One in a series of six that I have finished for the most recent showing. I have been more and more perplexed by the task of choosing images to be the vehicles of the attitudes I am trying to communicate. Besides the most obvious popular icons that anyone can think up, corporate logos, there is very little shared context in our society. In an age where corporations have divided and conquered the public, we have little in common with one another that we care to recognize regularly besides what we consume. These images, I decided to put them a way. Any recognizable image that may appear is not the subject, it is just an object, so do not confuse the object with the subject. If you look at this picture you will find within it, like the title, a fried egg. Obviously this painting has more depth than to depict a fried egg, so, once you find it, keep looking.
"You can either buy clothes or buy pictures," she said. "It's that simple. No one who is not very rich can do both. Pay no attention to your clothes and no attention at all to the mode, and buy your clothes for comfort and durability, and you will have the clothes money to buy pictures."
-Gertrude Stein quoted by Ernest Hemingway in - A Moveable Feast.
My wife and I have moved into a house. The beautiful process of putting together a new studio. DeKooning would talk about how art wasn't supposed to be created in dark little cubbies and left over spaces that were good for nothing anymore, that paintings weren't meant to be made in dingy dirty spaces that nobody wanted, but instead a space was to be made to facilitate these creations, there was to be a holy place of creation. Or something along those lines. Time to make a holy place. I now have room to work the way I have been meaning to. Beautiful room.
My next series is very free. I have decided to purge and spread, woe and joy, free of form, unless there arises a form that just comes alive (i wont deny it). I have also considered starting to compile some of my collection for a book, which I will include some writings of mine in. That is a project that will take some time though, I will probably not make it a pressing priority. I have a few murals that I have committed myself to here in the middle of the year, one more challenging than the rest. To finish a mural started seven years ago by another person...
I will update more often than I have been, now that other aspects of life are slowing down a bit.
I really enjoy hearing the thoughts of artists dead and gone. People who's concepts and work has changed the way people view the world... so I'll share some I've collected.
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. Edger Degas
When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it - a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand - as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it's bad art. Mark Chagall
Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time. Pablo Picasso
I don't do drugs. I am drugs. Salvador Dali
Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. Salvador Dali
I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh
One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever came to sit by it. Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way. -Vincent Van Gough
Whatever an artist's personal feelings are, as soon as an artist fills a certain area on the canvas or circumscribes it, he becomes historical. He acts from or upon other artists.
The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back. -Norman Rockwell
I always have a good reason for taking something out but I never have one for putting something in. And I don't want to, because that means that the picture is being painted predigested. -Robert Rauschenberg
Another piece in progress... Im going to keep going at her till she feels right. I keep thinking she is almost there, then she takes a total turn. You will probably see her finished and up in our shop at art walk this month.
I snapped the progress of this painting every once in a while, when there was a convenient moment. Some kind of obvious allegory here once the title, "School," is given. Shallow water, the 50% split of those afloat and those not, the nudity(innocence), the fish (prosperity) swarming above the water to the boated boys. This painting is unfinished.
This Is a portion from the smaller picture I had discussed a couple posts ago. Messing with the perspective by using the abstracted layer as foreground And background, filling in blocked out fields without prejudice, letting things slip back and forth. It worked especially well on the top portion of the canopy bed that is not shown in this photo.
Yes, so this is the detail from where the piece I last posted progressed. It is the middle third of the picture, just didn't want to give away too much with a sub par photo. But this is the gist. I've been on a bit of a victorian trip as of late. Tea time?
This is the large canvas I was speaking of. Yes it does have a lot of character and depth, which would show up much better in a more prof photo. But, I have decided to take her deeper. So I am posting this image as the point of pivot. Today I will work with charcoal, drafting a simple scene over the top, then manipulate perspective.
It is very important to take risks in your work. You will see as this piece evolves. This picture could have stayed like this, and been very pleasing. But through taking risks, you open yourself up to work beyond simple scenery. In painting a subject exactly as it is, you reveal nothing that isn't revealed already. You take no risk as you mimic the world around you. But as you take risks, the decisions you make reveal a unique perspective on reality. Making this reality a personal one, a personal experience, a conscious perspective which requires decisions to be made about the subject or surrounding. The more of these decisions you make, the more humanity is let into the work, and the more relevant it is to your fellow human. So remember while you are working that it is not necessarily what you decide or choose to do in your pictures that is of importance, rather, the significance comes from you making the choices first of all. Do not be scared to choose following an impulse inyour picture, and don't be afraid to paint over it if it turns out wretched.
I think it was Van Gogh who described the moment when will, feeling, inspiration, and action all come together in the act of true creation as white light. Or maybe it was white "lightning". Either way this is an example of some of that.
Yesterday I worked further on the smaller piece. I had received some feedback on the large piece, that I should leave it, that it looked finished and beautiful, so I have been sitting on it seeing how I feel about it once I put some distance between myself and the canvas.
With the smaller one I placed a scene on top with some graphite, very minimal detail, of a woman reading next to a victorian canopy top bed. Then filled in some colour in some of the fields without prejudice, leaving some of the background as negative space, and some as positive, trying to give an effect of uncertain perspective. I am happy with it so far.
My attitude of confusion regarding themes of late, has resulted in a little more abstracted studies the last few days. I've been toying with different ways to apply paint, to see if I can achieve the feeling Im leaning toward. Broader application, using squeegee-like appliques. Broadly sweeping across a large canvas, I have been adding white to the applicator in clumps along with which ever other colours I am moving, I allow colours to mix only as they are drug across the canvas, giving very harmonious value transitions within the broad strokes, but very harsh contrasts as the colour trails intersect and overlap one another. I plan to work more with this, until I am satisfied.
On the topic of clothes: personally I don't sport a uniform or specific painting clothes, as long as there is comfort, and the ability to be what most would consider destructive, this works. Mostly I have it the other way around, there is a specific set of clothes I don't paint in. So most of my clothes are colourful.
Ive been looking at a lot of art magazines that a friend has given me, they are from the mid 90's. I hate to say it, but I enjoy their content more than most of the current ones I've been following.
I stretched an 8ft canvas that I am excited to get started on. Ive been working on a large canvas, around 6 feet, 3 women picking flowers in a garden wearing white cotton dresses. Took much time with the dots i've been fond of including lately, I became dissatisfied with it though, upon working in spite of a flustered state one day I dominated the picture with red oil, and have not had the heart to progress. It feels too muddy, i wanted to limit my colours, but now with the red oil, it seems dull and dissonant.
Also been working with more gestural drawings, need to get the wiggles out before they taint my bigger pieces i've been starting. I know that if i cant release some of the energy in my lines through small studies i will become over eager and soil my other work. Constraints of working in a smaller space that doesnt lend itself to the work is surely effecting most aspects of these pieces, learning is good though.. Wasnt it Da Vinci that said working in small spaces makes you smarter? At least my walls are white... I am always tempted to work directly on to them. ha.
There are so many artisticals I'd like to practice that by the time it comes to : "What do i do with this," or "How do i market this?" I dont have time. I hang work in our coffee shop, but it kills me when so many people act so smugly toward it so often. I don't like explaining any of it or discussing it with people who dont truly care or want to know anything about it...
I have been often struggling lately with what i should paint toward. What is there for me to say? Masterbatory self expression is leaving me blank, as I feel less. I may pick some ideal to stand for, a solid thing, a solid concept to apply myself to, some worthy cause to paint about, so as not to be so stuck in the question of "why?" I need something really pivotal to all human beings, something to better the human race. Ha, bettering the human race, how cheesy...