June 29, 2009

Please, Let Me Sleep And Hey, Look At This New Painting

Please, Let Me Sleep
I should be uploading some hi-res images for someone to look at, but I'm so frigging tired that I'll have to do in the morning, plus I misplaced the titles of two of the paintings which happen to be in storage, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow in order to check the titles anyway. Movers adage, "Touch only once." I also need to take better photos of a couple of them.

This is what I get for slacking off on my office work and not being so anal about documenting every single thing right after I make it. It's also what I get for procrastinating on titles and pretending I can live in general chaos while I focus only on painting.

I bought Aperture® a couple of years ago and although it has proved excellent for quickly resizing multiple images, it crashes every other minute, sometimes seconds and no, I am not lying or exaggerating; therefore, I do not trust it to be THE database for all my images. I wish I could, but until I have a few hours to kill with tech support, I have another really crappy database system in place. It's called, Folders with Tiff Files And The File Names Are Sometimes Too Long to Store All the Info, So It Too, is Imperfect. Functional, yes, but barely. Expedient, no.

Since I paid good money for Aperture, I intend on one day leaning how to be a power user, along with forcing it to not crash, but in the meanwhile, I'm curious what software or system others use to track inventory. Please share.

And Hey, Look At This New Painting

I'm stumped. It's a freak of studio nature and I don't know what else to do with it. I'm mesmerized by how it doesn't remotely look like anything I've ever done. It just somehow appeared like this. I swear. It's like it followed me home or something. Normally, I would call this an in-between stage and continue to muck around, but I'm letting it ferment in the studio until I have a solid good reason but overloading it. I KNOW it needs more, so the odds of me leaving it like this are 100:1. For one, the flower thing is bugging me how it just landed on the post thing. Two, I can't believe I painted a flower thing. Three, it's like, waaaaaay too representational for me considering it started out as some sort of geometric scaffolding holding up nothing. Four, it looks like wallpaper for a nostalgic greenhouse. A for Awkward.

June 28, 2009

A note above my desk

"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits" ~Thomas Edison.

I had another inquiry about the work this weekend and was confirmed for a 2010 exhibition at the Brand Library and Art Center in Glendale, CA.

Things I need to do:
Make written, as opposed to mental, notes about the new work.
Go on a weekend getaway, take my journal and stay in a nice hotel. I like nice hotels.
Apply for something, such as a grant or residency.
Clean my blinds.
Schedule my physical.

What I want to do:

June 26, 2009

Flashback Friday #5

[Couldn't locate the title]
watercolor, collage, coffee, 1989
45" x 25"

A pre-grad school work done while living in a loft on Halsted Sreet in the Pilsen Area of Chicago. It was a Pod place, meaning Podmajersky, the landlord czars of the Pilsen art community. I don't recognize the google map image. It's been rehabbed quite a bit in 20 years. I was having boy troubles at the time. I know this because the collage elements are torn bits of paper from a journal chronicling said boy problems in words and scrawly drawings.

Damn, I just looked at the prices of the lofts they're leasing. Damn Chicago for being so cold in the winter. dammit.

A post in which I'll use the word 'truly' and 'verily' and hope no one will notice I'm redundant.

Truly, nay, verily, I'm in amazement.

In less than 2 weeks, I've had 1 good studio visit with a collector, 1 superfantastic studio visit with a bunch of superfantastic collectors, 1 sale, 1 mind-fuck, 2 inquiries, one workshop offer, 1 show, 1 class offer, 1 show cancellation, and 1 commission. On top of that, I've got a great group of students in my drawing class. The mind-fuck and the cancelled show, I could have done without, but other than that, I've experienced a rather pleasant course of events. I would call this "flow." Of course, right now, right this minute, I should be putting together a list for someone in hopes of another sale, but I was so damn excited after hearing the commission came through, I just had express my gratitude for being able to wake up, have coffee and work as an artist. Possibly in that order. I know that may sound a little blithe, but I am truly in awe of the timing. Plus, after working small all year, it will be fun to work large again knowing it will leave the studio immediately!

Flashback Friday Warm-up

I'm going to have to figure out an easy, cheap and quick way to scan slides in order to keep working the FBF thing. Stay tuned. Meanwhile I'd like to use this post to kick-off Flashback Friday with stuff from the Museum of Ephemera, also know as stuff I find when I go visit my mom and start opening drawers and stuff.

I laughed pretty hard when I found this.

1. My grandmother smoked occasionally and would preserve all sorts of ephemera in cellophane cigarette wrappers.
2. The fact that I, aka Pretty Baby #2, at the age of 3, would make a bookmark from a piece of crocheted yarn, a cellophane cigarette wrapper and a label denoting the above is hysterical to me. I could have just as easily made this yesterday.
3. The fact that it still exists.

My grandfather was a theologian of sorts and there is an entire bookcase in my parent's house that contains several varieties of holy books from a various cultures along with a passel of Bibles spanning a couple of centuries. I'm not very familiar with everything in there, but I like old books, so I felt like perusing last time. None of this is important to Flashback Friday except to explain that the bookmark was found in a chapter called Reception of The Holy Spirit and I didn't want to disrupt the ecosystem by removing it.

Next week, I'll resume posting real work.

June 25, 2009

I am like a trained surgeon

It crushed me to leave a painting in such a disastrous state overnight in the studio, but since my studio time is broken up into mornings and evenings for now, I do what I do and have to let go abruptly in order to be at class or go to bed. Working through the night to fix a painting is not a solution; they need breathing time. So rather than putz around and take a coffee break etc. I simply wash up and hope that leaving them alone will allow me to get a fresh perspective. And it does. My role as Modern Prometheus, although questionable, has prepared me for these near death experiences and I'm happy to report I pulled another one back to life.

I'm tired. It's been a long day.

June 23, 2009

Fun vs. Hard Work and the Modern Prometheus

Summer session. Day 2. I've already lost one student because supplies were expensive and because I could not guarantee him an "A" for showing up and trying. And even though he's in college, his mom said that she thought basic supplies like pencils, sketchbook, drawing pads and portfolios should be furnished. Plus all the supplies were going to be too much to carry around. In the end, it was "too much just to take for fun."

It would never occur to me to take a drawing class for fun. When I was in college, I took Emerson and Thoreau for fun, along with a ROTC riflery class.

I was willing to work with him on the supplies. I suggested a shoebox instead of a fancy art bin and told him how to make a portfolio from sturdy cardboard or poster board. I stopped short of suggesting he dig up some graphite or char his own wood.

Report from the studio-
Dammit, they are kicking my ass again. I thought one of the paintings was headed in a "too precious" direction and I totally f*cked with it. I feel awful. I really should stop anthropomorphizing them. I don't imagine any one else feels guilty for harassing a painting.

June 22, 2009

Art and artists and the people who love them.

My studio compound

Small works really don't photograph well from a distance, do they?
I wisely decided to open the garage door.
Me doing my usual introspective mental space out thing before I talk about the work. I've had this same expression since I was two years old. I zone out quite easily.

Lunch with Robbie Conal and some of my lovely hosts and hostesses. He doesn't live too far from me. I thought he was nice. He might do a studio visit with me.
This one remind me of Renoir's, "Boat Party Luncheon."

Charles Arnoldi's studio

Tony Berlant's studio

Part of my joy yesterday was reconnecting with that sense of comfort that comes through continuity and passion.

June 21, 2009

School starts tomorrow.

I promise to give you pics of the studio tours, but I'm waiting for someone to send me some pictures they took of my studio visit. The ones that have me in them. It's all about me, is it not?

The summer session begins tomorrow. I'm never really ready until the first day is over.
I imagine I'll move my studio time to early mornings: 7am-11am, and with a full day Friday or Saturday.

There's more to report, but I want to chill out with Hellboy II tonight.

Um wow. Like today was stellar.

I had a fantastic studio visit with The Fellows of Contemporary Art today. I thought it was fantastic, but it's hard to judge how 25 people respond to your work. I only had 15 minutes to talk, but I was caffeinated and happy, so I think it went very well. They invited me for lunch- yum, and afterward I was invited to attend the other artist's studios.

My day was a total treat. So not only did I get to present my work, I had a chance to spend the afternoon listening and talking with people who are seriously passionate about art. As an added bonus, I had a chance to meet the other artists and visit a couple of their studios. I was a tad star-struck, and I'm really quite embarrassed by just how much, when I found out the other artists on the tour were Robbie Conal, Ed Moses, Charles Arnoldi, Stas Orlovski and Tony Berlant. I had a chance to meet Robbie, Charles and Tony. The day could not have been more perfect.

It was, though. I sold a work, and the good vibes reached all the way out to Highland Park, cause in a parallel universe, Kristi had someone inquire about a work as well.

After that, I went to check out the most excellent portrait show by Heather Cantrell at Kinkead Contemporary and signed up for a shoot either this Wednesday or next. Talked to some other folks I hadn't seen in awhile, confirmed the group show with Kinkead in July and decided to call it a night.

Today was definitely one of THE most inspiring days. I took pictures on the fly, but will post after I get them uploaded. I have to go to bed now though, so tomorrow.

June 19, 2009

Flashback Friday #4

Here are some stills from videos I did while in grad school. One day I will take time to compress the videos and post them to YouTube. They're short, except for the bed-making video, which is about 11 minutes.

The image on the bottom is from a video done after grad school from found footage I copped while working in the post-production industry. I had a sweet collection of industrial videos. I love industrial videos. Work work work. Machines at work.

I enjoyed doing video and was quite engaged with that medium at the time. The 90's was a good decade for video art. During that time though, I came across the following paragraph in an essay by Juan Downey called, The Smell of Turpentine. The essay is about his need to communicate through electronic media, but as soon as I read the paragraph, I knew what I needed to do.
"I do not recall whether I read or dreamt that Marcel Duchamp had said that some artists continue painting because they are addicted to the smell of turpentine. Their activity is therefore not aesthetic but instead a biological dependency of the chemistry of that medium."
Soon after, I went back to painting, but I dragged some of these ideas with me.

June 18, 2009

Okay, it's all good, really it is.

Jeesh, I'm tired. More mental than physical, though I have been up & down on a ladder, drilling holes, planting plants, cleaning studio, placing lights and moving large rocks from one area of my yard to another. The outside version of rearranging the furniture. I also moved a dead log from one part of the yard to another, but had to move it back because I felt sorry for the 3rd generation of huge carpenter bees that have lived there for years and couldn't find their home after I moved it. One bee was still in the hole in the wood, but the other two kept trying to penetrate a sandbag near the original site.

The studio is about as clean as I feel comfortable making it. I eradicated everything on top of my studio work table in order to accommodate a coffee urn and some pasties PASTRIES for the Saturday morning visit. That's fine. I have to start from scratch every so often anyway.

I need to think some more about the works before I give my talk. There are still several influences and factors and tangents that I haven't had the time (inclination) to parse. It might be time I applied for an artist residency. Mmmm. Time. Unfettered. Sigh. Yes.

June 15, 2009

Okay, I couldn't leave on a negative note.

I didn't mean so be so secretive about not posting the works. Titling them was killing me.

I want to blog about [deleted]
It took me 5 months to come up with 5 titles. When asked how long it took to paint these, I said something like, "I don't know- 3 days, 3 weeks, 2-6 months, something like that." (I'm not sure where I pulled 3 days from, because I'm on day 4 of one right now and it's still looks like I just started it.)

BUT, [deleted]

Anyway, I'm going dark for awhile, [deleted], but here's some of the newer work, officially and appropriately and happily titled.

Concerning Smoke and Mirrors and Manners of Concealment

The game is structured and extremely hard, like diamonds

The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered

Somebody's Luggage

Sneaker Wave Goodbye

Over and out.

On hiatus. Going dark.

June 14, 2009

Not a lot to say. I did some gardening today, bought some plants, you know, really mundane stuff.

This is a an edited repost. I decided, as editor, my original post, although accurate, was possibly self-defeating. I leave you with just pictures.

June 13, 2009

Random, my a**

The art market and its inhabitants are a mystery to me.

Unless the skies part and a scroll unfurls out of the sky dictating otherwise, I swear on a 000 brush I will not work large other than commissioned work.

Up to now however, I have worked in just about every standard and non-standard dimension there is, on paper, canvas and linen. If someone pretends to know a science for the nuances of pricing works that range in scale, media, ideas, effort, kick-ass factor and street cred, I dare you to come to my studio and work that science out methodically.

Therefore, I have a couple of main parameters which I abide by:
1a. Paintings on canvas are priced higher than works on paper.
1b. Paintings on linen may be slightly higher than paintings on canvas.
1c. Crappy store-bought canvases are what they are, and thus I readily admit to having a slightly belligerent so-what attitude about using inferior surfaces. I also admit that paying attention to the craft of my surface does make the painting appear more important and since everybody, even a canvas likes to feel important, I'm back to focusing on this detail.
2. I have a reasonable upper limit for what I price the larger works and I have a reasonable base for what I price the smaller works. Everything in-between is spaced out evenly. Because of the multiple sizes, some sizes get grouped together. There's not lot of drama and I have a price sheet with most of the current dimensions that I can refer to, and update accordingly.

It's a little late in the game to be making a fuss about this, but [deleted]


Good news. I did not slap anyone, but wow. the nerve. Random, my ass.

This coming Saturday is the big one. LOTS of prep work to do for that. LOTS.

In lieu of free style obsessing I give you an announcement.

chris lipomi
chuck moffit
steve roden
kimber berry
miyoshi barosh
ana rodriguez
mary addison hackett
cassandra tondro
mary bastien
michael sambol
steven hampton
michael carter

Date: Saturday, June 13, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: OBJCT Gallery
Street: 250 W. 2nd St.,
City/Town: Pomona, CA

(I know I SHOULD make it out for the opening, but I'm just not sure I'm up for the drive. )

June 12, 2009

Flashback Friday #3

Tin Can with Asphalt. late 80's early 90's, oil, tin can, asphalt on canvas. Roughly 60" x 48" on canvas.

Yellow with Eye. Late 80's early 90's, oil, spray paint, industrial enamel on canvas. roughly 60" x 48"

Color Field. Opposing forces and structure. I'm not presenting the works in any sort of chronological order (other than it's all pre-grad school work from the early 90's) so just enjoy the non-linear ride.

June 11, 2009

How Push Came To Shove And Other Tales Of How Resistance Forces My Hand.

ACK. Consider this my message in a bottle in case I get lost. I have to paint like a fiend for the next several days- just in case. And, for those of you who have been paying attention to my procrastination in titling the little paintings, the jig is up. Thank God I at least photographed them. I could have done a better job, like use a tripod, but still, they have been documented.

On the spur of the moment, a curator emailed me to ask if I'd be interested in participating in a 1-day show to celebrate the opening of a new space in Pomona. This Saturday. She emailed last night. Last night was Wednesday. Today is Thursday. She came to select the work today and brought another collector with her. I'm thinking she'll take one painting. Big deal. The good news is that she took two of my It's the Best I Can Do Today Paintings from 2007. Those were titled. The other good news is that she took FIVE of the new paintings. Five. Poor guys I had to assign alpha titles to them until I can email her real titles tonight. ACK. Normally, but what the hell is normal anymore, there would be no ACK, but I have 25 people coming for a studio visit next Saturday to look at the new paintings. The good news is that the show in Pomona is a one-day show and she will return the paintings to me next week before next Saturday's studio visit. The other good news is that if they sell, I will have FIVE less paintings to show to 25 people next week. Five is a LOT less when you're working small, which brings me to painting like a fiend over the next few days. If and if you have any clue about me, you'll know I NEVER count my eggs before they hatch. For chrissakes I barely count them after they hatch, but just in case the gods smile upon me, I need to finish working on the two I'm working on and possibly try to finish another one at least. Even if I don't I'm still in decent shape but I'd like to be over-prepared. You know, 110%. That's me. 110%mah. really catchy moniker.

And when I get busy, I can promise two things:
1) I blog as some sort of nervous habit, and
2) I forget to eat.

Fortunately Fang's food comes out of a bag and goes in a trough, so he's taken care of, but me? It's 3 pm and I had oatmeal around 8am this morning and that's it. Notice I didn't forget my afternoon espresso.

It's great to be busy and I'm so happy.

June 10, 2009

Art Art Art Art Art Art Art Art

I met up with a friend at Bergamot Station today. One- kudos to the cappuccino maker at the cafe, it was fabulous. Two- saw some really good shows. I'm listening to the interview as I write this, so I haven't heard the whole show, but here's the Ed Moses interview. That's what prompted my friend to want to see his current show at Greenfield Sacks Gallery and Frank Lloyd Gallery. Lucky us, he was there. It's always cool to see him in the flesh and the paintings are S A T U R A T E D. Oh my gosh, the interview is starting off fabulous. Check it out.

Paintings by Philip Argent and totally glommed together cast junk by Christian Cummings at Shoshana Wayne. $500 for the tiny glommed together fucked up sculptures by Christian Cummings. I wanted one. I still want one. I like the eraser with tin foil, for some odd reason.

The Ed Moses interview is going great.

Saw the group show at Richard Heller. My faves were Mars Mario Martinez, Oliver Vernon and Britton Tolliver. I was also intrigued by G Bradley Rhodes' Darger-esque works.

Barkley L. Hendricks, Birth of Cool rocks, as does Jeni Spoto, Don't Tread on Me, at Santa Monica Museum of Art.

I smiled a lot today.

Still listening to the Ed Moses interview, so I'm going to sign off now.

June 09, 2009

It's a see-saw, but I am optimistic again.

Spring semester grades in √
Summer syllabus completed, almost √
New paintings, signed and titled, almost √
Divorce paperwork completed, almost √

Another painter came over for a studio visit today. Next week I shall go visit her studio. It's definitely good, nay necessary, for me to get out and meet up with other artists right now. I'm been a hermit lately, even more so than usual. Bobbie makes the 4th person I've shown the new work to. So far, 4 out of 4 people are digging them. I should let my guests speak more, but I get so excited about the new works that I have to tell the backstory about how I arrived at them and then tell another backstory for why etc. For the time being, it's been good practice to talk about the work. The BIG studio visit is a week from Saturday. I'll be entertaining 25 collectors for approximately 30 minutes. My major concern is that my front lawn is dead and the back yard is barely holding on. The place needs some landscape love. I'll grab some cheap plants at Home Depot to brighten up the place. I'm self-conscious about these things. I should also finish titling the pieces and nail my spiel. Possibly a tad more important, yes?

But back to today's studio visit. I came away feeling hopeful and optimistic. In addition to talking specifically about the work, we also chatted about the business side of things and the day job side of things. If you recall, I've been laid off after the summer. I said I was brainstorming and basically cobbling an income together and instead of receiving the awkward stare of pity I usually get when I say that, I got a positive reaction and an excellent idea for proposing some workshops I could teach. I'm so on it. I also got some other business advice regarding the paintings, and I made a pledge to myself and to my visitor that I will take that advice as well. I've had some really sorry-ass advice thrown my way over the years, so sometimes I'm skeptical, but not anymore. Majority rues.

I'm also going to experiment with having an Open Studio on Saturdays this summer. My community coffee break never really took off, so we'll try this. I don't advertise and my marketing strategies are zilch. That might be one of my problems. The other might be the self-effacing humor I tend to use.

I'm one block away from a small business district on the west side Culver City, as opposed to the east side which is where all the galleries are, and have decided to take advantage of people who park on my block while shopping at Allied Train Store and Samy's camera. But, the real motivation for opening the studio one day a week was that when we bought the house several years ago, I found a blank, homemade and weathered wooden sign cast aside in the garage. Seriously, I'm like that; a sign needs a purpose. I almost used it as it, but since I'm not selling jam, potholders or rabbits, just yet, I gessoed it and will be painting a more appropriate signage denoting an open studio. The open studio will be a mix of things- mainly an opportunity to sell some older work and drawings, but possibly a chance to work on the craft side of things and see what happens there. I got into wood burning aka pyrography back in the early 90's and a few years ago I picked up leather tooling. When I said "open," I mean open. I'm still in the brainstorming phase, but am hoping to stage the first one this Saturday. Another potential cog in my cobbled empire.

June 06, 2009


Student work from the color theory part of the Drawing Fundamentals class I taught this semester. (Lest anyone think I jumped ship and walked over to the dark side of representational painting.)

The beginning drawing curriculum calls for 12 hours of color theory. Some sections don't feel the need to teach color theory since students have other opportunities to pick up the basics (Beginning Design, Intro to Painting, Color Theory, to name a few) but big surprise, I love color and wet media, so of course, I'm going to teach it. This semester, I accidentally may have snuck in a a few more hours and justified it as value, composition or aerial/atmospheric perspective. I promise, it was an accident. I wasn't being subversive.

To keep me on my toes, I switch the media every semester or so, but it's either watercolor, gouache, color pencil or pastels. Natch, I prefer watercolor, but I'm leaning toward gouache and I've concluded it's easier to teach beginning drawing students who have no experience with paint whatsoever, how to paint AND demonstrate color skills in a mere 12 hours, more successfully with gouache rather than with watercolor. I thought watercolor would be easiest since I've been working with watercolor for about 30 years, but I've decided there are too many nuances to learn on top of the basics, and with only 12 hours to devote to color and a new media, I've settled on gouache.

After the obligatory color wheel, they painted a monochromatic still life. Next, we went outside and had a 5-hour plein air session of campus surroundings. Then for their final project, I let them choose their own props, arrange their own compositions (though I offered suggestions, where warranted) and basically let them do their own thing. I thought most of them did an excellent job of pulling all their drawing skills together, implementing successful paint handing AND depicting local color and values. Plus, a couple of them want to take some painting classes. I'm very proud of this class.

Oh right, did I mention the California budget cuts? I'm without a class beginning fall semester. If you know of anyone who's hiring, let me know.


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...