Monday, December 20, 2010

He wanted to meet in the real world

the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld.  He did not know where to seek it or how but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him.  They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place.  They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. 
from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

When I read this passage I felt I'd read an exacting description of my relationship to the images I seek to make. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Final/From Representation to Abstraction

I had a particularly strong beginning drawing class this semester.  They moved swiftly through all the usual drawings, finishing what is typically the final drawing a couple weeks early.  So we got to try out some higher level thinking for the last project.  They grappled with the potentially unwieldy and unlimited possibilities of turning facets of representation into abstraction.  From deeply rendered drawings of cork screws and car engines, tea kettles and chopsticks they made lovely and highly individual abstract charcoal drawings.  I was so pleased yesterday when I saw them all gathered together on the wall.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Andrew Masullo

I love these funny paintings at Feature right now.  I am reminded of how insular good abstract paintings are, how strange they can feel when encountered in the course of a day, today--and how grateful I am for the way they collide with my typical pace.  These make me come to a screeching halt so I can just look, because these are what I want to look at right now.

Facebook doesn't do this, nor email or my blog...or any other blog for that matter.

Our woodstove makes me stop--with its emanating heat pulling me/all of us in.

Other things that still:

Alexander's little hands reaching for me as he wakes--and their warmth


sketchbook work

raking leaves

folding laundry

soup making

singing old hymms

walking Benny

abstract painting/alexander's hands/baking/sketchbook work/leaf raking/folding laundry/soup making/old hymms/walking benny

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eva Hesse Spectres

I've never seen this image of Eva Hesse's before--it's from a show at the Hammer Museum in LA.

I don't think I'd be who I am without Eva Hesse's work. 

It is wonderful to be confronted with something truly amazing and indescribable--I feel the fullness of living when I see images like the above.

Eva Hesse, 20"x20", oil on canvas, 1960

Tamra Hunt and Lauren Lopez (top image is Tamra's, bottom image is Lauren's...)

The Womens' Abstract Painters Group, Climax, North Carolina

Since August, I've been meeting monthly with two former student, who also happen to be wonderful abstract painters and wonderful women.  Tamra Hunt and Lauren Lopez bring their work from the month to my studio for viewing and discussion.  Both are amazing, and I anticipate great things as they continue developing their painting language.  Here are a couple views from our meeting this month.

Dots/found painting

Last week (in the middle of the night no less) the massive mirror in our bathroom fell off of the wall.  I cannot begin to describe the surreal reality of being jolted out of sleep by a sound both monumentally piercing and instantaneous.  I also cannot adequately describe the experience of opening the bathroom door to a room bathed in shards of glass.

There is little good about the experience really--save for the fact that I find the rather large, now-revealed dollops of obviously ineffective glue on our wall interesting aesthetically and materially.  I like the idea of a painting buried in the fabric of domestic life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Half-eaten line, cobbled together

I made some long black lines on paper awhile back--they've been hanging on the wall as my original intents for them changed and I had no need for them yet.  But the other day, I took them down and discovered one of them had been eaten--from the bottom.  I saw no trace of the insect, save some iridescent trails along the back of the paper.  I know ultimately this is not a good thing at all from a practical paper-filled studio standpoint, but of course I love the half-eaten line.

In the studio...

The very beginnings of a wall collage.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red and red (painting)

In an attempt to keep Benny the dog from eating the wings off of Alexander's toy planes while I was outside in my studio, I devised an elaborate pillow/blanket covering scenario--which in the end was more interesting to me as an oblique reference to painting being a blanket/film over a substrate/support.

Source wall

Order to disorder

Negative Space

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From Sigrid Sandstrom's artist statment regarding the literal activity of laying on layers of paint:

The cumulative activity of adding layer-upon-layer, is the evidential aftermath of mental engagement which in turn insinuates and provokes the next painterly response.

Her website.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stripes and color

I look at fashion because of images like this...from Prada's women's spring/summer 2011 show.  All I can think about is painting.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Silence and drawing

This past summer I was given the opportunity to spend a week largely in silence, at a retreat center in rural Pennsylvania.  I sensed the week was what I needed after a particularly frenetic couple of months, but I was not really sure how time spent without speaking to other people would help.  In the midst of the silence, I understood how fast I was living internally, and how an interior moving at the speed of highway 95 is not conducive to the kind of living and looking I desire.  I emerged in place, and firmly so--to a degree I had not ever felt before.  The greatest gift was a moment during a walk down the most remote of Pennsylvania backcountry roads, ever reminiscent of the kind of country I grew up in as a child (and have come to believe is the most beautiful soul-feeding country on the planet--at least for my soul).  While walking I had the deep sense, nearly visual, of my life in parts--and for a moment all the pieces of that life appeared as they are, deeply--revealing precision and order and rightness.  The pathos of life and living endemic to being human did not disappear, but perspective lit the whole view with, of all things, calmness.

I write about that week now because thankfully I feel the silence seeping into the rest of my life, even when I am moving and talking and, as I so often am, teaching.  I understand, newly, how teaching drawing is not just a method by which techniques for convincingly portraying reality are transmitted, but rather, a chance to work with others in slow pursuit of stopping long enough to simply see what is in front of one's eyes.  While a graduate student, I wrote "the world is stranger than we know" in a sketchbook.  I don't remember where I found the phrase, but I loved it because my Pennsylvania-born eyes saw the words to be true of the calla lilies growing behind the California apartment of my grad school years.  Now I see that things/places/people/spaces don't need to be exotic to be singularly strange, notable and arresting.  Things can merely be what they ARE--and simply seeing what is is strange enough. 

A student brought me an extraordinary book of Ivan Albright paintings two days ago.  At the start of the book is a foreward by Jean Dubuffet.  He writes, There are few pictures as alarming as those of Albright.  Because what they represent to us belongs not to our accustomed world.  Or rather, and this is what baffles so utterly, we see in them objects that we easily discern to be those which surround us but which are nevertheless unknowable.  Never have we suspected that these objects could be clothed with such an aspect.  This strange aspect is so impressive and has such convincing authority that no possibility is left to us of doubting the fixed reality.  It is the reality of our customary views of things that we are as soon called upon to question. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gerald Davis

Oh, and then on Sunday, I would go back to New York to see these paintings, by another friend and former classmate of me and Erica's...Gerald Davis at Salon 94.

The above painting is courtesy of Salon 94 and is Baby Worries, 22"x30", 2010.

Hamlett Dobbins and Erica Svec

Two of my friends have openings tomorrow night.  If by some miracle of time and space I could head up to New York to see Erica Svec's show of recent paintings at Larissa Goldston and then down to Memphis to see Hamlett Dobbins's new work at David Lusk Gallery I most certainly would.  This is work that excites me and makes me want to RUN to the studio to make paintings. 

The top image is Hamlett's, courtesy of David Lusk Gallery, called Untitled (for L.Y./E.I.E), oil on linen on panel, 18"x16", 2010.

The second image is Erica's, courtesy of Larissa Goldston Gallery, called Eyes and Thighs, oil and acrylic on canvas, 62"x54", 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Maurice's drawing box

Maurice, one of my graduate students, is the owner of this fantastic drawing box.

Kelly O'Briant

I traded a painting for this lovely tea pot made by my friend Kelly O'Briant.  As Chris and I are avid tea drinkers, I couldn't resist the great shape and design of this pot in particular.  I love seeing it in our kitchen each morning upon waking.

Red and Green

The tomatoes are done--I pulled them all out of the garden this weekend.  The okra appears far from done, though I must admit I wouldn't be terribly sad if it were through with growing either.  I am ready for butternut squash, kale and cabbage.  And apples are calling to me at our Saturday morning farmer's market.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Christopher Thomas (Third)

I believe this is a drawing for an eventual painting.

Christopher Thomas (Second)

Another one from this summer, watercolor on paper, full size image and detail.

Christopher Thomas (First)

As it turns out I am married to an artist--a very good artist.  I love his recent paintings and as I always put work I love on this blog I'm posting a recent painting and a detail.  The painting is a large (3'x4' roughly, maybe bigger) watercolor on paper. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sketchbook work

I spent the day working in my sketchbook.  I followed tangents.  I made up silly rules to follow--and then abandon.  I examined one color against another, one texture against another, one shape in relation to another, etc.  Ultimately I exercised my looking--good preparation for a return to my newly renovated, now up and running studio.