Monday, October 26, 2009

Working in the Studio


This is an ink painting I worked on this summer. For me it sums up our summer trip and I think it's title should be "Looking for the Waterfall". It looks like the global positioning unit we used in my car whenever we set out on one of our sightseeing trips. So does that keep this piece from being abstract because it so closely resembles a map?

I seem to be struggling with this concept of abstract versus abstraction in my work. Labels, genres, categories and such seem to be for art historians so I shouldn't concern myself with this while I'm working. That said, it's always good to ask questions, and know where you are heading like looking at a map once in a while. I feel the work should have something to say, whether everyone gets it is another question entirely. I always say that images were used to communicate before written language and have the potential to communicate more directly than words. My work comes from my heart and usually communicates what I'm going through so maybe that's exactly why the work is a struggle right now. It's caught between representation and non representation as I struggle with whether to paint for an audience or paint purely for myself with no regard as to whether it will make it into a prestigious gallery or sell for a nice price. Is validation from an outside source as important as I perceive it to be?
Then on top of that I add working with a new medium just for kicks.
Here are some encaustic paintings I worked on this week.



These were 2 that I kind of liked. Another one I fought with for days wasn't even worth photographing. I was ready to just throw in the towel even though I'm not a quitter. I was thinking to myself maybe I should just be concentrating on oil painting and give up on the encaustic while I'm ahead and then I eek out one or two little things that keep me intrigued. This week it was gouging out lines, then filling them with a color and then scraping the whole surface smooth so that the fill color only shows in the gouged areas. That is called learning and then comes applying that knowledge appropriately and with finesse. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Picking Up Where I Left Off

September was a crazy month of painting fabric and nuno felting for my window display. When it was done I was exhausted and so anxious to get back to painting. Last week I cleaned and tried to return my studio to some kind of working state. I had these two canvases 26 x 36 inches that I decided to make a diptych and primed them a midnight blue. Boy, they looked dark. Today I took the plunge and did my first pour of oil paint on canvas since last May. There's some glare because the paint is wet.


It's a start and feels more successful than the messes I made in encaustic. I haven't worked in encaustic in a long while and I'm still struggling to get what I want. I feel like a foreigner or a child, or both. I feel like a child in a foreign land. When I first started working with it, that is what I liked about it. It was exciting, like traveling to a new place where you don't know the language and you don't know what you'll encounter. Now I'm finding I can work for hours without bringing a piece to completion. I layer, melt, scrape, and still no satisfaction. Frustrating. I guess it's like learning a foreign language. So I was thinking about how a child communicates. They have limited vocabulary but usually find a way to communicate their needs. Sometimes it's with a cry that communicates loud and clear. So I tell myself I need to simplify, resort to a limited vocabulary. I guess that can be scary sometimes, to drop the pretenses and just say what you mean. Another advantage children have, they don't mince words they just say what they mean without the superfluous adjectives. I'm trying too hard, I guess. I keep hoping the results will be worth all the struggle. Here's a few pieces I'm still working on.





Then I grabbed a small panel that had some colors smeared on it from when I needed to clean my brushes from time to time. I painted some dark brown circles, when in doubt paint circles, right? Then I layered and carved, drew with oil pastel, ran out of time and called it a day. I kind of like it, I mean I really think I like it. It's simple and to the point. What do you think?


Monday, October 5, 2009

Windows Throughout Old City

I completed my window display and installation at J. Karma Boutique at 62 N. 3rd St. in Old City Philadelphia! I worked myself to exhaustion and beyond. I'm happy with most of it, but there were I few things I wish I could have worked on but there just wasn't any time left. I installed on Thursday for 8 hours, up and down a ladder, every change I made I had to go outside to see how it looked from the street. Despite my inexperience in these things it went pretty well. I finished my sketch and a few small changes in the window on Friday. Now it's done and all I can do is take away the knowledge of what I'll do different the next time I do an installation.You can check photos of the other windows and vote for your favorite at (you know what I mean, vote for me.)Studio shots..

You are invited to join me at the opening in Old City.
Dane Decor is hosting an opening reception for the DesignPhiladelphia Old City Window Reception on Friday, October 9th, 5:30-9:00:
Hors D'oeuvres by Tastebuds Market
Wine Service by Pinot: They will serve Pinotini's! Pinotini's are Pinot's Specialty Drink of Raspberry Vodka blended with Pinot's own Cabernet Chocolate Sauce.
Everyone is invited to attend: Window Designers, Old City businesses, residents and their friends. Dane Decor will also have digital photos of windows around Old City in their showroom so everyone can see what is going on in the
Don't forget to vote for your favorite window at