Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Studio 4.27.10

A bunch of new and reused panels in the studio. There were quite a few aborted projects from the last year and now I'm using those panels and canvases to start me on the way to some new works.

All the rearranging that I've been doing in the studio has made a big difference. The biggest change was to make sure that new and recent works were in the same area and easy to get to and making separate places for the storage of older works. I thought that I had always made the space work for me but over the past couple of years I have felt that I needed to do "something" to make the space more efficient for me and couldn't figure out what I needed to do. Well, I kind of knew, but always felt overwhelmed at the task of re-imagining the space and how to get there. I'd look at all the stuff I had to move, feel overwhelmed and find a reason to put the task on the back shelf.

I have the habit of trying to do everything at once and usually fail. That little fact doesn't stop me from doing it again, though. I finally put my head into finding solutions instead of letting myself be overwhelmed by the HUGE TASK and worked on it in small increments over a few days. Hmmm, sounds a little like the other thing I like doing there...I think it's called painting, because finding solutions is a lot of what being a painter is.

The result of having moved things around has made a big difference in how I experience the studio now. I mean, walking in today, I felt like I had just moved in recently, despite having been there for almost 8 years. I've freed up a lot of mental space that's going into producing a new body of work and that has made it all the shuffling things around worth it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art and taxes mix well...in Mexico

In Mexico, artists can pay their taxes with artwork

MEXICO CITY — Can't afford to pay your income taxes? Paint a picture instead.

That's the deal Mexico has offered to artists since 1957, quietly amassing a modern art collection that would make most museum curators swoon. As the 2009 tax deadline approaches, tax collectors are getting ready to receive a whole new crop of masterworks.

"It's really an amazing concept," says José San Cristóbal Larrea, director of the program. "We're helping out artists while building a cultural inheritance for the country."

Read more here

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time travel, pt. 2

(*Note: This was supposed to have been put up last night (Wed. 4.21.10) but due to internet connection hiccups, I had to wait until this morning to post.)

Continuing with yesterday's theme of artistic time-travel, here are a couple of self portraits I did as a student, circa 1992-'93. They pretty much speak for themselves. The second painting was the result of lessons learned from the first.

I'm glad that I kept these works, because like the images I posted yesterday, it's nice to be able to see where I've been. On the flip side, there's that twinge of "ugh, bad student work" that I get in the pit of my stomach when I look at them. Then again, looking back, I'm still proud of having completed these assignments, because it led to more discoveries down the road, along with a decent grade in my painting class.

Self portrait, 1992-1993, oil on canvas, 28" x 22"

Self portrait, 1992-1993, oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time travel

Today's studio time was completely dedicated to rearranging some of my storage and work areas. I've had a studio-mate who hasn't been using her part of the space because of first work and later, work and graduate school obligations. I took over the whole space about three years ago and spread out, accordingly. She's going to be returning to use a small area soon and I had to move a bunch of stuff around.

This is actually good for me because it's making me think smarter about how I use my work and storage space. Of course, any undertaking of this type comes with some serious re-considerations about crap that has been hanging around because, you know, I'm going to do 'something' with those odd pieces of plexiglas 'one day'. I haven't done any work that has included plexiglas in years and it's been taking up space for the last 8 years. On top of that, I dragged that crate from my last studio so, it might be time for it to go, along with the bag of wire hangers and old, broken vhs player...don't ask because I haven't the slightest clue as to why I have them there.

All of the rummaging through my work sent me down the time tunnel to my earlier years of art-making, some of which I'm going to share here, beginning with a selection of pastels that go back to 1987 (the years are adding up!). As I looked through some of this work, I picked out a few and took some photos of them on the spot. I had a problem with the glare on the acetone that covered each piece for protection, but I found ways to minimize the issue so the posted image is as close to the original as possible.

I sure a lot of readers of this blog might be surprised to see these images, considering that most of my known work is abstract. I've kept a lot of this early work because it reminds me of where I've been and keeps me in touch with the great sense of discovery I had then and which still fuels me today.

These pieces were complete during my 5 year hiatus from college ('86-'91). I was still carrying on with traditional image-making that I started with in high school, mainly still-life and landscapes.
Still Life with Orange, 1987, pastel on paper, 25"x 19"

(Apologies for the angle, but the glare was too much to deal with otherwise)

Backyard Paradise, 1987, pastel on paper, 25" x 19"

This was done in the back yard of a friend's house in South Philly that I lived in at the time. There was nothing really special about the space, but the late afternoon light always grabbed me, so one day I stayed out there and worked.

Schyulkill River-South, 1987, pastel on paper, 19" x 25"

In high school, I was introduced to Impressionism, which heavily influenced how I functioned as a budding artist, right down to doing a lot of plein-air work. For a couple of years and especially during the spring/summer of '87, I made weekly trips from South Philadelphia to the banks of the Schyulkill River and did a lot of pastel works on the spot. I worked on the spot and finished the pieces where I was with no other work done later.

Kelly Drive Rock Tunnel, 1987, pastel on paper, 19" x 25"

More "time travel" tomorrow...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In progress, pt. V

This is it for this painting. It's as resolved as it's going to be and I need to move on to other things. I've gone through highs, lows and a near meltdown with it near the end, but things seem to have worked out ok.

While it has been interesting documenting the development of this piece with each major change, the limitations of photography as a means of reproducing images of artwork became even more clear to me than in the past. Each time I looked through the camera's viewfinder or screen and back to the painting, I saw different works. Part of that might be the limits of my camera and lighting in the studio, as well as the camera's interpretation of certain colors. Some of the variations in color are nearly indistinguishable in the photograph, but in person they are much more easily detected.

I had as close to a perfect studio day yesterday as I could have. Besides, completing this painting, I was also able to begin work on some ideas that have been brewing for some time. As I told someone recently, by the time I've nearly finished on piece or body of work, my brain has already been working on other ideas. Whatever I'm working on is already in the past.

Update: This painting is now titled, Lagoon

Friday, April 16, 2010

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion (Video)

ainting continues on the large piece I've been posting photos of. Of course, there are times in the process where one would like to take a razor to what is being worked on, but one stops, takes a deep breath, looks at it, and goes home for the night.

"Losing My Religion", one of my favorite R.E.M. songs and videos, seemed an apt replacement for the razor...and a bit less destructive...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Who owns what?

I haven' t found the source for this, but there's some good 'owning' going on here. Click on the image for a larger, readable version.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

in progress, pt. IV

I'm beginning to like the painting again.