December 29, 2009

Just a great image I happened upon while noodling at the laptop

Spurred on by a link from LaRose for a recipe for Black-Eyed Peas that was missing the secret ingredient of salt-pork, or fatback, or a term I love, but was unfamiliar with- White Bacon, I discovered this amazing image on Wikipedia. White Bacon sounds way more lethal than saltpork and much more appetizing than fatback.

Being 99% vegetarian, I do not cook with animal fats nowadays. If I were to cash in my 1% meat card, I would do so for saltpork with my black-eyed peas for the New Year.

In lieu of fatback, I've been able to make a flavorful vegetarian option by sauteing onions until they're sugary brown. Cooking with vegetable stock is also a good idea. I also add a little celery. Serve with collards, save 3 peas on your plate for good luck, and know that 2010 will be fanf'ntastic.

White Bacon. That's great.

December 25, 2009

Good Lord. I hope I don't offend anyone with that post heading.

I'm back in L.A. I jailbreak Fang tomorrow. What a week. Of course now that I'm back it wasn't as dramatic as it was in situ, but when I'm in the thick of things, it's always more dramatic. Some things are just way too personal to discuss, unless I'm writing a treatment for a screenplay, in which case it would be perfectly acceptable to reveal all my mother's foibles. But I'm not, so I won't.


I took a boatload of pool pictures while in Nashville.

I am grateful for all the wonderful people who were in my life, especially this past year. It was a tough one. I am so looking forward to 2010.

I can't wait to get in the studio and paint.

December 22, 2009

FYI- my gmail account has been hacked.

...Sometime around 2:10 this afternoon it seems.
But that's the least of my worries right now.

December 18, 2009

Kind of like taking off the church dress and changing into play clothes.

One day I promise to set up the tripod and make pretty for these casual shots.

It has occurred to me that working out ideas in public might not be such a good idea. I mean, let's say you stumbled on this blog because you're looking for "My routine" or "My palette is a feudal system" and you see me talking about painting flowers like I just fell off the turnip truck. And because I'm an abstract painter, (yes, pigeonholing myself into a label works well for me, thank you) you see these gnarly half-flower things in progress. Makes you wonder, does it not? Makes me wonder too.

Have I mentioned Anne Truitt and how reading Daybook was an inspiration for me in the pre-blog era of the 80's. I read it when I was in my 20's and first starting out. I'd like to re-read that before the end of the year.

December 17, 2009

Dead flowers gasp for mercy killing. Painter refuses to give in.

in-progress: end of Day 5

in-progress: Day 4

in-progress: Day 2

Day 5:
I uploaded the top image at the end of the day today. Not much of a change, but better. I work in oils and rather wet, I might add, so the paint has to dry, or the linseed oil has to set, or the turp has to evaporate before I can continue. I'd like to fashion some tiny palette knives. It's moments like these when I miss Chicago. I discovered a factory in Chicago that made Bissel® type sweepers. I'm not sure if it was the Bissel® plant itself, but my point is that I knew exactly where I could go to find quality scrap metal available for the picking- the kind that would be perfect for making teensy tiny palette knives. I'll figure something out.

I'm trying to figure if I want to keep updating this post every time I make some changes to the flower painting. That seems more arduous than taking pics at the end of every day.

Now back to this morning's post....

There will definitely be some big changes today, but I thought I would attempt to honor my previous post where I stated I would upload this particular painting as it progresses, regresses, and flails for dear life. (I'm still shooting hand-held for these in progress shots, so be forewarned.)

You can well imagine that my flowers are dead by now and that I am trying to find a substantial reason to continue my quest to paint a bouquet of dead flowers. We have a small problem, no pun intended. Working abstractly on a small scale was interesting because of the scale change and for reasons having to do with abstract painting. Painting flowers at this scale is like baking a cake and watching my cake fall because I keep opening the oven door to check on how the cake is doing. For the record, I loathe metaphors, but it's all I've got.

December 14, 2009

Time to switch gears.

The holiday season is here, and while I have been less cynical then Dorothy Parker this year, I haven't been snorting pixie dust either. This time next week I will be in Nashville, and Fang will be in dog jail while I am gone. It is time to dive into the splendor of the season.

I worked on the second flower painting today and began washes on a third painting. After that I decided to work inside the house instead of continuing to work in the studio, and stretched three 14" x 11" canvases while watching mindless television. Every now and then, I just need to be surrounded by the warmth of a living room while I'm working. Tonight was one of those nights.

December 12, 2009

No rest for the wicked

I had a nice time at the party last night. The host has a lovely abstract art collection. Oh why yes, including one of mine, thanks for asking- and the company included a handful of other artist collector curator peoples. There was a guy who introduced himself and later appeared languid on the floor. I heard he falls asleep at parties. Some old habit from childhood. My kind of guy. I didn't get to chat with him though.

The joint was jumping with abstract painters. (There were at least four of us.) I covered up my affair with Representational Painting as best I could. I nodded and laughed in agreement with some of the things that stump abstract painters when filling out grant applications. "Who is your intended audience?" "Who is going to benefit from your project?" and of course the major one: "Describe your proposal." I forgot all the pithy answers, but I laughed a lot last night. Inside joke, I suppose, but it made me realize that I'm going to have a hard time carrying on behind Abstract Painting's back. Plus, I just kept starring at the abstract paintings hanging around. Hubba hubba. {sigh}

Tomorrow is the studio sale. Earlier this week, I handed someone a card I whipped up for the invite and they seemed honestly astounded at how professional it looked. I'm always a little taken aback in those situations. Maybe next time I'll use crayons and leave glue stains.

I'll be selling watercolors that have been hidden away in my flat files save one exhibition in Nashville. I was going to offer up more under-exhibited drawings, but next year I am in a 4-person show at the Brand Library and Art Center. It's a large space and I have decided to do a mini-retrospective of my works on paper installations. I woke up with that eureka! insight the other morning and feel quite good about knowing that.

I also made notecards of my studio flower photographs. They, too, look professional and are really quite lovely, actually.

December 11, 2009

I am on my way to a cocktail party.

My friend, Charmaine Anthony made these amazing earrings for me years ago. They're a wee bit dressy for everyday use. I like to think I'm wearing chandeliers.

I have to wear glasses to see tiny things. Like the computer screen.

Keywords for this evening: Artists, Tennessee, Los Angeles.

Day 2: of what, you ask?

Again, these are works in progress. (Taken hand-held at night with no flash, just for quickie upload purpose.)

I rarely, if ever, post or even photograph a painting after one session in the studio, but the bottom painting is after two sessions, close enough. The top painting underwent a few changes as well.

The pool paintings are on hold until I go to Nashville in a couple of weeks and take more reference photos.

I need to work on titles and write.

December 10, 2009

As promised

Day One: The Reincarnation of The Last Abstract Painting
(in progress)

Not that you would have known I made a promise, because I deleted it this morning, due to the mysterious rant about my STBX that made it's way into my post via some kind of trance I must have been in while writing. I allotted way more time than I should have wondering if I had spent the entire last year ranting about my divorce in public. In a quick search I only came across maybe three posts that used the word directly. Four, if you count the fact that I referenced my first divorce. Not bad.

Nonetheless, here you have a day of working on flowers. It's quite a bit more than a day, because underneath, and behind the flower, is an abstract painting formerly known as The Last Abstract Painting, a painting that for all practical purposes was finished, but needed a higher purpose.

My covenant was to start a flower painting and document it at the end of every day.
Since I don't know how many days I worked on it as TLAP, we'll roll over the time clock and mark its reincarnation, (sorry, can't help it) as day one.

Today I googled Manet's last flowers. Again.
Most of them seem to be at the Musee de Orsay.
There is a book titled The Last Flowers of Manet. It is available used. I have not ordered it. Yet.
I almost gave up on wanting to paint flowers, but I didn't.
I can't or don't want to start a painting by flowers directly- I need or want to have time to play on the canvas even if I am taking on a destination.
The more interesting the photograph, the less likely I am to want to work from it.
I am slightly intimidated by the history of painters who have painted flowers.
Flowers have a loaded history. So do landscapes, but flowers are so pedestrian and yet, there is something compelling about painting such an ordinary still life.
I feel slightly constrained by the thought of painting flowers, yet I want to.
I am going to document the painting and the process every day.
The flowers I painted were not really the flowers in my studio. You might have figured that out.

December 08, 2009

Reference Photos

I doubt I'll use these to paint from, but I like them, especially the dark ones.
I also like them as photographs, but don't encourage me. I need to stay focused.

Okay, encourage me. It seems like developing (No pun intended, I swear) some photography skills might be something to consider.

December 07, 2009

I am feeling a teeny tiny bit better today

Carnations and Clematis in a Crystal Vase, Musée d'Orsay, 1883

A bit better. Not much though. I know part of the problem is that I have not had time to paint unrestricted. I have had to juggle a few other things under a time constraint and the studio is a mess with not much space for play. I get irritable and grumpy if I go too many days in a row without solid studio time. I loathe that I am feeling like my studio is about to burst at the seams. and that THAT is part of my problem. I'm not much good under house arrest, as it were.

I have two projects lurking. One, the pool paintings and two, the flower paintings which I have not started. I took some reference pictures yesterday and today, but am too lazy to upload them this minute. I got the idea for the flower paintings because I was feeling sorry for myself and I thought I'd paint a series of sad bouquets to drive the point home. I mentioned this to a friend, who told me to check out Manet's flower paintings, the ones he did right before he died. I don't think my friend realized the gallows humor he inadvertently implied.

We're going to have to slog through this melancholia and deathwatch theme. I say, "We" because you're going to have to slog through it with me. It's either that or therapy, and since I'm boycotting using my health insurance right now- painting, it is. As an undergraduate, one of my favorite professors specifically thought that art should not be therapy. I agree to a certain extent, meaning, I don't think it's wise to work out unresolved emotional issues on a canvas and call it art. On the other hand, any port in a storm. I wouldn't say that I'm working out emotional issues with my paintings. Let's put a spin on that. While the abstract paintings were about the journey, it would seem that my recent interest in the abandoned swimming pool and now, flowers, is about the destination, as it were. And I might add, that destination, is a relative term, which brings me to...

I had a great semester at Otis. Really wonderful group of intelligent students. I got great reviews. Would have been damn near perfect except there's always one student who is the antithesis of my very being and doesn't appreciate my casual style of knowledge transference. Anh, whatdya gonna do? I've gotten into assigning vanitas as a final project. I don't know if I saw this somewhere or I came up with it myself. (And even if I did come up with it myself, I'm sure a gazillion others have assigned a similar project.) I've been doing it since I began teaching. It's my favorite assignment because I bend the rules and let them pick their own objects that are meaningful, or they can stick with interpreting or critiquing vanitas. The crits are great and we get to hear what's important to everyone and their view of life, really. Nearly all the work was spectacular. One student did a beautiful drawing incorporating a lotus flower in an hourglass and talked about her faith and how she was brought up to think of death like it was just another change of clothes. I like this viewpoint, and can understand how peaceful this might make people feel on earth. This is my new motto. I'm not dying, mind you. I'm just painfully aware of my mother's mortality, and for better or for worse, I find myself taking on some of my mother's idiosyncratic behaviours. I am not going to tell you which ones, but we live 2000 miles away from each other and I worry that I am perhaps puttering around the kitchen at the same time she is puttering around the kitchen, or that one day, I, too, will decide a plate is too fancy for everyday use and I will simply construct an aluminum foil square to eat off of. I realize of course, that this is due to what the doctor calls cognitive impairment, which I do not have, but it is freaking me out to see it in my mom. Anyway, yes, melancholia. paintings. flowers, pools. I am looking forward to 2010.

December 05, 2009

Truly, there are things which decorum will not allow me to post. But to hell with decorum.

What did decorum ever do for me? Nothing, I tell you. Social mores, the bane of my existence.

I'll just say that being an artist, cobbling together an income from (lack of)sales, and from (not)teaching in the California community college system, along with getting divorced during an economic recession, is not for the faint of heart. No siree Bob. Nor would I recommend a trip to the lawyer during the holiday season. What a downer. The whole thing really sucks. It doesn't help knowing I have two years to stay in this house before we have to sell it based on the other party's desire to sell- the other party, being my stbx and not much of a party, I might add- and that I need to move along. Nor did it help when my lawyer told me maybe I could find a cheap space in Chinatown, though it might not be the best neighborhood. Gotta fuckin love that advice. I'm surfuckinprised she didn't tell me where I could find a sale on cat food.

Moving along to the second part of my badass day, I would always suggest to go with your first instinct. I'm saying that in public, because tonight, in a totally unrelated event, I tried to be open and egoless to something that was in direct conflict to my gut instinct. It's all rather ridiculous to get my knickers in a knot about, but upon closer inspection the whole shenanigan doesn't bode well for me. The good news is that I've changed my mind about something and having made that decision, I anticipate sleeping better tonight. My ego will thank me and I can get on with business.

Alas, the day was not a total loss. The mail brought a delightful surprise. Fang collects art now, starting with a print by Sharon Butler. We're both pleased. Thank God for the mail. And for bonus points, I dislodged the seatbelt my dear friend, Meg accidentally shut the car door on- without breaking the door handle off, saving myself a trip to the bloody body shop. woo-hoo.

December 03, 2009

Alright then, I'm back to f*cking around in the studio.

The studio sale is in about one week. Lo and behold, I've never done one before. It's at my friend Meg's house, so I won't be carting over everything I'd be tempted to offer up in a studio sale if it were at my studio. Meg and I both are hesitant to be enthused about having a holiday studio sale. The very name conjures up patchwork and straw wreaths if you ask me, but I am taking my works on paper and... drum roll please.... grab bags. Yes, grab bags. I am excited about the grab bags. They are priced at $50 and $100. Not to sound like I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I can promise that it's one of those incredible deals you really shouldn't miss. At least one drawing in every bag is worth the suspense. And, I might add, the bonus of owning two art pieces in one: for unopened, the grab bag becomes it's own little artwork hermetically sealed for future generations. Brilliant, aren't I? Definitely something for the savvy collector to consider. I've been working on them today and tonight. The fun part is going back through the pile of need-to-be-reworked drawings and finally doctoring them up. It's like collaborating with myself. You can't tell from the scan, but I went back with this one and painted the disco ball squares with silver gouache.

And here's a mashup that will be in yet another charity auction exhibition to be held next Friday. WTF, it's a good cause, but for the record, I believe most auctions should give the artist 50% and the other half go to charity. Technically the organizers are ripping on the Incognito exhibit where no one is suppose to know whose work it is, but I seriously doubt my blog will be mobbed by the guest list prior to the event, so no worries on breaking my anonymity. They asked for a recycled drawing. I hate making things for themed shows and usually don't, but this was different because it occurred to me at the 13th hour to glom 3 drawings together that were aimlessly wandering around my flatfiles. The top drawing was a possible logo for myself. The middle drawing was done at LAX in front of the Starbucks kiosk while waiting for a flight, and the back drawing was some freaky-ass experiment that I couldn't toss out. The brad in the middle keeps them together, and you can rotate them, if you so desire.

All in all, a good day in the studio.

December 02, 2009

Dear Representational Painting,

Who do you think you are?!!! Are you even remotely aware that all those years I spent with Abstract Painting was because I didn’t think you and I had any thing in common? Yes, of course, I glanced at you in museums, art history books and other people's work, but it’s not like I ever egged you on, or invited you over to hang out by the pool. Oh wait. That’s exactly what I did. What was I thinking? Like maybe you’d be there for a weekend or two, tucked away in the guest house. I didn’t realize you were going to bring with you local color and your photo album, and set up shop. And how clever of you to leave John Ruskin’s Modern Painters, Volume IV, Part V, Of Mountain Beauty lying around. Nice touch book-marking page 336 and 337 so that I would stumble across such phrases as, “absolute joy in ugliness,” or the “love of terror,” or “Perpetual tampering with death.” You knew my weakness for Ruskin. You knew you could use him as bait. Curse you, Representational Painting.

It's rather inconvenient, R.P., for now I have to basically splay open my life and make myself even more vulnerable. (As if this blog wasn’t enough.) Abstract Painting was expansive and evasive enough to hide behind. I'm not terribly upset with you, just slightly shocked. You caught me by surprise. It's cool. After all, you and I are still creating a universe out of pigment and marks, but still, how do I know you’re for real? What kind of commitment do we have with each other? Are you planning on leaving after the pool paintings run their course? Do I need to know that now? I recently saw a Baldessari posted over at Sharon Butler's blog that reminded me why you chose such impeccable timing, and maybe that’s why A.P. disappeared. It’s okay; we’ll adjust to each other, but let’s take it slow. You’re even enticing me to work large again, not huge, just larger. Should I trust you? Shouldn't we get to know each other on an intimate level for a few months? I'm really into intimacy now. Abstract Painting might have mentioned that to you. In fact, it brought me closer to Painting. Well, literally, of course, but intellectually and um, yes, I'll say spiritually, though I don't toss that term out in public much. It gets a bad rap.

But back to us- what will the neighbors think? What if we fail? What if people don’t like us or compare us to what they think they know? A.P. and I thought it a preposterous assumption that people thought they knew what something should look like, but now that I’m with you, people might have different expectations. Conversely, what happens if we hit it off? I was committed to Abstract Painting, but I'm wondering if I'll get bored with you. I know A.P. wasn't exactly a spring chicken, but you? You were on friggin caves. I worry about our May December relationship. What if we find out we’re not meant for each other? Would we have wasted each other's time? Would I be reminded of our failed relationship every time I looked at you stacked in a corner, or would I look at you as another component to my sleeping army?

I'm being honest here-I had a good relationship with Abstract Painting. We had a lot in common until you swaggered in with that palette knife in your holster and started showing me photographs you took. I might need a little time to get used to us, and I hope you’ll understand if I need to see A.P. every now and then. Old habits are hard to break. Meanwhile I promise to keep showing up in the studio and see what happens. I will trust both you and A.P. have my back covered.

Yours truly,


December 01, 2009

Dear Abstract Painting,

Where are you and why have you forsaken me so? I noticed only recently that the last month of blog posts have pictures of representational images, mostly of abandoned empty pools, signifying decay and loss and death, along with iPhone drawings of objects in my life, depicting the passage of time. You, Abstract Painting, are nowhere to be found. I went back 31 days. Nada.

You were about the journey. We never knew where we'd wind up. Then without warning, you duck out of the studio like a fair-weathered friend. I suppose I can't call you a fair-weathered friend. You've been there for close to 25 years minus that little 9-year affair I had with video in the 90's. I thought you were a has-been, but when the conversations with video became shallow and strained, you were there and open for discussion. I don't know what I expected you to do. You must have seen it coming. There were signs- like photographs, for instance.

You've obviously had enough of the garish colors, the odd juxtapositions, the this, the that. It's tough always being on the road. I know you're tired. We worked hard together. Sure, I pushed you, but we made some friends, saw some places. It was good, but there was always the self-doubt that we couldn't communicate effectively or that we didn't put out. I thought scaling down might give us both a rest, but even then, I relentlessly pushed you to to stand your own ground. We even read John Ruskin together. Good Times, Abstract Painting, Good Times.

Don't blame yourself. It was me. I wanted to simplify my life. Less mess, more directness, less chaos, and how about an end in sight? Remember those four days I spent in Santa Rosa a few years ago? It was with a plein air workshop. I said I needed it in order to teach a class. It was just a few landscapes, but maybe that was the beginning of looking for something more tangible, more secular. I forgot about it. They didn't mean anything, but you must have known I was sketching in my watercolor book. Let's not pretend I wasn't looking at the real world.

And then I saw The Pool. I see it in the distance every year, of course, but that time it was different. We were close. I can't explain. I mean, for 12 years, it was almost the first thing I saw every morning, so when I saw a bamboo tree growing out of it, it hit me: time really is going in one direction and everything is temporary. I thought I got it out of my system with one painting, but a year later, there were three more. Then the iPhone sketches. I kept meaning to get back to you. I promise. I didn't mean to turn my back. I didn't mean all those things I said about not finding you compelling anymore. That was the linseed oil talking. I stood by you when people called you "decorative." I defended your right to look good, even though we both couldn't stand design. Remember how we used to mock design? That was fun. Sure, some people thought we were just slinging paint, but we didn't care. We had a mission. I enjoyed our conversations. Remember how I always compared our sessions to a good game of chess? I would mention that photograph of Duchamp playing chess, and then I remembered that he stopped painting, so I didn't bring it up as often. I miss you Abstract Painting, but I respect your need to lay low while I see other styles for a bit, and explore some things you might consider too traditional. It's okay. I trust you'll come back when the time is right. In the meantime, feel free to help yourself to anything in the studio.



November 30, 2009

Save the Date

Holiday Open House, Open Studio

Come join us for a holiday studio sale here in Los Angeles on December 13th, 2009

Mary Addison Hackett
Marla Johnson
Meg Madison
Rosalyn Myles

Holiday Open House, Open Studio
Painting, Photography, Jewelry, Mixed Media & Textile Art.

Sunday Dec 13th
11am to 5pm
461 N. Citrus Ave, Los Angeles
(Corner of Rosewood Ave, South of Melrose, West of Highland)

November 29, 2009

I'm almost giddy with the prospect of going to bed at 10pm tonight

Yes, the holidays were quite fun. I had the Human Snow Globe staying with me for a few days; I was invited to an incredible potluck with fantastic food and company; I saw, and paid attention to people performing on the promenade; I was invited to a dinner at a friend's and saw the most amazing view of the city I have ever seen; I rode my motorcycle to my meeting this morning and had lunch with a group of bikers who are like brothers to me; another artist offered to trade a painting with me and unless they change their mind, I feel like I won the lottery; and after noodling around on facebook trying to figure out why the open studio event I created did not publish as a calendar event, I am ready to dive into my cozy bed in 12 minutes flat.

What a fantastic weekend. There's more, but I'm at T-10, so gotta run.

More on the studio event tomorrow. I am dead serious about being in bed with lights out at 10pm tonight.

November 28, 2009

Non Groundbreaking News: six bank statements to reconcile

Seriously, how much post holiday fun can one have? I ate pumpkin pie for breakfast so theoretically I've already cashed in on my reward system.

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving eve. Cooking √.

It's Thanksgiving eve. I have already prepped my dish for the potluck tomorrow. Pan-seared grits with braised red cabbage. Yum-yum.

I recently applied for a residency at the last minute, desperately hoping to take a break and work at the same time. I received my notice today. Anytime a letter starts off with, thank you for applying....I'm certain my eyes glaze over, and yet, I still love the mail. I was offered the residency, but did not receive a full fellowship, plus, the slot I applied for was full. I'm on the waiting list, with the possibility of some merit based grant money, but winter would have probably killed me anyway. I was encouraged to reapply for a full fellowship at the next DL, which I may do. I'm unable to do a residency without a full fellowship. That's a simple fact of life right now.

Which has got me rethinking where I'm at with the small paintings, the pool paintings, abstraction etc. My solo with KE gallery is not until next fall, I have a 4-person show in the spring, and another opportunity knocked but I'm not sure I can schedule that or talk about it right now. I'm suddenly feeling the need to paint larger again, and simultaneously, not sure if I want to, but feeling like I need to, in order to build up some gravitas. My never-ending battle of Id vs. Ego vs. Super-ego.

I am grateful and thankful tonight. As I heard this evening, "Figuring it out is not one of the slogans."

November 24, 2009

More Untitled

My goal is to actually use disposable palettes, but no, I just keep piling out paint on my glass palette, even as I am trying to scrape it clean.

These are four more oil paintings on canvas board that will find there way over to the smaller work blog soon. They're still wet. I am also trying to not work infinitely on one painting until there is no more room for a single brushstroke. You may also notice I have limited my palette to colors found in nature.

I was at a brunch meeting yesterday with a passel of artists (okay, maybe 20 artists.) We've been invited to participate in a curatorial project over in Italy. The first part of the exhibition was held this past summer. One of my smaller abstract paintings went over for that exhibition. It took place in the archaeological museum in Ameila, Italy. Roughly and in a nutshell, the premise of the exhibition is part cultural exchange, part contextual exchange. There are two more exhibitions within the framework of the project. Next year, a show here in L.A., and next summer, a response exhibition in Italy again.

Which is all to say that as I was talking to John, the curator of the exhibition, about my new empty pool paintings, he mentioned the landscape artists from 17th century Italy that depicted romanticized ruins. He later sent me several links for research. I have a minor in art history, so it registered in my image databank, but it's been awhile since I've looked in that direction.
Among the exponents of this »romantic« approach to the landscape were the artists of »Rovinismo«, in whose paintings images of grottoes and ruins played a significant role. These painters emphasised the gloomy, bizarre aspects of crumbling, overgrown architecture and grottoes, integrating them into richly suggestive scenes veiled in mystery. With their picturesque appeal, such images call to mind pagan mystery plays or the cult activities of forbidden secret sects.
Sounds perfect!

It's lame to leave them Untitled. I know that.
Titles are important to me and I have not been able to access the time and space needed for that just yet. I'm merely staving off the inevitable.

November 23, 2009

One more note about ARTRA.

I met with my Otis students yesterday and we talked about the ARTRA show. It was a fantastic discussion. Curatorial premise, cultural differences and expectations, commodification, what inspires people to make art, materials used, the space in which we look at art, what it all means etc. Most of my students are not fine art majors. It's a Sunday class, so I've got a good cross-section and they're smart. Most of them are interested in design of some sort. Yes, I know, it's funny since I tend to be the anti-christ of design, but anyhoo, the one thing that surprised me was to hear some of them talk about how difficult it is to SEE art here in L.A. Unlike NYC, where you amble by a gallery and stop in- here, you have to make a concerted effort to visit a gallery. Many of my students said they found the commercial setting of galleries intimidating since they don't plan on buying art. Therefore, they didn't feel like a gallery was a place to make a special trip just to look at art. Seeing as artists, we're ingrained from day one to look as a much art as we can, I don't think it occurred to me that galleries would be an intimidating place to look at art. Ironic, no?

It does require effort to look at art. I have to schedule it on my calendar. I'm not so great with openings. I go to openings to say hello to people and I am notoriously remiss at attending more than 2 or 3 openings in an evening. Sometimes I'm notoriously remiss at attending one opening in an evening.

I'll post some new work later on. The Furry One is demanding my attention right now.

November 22, 2009

Try Harder posted some pics of ARTRA

And this is the link where you can see my work.

While you're there, check out other works from the exhibit and other events going down in LALA. Nice camera work, too.

Day 3 of reminding you that I have works on paper and canvas board for sale over at smaller works.
Wish List: For Christmas, I'd like the gift of Time. Just in case you're wondering.

November 21, 2009

I feel like I'm undergoing a personality change. I think it's good though.

Enjoyable and Productive.

I am taking a break. Technically, most of the afternoon was a break, My friend Susan was in town so I picked her up from Union Station and we came back to Culver City so she could see my studio and we could catch up. Prior to that I had a productive morning in the studio working on some new small oil petches/skaintings to hawk over at my smaller works site. I love painting. Really. I just do. I love to paint. I still amaze myself at how captivating it is to slosh pigment around and have it make sense.

I RSVP'd to a friend's super tony opening and had every intent on stopping by on the way back from dropping Susan off at Union Station this evening, but the velvet roped line of people out front of Royal T deterred me. I had no idea I would have to stand in line or I would have dressed for the affair.  Instead, I was wearing vintage 501's and a Gap shirtdress that looks like a hospital gown. I was comfy, but not exactly high fashion. I felt bad. That's 2 out of 2 friends whose openings I  didn't make out of being totally exhausted or otherwise deterred by obstacles. If I ever get to the point where people have to stand in line to see my art,  I will totally forgive my friends who aren't into standing in lines. I promise. There are enough people in the world who like to stand in lines, so it should work out perfectly.

Thus I had more time to work on the smaller works site and upload a couple of new images from the iPhone prints before bedtime. I'm pretty excited that the iPhone prints may at one point become small lucid paintings. Have I mentioned I love to paint. Yes, I think I did.

Whew. That might not look like a full day, but after spending a couple of hours in traffic on the LA freeway system with a brief stop at the grocery store, it filled out quite nicely.

Okay then, from now until the first of the year, I plan on shamelessly self-promoting my smaller works blog as well as The Fine Art Department website.

November 18, 2009


Act II got lost.

First off, The folks behind Blogger are amazingly f'n dimwitted. The new updated post editor does not- get this, DOES NOT, have a spell checker! WTF? I mean, sure, I think we should spell things all proper and look words up in the dictionary. Builds character. But to NOT have a spellchecker in an UPDATED version is like mind-bogglingly mind-boggling. Okay. it's useless to rant about it. I went back to the old post editor.

Tracy took action and prompted everyone on The Fine Art Department website to update their info, upload new works, etc etc. Part of the etc etc was asking everyone for their facebook fanpage. Ugh. The dreaded fanpage. Sure, Fang can have his own fanpage cuz he's a dogstar, (The real deal, not Keanu Reeves' band.) but moi? I tried to have followers on this blog and after only 4 people were following me, I removed it. I am self-conscious, even in cyberspace.

So, in case you weren't listening on facebook and missed my opening this weekend, here's a decent pic of Mike Vegas and I in our space. We had never met before, so it was fun to meet someone new. That's Mike in front of his photograph. I will take liberty here and assume it's titled, Super. That's me in front of SOSSOL. I love that painting. It will find a good home one day.

November 16, 2009

Act I

I tend to fuss and fidget when I have a million things to do. I also tend to exaggerate. I don’t have a million things to do. Maybe ten, but they're time-consuming.

The house and studio were hit by a hurricane last week. Not literally of course, but I like the analogy. I now have to clean and straighten, and put like with like.

The ARTRA exhibit was fun. I met some artists I hadn’t met before and of course, The Public. The Public was nice too, though some people in the public were a little too attached to their public persona. I noticed. With my Quiet Observational Skills. She said.

Now that it’s after the fact I will confess a couple of things. My mailing list is in need of updating and streamlining. I was unable to email everyone on my ML about the exhibit this past weekend. I had to prioritize tasks and the ML merge did not get accomplished. Instead, random invites were sent. If your first name started with an A, B, C, D, E, or F, I think you got an invite. I also sent the mass FB invite, which is the social networking equivalent of leaving flyers on parked cars. Today I began the delete phase of my ML- cutting places no longer in business and people whose emails bounce back or who I can no longer recollect how I got their name. Phase two is adding all the names and emails I have collected over the past couple of years, but have not entered. Phase three will be uploading the emails to a ML subscriber service like MailChimp.

My other confession is that I did not feel compelled to rent a truck and bring any of the big paintings. The unit was a 1BR loft, and after working in a cramped 2-car studio garage, it was nice to see some wall space around the pieces. I showed some of the smaller works and they got a good response. I was appreciative at the end of the second day when a painter whose work I like, but who I had not previously met, complimented the small paintings and commented how small paintings were difficult. I like when people notice that I work hard and that my hard work is successful. I am partial to the small paintings for a myriad of reasons, which I will address more in depth after the intermission.

All the hipster artdogs were out with their hipster artdog owners. I considered bringing Fang on the second day. I entertained that thought for about 30 seconds. Then I entertained the thought of someone dropping a pretzel on the floor and trying to pick it up before Fang got to it.


November 15, 2009

DAY 2: ARTRA "HERE AND NOW" 12-5 Loft #332.

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday, and in advance, to those who plan on making it out today.

Yesterday's event was pleasant. I forgot a sweater. Nine years in LA and I still imagine California to be a tropical climate. Foot traffic was good. The automated espresso machine in the courtyard was a lifesaver.

November 14, 2009


Super quick post before I load up last minute necessities and lumber out the door.

bar stools √
pretzels √
water √
cherry coke zero √
Tota lights for when it gets dark √
new paintings to show special people, and aren't all people special? √
laptop √
cords √
camera √
PictureMate and paper
ego √
thick skin √
quiet observational skills √

Okay, Team MAH, let's lock and load.

November 12, 2009

Real Painters Use Paint.

#35 Get off the Couch

Yes, so I'm in the real studio today cleaning my real painting table off and have another painter coming over to take a look at the pool paintings-the real ones that smell like oil paint.

I'm stymied by my lack of interest in making abstract work on the iPhone. It just doesn't hold my interest right now. I think it has to do with it being virtually impossible to make an honest abstract mark on the iPhone. It LOOKS like a painterly blob, but it's not created the same way as a painterly blob. The abstract painting on the iPhone is simply a image of what an abstract painting would look like, not what it actually is. That, and I'm really into the the banal images representing my life right now.

Wait a second....

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November 11, 2009

I'm so hooked on this.

I just discovered digital printmaking Nirvana. They're gorgeous-absolutely stellar, drop-dead lovely.

I dusted off my PictureMate, cleaned the head about 20 times, and have printed out two test prints on matte photo paper. It's like the digital art equivalent of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

#25 Clock Radio

iPhone sketch #25

November 09, 2009

ARTRA at T-Lofts this weekend: 332

If you're in Los Angeles, stop by. We're in Loft 332*
ARTRA at T-Lofts
Nov 14th, Nov 15th, 12-5pm
11500 Tennessee Avenue
Los Angeles, 90064

Catalog available

*I'm pretty sure it's 332, but if not, it's a variation of that number such as 322 or 329. Based on my memory and the floorplan, I'm going with 332.

I'm back from installing paintings. It looks good. I'm showing with Mike Vegas, an artist who I had not previously met, but we have mutual friends.

It's an event-food, drinks, music, DJ's somewhere. I'm tempted to set up a print corner and pass the time by making sketches of my paintings using Brushes and then print them out as 4" x 6" prints.

Speaking of which...
I think this is obvious-but in case you need to buy a vowel, those are German Shepherd ears silhouetted against the bedroom window.

Clock Radio coming up. I'm being prolific again.

November 06, 2009

Collated and Mailed.

I want a prize.

The grant was deceptively simple, yet unnecessarily complex. TWENTY-SIX pages to wade through. For real. And— AND, there was conflicting information about what to include and how to include it. I mean, if it was a 1-page grant app, sure, I can think outside the box and wing it, but I'm thinking with 26 pages and explicit directions, perhaps a little proofreading might have been a good idea.

The good news is that I'm set to whip it out in no time at all next year. I'm also really pleased about my project proposal and how it ties back in to some work I did about 15 years ago. Unfortunately it's not exactly big happy art-it deals with my mom's memory loss and um, you know, that inevitable thing other than taxes, but I'm hoping my wicked sense of inappropriate humor will lighten it up.

My next scheduled administrative task MUST be completed this weekend and then I swear I'm going to do nothing but paint.
Oooooh, but wait! I've printed out a hi-rez image of my Brushes iphone sketch, #25 clock radio. OMG, I'm in love with my iPhone. Okay, paint, and make iphone sketches- that's all I'm going to do.

Stay tuned for affordable prints!

November 03, 2009

Dharma Zen Center Silent Auction Nov. 7th

Curated and organized by David McDonald. Online preview and bidding available through November 7th.

Please come to our live auction/sale to benefit the Dharma Zen Center this Saturday the 7th from 6-9 p.m. To view all the items to be auctioned go to and click on the auction link. Over a 100 items are available with over 50 works of original art included. Items being auctioned include guitar lessons, reiki treatments, trips, gift certificates, jewelry, and art lessons.

The artworks on view will be sold for $108 except for works by Steve Roden, Lecia Dole-Recio, Joanne Greenbaum, and Laura Owens which will be auctioned with bids starting at $108 and increasing in increments of $50.

Artists: Kim Abeles, Lisa Adams, Maura Bendett, Cherie Benner Davis, Leonardo Bravo, Lynne Berman, Dove Bradshaw, Annie Buckley, Jamison Carter, Cole Case, Katy Crowe, David D’Andrade, Caryl Davis, Steve DeGroodt, Lecia Dole-Recio, Sam Erenberg, Nancy Evans, Joanne Greenbaum, Phyllis Green, Margaret Griffith, Mary Addison Hackett, Ruth Hardinger, Sarah Hinckley, Mary Jones, Dion Johnson, Virginia Katz, Barbara Kerwin, Mara Lonner, David McDonald, Robin Mitchell, Timothy Nolan, Laura Owens, Carolie Parker, Jeanne Patterson, Joan Perlman, Katie Phillips, Michael Pierzynski, Pam Posey, Max Presneill, Jessica Rath, Lucas Reiner, Rebecca Ripple, Steve Roden, Kate Savage, Fran Siegel, Carol Silverstein, Kathryn Spence, Maggie Tennesen, Devon Tsuno, Cheryl Walker, Alexandra Wisenfield, Megan Williams, and Andre Yi

I need new business cards, too.

Tuesday Morning's Brushes Sketch.

I am drifting into a parallel universe where things look like words from the dictionary.

November 02, 2009

Take care of the work.. The work should take care of you.

"To take care of my work as best I know, really put everything into my work, and the work would return that to me..."

-excerpt from interview with Julie Mehretu, page 135, Inside the Painter's Studio, by Joe Fig

October 31, 2009

Pumkin carving skills are rusty. Would not have gotten in art school with a carved pumpkin.

Not that I went to Art School, proper. I have a Liberal Arts education for some reason.

I was going to bail on Halloween this year. I'm not a costume person. Go figure. Nor am I a witty pumpkin carver person either. My artistic skulls end at bad puns, painting, making stuff out of nothing and a ghost of other things. Being the Martha Stewart of pumpkin carving is not on the list.

It might help if I were to design a pumpkin, working up some sort of blueprint in advance. It might also help if I were to use my woodcarving tools instead of a jackknife. And perhaps the slasher approach is a bit hasty. Nonetheless, a pumpkin is on the front porch, and there is too much candy in the house.

October 28, 2009

Guess where I was yesterday.

˙ɯooɹ ƃuıʇıɐʍ ǝɔıɟɟo s,ɹoʇɔop :ɐ

I am drinking pedestrian coffee this morning because I wanted the 32 oz Chock full o' Nuts can.

I grew up in a Maxwell House coffee drinking family. I believe at a certain point my dad switched over to either French Market or Cafe Du Monde. Next time I visit, I'll look in the garage for old cans. I am sure they are there.

October 26, 2009

This is a deadline week.

I don't think I should log in again until I can check some BIG things off the to-do list. My mantra for this week: Art office work is the result of art studio work.

October 24, 2009

Special offer-Other People's Rants

This weekend you may use the comment section of this post to air an anonymous rant.

The views expressed in this section are the views of the ranter and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Process or its author, MAH. Process does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this comment section and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of the rant.

Perhaps I work better under pressure.

I seriously need to quit facebooking and blogging obsessively out of nervous avoidance.

I've been so focused on the crap-ish stuff this year, that all I've done is work in the studio painting away like a troll while rehashing my day in word documents as therapy, and facebooking and blogging in lieu of recreational drug use.

And now, end of OCTOBER, (like when did that happen?) I'm suddenly aware of all the good stuff in the works and the momentum needed to adequately prep for these things. I'm good with time management. My friend Meg thinks so. Other people think so too, though they haven't seen my venetian blinds or the protective layer of dust and dog hair around my water heater. For God's sake, I was drinking moldy soy milk on my cereal and didn't even know it. I smelled like bleach all day after that discovery. Not to imply that I drank bleach, but that I scrubbed the inside of the Tupperware jug until it sparkled. Sparkled. Time management comes at a price.

First up, is to finish my grant app for the Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs. I have noticed a pattern this year- whining about stuff, reckless procrastination and finally, determination and action. It takes what it takes.

Next up is a benefit auction for the Dharma Zen Center, November 7th from 6-9. I think the works will be available for purchase online. (Not sure about this yet) All proceeds go toward the Zen Center. I thought the image below was very zen like. It's from 2007.

The following week, November 14th and 15th is a group exhibit, ARTRALA. There will be a catalog available of the exhibit.This should be fun. I would love to haul my flatfiles over there or at least have a table available for works on paper. I need to start thinking about this. This could be the best idea I've had all year.

Between now and mid-November, I've been asked to submit some images and a statement of the work I created during a residency at Kaus Australis (Rotterdam, Netherlands) in 2004. Carl Berg is putting together a catalog of artists he selected for the residency. I'll repost when it becomes available.

And last, but definitely not least, I need to stretch some 11" x 14"s and probably order some more 5" x 7"s and maybe some 16" x 20"s before the end of the year.

There could be more, but that's all for tonight.

October 21, 2009

Alrighty, then.

SOSSOL, 2008
30" x 24"
mixed media on canvas

Life is very funny. I wrote the following post late last night after angsting over whether the above painting was too rough around the edges to be a catalog image for an upcoming exhibit. I will tell you the punch line after the post.
An assistant would be nice. Today, for instance, I could have wasted even more time making Brushes sketches. Instead, I slogged through real work. I had to pick an image for a catalog for an upcoming exhibition and was procrastinating. I really like the image I selected, but it's not very pretty in the traditional sense and it falls under the category of, Odd Paintings I Make. It's not exactly a one-off, it's more like a deviation. At the last minute though, I chose to add an additional image, a prettier one. Choices are so hard.

Speed Trap, 2008
mixed media on linen
14" x 16"

I was playing favorites with SOSSOL. Why? Because I was feeling super contrary and SOSSOL appealed to my super-contrarian outlook yesterday. Trying to be objective, aka second-guessing myself, I began rationalizing that SOSSOL might not appeal to as many people as Speed Trap and if there's a chance to sell some art, as opposed to pretending I live on air and am satisfied with merely exhibiting my work for the greater humanitarian good, maybe I should promote peaches, not potatoes. I included the bottom image, Speed Trap, as a back-up in case I had lost my senses. I have no idea which image they picked, but that's another story.

Okay. Now for the punch line- Today I received a call from an art consultant* I recently began working with and she wanted to send out an email blast with- you guessed it, SOSSOL. (She picked a few other images, but I was terribly excited that she picked that one and another one from that body of work.)

Today, I feel very brilliant. For some reason, I love it when people like my schizoid paintings. (Mwahahahaahhaha)

* I was trying to play this down, but since it's L.A., what the hey. I thought having my foot in the door with a consultant that rents to film production companies might be an interesting way to spice things up. I once rented a couple of paintings to a set designer for the production of Blink
when it was filming in Chicago. It's a little weird to think about art contextualized this way, but probably no more so than any other contextualization.

I shall talk about practicalities versus ideals another time.

October 20, 2009

A peek inside MY drawers.

I wish I could take credit for that scintillating title, but Tracy came up with it first and I'm not feeling very creative in the post title department today.

A huge part of my oeuvre is works on paper. Oddly enough I haven't exhibited them much and the flat files are stuffed to the gills. Unless it's being held for an exhibit, most everything in the drawers is for sale. Don't be shy. The photos are all iPhone, so forgive the crappy resolution.

First of all, everything in my studio is on casters. I like to move things around. One day, maybe it will all be just so. Until then- casters. Currently the flat files are by my sink with an old dropcloth protecting a piece of white laminate I had cut to size. The white laminate makes a nice top for the files just in case I ever want a clean, unobstructed surface. After I wash my brushes, I lay them on the top to dry. I also have several bottles of water stored on top. Most of the water is flat and one bottle specifically serves as a place to hang my studio keys.

Part of my rock collection is in a tray on top of a small table on top of the flat files. I recently acquired a large paper cutter, so it lives on top of the flat files for now. There's also some crap I need to put away. My seller's permit is framed and displayed conspicuously on the wall above the files. I can't even remember the last time I wore those rubber gloves. Rubber gloves give me the creeps.

The 2009 paintings are small. Most of them are on linen and they live in the top drawer now. I think I can fit one more inside. The rest are on the wall or on a bench. They look gawdawful squished next to each other like that. Talk about a visual cacophony. Jeesh.

The second drawer used to be the first drawer. It contains the smaller watercolors and gouaches on museum board and paper. My scatological drawings on paper live here as well.

The third drawer is where the unframed Tornado Face Drawings hang out, along with miscellaneous works on paper.

The fourth drawer is where the large watercolors live including watercolors from the late 1980's. Some even larger ones live at my storage unit.

But wait there's more! Still in the fourth drawer, we have even more watercolors and works on paper of all sizes. It's a veritable watercolor bonanza in there.

The bottom drawer is where my stockpile of blank paper is. In case all hell breaks loose, my goal is to have enough paper to last through Armageddon so that I don't have to dash to the store in the middle of it. God, I would hate that. Traffic would be a bitch here in L.A. and I'm sure there would be a run on art supplies with people trying to record the end of time and all.

I bought my flat files from a second hand office supply store. I left the former owner's labels on them. By the looks of the handwriting and the contents, I'm guessing NOT a painter. I can't remember if the arrow magnets were already there or if they were an impulse buy I couldn't live without.

And what recent post would be complete without my new obsession, a Brushes animation?


No wonder Hockney loves Brushes.

(some of them get stuck before they finish and you have to hit replay, but overall, not too buggy.)

October 19, 2009


OK, I figure when I see three references to the Brushes app within a week, it's time to download it and give it a whirl. I love being able to see my decision-making process looking so stream-lined. I'm hazarding a guess that in the studio, it's quite a bit messier. I'll do an abstract later on.

October 17, 2009

October 16, 2009

"The purpose of this book is to dissolve fears often associated with perspective drawing-

The Burchfield Exhibit

Watercolors have to go into dark storage for a minimum of five years after being on exhibition. I knew they were kept in the dark and not exhibited much for obvious reasons having to do with light, but I did not know the minimum 5-year rule after being on exhibit.

The Burchfield exhibit is beautiful. It also made me sad. They are not happy-go-lucky paintings. They are beautiful, but not light. I attended the lunch talk on Wednesday. I don’t know exactly what it was that made me identify with a man who would be 116 years old if he were still alive today, but there I was, starring at the paintings like I knew some secret. I wasn’t looking so much at how they were painted, which as a painter, I’m wont to d0- I was in his studio or at the breakfast table or whatever, writing “hamburger” on a scrap piece of paper and doodling around it.

Christopher Knight reviewed the exhibit in the L.A. Times, calling it “an artist’s show.” Burchfield’s notes, sketches and journals are on display along with books, catalogs and some magazine profiles of him in his studio. I can’t remember the name of the magazine, but in one there was a rather mundane photograph of his brushes, describing what kind they were and how he used them. It identified them as 3/4 of their actual size. In another image, we learn how he stretched his watercolor paper. Half the exhibit feels like it’s a glimpse into the working process of the artist, and to quantify it as half is silly. The documents, writings and “doodles” room, which is like the brain of the entire exhibit and quite the opposite of "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain," infiltrates the remainder of the exhibit- the exception being the wallpaper room, which is beautifully compartmentalized and shows the work he produced during that period of his life. Maybe this is just my read, but the wallpaper room felt oppressing, intentionally so, like holding down a wallpaper design job and painting fine art was a burden. Working for the man sucks.

After the talk, I asked about the photograph of Burchfield in his pitch-black studio and was told that he was a bit of a loner, didn’t care for the city, didn’t socialize much and didn’t even go to his own opening at MoMA. I can’t remember how that explained his cave-like studio, but apparently it does. I later went to the hardware store and bought another clamp light for my studio. I love the picture of Burchfield in his studio, but I'm also craving light in mine right now.

I didn’t want to leave the gallery. I envied the guards. Sure it was a rainy day here in the city, but knowing the watercolors will hit a couple of venues and then go back into the dark made me want to stay and memorize the works. There is so much symmetry to the exhibition. Here's a clip by Robert Gober describing his curatorial decisions.

Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield
October 4 - January 3, 2010
Currently at the Hammer Museum in collaboration with the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College.

October 15, 2009

In a few days there may be a flurry of new posts.

Or Not.
I keep writing snippets, short paragraphs about one thing and then I have to get back to work, so I move on, thinking I'll get back to whatever it was I was writing about.

Currently we have the following topics on hold:
  • The Burchfield Exhibit
  • Inside My Studio
  • How the grantwriting app is coming along
  • My inner conflict with painting representational.
  • My inner conflict with painting small.
  • Sudden dissatisfaction with my studio after looking at everyone else's studio. I am so never satisfied. What a princess I am.
  • What's it all about, anyway?

I may post these unrelated posts as was, but meanwhile what I'm doing right now is unpacking a box of art supplies that Matt boxed up for me when he and his siblings went home to empty out his parent's house. Matt and I are still on speaking terms and I guess we're doing a decent job at being friends, considering.

My mother-in-law was an artist, not a professional artist, but a woman who raised six kids and taught kindergarten in a small town in Wisconsin and made art her entire life. After retiring, I think she worked mostly with pastels because she and my father-in-law traveled around the country quite a bit in a motor home. Pastels and beading were easy to carry around while traveling and doing the motor home camping thing.

I worked with pastels in my 20's when I had insomnia once, but I thought they might be nice to experiment with for some sketches. Unfortunately they didn't survive the Media Mail transit very well. By the looks of it, they drag the boxes behind the mail truck when it is marked Media Mail. There was also a bunch of brushes, some paper, some vintage how-to books and the big surprise was an extensive rock collection, most of which is labeled. Matt thinks she might have used this in show and tell.


So much has changed in the last decade. Change is good of course, but often unsettling. I pride myself on adapting to situations and crea...