Monday, November 23, 2009
I think I've got the basic composition down, but now I can imagine endless fine tunings. Here are three moments that might need my attention:
I know that I started out with NeuZen ink blots on bristol but lately I've been flashing on these guys when I paint:
That dang scale shift.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I can’t seem to find the music that inspires me. Grant Green is the closest but I am not really listening to the music proper. Instead the studio is covered in a blanket of sound. Dare I say Grant Green fills the gaps in my studio with a wall of background music? So, the music isn’t technically inspiring me, but rather creating an environment for my habits to flourish.
“Pink Clouds and Pity Party Poopers” isn’t that a great title for a painting? I haven’t had beer in three weeks and I feel fantastic. Apparently there is a recovery term “pink cloud” associated with my good feeling. . . well, except for the undercurrent of cancer. As far as I can tell, cancer is the cure for alcoholism. I’m in no mood for a Pity Party. That’s a term I learned from Tracy Helgeson and since then Carla Knopp has signed up as an official Pity Party Pooper.
Chris Rywalt has written a post recently that makes me hope that the team of doctors I meet in the next two days advocate like Chris advocates for my paintings.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
I feel like I’m supposed to say “Gee, my studio sure looks different, now that I’ve got cancer”, but honestly, all this place needs is a little cleaning. And a heater. It actually snowed today. I need to crawl under the house and find that heater. Under the house, where a rat trap went off the other night. When it gets cold for real, the rats are always hunting.
While under the house, I swelled with concern. It wasn’t sadness. Not at first, at least. But I swelled because it all of a sudden seemed really really important that I teach Stacy how to set these rat traps. Not that Stacy couldn’t figure out a standard spring system, but we have deployed under our house a customized and should-be-patented array of better rat traps. The guy at the lumber-yard told me how to make’em. They are efficient and are at an impressive 100% kill rate. Well. . . except for that possum that really suffered. That made me cry.
I couldn’t work in the studio that night.
The whole cancer thing doesn’t scare me. It’s the fact that I apparently have “tiny veins” that is filling me with increasing dread. They are looking everywhere for my veins. On top of my hand, in the soft underbelly of my wrist, and in both arms I have been hooked up to some tube that is dripping bizarre and magical fluids into my veins. The first nurse had some trouble finding one and you could see her begin to panic. Fortunately, some doctor came to my rescue and asked the nurse to go fold some towels or something. The second nurse claimed to be able to stick a needle in a rock and his hose popped off while I was deep in the MRI tube being told to hold my breath. There was sticky radio-active dye spraying everywhere. “Hold still sir” a frantic chorus chimes.
Why can’t every poke in the arm be the same? I don’t know what to expect. I won’t bore you with the details. Come to think of it though, I guess the studio is a little different tonight. I am working on a bigger painting. You might think “oooo, woopie doo. Little Teave is working on a bigger painting” with your lips puckered and in a cartoon baby voice. But if you are looking for changes in my studio practice, so am I. I had a long plan. I was going to work my way up to 48 x 32 inch paintings over time. I started with a dozen tiny ones. Then I increased the scale ever so slightly. Recently, I have been working on a set that are three times the size of the last. Tools have been growing too. Balance is harder with more weights. Visual weights grow with scale. You actually gain pixels with growth. You could keep using the same tools you used on the small paintings, but if your vocabulary doesn’t increase with the scale, you get distortion.
To Hell with long plans. I’m painting bigger. I’m so lucky I had a pre-made 48 x 32 inch surface leaning against the wall. It was a primed and dormant vestige of an earlier suite. I will be approaching this larger size painting for the fourth time this week. Has my long plan simply changed into a longer painting?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I'm sorry. I can't let you see this painting yet. I'm going to have to confiscate your camera sir. I'm sorry, I can't help you mam. I'm just here for scale. Listen. . . if you promise not to tell my superiors, I'll let you photograph an oblique detail.
However, please keep in mind, mam, that area you are focusing on could easily be scraped down to the surface by tomorrow.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I feel so guilty about reading a graphic novel (that must have taken over a year to create) in two hours. I liked the drawings. Often, I read the words in sequential art and simply scan the drawings. In fact, I have been convinced that a good story is infinitely more important than good art. More on that misconception some other time, but in "Can't Get No", I began to scan the words. The entire narrative could have existed without the text. I almost found the words annoying. They became a psychedelic soundtrack to an already trippy narrative. There were some twists and some turns but a great deal of this shaggy dog story seemed familiar. Not that I could do any better mind you. I am super impressed with the idea that the book could exist without words. Maybe I'm too old to romanticize hallucinatory serendipity. Still. . . I didn't put the book down.
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is tough for me to review something like this because I think I want to make a graphic novel myself. Clowes just makes it seem impossible. I mean, "David Boring" is not "Sometimes a Great Notion" and it is not a painting by Vermeer, but dang, a middle has been met. I am currently wowed by Clowes' intuitive sense of Notan light and dark as well as his narrative tightness. It seems to me that graphic novel creation would be an arena of efficiency even though the finished product is probably the least efficient form of story telling. Did the story have to be all mapped out before the drawing started? Would it be boring to draw ones own illustrations? Does Clowes discover narrative contributions while he draws? Whatever, I think this is a fantastic model of what the medium can do.
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My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A handsome book. I might have given it more stars if my standards weren't so high for this particular category. I suppose the greatest complement is that it has compelled me to try my hand at what an Abstract Comic might be. This does not mean that I understand what an Abstract Painting is, but still. . .
Andrei's writing is well researched and only slightly on the dry side which might add a pinch of pretense to the whole collection, but I think it is tempered by the complete chaos that follows. It is a chaos that comes from the scrambling search party on the frontier of a sub-genre. Most of the examples left me empty or appeared to be merely storyboards for Fantasia-like animations.
But, like I said, until I put my brush where my mouth is, I am only giving this three stars. That may change in the weeks to come when I find myself lying on the studio floor with 6B pencils in my eye sockets.
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Monday, November 02, 2009
"The major problem of today's artist is to create a timely reality, to manifest the "new poetry" that scientific discovery has added to the visual and non-visual worlds. Whether he manipulates form from an existing reality and uses it metaphorically or attempts a disassociation from illusion of forms that do exist is not the important problem. To present his way of feeling and thinking and to confirm his individuality in each new work within the realm of the atmosphere of his time is to me the important problem.
What influences affect the artist's work do not matter as long as the work expresses the "language of the day." I have been influenced by the poetic finesse and atmospheric subtleties of Chinese landscape painting. A unity of Oriental poetic depth with a more vigorous and dynamic Western impact. Nature is the theme. . . to be aware of the movement of prairie grass set in motion by a gentle breeze or gale-like forces. The forms I seek are those that will best express the life cycle and moods of nature, life, growth, death, decay, and multi-varied forms that nature provides. I do not want to paint the tree's exterior, its bark, or leaves. This is "ready made" beauty, too obvious and even "trite" with its ever-abundant presence. I would rather turn over a rotting log to see were the elements have been at work unseen, such as the beauty of fungus growing over vermiculated and discolored wood.
Point of Separation (seen above) was painted with the sensation of the idea being as important as the pictorial effects by which the idea was elaborated. They were merged to create an organic statement about life without becoming too literal. A piece of nature seen both specific and generalized. Microscopic nature, blown up to visual apprehension. A process of nature, a division on a non-visual level. It could be a division by decay. The separation of ideas or a bit of nature split asunder by explosive powers. The destruction that the naked eye misses when the Bomb goes off." - (Prize Winning Oil Paintings, and Why They Won the Prize by Margaret Harold, 1960) (Doesn't this book by Margaret sound interesting too?)
After I shutdown my facebook account the other day, Stacy asked if I was trying to get some attention. I had a brief moment of panic. I certainly was not committing any sort of "-icide" as far as I know. If anything, I might have accomplished a blogger "daily-visitor-and-page-view-count-icide," which is a conscious move towards a reduction of attention. I think I just got overwhelmed with the FB throng. I didn't really see it coming. It was so easy to de-activate my account. I didn't even announce it over there. Maybe I should have. The NetworkedBlogs application for facebook was really starting to drive traffic here. I highly recommend it.Maybe because it was on a Saturday, this year's Halloween march seemed larger than ever. There were so many great costumes (and to my surprise I didn't see one Michael Jackson) that I was determined not to single anybody out. But the guy above just slayed me. I wanted to talk to him. But our current was flowing in a different direction than his. It reminded me of the standout things I was missing on facebook because the hordes were heaping wonderful information into a poorly designed funnel.
My shutdown feels like stepping out onto a balcony to escape a really great party. On the balcony there are couple other people gathered around having polite discussions. Against logic, this blog is the balcony. It is open to all. While the exclusive "friends only" presumption became claustrophobic. Nothing against all my friends mind you, it just seems that Facebook booked too small of a venue for their party. It also seems like they are one of those annoying hosts who takes the tonearm off the turntable in the middle of a really great song in order to announce some changes in the evening's plans.
I am going to let the congregation go on without me for a little bit. Nothing personal. I could easily see myself slipping back into the party.
ps, the picture above of the three of us proves that Zaida does not have my eyes, as so many people seem to believe.