| 29 December, 2013 21:26
I've put in more time on the Walt Whitman inspired piece. There are things that I like and some that I don't. I still have residual numbness in my right index finger which took a beating cutting the letters with an exacto knife. I don't believe that I will work this any further as I've gotten what i want from it; try out a new thing and conceptualize a method. I really found myself getting a brain cramp as I kept pouncing color into the stencils; working north to south, east to west across the space. Any and all comments are encouraged.
| 15 December, 2013 19:13
I've wanted to try to integrate words into my painting so here is an initial plunge. I started with some words from Walt Whitman in his poem "The Last Invocation". I enjoy the rhythm of "Locks" and "Unlocks" and began to riff with the words associating other words with Locked. Whereas Whitman's lyrics are concerned with death, my additions speak of those times I have when the spark isn't there and it seems that I've been abandoned by my muse. Well, there is no muse after all, just the work. When I settle in to do the work, I discover the flow once again. It has been three weeks since I started a painting. With a bit of preparation cutting my stencils, cleaning a space, stapling up a sheet of paper, indeed I do settle in and 4 hours goes by too quikly. Within the words, I like to work a visual color game that has no reason to it just now; seems like next color up. I've not decided if the waviness of the letters in each line is a dissatisfier at this time - I like it as it gives the piece an organic feel.
Cheers to all. Back next week.
| 08 December, 2013 17:18
I've never been one to draw in a paper sketchbook and never thought myself to be much of a draftsman. There is value in that practice of course so I have begun to use my tablet and Photoshop PS Touch. The program is new to me and takes a while to get used to.
I've selected some words of Walt Whitman from "Leaves of Grass" to abstract on. I like it mostly. Kind of gaudy like most of my stuff. Hopefully when I settle in to paint after these sketches, the work will have more dignity. My ground is a painting from mixed media "Mending" series that got manipulated with words from "The Last Invocation" Check it out below.
Please share my blog or newsletters to those who might find them interesting
| 17 November, 2013 20:40
I’ve come up with a title for my blog; Icarus in the Garret. Icarus, because he fell from the sky despite the warnings of his father Daedalus not to fly too close to the sun. My studio is on the top floor of my home so indeed a garret of sorts. On any given day, I ask myself why I’m inclined to make this colorful stuff. Creativity occupies my mind upon waking or when trying not to be awake… all through the day. Why? According to my biography, I did not get a personal involvement in visual arts until later in life. Let me fill in some gaps if not for you than for my own clarification.
I mentioned that my mother was a painter but that is a little limiting. She was a creative who was very adept at making beautiful objects be they watercolors, sculptures, pottery. I remember the sights and smells of the temporary oil studios she would set up. Her big wooden easel scared me as it appeared as a monstrous shadow in a darkened room at night. She made frequent attempts to interest me in art but I wasn’t so tempted… there was one time I put together a very simple still life and rendered it fairly. Ultimately in my sophomore year of high school, I got bitten by singing, eventually took lessons and that would become my art form going forward. Mom finally settled into watercolors in her later years. Here’s a link to one of her paintings Liz Cotterell. She died too soon and too young and I took up her tools in 1995 initially in tribute only to find that those implements could strengthen my soul as nothing else could.
I will continue to tell more of my story over time. Along the way, I will make art that I hope more than a few will enjoy. A challenging proposition perhaps. Like Icarus coming too close to the sun, the highs of these endeavors can burn just as the lows can truly freeze. Tonight, I’m feeling vaguely warm.
| 10 November, 2013 08:50
I took in the evening performance of “Red” at the Everyman Theater in Downtown B’more this weekend. John Logan’s 2009 2-character play chronicles a time in the late 1950s when painter Mark Rothko is creating the “Seagram Murals” that would be placed in the posh Four Seasons restaurant in the new Seagram Building. As characterized, this Rothko comes across as a self absorbed pedantic; Ken is more likeable as the studio assistant who learns to stand up to his often abusive employer.
Is it ironic that those paintings were to be shown in a place called the Four Seasons? We see life’s four seasons on display over the course of the play; birth, youth, maturity and death. Much of the dialogue works this as Rothko gloats about how he and his contemporaries stomped cubism to death. Later he feels wounded by the new wave of Pop abstraction and his diminishing relevance with collectors, dealers, critics. Just prior to curtain, Rothko fires Ken with the firm order to go out and make his own art and to speak long, loud and passionately about it.
Indeed that is what we must do ‘cause no one will do it but us.
The murals never made it to the Four Seasons but have been dispersed to the National Gallery of Art in DC, the Tate Modern in London and the Kawamura Museum in Sakura, Japan. My bucket list includes the Tate Modern as well as the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
See progress of my new painting on the “works in progress” page.
| 02 November, 2013 08:00
So for the past couple of years, I've been doing a mixed media on panel/canvas thing. The supported panels can be on the heavy side but I prefer panel to canvas when it comes to the demands of my mixed media.
Painting on stretched canvas is lighter (really, John?) but still challenging to package safely and ship. With the idea of making the entire process easier, I'm trying out some oversized paper that I've picked up at the local Utrecht. This could be rolled in a shipping tube for delivery and ultimately hung "off stretcher."
I tape that down on a big piece of homasote (recycled paper about 5/8" thick) and get to work.
This is an initial stage in which I'm just getting some white removed, dividing the space and finding a shape to work from.
I'll keep you posted as this develops over the next couple of weeks.