Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Break for Inspiration


My sister says I shouldn't post my vacation plans online because of a chance of burglary. But, see, I don't actually have a home to rob. Or apartment. So if anyone somehow manages to burgle me while I'm away it might actually make me feel impressed that they found someplace to break into. Hopefully they'll leave me a note and let me know where that home is so I might live there.

So here are my vacation plans. I spend 9 days in Paris. My itinerary includes: jazz, opera, art, wine, cheese, pastry, cafes, sketching, books, flea markets, Van Gogh, Manet, & some Hemingway. My itinerary does NOT include: the eiffel tower, the Mona Lisa, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, waiting in lines, saying dull ignorant things loudly in English, staring at maps, buying chotchkies and general crap.

It will be a wonderful break from a drab year of searching for jobs, making ends meet, crashing with family, and trying to find the peace of mind to paint pictures.

Au revoir!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

All the Things I Own Except a Home

All the Things I Own Except a Home

This a new graphite sketch for a painting I am planning- something I have been working on for a while to get the right look. Originally it was set in a desert, then a marsh, and then I put it in a forest, and then it took many bike trips around state parks and other wooded areas to find the right forest setting for reference. I also had significantly more stuff including pots hanging on the trees, bookshelves, more boxes, etc. I didn't know what pose I wanted the figure in until a few weeks ago- but when I did it all finally started falling into place. I want the figure to be nude-- but not explicit. I want it to be ordinary with a person going about normal business- but she is not indoors in a safe and private space. She is outdoors where she is exposed and vulnerable. The pose was inspired by photograph I saw-- and I still need to find a model to recreate it and adjust it for the painting. I did this sketch to force myself to think things out more specifically. There is something about drawing out an idea that calls attention to even the most minute details in a way that photography and Photoshop never do. It is a way of becoming intimately familiar with every line and shadow. It keeps me from looking and thinking too quickly and ensures I know all of the potential pitfalls and attend to any issues. This painting will be called "All the Things I Own Except a Home" and will be 3x4 ft when complete. It is about not having a place to live or a place where one can relax, be themselves, and have time alone doing ordinary things. Or it is about trying to make a home in a place that is exposed and uncomfortable and not meant for a permanent sort of lifestyle. I need to do some color studies next to pin down the color- I am not sure if I'll make it very lush green or something more desaturated and toned down. Recently I took a look back at an older painting I did ages ago called "The Jungle" and might use that as a jumping off point for color, but with the figure less orange. Here is a an image of that painting:

"The Jungle" was one of the first paintings I did after I decided to leave the film industry. But while I was still in film school and starting to have doubts about being there, I took a photography class where I did a series of self-portraits. These eventually became the starting point for most of my paintings and most of what I still do is still rooted in them. The are called "Imposed Geometry" and mostly have to do with putting manmade elements and structures in a natural environment. But they also have to do with vulnerability and domesticity. Here are two that are particularly relevant:



The first one is in a destroyed adobe house in Malibu Creek State park. I had to wait for a quiet moment with no one passing by in order to strip down to a slip for the pose. The second one was taken in a park in Culver City. My favorite part is that you can see an oil derrick in the distance on the hill in the upper right corner. The oil derricks in that park inspired my Edge of the World series. But they were hard to use in photographs because they all had chain link fences around them.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Experiments in Graphite


I've been mostly drawing lately, partly because I have more ideas than I can keep up with and want to attend to as many as possible. Drawing is much faster and I can turn things around in a week rather than a few months. I was working mostly in charcoal which is very painterly and fluid. But I saw another artist working in graphite and liked his work so I thought I would give it a shot. Graphite is not very fluid and lends itself much more to messy cross-hatching and detail linework. It also does not produce a rich black and heavy layers of it turn more silver gray and catch the light (for better or for worse.) There is something magical about the silvery quality of graphite that I think can work in my drawings, but sometimes the gray quality seems to lack boldness.

I did this drawing above sometime last week, it is called "Roses" for now. It was my first experiment and so I did not really fuss over the subject matter. The figure is someone I met at an art show a few months back and asked to pose for me. Generally I am too shy to approach strangers and ask favors but I've made a resolution to overcome my shyness. My old mainstay of getting models from Craigslist is great when it works. But I never know who will respond and sometimes there are painting/drawing ideas I put off because of it.