Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My sole, one and only, effort while on vacation in Ellsworth, Maine last week. Ink, c. 16" x 12".

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Style and medium

Well, it may not be a crisis but somehow I'd like to get past a nagging, dragging concern I have about where to go with my work, which I seem to have saddled myself with recently....like within the last day or so. Maybe just this posted examination will help me! So, I'm thinking... "maybe it should be oils only(with a BIG brush); maybe just ink, maybe just water media or maybe I should try acrylic again?" Or maybe I need to write a cohesive artist's statement and go from there. After all, I will not know what my art is about if I can't explain it to myself, will I? What about explaining it to someone else? "Well, thanks for asking: yes I like beautiful images of things........and.....the paint is colorful and I enjoy the............mess!"

Do the paintings have to have a meaning I'm conscious of as I make them? Do I have to have a plan, a completely thought-out idea for an image before I begin? Can I understand all of what there is to understand about the work as I do it and move from idea to idea, canvas to paper and back again? This is what has attached itself to me and I can't seem to flick it away!
I like what I like (and choose to reference in my work) and sometimes I put what I like through a filter (me) and scramble the reference just as I feel like scrambling it. Today I was working on a small (9"x12") oil picture of three trees......I've painted these trees a half dozen times, I think and never tire of them. The image was realist/impressionist with dream like qualities when I went back to it after a day's absence. But I couldn't figure the thing out...how to make it cohesive, consistent, interesting and not dead in the sense that the eye would fall and stay in one place. It seemed to me that my thoughtful, realist hand was winning out over my not-thinking abstracting/expressionist one and that was detracting from what could be a more satisfying piece. I think: "the realist approach is a fall back, one to be avoided at all costs" but then I'm confronted with a question of perspective and I want expressionist depth everyone can see and appreciate as perspective. For some reason I think that is difficult to accomplish but I want to make something like that!

But what are they about, these pictures I make? I look at copies of images I've done and wonder: "learning a skill, looking into my head"? Certain subjects are repeated but not so much the technique, the style, the brush stroke, color or lines. It is as if the work for me is really just experimental...not in the sense of a never seen before style, not like Cubism was new and maybe experimental but more in a "use all the known styles/techniques" kind of way.

Maybe that's it?! Maybe I really want to invent something new! As if.............!!!!

So, here are some images, including one of the interior of my work space, which illustrate, to some degree, the dilemma.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mostly new work on exhibit 7/6/2010 through 9/4/2010

Cafe Siren is a favorite stop of mine! Delicious and reasonably priced lunch, wonderful coffee concoctions, busy, congenial atmosphere and wall space for art exhibitions featuring locally produced work!! So, when I approached Dre and Sarah, the ambitious and dedicated owners about showing my work in turn, they were enthusiastic and quite supportive. I hung the last image earlier today, a large watercolor piece depicting the buildings along a side street in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The section of Gloucester where Short Street is located continues to hold my attention after all the years I've visited Cape Ann.

Although this piece is several years old I wanted to include it with the other, new and newer pictures I chose to show. Six works are displayed. Two 2010 oils, one 2010 gouache/watercolor/charcoal, two 2009 oils and the aforementioned watercolor street scene.

Cafe Siren is located at 204 Main Street, Greenfield, Massachusetts. Generally, it is open seven days per week until about 6:00p.m. Interested art fans can check http://www.thesirencafe.com/ for directions and hours of operation.

Included with this post are images of two pieces in the show. My efforts thus far to interpret the prose of Raymond Carver make up the balance.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quick brush; pushing to be expressive...maybe this is where I will "settle" my work?

I've been making a conscious effort to be loose with my brushes and, to the extent I remain committed to that objective while I work on something, to also simplify lines, curves and "definition" by making quick gestures. Trouble is, sometimes I find myself putting layer after layer of stuff on (no examples of that here). Maybe if I don't post the "layered" work I'll stop doing it!! Unlikely. Anyway, here are some life drawing images in watercolor and gouache.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Why Don't You Dance" and other images

What's the work about these days? "Why Don't You Dance", Raymond Carver's short story which appeared in a volume entitled "Where I'm Calling From" and which describes a random intersection of lives, young and not so young, personal transitions, plans and failures, is a focus right now. The image set in the middle of this post is 24" x 36" and is the first of two I plan to illustrate the story. It (the image) is my progress thus far as I attempt to zero in on lines, trajectories, light and shadow. Colors are revealing themselves to me....since I think you really can't shape lines, trajectories, light and shadow without using color in some fashion...so I think I am progressing.
The second canvas will move the view more to the right and include the young male and female couple in the story. Haven't decided if I want to include the third character in the view....the lone male resident of the house whose life seems in major disarray. I'll have to re-read the story. It's great how the picture informs the story and vice versa!
Oil on canvas and conte, watercolor and gouache in the images above "Why Don't You Dance".
The orange/white picture is a modified version of the picture I posted previously. Better proportions, I think.
I bought a book at a local used book place a couple of weeks ago: "The Human Figure" by John H. Vanderpoel, published in Chicago in 1913. The pen and ink images are copies I've done. Great fun to do!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Auction for Artspace @ Hope and Olive

On Monday, April 12, 2010 Artspace, Greenfield's community art center, will hold its annual fundraising event from 5:00 'til 7:00 p.m. at Hope and Olive restaurant on Hope Street in Greenfield. The program includes a silent auction of pieces donated by local painters, sculptors and others and I've chosen to offer the picture above. It's oil on board, c. 9"x12", framed in a c. 2" black, wood frame. A minimum bid of $150.00 has been established.....this is, after all, a fund raising event to support the programs offered, particularly those for local children in music and the arts.
Local businesses and professionals are also participating and offering services and products to the highest bidders. The event has been well attended in the past and it would be great if that trend could continue.
The restaurant offers special items and the bar is open; join us for a fun evening!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photo of studio; oil portraits; preliminary drawings

In early January I decided I needed to increase the volume of my work, both in terms of the number of pieces I'd complete and their dimensions. So, maybe a progress report is due? Well, it is difficult to make four new and larger works each month!! I've certainly been able to continue with my studio drawing as well as pen and ink work in my sketch books but the number of completed canvases hasn't kept pace with my wishful planning. That isn't to say I'm going to abandon the objective; I'd like to keep working toward that goal as I am not certain it isn't attainable.
This post includes a picture of my studio taken earlier today as well as some new and old work. The white, reclined figure is a work in progress; the portrait is finished. The charcoal and ink drawings are preliminary planning for three pictures based on short stories written by Raymond Carver.
I seem to have all the artistic inspiration I need, just have to keep it going.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First time juror; slow start; Old Deerfield and some other stuff

I was honored to be asked and to serve as a juror for an annual exhibition at Artspace in Greenfield, Massachusetts which runs through mid-February. A first for me! Yesterday (1/19/2010) I reviewed the work of many talented young artists, students at local private boarding and public schools whose work had been nominated by art faculty at their respective institutions. What a challenge it was! So much well executed work! The exercise challenged my notions of what I think is "exceptional". Couldn't remove the I from the equation; I guess I don't think there is an objective formula for quantifying the "pull" of a particular work.....I just had to try to be open to interpreting the execution and content of each piece without regard to the medium, subject or technique employed. I looked for evidence of a process in assembly and execution.....that was the best I could do. One work was a technical masterpiece (chosen as best in show by a majority of the "judges"). It was beyond competent and deserved all the recognition it received but for me its "artistic" merit was diminished by the weight of its precision and the calculus of its formation. So, with "judging" you get mass quantities of subjectivity!?! Pity the artist who puts his/her work in the matrix of "evaluation"! I toss my own work into the "show" business from time to time but in the future I'll have insights from my recent experience; feeling rewarded or ignored by the "evaluations" will be tempered with those insights!
My painting pace hasn't yet matched my plan of four per month....as January comes to an end I've got two canvases started! I'll take some pictures and post them next week.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pictures w/no words;A.;picking up the pace

I often stay clear of posting here for lack of anything much to say about the work I up-load. As I'm sitting here writing............! With visual art, maybe just posting it is enough, though. I don't need to explain it, the viewer can see for themselves, interpret it, devine its source or suppose its inspiration, calculate whatever needs to be calculated and feel what they feel.

However, all that said, I'm picking up my picture making pace and plan to purchase supplies to allow four (4) 2'x3' or 3'x4' new oil pieces per month for the next six months. I think its ambitious but I want to do it and maybe I'll report on the progress from time to time.