Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So much to do, so little time

Tomorrow being 1 September, this date marks the real beginning of crunch time. Igor will be slowing down a bit up until Open Studios beginning on 18 September. My self imposed exile from him will also give me a small bit of time to do more research on portraiture, devise the "route" I'll take to get to where I want to be and remind a friend of mine that they may have a book with a photo of Igor that may depict him in a color photograph. Because of the period of history that Igor lived, most images I find are in black and white or sepia tone images.

The studio is a bee hive of activity mixed with a very generous helping of mild hysteria and concern. Think: fire department, building department, building codes. Even to the uninitiated, these words are the makings of a healthy dose of lunacy.

But, we go on. There is an art show to set up, prices to determine, walls to patch and paint, individual studios to clean, postcards to mail, evites to generate, exhibits in which to hang and participate, floors to scrub, wine to aquire, food to cook, details to look over and over again. Decisions to make. Life is good.

"stravinsky" progress

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Igor... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I take quite a bit of liberty with the Shakespearean quote, I know. But with a name like Igor, well... the only other person I know of in history as well known as Mr. Stravinsky is the able bodied (yet wildly misunderstood) assistant of the body part collector, Mr. Frankenstein.

I am spending a portion of each day at the studio taking a break from my Open Studios preparedness tasks (O.S.P.T.) to work on Mr. S. He's a welcome break as the tasks and chores of big show preparation can make a lass a might cranky, and we wouldn't like that now would we?

So to have a an actual painting commission to work on and as a bit of frosting on the cake, a oversized portrait, which happens to be a favorite subject and format, I must say that I am tickled by it all. The cherry on top would be the fact that I have the luxury of time. The clients don't expect the painting until November which gives me a full two months to go back and forth, ponder, reassess and put not only my creativity but my best work onto the canvas. If only all projects could be this ideal, yes?

Igor's progress

Friday, August 27, 2010

"here it is, I say here it is"

click on invitation to see a larger, more readable postcard for the Napa Valley Open Studios event. Hope to see you there!

If for some reason, you are unable to make one of the two weekends, contact me and I'm happy to arrange a studio tour.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

not unlike his music

Stravinsky's music, and specifically two that I'd cited, Firebird Suite and Rite of Spring. Abstract, bold, pushing the envelope. Just a few words of many used to describe his style. Not unlike the face itself. He is being depicted as a younger man, say around 1913 when Rite of Spring made it's Paris debut and caused scandal.

This may sound obvious, but when doing portraiture, it's all about the likeness. The artist either nails it or they don't and many times there's a single spot or subtleness to an area of the face that is the "thing" that captures the sitters or subjects essence.

I'm near there. Like walking on a path through a wood and knowing that the clearing that I'm familiar with is right around this corner... Luckily I have time to keep at the path for now
Stravinsky's progress
41"x64" oil on canvas


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Passion to composer of passionate music

Jumping off points, as they are, seem to be everywhere. My series that I've not officially ended but am stepping back from for a short bit called "the Passion series" has been replaced by a portrait of Igor Stravinsky, composer of passionate compositions such as "Rite of Spring" and "The firebird Suite"

Igor Stravinsky
oil on canvas

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Artists on eccentricity

*for the record, I did not make these up*

Creativity is a the heart of eccentricity.....David Weeks

What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?.....Theodore Roethke

Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence- whether much that is glorious- whether all that is profound- does not spring from sdisease of thought- from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.....Edgar Allan Poe

I dare affirm that any artist...who has nothing singular, eccentric, or at least reputed to be so, in his person, will never become a superior talent....Michelangelo

Sunday, August 15, 2010

holding back

Out of canvas, out of money for supplies, not out of ideas. Head exploding.

So many times I have been in this place and time. Seven weeks or so before a show, much to do in the way of mundane studio work like papering the backs of paintings, wiring them, logging them into my inventory, pricing and then of course, show prep itself: scraping all the flotsam and jetsam off of the studio floor, cleaning and making pretty, but oh, not too pretty. It is a working studio after all. Clients love to see the gritty underbelly of the life of an artist in their studio. So, the filthy paint brushes swimming in a soup of paint and turpentine will stay, my coffee can of same that was Reuben's before he died will stay. (heaven help the hand that tries to screw with it. I'm funny that way) My ever growing inspiration board and all the weird artifacts hanging off of the birch branches (also Reuben's) will stay.

I will anticipate the usual questions: "how long did it take to paint that?", "where do you get your inspiration?" "what do all these titles of these paintings mean?"

But can't paint. Nothing will be dry in time for the show. But, but, and that's a big butt, I can. I have one commission that I've just begun. It's a painting of the composer Igor Stravinsky. Sized 41"x64" and will reside in a place in the clients living room that looks down on the couples grand piano. Never more appropriate of a location I think.

Started today in the style in which has turned into a signature of sorts: big, bold and oversized. Igor, straight frontal view 3/4 of his face only. Will post image soon-
in the meantime...

a couple of views into the studio, pre show, warts and all. Thanks to my friend K for consistently encouraging me to photograph this type of thing. Of special interest would be the palette that is loaded with two months worth of paint from the passion series.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Passion" complete

My series, "Passion" is coming to an end. If only to say I've run out of canvases to pilfer, I've run out of cash and I feel like I have a respectable amount of paintings to show a cohesive body of work during open studios.
Once a series feels as if it's come to a natural end, I need to move to the next idea and inspiration. Of course, that begs the question, what is the next idea and inspiration? From where does it come? Age old question. How does an artist answer?
Travel? sometimes. Life's experiences? Many times. Observations? often. Often the next series happens from the last jumping off point.
Liz, who owns Gstudio, is hard at work selling my paintings and has a client currently very interested in work that's available. This can sometimes be that jumping off point. Last fall, when I completed my portrait of Giacomo Puccini, that was a jumping off point to other portraiture. I know that the jumping off point is the passion series, but to where? I'm still in the midst of it, enjoying it but to where do I go from here? I could easily paint more of these paintings because I feel like I have many, many more in me, but I've run out of cash and run out of old canvas. Reality takes hold and I have to think practically.
Napa Valley Open Studios: You're officially invited but I have to figure out how to attach the PDF file so you can view the catalog. Stay tuned.

"definitely monday"
oil on canvas

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

All you need is gum...Gum is all you need

Visiting my parents with my kids up in the great Northwest this week. Of course the trip is never complete without a trip to Pike Market and specifically Golden Age Collectibles, buried deep inside, two floors down, west stairway...who cobbled together this maze? I love it.
Bisecting the market is Post Alley, a bit of an underbelly approach to the market, as one enters into the market through a virtual tunnel, of well, gum. There's a giant gum wall located directly under the Post Alley sign, presumably to welcome visitors. My son Terzo was more than happy to oblige.