Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Progress: Junction

48"H by 36"W, on panel. 
(click for enlargement)  
I spent a lot of time putting this onto a panel today, and I'm quite happy with the amount of progress that I've made so far. 

When I visited the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit, I may have absorbed a little bit of the colors for my palette. Perhaps it's the urge to use cobalt for every shadow and dark space in existence, or the fact that I can't stop reaching for the pthalo green and manganese blue, but something is very different about how this has gone so far.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


8"H by 6"W, on paper. 
(click for enlargement) 
Today I prepared more panels for painting and worked on a preliminary drawing for one of the two four foot panels. I like this drawing a lot and hope that the composition translates without seeming too crowded- it's hard to tell without putting colors in the sketch, which may be my next step before beginning the actual painting.

My drawings turn out much sharper than the paintings do, which says a lot about how I use the brush versus how I use a pencil.  When I draw, the aim is to define the borders of an object, how it sits in the space, and how the edges and features of the object affect the composition. When I paint, the preliminary layout becomes a little obscured and I begin to very obviously favor certain features and discard others.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Getting Started

48"H by 36"W, on panel. 
(click for enlargement) 

My favorite part of any painting is in the preparation and first coats of paint. With this painting I decided to use a thicker ground than what I usually use. While normally I saturate a rag with leftover paint and mineral spirits and wipe it onto the gesso, this time I made a thick mixture of mineral spirits, galkyd, and liquin and brushed it on with some chromatic black and a little leftover brown. The resulting coat is thick and lovely. I hope it retains the gloss and slickness that it has when the paint is fresh.

This is to be the next of the garbage series of paintings, in the same vein as Tumult. I'm likely going to spend most of this week thumbnailing compositions and mixing colors in preparation.

Showing off my studio space.

Here is a photograph of my studio. It's the size of a large cubicle. As a result I have to keep it fairly uncluttered and move larger paintings into storage as soon as they're completed so that they won't become an actual obstacle. I mix paint on a marble sink blank (a cut-out of a sink from a marble countertop) and keep all my paints in a zippered sack on the floor. Nearly everything in the space is on wheels or light enough to be moved often.

An interesting bit of trivia: there are 13 completed paintings in this photograph and 4 in progress.

In Progress: Fireplace Scene 1 & 2

11"H by 14"W, on panel. 
(click for enlargement) 

 14"H by 11"W, on panel. 
(click for enlargement) 

I was struck with a dose of indecision while planning this next painting of the interior of the living room, so I decided to do a vertical and horizontal composition side-by-side. Both are painted at the same time with the same color palette.

Looking at them both now, reduced to this size, they seem nearly complete- but I'm not yet ready to let either one go, there's a lot of very thin spots in the paint and edges that need to be refined.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good Dog Buddabba

14"H by 11"W, on panel. 
(click for enlargement) 

This painting will be donated to Andy's pet shop in San Jose to benefit their operation. They sell supplies and pre-owned dogs, cats, lizards, birds, hamsters, etc. etc. They really have a long history in the building that they're in, too. Unfortunately, they're being evicted and have to move.

This is for the Art for the Animals project, to be donated as a fundraiser. Andy's needs all the help they can get.

Buddabba (not sure if this is the correct spelling) was brought to the US by an American tourist visiting Thailand who encountered him in a half-starved state. This person brought him back to the US and quickly found that Buddabba had a host of behavioral problems. He bit, nipped, howled, and refused to be potty trained. Buddabba likely would have been put down if he had not been passed on to Andy's.

Buddabba was slowly rehabilitated and with a consistent environment, has become a very trustworthy canine. He was adopted a few weeks ago. He's now a "good dog".

I find myself really attracted to work like this. It's astonishingly not as labor-intensive as the garbage paintings. While the rubbish heaps aren't as precise or as figurative, they involve a lot more soul-searching and divination regarding the next steps to take. In contrast, when I'm commissioned to paint from a photo of an object, it is usually done within two days.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Open Derelict

22"H by 28"W, on canvas. 
(click for enlargement) 

This painting went fairly easily for me. An in-progress shot and some commentary is at this entry

I've checked out Jennifer Bartlett's book from the library several times, and I'm thinking of writing her a letter through her publisher. Since I've never done anything like that, I'm trying to write the best letter I can. Hopefully it will not take me so long that I end up writing her after the event this was made for, Swan Day

In Progress: Tumult

In this former entry I discussed work on a painting I'm calling Tumult. Yesterday I had a few hours to spend and chose to work on it more and attempt to resolve some of the issues with the light side.

 24"H by 54"W, on cradled birch panel. WIP
(click for enlargement)  

I finally believe that I might be able to sucessfully resolve this piece. Also, the end of the work on it feels near. While I can't pinpoint what exactly it needs in addition, it no longer seems like a truncated or lazy image. 

I'm playing the catch-up game. I was painting and suffering from the winter doldrums and generally didn't want to spend time writing about it later.