Friday, October 02, 2009

Birds Over a Cornfield

Birds (Over a Cornfield)

This is my latest drawing done with charcoal, pastel and collage. It is 3 ft high & 4ft wide-- because I love big right now. It feels like you can almost walk into the drawing. It is a view of an area in Carlisle MA that I bike past-- one day I saw a flock of birds flying just over the top of the corn, circling around playfully. I tried to take pictures of the birds, but they were too quick. I think the birds I originally saw are chimney swifts-- but I'm not sure-- they wouldn't hold still so I am only judging by their general shape. The birds I put in aren't really swifts-- could not find good reference for a flock of swifts. But I thought larger birds would work better visually.

Here are details of the figure and house:

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the birds are actually cut outs that I hand painted in acrylic for added texture. I shaded them lightly around the cut outs to give the appearance of shadow/movement so they stand out a little more. I think I will do more with collaged elements in future drawings, but subtly. I don't want to get carried away because ultimately I just love drawing itself without boundaries. I am in love with charcoal and found the process of collaging the birds here very boring-- but I like the finished effect.

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

More will come soon, I am behind in posting my work and am still churning out more things daily. The big drawings go especially fast and I love the immediate gratification-- so I am aiming to do one a week-- and I can still get quite a bit of painting done since the energy of drawing is carried into my painting. This new way of working is turning out to be very fluid and natural and I don't have as many "bad" art days.

I've also found that reading in my studio just before I paint is a great way to slow my mind down and get into a more patient creative mood. If I come rushing in fresh from doing emails and errands I am more likely to be flustered and lazy in my approach-- so reading adds a good buffer period. Plus I learn interesting things.

Currently I am reading a biography of Emerson (by Robert D. Richardson Jr.) and it is fascinating. I am determined to actually read some of Emerson's essays for the first time. I have always had difficulty with philosophy (I could read biography forever) but this particular biography is a great introduction and background to what I would like to ultimately understand. Currently I am at the portion where Emerson is writing "Nature." I really want to read it now-- the attention the biography gives it has set my mind to thinking-- especially when juxtaposed to what I am currently working on with art. I wrote a new artist statement yesterday, and it is already out of date after reading just a few short paragraphs of "Emerson: Mind on Fire" last night.

This is where my sister would roll my eyes and tell me I'm a nerd. But I would just remind her about her own bubbly excitement when discussing vascular dementia. (She's a doctor.) Runs in the family.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Past and the Future

...My latest big drawing, probably my last one for a little bit because I am going to focus more on painting. I forgot the exact dimensions of this one-- I'm guessing it is about 3ft x 2 feet. Done with charcoal & acrylic gesso on rag paper. Another one with a mysterious meaning-- I don't like things to be clear. But the setting is on a cliff (Big Sur) overlooking the Pacific with one woman looking west, and one looking east. That is why I named it The Past and the Future-- sort of a bundle of themes running in my work these days-- geography, place in time, moodiness.... Pretty much autobiographical. I'm waiting for the kind people who pose for me to catch on that I am doing self portraits even though my image is not literally in the paintings. And I always want to turn things into "scenes" like stills from some bizarre movie. Perhaps that's whey I'll never be a straight portrait artist.

The Past and the Future

Here are some details:

The Past and the Future - detail

The Past and the Future - detail

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Bit Homesick

Untitled at the Moment

A new drawing, approximately 36x36 inches. I am still thinking up a title. The view is Runyon Canyon, Los Angeles. Drawing this made me homesick for LA-- it didn't help that I was listening Aimee Mann Bachelor No. 2-- music I associate with moving to LA. I am not sure what this drawing is a about-- for me the interest is the contrast of the two figures and the way the shadow falls, and the way the figure on the right's head is cropped off. There's no narrative for it, I just wanted to capture a certain conflicted feeling.

If I turn this into a painting I may crop this so it is more vertical. On a whim I added more BG on both sides in the drawing but I think it weakens the composition.

Here is a detail:

Untitled at the Moment

I have another drawing I am working on-- will post that later. Then I need more paper as I already burned through 5 yds of (somewhat) pricey rag paper. But I also need to do some oil painting and finish some of my in process pieces. I think I have a new perspective on my paintings after spending a while working with charcoal. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Big Big Drawings!

The Birds Will Be the First to Die - informational sketch

This is called "The Birds Will be the First to Die." I did a version of this idea a year (or more?) ago that is on my website. I don't like that version. I thought of fixing that painting but eventually decided to move on. However, living in a world where there are trees, I unexpectedly found I was able to solve my previous painting issue. I was able to get a wonderful model in an actual tree in the exact pose I wanted. Amazing what that does. I didn't have to "invent" anything which helps to make things work in an effortless way. I wasn't sure if I was going to actually turn this into a painting until I did the drawing, now I think that it has to be done. Here is a detail:

The Birds Will Be the First to Die - informational sketch detail

This was done with charcoal, black/gray/white pastel, black/white Conte crayon, pencil & acrylic gesso. It is definitely darker and moodier than the painting will be-- but I sort of like what happened so maybe that will creep in after all.

This painting was based on a brief report I heard about how bird populations in the North East are declining and it is a harbinger of what is to come for us non-birds. Birds are more vulnerable to environmental shifts, kind of a Canary-in-a-coalmine thing. I couldn't watch the full report because it scared the shit out of me. Instead I make paintings of reports like this, it keeps me sane.

Back on the Two Coasts painting, I have continued to work on it but went and did a study to work out the foliage detail. I need to simplify it and shape it a little more so it isn't a chaotic mess. Here it is:

Two Coasts - full scale study

I think I am going to put leaves framing the painting in the upper right & left hand corners. I thought I would test the idea in the drawing first. I'm still trying to find the right type of oak leaves to put in the upper right side-- some that are more curved than pointy. I went for a bike ride this week and could only find angular oak leaves. I saw some curvy oak leaves framing a scene in a Titian painting and I want to copy/steal/reference them... but now I can't figure out which painting I am remembering them being in. Aaaaahhhhh! But I bought the catalog for the Titian/Tintoretto/Veronese exhibit so I can refer back to the paintings and hopefully find it.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Current Paintings in Process...

I've been working on some more ambitious paintings lately. I thought that I would be further along than I am. Perhaps it is a lack of deadlines, or that I am bogged down by real life distractions (like trying to scrounge up some sort of income.) I think I actually paint more when I am employed full time. I know this is why I could never be a freelancer or small business owner-- I don't function with unpredictable schedules or high demand projects that compete for my attention. Initially I was going to start 5 large paintings, but now I'm focusing on 2 large paintings and 2 small. I'll probably start another large painting soon but after I get a handle on what I have already started.

My paintings are much more involved these days because I am making more detailed paintings and getting away from what I had been doing in the last few years (which had started to feel a bit formulaic.) I have been collecting and putting together my own reference images, often getting upwards of 30 images per painting, and 50+ layers in Photoshop as I collage them together. My themes are moving away from a desert feel and towards a distinct New England feel. That means there are more trees, and I struggle with trees.

I am also working to incorporate more figures/portraits. It is something I have always wanted to focus on more but somehow I moved away from it. Now I feel like I am learning how to paint faces all over again-- a bit rusty. I would love to paint figures like John Singer Sargent-- but I do not have the facility right now. I have this feeling that I will need to get a bunch of small canvases and do a portrait every day for a month for the purpose of practice and study. For now I started 2 small portraits with some promise of sucess-- but they are still overworked and not completely fresh and bold. I am not sure if they are done, but here are some images (not the greatest photos, but they'll do... until I finish the paintings.)

portrait - in process

portrait - in process

I think I need to do more of these, and I actually want to work on bigger canvases as I practice portraits. The close cropping puts more emphasis on composition and I would prefer to focus on the flesh itself without any needless restrictions.

Here is one of my large paintings in progress. I basically have the elements blocked out and am still moving things around and changing colors. I'm still a few stages away from doing fine details, and most of the color is brighter than it will be at the finish:

Two Coasts - in process

This pieces is called "Two Coasts" and is auto-biographical. Los Angeles is portrayed on the left side and Boston is on the right side. I want each side to feel like different worlds with different light-- and I'm still figuring out the balance so that it works together. It is 3x4 feet. Here are some close ups after I started working on the details of the figures. I blocked of portions of the painting in order to focus in on figures more (and not be tempted to keep messing with the background before solving issues I was avoiding....)

Two Coasts - in process

Two Coasts - in process

This is my other big one that is in process, "In a Forest in a Desert." It has a similar theme, with Southwestern mountains and deserts knit with east coast forests:

In the Forest in the Desert - in process

In the Forest in the Desert - in process

I am hoping to finish these pieces this month and move on to some new painting ideas. I am in the process of making preparatory studies for some new pieces, trying to work them out before I get too deep into them. Meanwhile I am hurriedly trying to squeeze in as many visits to the Titian, Tintoretto & Veronese exhibit at the MFA before it goes away-- it is the best exhibit I have seen! I went for the 2nd time yesterday and bought the catalog. I'm hoping to go a couple more times in the next week or so now that I have started reading the catalog and have more background information. Plus reproductions never hold a candle to the real things which I won't see again side by side like this.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Plot to Take Over the World (With Art)

I haven't written in a while, but with good cause-- I've been in the studio working and not at a computer more than necessary. (My studio is internet free, which is kind of nice to be dis-connected and the old-fashioned type of "wireless" for most of the day.)

My open studio went very well and I made some cash. I then purchased a large quantity of art supplies for my upcoming paintings-- enough for 12 large scale paintings. I have been building and prepping canvases-- which I do in bulk all at once because I HATE IT. Really. Messy, time consuming, and at the end of the day I usually am sore as hell from pulling and yanking canvas tight or kneeling on the floor spreading oil ground. I prepare my canvases very meticulously because it is the base of everything and I cannot change it later so I must get it right from the start.

I don't like pre-prepared canvases. Why?

1. Gesso is crappy
2. They are not stretched well and usually have ripples
3. They are not archival
4. They are supremely expensive

I will use them occasionally for sketches, but only small canvases.

When I make my own canvases I:

1. Have control of the materials (deep stretchers, heavy canvas, sizing, oil ground)
2. Save money (I spent $300 for 12 canvases prepped to my needs whereas 12 pre-made canvases of the same size pre-prepped with non-archival gesso would cost over a grand.)
3. Don't have canvases that look machine made.

The only downside to making my own canvases is that it takes weeks and weeks (allowing for labor, drying time between stages.) I am a very fast and prolific artist generally-- and the canvas prepping is what slows me down. I would probably do double or triple the large scale paintings if I didn't have to spend a month here and there wrapped up in canvas prep.

I have been thinking lately how I could work around this. I didn't have as much issue with it before with a day job. But when I prep canvases I put in 4-8 hr days in the studio, so theoretically I could work on other paintings simultaneously. Obstacles to that are:

1. With all my prepped canvases in my studio space leaning against walls and furniture, there is no room left to just paint.
2. I would need canvases that are already ready to work on-- and I run short on these quickly.
3. Sometimes I have to bribe myself to use smelly oil ground which means I put in 4-6 hours on a coat and then go to the movies as a reward.

But I have accepted that I am just prepping paintings at this point and I am rolling with it. Currently I am waiting for my last coat the dry on my canvases. I was only able to prep 5 to start with, due to space limitations. I am switching to another studio space in the same building that will help mildly with this issue, and I am glad I have 2 easels now so I can keep multiple projects going to keep up with my energy.

I won't be able to paint on these canvases until a week from tomorrow, allowing for the recommended drying time of the ground. So in the meantime I am planning my giant paintings. I took a day off from the studio on Monday and went to the Titian/Tintoretto/Veronese Venice exhibit at the MFA and I was BLOWN AWAY. I will definitely going back a couple times to fully absorb it. But I took many ideas from that show and I am busily incorporating it into my next series. I sketch all my paintings in photoshop to start with-- using photos and the brush tool (with my new Wacom Tablet.) Lately my photoshop sketches have gotten more complex-- probably compositing 10-30 images per piece. I have been taking most of my own photos and since I have more free time-- I have been traveling around the Boston area to take pictures of elements I need.

Also in the meantime, I have started some small portraits. They are experimental and I don't know how they will turn out. I am playing with multiple angles and making a double-exposure or look of movement.

Also I am trying to work on my portrait painting skills. I am good at painting figures-- but when it comes to portraits I think I have actually regressed and now I am not as good at capturing the essence of a face. It will look like a face-- just not the one I am working from. Since it is the face that initially compelled me to draw-- I am returning to that. I am also better at drawing than painting (when it comes to portraiture) so I want to work on my technique and get more comfortable. I am thinking I should do some quick sketches (on canvas board or something cheap and quick) to help me loosen up and not be so precious and stiff.

These are images of portraits taht are in progress. This is just the initial pass with the basic composition and outline of the image. After this I will start filling in the form and the color and hope it comes together. I've already wiped out both of these 4 times and started over.

Anyway, the whole point of all this work on canvases and portraits is that I have decided I will make this my most productive art year. I want to have a solid body of new work by December-- I'm already excited about how new surroundings and situation is giving me tons of inspiration.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Open Studio!

I'm having a modest open studio on May 2-3, 12-6pm each day. This coincides with the Somerville Open Studios (that's in Massachusetts) that are taking place. I will have some small pieces on view and for purchase. While I am not officially part of the Somerville Open Studios, if you're in the area stop on by. Email me for the specific address: (you know, to keep the stalkers to a minimum.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Clouds... sunset. In Los Angeles, usually the orange in the sky was photochemical smog. And natural non-pollution clouds are rare. Here there is an endless parade of beautiful cloud formations. Just one hour of cloud watching got me these:

They almost look like lava. The color was not photoshopped, these are all straight from my camera.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Sketching, gessoing, painting, productivity!

Having no full time job I am being too productive with art. I haven't had this luxury since 1999 when I participated in the Yale Summer Program at Norfolk. (Although I am getting up later in the day because unlike Norfolk-- I don't have a person making me pancakes for breakfast at 7am. So there is no food encouragement to wake up on time.) I've started 4 new paintings which are well underway-- but I'm waiting for them to dry a little before I continue. If I had a full time job I wouldn't notice this "waiting" between passes on paintings-- it just would happen naturally. But now, in order to keep moving forward, I find that I must always have canvas and panels ready to start on. Which means my appetite for new canvases is much larger than normal. I am starting to rethink the number or ambition of my paintings. Sometimes I get impatient and rush through prepping a painting (this makes more sense when I have limited time to work.) But I have endless hours now-- so why not find models, go to drawing workshops, take photos, drive around looking for locations? Why not make giant complex canvases full of 20 figures on horseback suspended in battle? I have the time.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Another "Shortcut"

Here is the next installment in my tiny abstract painting series. I've been playing with this idea for only a month and already I am getting restless to go back to painting people. I know when I finish this series I will do exactly that-- my goal however is to approach it differently both in the painting process and in the idea.

There are several things that I am thinking about in the overall scope of my paintings. I am not sure if I want to keep painting "surreal"-- however I don't want to paint straightforward scenes. I don't know exactly what I'm chasing after but I know that I want to move away from anything remotely pop surrealist and hope that people will also stop asking me if I like Dali. (I hate Dali. Hate hate hate.) These aren't the reasons for changing things up-- but after working in Advertising Illustration for years and now being unemployed (due to the recent crash of the ad industry) I am getting perspective and realizing that advertising & illustration had a pretty large influence on my work. But I want to deconstruct that somehow.

Secondly, I want to challenge myself with the paint itself. With color choices, application, tools & marks. I want to play with peripheral vision, shifting light, movement, unity of time and place. Some of these things are ideas I've touched on before or have been inspired by art I have seen.

One of the most inspiring pieces of art I saw recently was the Scenes from the Tale of Genji Screen (1677) at the Gardner Museum in the Journeys East exhibition (until May 31.) There is no good image of the screen online and photography was not allowed in the museum so I don't have one to share. (You can google it and get similar Tale of Genji images.) But the screen had a series of buildings with gold clouds separating them. And you could see what was happening inside the buildings from almost an omniscient point of view. What I was drawn to was the lack of unity of time & place-- and the ellipsis of space.

Another inspiration is from a (Early Christian?) painting that illustrated a bible story and had the main figure repeated along a path to show a journey. (This is another image I've never been able to find because I saw it so long ago and forgot the details.) But this is another idea I've had in the back of my head for a while and have wanted to play with.

As for painting inspiration-- I have been making a list of some contemporary painters who's work I love (and am very jealous of.) The list so far:

Frank Ryan (you can view some of his work here and here) The pieces I loved most cannot be found online (why don't great artists these days have websites?!) but were shown at the Walter Maciel Gallery. What I liked most was the application of paint and how one could see how the painting evolved as he worked it. There would be figures that were added or taken out-- and it was imperfectly done so it had feeling of transience. The lack of preciseness was brilliant-- and it made me realize that I have a tendency to get too exact when I paint. Often the early stages of a painting are the best and I'm trying to learn when to stop touching things that already work. More importantly-- I'm trying to get the right mix of precision and looseness (such as a face being precise and the body/background being loose so it lends a sort of "focus" to the piece instead of an all-over equal focus that I do with my recent paintings.

Kent Williams (view his work here and more deliciousness here)is a master of directing focus in his portraits. I love the messy loose sections mixed with the glowing flesh of figures and commanding faces. I love the feeling of the paint in his work too and how it seems to be in motion. I would like to show more of my own hand in my paintings-- right now they feel somewhat static. But once again my work is often loose and gestural in the beginning but it gets hidden as I continue working.

Matt Bollinger (another artist with no official website but his work can be seen mainly on his blog here, you'll have to browse to find paintings) is my most recent discovery and I haven't seen his work in person-- but I know it can only be even better off the internet. What I love about his work is the color, the paint application & textures, and the compositions. I have a tendency to be too literal when it comes to painting figures and so when I see work like his I am immediately drawn to it because it has much more atmosphere than painting the same old sky is blue/trees are green/skin is pink way. Seeing work like his makes me confident that messing around with abstract pieces for a little while will be good for me and will get me out of my old color routine. Not that my color was bad before-- but for me it was becoming like a recipe I know by heart.

Also Frank Ryan and Matt Bollinger both paint from video which has been intriguing me as well (being a filmmaker myself.) This is something I will definitely play with since I love the element of time that a still photo does not have.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New painting "The Shortcut"

Here is another tiny painting sketch (3x3) that I think came out kind of nice. It is very quick and I didn't overdo it, which is good. It is another abstract map from memory-- a map on how to get to Spaceland from my old apartment by walking through the hills. I'm working on some large pieces like this now but I am having trouble keeping my artistic decisions clean and concise and so the paintings are getting muddy and globby. I didn't go to the studio yesterday because I didn't even want to look at them again. Today I'll have to go and face them and decide what to do-- I need to bring them back to life somehow. Blurg.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

you exhale somewhere in a field

"you exhale somewhere in a field," by land and cinders

I saw the photo of this and had to share, it tickles my imagination...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Birds of Paradise (two)

I like to make my tiny paintings in pairs. Because when (if) I sell them people like to buy in pairs. So here is the second Bird of Paradise looking abstract sketch. Again 3x3 inches. I've been cranking these out this week, there very fun. And something about painting on cheapo canvas board is great-- I get less precious and don't worry if my painting doesn't turn out because I didn't invest as much prep time. However when they come out good I feel a bit sad that I didn't make it on a canvas. I like canvas better-- however I'm picky and I hate pre-stretched canvas becuase it's always stretched so poorly. Canvas board doesn't have the ripples so it is a better short-cut surface. At some point soon I'm going to have to go buy some stretcher bars (by the box of course) and spend a whole week prepping 30 tiny canvases to my own high standards so I can be both prolific and more archival.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birds of Paradise

Oh, the birds of paradise
Came to me yesterday
Laughed when they told me my fate
We'd be cold, we'd be tired, but we could breathe
And one day I'm gonna leave this place

~Basia Bulat, Birds of Paradise

I originally intended to use different colors but they came out different, maybe better. This started as a painting of a map of Sunset Junction (Silver Lake, LA) and evolved into what looks like an abstract fractured Bird of Paradise flower. It's probably the color that has me making that connection. This is a very quick painting, and very small. 3x3 inches, under an hour. I think it's my favorite right now, I think I'll keep doing things like this for a little while.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the studio with new paintings...

My studio, interior
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
Here's a view of my studio. I'm just getting started on some new pieces so it's a little bland. I'm working on some small painting sketches on canvas board. They're studies for larger pieces I might make. They're abstract pieces because I had the urge to do something completely different. I've never painted abstract before so it's very scary territory for me. But I wanted a challenge myself and take a risk. I don't really know how to go about starting an abstract piece. It seems so difficult to decide where to put the colors when I'm not painting a precise picture of a thing. Even if I am abstracting from some thing-- I don't know how to approach it. But somehow this weekend I decided that abstract art needed as much (or more) thought and preparation than observational art. So I started sketches followed by painting studies followed by more sketchings and thinking and staring. Eventually I suppose I'll get to painting the real paintings. And when I start I feel less nervous and will know where to put the paint. Maybe the paintings will turn out good, and if not, learning from a challenge and getting outside repetition and comfort will be a welcome freedom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Silver Lake

Silver Lake
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
However I feel like I'm out on a limb by not drawing something observational-- like drawing things like this are somewhat silly. Though that feeling sometimes means I am doing something right. I'm thinking of doing some in oil just to see what happens. (This one is colored pencil and acrylic paint out of my sketchbook.) But I don't know if I could do abstract paintingse exclusively because it only satisfies part of what drives me to create art. Sometimes I feel like I'm two different artist in one body-- an old fashioned observational artist and a (budding) abstract artist. I wish I could combine them somehow but I can't seem reconcile the extremes.

View past map drawings:

the streets run like the lines on my palm
Eight Years in LA, A Portrait

Monday, March 16, 2009



It was very warm Sunday which meant I could go outside to paint wearing just a T-shirt while there was still some snow on the ground. So here is an 8x10 quick sketch (3 hrs) of an area near my house. It does not look the way I wanted it to. I wanted it to be less detailed and more gestural with better lines and composition. But I got hung up painting the trees instead of the forest. But it's a start. Last time I went through a lanscape phase it took 6 months to work through getting hung up on detail to get to the point where I could just throw a mark down and not question or correct it. Perhaps when I do my next one I'll give myself a time limit (1 hr?) and see what happens. Often my paintings are fresher in the beginning and sometimes I just over work them and they loose the spontaneity. The good part of this painting is that I was much more generous with paint than usual. Usually I use very thin washes. Though I'm not used to painting all in one go so I don't know how to think several steps ahead as I work. Here's a photo of the spot:

Photo of the same location

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dark eyes, Sunny Days

Dark eyes
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
This girl had one of those faces that is just dramatic. I tried hard to capture it and I think it came out a bit labored and not as fresh feeling as I had hoped. But I got her basic essence-- dramatic eyes and eyebrows, dark hair, and a headband that offsets it in an almost playful way.

This weekend I am hoping to get a new series of paintings started-- but I may just start planning them and getting reference together for them. I need to also do some sketching. Sunday's weather will be good so maybe I'll bike somewhere and do some outdoor sketching/painting. I never considered myself good at landscapes, but since I have moved I feel like I need to paint landsdcapes outdoors to feel more connected here. There's a cranberry bog and a farm nearby I could paint. I'm glad the weather is getting better so I have more options than staying cooped up inside.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slightly nerdy...

Slightly nerdy...
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink a good way with the high-impact glasses. He would look like a totally different person with a different pair.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Woman with curly hair

I suppose this is not a terribly flattering portrait of this woman-- however sometimes outside influences creep into a drawing. The light was kind of sickly yellow here, and even though she was nice looking-- the light made her look old and weathered. I also was overly fascinated by the shape of her hair and how it created a wild dark halo and blended into her shoulders. I was more intrigued by those details than drawing an accurate portrait. So this turned more into caricature.

In other news, I'm off to my new studio today. But I'm not doing anything terribly creative-- mainly moving in and organizing my little area. I probably won't touch a brush until this weekend. I must buy some supplies since I gave away any painting supplies that would have broken and created havoc if the movers chose to toss my boxes around. So I have no turpentine or mediums. But that is easily remedied and I'll be happily painting very soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seated Girl

Seated Girl
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
Here's another cafe sketch. This is another case where I wish I had paint on hand instead of pencil. The light was falling nicely on her and she had pale white skin, dark hair, and icy blue eyes. It would have made a nice little painting sketch. But I just had 5 minutes to sketch her and then she left the cafe.

Monday, March 09, 2009

the most beautiful picture in the world (to me)

This is my new studio space! As of today! It isn't much to look at but out of this gray shack will come many new paintings.

It's probably irresponsible to rent studio space with my unemployment check. But it absolutely had to be done.

(My sister says Van Gogh would've done the same. She would know, I gave her Van Gogh's letters for Christmas and she's read it and, because she has the amazing ability to remember every word she reads, quotes it back to me regularly. But I told her to be careful about encouraging me to follow Van Gogh's particular career path because then I would expect her to support me financially while I paint. Luckily I'm more self-sufficient than Van Gogh, and my lack of steady employment will work itself out eventually.)

But I'm very excited about having some small bit of studio space since I've been trapped in my family's house for 5 months far away from everything and everybody. The studio is in Somerville in a perfect location. I'll be able to meet people, get of the house, look for a day job, and paint all at the same time. It put me in such a good mood I was able to land some freelance work for the week.

Friday, March 06, 2009

This is very old, from High School actually

Being back in MA means I get to see artwork I did ages ago. Back when my parents were still trying to frame everything I made (they gave up by college.) I did this piece when I was 17ish when I was a senior in high school. I never really painted before this so this really where I began. It's still one of my favorite paintings. Old pieces like this remind me why I wanted to paint in the first place. Lately I've been questioning the direction my painting has been going-- and looking at this piece makes me want to go back to the beginning and start over. Early on I just wanted to paint people-- interesting people in unique moments. I was always drawn to different non-traditional poses, angles, faces. I want to go back to painting people, just people. I just need some people to paint. Anybody game?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

757 Massachusetts Avenue

I love cafes. Probably because I spend too much time indoors painting alone. Drawing in cafes gives me a reason to go outside and also provides people to watch and draw. However there are no good cafes immediately near me. I don't even think there is a Starbucks. So I've been trying cafes in to Somerville and Cambridge. (That's where I plan to move, as soon as I am able.) But it's 30 miles away so cafes are more of a rare treat these days than a habit. This one had good tea (very important) but a bad floor layout. It was shaped like a railroad car and there weren't many good places to sit and draw from a good angle. But so far it is my favorite cafe. Because the tea was good and the people interesting. I just wish I could sit where I could see them.

In other news, you may have noticed my website has been down for a few days. It was a DNS server issue that I don't completely understand, but it is fixed now. So visit. Also if you're on facebook, I created Bekka Teerlink page. So become a fan!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Man in a Straw Hat

Man in a Straw Hat
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
I was going to post a painting today. However I wrecked it in a fit of anger. I am trying to paint in acrylics, except I hate acrylics it turns out. And when they don't behave I try to beat them into submission. Which results in destruction. Acrylics just can't take a beating like oils do. And I can't paint with oils in my parents house due to ventilation & risk of explosions. So I must learn to control my anger when a painting isn't working. For today I'll just post a sketch of a man I saw in a cafe. He looked like Daniel Day Lewis from the front but I didn't get to draw that view. He had a very striking presence even though he was just reading a paper. How one would imagine Daniel Day Lewis off screen.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
This started as an alternate version of the figure for the collage I did yesterday but it turned into it's own finished art piece. I was aimed to do something more finished and less messy mixed media looking. The figure was hand drawn in pencil, and colored digitally. The background is made up of digitally manipulated photos.