Monday, March 25, 2013

A couple of mondays passed by

I keep trying to live my visual life and the other, boring life seems to intrude.

We got to Seattle this weekend to see one, perfect, beautiful, Sean Scully painting. Now I remember why I want to paint and I am sitting in the studio looking at this

It needs more history, I think I will sand down the blue some more and even out the bottom color. Hmmm.

We will see where it goes...

It was sunny in Seattle and for the first time we saw the James Turrell piece in the sunshine, spectacular it filled me with hope.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


having lots of emotional crud going on in my life right now.

who woulda thunk it?

but as they say, we must suffer for our art.

or perhaps we make art because we suffer

yeah, that's it

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


M...m...m.m.m.m.mad mad mad

So now you know I'm going crazy, but tuned in to what the middle-aged kids are listening to these days. There can be no better combination of attributes for a Portlander. But I digress.

Went down into the studio for a little art making, with two things to work on.

I should hang curtains so I'm not always jumpy thinking my upstairs neighbors are going to leap in and start doing laundry. I should get rid of the pile of what looks like burnt debris by the water heater.

But it's more funner to paint, so I did that instead.

It was one big burst or strokes and arcs and pigment and lead.

Way more 'automatic' than usual, by which I mean the work took over and asked to be worked fast.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

here i am, it's thursday

another turn of the wheel, and here i am, it's thursday again!
i can hardly wait to get home and back to the studio. i have colors, and images waiting to be unleashed. the jungle greens, the ocean blues, the hits of red and orange. 
we visited pearl harbor yesterday and i wasn't that interested in going, but had a huge visceral response when i was there. history and sadness permeate the site. war and friendship and loss.
i have loved getting your messages and having kurt signing in. kate, kirsten, dave, kurt, we will get together soon to look at work.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

gray matter

i made gray paint yesterday.  through repeated steps of paint / scrape, paint / scrape, i ended up with a yogurt container of gray paint and one gray painting.

in retrospect i think i know what went wrong. 

when i was younger, my brother always used to say "you gotta want it".  playing sports: you gotta want it!  bridge jumping: you gotta want iiiiitttt!  skipping stones: you gotta want it!  it was an adolescent phase of glomming onto a phrase for a period, but for some reason that one stuck with me. 

for painting i would add "you gotta SEE it".

typically i see something before i start putting paint on canvas.  i visualize the completed painting, even though what i end up with is almost never the same thing; still, i start out with a formed idea of what it's going to look like.  i often move my hands over the canvas before beginning to paint, as i think about what the various parts will look like (up here some thin pink, down here a thick patch of dark green and black, etc).  it's not a conscious thing, but more like stretching before a run, it just seems natural.

for whatever reason i didn't to that yesterday.  i just lept into the painting brushes a-blazing.  i had no idea what i wanted it to look like.  (if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there...)  so i ended up painting one bad painting after another.  in fact they just kept getting worse.  i got into such a state that i felt as though i had forgotten how to paint at all.

i don't mind making bad paintings.  i understand that is part of the process.  i think what bothered me about yesterday's session though, was that the bad paintings weren't borne of challenging myself, or of experimentation.  they were borne of poor work habits.

at least i got some good gray paint out of it...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

dark heron

oahu is busy, in parts, vast jungle in others, and i am on image overload.  this bird was just a few feet away from me, unafraid of the weary tourist. he takes advantage of the fish in the manmade ponds.

Monday, March 4, 2013

He thrusts his fists against the posts but still insists he sees the ghosts

Since I changed my life almost completely around I sort of stopped making art. I threw a few small pieces of work at the da Vinci Arts School's winter craft fair last December, but no-one bit. I didn't really do my part to promote, or even stay there at the show, trying to lure people into my clutches. I suck at self-promotion, and in fact I didn't really care about this fair, since I'd been working through an as-yet-to-be-completed divorce. There are worse things, I guess.

I also discovered the Mandelbulb, which has rocked my creative world and changed how I view art forever.

I'll tell you about that some other time.

So now I'm in a new, downscale pad at the foot of the fabulous Alberta Arts District. Two good places to drink one block from me.

Easy now.

Also, 16 Thai restaurants.

I finally set up my new studio today, and it's not too shabby - with an emphasis on 'too shabby,' but I'll make it work.

Today I threw some mud down on a 36" x 24" panel. It was about 1/8th mud in the bottom of an otherwise empty bucket, smelly and full of puddles of condensation. Mixed into a loose slurry, the stuff went down pretty easy.

I worked the texture more than I have recently, worried that what I did will somehow unduly influence what comes next. Or maybe that's a good thing?

I also built a small panel for a group show submission, and took an old painting down from the wall upstairs, adding a few lines and lots of pink.

What can I say? I like what I like.


Friday, March 1, 2013

oh boy

i remember when i was studying painting with Joseph Mann several years ago, and he was describing his own painting process.  he was mimicking himself in his studio, getting ready to start a painting.  as he stood before the easel in mock-preparation he said "oh boy, here they come again", referring to the figures that inhabit his paintings.

i took it to mean that he had little control of the fact that they were going to show up.  that somehow it was his job to paint them and they were coming from the brush whether he liked it or not. the figures needed to be painted and they found Joseph as their Creator to bring them to life.

i think that is true for many of us.  we start to paint and eventually we lose control and the painting takes over.  here it comes again.  oh boy.