December 30, 2011

Day 22: Rally Forth

Friday. I'm behind on titling some paintings. When I settle on titles, I will post them.
Started a new painting. Stocked up on collard greens and black eyed peas. Documented finished paintings. Worked more on a painting I thought was finished, but obviously wasn't satisfied with. I go out of my way to make things hard.

December 29, 2011

Day 20, 21. Crap, it's almost over.

Wednesday. I went for a run and had to go to a funeral today. Studio hours moved to evening. School starts in about 2 weeks.

Thursday. Worked on an impromptu grant app. Completed it, but it took the better part of the day. I should be able to knock these things out blindfolded, and yet, there I sat, tapping away and selecting images.

"Hollywood Drifting" 2011, oil on linen, 10 x 8 inches

December 24, 2011

Day 16-19: studio

It was sunny today so I pulled the painting out of the living room and into the studio to see what it looked like in daylight. I worked on it a bit more. I swore I wouldn't, but I did. Then I swore AGAIN that I wouldn't work on it anymore. I repeated this process at least twice today. I'm done with it. I've got a gnawing feeling that if I switched over to oils, it might look like what I thought it should like and I could continue this madness ad infinitum.

Xmas music, followed by Mission Impossible and Chinese.

Long day in studio. Worked on 2-3 paintings over and over.

Visited with cousin. Discussed handguns and rifles.

December 23, 2011

Day 15: studio

Friday. I couldn't help myself. I worked on the bathrobe painting one last time. Then I put it away. Again. Gessoed 4 canvases. Began grant application. Sat and starred a paint wall. Stared hard. I think I need a diversion.

December 22, 2011

Day 14. studio

Thursday. 100% chance of rain. I was going to stay in bed until I could either get a visual on what I might paint today or picture myself grabbing a large trash bag and emptying out a closet. The dog knows nor cares not of my daily dilemma. I got up and let him out.

I stopped working on the bathrobe portrait. Fin. I took it out of the studio and threw away all the associated palettes. The china cup broke at the end of the next to last session. I worked on it one last time and then declared a moratorium. There are parts of it I like and parts of it I— oh how shall I say this— don't feel like concerning myself with in terms of 'accuracy.' There. I said it. Sue me. When a painting become about 'accuracy,' it's times to move on. The fact that I even obsessed about this as much as I did has irritated me to no end.

December 21, 2011

Day 13. Studio

Have decided to wear mascara for no good reason. Stopped by a friend.'s house for a quick spot of tea. Took a wreath to the cemetery. Had planned on applying for grants. Built 2 stretchers instead. Painted. Had a rough day in the studio. I'm always afraid I'm going to run out of ideas of what to paint and have to rely on abstraction as a fallback. That's the beauty of abstraction: There is no what. I'm still figuring out the beauty of representational work. Killed a small painting. Brought another one back to life. Such is the cycle.
Possibly probably still in progress. 

Day 12. Studio

Tuesday. Rain. My studio lockdown is almost half over. I have successfully ignored paying bills until the last moment and my freshly washed sheets have been in the dryer for about 3 days now. Worked on bathrobe painting while having coffee.

A friend's mom passed away yesterday.

Discovered this essay on the painter, Edwin Dickinson, by John Perreault this morning.

If you do not bring anticipations to the sight of an object when drawing it, anticipations which are connect with associations in your lay life, it is easier to get it right then to get it wrong.
When asked about his influences, he replied: “I suppose being alive and awake.”
When queried about the meaning of his art, he replied: “I wouldn’t be able to say.”

-Edwin Dickinson 
White acrylic paint finally attached itself to the cuff of my actual bathrobe. I will attempt to remove it. I also discovered dark green and brown oil paint on my down jacket. I came in from walking the dog and had to make a few strokes before hanging up my coat. I am not going to attempt to remove this. I fear turpentine will make it worse. It's mostly dark on dark, though there is a small barely perceivable smear of white mixed in. It's like a micro palette smear. I assume it happened while cradling a small painting in my arm while painting. I work like that sometimes.

I went to the train car studio. It's been almost almost a month since I've worked there. It felt nice to be in the white cube studio space again. Made headway on a painting. Cleaned my palette cart. Capped as many tubes as I could. I even scrubbed my slop sink. Sometimes it feels good to start fresh.

I'm starting to wonder if social networking is the equivalent of reality TV. For instance, I accidentally watched Survivor the other night.

It's been interesting to work on the same large painting every morning. Discipline. Focus. There's something zen-like about the process now. When I get to a point where I don't know exactly what to do next or a place where I want the suspense to linger, I wash my brushes and call it a session, make more coffee and move over to work on the smaller paintings.

DETAIL of  "The Walk"

December 19, 2011

Day 11: Studio

Monday. Dr. Evil died. Some other stuff happened. I was still asleep.

I didn't take the day off yesterday. I may have decided to stay with acrylic for the bathrobe painting. I like the watercolor-like washes I'm doing. It's possible I may finish this painting without knowing that I started it. Noticed right before bed that 3 linen canvases had to be re-stretched after priming caused the linen to wrinkle. Woke up and had coffee while restretching canvases and wondered if building my own stretchers was really worth it. Yes, just need to take my time.
Studio shot. Still in progress. 

Ran/walked. Calf still injured. Not bad, just pulled a muscle, but it's been a month. Worked on bathrobe painting. Am not really tracking my hours anymore but I worked on it most of the day- as in daylight. It's a funny slow painting. I like working with washes. I like that they dry fast and I can do more washes, but slowly. I step back a lot. I stare a lot. I try things. I wipe things out. I try again. After working really thick lately, it's a nice break. Like doing a large watercolor. I'm enjoying it in a different way than the oils. I'm always amazed at how painting can still be fresh for me just when I think I've figured it out. I'm getting closer and closer to that Charles Burchfield studio lighting look...

Day Ten: Studio-ish

If you just tuned in, I'm documenting the month of December in the studio. I have one month off before spring semester begins. I want to get as much work done as possible so that I'll have time to second guess myself on everything I did this month and either continue to work on them or remove them from the studio so I don't overwork them. It can go either way. 

It's Sunday. I may have stated this before but my dad died when I was in my 20's and most of the life advice he gave me was dispersed before I was capable of fully appreciating such advice. I remember a few things though.

"Walk with your head up, don't look at the ground." This was hard for me to understand. I needed to look at the ground in order not to trip. I still do. Yesterday while running, I looked up for a moment and as I looked back down, I almost tripped over a shadow cast by a sign post.

"Winners never quit. Quitters never win."
I was in grade school. This advice was given to me at night before bedtime. I was standing in the doorway of my parent's bedroom saying goodnight. I don't remember the context. I was probably dejected, nervous, or unhappy about some activity- a race, a piano recital, ballet class, and wanted to bail.

I'm going to paraphrase this one: "Set aside Sunday to rest. Work really hard 6 days a week, then rest one day and gather your strength for the next week." My dad and I were standing in the living room by a window. I was in high school. Maybe college. I think he was worried about my future.

"Get a good job with good health insurance." If my dad uttered anything after this, I don't remember. This was the last thing I remember my dad ever saying to me. He was in the hospital and died 3 days later. I was waiting tables after having received my BFA a couple of years prior.

There was also some advice about when to change my oil, check my fluids and such.

I wasn't going to work at all today. Nothing. No housework, no office work, no painting. I worked a bit more on the bathrobe painting before I caught myself working. I'm nearing the edge of committing to acrylic or switching to oil.

I'm taking the day off. I'm going to putter.

December 18, 2011

Day Nine: Studio

Saturday. I like Scott's Simon's voice.
Notice I took the word, lockdown, out of the title. I don't know how I thought I would paint 24/7 AND continue to manage a home, non-related work, art-related work and still attempt to deal with everything leftover from my parent's and grandparents lives. I'm making headway, but yesterday, I came across vintage Theodore Seuss Geisel wrapping paper. If I have a spare second, I'll scan. And flattened bows. Honestly, if I had unlimited time, I would make a large sculpture out of some of this stuff, but I feel pressure to just paint and stay focused as it is.
In Progress

I'm still only at about 10% paint mode on this one. It's currently acrylic, but I'll switch to oil eventually. Once I do, there's no turning back. It's tricky, too, because if there's anything I like, it's hard to keep, so it becomes a whole new painting at that point and I have to hope for the best. The longer I wait to switch the harder it will be because by then I'll be attached to certain idiosyncratic passages that will feel stilted if I try to recreate them. I could keep going in acrylic, but I'm experiencing paint drag and I'm a bit half-assed in my brush handling. It's like not painting while I'm painting. Right now, the most important thing in the painting is the position of the affected pinkie finger, which isn't affected all all. I innately hold cups like this. I can't wait to paint the cup. Sounds silly but I am looking forward to the painting the china pattern. 

I began painting self-portraits last spring after seeing the Alice Neel documentary. After a lifetime of painting other people, Neel painted her first self-portrait at age 80, naked- save her glasses and a paintbrush and turp rag. It's a great film and this was the part that affected me the most. I thought it was a brave statement. On one hand, you're 80, so maybe you've made peace with the physical attributes of aging at that point, but do you ever make peace with yourself, or get over being vulnerable? I'm sure some people do. Some, maybe not. At 50, I'm just coming to grips with aging. I'm not 100% at peace with myself and chances are I have a pocket of vulnerability with me at all times. I decided to add self-portraits to my oeuvre. 

December 17, 2011

Day Eight: Studio Lockdown

Friday. Chana Joffe-Walt's voice irks me. Rain. Am trying to knock out some holiday shipping, but inexplicably Fed Ex had not activated the ground portion of my account. If I use FEDEx I will receive a Starbucks gift card. I know it's a break even thing, but it's all about the coffee. No bathrobe painting today. Stretched and primed 2 more canvases. Kept working on 2 small paintings. My hours have been erratic this week.

Having an off time with the paint. Feeling a bit cluttered and and chaotic. Still need to finish booking travel plans, clean house and send some requested materials to someone. Started a new painting. Titles are coming easy now. I've been writing them down. Usually the paint comes before the title, but every now and then the title comes first.

Why is painting hard?

December 16, 2011

Day Seven: Studio Lockdown

Thursday. Perhaps I've misused the word, 'studio' and 'lockdown.' Perhaps paying bills, juggling office tasks, and worrying about the economy and my future while mixing paint is what I meant to imply when I said "studio lockdown."

Still ignoring my 5:45 AM alarm. Sometime around 6:15am I heard the war in Iraq was officially over. A horn sound effect made me think of Carl Stalling. The federal government is scheduled to shutdown tomorrow. Chance of rain is 100% today. Today is an emergency office day. I have to document work, prep images, write a statement, and update my bio for 2 shows in January. It's all due right now- as I am writing this, right now. Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from getting this together earlier. I could blame Mercury in Retrograde- "Mercury...turns retrograde at 20°06' Sagittarius in the sign of the Archer, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup." It's possible. Not really, but why not.

Fretted over what painting to include. Felt like the stakes were high due to communication errors noted above. I angst a lot. Sometimes I have to remind myself I have a decent track record with painting. Most of the time I fear there's some highly perceptible scale of 1-10 and I'll choose the painting that ranks a 5 or less every time. As a rule, few people like my favorite paintings as much as I do. I chose a painting that was still wet, and that I either loved or hated, and dashed out a simple heartfelt statement about it. I forgot how long it took to dash off a simple statement. A lot less than usual. I didn't have time to overwork it. I hit send, got up, and walked the dog. The phrase, "Never look back" occurred to me. This saved me from potentially obsessing. I decided to make this my new motto. It will save me time. It will also increase my odds of typos. I wondered if anyone would cut me slack on typos.

Went for a run. Received enthusiastic thumbs up on image I sent. Continued researching travel plans. On the other coast I received news that another painting had sold. Concluded that good things happen to people who secretly whine and feel sorry for themselves for a few moments when the going gets tough, and then get over and on with it. Silently thanked some distant friends who listen to me whine every so often. Promised myself I'd whine less.

Two paintings. First or second coat each. My general MO for starting a painting varies from painting to painting. It was the end of the night and I didn't want my palette to go to waste. 

December 15, 2011

Day Six: Studio Lockdown

Today is Wednesday. The federal government is going to stop minting $1 coins. I thought of my mother and her collection of quarters. And dimes. And pennies. Made coffee and went to work on the bathrobe painting. I had trouble. I was off. The strokes felt lame, the paint, murky. I checked the mail and received a notice of something that annoyed me the first time I saw it, so it annoyed me again. I washed my brushes and ran some errands. I received more disappointing news. I considered changing my Facebook network to Purgatory just to see if anyone else was in my network. My studio hours were consumed by the desire to sell everything and move. Ate chocolate babka. Stared hard at painting I've been on the fence about. Worked more on said painting.  Walked dog. Went to bed. Studio hours were touch and go.

December 13, 2011

Day Five: Studio Lockdown

Today is Tuesday. I should quit setting the alarm.

Coffee. Worked on bathrobe painting from 8-10. Uncanny how it's nearly to the minute, the amount of time I work on this painting every day. At first I was happy with it, then I became aware that my eyes were wrong. More wrong than tolerable. My coffee gets cold while painting and I have to warm it up.

Ran errands, made more granola, thought about Christmas and discovered a box of vintage wrapping paper in the Christmas closet.

Today was a run day. Cold, dreary, foggy and damp. Still have calf injury. Walked after 1 mile.

Evening studio hours. Possibly finished up a couple of paintings.

December 12, 2011

Day Four: Studio Lockdown

Monday. Day Four: 5:45 am. I didn't hear the alarm and I don't know what happened in world events this morning. The dog's alarm clock goes off a bit later than mine, so when I hear voices in the distance I know I've overslept. He has an alarm clock specifically for this reason. It allows me to sleep a bit later without him thinking I'm dead. Made coffee, worked on bathrobe painting for about 2 hours before running errands and making—
The Same Salad I Have Been Making Every Week For About 5 Months Now
shredded carrots
toasted sesame oil
vinegar or Bragg's amino acid

I worked a bit more on a holly tree painting last night. I'm conflicted. I like it, but I don't like it. I don't like it because it looks fine and I haven't mucked it up. I do like it because it's oddly geometric and pristine and I like looking at it.

I didn't consider yesterday a studio day even though I worked about 3 or so hours in the studio. It was Sunday. I pretend not to work on Sunday.

The painting from a few days ago that was a complete disaster has evolved into something radically different. I opened up an old and dusty book and saw "The Coiffure" by Van Dongen. I had every intent on ripping him off.

Kees Van Dongen, "The Coiffure"

December 11, 2011

Day Three: Studio Lockdown

Day Three: 5:45 am. I can handle Rick Steves' voice (Travel with Rick Steves). Today I learned about agritourism while half asleep. Made coffee. Started medium-large self-portrait in Beacon bathrobe, while brewing coffee, while listening to NOA weather radio repeat itself endlessly, while waiting for temperature to warm above 30 degrees. Worked in studio from 7am-10am. Went for a run, but strained calf again at .25 mile. Frustrated. Walked instead. I'm not so good with injuries.

I had this very same Beacon robe in Chicago. I paid $3 for it at the local thrift store. For some reason, I let it go in a yard sale some years later.  Every time I saw a TV show or a movie with someone wearing a Beacon robe, I would wilt a little. No more. This summer I saw the same robe in a vintage store and paid 21 times what I paid for it back in Chicago-on the condition I would paint a self-portrait featuring this robe. Coincidentally, I was with an old friend who remembered my bathrobe from Chicago and convinced me this was a good plan. She may have in fact, suggested it. I couldn't have possibly appreciated the first bathrobe as much as I do the second one. Money well-spent. I've been waiting until winter to paint this self-portrait. It's 41 x 38 inches. I'll only be working on it first thing in the mornings while I have coffee-about 2 hours. Painting Vérité. And now you also know how long I dawdle over coffee.

Aside from the bathrobe painting, I seem to be settling into an afternoon-evening schedule. Six hours, uninterrupted is good for me in the studio. That doesn't count priming and building stretchers or any prep work- just painting and staring. Usually, I'll end up tacking on at least another hour later in the evening. I have to walk through the studio to get to the kitchen. Because of this conveniently obtrusive set up, odds are, I will also pick up a brush while I'm cooking, mindlessly drinking coffee and solving mysteries of the Universe, and while I'm playing with the dog.

I made a large batch of my kick-ass, homemade granola to give to the matriarchs in the neighborhood and a couple of granola heads I know. I also obsessed abut not being able to run due to calf injury. The calf injury happened before my trip to New York. I thought I was back to normal. Obviously not. I can feel the chocolate babka taking over my body. Bad call on that. So good, but bad. 

But back to speaking of the end of the semester, Charles Saatchi's piece for The Guardian via Two Coats of Paint: "If I stop being on good behaviour for a moment, my dark little secret is that I don't actually believe many people in the art world have much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others – a received pronunciation. For professional curators, selecting specific paintings for an exhibition is a daunting prospect, far too revealing a demonstration of their lack of what we in the trade call 'an eye.' They prefer to exhibit videos, and those incomprehensible post-conceptual installations and photo-text panels, for the approval of their equally insecure and myopic peers. This 'conceptualised' work has been regurgitated remorselessly since the 1960s, over and over and over again."  Or as I like to call it, Rehashed 90's Conceptualism. They declared painting dead, why not this? Rhetorical question, I might add.

I reactivated my Netflix account for December and received some good suggestions for aprés-paint viewing.
No one suggested Mulholland Falls, but I wanted to see LA in a film.

December 10, 2011

Day Two: Studio Lockdown

Day Two: 5:45 am. Keep meaning to change alarm and radio station on the weekend. Getting annoyed with both Glynn Washington's Snap Judgement and Mike McGrath's voice on You Betcha Garden, though I am learning gardening tips in my sleep. I woke up feeling like I thought I might be feeling like crap. Sure enough, I felt like crap. My first thought was that I was poisoning myself with a CO2 leak. I can never remember whether the logs are vented or ventless. I always have to look for the paperwork. I open the vent occasionally, nonetheless. I drank coffee, felt ill and went back to bed. Got up, still felt ill, took a hot shower, and went back to bed again. Finally gave in and took some aspirin. Eventually felt better. Went to store, picked up woolly clothing from the dry cleaners, conveniently located next to the place that sells chocolate babka. Ate chocolate babka. Moved palette table and oil paints in from freezing garage to den, officially securing den as winter studio. Pushed dining room table aside and dragged large easel from garage to dining room, thereby securing dining room as winter studio V2. I began working in studio at 3:00pm and worked uninterrupted until about 7:30pm. Took a painting I almost liked to a place I couldn't stand. Obliterated it. Felt like I'd never be able to paint again. Gave up. Cleaned brushes. Started new painting because I don't give up. It's better, I think, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure of anything. About a 4 hour day. Cleaned up, ate dinner, watched Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

I don't know how I'm managing in this studio home setup. It's driving me  bit crazy, yet I'm getting work done. I really want a white space studios bathed in natural light. It's possible. Everything is possible. It would cost money though. And time. Two things I always feel short on. The train car residency will be ending soon. I'm getting a head start on the transition.

Detail of self-portrait I didn't like, so I reworked parts of it. 

Detail of painting I fear is boring and that I am uncomfortable with.

And of course, now I worry that my details shots are more exciting than the actual whole painting. The endless battle of me vs. me. 

December 09, 2011

Day 1: Studio Lockdown

The semester ended last week. Back to the real world.

Friday: Day one. I anticipated waking up at the usual time (5:45am) and getting to work by 7am. I did not anticipate the overwhelming urge to mop my floors or do other neglected chores. I snacked on peanut butter, paid bills, and did some other household chores and things. Ran 3 miles. I began working in the studio at 2pm and worked uninterrupted until about 7pm. Cleaned up, ate some dinner, and had to make just a few more strokes before cleaning up again. Gave dog attention. We're practicing some new tricks. All in all, about a 5.5 or 6 hour studio day. Worked on 2 or 3 paintings at various stages.  Built a couple of stretchers. Primed linen.

During Studio Lockdown, I'll post some details of works in progress and or finished paintings. I'm cycling in and out of that fear that I can't paint or that I've lost all ability to know what's "good." I should accept this as part of my process by now. I'm so used to struggling with a painting that I am suspicious if a painting comes with only somewhat of a struggle. And as always, I find myself stuck between abstraction and representation. Even though I have finally decided they are the same, I'm uneasy.

Detail of small painting. 

Detail of small painting. 

November 24, 2011


Hudson, NY. View from my room.

My packing job was an art form in and of itself.
Bruce Gagnier at John Davis Gallery
I love this painting hanging downstairs at John Davis Gallery. I can't remember the artist's name right now, but I will find out. 
Waiting for the train. 
Dia: Beacon. 
NYC. View from my room.

On rainy days he gets the towel rubdown treatment. He seems to like having a towel on his back. He wore it for awhile.  

Ok, this is a total re-edit. I started feeling the need to be very private and not share my art-related comings and goings so far in advance. On the other hand, it's not that far in advance and I'm sensing I'll be full throttle in the studio. Plus I need to remind myself I have a good year ahead. My trip to Hudson was fantastic. I dropped off some small paintings with John Davis Gallery and he offered me a show next spring/summer. It was a lovely visit and I had a chance to see some wonderful work by some of his gallery artists. In general, the New York trip was energizing. I like solitude and I like to work alone, but I need to feel connected. NY and LA do that for me, as well as visits with other  artists with whom I share common ground. I came home to a good review of my solo show here and a couple of emails regarding some shows next year. Two in LA and one back here. Really all very good stuff, and no reason not to share the good news. 

After staring at a couple of paintings going nowhere fast, I managed a breakthrough. I have 2 solos scheduled about the same time next year, so I am switching into my ultra disciplined studio mode. That means I show up on time, wear my Bulwark coveralls, and stay in the studio no matter what until my studio hours are over. I haven't decided whether I will post pics as I go along or hold back until the exhibit. I'm past knowing what's a good strategy-do I try to build hype by posting new work? I don't know. Hype is not my forte. 

November 15, 2011


First thing this morning, I saw a huge, say half-dollar size, including legs—spider on the kitchen floor as I was sweeping. I like spiders and usually release them, but this guy was too big and I hadn't had my coffee yet. I stepped on him and the crunchy sound made me jump. I injured my calf again. I might have jumped too high. It was the sound that made me jump. I simultaneously thought of spider rolls.

I have to take a week off running for it to heal.

I am looking forward to getting back on a precise studio and running schedule. It's been rather hectic lately. Yoga would be a good idea too.

November 11, 2011

My morning run

I was excited to get back to a regular running schedule after slacking off for a few months. I injured my calf on day two. Did the RICE thing and took a day off. Thought I was better today, but calf started hurting, so I walked up and down the hills. 

November 10, 2011

What I miss the most.

A Sense of Family Aesthetics: 

I'm guessing I made this abstract sculpture in the mid 80's. I came home one Christmas to find that my mom had co-opted it into a holiday coffee table arrangement by spray-painting pine cones and sticking a candle in the middle of it. I found the box today as I was clearing out the closet containing holiday decorations. I'm going to paint this.

November 06, 2011

A video tour.

Mary Addison Hackett
"Acts of Moral Turpentine"
Track 13 Gallery
Open on Saturdays from 12-4pm, and by appointment at 615. 259.0999.

I forgot about using horizontal format. I'll reshoot and repost later this week.

November 04, 2011


I'm still getting over the coldy flu thing. I finally broke down and bought some over the counter cold meds, and thanks to my local meth labs, I had to show my driver's license, which the druggist promptly recorded. Tweakers aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer, but if I were buying amphetamines for my DIY meth lab and the druggist asked for my ID, I might bail on the transaction and take my business out of state. But since I am a woman with a 8-day head cold, they have my DL number and address on file.

Possible day job:
meth lab operator

The show install went really well. It's been tough working in a different city and I've felt more isolated than usual. I did a lot of second-guessing myself, but plowed through anyhow. As soon as the layout began, the angst fell away. The show unfolded nicely after being tethered to me for a year. It felt good to release the work and see it function on its own. The moderately large-scale works mingle with the small works. The abstracts inform the representational works and vice-versa.  Conceptually and visually, it looks to be a good mash-up. I hope I feel that way at the reception. A couple of paintings I assumed would be in the show didn't find their way in. I had about 47 works to cull down. Editing is a funny thing. I could have hung another version of the show- not better, not worse, just an alt version.

The opening is tomorrow. tonight.  The show is tucked away in a train car-cum-gallery on a portion of the old L&N tracks. I wish it were a traveling show, Wild Wild West style.

I usually google my titles to make sure 5000 other artists haven't used them first. Somehow Jimmy Durante's catchphrase, "Dat's Moral Turpentine" eluded me, though I find it quite funny.

Also funny and coincidental is that this morning I stumbled across Keith Mayerson's portrait/self-portrait. His is '83. Mine's '79.  

Keith Mayerson
Me in '83, 2010
Oil on linen
30 x 22 inches

Mary Addison Hackett
Static Cling (I still smell the polyester) 2011
Oil on canvas
10 x 8 inches

November 03, 2011

Mary Addison Hackett: "Acts of Moral Turpentine"

"Intervention," 2011 ©m.a.hackett
oil on linen
10 x 8 inches

Community Arts Program
at Cummins Station presents 

Acts of Moral Turpentine
Nov 5-Dec 4, 2011

Opening Reception
Saturday, November 5, 6-9pm
Artist Talk 5:30pm in the gallery, prior to the reception
wine and hors d'oeuvres

Cummins Station, Track 13 Gallery
209 10th Avenue South, First Floor

Showing by appointment
DZL management at 615. 259.0999
and Saturdays, Noon-4pm (310.463.9101)
Validated parking in Lot A

October 28, 2011

Needed: assistant.

In addition to my family documenting every day life in the most banal way possible, my aunt and uncle travelled quite a bit and left behind images. They lived up the street. No kids, so it was like I had a second set of parents. I spent maybe 15 minutes checking out 1970's Istanbul, Tokyo, and a few dinner parties before overwhelming myself in the sad room today.

October 27, 2011

I install in 2 days

I am still under the weather. I "napped" for almost 2 hours when I got home from school yesterday. 
The kind of nap where you wake up not knowing what time of day it is. 
The kind of nap where you feel like you fell out of the sky and the world is really strange for a moment. 
The only reason I got up was to take care of the dog.

October 22, 2011

I can fit 17 paintings in a vintage leather suitcase. carryon.

I did a dry run for an upcoming trip. I don't like to check baggage. I'd rather drive, but its too long of a trip. I found a nice leather suitcase with linen dividers in the attic. Appropriate to transport linen paintings, yes?  It still had the Eastern Airlines luggage tag on it.

Unrelated to the suitcase drill, my show here opens in two weeks. I am titling the latest paintings today. It's going slow. 50% of the titles are rather mundane and seemingly obvious. The others desire to be insightful without feeling contrived.

I have a sense of smug satisfaction with my suitcase achievement. There's something about a hard-shelled suitcase that makes me feel more together and orderly, if not an anachronism.

October 16, 2011

This painting is hard to shoot and I need to quit obsessing about it

There's a lot of detail and I am clueless as to how many layers are in this painting. I vaguely remember that the stump and the tree growing out of the stump have always been present in the painting, as in real life. 
This is the painting before it reached 98 degrees in the studio. 

After a cool spell, I had turned the ac off in the studio thinking it was fall. Not. Temps rose and the train car studio got really hot. Like upper 90's, and when I walked in, the paintings that were on a table by the window looked like they had been sitting in the desert. They weren't cracked or anything- but the oil had been sucked out of them. If I were to personify them, I would say they were parched and screaming for oil, but being parched, their throats were too dry to actually scream. After a moment of shock, I decided to glaze them.  I'm not a glaze painter. Consistent glazes are too slick for me, but I'll throw down a haphazard glaze when I want to push some colors or build thin layers. 
After glazing, and shot under lights

Shooting glazes under lights is tricky and I start to wonder what's real. The painting under lights, the painting in the studio or the painting outside?

The Tree Within a Tree Never Gives Up, © mahackett, 2011
After deglazing in some areas, but shot in daylight. 

I went back in and dulled down some areas hoping it would shoot better- but this time I shot under natural light, changing two variables instead of one. Too flat. I went back in with some more glazes after I shot it trying to match the painting to the photograph. At this point the painting about a tree that keeps growing out of a stump no matter how much it is pruned, is becoming more meta than usual for me. In real life, the painting is a reasonable facsimile of a combination of all of these shots.  There's a lot of detail. It's not as shiny as the 2nd shot, and by glazing, I brought out some areas that were baked away in the first. If I'm to adhere to fat over thin, I legally can't go back in and add paint out of the tube in order to flatten it out. The painting is 7 inches by 5 inches on linen. I need to stop working on it before it comes to life and drags itself out of the studio. 

On the bright side, I have finally figured out the secret to shooting the small work is the highest aperture number. This might seem obvious, along with using a tripod, a remote, and shooting at the lowest ISO, but I've never set aside the time to do some aperture tests. About fours years later, I did that this morning. So much for using the automatic setting...pffft. 

October 15, 2011

The work is nearly all shot.

36 paintings properly documented today. Nice, big, juicy tiffs files. I still need to reshoot the bigger paintings from earlier this year. Still have some organizing to do. Lots, really. I'm tired. I worked a solid 9am to 4:30pm today managing the photo shoot and processing all the raw files. I feel like I've probably posted most of the paintings at various stages, but when the show opens I'll repost some images. Two paintings are at the framers. Big thanks to one of the photography students who shot my work this weekend, and to the framer at Plaza who I know is doing a stellar job on a frame for a couple of works on paper.

The show title and dates are official. I'll reveal shortly. My announcement email for stuff will go out soon. If you are not on my email list and want to be, please sign up.

Being a painter is isolating. Some days the people behind the counters are the only guys I see. I'd like to give a shout out to all the locals in my community who have had a positive impact on my life at the studio, simply by being pleasant. That might not sound like a lot, but you'd be surprised. I'm hooked on coffee you know, so my 2pm coffee break has become a social activity since my studio is away from home. And by social, I mean that I order it to go. 
  • The staff at Plaza Art supply. Totally nice and super helpful. All of them. All the time. 
  • The staff at the Turnip Truck in the Gulch. I've practically OD'd on the biscuits and I love the Drew's coffee they serve. Coffee is 50¢ if I bring my own mug. The lemon curd has pulled me through many an afternoons.
  • The staff at Fiddle Cakes, my other coffee spot. The staff here is small. I usually see the the guy who I discovered is also a painter, but the others are nice too. Had I not discovered 50¢ coffee and those Gruyére cheese biscuits at Turnip Truck, I'd be more loyal. These are my go-to peeps for brownies and cookies. Vegan options when I feel like being 100% vegan instead of 10% vegan like I am now. 
  • The guy who takes my order and rings me up at The Morning Glory Deli. He might own the joint. Whenever I become freaked out that I'm spending all my money on fancy Gueryére biscuits, Americanos, and Lemon Curd, I order a grilled cheese, french fries, and a cup of Joe for lunch. (I'm getting better at carrying my own mug around.) He throws in my mustard packs without asking. I like mustard on my fries. . 
I'll have printed postcards that should look great. If you want a hardcopy, email me your address and I'll add you to my list.

I wrote the press release, the statement, and an updated bio in like 4.5 hours flat. That's a record, for me. This is one of the first shows that I feel like I'm working up until the deadline, not because I'm behind or don't have enough, but because I still want to keep painting. I've got at least 3 paintings and titles backlogged in my head right now.

I don't feel chatty tonight. I want the spaceship parts to hurry up and arrive. Change is hard.

October 14, 2011

October 08, 2011

Honestly, I don't compose these things. They just happen. Innate formalism, such a cross to bear. 

October 07, 2011

Studio Stuff, Prep work, etc.

[31 34 paintings. Not pictured: 15+ works on paper, 6 large abstract paintings, 1 large representational painting, a few mid-size paintings and all of the alter-ego's work. I haven't done the exact count but I'm in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 works completed in the last year.] It doesn't really look like a lot, but numbers don't lie.

I have like 48 hours to pin down a show title that I won't regret. I'm usually pretty good with show titles, but I'm tired, I have a headache, and my glasses make my eyes and neck hurt. I'm shooting all of the work tomorrow, then it's onto mailing list, titles, checklist, framing, plus I need to tweak a couple of pieces. I hang the work in 2 weeks and have another two weeks to edit down the show to kick ass and exceptional. Oh, and the statement for some comprehensible press release is due on Monday. People on southern time are a bit more loose. I'm better with advance deadlines. 

When I told a friend about my upcoming show, they said, "fun." My idea of fun is being comatose on a beach in a lounge chair on a hot day with warm saltwater lapping up beside me. I think 1986 was the last time I experienced that.

I love what I do. I love being in the studio, It's challenging, physically and intellectually. I'm cool with getting messy. Lately, the dog hair and lint annoy me and I find myself making a concerted effort to cap my paints. Mixing paint is fun, but after that, I think being a painter person and trying to make a living holding down a couple of other jobs is challenging work, especially on your own. The carrot at the end of the stick is subconsciously that beach scene. To be exact, my beach scene takes place at The Pier House in Key West, Florida. Someone took me there a long time ago, circa 1986. It was actually the worst vacation of my life for other reasons, but I'll never forget that day in the lounge chair. I want that again. Screw therapy. I just want three days in a lounge chair at the edge of the ocean.

Like  I said, I'm usually good with titles. It may be time to scrap my usual cadence for something more direct.
Let's backtrack:

1992 Chromosome Paintings and Small Collages  (My pre grad school feminist paintings)
1995 Songs About My Mother   (My thesis show of quirky video work supported by fem psych theory and a Maysles Brothers-like doc that bombed with my thesis panel.)
2002 Series 100 + Spare Parts   (I'm in LA and back to painting- The show was an index of watercolor cutouts that would later be seen as the vocabulary for my abstract painting.)
2003 New Roles For Spare Parts (took the index and gave it a narrative. introduced narrative abstraction.)
2004 Klusje Van Niks (Rotterdam. I was totally overcome by Dutch design and architecture.)
2005 Scramble: A Series of Unruly Paintings and Drawings (Back in LA and showing the architecture and Dutch influenced work. still abstract. still chaos and order.)
2006 The Tornado Face Drawings ( I went on a manic tear and fervently made 33 Tornado Face Drawings. I rearranged the whole studio and bought some bargain-bin-castoffs from IKEA to accommodate this. Factory worker mode.)
2008 I Forget Now What All This is About (After reading Modern Painters, I fell in love with Ruskin's writing and reinterpreted his take on landscape and painting for my own diabolical purposes. The title was from a footnote of his.)
2010 Fluid: Elusive Chapters From the Passage of Time (Also known as the Pool and Flower Paintings and The Lost Months. Small paintings the size of paperbacks that were about losing my mom and watching my marriage dissolve all within the manageable distance of 3000 miles. Introduced representational work and fixation on singular image.)

And here we are now. A year later in Nashville I've been waking up every day to NPR and stories about the economy, revolution, natural disasters, more death and destruction, selfish, evil people, and watching the newscasters report about the locally depraved before bedtime. I cycle through my daily routine and try to achieve some balance as I go through stuff from my parent's estate all while maintaining a studio and teaching. I'm still interested in abstraction, but my approach is becoming more aloof. Abstraction is slow now. Like molasses. I need to capture things, document them as they cross my mind or before I forget. Sometimes I feel like a channel. I wonder what I'm going to paint next and become anxious. What if I've covered everything there is to paint? What then? It hasn't happened yet. I usually find something the next day, but still, it's a concern. When I was in Indiana I was talking with Carla about this need to paint things as some kind of evidence of my existence. I think I said something like that, only as soon as I said it, I thought it sounded like a Twilight Zone epilogue, so I told her not to tell anyone and immediately forgot what I said.

Here's the brainstorming list so far, feel free to comment.

I Don't Know What I'm Waiting For, But It's Not You, and Other Frustrating Narratives
Shape Shifters
Moral Turpentine
An Act of Moral Turpentine
Mondrian is My Visual Safe Word
and going back to a fictional note in Camus' The Plague, "Come in, I've Hanged Myself."
and finally,
Come In, I've Hanged Myself, and Other Acts of Moral Turpentine

The Camus reference has been on the backburner for a few years. It seems pitch perfect for a painting show, but my world of references lend themselves toward narrowcasting.

Ok, so that's not a lot of brain storming. I'll add more over the weekend.