Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Diversion Leads to an Idea

I'm still working on the series I've titled 'forms', but also I'm using a couple of canvases off to the side to experiment with some impasto techniques. I find, this week anyway, that having these other canvases to work on when I need to refresh my eye for my 'forms' series to be helpful.

Here is one of these canvases I'm talking about below. I took it outside to get away from the fluorescent lights in the studio.

(...still working on this. I sometimes have a frame around to sit my  'ín-process' canvases in. It helps me see how things are working out. )

I'm using painting knives to put on the thick medium and I've worked on this piece above both wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry. It's an enjoyable thing to layer the colors and to resolve composition issues using this impasto medium. But what I found really great was taking this image above and cropping it up in my photo-editor to get different compositions of color-blocking. I think this idea will be useful in the future for compositions when I have time to delve more deeply into some other pieces like this.

Here are some of the interesting compositions cropped  from the canvas above. I hope you found this interesting and perhaps useful too if you also paint.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Little Pieces of Time

While I was painting this canvas, I couldn't help but be drawn into some mental imagery from childhood. I feel that is where these 'form' pieces are coming from perhaps. I was born in early 1968 and there was still plenty of 1950's and 60' buildings, signage, and paint colors around to subconsciously absorb as a kid. That's was a good thing for me. I'm very thankful of when I was born as I grew up well before current modern day technology was ubiquitous or even thought of as a possibility. Things were simpler then. Painting these pieces seem to me like gathering little bits of childhood feelings and memories and weaving them with the other odd images that are happy to call my brain home.

Little Pieces of Time, 24 x 30, acrylics over collage on canvas

Monday, 28 April 2014

'Joystick', a new painting

I'm still full of excitement over the 'aha' moment that I had a few days ago in the studio (see previous blog entry). I am so inspired and that feeling is simply priceless.
Pictured below is a new painting I completed yesterday. I love to paint on a large scale, so I painted this one on a 3 ft. x 4 ft. canvas.
Well, just a break to post this image. Back to the studio I go.
Thanks for taking a look.

Joystick, 36 x 48, acrylics

Friday, 25 April 2014

Getting Back to My Own Personal Basics

For the past year, except for the chaotic months during our move to Atlanta, I have dedicated myself wholly to painting in the studio. It has been a time for me to experiment a lot and see where I am led. Something that I've been focusing on over the past couple of  months with intense introspection is the question, "what can I express that is uniquely my own and what comes out of me with ease, great enjoyment, and enthusiasm?" This question I've asked of myself a lot recently is not to say that the past year has not been really enjoyable in itself. Quite on the contrary, it has been great, albeit a bit angst-ridden at times over the leap of faith that I am taking on this journey as a full-time studio artist. However, what I really want to do is focus on a style that is uniquely my own. So recently, I decided to just let loose on a canvas, completely free of any pretense or goal. In the back of my mind is usually a tape playing that reminds me to "make it beautiful!" I mean, that is not a bad goal, but it is an unneeded pressure from the get-go. So I let that go; I turned the looping tape off. What came out was a way of painting that was very familiar to me. A sort of juvenile and naive looking symbol-making is something I used to do a lot when I would paint or sketch "back in the day". I was sort of surprised to see it emerge again, but a bit disappointed too. I though to myself, "Is this what is coming after painting professionally for 17 years and also dedicating the last twelve months to developing my painterly muscles?" But, I told myself to keep going. And I'm glad that I did. Below is what I ended up with:

(My innate but forgotten style of painting)

What I did with the canvas after I filled it with my marks was something that I had recently seen a painter whom I admire greatly (Meredith Pardue) do in a video of her working in her studio. I edited out areas with a calming, neutral color of paint. I did all of this with great speed as I was excited about what was happening. The editing process created a really nice foil for the chaos of my brush strokes. I ended that day of painting with a feeling of excitement that I had not felt in a while. I was looking forward to the next day so I could go deeper with this technique.

I had been playing around on another canvas with some collage ideas and decided to use it the next day for a new painting using this method of working. The textures of the squares and rectangles of the collaged surface under the paint added a very interesting quality in it own right, I think. Here is the first painting that is the result of the experimentation a few days ago: 

'Not Too Long Ago', 20 x 30, acrylics

I was (and am) incredibly excited about this painting. Why? Because, this came out of me very organically and something really resonated with a deep part of me in going through the process of creating it. I feel that the past year's experimentation has come full circle in a way. It has served to bring me back to a way of painting that comes very naturally to me, and that is my goal on this path (authenticity). I really don't think I could have arrived at this place without all of the experimenting I've done. So, I am embracing (free of pretense) the brush strokes that want to come through my brush. I am for the first time embarking to paint a series of related works. And that feels really huge to me (in a great way). Of course I'll never stop experimenting with new techniques and forms, but I really want to see where this series will take me as a painter. They remind me a bit of totems somehow. I'm letting that word and image sit with me for a while (I'd like to come up with a relevant name for these pieces as a whole.) Perhaps simply calling them 'forms' is apt.

Here is the second piece (pictured below) that I joyfully put the finishing brushstrokes on yesterday. I've already started two others in the studio. I'll let everybody else decide if these are any good, because I'll be too busy painting.

'Wishful Remembering', 30 x 40, acrylics

Friday, 18 April 2014

It's spring. Thank heaven!! (or TGIS)

Since winter has been shaken off (sort of), I really needed to express my appreciation for the newly arrived spring somehow. It was a tough time for me adjusting to a new place while missing friends (and temperatures) back in Florida. But with the beautiful daffodils that have sprung up in the front yard of our home in Smyrna, it seems as though things will be okay somehow. I think the title of this new painting pictured below sums it up best.

Spring Fixes Everything, 30 x 30, acrylics, 2014

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Rough Start

As I hinted at in the ending of the last post, getting back into the studio (the new space here in Atlanta) was challenging, not in getting set up, although that was a long process filled with trouble-shooting and problem solving. No,the challenge I faced was finding my direction again after some time away form the brushes. A few months had past since I had painted and in that time, I lost my focus. I felt I had just started to get in a really nice painting groove when we (my partner and I) had to leave Orlando. But, not to worry, right? I just kept painting everyday until I started to find that groove again (it couldn't have gone very far). It did not come easily, I confess. Perhaps it was not helped by the mental challenges of starting over in a new place. I'm sure that was (is) a part of it. I feel a wee bit isolated out where we live in Smyrna. It is REALLY quiet here (note to self: get used to quiet). In any case, what seems to be emerging is a raw aesthetic on my canvas. So, I decided not to fight that and just let it come out how it wanted. Below is the first canvas I painted in the new space, correctly titled, 'Rough Start'.

'Rough Start', 24 x 36, acrylics

I really had to sit with this for a few days before I decided I liked it. I don't usually paint this roughly, but this is how I felt I guess that's what was destined to come out of me that week.

I also painted another canvas that same week, but I'm uncertain how I feel about that one. Here it is below, pictured alongside Rough Start.

'Rough Start' (on the left) next to its untitled sibling in my studio.

So, all of this mentioned above was in mid-February. Now we are at the very end of March and things are still coming out a bit more raw feeling than I usually like to produce. But I think, for me, the bigger and more important point is that I am painting everyday despite the challenges (and that's what it's all about).

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Transplanted to Atlanta, Georgia? Yup.

It has been a while since my last entry... but I swear I have a good excuse. We sold our place in Orlando back in October of 2013. My partner got a job with Delta Airlines in Atlanta, so we uprooted ourselves and headed north to a house we bought on the fly in Smyrna (which is just outside NW Atlanta). So basically the end of last year was a complete blur filled with all of the fun stuff that is involved with selling/buying a new place and the joy that is moving all of our worldly belongings. It is not for the faint of heart.

Once we were settled in, I turned my attention towards assembling my new studio space. The home we bought has a really great (but unfinished) basement with plenty of room to spread out and have several pieces ongoing at once. BUT! Wow, was it c-c-cold down there....and dark, except for one 'meh' window. Winter in Atlanta (which sits well north in Georgia) is vastly different from the mild winters in Central Florida. I tried a few different heaters to warm the would-be studio space, but they were all pretty useless. I was getting worried about being able to paint at all, except spring and summer. But, finally (thank goodness) I came across a blog that suggested a natural gas heater for cold basements. After tracking one down that got great reviews, I bought the heater on-line and it took about three weeks days to arrive. Next was to find someone to install the thing, which took a little more time.Somewhere along the way, I remedied the lighting situation as well.
Blah, blah, blah... 
In any case, by the time I got the heating situation under control, January had almost gotten away from me. Ugh. A few more weeks to get unpacked, organized, and set up and then finally I could begin to get into some paint.

Below is a photo I took on the first day that I had things set up enough to get started. Of course, it still wants a few bells and whistles (and dry-walling and floor/ceiling solutions). It felt fantastic to be ready to paint and I was ready. Now the easy part, right? Well...
More very soon (promise.)

Be it ever so humble... it's all mine.