Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pressing on

30/366: Watching the World

Checking out the scene on the street below my studio window yesterday afternoon. I like to take breaks here and there to watch people walking by and observe the patterns and interactions of pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, trucks and buses.

I'm beginning to make some headway with new work and returning to a regular studio schedule. So far, It's been for what I call quick bursts of three-four hour sessions in the afternoons. It's good and has kept me from over-thinking what I'm doing too much. At this point, I just need to paint and not worry too much about the results. That's what works best for me when I come back from an extended break (late November through December). I try to not let that much time pass without doing much painting, but around the holidays it's really difficult to keep up my momentum. Unless I have something pressing coming up after the beginning of the new year, like a big show or I have to finish a piece for commission, then December is pretty much a wash-out, creatively.

The break was needed. With having had two big solo shows last year, it's been difficult to jump right back into things. I feel like I reached a point with the painitngs where a shift needed to occur, but how much of one and how to get there? I need to change things up, even if it's not necessarily a noticable one that others will pick up on right away. The thing is, the changes I make usually wind up being bigger than I imagine them to be as I move along with paintings and that's fine as long as I feel like I'm challenging myself and maintaining the integrity of the work I produce.

Anyway, yesterday went well. After getting a few works on panel going I came home, changed and headed out to see a small exhibition curated by a friend of mine, Rebecca Saylor Sack at the University of the Arts, called, Erratic, which features the work of Christopher Davison, Nick Lenker, and Caroline Santa. It's a concentrated show of works that all seem to deal with anxieties of identity and life at a point of intense change in the world and our country, in particular.

I'm trying to get out more often to see what's going on around the city. The art scene has changed a lot in Philly over the past few years and is moving on at full steam. The more challenging work is now being exhibited in spaces that are removed from the more established Old City galleries. It takes some planning these days if you really want to catch a show while it's up. New spaces are popping up in areas that are being gentrified, thus making it a little easier to open and maintain low-cost spaces. Of course, the issues associated with said gentrification (displacement of long-time residents, vastly increased housing costs, etc...) are ever present but an ongoing part of evolving urban life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I'm pleased to announce that I'll have work included in a new group exhibition. Considerable is an exhibition of small works curated by Jeffrey Cortland Jones and will be at the University of Dayton from March 3-April 4th, 2008. The show then comes to Philadelphia in April.

Jones will also be in a two-person exhibition with Paige Williams at Green Line Projects| Powelton 3649 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA from February 8-March 28, 2008,

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Kiss for Mayor Nutter

The city's budget is due soon and it seems that newly minted Mayer Michael Nutter has yet to make good on promises that includes that re-opening of the Office of Arts and Culture. As a way of sending Mayor Nutter a message of love Roberta and Libby on artblog in collaboration with Kevin Derrick of Design Philadelphia are hosting an on-going "Kiss for Mayor Nutter" event on their blog.

The idea is for artists in the Philadelphia area to send in a photo of themselves somewhere in the city to send a visual statement to Mr. Nutter about what the 'arts community' looks like in Philly.

From artblog:

Here's the deal. We will create a series of photo posts on the blog called A Kiss for Mayor Nutter that will include images of artists and art lovers throughout the city. These images make the face of the "arts" constituency somehow more real than it seems when people talk about artists and the arts.

So, send us jpeg images of yourselves in the city, one per artist -- at Love Park, at a gallery, at the museums, the zoo, on Broad St....somewhere in Philly--you know you have these photos and we want em! Send medium resolution images (281 height x 375 width is the artblog standard size) with your name and the location of the picture. We will run these images in a stream under the heading "A Kiss for Mayor Nutter" in a continuing series of posts starting today.

Act now and send us your images (one per person, please). Email:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

moving forward

22/366: new resident

Not art-related, but big news, anyway.

Yesterday, my wife, Eva, became a resident of the U.S.

Yesterday morning we went to our interview at the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) office. It had to be the most intense 40 minutes we've ever had together. Intense as in scary; our future in the near term was in the hands of this one person. If there was one thing he didn't like or thought was questionable about the validity of our relationship and marriage, she might have had to leave for a time. Luckily, our paperwork was in order and our answers to his questions consistent.

When the words, "As of today, you are a resident of the United States" came out of his mouth, referring to Eva, a weight the size of the Titanic was lifted from our shoulders. We walked away hysterically numb but elated.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

back in it

18/366: back to work

Yesterday was something of a 'shaking off the cobwebs' kind of day. The distractions of the holidays and jury duty are over, so I'm in a much better position to get the ball rolling on a consistent basis again. I only spent about three and-a-half hours working, but it was enough to get the juices flowing.


I started re-working a panel piece I began a couple of months ago by sanding down the thick paint and mostly acrylic gel surface. As I went along, I noticed a bit of the white clayboarad surface had apppeared along one edge. I stopped sanding to inspect the surface and noticed that the paint was peeling away from the panel's surface. I picked at it for a moment and soon had most of the surface peeled from the panel (see photos above). Luckily, this wasn't a piece that I really liked and I'm glad that it hadn't left the studio yet.

Before using the panel, I think I sanded it a little bit and that seems to have loosened the clay surface to an extent that the acrylic gel and paint couldn't adhere. There was too much dust so the gel and paint dried without forming a bond with the surface. Not a good result for archival purposes. I have other clayboard panels that I've used which are fine, but those also didn't have the same amount of gel medium that i used on this one. I"m wondering if the heat from the sander also contributed to the peeling. If I hadn't disturbed it, the painting *might* have lasted a good while, but there's no way of really knowing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ryan Widger

Ryan Widger (5m54s)
by: vPIP
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Ryan Widger talks about his process and works in his upcoming show at Kelly and Weber Fine Art (201 Gallery) this April in the Crane Arts Building.

Water in the city

Olafur Eliasson plans to erect giant waterfalls in New York this summer.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


8/366: my turn

I"ve been inside most of the week, but not in the studio. As you might guess from the photo above, I've been on jury duty this week and have to return on Monday. This is the first time that I've actually been chosen to be on a jury. So far, it's been an interesting experience. I can't say much about the case yet except that it's a criminal matter. I'm actually an alternate and not one of the twelve that will make the decision of guilt or innocence.

Monday, January 07, 2008

No time

5/365:no time
5/365: no time

It's just about 2:30am and I didn't have much time for anything tonight. I'm on a deadline to complete a grant application for the Pew Fellowships. It's due late tomorrow afternoon. I've posted work samples and I have my statement written. I only have to go through it again later in the morning, once I've gotten some much-needed sleep.

This is the first year that they are doing completely online applications for painters. I don't know how it's going to work out, but I'm happy about doing everything more slides to contend with. I also like the space limitations when it comes to the resumé and statement-it helps with keeping information concise.

If you're wondering about the title of the photo above, I'm participating in a '365 Project' over on Flickr. The idea is simple: a self portrait for 365 days. It's been interesting so far and I'm sure it will challenge my creativity and discipline.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Moleskine project online

For this past Christmas, E and I decided to go hand-made with our gifts. We bought a bunch of small Moleskine notebooks and decortated them. We each did about sevem and collaborated on two. We used various papers like Japanese origami, decorative stationary paper, and magazine cut-outs. We also wrote and painted some of the covers and did the insides, as well. The last step was to cover the books in a sticky, transparent plastic to protect them. E wrapped them all, as can be seen in the second shot: plain wrapping paper, thin hemp rope, and small bells that were originally from a bell wreath that we purchased at Target for about $2.99. We just cut them apart and had instant gift-wrap accesories.

We didn't finish them in time to give away at Christmas, but did so at a friend's New Year's party this week. They were very well-recieved and I'm sure we'll do it again this year. I'm hoping that we can get started on them earlier so we can have more to give out and possibly make them a little more elaborate inside. We did a few with collages on the inside covers and I spent some time decorating a couple with images on the edges of interior pages.

Last night, I encouraged E to post the photos above on the Moleskinerie group on Flickr. Almost as soon as she did, one of the groups administrators invited her to post about the project on and it was up this morning. Check it out here.