Friday, April 25, 2008


How tedious, right? Everytime you log onto this blog, all six of you, there is yet another picture of this painting in which very little has happened. It's like my magnum opus that never sees resolution. It's true, I am moving at a snails pace with this piece, but it has a lot to do with the packing, moving, and job searching I am tackling as of late.

Yesterday when I sat down I was able to see it with a fresh set of eyes, and I feel I am making progress now in a different way. The original idea I had of the painting had become irrelevant, and I was able to reframe it and make some choices that were outside the original concept. I can see a way through the piece now and ultimately to its ending.


Here is the tintype I am messing around with - rather inexpertly I may add. But the work is more like doodling and I like the free reign it gives my mind to wander and experiment. In fact, that's what I think my current dabblings have largely been about - play. And play in the context of art is always a good way to introduce fresh ideas and approaches.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nest prints

Here is part of my "nest" ruminations. I purchased a Bible and what seems to be a Chinese Hymnal several months ago at a Goodwill in Phoenix. The paper is very thin, translucent almost and the text is delicate enough to read as an overall value in the background. I took the books to Kinko's and had the spines cut off - I felt really bad doing that to the Bible...But I did it anyway. And yesterday I started cutting this nest into a small linoblock I had laying around in the studio. It was all very impulsive. I stopped cutting and printed a proof, but I was so surprised by how well it looked I didn't bother revising the cut block at all instead I began printing my edition of 25. Yea! I love them. Please forgive the magnet included in the image of the print. They were still hanging up to dry when I photographed them.
BTW if anyone knows someone who can read Chinese characters I am very interested in learning what is written on the pages on which I printed. Thanks!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Life Drawing in Brookline

The two drawings above are from my latest life drawing session. The top one is the longer pose - about 35 minutes; and the bottom about 10. I am excited about the sense of volume in the bottom pose. I think it's acheived mainly through the curved lines that sweep through the figure, something a previous drawing teacher had tried to dissuade me from articulating. But the models I have the opportunity to draw as of late are substantial people, and I am losing the underlying bone structure because I cannot see beyond the changes in shape that their flesh create. It's all very exciting - and perhaps a weird thing to say, but having done alot of life drawing you typically see one body type; a super trim athletic female. Perhaps this is the only person willing to disrobe in a room full of strangers. It gets pretty boring to draw similar body types. The two sessions I have had in Brookline have been pleasant surprises as the models look like normal women with weight and mass to their bodies. It's great - they are very Rubenesque.

These two poses are from the first session. Again the longer pose is pictured first, the shorter second. I hope to continue attending and improving my observational skills!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Antonio lopez garcia

I finally made it to the Museum of Fine Arts last night. Phew. It was free from 4 until close which was the biggest carrot. The admission price is normally $17 Wuh? So expensive. The collection was gorgeous and I will have to spend many more Wednesday nights with the work soaking it all in. But the highlight of the evening was the special exhibition of Spanish artist, Antonio Lopez Garcia. (Yes, you can get into the special exhibit for free as well! What a coup!)

I would encourage you to Google the artist to view other images of his work and get a better sense of his style and subject matter. Most of his paintings were near photographic in their observation. The subjects were not always rendered with the definite edges and finite shapes that film could provide. Instead there was the sense that he was painting - as one got close to the canvas and realized the information provided was merely an impression, an imperfect blot of paint, a ragged edge indicative of brush work. But the work was exhaustive. Lopez Garcia is not working from photograph! He is spending years sometimes visiting sites and painstakingly making accommodations for changes in light and objects. I was overwhelmed. His courage to take seemingly endless cityscapes and work them out building by building; tone by tone. Truly inspiring.

Nest number 1

I have been thinking a lot about nests as metaphor. It all grew out of my interest in painting birds and with our move to the northeast where I am watching spring begin her slow march for the first time in fifteen years. Seasons?...Wuh?... I am nesting and so are my new avian friends.

What does it take to build a home? And what are the components? I feel strongly that collecting is part of this. The wrens and robins collect moss, grass, trash whatever is in their surrounding environment and the areas where they commonly return to find food. The composition of their nests is defined by their habits, surroundings, and physical features. Do their feet have the ability to knit and weave? Are their beaks suited to the task? Some birds do not build nests at all - instead purloining the work of their industrious counterparts or perhaps hollowing out the trunk of a tree. What am I working to grasp and collect to create a sense of belonging?...

So here is my nest. I made it without the use of needles in what I believe is more akin to crocheting. I am considering dipping them in wax and adhering drawings to them. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Finger knitted nests

I have a really hard time formatting posts in blogger. I suppose I am asking it to do more than it is able, but the tintype post looks presentable so rather than endangering that I will post my other few photos and ideas here.

Above is a photo of a hanging nest that I began finger knitting. I am not sure I should even use this I using it correctly? Let's just say that I made this with yarn in a knitting like fashion without needles. I am thinking a lot about nests lately, and this is a solution for visually expressing the Nest. We shall see.

Below is a step in the development of the stitching idea. Sewing objects on canvas is very slow going. I want to produce my pieces more quickly than sewing will allow me to do. So I thought about stiching on images of birds drawn and cut out of other pieces of canvas. We'll also see about this as well.

Tintypes and nests

Here are photos of two of the tintypes I bought in Gloucester this weekend. The actual tintypes are quite crisp. Unfortunately my photos are rather soft in focus. The halo in the photo on the left is oil paint that was added by me ala an artist I saw at the Lisa Sette gallery a few years ago. It's not my original idea but it is so intriguing I feel compelled to go through the action of making one of these photo paintings to see what it instigates.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wonderful weekend.

I didn't paint today, but I was reminded of how fiercely I want to continue making art, and how much I have to say. I visited the DeCordova museum outside Concord, MA. this weekend. Tyler was fishing on Walden Pond, seriously, and I trotted out to Thoreau's cottage and pondered the wonderful words of the transcendentalist before hightailing it indoors at the museum up the street. I was quite immediately greeted by the installation pictured at the right. Now I was very, very, naughty to take photographs of this. It is typically frowned upon because of a few reasons not least of which is the fact that a flash can damage the often light sensitive surfaces of artworks overtime, but there is also that whole sticky issue of copyright and intellectual property.
I loved this - positively swooned over it. And felt that I absolutely had to capture it for further scrutiny back home in the studio. As I talked about the piece to Tyler I realized I was interested in how the botanical subjects were turned into flat symbols and then grouped according to a mood or subject to create these crazy motifs - sort of Victorian, sort of fanciful, grotesque. Yes, this piece was grotesque in the way that the grotesque becomes the sublime...I loved it.
On another note, I was lucky enough to find four tintypes as I sorted through bins of antique photos in a shop in Gloucester MA this weekend. The owner was a collector of other people's snapshots as were some of his close friends. And I was immediately fascinated by that as well. What a wonderful and strange obsession - very voyeuristic in a way. Love it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I got some work done!

I had all week to spend some substantial time in the studio. And I took some of my frustration with my new cardinal piece and channeled it into good work on the mockingbird painting. I had invested so much time in this piece already I found it was a good motivator to keep going. I need this to come to fruition, right? It can be hard to judge the progress of this painting as all the work is so painstaking. But if you go to the bottom of the page and search the blogs by subject (mockingbirds) I think you will see I got some remaining gesso covered and a few birds more realistically rendered.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I have been liberated by my recent spate of grad school rejections. I feel a little differently about painting right now. I am was so careful the past few months because I knew I needed each and every painting to be a success so that it could be added to the portfolio I hoped would get me into an MFA program. Well, now that I'm not going - by the way, I'm not going. I know I haven't mentioned that yet; but I didn't get in anywhere. I sort of feel relieved as far as art making is concerned. I feel expanded. There is more of a chance now to experiment and take risks because if it doesn't work out, "hey, that's okay".

Hence the idea of sewing drawing. Strangely enough while I was perusing my friend, Mithi's blog, I found she had hit upon the same idea. Even beter was that she had posed the question of "how to" and her readers had given her a litany of enthusiastic replies. And the ideas worked! Thank you Mithi. I know very little about sewing machines, and when I sat down to attempt this initially, before reading Mithi's blog, I was trying to freehand sew with a normal set up. Well the fabric pulled and the thread rebelled. And it was a mess. But here I've replaced the plate underneath the foot in order to raise the cloth off the feeder (feed dogs...that's what they're called, really) and I have changed the foot as well. The result: a very even stitch despite the fact that I was running the machine backwards and forwards, turning it left and right. It looks like a nice continuous line. Now that I know I can do it, I began research into subject matter for some new work.

I don't know about the cardinal painting right now. I suspect it will be abandoned. Then there is the Mockingbird piece that I was working on when we left Phoenix. That is in suspension. And there's also a large piece I researched and bought the supplies for that I never began. I don't know what will happen with those loose ends yet. We'll see.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Don't worry...

I am here. And I am even making art - amongst looking for a new job, and registering cars, and figuring out the T. I am here. I am making a painting. You've seen it, and I am sorry to condemn anything but I have a sneaking suspicion it belongs to that school of bad paintings. That's okay though. I think I have a job, which means that this week before I start work will be dedicated to working in the studio - and eradicating the bad painting. I shouldn't say too much. I have had some serendipitous art experiences lately. Last Friday I attended a drop-in life drawing session in Brookline where I got some time with a model and exercised those observation skills. Phew. I can tell I'm out of practice. Perhaps I'll get around to posting some of those images.