Saturday, December 10, 2011


if I could paint as well in my waking life as I do in dreams, well, I don't know, I would probably have paintings in Moma or something.

Friday, November 4, 2011

perseverance, courage, and replaced fenders

in the last two weeks i have painted five of the best paintings i have probably ever painted.

there were days i painted poorly as well, but i was aware, more than ever before, that my temperament was just not right (i was also aware of its "rightness" on the good days, and painted hurriedly to capitalize on the fleeting feeling). on the day when my temperament was right i felt a sense of control over the process - that i knew ahead of time which mark was needed and how it would look before i laid it down. i had no fear of "losing" the painting and had a renewed confidence that if i did, i could revive it.

those days were like clear skies while the others were fog.

looking today at yesterday's work (sheffield 35) i remember being generally happy with the painting but being displeased with a few areas. for a moment i hesitated, unsure how to improve them and fearful of destroying the entire, otherwise successful, image, should i attempt to fix them and fail. the moment passed quickly, the confidence returned, and i addressed the areas, sometimes making them worse than before, but, persevering, ultimately improving them to harmony with the rest of the painting.

that is the kind of courage that i would have lacked before - leaving the painting instead at "good enough". however, the longer those inadequate areas are left unaddressed the harder it is to fix them. it is nearly impossible for me to add only a few marks to a dray painting days or weeks after i last touched it. those marks appear too obvious, or conspicuous, to me, and seem false - like a replaced car fender in a mis-matched color.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

painting is just so much fun

on friday i was able to dedicate several hours to painting, which i have not been able to do for a while. it makes such a difference to have a chunk of time. painting for an hour, while nice, just doesn't allow enough time to iron out the wrinkles. on friday, i worked on two bigger paintings (30 x 40) and just kept working them over; destroying them and bringing them back, until i had something i was happy with.

it takes (me) a lot of time, and really that time needs to be continuous, in order to start a painting, let it go, and then bring it back around.

on friday i also returned to working from a scene after a period of working from memory or imagination. i think i'm probably a better painter when i work from a scene. i think that there is something about limiting the choices that gives me more freedom to focus on the paint.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is it just me?

No matter what I try I can't post comments to this blog, the very one I myself created. If you are reading this, try to post a comment, so I can determine if there is something wrong with my browser settings, or if there is something wrong with the way I've got this thing set up.

I used to be able to post comments here, but not lately, and I want to be able to say things like:

"Congratulations on your jury selection, Dave! It's nice to get that kind of validation from jurors, even if we all know you entered this competition in hopes of getting a deep-fried Twinkie at the fair ..."


Sunday, July 24, 2011

I frequently submit work to juried exhibitions solely on the basis of the jurors. By submitting my work I am guaranteed to have my art seen, studied, and debated by a respected handful of art-world professionals, and that to me is worth the price of admission. Even if they hate it.

I submitted two pieces to the Oregon State Fair because the powerhouse jury consisted of Tom Cramer, Jack Portland, and Rod Pulliam.

They ended up choosing one of my pieces to exhibit in the fair. Icing on the cake! But the icing is the really good stuff, not just a bunch of Crisco and sugar. Check out what they said about the pieces they chose:

“The works that we chose for this exhibit have the following characteristics in common:

They show sincerity and a sense of focus. The work exhibits a strong connection between the artist and his subject matter. How the artist portrays the subject matter lets you know how he feels.

They exhibit an instant hit of content followed by a residual slow stream of information. The artwork reveals more over time.

They reflect a regional “Oregonian” sensibility. They are influenced by and connect to the place and people around us

They are resolved and to the point. Good editing choices make for tight focused work.

They are intentionally participatory, requiring the viewer to bring something to the interaction. On balance, if technique or subject matter is overworked, then substance/content suffers.”

Holy crap! Are you kidding me? These five points articulate precisely why I paint. If I could have written a decent artist statement to this point, it would have looked exactly like that. I am thrilled and energized to know that my work was recognized as having achieved these objectives, by these jurors.

We work in our little studios or basements or garages or wherever, mostly alone with our ideas and dreams, and we often wonder if what we do is hitting the mark. We look for validation through exhibitions, press, remarks from fellow artists, sales, wherever we can find it. Today, I got mine. Thank you, jurors.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Come Sale Away

Busy calculating cubic feet of storage space. Won't someone buy my paintings?

They're taking up space.

Which brings me to this: Many, if not all, artists will at one point describe their works as their 'children.' Which of course means that those who want to make a living off their art are at best shameless liars or at worst the most venal bastards of the art world for begging to sell their children to the highest bidder.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Still working on distinguishing between being satisfied with a painting and being done with it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hi blogger pals,
There has been radio silence while I was spending way to many hours at work and eeking (sp?)out a show this month. But I miss you all and am ready to think about art without feeling overwhelmed. I am embarking on a drawing project. No painting for a few months, feeling like I want to try to push myself. I keep making the same choices when I paint and wonder what will change if I try to draw the world for awhile. I'll keep you posted. Plus, I am enjoying the drawing app on my I-phone. Beers soon?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Killin' time and fillin' space/

After that 10-day stint in the basement I took about 5 days off, though I can't say for sure if, during that time, I didn't come down and check out the work once or twice. It was mostly a conscious split. I couldn't take that much interaction. (If I'd remembered the two+ other streams of work I've got on the burners I might have kept going.) Any road, it was good to move back for a bit, and now I've been working again the last three nights.

So here's some pictures.

Monday, June 20, 2011

removing the bandages

a painting that had been dogging me for three years finally gets a makeover. after a small nip and tuck to the upper third of the painting, i think it is improved.

Friday, June 17, 2011

No bloggy-bloggy?

The friend in the below post asked why I haven't been blogging. Since he reads this blog, I know I'll be satisfying at least one person by posting tonight.

I won't answer his question, but will mention I was thinking of posting something the other night, something horrible. I'm trying to set a new habit, so I've been down in the studio every night of the past ten. I think if I get to thirty I can consider it a habit?

At any rate during this time I managed to push a painting far over the edge, and in the interest of transparency thought I'd trash it here on the blog.

I may not be able to save it, and hopefully if it ends up in a show you won't be able to tell that I was prepared to slander one of my 'children' in public.

If I ever feel that way again - wait, I still feel that way about this piece, despite the changes I made tonight - but if I ever feel that way again, I may confide in strict confidence to one buddy, but I'll never dog a piece in public.

Friday, June 3, 2011

one mark

done, or not done? that is the question...
how do i know?
is it enough to just make one mark on a canvas?
it's usually more difficult to not make a mark than to make one. it requires more thought and determination, therefore the unmarked canvas should be thought of as more masterly than the marked, no?

Saturday, May 14, 2011


i have just been invited by Randall Tipton to show along with him at this year's Sitka Invitational. the invited artists (Randall) were in turn allowed to invite another artist to show along with them, and to also collaborate on a piece together. if you don't know Randall's work, check it out here: he's one of the best painters in the area. really amazing stuff. i'm beside myself! i'll post more as the collaboration begins. the show is in November.

Monday, March 14, 2011

learning a new language

i made a bunch of marks today. i had more consecutive painting time today than i have had in several weeks.

worked on several canvases simultaneously - all paintings that had been started before which needed work. no white canvases. was fairly brave (by that i mean uncharacteristically willing to destroy a painting in the pursuit of exploration). trying new things in the studio. new ways of simplifying images of nature. new materials. new scale. new process.
my motivation remains the same, but nearly everything else is new, and frankly, it's not going real well. i feel like i'm learning to paint all over again. i probably worked on seven or eight canvases today, ranging from 9" x 11" to 24" x 30", and i maybe like one of them. i'll see how i feel about it in the morning. thankfully i'm meeting with a group of artists tomorrow for a monthly critique of each other's work, because i could use some help with this stuff.

i know where i want to go, and i can picture the results in my head, but i just can't seem to make my hands cooperate. i guess it's a new language and i should be more patient, but i want to be fluent now!

i wonder if this is what raising children is like. some days this can be so much fun, and other times it can frustrate the hell out of me. uncooperative little brats, these paintings are.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

standing on the shoulders of giants

i have had a productive few days. several new paintings are either in the works or completed. i bought a stack of small, pre-stretched canvases from my pals at utrecht the other day so i could set up a sort-of assembly line in the studio. i just line up these small (9x12) canvases and work on them consecutively as needed. it allows me the emotional detachment necessary to not fall in love with them too soon. when i paint large it's such a commitment that i get to a point of apoplexy - i have invested so much time and material into the thing that i don't want to "ruin it". these small canvases seem more disposable.

so i have to confess that the engine behind my recent motivation is a little book that steff gave me which contains fifteen reproductions of Howard Hodgkin paintings. in the ten or so years that i have been painting, there have been a few occasions where i see work by someone that completely alters the way i think about painting. my evolution is owed to seeing the work of Matisse, Beckmann, Guston, Soutine, and Basquiat. with Hodgkin it was even more profound. when i saw his work for the first time i felt like it said to me "it's ok". it's ok to paint in this way that i had only thought about, written about, and sometimes dreamt about, but had failed to actually perform. it was liberating.

i realize that right now i'm sort of dealing with a schoolgirl crush on Hodgkin and my paintings are attempts at respectful aping, but once i work through this i will find a new place where the simplicity, reduction, and abstraction that i have long been striving for are incorporated into my conscious process. until then i am just enjoying making these marks!

Monday, February 21, 2011

a painting or a photograph

Last weekend I was cranky and feeling like I had made a series of wrong decisions in my life, or maybe just paid attention to the wrong things, or not done the right things. Like, if I had painted more I would be better, I mean really good. If I read more I would be smarter. If I stuck with yoga my back wouldn't hurt in the morning. Stuff
like that.

Dell said, we better get in the car and go somewhere. So we went to Sauvie Island. And it was drizzling lightly and everything was quiet and beautiful and full of possibilities. So I took some pictures. To make a painting? Or just to be a beautiful record of the lovely world, while I am here to see it.

Maybe I could still be a really good painter, there is so much to say. Although, there is nothing I can say better than the Oregon light on the bare trees in February.

Friday, February 18, 2011


another example of a used palette that is probably better than my last ten paintings...

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Day After

Are you all feeling as restless as I am today? Full and empty at the same time?
The sky tonight was a blue I have never seen before.
I want to drift in a bowl of blue, in that color blue.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We are jamming.

OK, the big show is hanging at Gallery 114 (1100 NW Glisan - kinda underneath the awesome new guitar shop) and we are all extremely proud. It's looking good - for a bunch of over-40 artists with lives (if I may be so bold and blunt) - the point is, we do what we like, not what we think you'll to like, and we think it shows.

Or something.

I should quit while I'm ahead.

Here's a small selection of new work from me. See it there, Thursday February 3rd from 6 - 9PM. We'll be there.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Does it always have to be this way?

Do I have to be in the studio at the eleventh hour, making a mess, ruining perfectly good tubes of paint and cheap Chinese brushes? I always want to begin again, but end up just adding on. Maybe we just have one good tale to tell in our lives. I am still waiting for the moment the last piece comes together. Like a miracle, you make a mark that you didn't know was in you and it's just right. Let's hope there's one more mark...
Sean Scully says "It seems to me that there are highs and lows, and that there have been periods that are, I would say, less creative, where you're simply holding a position, and there are other periods where you feel you have breathed enough air to be able to exhale again, to be expansive again."

I'm filling my lungs....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lindsay Lohan escapes rehab - Again!

OK, so the Ke$ha thing didn't work too well, maybe this title will work.

But really, I just want to post a picture of the painting I'm donating to the Cascade Aids Project Art For Life auction. It's out to jury, and I sure hope it makes it into the show, because it's always a fun time, and such a good cause.

All of us OPST artists should be donating this year, and hopefully we all get in, so we can be grouped together and get a wall sign!

Say a little prayer for our demos, so to speak.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Just thought I'd see if I can draw in some random readers with the title. If you're a Ke$ha fan, welcome! I hope you enjoy what you find here.

Anyway, I'm bummed that I feel like I know what I'm doing with only one of the five paintings I'm working on now, and I have like a week and a half to whip things into shape.

Also, I wouldn't describe any of these paintings as more than 'begun' ...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Calm B4

Oh dear, I haven't really worked on any art in about a week, and a scant two weeks remains before the show. I used to consider the month prior to a show to be a forbidden zone as far as working on pieces was concerned. Publicity was reserved for the last month.

Now, if I can finish a piece before the reception, I'm lucky.

Why am I sitting here blogging while 'watching a movie' at midnight on a Sunday?

new year's resolve

Just meandered in from the studio to check in with you all. Not sure where I am headed yet, but feeling like I am all over this show, I mean it's not for 3 weeks (I think, right?).

I made one new year's resolution. To take a picture a day. I know, it should have been a drawing, or to work every day in my studio, but I decided I just had to start looking. That, and go outside, because I refuse to shoot with a flash, so in this dark month I have to go out to find some (any) light.

So here are a few observations from the first week of the year. I guess I should go paint, but everything is maybe I'll just lay back on the couch with my novel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

blasting the core

In an effort to lose my gut, and increase my energy, I' hittin' the Nordic Track again, which is in the basement with my studio. I took a break from painting today to bust it out on the Track and listen to inspirational music.

Once I build up enough stamina that I'm not all woozy after 15 minutes, I'll see what it's like to actually get BACK to painting after the Track!

I hope to eventually paint while on the 'runner's high.'

Anyway, still working towards the February show at Gallery 114 so I should have many chances to hit the Track for the next three weeks.

Here's a picture of the next step in painting: the joint compound has dried, and I begin to make gestural marks all over the place with a pencil. Nobody better copy this technique.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

the new sketch pad

it will never replace the joy of pencil against paper, but this iphone app sure is fun. i have used it to create at least one study for a painting, and to work through some compositional issues. and then there are days like this where i just wanted to recreate the yellow of the street light on a gray morning. it's great for expressing light.

Monday, January 3, 2011

a new year


robert motherwell

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gallery 114

Got a month to go before the Organ Players and Storytellers show at Gallery 114 for February. Furiously working on stuff (tonight furiously watching the Seahawks, though) and thought I'd share some process. Here's a panel getting its first dollops of joint compound.