August 30, 2010

A shot of 'burban ennui or pre-show postpartum. You be the judge.

dog asleep in studio
The Gunfighter
Flavorwire posted this great list: Required Reading: 10 Classic Stories of Suburban Ennui and suddenly I felt the nostalgic chill of autumns long ago. I've been wrestling with my own suburban ennui this weekend. And yes, it's still a weekend because I had to sit home all day waiting for the Sears repairman today. The onset of ennui coincided with—and I know this is going to sound so lame— my need to trek to an office supply store to purchase a sharpie for labeling the backs of the paintings. I'm really procrastinating on the little nuances involved with getting my show off the ground. I have 25 days. Sadly, or not, I am a maker of things. This is my strength. I have in the past organized things, taught things, promoted things and even thoroughly produced things, but once I become a maker of things, I find it hard to switch gears. I could probably make anything. Seriously—a dress, a rocket, a stove, you name it. It might look like crap and be unfunctional, but I would enjoy making it.
 My studio bathed in a Bauhaus moment

Abstract painting (in progress)
But back to ennui. In an effort to dodge the tedium of constructing an inventory for shipping, labels for postcards or my email announcement,  I devoted my weekend to updating my website and reconnecting with twitter. I saw a tweet from @longshotmag calling for submissions on the theme of comeback, and so I thought I'd whip up a bit of black humor describing my summer in 300 words or less, since for all practical purposes, I am ready for a comeback. There was a 24 hour deadline. I made the deadline, uploaded my file, and got a confirmation email, followed by a server error email. Long story short, nada. I can either assume they didn't get my riveting story of death and despair in Nashville, or that they thought it sucked. Either way, I was too tired to do much else other than putz aimlessly around the house the next day. A lunch date was canceled, throwing me even further into an abyss. I repacked the boxes in the hallway and gained a few cubic feet of floor and air space. I installed one track light in the studio. I made a vegan quiche and worked on a knitted a skirt I started three years ago. I call these my divorce skirts. It's the second item I began knitting while married, and continued to knit while getting divorced. Both are skirts. The first one was finished almost 10 years after I started it, so technically I finished it while happily remarried, which  means that there's a slim, but very doubtful chance I could meet someone, get married and finish skirt #2  with husband #3, but I don't think so, especially since I plan on making it a shorter skirt.

I thought Sunday might be more productive, but it wasn't, and today was a total bust because Sears bungled my repair appointment and rescheduled it for the afternoon. Total cabin fever at this point. I was going to drive down to Atlanta to see a friend's show this week, but there's too much to do after being The Great Lethargo all weekend.

After I get back from L.A. I have to pull the trigger and take care of some home repair things. Or maybe I should do it now. It will be autumn here. I'm very excited about that. Fires in the fireplace, tweed, and reading. I'm chomping at the bit to get back to a totally structured schedule in the studio and am close to nailing one down.

Meanwhile, I came across this event called Drawing America: The Neighborhood Big Draw.  If I can pull it together, I may organize something here.

So much for 140 characters.

August 29, 2010

I keep trying to embrace twitter. Maybe I'll start by reducing my posts to 140 characters or less.

August 26, 2010

T-29: My upcoming solo show.

My show is less one month away. I'm certain I have a zillion things to do, but at least I've booked a flight and rental car. And of course the paintings are done. Next up, prepping the works for travel, or packing and shipping. I lied the other day when I said I was signing and dating the works. I still have a few to do.

I haven't seen the press release and though I gave the gallery a bunch of words and paragraphs claiming to be a statement, as far as I can remember, I don't really have just one.

I had to laugh when I was told that for marketing reasons, the image for the postcard would be an abstract painting. I find this slightly amusing. I've decided that representational, figurative and abstract imagery are all the same, though I intend to keep referring to myself as an abstract painter. I made a mock diagram of the show today. I was lazy,  so I ended up using the same jpeg over and over.

August 25, 2010

The Palette finds its way onto the Grolsh site

I should get crackin' on part 2.

In between all the prep work and catch-up I'm not doing, I'm realizing just how important, nay critical, social networking is for me. Although I was a hermit in LA, I could at least feign real life interaction easily enough by jumping on my bike and seeing a bunch of shows, or setting up a studio visit without much ado. Social networking was a way to fill in the gaps socially- a way to build an artist community with people outside my physical boundaries, meaning I didn't actually rely/depend on the Internet to see artwork. Here, in my new, smaller real world, I'm grasping my Wacom pen a bit more, and I'm having to be more proactive about finding and meeting other artists and seeing work that inspires or challenges me. I just got back from doing a studio visit with Kit Reuther at her sculpture studio where she was working on some sculptures for an upcoming show. I was familiar with Kit's paintings, but the sculptures were fairly new. She had some small ones on a shelf and I started getting excited about sculpture. On my way out I met Dane Carder whose studio was also in the building. Dane's a painter. I only got a quick peak at his studio. I totally spaced on taking pictures while at Kit's.
Dane Carder's studio, Nashville

Dane happened to be giving away cans of house paint. I picked up a nice periwinkle blue. His brother took a Spanish class from my mom. Kit's cousin is a first generation ex-boyfriend of mine. Nashville is a small world, but so is the art world in general. The building was quite fabulous. Even the studio spaces are within six degrees of separation. In a former life, the building was a hosiery factory. When I was a kid, I remember being dragged there to stockpile discount undergarments, lingerie and pantyhose. I had studio envy. I miss being around a community of other artists. There's a space available in the building. I'm thinking about it, but I'd miss waking up and painting in my vintage nightgown while having coffee out of my equally vintage Romper Room cup. I'm really trying to embrace this suburban studio thing.

My garage/studio door did not open today, therefore I couldn't get the Moto Guzzi out. And for this, I am forever thankful that my mother believed in the Sears Warranty program. They will be coming out next week to fix it.

August 22, 2010

The Sharpie Day.

Inventory, signing, dating. Here I am thinking I've got a boatload of work, and the truth of the matter is I've only completed 10 paintings this year. Or 30, if you count how many phases each of them went through.  Maybe that's why I feel like I made a lot of work. Also, I've lost this painting:
LOST PAINTING: Last scene moping around my studio in Los Angeles, begging for mercy.

It was in progress. I remember it was difficult. I remember thinking it was really a tough one to pull out of. There is a 50% 99.9% chance it was destroyed while packing and moving. I vaguely remember scraping some layers away and accidentally piercing the canvas with my palette knife. I vaguely remember thinking deus ex machina, since I did not willingly destroy it. But again, I could be making all of that up. The weeks before moving were a blur. All the other paintings made it safe and sound. Theoretically this should have been packed with them. It had potential. I liked all the elements. It was a sad misfit. I always like the underdogs. I will try and recreate it from memory. I am reminded of a childhood neighbor who used to have a beagle named, Snoopy. Terribly unoriginal, but even worse was when Snoopy died, they got another beagle and named it Snoopy II. After I complete this theoretical painting, I will name it Snoopy III.

I updated my website, but haven't hit the 'publish' button. I am working on either a witty or uber serious bio and a decent statement. I can't decide. I hate being so irreverent. No, I guess I like it. 

August 20, 2010

Let me tell you about my boat.

So, I'm researching antique furniture, knowing that some reproductions I have were made by local furniture maker, the late Charles Uthman, whose shop I visited a couple of times as a kid. I came across a page for him, written by his nephew, Ed Uthman, a pathologist. I like how it's written so I click on the nephew's name, and his page has a link to this:

The Routine Autopsy

The Procedure Related in Narrative Form

A Guide for Screenwriters and Novelists

Having a penchant for the macabre myself, I begin reading it.

But really, I need to get back to researching antique furniture. I am considering reupholstering a sofa for fun and profit.

Tomorrow I lay out my world domination tour for my solo show. I may have said that yesterday. I'm building hype.
Long Black Veil

August 19, 2010

Inspired by poorly pruned trees and an army of figurines.

A Good Man is Hard to Find

The Misfit

I added a figure in a painting this week. Figurines, actually. Still working on the top image. Letting the bottom image stew for awhile. It's odd to make paintings right before a show that won't be in the show, but this is the beginning of a new thing, so they don't figure in (no pun intended) so much with the abstracts, or the pools and flowers. These are crustier and gooeyier than some of the previous works. I think of these like the new remains. It's nice to move on. I have no idea what I'm doing.

I should start broadcasting my upcoming show in a few days. If anyone is near LA, I hope you will come by. I feel like I have a lot invested in this one.

August 15, 2010


I took all the figurines out of the curio cabinet and arranged them on the table like it was comic con. I call this prep work. 

August 14, 2010

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor heat, nor mosquitoes..scratch that.

Went for a motorcycle ride today. It was hot. Ran into some redneck bikers at breakfast. Super assholes.  Wondered how much longer I could last here. Tried to imagine living in a civilized environment. Wondered if I would like New York. Remembered I owned a 71-pound dog with no manners.

Came home, went out into the studio. I was done in by something like 8-10 mosquito bites within as many seconds. I don't know what happened. It was a blur. I was at the easel painting. Had just finished applying roughly spraying 6 golden rings on a canvas when I thought my legs were being eaten alive. Couldn't see anything. Started scratching. Didn't think about the oil paint that had gotten on my fingers. Ran inside. Doused my legs in alcohol and witch hazel. Would have thrown acid on them if there was any around. Washed my legs with soap and water. Sat down with the a/c on and ate cherries. Cursed insects. Made fresh-brewed iced tea. Wondered if I would like New York. Remembered I owned a 71-pound dog with no manners.

August 12, 2010


I worked on another corner of my universe this week-mainly because I needed a space where I could do studio visits that wouldn't be suffocatingly hot, and also because I wanted to play with how the work might be hung for the show in September. And also, as a test to see how Suburban Flatfiles or Suburban Flatfile Exchange would be laid out. At first I was against hanging the work in groupings or clusters- I thought it would be visually chaotic. I also didn't want someone to think it was a holiday art show of "small works." Notice my dismissive tone at the dine and dash baggage that smaller paintings carry. I can't help it. Elaine Mari recently revealed more or less how long she spent on some paintings and it made me want to do the same. I believe starring at a painting should be included in the time spent working on it. In fact, I have willed most of my work into being simply from starring at them. That's right, no hands. All mind work. Telekinetic painting.

This corner is in the Living Room, though we never lived in it. The furniture is formal. We used it at Christmas time. It is the room where as a child, I learned how to remove scotch tape from a wrapped package with technical precision of a bomb squad. I'm certain I have discussed this skill before.

But back to the paintings. The director's cut of the show title is officially:

Fluid: Elusive Chapters from The Passage of Time. Vol. 1. The Lost Months. Vol. 2. Pools and Flowers. 

The gallery will never run with that, because along with my name, the lettering would block out the sunlight on the gallery window, but I'm just letting you know, That's the show title. I don't know why I like long titles. Maybe it's an attempt to pack in more information, you know- like, please, I just need to tell you one more thing.
The wall here at home was already painted red and it will have to do for now, but I kind of like the work on a painted wall too.

Here's a new piece I've been working on. It might be done. I'd like to muck with it a bit more, but it would be dicey. I can tell I've already crossed over from the land of "There are no such things as mistakes," to "Damn, I just ruined the entire painting. Now I will have to kill it." Sometimes, I think I need to drag these inside and hide them for a bit and move on. The part I'd like to tweak is the diamond ring. I want to make it a bit more over the top gooey. I have tried a few times and keep washing it out and redoing it. I'm going to bring it inside for a few days.
The Engagement Party, 20" x 16" oil, spray paint on canvas
(Notice how I'm running with titles all of the sudden. I swore I'd never get behind titling the works again, and I meant it.)

Below is what it looked like last month: 

And this is what it looked like before leaving Los Angeles:

It's hot as hell here. Heat index today well into the hundreds. The motorcycle is all good now and I LOVE riding it here even though my only ride so far was to the mechanic's shop to fix my mirror, after which I took the longest way possible to the grocery store. The garage is a little tricky to maneuver in and out of, but I'll deal. Got a ride scheduled this weekend on The Trace. Woo-hoo.

August 09, 2010

A Good Time Was Had By All: The Secret Unveiling of Suburban Flatfiles or Suburban Flatfile Exchange. Still noodling with the title.

I could have at least pretended to stop monster truck dog from pulling the cracker heist, but I was too busy taking pictures.

I had my first unofficial guest this weekend when Carla Knopp came into town. Carla hails from Indiana, specifically, Indianapolis, or even more specifically, Rocktown. We've been following each other's blogs and painting for a bit. One of the great advantages of Nashville is that it's rather centrally located, assuming you could fudge the west coast east a few inches.

Lots of art conversation and general camaraderie happened around the kitchen table and by 8 or 9 pm, we realized we should head out to openings. It was also the weekend of Nashville's Downtown Art Crawl. We made it to The Rymer Gallery, Tinney Contemporary and Twist before closing time. I should go back for a closer look at the paintings since I spent more time chatting with a couple of folks and gawking at the surroundings in my new old hometown. (Prior to Carla's arrival, I stopped in Zeitgeist and also attended an artist talk at Cumberland Gallery in conjunction with First Thursdays, so I feel like I've made headway on re-familiarizing myself with the art scene here.) I got lost in the massive 2-block area of downtown between where I parked the car and the galleries, so we wound up in Printer's Alley-and because it was a touristy thing to do, we mugged for photos.

I posed with a tourist who jumped into our already cheesy photo shoot. When we finally made it back to the car, I had a ticket because I forgot to put coins in the lot. Central/Allright Parking is located in Newport Beach, California. Nothing Central or Allright about that. 

The next day we continued our conversation and before leaving I showed Carla The Pool.
The sun was in my eyes. 

Eventually I will have to either fill in the pool or call it a pond. Meanwhile I throw in Mosquito Dunks. It is also the primary residence to a bullfrog, and what I make out to be either a turtle or a snake. They seem to keep an eye on the insect population. 

I've been toying with the idea of running a micro-residency/flatfile gallery here at the homestead. There's not enough room yet for a full-on second studio, the space is more conducive to being a bed and breakfast for artists who want a change of scenery, so perhaps just calling it a weekend flatfile exchange would be a good start. I'm open to ideas.

August 05, 2010

Have I mentioned how much I love my studio?

Honestly, I've never been happier. It's like it's been waiting for this its whole life. Imagine how I'll feel when I install my clamp lights.

August 04, 2010

My show title sucks by the way. Just so you know.

I hate my show title. I already gave it to the gallery. The title feels too sentimental and unhip. It's not named after a song, it doesn't sound like a garage band, and it's not funny or quirky. I failed in the title department for this one. I may as well have titled it, "Dan Fogleberg's Greatest Hits," or "Piano Melodies." I am filled with dread over the show title. I cannot overemphasize the importance of free time and my ability the think clearly and play with words. Ok, no more excuses. The show title sucks, let's move on.

It's getting close. 51 days. In a couple of weeks I should book my airfare. It's frigging hot here. The word inferno comes to mind. 117 degrees heat index. I almost can't believe it, but all I have to do is walk outside or in the studio, and I am a believer. I unstuck one of my studio windows and the old window fan still works. It's so hot that I can feel the dust attach itself to me. I will try and unstick the other window tomorrow. An old sprinkler works too. That was great. I was giddy standing in front of it.

I love my studio.

I'm selling off vintage collectibles and random stuff as my day job for a bit. I've almost got the house clean, so next step is photographing items and uploading them to ebay.

The furniture is too heavy to ship, but I have a LOT of vintage glassware, vases, garden tools, books, etc. If you're looking for something, ask.

August 02, 2010

A post about painting. Finally, you say.

It's 3:15am. I can't sleep. I ate 2 slices of birthday cake at the neighbor's earlier. I'll crash in a few hours.
I finally switched gears from sorting my mom's estate and trying to train wreck my way though some art writing, to walking out to the studio, picking up a paintbrush and painting without thinking about it too much. I thought about all the images and dialogues I've been having or vicariously listening to lately and got my ass out to the studio and pushed some paint around and reconnected with what's important to me, which is paint. Everything else falls in the place after that. 
I started this painting the weekend it flooded in Nashville. I thought it would be a flooded pool painting. It has morphed 3 times. Years ago, I used to be insecure about this behaviour of mine, until I realized it was my MO.  

Who's to say which is the best? It doesn't matter because  I'll never be able to get it back to either of the previous two stages. Physically, I could of course, but it would be a copy, an inauthentic attempt to recreate the past. And what purpose would that serve? It's true. You can never go home again. Home being a stand-in for many things, natch. 

It's still not finished.

Another work in progress: 

I started about 3-5 paintings before I left L.A. One day I want to leave a painting at what I would call the beginning stage. I don't think I can. There's always some obscure detail, some tiny insignificant mark I need to hone ever so slightly. After that, I am so f'ckd. 

Another one of those post-slam posts.

A wood roach fell from the rafters the other morning.

I can't wait to take a picture and not have a moving box in the background. Wouldn't that be something? Yes, it would. 

The studiogarage has a really good feel to it. I still haven't finished am now close upacking it. I fogged it the other day and afterward about 5 wood roaches were on the floor. I made the mistake of leaving boxes open during the fogging, so I am prepared for further surprises. According to my draconian schedule, I have one more month (August) to focus on the house, meaning make it liveable. Eighteen (18) boxes of dishes, glassware and kitchen gadgetry came forth from my mother's cabinets yesterday. Most of the items were well protected by either a thick layer of dust, a paper bag, a plastic bag, or all three. Someone in my family tree thought juice was the most important meal of the day. I could serve juice to 100 people easily. 

I have posted all the completed paintings from 2009 and 2010 on my Flickr site, but with a limited view  to the general public of what may or may not be in the Sept show.  Oh the suspense. I will be showing selections from the pools & flowers and the small abstracts. I refer to them based on their obvious visual description. The complete titles of each body of work are rather lengthy and contain punctuation.

Today I yielded the hedge trimmers like a light saber. Due to the heat I also joined the ranks of women who wear bathing suit tops and shorts to do yard work. The studio has a great feel to it. I said that earlier, but I mean it. It's super rustic and I'm not going to store finished work out there, but as a working studio, it's good. I've had to let go of the notion of clean and there's no way in hell I'd sit or lie down on the floor and daydream. This is all to say, the only reason to be in the studio is to work. It's a no-brainer. No need to take my laptop out there- the office is in the house. Will probably not keep any books out there for insect reasons. No desk, no place to write. Not much of a lolly-gagging kind of studio at all. Just my easel, paints, the paint benches, the palette, tools, and the Moto Guzzi.  There are some drawbacks. There are enough fuse boxes to power a small but ineffectual city, and a huge electrical conduit which keeps me out of the studio when it is lightning.  I am hesitant to plug in too many lights w/o having the electrician's number nearby. It is very dusty, even after sweeping. Spiders laugh at me and rebuild their empires overnight. But all in all, I'm back in business. 

Which means of course that the house is still a wreck.