimidating.

I certainly need to spend more time reflecting on my work. Most of the time, I go to the studio and get to work almost right away and paint until I get tired. Not a bad thing, but spending time in there last night not working on any of my projects and just looking at them made me realize that I need to make that connection more often. I'm in a very different mental state when I'm busy painting. In those times, I'm more involved with the pushing around of paint and trying to make the thing 'work' as a piece of art. Even when I've stopped painting for a particular session, I'm too tired and have been too close to it to attempt to evaluate it consciously.

That's why it's important to spend some time with the work, just looking and thinking. I've neglected that aspect of the creative process to a certain degree. It has a lot to do with wanting to get ideas out of my head as fast as I can. I paint, paint, paint then stop, go home, come back again and do it all over again. This way of working leaves little time for evaluating the work properly. So, I'm going to make more time for examining what I've done. I don't want to spend too much time on that, but it is important.

Friday, September 17, 2004

There's been a lot of time between posts here. I'm hoping to rectify that by posting a bit more, but I'm making no promises about exactly how often that will be.

Moving on...

Things are changing in my work again. Well, things are always changing but now I'm working with three distinct ideas at once. The paintings are diverging into two series. One, tentatively titled, 'Long Walls', utilizes a rectangular format with the main image close to the lower edge. They're basically a closer examination of an idea which first appeared in my painting last year. In these new paintings, there is more emphasis on the tension between the walls and the area above them. I'm not sure of how I think of the space above the walls. I keep coming back to 'sky' but it could be read as the upper corner of a ceiling; part of an interior.

The other potential series involves still utilizing the linear patterns, except I've taken to inserting a 'globule' of color in front of the patterns. Some of the shapes are transparent, while others wind up opaque. The genesis of this idea came to me while working on the postcards for the 'Dear Fleisher' benefit. I then took that idea and in one session, did nine small(12"x12") sketches on paper. Then I worked on some larger pieces on paper, using a rectangular format, both horizintally and vertically.

The particular challenge with the 2nd series lies in how I handle the edges of the organic shapes in relation to the canvas's edge. In some of the sketches I've done, I painted the globules in a less contrived and self-conscious and in others I could tell that I was certainly 'thinking' about how the edges met or didn't, in some cases. I took Amy up to see the new work and we had a conversation about this and it really got me thinking. It's always good to get a second set of eyes on the work.

I'm in the home stretch with the Philadelphia Open Studios Tour volunteering. Ed Bronstein dropped off the promotional materials at my studio this past Wednesday. There are nine boxes of brochures. They were heavy. I had to carry them up, one at a time, to the third floor landing. Taking them all the way up to the studio was out of the question. I've volunteered to be a distributor of POST materials. So, on top of my regular job, trying to get painting done and the rest of my life, I have to fit making sure people pick up their promotional materials as well. It should be ok. I have limited times that I can be at the studio, so I'll have to let everyone know when they can come to pick up things.

I'm a bit peeved about where the location of my studio wound up on the map in the brochure and on the poster. They managed to put the number marker below Market St. instead of above and on 2nd Street instead of 3rd Street, for crying out loud! Honestly, I think most people will find the studio via the printed address.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

I have the makings of a new studio project in the works. As usual, the idea seemed to come out of nowhere, but It's been forming for a while now.

The first incarnation was of a rectangle, segemented into quarters, and each quarter assigned a different color. At this stage, I thought of it as a t-shirt design with possible postcard and greeting card applications. Then, it evolved into my using the 1"x3" pieces of lumber to construct multi-segmented, wall hung works which fall somewhere between painting and sculpture. They'll probably fall closer to the painting end of the spectrum, largely because of the surface treatments I have in mind. I'm planning on using stuff like wood putty, wood glue, acrylic paint, shellac and anything else that I can think of. The idea is to liberally use these materials with a lot of sanding and other means of altering the wood's appearance to come up with unique works (*sheesh*sounds like I'm writing a project proposal).

Anyway, I'll be spending the early part of Labor Day up in the studio working on this idea. I don't have to be at work until 2pm, so there's a few hours to play with. I'm really excited about the possibilities!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Today, my studio time was spent on three works on paper, each 22"x30". Continued with the new idea of using a striped elements overlaid with a transparent, organic shape. Only these are larger than the ones I did the last time. I'm still trying the idea on for size but I think I'll wind up with some paintings based on these works. I also came up with an idea for another series of paintings. Tentatively called the 'Wall Series' or 'Long Walls', the paintings I have in mind will be rectangular with 1/4 of the surface area devoted to a glossy, patterned 'wall' and the rest a matte field of color. I don't know how many I'll do, but when I get tired of it I'll stop and go on to something else.

It's a good feeling to see the emergence of new possibilities in the work. One idea leading to another. I love and treasure these fertile creative times because you never know when you'll hit that next wall and what effect it will have on you or how long it will last.