December 26, 2010


...which means one of two things: nervous energy posting, or complete abstinence.

December 25, 2010

yeah, right. 

I'm cross-posting a bit.

The best piece of advice I ever received: "Go to the people whose eyes light up when they see you." Well, actually, the best piece of advice I ever received was "Go home and pour the rest of the bourbon down the drain," but that's another story.
The second best piece of advice I ever received: "Place a cup of water in the area where you think your pipes may be vulnerable, if the water freezes, you've got a problem."
Both pieces of advice make life relatively simple.

My mom passed away 7 months ago today. There's a blanket of fluffy snow on the ground. The dog got a new bone. I randomly picked up a book on a bookshelf. The book was titled, "Life's Extras."  It was a short read. The gist was that it's not the necessities that give us hope but recognizing the extras, such as beauty and grace. Small things, like a flower blooming, or a bird singing can alter our state of mind. It was published in 1928, back when horse and buggy's were all the rage and when people settled arguments by shooting one another, so a couple of passages in the book reveal. You-Know-Who is totally cashed out after gnawing on his new bone for over 3 hours solid. The snow is still fluffy. I've been unproductive today. I hate saying, "I don't feel like painting," because for the most part, I don't think feelings should have anything to do with it. If I didn't feel like doing stuff, I can promise that nothing would ever get done. Yesterday I didn't feel like running. It wasn't even that cold. After 9˚, 37˚ should be considered downright balmy. I am a wimp for thinking otherwise. I ran anyway. I gave myself permission to quit after 20 minutes, but I kept running and made my goal of 3 miles. Obviously I'm in "Trick Me" mode. Sometimes, when I don't feel like I'm accomplishing much in the real world fast enough or to my satisfaction, running helps me feel like I'm doing something. It requires more energy than brushing my teeth, but less energy than staring at a blank canvas. My pace was 10:12. That's 4 seconds slower than the previous day's 10:08. I am annoyingly competitive. I've thought about tricking myself into training for a half-marathon next spring, right after tricking myself into painting large-scale again.

December 22, 2010

Food For Thought

Highlights from a recent visit at Two Coats of Paint, the Two Coats Final Exam:

I love starting my day off with good fodder. The drag is that I'm inspired to spend a couple of hours writing my essay answer for the TC final exam when I need to be working on other things- like work in the studio, work outside the studio, also known as work in studio B- and Holy Holiday Batman, I should probably start Christmasizing myself.

It has occurred to me that instead of baking traditional Xmas cookies for folks, or even some of the beautifully artsy- inspired cookies, I could make Christmas Cornbread. Since I have not yet made such a dish, I will describe how I would make it.

1. Follow recipe on package of white cornmeal for Southern Cornbread in a skillet.
2.  Add some pimentos and some jalapeno peppers- just enough to imply a red and green thing is happening.
3. Bake.
4. Make a little rosemary or sage wreath to go on top.
5. Strategically place a couple of pimentos on "wreath" to look like holly berries or a bow, depending on your skill level.

Why Christmas Cornbread? Because it is easy and there's practically no cleanup. You dump a few ingreds into a bowl, stir, pour, and bake.

It's 9:30 am and I have already made an imaginary cornbread dish written an imaginary essay.
The coffee is real. The coffee is always real.

December 21, 2010


Woohoo woohoo!!!! Or would that be, Yee-haw Yee-haw?

I just got word I was selected for the artist-in-residence program here in town: free studio space for one year!!!!!!! I'm so happy I can hardly contain myself. I still have to meet with the top brass and get the details, but it's really the best Xmas present and great news for the year end. I'm still holding back on revealing some of the coolest parts. More after the first of the year. Oh, the suspense. Ratings sweep this week. I am awesome today.

And totally unrelated- I'll take a few days of freezing cold over flooding and torrential rains in L.A. anytime. Been there, done that. Seriously, when you think of L.A. in the rain, I want you to picture the 405 and every other major artery at a standstill. Then summon up that feeling of trying to evacuate a major city and being stuck on the freeway with no exits. Then think about gray concrete against a gray sky against gray buildings with exhaust fumes, day in and day out, with nothing but rain tying it all together. Next time I whine about the cold, someone remind me I said this.

December 19, 2010

As promised...almost.

I kind of feel like a have a stalker now. Some guy checks my blog to see if I've posted updates on the attempted fraud thing and then sends me emails letting me know. I looked into doing a private blog, but it's way too much trouble at this point considering the delicate ecosystem of links out there. The whole thing just pisses me off. The email was so very polite, I almost thought it was from a Nigerian who wanted to buy my beautiful paintings. But alas, it was not.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
Broke down and bought a tree yesterday. Impulse buy. I saw a blurb in the paper about adopting seniors without family and I thought that might help my low mood, so I picked some names off the adopting tree and shopped for some items they had requested. Towel sets, housecoats, thick socks etc. One requested a green plant. I thought it might feel good to shop for older people since I missed shopping for my mom this year. When I got to the checkout, I had amazingly hit my budget within 3 bucks. As a bonus, I saw Jack White roaming the aisles. It was a pretty day yesterday, not too cold, so on the way home when I spotted a boy scout troop selling trees, I caved in and bought a small tree. It was their last day and they were making deals. My lucky day. Due to a bad call made by one of the guys, they took off a strategic limb and had to saw a few more off to even it up. It ended up being a little shorter than I had expected, but it's fine. I decorated it. For real. Lights, ornaments, the works. I even hung the wreath and reconfigured the lame-o lights. I vacuumed and dusted. My favorite part has always been the scene underneath the tree. I need some new snow. Currently it reflects the global warming trends. My polar bears are atop dry rocks. Santa's sleigh is dashing through slush, the pond is is thawing. I'll get some new snow tomorrow and make everything better again. The good news is that we're all lit up and for the most part, blend in with the rest of the neighborhood. Today marked a big milestone as I finally attached the FM ribbon antennae and now get public radio. 6 months. 2011 will be better, more efficient. I promise.

December 15, 2010

The Holidays.

There's a common misconception that just because one is an artist, one would care about all matters of design, fashion, and style. Not true. I relish really good design as much as the next guy, and while I appreciate the hand-me-down aesthetics of my home- the time, price, and effete skill it would take to overhaul my abode into a cozy, functional, modernist cube make it highly unlikely I will accomplish this anytime soon. Simply put, I'd rather spend time in the studio. And yet, I scan sites like Remodelista and Slow Home Studio as though I stand a fighting chance of living a sleek and modern life. I bring this up because I am having a tough time decorating for Christmas, or any day, for that matter. I do not have a tree. I bought a wreath. I unpacked some lights and half-assed strewn them in the general direction of  the mantel. I found my stocking. Yesterday I pumped Christmas music into the stereo while I unpacked the box of paintings which came back from my last show.
10% effort. I can do better. 
A portion of my common rock collection is on the floor behind the tinsel, and that stack of books are coffee table books which had been on the coffee table for 40 years. I was too tired to find a nail to pierce the mantel, so the stocking is hung from a bird cage stand. I thought a wreath on the fireplace screen would help, but I have not hung it properly yet; it is merely leaning. My fireplace hasn't been inspected in a few years, so I don't think I will chance a fire this winter. It beats a barren room, but I could do better. This is what 10% holiday effort looks like amidst still not quite unpacking and organizing after 6 months. A friend suggested I come up with a new holiday tradition this year, but this feels like a transitional year, as opposed to a traditional year. 2010 wasn't a bad year, as in good vs. bad, but it was a year for change and change is sometimes difficult. As far as saying goodbye, I wouldn't say I'm happy to to see 2010 go, but I'd just as soon pack it in a box and store it in the attic until I no longer need it.

I had a good day in the studio the other day, but it's taking external motivation to get to work. I took a pic of the pool as it started to snow, posted it, and an L.A. artist friend suggested I get in studio and paint. I did. I also posted a comment about an experience many years ago, walking home in the bitter cold in Chicago. I painted that as well. I thought it might be time to move past the abandoned pool, but for now, it's a fixture on my landscape and it did not feel forced or trite to paint it again. I still struggle, question, grapple, and/or ponder the delineation between abstraction and representation in my studio practice. I am not thinking as abstractly as I used to, but I'm not 100% motivated by reality either. It's like I have walked through an invisible partition and I can't cross back. The abstract work was always about something in the real world, but there was a much slower recognition process. Now I can look at nearly every brushstroke or amorphous area of color I put down and readily identify it after the fact as referencing something in the my universe. Others may still need to look somewhat harder for these references, but that is not the point. My game has become articulated almost as soon as it begins. In other words, the abstract paintings are not abstract enough, and thus my desire to paint representationally driven imagery is currently more emotionally satisfying, as though I'm going through snapshots of events not recorded in time.

December 12, 2010

Yep, it's snowing and it stuck. 24 degrees.

This book belongs to Mary Addison
So after I woke up, had coffee and let the dog out, I commenced decorating for Christmas. Not really, but I finally hooked up the stereo. It wasn't as mystical as I thought it would be. Matt had kindly made a diagram of the schematics before I left Culver City and I had done a rubbing of the inputs and outputs so I would know what to hook up where. You'd never believe I was an editor, assistant editor, and even an pinch-hit engineer back in the 90's. Then I dumped all the Xmas music on my 2nd gen iPod to get me in the mood. I'm guessing it snowed about 2 inches today. I ate a bunch of sweets-mostly red and green M&M's, snapped a picture or two, and painted. Came across some boxes with some old books I had out aside, published by The Lollipop Library. Note the rad signature, it's not terribly different than my current signature. I miss the days when I didn't worry so much. I paint much better when I don't worry about stuff. I woke up sad today. Had this weird dream where my mom had piled up all the broken and shoddy furniture on the porch and she was leaving.
He's pretty darn cute when he looks all puppy-like. He sleeps with his eyes open sometimes. Such a creepster.

December 11, 2010

Another art opening tonight.

I am jonesing for a local artist residency. Went to the opening of the current a.i.r. tonight. Not saying much else until further notice, but I met the gents in charge this evening and it's looks like a great, and mutually beneficial opportunity. In other news, it's supposed to snow tonight and according to my geeky weather radio, be "brutally" cold, with temperatures, "plummeting." You may have noticed I'm not really handling the harsh weather here with much diplomacy. Being warm and dry are things I've taken for granted and it freaks me out a bit when I realize how easy it would be not to be warm and dry. I always have to remind myself I'm grateful to have a home, even one that needs constant repair, hence my anxiousness with a newly replaced roof that is leaking in my fireplace, as I blog.

I logged 10 miles of running this week and got my pace down to a semi-respectable for me, 10:40 average. Not too bad for end of week 5. I also finished my knitted skirt and am amazed that it fits and looks good. I didn't use a pattern. Just math and even then, after the first 7 inches, I was winging it. Life would be simpler and perhaps faster, if I made notes. I believe the wallpaper project is one month past due. I can't remember anymore. I still need to sand and paint the molding and lower wall. I realized power sanding would be much more cleanup on the back end, while hand sanding is time consuming on the front end. Such the conundrum. Then there's the OMG, maybe I'm nuts for doing this in the first place.

I need to get back to work in the studio and relax a bit. Breathe. breathe breathe. Picked holiday greenery from a 72-year magnolia tree yesterday and decorated the porch some. Did I mention it's suppose to snow tomorrow, and be "brutally" cold? Yes, I think I did.

December 08, 2010

New venture underway.....

Until I get the whole shebang up and running, mum's the word, but I wrote my mission statement today, and my byline is stellar. The name of the company and the byline have been in place for a few years, along with the logo and letterhead. I think it's a good time for this and I think I'm in a good location as well. Follow through and product are the key components. I basically need to allow myself time for experimentation and failure trial and error, without getting tweaked about wasting time or antsy that I'm not working on a painting. This would be called time management. Like for instance, it's almost 10PM now. I've had a fairly productive day, but I didn't really get to work-work until around 3pm today.  I get up early, but the morning coffee hour is usually freestyle. A six hour work day is fairly respectable, so I can live with myself. I need to stop waking up to NPR though. The whole economy down the toilet reports and the political climate is really bumming me out. It's hard enough to take during the waking hours, but to have it fed to you through a speaker first thing in the morning while you're still asleep is way too harsh. It's all too 1984. I used to wake up to classical, but there's no classical programming here first thing in the morning.

Yesterday, my neighbor let me fill the trunk of her car with scrap wood, a rusted highchair, a no longer useful Rubbermaid Blue plastic garbage bin and some broken bricks, and she carted me and my refuse over to the residential waste and recycling facility. My front porch is looking almost suburban again. Today, same neighbor asked me if I could repair a broken holiday serving bowl and a chipped china candle holder. No guarantees on the broken holiday serving bowl. A china elf was decapitated and I believe he was missing a key component, like his china neck bone, making his recapitation tenuous at best. The chipped china candle holder was a breeze, though I'm sure a bona fide porcelain restorer would scoff at my method. I filled in the chip with spackle, matched the glaze with some acrylic paint wizardry, and topped it off with a touch of clear nail polish. Imperceptible. I am so good.

I ran today. 2.5 miles. 25 degrees. It's somewhat empowering for the first few minutes to know I'm running in freezing weather instead of sitting inside snacking on a loaf of chocolate babka, which I already devoured within 24 hours of bringing it home. Pace was 10:45.

December 07, 2010

So totally in progress that it's almost indecent I show them

Work on paper. The flower garland reminds me of a dress I wore to my dad's funeral, and every other funeral I attended in the 80's. 
Just started this one. No clue as to where it's going. None. It was too cold to use my Montana spray paint outside, so I used it inside. No odor. Just need to be cautious about the particle fallout.

Here's the same painting about an hour later. I remembered I was going to make a cheap motel painting. At first I meant a painting like you would find in a cheap motel, but then I started thinking about cheap motels. Notice the fishing lake and the motel parking lot amidst the trees. I'm thinking X-files.  

This reminds me of the cover art for "Grand Illusion," by Styx, 1977. I'll probably end up titling it, "Grand Illusion." The stripes, cones, and criss-crossy things are a little unusual for me, but the other wall in the den studio is a bookcase and one of the book spines looked like this, relatively speaking. I'm having trouble remembering what this painting looked like last week or the week before. Oh wait. it's coming to me... nope...oh yes, I remember now. It's much better now than it was last week. A bunch of yellow paint really took one for the team on this one.
The spines.
It's cold here. I give you winter, with pine trees, pine cones and something else. This has the look of a painting that will not even remember what it looked like 5 days from now. I'm getting really good at this guessing game.

The winter den studio. I swear, one day I will once again have a big-ass studio with white walls bathed in clean clear natural sunlight. 

December 06, 2010

I'm working on keeping spirits bright.

Instead of obsessing on why I haven't rec'd a boatload of works that were to be shipped back 3 weeks ago, I'm going for a run. After which, I will recommence being proactive in my career development. Truth be told, I like it here. Sure I  may have ranted yesterday about the state of the local arts, and  the weather is going to be a bit of an adjustment, and I am slow to trudge the marketing path over and over, but I had a stellar studio day yesterday, so game on once again.

December 03, 2010


December is a throw a dart on the wall and see what sticks kind of month. In between installing a token Christmas wreath, the wallpaper project, home repairs, and maintaining 2 studio personas, I've stumbled across a few blog posts of late that I'd like to share.

Abstract Painting England Not just one post. The whole blog is devoted to Abstract Painting. In England. APE, for short.
Joanne Mattera has a post re: marketing & gallery representation and also a cheat sheet to Miami. I almost flew down on lark, now that I'm closer. 2010 has definitely been an out of the loop year for me. I'll put it on the list for next year.
Two Coats has a post on Andrew Masullo with a video by James Kalm, speaking of small abstraction.
It's always nice to check in at Progress Report
I still drop by The Sartorialist when I'm feeling frumpy.
I keep forgetting that Thursday is when some art openings happen around here. It just hasn't registered, but then I still haven't hooked up the stereo either. I'll drop by next week.
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cumberland Gallery
I am going to the Downtown Art Crawl tomorrow night because a friend of a friend is showing work at Twist.

Santa delivered a pair of Wellies a bit early this year since according to Wikileaks, the average rainfall in Nashville is 48.5 inches as opposed to 15.4 inches in Los Angeles. I asked for Black. Predictable, but versatile. Slosh, slosh. I was trying to hold out on opening them until Christmas day, but the chance of inclement weather around here is high. I'll wrap them back up and pretend like I've never seen them before. No one will be the wiser.

Wallpaper update: One wall left to go. A friend came by and immediately pointed out that the white trim would have to go, along with the white ceiling, in order for my look to work. I was prepared to paint the molding, but the ceiling? Jeesh. I forge on.

Knitted skirt update: Yes, I am still knitting it. I've decided to have it hit me above the knee, and so I'm working on the hem now. The other day while knitting, I had to yank at the ball of yarn, thinking it was caught on a chair leg or something. It was in the dog's mouth. He deserves his own TV show.