Jun 28, 2008

Learning to Fly Solo

For a moment I didn't think I'd make it. I was so excited to paint this summer without any assignments or insidious desire to prove that I have at least some technical rendering skills to be considered legitimate. But there I was, alone with paint and under-painting. The under-painting was easy. I know it will be painted over so I can relax and have fun. The picture is not the completed under-painting but you get the idea. I was just mapping out the web of text and creating some intense colors to show through the real painting. Anyways back to
the gripping story...there I was, alone with paint and under-painting and there was no teacher around to ask, what color this that should be and how come my grey shapes look so bad and this isn't what I intended, is it any good? It really seemed hopeless, I figured there was no point in even finishing my degree, I may as well get on Craigslist and look for a job serving. But out of some rare genius that was mercifully graced upon me I figured I could learn to paint alone just like I could learn to paint in a room full of people or ride public transit or tie my shoes. (If you have ever had the misfortune of being waited on by an introvert you will understand why grace acted up at that moment).I painted away, trying to cultivate the monk like patience I figured I'd need for the task and discovered that I could, quite easily paint really atrociously on my own. That was a start! I kept at it and I think I see a decent painting emerging here. My next task is to tone down the letters where the crow is and make the bottom as interesting as the top. We'll see what happens...

Jun 23, 2008

Georgia O

One day, in printmaking class, my teacher handed us each a pencil drawing done by a child in the daycare and showed several reproductions of works by famous painters. He then instructed us to determine which painting the child was looking at when they drew their interpretation and then create our own interpretation incorporating the child's drawing. The drawing I received was a page of tulips in pots done by Leimommi. I determined that she was interpreting Georgia O'Keeffe's painting of an iris and came up with the print here. I thought it was a brilliant assignment and feel like it really stretched my style in a way I'd like to pursue more. It has this flippancy that is not irreverent and despite the whimsy it is still interesting.

Jun 21, 2008

Life Painting

Life painting is a somewhat grueling experience for a whimsical artist like me, you have to pay so much attention to what you're seeing! Trying to get correct proportions is like a zen koan. I notice the arm is to short but if I make it longer it is not in the right place in relation to the knee so I have to figure out if the leg is too short or if it angles out more but then it is in the wrong place in relation to the side of the head. Eventually I just go ahead with the painting anyways but I find it hard to be at all loose and creative with the human form. I do really enjoy inventing scenes for the models. This one of Kate with a basket ball is my favorite. I especially like the bra hanging out of the drawer next to her because there is no way it could fit her. I was just painting what I know.

Jun 20, 2008

The Fall

I made this print outside of class when I wanted to work in a stream of conscious sort of fashion. Printmaking is an odd but not impossible medium for making stream of conscious work. It has so many steps, it would be sort of like stream of conscious sewing. So I saw this picture in my head and tried to draw it without thinking about it or be too accurate. This might seem natural, what artist doesn't see pictures in their head? I don't so much. Mostly when I make art I have a concept of what I want to express and a general subject and composition to begin from. I have little idea what it is going to look like until I make it. If I do develop an idea it is assured that the art will not end up looking anything like it. So, anyways I tried to sketch out what I saw in my head this once. It didn't translate so I just fiddled around with it until it seemed like a workable composition and then transfered it to my plate then began the long etching process. It wasn't until I was nearly done that I thought about what it might mean. What it means is that the society I grew up in encourages people to abandon their genuine selves to be stoic and that the world suffers for this but there is hope for the future since there is a counter culture that works to help people be real again.

How He Writes

This is an intaglio of a good friend of mine, the poet Nick Nash. This is the first time I've used someone else's poetry in a piece and I really enjoyed it. Anyways, how it happened is that I was in the printmaking studio wondering what my next print would be and feeling like I didn't have anything like an idea left in me when I opened my sketch book. There was Nick, and since it was a decent sketch and since I had developed a full fledged crush on the man I thought it would be a nice project to incorporate a sketch of him with one of his poems into a print. I would have to ask his permission and I calculated that he might be a bit enamored with being made into art. He was, of course, very agreeable. I chose a poem and asked him if he could write it onto a piece of tracing paper. He did. I was a bit dismayed at how small and almost illegible it was. I traced it, backwards, onto the plate with softground anyways. I often had no idea what letters I was tracing I just tried to imitate the shapes and hoped for the best. He liked the print.

Jun 19, 2008

The Secret Uniqueness of Birds

This print is from last year, No One Here... Last Christmas I gave one to my parents and when I went to visit on Father's day they had it framed on the wall. I am always surprised and delighted to see my work framed in someone else's environment. It helps me see it with fresh eyes and in this case I really liked the print all over again. The text behind the birds says, No one here cares that their songs aren't on MTV or different than anyone elses'. It was a line from a poem I wrote when I was struggling with the fact that it is very difficult to express something that hasn't already been stated far more eloquently by someone else. We really value uniqueness and originality which seems to encourage us to be ingenuine, being outlandish for the sake of doing something new. I decided to take my cues from the birds in the birch tree outside my window and stopped trying to be so damn unique. Oddly, I think I may actually be more unique now that I am not worried about it.

Jun 18, 2008

The Weight of a Crow

After making four paintings based on the Science of Sleep poem I decided to make a print. Originally I wanted it to be an all text piece but there came a point when the crows needed to be there. I am really happy with this print and would love to do more in the same style, see how far I can take it.
I spent some time editioning today, it was very relaxing without any encroaching deadlines and just three of us using the press. I wasn't obsessed with being efficient and yet everything happened rather efficiently. More importantly it did not feel like a burden of a task to work at an easy pace.

Jun 17, 2008

Other Crows

I have been a bit remiss with this blog but I have wonderful excuses. Going to school Monday through Friday then working Saturday and Sunday would be my best scape goat. I won't make any excuses for my art though, I've been working diligently, participated in three shows, won a couple awards and sold some paintings. This painting of a crow is the last, so far, from my Science of Sleep series. I started another but have been too busy with school to finish it. Other Crows was juried into the student show along with Unassuming Velvet which received an honorable mention. I enjoyed the recognition but am glad it didn't come any sooner. I am grounded in my art as something I love to do for its own sake now and don't get discouraged by the fact that not everyone likes it. Working for recognition is an unbearable roller-coaster!