Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finally Pictures

What I've been up to, lately

I'm trying to work on wrapping up my grant project, but recognizing that over the course of this project I have developed sustaining interests that will be part of my practice after the project is over. Already I have seen crossover between grant and class work, and I am learning things about myself and what works for me that-- I hope-- are making me a better artist.

I have photos today but they were taken in fairly poor lighting conditions and I apologize for the loss of information and untrue colors.

I made this painting based on the glowstick wench photo, and for a long time I really hated it.

I just hated it. I stayed up nights hating it. I lost sleep hating it. So I had to change it, and I wasn't afraid to change it a lot, because at this point I'd rather murder it than let it continue living its stupid life.

I decided the figure was mostly what I hated so I just painted her out except for some edges and planes. I let what remained of her act like the neon squiggles, like she's made of the same plasma that she's selling.

It's been worked more since this photo was taken, and I think it's in much better shape right now. At least I'm not constantly stressing out about it.

The other dramatic move I made recently was to send my painting of the gypsy dancer through the table saw!

I wanted it to be misaligned, like the painted mural in the background of the guitarist picture. So I cut it and put it back together wrong. This time it's the more believeable character whose appearance is interrupted by a “seam”. He's the observer and she's the performer but he's still part of the performance so he's still susceptible to the cracks in reality. The fact that the crack is going through his head is maybe indicative of the conflict that an audience member experiences while they try to reconcile what they're seeing with the world they know to be fact.

Still plugging away on the other paintings but not much to say about them at the moment.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm going to blog proper this afternoon. there is so much going on. Voting's up for the Renaissance Festival Awards, I have stories from Camelot Days, I just fixed a painting that was so bad it was giving me nightmares, I've been sick, I'm writing a paper on artists who use tableaux in their work, I have photos photos photos and I have digital kittens. Watch this space around 4 this afternoon!

Monday, November 14, 2011

One Story

Do you ever worry that you're only capable of telling one story?

That's where I find myself today. I'm taking a fiction class for which I've written a couple of short stories, and when I think about them in relation to my paintings, I worry that they all say the same things.

My short stories are both descent tales-- or at least, I intended them to be so. They both follow characters who get sucked into a world that they don't trust. They can see the cracks in the reality presented to them, and at first they rebel-- insisting on remaining in the world they know. But over time the new reality seduces them, and they forgive its crooked seams and become hooked. They have compromised.

I'd love to take viewers of my paintings on that kind of a journey. After I analyzed my short stories, I imagined a person walking up to one of my works. At first, they hold it at arm's length-- it's a painting, it's not real, and they can see the areas where it's just not convincing enough to take them away from reality. The images are strange, there's a note of menace in the atmosphere. But the painting demands to be looked at, and soon the viewer is studying it, trying to make sense of it--then accepting that they probably won't, accepting the painting, living in it.

I'm not there yet. Someday I'd love to be.

I'm continuing to work on my grant paintings, and I'll probably take some in-progress pictures today. I'm also working on some intense pieces for Advanced Painting. These two pursuits are feeding each other in exciting ways intellectually, but snatching meat from each other's jaws time-wise.

Let's all go look at cool paintings at the BFA show , "Gamut" this Friday!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Elevator Pitches

We've been talking a bit in class about "Elevator Pitches"- the 30-second descriptions of your practice as an artist designed to hook people on what you have to say. I think my elevator pitch would resemble one of the following:

"I fill up a storage unit with painted-on panels of wood so that it's hard to walk around"

"I try to figure out how to carry wet oil paintings from my car to my classroom"

"I have mastered estimating the size of the largest piece of masonite that will fit in my trunk"

"I stand in a room and listen to NPR so much."

"I handle broken mirrors with very little regard for the fact that they're actively shedding glass particles"

Something like that. Yikes.