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.