Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Work, Old Work

There is a cycle in my studio efforts. New work becomes old work and old work becomes new. It is all intertwined and interrelated. These images are saying something to me. They are mirrors of the subterrain of my mind. I feel like I am unearthing these objects. The objects are manufactured from a place within and without. I am an archaeologist digging out an image from the surface of my mind and the surface of the canvas.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cone Storm, 12 x 8

Todays image came from complete and total struggle.  This image was painted and wiped away 3 times before I could get to what I was trying to invoke.  And now that I look at it I find myself thinking it is two cones in a snow storm.   I love the way this looks now that I have some time away from it.  But I was genuinely frustrated this afternoon after it was over.  I had a few problems with the paint.  I definitlely am not feeling well after breathing in the turpentine.  I need to get more ventilation in my studio. 
Images before I landed on this one...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Purple Pine Pods, 48" x 65", oil on canvas

Today's painting session was spent finishing a piece started last year. It just seemed like the right time. Sometimes a painting will hang out in the studio for a long while before I am up to the task of finishing it. Some artists say the work is speaking to them. You could say that about this piece today. It was demanding my attention. I knew how I wanted it to look today. As I was painting the two cones on the branch I felt like I was painting faded old blue jeans.

This painting has been hanging out in the studio for a year or so--unfinished.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Up Close and Personal, Core Series 3, 15 x 45"

Today I finished the second painting started on Monday. I am calling it up close and personal because I feel like I have an intimate relationship with this object now. I have explored it through directly painting it and then seeking out its underlying structure in today's session seemed so natural a process. What does this mean to seek out the underlying structure and become intimately related to this object? Its in the process of painting itself. When you become one with the paint and the object you are painting. Some people call this being in the zone, I call this a connection that is unlike any other. Some call this a spiritual connection. Perhaps it is. It feels like it when I am doing this. And this goes back to my post on Monday when I hung up my halo. No I don't feel like Gandhi, but I do feel connected to this object I am painting and its unlike any other connection when the paint is flowing and I can intuitively chose color and brushstroke and the in and out of transitions between brushstrokes of color and stroke and feeling and color and stroke and feeling and then I am transported to a place of ecstasy when it all comes together.

Best friend and studio girl... Vera

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Core Series 2, 15 x 30, oil on canvas

This is the end result of direct painting for two days.  I like the way the images are floating on the surface of texture long ago established for another painting.  These are markings into gesso.  The color choice was delegated by the background but also depicts my mood these days.  I go from extreme clarity to muddiness and back again.  Below are the steps I took today to get to this image.
Painters are color mixologists.  I mixed this color today for my mid-tones.  I knew I could lighten it for my brightest area and darken it as needed.  I already had my darkest value established which was a mixture of burnt umber and purple.  This is a mixture of orange and purple.  I like to use color compliments to tone a color down.  I usually only use 2 or three colors on a painting.  I like the simplicity of a limited color palette.  My color palette was devised many years ago when I studied Munsell.
I painted in the mi-tones over yesterdays underlying structure.
Next I added some darker values back into all three cores.
The painting will sit in the studio and simmer for a while where I will tweak it here and there.  

Monday, February 9, 2009

Approaching the Process

My graduate school thesis was titled "Approaching the Process". I was very involved in understanding my process of processing this thing called art. I still am. I am always trying to see the under lying structure of things, even in my imagery and that is why I have decided to show this to you. For the next three months I am committed to blogging about my process.
What this means is that you will be privy to some very private workings in my studio and in my head. I didn't come to this magical moment all alone. I have been thinking about this since I have seen other painters do this on their blogs and recently, when I asked fellow blogger a question about the best way to go about marketing my artwork on the Internet he suggested it as well.
And you thought I was doing this because It was good for my soul? Lets just say that I have long ago given up the novel idea that art is a spiritual practice. I realized along the way that I am not that "holy" and I seem to have left my halo somewhere back in 1968. Art for me is a business. I do it today because I am in the business of making art. I am an image maker and as such I am promoting my images. Art does not feed my ego. Art does not fulfill my longing to be somebody. I am somebody. I am an artist and I am in the business of making art to sell art. So there you have it. My desire is to bring to you my process so that you can understand how I make the art that I LOVE to sell. Preferably on the Internet and most preferably on this blog.

Oh yeah...aside from all this did I mention I am working on a Doctorate in Higher Education. Its a fancy degree so that I can become a better teacher. I teach Design at the local community college. And have been working on my doctorate for 3.5 years now. I have to take 24 hours in my knowledge area--ART--and this semester, I am working on an independent study. What this means is that I am under contract to perform a great deal of art. I have to finish two of these paintings a week over a period of twelve weeks which means I will conjure up 24 images. I have been instructed to seek out this direction which has been labeled "scrolls" by my instructor. No pressure here for this artist.....

At the present time, I am working on two paintings in my studio. Both are derivatives from a previous painting posted on this blog. Both show the two ways I like to approach the process. Both show how I am very interested in the underlying structure of things. Both reveal my process and my words will further guide my readers on "my approach to the process"

Today's images reflect the first two sessions of both paintings.

The underlying structure...these are my explorations into the underlying structure of objects collected on my hikes. I like to refer to these objects as "earth objects"

This is what my canvas looks like on the wall before I add any images on either canvas.
I like to take old canvases that are unsuccessful and overlay new images. This give lots of spacial texture and depth.

Next is the gesso and carving into process. This is where I slather the canvas with gesso and carve the image back into it with the butt of a paintbrush.
I add some purple color after the gesso is dry. The gesso has to dry for 24 hours before I can do this. This is a staining process so the paint gets down inside the grooves of the markings.
After adding color I like to sand back the image with sand paper to uncover the texture on the surface again. This is pure painting archeology.
And finally to end today's session I tone the painting down again with an orange overlay. This is where I leave off to think about what is next. As I am walking into the computer room I decide that the next session will start out with some specific color areas of paint. I will begin to focus into the painting and get some detail on the surface with more mid-tones and then some high lighting.
Painting number two is the other way I like to approach the process. Instead of carving and sanding and staining the canvas and then re staining and doing the multi layered approach. This is straight painting. I simply am blocking in the dark areas of my color onto a stained background.

As you can see these are two very different approaches to the painting process. The first approach which I like to call the "underlying structure" approach requires a lot of steps to get the image where I want it to be before I begin painting any detail. This approach is one that I use to produce my experimental work.

The second approach, which is more of a direct approach to painting is more traditional. I painted the underground and then I block in the dark areas of the image. This approach is what I use to produce my naturalistic imagery. You can see this approach in most of the paintings on this blog.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Acorn Web, 20 x 20, Acrylic

This is a mind map of acorns. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. organic in nature just like my imagery.  Mind maps are also web like in construction. I teach my students about mind mapping when they are learning the process of design.  This acorn web is a section of my mind.  It is an organic representation of the underlying structure of my brain activity.  How can analytical and creative intersect you ask...words...words and more words...but to visualize the underlying structure using the metaphor of an acorn...genius..
You can purchase this painting for a mere $249.00.  Just click the button below and I will send it straight to your door.