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.