Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I am learning it, learning to love it. Yeah.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm back being artsy already.

Even though I'm "in transition" now and without a studio, I just can't stop making art. Making ambitious oil paintings is not convenient, but after a quick trip to the Met (just 5 hours away, yeah!) I was inspired by Degas to do pastels. I think I will eventually try some giant ambitious pastels, but for starters I am doing portraits to figure out how the hell to work with "chalk." I've been wanting to do portraits since I watched a documentary made by my neighbor about Alice Neel. (That was just before moving-- because one always gets brand new interesting neighbors just before moving out of a building.) I'm starting with self portraits, because I'm always available. And eventually I'll draw my family. After which I will draw friends... and new friends. Anyway, after a couple ass-scrambled drawings, I was able to make this:

Which isn't a bad start, but I still have a lot of work to do. I just wish I was a more interesting subject. I need to change outfits like Susanna Coffey does in her portraits. So right after this sketch, I tried to change myself up a bit:

But I struggled on this one. Mainly because it was 2am but I didn't know having not paid attention to clocks. All I know was that I was watching Notting Hill and it had finished and started over... and finished again. That's when I realized I had been drawing too late and too long. It shows in this portrait. And the pastel is still not natural. It's a bit muddled because I haven't quite figured out how it works and how to plan out my layering in my head as a draw. I always have to know what colors to lay out first and what to hold of on until the end-- but it takes time to know how different colors of the pastel interact with each other. I know oil, and I have an intuitive sense of each paint and it's qualities and when and where to use it. But pastel is unfamiliar territory. My main frustration is how Degas gets such small and fine detail. These sketches are 11x14 and very loose. His pastels are smaller, and I know he is probably using a much different (and better) pastel. I did a quick google about Degas' pastel drawings and found out enough to know that he got very meticulous about his pastel process and materials. But I must learn about his process if I can! More research is in store.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm no longer a Los Angeles artist

I have relocated to the Boston area (more specifically to my parents house) due to lack of job & money and the promise of getting a job or money for the foreseeable future. I've been supporting my painting habit with a day job in advertising. Apparently that wasn't as stable as I thought. Oops. So I'm regrouping. I won't be painting for a while since there is a complete and utter lack of space where I am. Once I am back in the artistic mindset I will be back to blogging here.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Humble announcement

On Griffith Park Blvd there was a white banged up old car with "Everything is Horrible" painted on the side of it.

That pretty much sums things up.

I wish I got a picture of the car to illustrate, but it was gone in a flash. But I did get a picture of this street art outside Palazzo Gelato on Sunset:


(I'm sure it will be gone or defaced by the time you seek it out. That's why I always carry a camera and take a moment to capture it when I see it.)

But back to the car and how horrible everything is.

Yesterday I got laid off from my job. I was surprised, yet not surprised. My company has been on the rocks lately but I thought financial disaster had been averted. Not so.

Now I am unemployed in Los Angeles once again for the first time in 2.5 years and I've forgotten how to do it. I used to scrape by on pennies from here and there but the days of being able to pay all my monthly bills with $1200 are long gone.

This whole year has been a bit of a question mark. I didn't know what it was all adding up to until this week.

It all started with Paris. Yes, I love Paris. It was like going home, with the crepes, croissants, art, and walking in the footsteps of Degas, Manet, Van Gogh and more. When I returned LA just seemed blah. I hated the giant SUV's, the unromantic clothing, the lack of history. So I set out to act like I was in Paris. I changed my clothes, got a European bicycle, took the subway every day, spent hours in cafes eating croissants. But it's not the same. Los Angeles is ugly and way too full of actors. I dont' have family, and friends seem to always be over-scheduled. I've realized I've fallen out of love with LA and I can't picture myself pursuing art and life here anymore. But I haven't said it out loud until now. Now that I am unemployed, again.

While my former company is making overtures to me about bringing me back when they have the money, the truth is I don't think I should fight to stay here anymore. It's not like after 8 years in this city it will suddenly get better.

So I've made a tentative decision: Get out. Get out while I'm still young and unattached. I'm moving to Boston. To be with family. To finally have seasons. To meet people who are not actors, directors, or screenwriters. To move forward with my life and actually put down roots somewhere and finally grow up.

I have to move fast since I have no way to pay my November rent or bills, and I am doubtful about October's. So there is a very good chance I will be gone from Los Angeles by the end of October. It's very sudden, and I have had only 1 day to seriously think about the weight of this. I'm scared, but the only thing that scares me more is committing to another permanent job in this city and not having the guts leave Los Angeles again. Because I am certain I will not grow old in this city, or even grow middle aged.

The way I see it is this, to make a very silly comparison:

Staying in LA will be like voting for McCain-- following the same stale policies from 8 yrs of Bush. In my case, 8 yrs of Los Angeles. Leaving Los Angeles will be like voting for Obama. it's unknown and unproven, smelling of east coast elitism, but full of hope.

So this is my little announcement of things to come. Maybe I will have one last giant get-together before I go, if I am not too stressed with figuring out how to get all my paintings safely moved cross country.

Monday, September 22, 2008


It's been a busy year of shows and I think I'm done for now. I have no more deadlines planned and unless something unexpected pops up, I'm going to take a break to focus on painting for a few months.

Deadlines are good for initial motivation-- but I'm finding right now that they are getting in the way of me taking the time I need to really explore and take risks with my paintings. In a crunch I will always fall back into my comfort zone or take shortcuts, and I have to start being harder on myself.

And I think having 6-8 shows in a year with new pieces is a bit much. I want to focus on fewer and better quality shows. For now I want to develop some new work and play with new ideas.

I'm thinking of trying a completely different direction and doing some portraits. Portraiture was may first love, and there's a part of me that just wants to capture people. But I may also try some new things in my current direction: new style, color, series. Who knows where I will take it-- but I'm just excited that I don't have any schedule.

In the meantime, I got tons of finished paintings here that need to find walls. Though I assume this is not the best economic environment to sell paintings, but it would be nice to clean house right now and make a truly clean start.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Where the Inspiration Is

I'm in the midst of starting some new pieces, but have been in a bit of a creative funk lately. I've been having a show pretty much ever other month this year, which is great, but has caused alot of disruption in my creative process. I've been using the shows as motivation & deadlines to create new pieces. So I paint madly for a month or so, drop everything off, hang it, go to the opening on next to no sleep... and then promptly pass out for 2 weeks. Then I repeat. So it has been this constant stop and start all year instead of a fluid and steady work flow.

So when it comes to ramping up for another show after a period of sitting in pajamas watching Project Runway reruns while painting my toenails, I have a hard time diving back in and picking up where I left off. I'm working on a piece (or pieces...?) for a small September show and I'm stuck. I rarely get stuck. But it's not that I don't have ideas. It's that I am not fired up, and that is causing some doubt about my direction. I need to feel inspired.

When I need inspiration, I don't go to galleries or art museums.

I try something new or go somewhere I've never gone before. Like the Natural History Museum.

T-Rex Shadow

So there are dinosaur bones that are millions of years old, and I decide take a photo of their shadow. But with the big dinosaur exhibits closed, most of what I saw were displays with contemporary animals, some which were endangered but none were extinct.

Polar Bears

I liked the polar bears, but I don't know if they were really inspiring for paintings. Okay, so what I really wanted to see were woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers and dinosaurs. Where can I see the really really cool old dead things?

I guess they're not at the Natural History Museum. But this was:

Old Oil Derrick

Does this really fit in this museum? I'm not sure. But of all the things I saw, this is the sort of thing that should be extinct.

All in all, it was great to finally see this museum. But it wasn't what I expected, and it didn't get me fired up like I hoped. What I really wanted to see was something that made me contemplate how infinite and old the universe is. Because even though I hate feeling small and insignificant, I feel like much of my inspiration lately comes out of being uneasy or scared of things bigger than me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Changing Gears

Photo: A golden sneaker. Found hanging around at Sunset & Hyperion.

I've been a relaxing a little lately, with one ongoing show and the next show not until September (more on that later....) I've been stretching canvases and hope to start sketching my next large piece. Hopefully I'll be in the full swing of painting by the end of next week. But we'll see. I've not been terribly disciplined lately with my art.

Instead I've been focusing on perfecting bicycle commuting. It takes time to switch from cars to bikes, and it's a gradual learning process. Right now I'm obsessed with it. I don't think I'll go completely car free, but having a car (and car payment, insurance, gas) is getting increasingly silly. It's starting to irk me, maybe I'll have to do something as the biking becomes more natural. I'm down to 1 tank of gas a month now. Which actually isn't that special of an accomplishment since I only went through 2 tanks a month before I started biking. But 50% is good. I'm biking to work 3 days a week now. Eventually I'll work up to 5. I'm still getting used to the exercise, and my commute time is doubled by biking. I get pretty exhausted but I assume that will go away over time (I hope.) When I bike to work, it's 10 miles round trip, plus a bit on the subway. Maybe someday I'll bike the whole way, which would make it 16-20 miles round trip depending on the route. The commute is becoming a routine now. So on top of that I'm picking destinations and trying to get there without a car: Echo park, Hollywood & Highland, Downtown, North Hollywood, Burbank. On my bike I get all my groceries, pick up dry cleaning, go to the hardware store, Target, Arclight, go out to clubs in Hollywood (no more $10 parking!). It's awesome.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I feel like some paintings that I make are blessed. As if the planets aligned and allowed a bit of magic in while I paint. Sometimes I don't know it at the time, some times I do. But when the painting is done, everybody can see the magic on the canvas.

I love paintings like this, and I hate them. I love it when a painting comes out awesome. But I hate it when I try to harness that magic for the next painting. It's not that can always be controlled.

So there's a tendency for some paintings to be more precious than others. And I feel like a precious painting is the enemy of a good artist. It traps them into trying to always recreate or one-up that painting, instead of thinking truly creatively or independently.

Not only do paintings like this trap me creatively, I get emotionally attached to them so I don't want to ever part with them. They are one of a kind and never again to be created. The longer I have them in my space, the higher the attachment and the price tag I would put on them to give them up.

So how do I proceed when I've created such a beautiful monster of a painting? Do I get sell it low & move away from it as quickly as possible for the sake of creativity? Or do I keep it for the sake of emotional attachment?

It's hard not ever being sure what a painting is really worth, and if it even matters at all. If I'm just painting for the love of it, maybe I should just let people name their price. But on the other hand, I've always been the type of painter who would prefer to never let anything go at all. I love covering all my walls with my work and let it stare back at me. If I had the money, I'd probably buy more walls instead of selling pieces.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Memories and Cross Processed Film

I am a bad photographer, waiting so long to develop my film. I always run out of money after buying the film. And then it piles up. Until I have a drawer of unprocessed rolls.

But I'm trying to work my way through it bit by bit. This is from a couple rolls that I cross processed. It was risky shooting in and around Paris with experimental photo processes, but I didn't want to take tourist photos, even if I had no clue what sort of image I would end up with. This was my 1st time trying cross processing so I really had no idea what to expect. I was told Fuji RXP would have an ethereal greenish haunting glow. And that Kodak E100VS would have super saturated colors.

Well, the Fuji RXP is awesome. It's kind of what a memory would look like, if it could be photographed. Fuzzy and kind of green. That's what you see above used to photograph Marie Antoinette's fake peasant village she used to play in with her friends. There are more pix over on flickr. It was very chilly an cloudy when I was there so there was no direct light. I generally hate photographing when there is no sun, I like waiting for the light to fall on a certain thing in a certain way and create images with alot of contrast. But I actually think the cloudy sky worked for me in these images, because everything came out a soft green. It has a very haunting quality. I don't know how sunlight would have affecting things, it may have given an entirely different feel to the photos. Maybe (when I have more money) I will shoot some more X-proccessed Fuji RXP.

The Kodak E100VS was not what I expected. It was very strange. I guess when I was told it would be very saturated, I pictured something like one gets pushing the exposure (or is it pulling, I always get the two confused.) But this came out looking like a child had played with all the filters in Photoshop. Here's an example (I did tone down the color a bit in Photoshop so it didn't hurt my eyes so much):

Many places where there was bright color just came out flat and two dimensional without much gradation. Plus it didn't help that many of the photos were blurry, no doubt a result of my inexperience with a Holga, and my tendency to be shy about taking photos of people on the street. I tend to rush and try to sneak photos unnoticed but that causes camera blur. I am much better at sitting with someone taking a few pictures as we chat. I think the difference is someone who gives me permission to shoot them and someone I have to sneak up on. I'll never be a good photographer of street scenes like I would love to be.

But for now, now that my latest art show is getting hung as I type this and I no longer have an imminent deadline for my painting, I think I will go back to photography for a bit. I need a change of pace.

Though it may not be for long because I already have my next show lined up for September. And I already have some paintings in the back of my head waiting to be brought into existence.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

6hrs in Chicago

If I could get back all the time I spent in waiting rooms, lines, jury duty, the DMV, cafes, subways, and stranded in between things to do. I would probably have 2 more years worth of life to do other things. But I would also have significantly fewer sketches like this.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We are


With barely enough shade

To cover our faces.

Friday, June 13, 2008

From Copenhagen to Los Angeles

(image by me of a woman biking in Vienna outside the Hofburg)

Okay, today I'm not blogging about art.... it's bicycles instead.

I've been cheating on LA and starting to read some European biking blogs (, Ever since I accidentally stepped into a Vienna bike path and was nearly hit by 30 bicycles coming straight at me, it was true love. So when it came to choosing a bike for myself (something I've been wanting to do for a couple years and not having the cash or the guts to bike alongside cars) I thought maybe I'd want a European looking bike since that is what first inspired me. And because to me, spandex and aerodynamic looking helmets are not sexy to me. I don't want to look like that. I had to do it my own way. Which is slow. And by slow, I mean dressed nice, casually cycling over to Figaro for a pain au chocolat or to Trader Joes for fresh mozzarella and avocados. To me this is how life should be lived. Slow and casual with plenty of small pleasures and sites to see. I've been biking to work and while it's changed my commute time from 20 minutes to 60, I am out in the sun meeting people, stopping for a casual muffin, and developing legs of steel. I know to some it sounds ridiculous to triple my commute. But so far I eat better, sleep better, feel better, avoid traffic & parking & gas, and feel more intimately acquainted with things around me. So when I read about the Slow Bike movement on, I decided I had to bring the concept to LA.

(image via

And why not? People in Los Angeles are all about style. We can just shift that from driving in Mercedes to cycling around on a Velorbis bicycle. Or for those who can't go all out and have a bike shipped sight unseen, to to Metropolis and they'll hook you up with an Electra
bike (get the Amsterdam model!) So I want to encourage all you Los Angeles girls out there to get dressed up and get the ultimate accessory, a bicycle. Let the boys can have their spandex, and we don't need to give up our heels. We'll be green in our own stylish way.

Also, just a note for the fearful: it's not that scary to bike on the street. I just take less busy roads or suburban streets or walk my bike across the supremely busy intersections. You don't need to dart in and out of traffic, fighting with cars to get in the left turn lane. Just take a deep breath, relax, go sloooow. If you get there 10 minutes later, who really cares. It's 10 minutes more of sunshine and freedom.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Making the best of Jury Duty

I recently had the pleasure of getting Jury Duty. So I tried to make the best of getting stuck in a room for 8 or 9 hours with complete strangers. It was so cramped, it was hard to discreetly draw people let alone move around and get a good angle on the real interesting faces. Yep, you see real interesting faces of all different types when you got Jury Duty. And they're all holding still for the most part. I didn't do much drawing until the end of the day when it was looking less likely I would be put on a jury. And the crowd had thinned out a bit by then. I think I missed some of the really interesting subjects, but I pretty much will draw whoever sits in front of me.

This first guy [below] had a real leathery face and the most amazing wrinkly eyes. He was also pursing his lips in a weird way that I couldn't capture. Before I could make a second attempt, he was gone.

Man leaning

This man had a very thick mustache that was baffling to me. It nearly hid his mouth. And the center parted hair made his face overly symmetrical I think, which I kind of liked. It was long on top and short on the side and elongated his face a bit. I was tempted to draw a caricature of him but resisted as best I could.

Man with a mustache

This woman had a very elegant profile and luckily held still long enough for me to capture it. There was something classical about it. I'm always glad when I find a face that lends itself to nice lines, it's rare when you're drawing from people sitting around.

Woman in profile

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Gesso vs. Oil Ground

Oil priming is the way to go. It is more messy & smelly, but the surface is a million times better. It has a smoothness and shine that just takes paint beautifully. While acrylic gesso has a rubbery plastic feel, and absorbs oil paint in a way that is not as graceful. However it is cheaper and faster and much less smelly.

I'm painting on gesso this week, mainly because I realized it is more cost efficient for the price I'm selling my paintings at right now. It doesn't make sense to put $$$$ into my paintings (plus much more labor), when I only get $ in return. I am only doing this on tiny paintings, and I feel guilty for it because I want to use the best materials possible. But I only have so much money to pour into my art right now, and until I start more money flowing in I think I have to cut some corners and compromise a little so I can pay my rent.

But I'm realizing I really really don't like gesso surfaces for oil. (For Acrylic it's fine, but I only used acrylic with mixed media because it doesn't eat away at cloth/paper the way oil does.) To me, using acrylic is like shooting video instead of film. It just doesn't have the softness that oil does.

I was reading this book the other day called Chemistry & Artist colors. Most of it is way over my head, but I did start to get a hint of understanding of the molecular constitution of oil paint and how it changes as it dries. It was very interesting. I'm curious to know about the make-up of acrylics. I'll have to keep reading that book. But it's slow going with all the symbols of molecules and how they interact with other molecules. I have to reread sections quite a bit.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Here's round up of what I've been up to lately:

Currently on view are some of my small pieces in “Persons of Interest” at Art Slave Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. The show is up indefinitely, I’m guessing for another month or so. Visit Art Slave Gallery for more info.

Starting in early July, I will be a part of a group show called “Diverted Destruction” at The Loft at Liz’s on La Brea in Los Angeles. More specific details on this coming soon. This will be a really great show, so please come see it if you can!

New today is an interview with me on Spraygraphic.

I’ve posted a new painting on my website, go to to view it.

Lastly, I am in the process of making framed prints and other things available at I have a few things available there now, and much more on the way, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sleep Never

I'm behind and haven't been posting due to weeks of travel, a bad cold, and another show (which will be up for a bit if you're interested.)

One of the things I wanted to start doing was to start taking pictures of interesting things that catch my eye, and posting them. I've been itching to do this for a while because there are always things I want to capture and often it's not possible to sketch or anything. And sometimes a photo is really the thing that is needed. I bought a small little camera that fits in my bag for this purpose.

I thought it might be interesting to see what I'm compelled to photograph. It's definitely something that will come together over time. Some days I don't even touch the camera. Others, I go crazy. Anyway, since I'm behind on this, I'm going to post several today, in the order I took them....

"Sleep Never"




My bike

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Website Updated with New Paintings!

I've put 6 new 2008 paintings on my website (as well as my flickr site.)

Take a look!

I reordered the paintings on my website so not all the new one's come up right away.

A new website is coming soon, it's in the design phase and hopefully it will be done in a month or so depending on how busy things are. I want to have something with more involved navigation and paintings separated into different series by theme-- now that the number of paintings is climbing.

And don't forget the Cannibal Flower show this upcoming Saturday. I'll have a piece in it, probably an even newer one ...if it gets finished in time.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Paper Craving

Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
I suddenly am craving working on paper. Not in the doodling in a sketchbook kind of way. Something more ambitious. I'm always more experimental with paper and mixed media as this image shows. Though part of it might be that I'm not trying to be ambitious when I do stuff like this. Though generally stuff like this comes out when I'm working through some sort of stress. I tend to not produce it except under the right circumstances since it is more art therapy than anything else. It's more personal and expressive, and feels much more primitive I guess. Maybe I mean instinctual. Like the art equivalent of sucking my thumb. When I'm in a good mood and I try to reproduce this sort of thing I usually come up with nothing. This piece was done at a time when I was particularly stressed about a money situation, so stressed that I had a bad stomach ache for a month. Eventually I dealt with the situation and the stomachache and these pieces about ulcers went way.

But there is something freeing about making stuff like this. Generally I am no good at expressionist or abstract or non-observational art. I am mostly inspired by things I see. If that's taken away, then I'm just swirling colors around like a kid and I have a hard time figuring out where to put the blue and the green and the red and what it will all add up to in the end. I need to have a concept or idea, which I generally always get from things I see around me. Drawings like the one above come from out of my head which I am more suspicious of. I don't know if they hold up well and they usually seem kind of trivial. And then there's the fact that I don't produce them consistently. Maybe if I did more stuff like this they would develop and grow. In school I would do things like this and art professors would always push me away from it, as if it wasn't worth my time. I suppose it is insecure territory. But still there are moments where it is incredibly satisfying to do stuff like this.

Perhaps it is because of the rigid painting schedule I have been in the last couple of months. But I want to make messy pictures of nothing on paper.

So tired. So happy.

I can't be someone who's always on, always going going going... which has been proven by the last 2 months of mad furious productivity... and then the inevitable energy crash that came yesterday. I was so tired I was physically shaking for a good part of the day. Some good tea helped to steady me.

I told myself I would keep going strong, I've been painting so much and I have soooo many new ideas but I need a break to sleep and eat better for a while. And maybe exercise. (I'm buying a bike and going to bike to work!)

I think I'm going to read a book for a change of pace. Another thing that went by the wayside. "The Night Watch." And I joined a book group. Another change of pace, and one of my new years resolutions. And I'll go see some live music again (Hello Avett Brothers!) And I'm going camping too, and it will be the first time since I was 12 surprisingly (well not counting setting up the time I slept in a tent in my backyard in high school.) OH AND THEN THERE'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING-- I'M GOING TO PARIS IN APRIL, A MONTH FROM NOW! I'll be eating tons of pastry and looking at my most favorite paintings in the world and doing a series of artsy photos hopefully for a future show.

I'm really looking forward to all of this. I love my life, even when I'm grumpy and hungry and tired like right now.

Lastly, if you live in LA (or surrounding areas) come to my show this Saturday!

Monday, February 25, 2008

High on fumes.

I just painted straight through the weekend only stopping long enough to go to an art opening for few hours Saturday night. I didn't even watch the Academy Awards which is a first for me, well a first in a long long time (since 1991 at least... when I didn't have TV.) I made immense progress though not everything is quite finished, probably 80% finished. But it's good since Friday I was at 20% or less and very much freaking out. I tend to bite off more than I can chew. If I'm required to paint 1 new painting for a show, I paint 8. I already have more work than I could ever put in one show, but I like to always have new cool things to show. And I like to look like I work hard and make consistent work, not that anybody really keeps track besides me.

What I like about painting at such a maddening pace is that I tend to learn massive amounts overnight, and that ideas flow more easily. What I hate about it is that there's that inevitable crash that comes after the show or after 7 too many late nights. Then I go into lazy mode (TV, eating tons of dessert, reading crap on the internet) which is hard to get out of once I fall into a routine. I'm going to try not to let that happen after the show, because I have way too much taking off creatively. But sometimes it's unavoidable, just because there's no more deadline and the motivation fades away.

So I'm working on 8 (holy shit!) new paintings for this show. I just counted them in my head now. And I got more ideas too, that I probably won't get to unless I start taking drugs to keep me working all night too. I'm really I hope I sell a bit, just because I think I officially killed all my brushes this weekend. And I'll be out of pretty much every earth tone as well as cadmium orange and Williamsburg's Sevres blue (BEST COLOR EVER!) And I'm getting short on storage for paintings real fast.

I've been listening to a bunch of Bob Dylan while painting, it's the mood I'm in, and I think it's getting into the paintings. I wanted to call one of my pieces "Bob Dylan's Dream" but then I decided it was lame. Especially because I'm only now discovering Dylan and everybody else on the planet knows his music so much better than I, and he's been referenced so many times already. But yeah, I've somehow gone nearly 3 decades never having really listened to any of his music except what I've heard on the radio in passing. But I get it now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Upcoming Show!

I have another show coming up in March. It's with Create:Fixate which puts on several shows a year which only last a single day. But they get massive amounts of people coming through and they're pretty well known. I have friends who don't like to do 1-day shows, but for me it seems that right now I just need to get as much exposure as possible, and that I can't turn down any opportunity to show. I'm hoping that shows like this might lead to other opportunities down the road. And more people see my work in 1 day of these shows than in 1 year if it just stays in my apartment.

The show is called "Transformation" and it explores "the topics of transformation in relation to human consciousness, energy, technology, creative expression the transformation of our environment in terms of climate-change, and how it affects our daily lives." So it's an environmental themed show, which is awesome.

I'm really excited for this show, and I've been working pretty hard on some new stuff to go in it. I decided I'm not going to post any images or detailed descriptions of what I'm working on until after the show-- so everybody will have to come out and see it in person. It's going to be a busy few weeks, and I may not blog much for a while because I want to put all my time into painting. I know I'm busy and focused when I don't even bother to make plans with friends on Saturday night. Seriously, I painted until 11 last night. Then I had dinner.

Right now I'm a little frustrated with one of my paintings so I thought I'd take a break. The canvas I made is not my best, and I don't know how it got so sloppy but sometimes it happens. I didn't stretch it tight enough-- but it seemed fine up until now. I don't know if I was tired when I stretched it or assumed it was tight enough when it was done and just kept going instead of redoing it.... But it's kind of crappy and I don't really know what I can do to fix it at this late point. I'm starting to wonder if it might be worth it to buy my stretcher bars from now on, instead of build them. Because the professionally made bars have ways you can tighten them later. But mine are dumb poor-man's stretchers. So this whole debacle is making me kind of depressed, and it's too late to re-do the canvas because it would take another few weeks I don't have. So I'm gonna make do and maybe turn to my Artist Handbook and see if there is any guidance. Or I'll just keep going and maybe later (after the show?) I can restretch it, which I hate to do and it may be even more frustrating for me. But I'll have to do something.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tiny paintings soooo far...

Here's my painting results from a crazy couple of days of tough going. This is 8x10, and I like the execution of it, but I don't like the content. This was something I just started and finished kind of spur of the moment and very quickly. Somehow I fell into a groove and got comfortable with the paint after several days of being at odds with everything. But this is probably still more of a learning experience than a complete success. The painting below is the one that was giving me headaches galore:

I'm not sure if it's done or if it's any good. It feels overworked right now, and I think if I kept poking at it I would just scrub it out and start over. The face is bothering me... so maybe I'll play with it or change it. I think I'll put it away for a while and turn to something else. Either way, for the next few days I think I need to take a break (and watch a little Project Runway, do laundry, make curry) because between stressful paintings and a stressful day job and photo shoot coming up Sunday I'm a little worried about-- I'm already worn out. It's Wednesday and I've probably already put in over 40 hours labor counting everything.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Painting tiny paintings.

I'm painting a couple 8x10's right now because some of the shows I've been doing sell smaller pieces pretty quickly. So I thought it would be smart thing to do, have a few small things on hand. But I've realized I hate it, it's so restricting. I feel like I'm trying to climb into a cupboard. My brush strokes get stale and overworked, and the painting dies a long laborious death. Sometimes I have better days, but not very often. I also thought the small paintings would go quickly, but it seems they take just as much time as the giant ones. It feels like progress is taking ages and I am just aching to work canvases that I can throw my whole self into, with big strokes and gestures. And less a feeling of preciousness of detail. We'll see, I'm working on them a few more days until I finish up prepping some large canvases for a series of paintings I have in mind. Though even the canvas prepping is feeling like forever. I just want to spend 80 hours a week painting, I never have enough time. Though even at 80 hours I would probably want twice that. The more time I paint, the more time I need to spend painting.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Too much to see, too much to do... I'll paint instead.

I didn't see the Dali exhibit, and probably won't get around to Murakami at MOCA. These giant super-exhibits never seem to impress me. I did like the Hockney one at LACMA though, and kind of liked the Magritte-- it made me respect him (which was hard because for 4 yrs during college I worked in a museum gift shop and I lost interest in any artist/artwork sold on mousepads.)

But I did to go to the Harvard art museums and the MFA in Boston over the holidays, and that was magical. I had the idea to see all the works by John Singer Sargent in Boston, but then totally forgot about the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum's El Jaleo which is probably the most impressive Sargent there (well, that and The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, which is my personal favorite.) The good news was that the MFA Sargent's are back on display (apparently construction of the new addition made them inaccessible earlier in the year.) The bad news is that I never made it across the street to the ISGM to see El Jaleo, and instead wandered down to Faneuil Hall to get fresh chocolate chip cookies and watch break dancers.

But after seeing the Sargent's and their very fresh lively use of paint, I couldn't be bothered to see the Dali exhibit. I find his paintings kind of drab and dead. I'm not a fan of surrealism, which is maybe odd because I've been painting surrealistically lately. But I really dislike it. And everybody asks me "Did you see the Magritte exhibit?" or "Are you going to Dali?" and I feel like a traitor. But when I explain to them the difference between what I'm doing versus the official surrealist movement, people's eyes glaze over. But after seeing the Magritte show, I was even more convinced I am not Surrealist (with a capital 'S'.) Surrealists are interested in the subconscious and dreams. Their movement corresponded with Freud's own work on dreams and the subconscious, though it had not been translated into French at the time-- the Surrealists just happened to be intrigued by the same ideas. Stuff like this is very intriguing to me, people exploring the same ideas in two countries unknown to each other. (The filmmaker Kieslowski was also intrigued by this, watch the extra features on "Blue"... and see is films, it is a recurring idea.) But I am not exploring the subconscious or dreams with my paintings. I think of it in a more literary way. I used to call it magical realism, and for a while I called them metaphor paintings, but still those terms don't seem right.

Most of my paintings are exploring issues and ideas that I see around me, in the media, in everyday life, and in my head. They are more collages and juxtapositions of real life things than anything else. More than anything else, they are about environmental issues, mainly because I'm completely scared shitless about this stuff and I am working it out in my head and it comes out in my paintings. I'm not trying to make "message" paintings, and want to keep away from that completely. But I want to let the confusion, frustration, and fear seep into the paintings.

This is probably why many of the paintings have figures with their backs to the viewers, it gives the painting a point of view so the viewer knows they are observing something instead of being lectured about something. I also think having a figure's back to the viewer will pull him in, because there is that natural instinct to want to see someone's face. I like to deny that to the viewer. I think it creates a tension, and also makes the viewer see the rest of the painting differently-- because then they are seeing what the figure in the painting is seeing. And they relate to the figure. Also I like the idea of viewing things through innocent eyes, which is why these days children are appearing in my paintings. (Many of which are in process and not posted anywhere yet, sorry.) It's like the book To Kill a Mockingbird-- it's about a controversial subject but because it's seen through the eyes of children there's more of an honesty and straightforwardness about it.

I'm rambling a bit today, and my thoughts are going million miles an hour. I've been working like crazy since the new year building new canvases and starting new paintings. Hopefully more coherent posts will follow, as well as pictures. And maybe I'll have a new *show* to announce soon, I've been working on that as well....