Monday, July 24, 2006

the adventure of having a day off

I have tomorrow off, a weekday. I must say this is the best part of my day job. Even if I work a little on a weekend-- a weekday off is worth 2 weekend days (with banks and post offices actually being open.) The night before is the best part because I get to imagine all the things I'm going to do. After all, I haven't overslept yet so it's still a full day in my head.

Of course my list of things to do is getting a little long... give 75% of my clothes to goodwill because I don't want to wash them... oil prime my canvases with that annoying ground that never washes off my hands... start this new painting I've had in my mind... measure all my artwork and input it into my nifty database... photograph that cluster of pastels I forgot about the other day when I photographed everything else... design new business cards... look for a new apartment/studio to move to.... I could keep going.

Of course I could end up getting to it all since I banned TV before 10pm each day. I've suddenly found myself hyper-productive and have accomplished in a week what I've been aiming to get around to eventually for 6 months. Even though I like to have noise on in the background when I paint-- I can't deny that sometimes it sucks me in and pretty soon I'm sitting on the couch (still holding brushes in my hand) waiting to see who turned out to be the killer this night on one of the Law and Orders. Enough!

I've also banned desert. Except on weekends and only when I'm out with friends. No more binging on a whole package of Nestle cookie dough while all alone in my apartment.


I spent the weekend re-photographing most of my paintings I have in my apartment and I'm amazed how hard it is to get clear images. Of course I'm working with limited lighting equipment and space so I expected it to be an up hill battle. If it's not glare or dust or not being able to get the perfect straight on angle-- it's the inability to really be sure of color in the digital image. I did some paintings in 32K tungsten light (using lights that usually give me a headache with glare) and some in cloudy daylight where the glare is minimal but for some reason all the images came out grayish and lacking a certain fortitude. I really notice the difference when the photos are side by side. Perhaps it is something that photoshop could even out-- but since I have spent years taking my own slides-- a task that requires that everything be meticulous on the photography end-- I prefer to manipulate the images in photoshop as little as possible. So it looks like I have some more photos to re-take. I am not looking forward to breaking out the hot lights and going through my stacks and stacks of paintings one by one.

But the upside of me slaving away taking photos this weekend is that I have new images on flickr, many are old paintings (meaning more than a year old) that I haven't posted before. Most of them are either self portraits or portraits of friends.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

my sketchy book

Inspired by the Hockney show to start keeping a sketchbook again (well one that that actually includes sketches and doesn't fill up with phone numbers and random notes.) I have been pretty much been doing a drawing a day-- usually when I'm out with friends or on my lunch break from my day job. I thought I'd post a few things-- nothing is particularly stunning but I like capturing brief moments of people and things I see. I'm pretty good at capturing things quickly before the scene changes too much, and I like the challenge of moving subjects and changing places. Some drawings are interrupted by the subject walking away (or worse, the subject noticing me hiding in a corner looking at them out of the corner of my eye.) So far nobody has bothered me or spoken to me-- that's what drove me crazy a few years ago when I did a group of paintings from sketches made at the Farmer's Market or 3rd Street Promenade. (I'm real popular with old lonely men, and sketching gives them a jumping off point for conversation....) Things that prevent this: sunglasses, headphones. They are an artist's best friend when they are secretly drawing people.

This is a sketch of my friend Guillermo over an impromtu dinner at the East India Grill July 7. We discussed life, our future, Los Angeles, and the magic of double decker buses (I had come from the West Hollywood art ride-- very enjoyable!)

Some sketches over lunch. I love people watching (until they start watching me.)

On some of my quick sketches I have started to revisit them later (in my studio) and add to them in what ever way that strikes me at that moment-- usually completely out of my head and very random and impulsive. Sometimes magical things happen. Sometimes it ends up looking like mud.

I'll post more bits and pieces from my sketchbook as they can. More is on my flickr site-- just a start. It will grow...