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