Tuesday, June 27, 2006

rambling thoughts of the week

Because I'm a lame-o I only just saw the Klimt paintings at LACMA last week (I think, I lost track...) and true to my museum visits the one thing I went to see there turns out to be the least interesting thing to me.

What ended sucking me in was their American landscape stuff (now I'm wishing I had taken notes) but what I have been interested in recently is how location effects art. This is always most evident in landscape painting-- and what I found myself looking at was east coast landscapes vs. west coast, bare desert hills vs. dense, lush forestscapes. It stood out to me because I always hated landscapes and painted pretty crappy ones if I ever did (I had multiple art teachers tell me to not try them again). But that was on the east coast. The second I come to California I started painting/drawing landscapes every week. At first it was because I didn't know anybody and I didn't have any friends to model. But then I started getting into the landscape here. What I found was that I was just more drawn to paint the California geography. CA is more solid and concrete with grassy hills, rocky mountains, distance, as opposed to the dense bushes as opposed to the lush all-over greenery of Massachusetts. This was suprising because I was (at the time) prejudice against places with real trees and forests. I lived in the west until I was 11 and spent my whole childhood dreaming of tall green trees and hating the dead desert yellow color of everything around me. I'm kind of surprised I'm on this end of the country, but I've fallen in love with it- and the paintings it makes me do.

The other thing at LACMA that I saw was the Hockney exhibit. I can't say that I was a big Hockney fan before but I really enjoyed this exhibit for several reasons. First of all, I love portraits and figures of any sort. Could look at them all day, almost did. Also, again I'm really intrigued by the location an artists chooses to work in and how it inspires them-- or just seeps into their work. Sometimes I wonder if the whold NYC-starving artist thing limit's POV. I personally think that-- art being inspired by real life-- lives or dies based on what an artist surrounds themself with. And an artist like Hockney that incorporates his life so directly in his work is a very good example how an environment (social, geographic, cultural) plays a role. Just looking at his color choice-- turquoise, mint green, dusty rose, etc.-- these are not colors inspired by the northeast.

The last thing that the Hockney exhibit taught me is that I need to frikkin' start sketching more. I used to carry a sketchbook every where I went and would sketch every minute I had a down moment. The habit slowly faded when I stopped doing paintings strictly from sketches of brief real life moments. But even if I don't paint from my sketches, it is a fabulous way to slow down the process of observation as well as just get inspired.

That's all for tonight. Gotta go wash my brushes. (And my dinner dishes too probably while I'm at it, they'll get smelly.)

under a cloud

I've been painting a storm the last few weeks trying to finish off all I've started recently. I'm notorious for starting 20 paintings and working them all at the same time which makes an odd feeling of being both prolific, and moving at a snails pace because nothing ever is completed. I also never call a painting done. Paintings I called done last October got dug up and fiddled with of late. Part of this is that over time after I stare at my stuff I notice things that could be better crafted. Of course this week I've found that this habit of mine is more like picking at a scab than brilliant technique. I've found my skills have gone into crap lately because suddenly all my brushstrokes and color choices and pretty much everything is clumsy and muddled. I'll spend hours focusing on the dappled light falling on a cheek of a woman- and then when I take a step back it looks like a monkey with a beard. I've always had weeks where my flow seems to be off and I just work through it. Though sometimes I just paint like crap because I'm feeling lazy and impatient and am not channeling my full attention to what I am doing. But I'm embarrassed that whatever funk I'm in is out of my control at the moment. It hits me everytime I walk past my "studio" and feel the eyes of my bearded monkey women.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

oh snap!

So I'm a compulsive canvas builder, even when I don't need canvases I find myself building them for a rainy day. So I had a day off today and first chance I got I went down to the store to get some canvas. Because the Pearl near my house is poorly stocked, and maintained-- when I got there they were pretty wiped out of canvas. All they had was 84" wide of the canvas texture I wanted-- wider than I needed but I took it anyway. At first I asked for 2 yards since I was only building 2 canvases, but then I got greedy and asked for a third yard (so I can save myself a trip to pearl on another rainy day...) When they unspooled the roll that extra bit for me, it turned out that after my 3rd yard, there was only 1 yard left on the roll. So they just gave me that extra yard for nothin'. Bonus yard of canvas=grrrreat day.