Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Revised Summer Plans?

I was going to bike around New England and paint landscapes, and I still might do that. I've even been working on my bike so that it can carry my plein-air art gear. I'm very close to having it together. However, I realized that happy little landscapes with cows and New England churches is *not* what I want to paint. Look at my painting "Exodus" posted above. That is a landscape I did. It's not very happy. It was inspired by a long stretch of desert in Arizona full of rusted out abandoned cars. This is the sort of thing I want to paint. So, new plan. I am researching landscapes that have a combination of pastoral & industrial features. Nuclear plants and ocean views. Steel factories near woods. Shipping centers near mountains. I've told this to a few people and they've all looked at me like I have two heads. I could be offended, but really it makes me want to do it more. I'm sure people won't be lining up to buy a painting of a nuclear plant. But we see ugly things in the landscape around us every day and choose to edit it out. We look at the daffodils the neighbor planted. But not the factory nestled beyond the trees of their yard. I can't paint the beauty of nature without mankind's mark on it-- nothing has been left untouched. So currently I am researching this new trip. I am also hoping to apply for some grants. Maybe I could go paint the rusted out cars from life. (And I'm hoping my fear of scorpions won't deter me.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cafe Stories @ the biscuit (I should just move there)

@ the biscuit, somerville MA

I usually do one or two sketches a week over coffee & pastries at the Biscuit (when I can get a seat.) I enjoy watching people and drawing them, capturing their look, body language, snippets of conversation, or my own thoughts. This is different from my painting, and doesn't really tie into it. But it shows what I am naturally drawn to- just people. Their lives, stories, who they might be, what they are going through. If I don't know who they are I make it up. I've also been bringing a random assortment of pencils, markers, conte crayons, chalk around with me. It has been giving me more options and a chance to get creative with the medium. Sometimes I add acrylic paint or ink later in my studio- but I try not to mess with it too much.

The girl in the drawing above was going through some big relationship drama and was having a very serious (and loud) conversation about it. There were some cultural differences as I understood it. I was really drawn to the guy reading to the left just over the center figure's shoulder. I liked his glasses. I decided that he was a student studying Spanish who also writes short stories. I tried to do a close up of him but he left in the middle of it:

@ the biscuit, somerville MA

I don't know what this couple was talking about, they were sort of boring. I think the guy picked up I was drawing him and kept looking over. He looked like the type that would have a dull job at a place like State Street but would would also run marathons.

This guy below was in a group of three other guys. They were all in some sort of science field and were comparing notes on their various jobs/projects. I couldn't tell if they were talking about neuroscience or computer science. This guy had very fascinating lips and head shape.

@ the biscuit, somerville MA

I saw this guy at Sherman Cafe (see, I do sometimes go to other cafes...) I've seen him around that same area since- once on a bicycle wearing a trash bag to keep the rain off. I could draw his hair/beard all day. Maybe I'll see him around again and get to do just that.

@ sherman cafe, somerville MA

This girl had really cool headphones. I liked her glasses. When she go up to use the restroom she took them both off and it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the nerdy girl takes off her glasses and is model hot. Yep, she looked like she could model. But you can't really see it in the sketch.

girl with headphones @ the biscuit, somerville MA

Block 11 in Union Square is not always good to draw at. If it's crowded then there are usually only seats in the back where the light is bad and it's hard to have a good angle to see people. I usually bring a book there just in case there is nothing to draw. In this case there was a threesome. My ears perked up when they starting talking about Los Angeles. I think the older lady (you can just see her eye peeking out) was giving advice to the couple. Maybe they were moving there?

...and she told them about Griffith Park near the Hollywood Sign. @ bloc 11, somerville MA

That's all for now...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Summer Plans

It came about when I dropped my bike off for a tune up and failed to calculate a timely return trip home on the bus. There happened to be a row of vintage clothing shops right there. (And a cupcake shop but that has nothing to do with this story. But I did stop there too.) I hate trying on clothes so I was really just looking at accessories. Sunglasses, scarves, belts, bags. And I came across a huge navy blue canvas back pack for $25. Now having just browsed back packs at the bike shop $25 was an awesome deal. (Biking back packs are over $100? really? And they're heavy even when empty. And sporty ugly. Why?) So I went with the $25 one. One the 1.5 mile walk home (still no bus) and the 1 mile walk to my studio I realized what I want to do this summer for a little vacation. I'm going to take all my paints and brushes and put them in the back pack. And then bike around either Vermont or New Hampshire or upstate NY or the Cape or the coast and stop wherever & whenever to paint good views. That's all, simple, remote, cheap, no fuss. How does that sound?

However the bicycle pictured above is not the one I would take. That's what I call my Saturday Bike because it's lazy and hates hills and loves posing outside of cafe's for curious passersby. I'd take my hybrid that likes dirt and roads and potholes.

Next to figure out:

1. Narrow down what region I should go to. Just a bit.
2. Find a travel who likes a) bikes b) art c) sunshine d) going slow
3. Devise a system for transporting wet paintings by bicycle
4. Where to sleep since I don't think camping will work- hard to carry both painting & sleeping gear

Saturday, April 09, 2011

YOU'RE INVITED! Somerville Open Studios

Once again I am participating in Somerville Open Studios. I will have many new paintings, old favorites, and tons of things to buy. I am also working out a way to accept credit cards so there are no excuses this year. Please stop by my studio and say hi. I will have good food and wine. There are also 300 other artists participating across the city. Bring your bicycle and make a day of it!

There will also be a party at some point on the rooftop deck of the studio. I will let you know about that when I have the details. Also there are 2 other related exhibitions I am participating in- one at Bloc 11 (up now) and one at the Somerville Museum (opening April 15th.) Please check those out if you can. However, the open studio itself is the big event and I hope you will come.

Saturday, April 30 · 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Sunday, May 1 · 12:00pm - 6:00pm

All over Somerville MA. However, my studio is located at:

Mad Oyster Studios, 2 Bradley Street, Somerville, MA

Visit the official site at Somerville Open Studios
Visit Somerville's Diverse + Vibrant Arts Community
Over 300 artists in over 100 venues will open their homes and studios for the 12th Annual Somerville Open Studios Event on April 30 & May 1, 2011, noon to 6pm.

During this free showcase for the arts, mid-career and emerging artists working across a broad spectrum of fine art styles and craft media will exhibit their work to the public.

Visitors to SOS will be treated to displays of art in both traditional and non-traditional spaces throughout the city.

Getting around Somerville
SOS attendees are encouraged to use public transport, the Somerville Open Studios Trolleys, bikes scooter and walk by foot if possible.

During the event Trolley service is available to help visitors get around. Trolleys will at approximately 15 minute intervals during SOS hours. Signs indicating where stops are located will be posted. The trolley route will be available in the map book.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Painting Studies

Portrait of a Man

I'm currently taking a class at MassArt called the Powers of Observation with Catherine Kehoe. For the class I've been doing about 2 paintings a week for several months now. There's a few weeks left in the class still but I wanted to posted what I've done so far. These were all done from life in about 3 hrs more or less. I wanted to take the class because I've become so dependent on photographs from my main paintings that I have fallen into some bad habits. The class is helping to break some of that up and give me some fresh new technique and ideas. No earth tones were used in any of these. The goal of the paintings is to mix the exact color we see and paint it directly. It can be a bit mechanical sometimes and gets tricky with the figure. However it is definitely worth taking the time and pushing to get it as close as possible. I expect this to eventually influence my regular wood and help make it stronger with color, more nuanced, and more bold overall. Head over to my Flickr to see the paintings I've done so far.