Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toward 2015

Year's end & New Year's Day both invite hyperbole. Truth is, we carry the old year into the new. But there's hope in that, in the mistakes we've made & will continue to make; hope in a line in the air that surrounds the figure.

Whether I know you or have never met you, I wish you the best. Happy 2015.

"Another Way To Read The Book"-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Doreen In December"-acrylic on paper,  15" X 12"

Study For "Figure & Agave 3"-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Garden Seat"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

Study For "Figure & Agave" series-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Blue Scarf & Plant"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

"Figure & Agave 2"-oil on canvas, 48" X 36"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Open Borders

Sometimes, when the world wants to do you a favor, it stops you. Since I stalled out on the last big  painting, I've returned to smaller images to fill this month's quota. Figure drawings, landscapes, figure paintings on paper, presented in the service of an open-borders policy between the countries of Observation & Invention.

"Study For 'Figure & Agave'"-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Study For "Garden Figure (Profile) '"-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Wilder Foliage"-acrylic on paper,  10" X 7" 

"Two Trees At Wilder"--acrylic on paper,  9" X 9"

"Green Chair"-acrylic on paper. 12" X 9"

"At The Garden Table"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

"Cold Morning"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

"Figure In Ochre"-acrylic on paper, "12 X 9"

"Transparent Figure"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

"Blue Garden Figure"-acrylic on paper, 13" X 8"

"Red Garden Figure"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rough Equivalents

When your eye travels over an image without thinking, “That’s the light on the figure and this other light indicates the background,” then you’re seeing the whole painting and not the parts.

"Green Ground"-acrylic on linen,  14" X 11"

"Lilac Skirt"- acrylic on linen, 10" X 10"

Color pulled through color can unify a painting, and so can a complex surface. How this is achieved--through heavy impasto or thin, overlapping layers of paint--is mostly a matter of personal preference. What’s crucial is the transportation, the visual impact of the painting itself.

"Garden Gaze"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

In some respects, work on the smaller acrylics pointed the way to the larger oils. Though drag and density are different from one medium to another and problems of scale change,  the goal was the same: to build up a physicality of the overall image. When I finished “In The Garden,” I felt as though I had opened the gate.

"In The Garden"-oil on canvas, 60" X 48"

The most recent oil-painting, “Figure & Agave,” tries to challenge the distinction between color-shifts and mark-making. Here, an edge can be anywhere there’s a break in the surface. It can mean a break in form or value or even paint-application.

These days, I’m working closer to the canvas. I do still step back to get perspective, but with my face nearly touching the paint, I seem to get the longest view.

"Figure & Agave"-oil on canvas,  48" x 36"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Doreen: 6 Drawings

For a number of years, I’ve been drawing & painting regularly from a series of  very talented models. All of them have been adept at deciphering my vague instructions. They’ve also been strong and skilled enough to hold a tough pose with grace. Doreen, the subject of these drawings, has been an especially dedicated and  good-natured co-conspirator.

"Contemplative"- mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

"Imitating Sleep"-mixed media on paper, 9" x 12"

People have asked about this mixed-media process. I came up with it through trial & error, though, inevitably, others have probably gotten there before me. I lay down a layer of gray acrylic, usually on Bristol, then draw the basic composition with black tempera in cake form. The tempera lines can be altered with a clean wet rag or a q-tip. Highlights and value shifts are added in white watercolor crayon, and everything is reworked with a wet brush. Though the drawing ends up with some of the qualities of a print, it’s a fairly unstable finished product (“fugitive” in artspeak) so I wouldn’t recommend it.

"Regarding The Viewer"- mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

"Doreen In The Quilted Skirt 2"-mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

For the six drawings included here, I've made good use of a faulty road map. In life-drawing or painting sessions, I try to store up visual information. Photographs are taken, cropped or otherwise manipulated, then reduced to black & white. The original drawings and paintings, the altered photographs, and my less-than-reliable memory are all sources for the construction.

To get to the final image, the model interprets the role, the artist misreads it, and the mood of the pose becomes a collective invention.

"A Public Privacy"-mixed media on paper, 7 1/2" x 5"

"Doreen In The Quilted Skirt"-mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

PAINT & WORDS: a journal of images & ideas


Summer continues. No examples of finished studio paintings this month. Large-scale oil painting remains the most challenging work for me, but I don’t deny myself the pleasures of summer. Here are some examples.

"Garden Gaze "-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Red Lagoon"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Garden Gaze 2"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Doreen, Downward Gaze"-mixed media on paper, 10" x 7"

"Feet Up"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Leaflin With Diagonals"-mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

"The Garden In July"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"At The Garden Table"-mixed media on paper, 10" x 7"

"Red Lagoon 2"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Visible Privacy

In spite of our technologies, everything in this world reserves the right to hide, to disguise the depths of its own privacy.

The variations of visible time generated by a model or a landscape aren't limited to likeness. Painters talk about how to convey the weight of a pose or the texture of a hill, all the elements that effect contour & mass. There is also the force of registered passage to consider, the bodily recording of experience across a form.

Observing these shifting pressure systems, in the line of an eyelid or the sag of a branch, the absolutely resolved is replaced by something like a life.

"Leaning Forward"-acrylic on wood, 12" x 9"

"Mannerism"- mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

"Garden In June"-acrylic on wood, 12" x 12"

"Pulled Ahead"-mixed media on paper, 12" x 9"

"Local & Distant-2"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"June At Neary's-2"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Spiritual Texting"-mixed media on paper, 8 1/2" x 9"

"June At Neary's"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

"Local & Distant"-acrylic on paper, 12" x 9"

Friday, May 30, 2014

Home On The Range

I've been ranging around again this month, going from small pencil sketches to large-scale oil painting and everything in between. Sometimes I'll settle on a certain way of working, as in the mixed-media drawings below. The only constants seem to be outdoor painting and work from the model. I've been thinking about still-life and landscape-based abstraction, but my attention keeps returning to the figure.

"Looking Left"-black pencil on paper, 8" X 5"

I draw & paint from the model every week. In good weather, we work outside. The complexity
of space and color in natural light almost always generates unexpected results.

"Figure On A Garden Swing"-acrylic on wood, 12" X 12"

"Figure In Gray"-acrylic on canvas, 12" X 9"

"Figure & Lemon Tree"-acrylic on paper, 12" X 9"

The sources for this set of mixed-media drawings are usually photographs and previous drawings. Sometimes, as in the case of the first image in this group, I reverse standard practice and let a completed painting serve as a study for the drawing.

"Garden Table"-mixed media on paper, 12" X 9"

"Figure, Shoe & Shadow"-mixed media on paper,  9" X 7"

"Arranging Her Hair"-mixed media on paper, 9" X  7"

Large-scale painting can be as intimate as a sketchbook drawing. This 4x5-foot canvas had the usual sources, a drawing from the model & a photograph from the drawing session. There's an odd combination of early & late 20th century approaches to the figure here. The challenge was to connect the elements of the composition through the tactile nature of the surface.  I'm not sure it all works, but then again, I'm often the worst judge of my own work. 

"Leaflin In Light"-oil on canvas, 48" X 60"