May 27, 2011

I'm a sucker for painterly abstraction. Big Surprise, I know.

Annie Lapin at Honor Fraser. Click on link for review.
The Frozen Aftervisions of Virtue, 2011
Oil and acrylic on canvas 64 x 66 inches

I'm selling my half-box french easel. It's listed on craigslist, ebay and facebook marketplace. It's in great shape, rarely used. It's lighter to tote around than the full-box. Back before I was blogging, way back, well, not really that far back, but let's go with 2002 or so- back when I had nary a care in the world other than where my next bottle of champers was coming from- I took a plein air class up in Santa Rosa California so that I could turn around and teach plein air painting from the point of view of a plein air painter, rather the the point of view of an abstract painter. It was useful. I learned that painters organize their palettes in some kind of orderly fashion mimicking the color wheel. I tried that for maybe 3 weeks. Or 2 weeks. Or less. It slowed me down, so I went back to my wayward ways. Though I might not appear the type to blend in with the plein air crowd, I enjoyed the class since one of my closet pleasures consists of secretly admiring what I perceive to be the carefree lifestyle of painters ´a la American Artist or Watercolor Magazine. Don't ask. It's a holdover from childhood. I taught myself how to draw and paint from the How-to pages of those magazines. Fang went with me on that trip. We camped in a state park and I thought about buying a Westfalia and converting it into a mobile studio. I thought about that again this weekend. 

I broke a 10 min mile today, averaging 9:36 a mile. That's crazyfast for me. I was suspect that I made some sort of calculating mistake, but I've had a few runs where I've broken 10, so although it seemed fast for me, it's not impossible.

F1 racing this Sunday at the ungodly hour of 7am CST. I'm considering running over to the local strip-mall bar to watch it on the big screen. 

May 25, 2011

A Milestone of Sorts.

I was going to write a longer blog post, but I gave up.
I dropped off some flowers at the cemetery today.
I still find post-it notes my mom wrote.
I think she was afraid she would forget things.

May 23, 2011

Short notice: June 4th Art Crawl

I thought I locked myself out of my studio today and while being let in, I discovered that Cummins Station and Track 13 Gallery will be a stop on the shuttle bus for the June 4th Art Crawl, though it's not officially sponsored by Cummins Station, which is why there was no official word and no official organized open studio. Meaning, I'm going rogue. My train car studio is hitched to the train car gallery, so any and all foot traffic will flow by my studio. It seems like a no brainer to participate though I have less than 2 weeks to devise my plan and organize. Fortunately I have DIY roots. I'll show the recent watercolors in one room and M. Thackston Addie, visionary, wants in as well. He'll be showing recent work in the smaller room. I'm tempted to visit a nursing home and borrow a resident for the evening, but that would be so wrong, wouldn't it? If I were in LA, I would consider hiring an actor. I'd like to make a limited edition zine- highlights from Process or a print on demand book for sale. I have a lot of work to do.

I introduced oils to the train car studio. It's best when I use either/or, so I decided to phase out the acrylics. Even with the a/c on and loads of retarder, acrylics tend to dry super fast in this climate. And acrylic and hot weather aren't really the ideal mix for those of us prone to leaving wide-mouthed jars of paint uncapped for 6 hours or longer either.
Skywriting on the Wall, 2011
14" x 11"

I think I need to tweak this painting a tad more. I just noticed the "C" is bothering me a bit. I was walking home one day in LA when I saw the word, "choose" written in the sky above my house. It kind of freaked me out because at the time I needed to make some decisions and I remember shuffling home thinking about something so very relevant that it was downright freaky when I looked up and saw this.  I starred at it and realized that when it was fresh, it had said something else, but the wind had caused all the other words to dissipate. I miss skywriting. It's a beach thing. I don't think I ever really made a decision, but you know how that goes. Even a non-decision is a decision.

I hadn't locked myself out either. My keys were at the coffee shop across the street waiting for me to finish my double Americano. Mr. Coffee, sir, you are no Starbucks Barista Home Espresso Machine.

May 22, 2011

More painting positions:

In the groove...

After looking at these, I realized it looks like I'm faking it since you can't actually see any paint on the brush or the strokes left behind on the canvas. Perhaps I am.

May 18, 2011

Evening run-down from a couple of days worth of activities.

Desperately trying not to purchase this:

More streaming from Netflix: In Art City, Making It in Manhattan, dated, 1996, Neil Jenny talks about his impetus for bad painting as a reaction against photo-realism. Elisabeth Murray talks about working and solitude, and quips, When was the last time you got a great idea at a cocktail party? And Louise Bourgeois is Louise Bourgeois. Greater LA hit New York with over 50 artists presenting an idiosyncratic rather than comprehensive view of cultural production coming out of LA, and in a statistic from a recent survey conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), it appears the median income of art school graduates, no matter what field they choose to support themselves, be it fine art, farming, health care, or food prep is 30 grand. Go team Go.

In local news, I recently heard the saying, "If people can afford to buy art, they can afford to fly to New York." A bit sardonic, but years ago when I lived in Chicago, I heard the same thing expressed less wittily, so I'll assume every town has their version. I don’t know the collectors here. I mentioned this to another artist who said, "Really?" Well, yeah, really. I've been here 9 months and divide my time between two isolated studios, which is why the Elizabeth Murray remark was funny to me. Once at an opening of mine in LA, I had some guy corner me and pull press clippings out of his pocket attesting to his status as a collector. I had been in LA maybe a year or two at the time and must not have recognized his name upon introduction. I don't imagine that will happen here. I mean, you never know, but LA was special like that. High energy and all.

You know what I'm excited about right now? Tomatoes at the local produce stand, white bread and mayo.

Yesterday was a studio day. It's been freezing at 56 degrees, but at least there was a moment of sun. The day before was an office day until I got a call from a local charity about picking up some donations. I took a break, hit one of the childhood closets and came up with 2 bags of all my required reading from middle school: Taming of the Shrew, The Odyssey, The Scarlet Letter, etc. I also came across a few boxes that set me back for a few: random letters from my mom to her mother, Christmas cards and postcards from the 60's, a painted rock that was a paperweight, and a letter I had apparently dictated as a toddler because it was a sentence written in my mother's perfectionist handwriting that said something like, "I had a very nice time and miss you." It was written inside quotes and followed by lines of nonsensical child scribble with the occasional crudely drawn flower thrown in for good measure.

Eventually I will have to adhere to a schedule and delve into the closets and such. I've got two different projects going on: one, the need to clear the house of stuff, and two, the need to make art out of clearing the house of stuff, which is where the small paintings are headed now. Three, would be some sort of cash flow as a result of the previous two projects. Four, would be a sigh of relief from having large open space once again and very few possessions. Considering the state of affairs, I'm calm for the most part. I sleep well at night. I'm not frazzled during the day. I don't snap at people. If I haven't had a nervous breakdown or thrown in the towel yet, I think it's safe to say, I'm in the clear. I'm still dreadfully impatient and I worry about stuff for about 10 minutes a day, possibly more, and occasionally spiral into a Harold and Maude-like tailspin of existential ennui, but thankfully don't feel bitter or neglected. It probably helps that I'm self-centered and too consumed with my own life to be looking for paybacks and pats on the head. And I love what I do. And I'm not a martyr. And my dog smells like fish. It all adds up.

I finally (7 years later) broke out my Belgium linen I purchased over in Rotterdam. For some reason, I've held onto this as special linen. It's not. It's very nice linen, of course, but it's just material. When I unrolled it, I was hit with the smell of primed linen. Pause and take that in. It was nice. Much better than the fish smelling dog smell mentioned above. Stretching primed linen is always a bit tough to do. I tried stretching one, but it didn't pass the quality control test. (Standards, yes, I do have them.) My solution was to glue the linen onto cradled wood panels. I don't particularly like painting on panels. The sides always throw me. For some reason, wood panels seem like they should have pristine sides and I am not a pristine side person. I primed the sides, but even then, it's disturbing. Painting the sides is not an option. I'll try and forget about the sides and just paint like normal. I like linen. I just bought some more on sale. Just a little. Just enough to get me through a summer of smaller paintings.

Posted by the Progress Report group on FB- Cezanne's Doubt by Maurice Merleau-Ponty. I'm going to read it at after dinner tonight. Oh look, the time. 

May 15, 2011

My dining room table assembly line factory mode direct. The night shift.

Painting is dead. On.
There's a plethora of painting blogs out there. It seems sudden, almost viral, but it's fabulous to see paintings being posted en masse. Some fairly new ones have cropped up, plus a few I found a few to revisit. I just discovered RSS. Not entirely true, but I just discovered the ease of having feeds delivered. I've been blogging for almost 6 years.
s  l  o  w.
Feel free to leave links to blogs about painting in the comment section, but I will delete spam so fast it will make your head spin, a feat of remarkable skill on the Internet.


I have larger works going on at the train car studio, but only 1 more large blank canvases stretched. And being a person of practical considerations and goals, I am continuing my investigation of smaller format works. Yesterday I wrangled up all my spare canvas  and linen, and began my assembly line process of building and stretching again.

Which brings me to the home studio and the train car studio gap lest I did not fully explain earlier this year. I am an artist in residence with a studio space at Cummins Station here in Nashville for the duration of a year. I am working out of a train car. No live-in, just work space. In return for the studio space, I will give them a painting for their collection, and put on an exhibit. I've been there since February. There is one other artist in residence at the train car, but we never seem to see each other. I heard about it from a couple of friends and applied. I'm also working out of the home studio. The home studio is conducive for prepping and I still love working at home. The garage still floods, so turning the living room into a perma studio seems to make the most sense, and will be the cheaper conversion. 

Remember that diptych? Me neither. It was the first large painting in two years and I didn't want to stop working on it. I finally did and realized it was too tight. After working on a couple of other paintings, I went in and took them both back to the point of no return, again. Scary. I still get nervous when I do that.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed. I painted upside down today for no apparent reason. My initial reason was that I did not want the drips to drip downward, but then I forgot and just kept working upside down. 

May 14, 2011

Gallery Rounds

Something for everyone- a sampling from the local gallery rounds today. I just missed a show that came down yesterday at Tinney Contemporary and for some reason, I thought the arcade was closed on Saturdays.  I need to get out more. 

 Kit Reuther

 and Warren Greene at Cumberland Gallery through May 28th

Patrick DeGuira 

and Brent Stewart at Zeitgeist through May 28

Luke Hillestad at The Rymer Gallery through May 21

Julia Martin at Ovvio Arte through May 21

While in New York, it was brought to my attention that there was a signifcant gap from my last reportage of the various incarnations of my studios here at home to my sudden takeover of a rehabbed train car as a studio space. I will elaborate in the next post. Meanwhile, just to give you an idea of how Nashville, Nashville can be, I was working at the train car studio the other night when some kid named 'The Storm' and his dad wandered in. The Storm was in town doing a charity concert. He likes trains. They saw the door, they opened it, and since it was the one time the door was unlocked, they wandered in. If I were to cast that scene in a movie, I would have Will Ferrell play the dad. The Storm could play himself. Here he is doing Elvis. He told me he liked my paintings. I gave him a card.
His dad told me he was famous and that if I had kids they would know who he was. I don't have kids, but the temptation to google him was too much. 

May 13, 2011

The New York Post: Blogging, like housework, is tough to catch up once you're behind.

5.13. 11 Blogger was down. My post was lost. I've recreated it from the last saved draft. Lesson learned. Note: Links to spaces are still there, but invisible. (?) Blogger is still having issues.

New York was fantastic. I stayed at an apartment in Williamsburg. I made french press coffee and logged a 3-mile run every morning. I mapped out an itinerary, but got distracted. I missed a few shows I wanted to see, and took in a few that I didn't know about. The opening was wonderful. I met a small slew of great people at the opening and continued meeting a small slew of people over the weekend. I also hooked up with a couple of folks I had been wanting to meet in person. The show was curated by Mery Lynn McCorkle and Luisa Caldwell.

Two of my recent watercolors are in the show:

"There is a Tree Outside My Window," 2011. watercolor and gouache on paper

"Let Me Go Home," 2011. watercolor and gouache on paper

Shaky-cam video of the opening. 

Roland Reiss

Marilla Palmer

Mery Lynn McCorkel

Luisa Caldwell

Norma Markley

David Kramer

Rebecca Graves

Everything's Coming up Roses. WG News + Art, Williamsburg,  50 – 52 Dobbin Street / Brooklyn, NY 11222
Gallery Hours: May 7 – May 28: Open Saturdays 12-4 or by appointment: (917) 304-6213 / (917) 656-6048 / (706) 528-2306 /

Part II. 

The rest of the trip, backtracking a little.
MoMA in the afternoon/evening. I stared at this for a while. It's a beautiful watercolor in person.

George Grosz (American, 1893-1959. Born and died in Germany)
.a (recto): Circe .b (verso): Untitled

Liam Gillick, "The State Itself Becomes a Super Whatnot”

Adam Horovitz DJ in the sculpture garden that evening. Everyone was taking his picture. 

I shazamed most of the playlist, but had to sign up for the full version in the process, so missed a few. It was worth the app fee. 

Various elevations. Mostly Chelsea. I wanted to stick with seeing painting shows, but it didn't work out that way.

I ran the Williamsburg Bridge. I didn't see the ped entrance so I ran the bike entrance up. One false step and a cyclist would have flattened me without thinking twice. On the other side I discovered the pedway. Much safer.

Fell in love with the High Line. This is kind of a nice photograph for an iPhone, yes? I think so.

Vadis Turner at Lyons Weir

 Juan UslĂ© at Cheim and Read

John Chamberlain at Gagosian on 24th

Jennifer Wynne Reeves at Ramis Barquet

Coffee at I Was Hoping It Wasn't a Mirage. 

I did all of that BEFORE the opening. Friday was a busy day.

Peter Fagundo and Doug Young at Sugar in Bushwick

Went to Bushwick and met Gwendolyn Skaggs of Sugar. Had a wonderful discussion with Gwendolyn about the various intersections of art and life. The art world is small. It helps when you move around the country I suppose, but the six degrees of separation thing is like 2 degrees max in the art world. I've been interested in the idea of domestic exhibition spaces since I began working with small paintings. (More on that later.) It was a great visit. The current show is "Working Together" with Peter Fagundo and Doug Young. 

Then up the street to Regina Rex. 

Forrest Myers, still from Two Million Colors and Their Opposite, 1981/2011
@Regina Rex

I don't know who did the sofa out of springs, but it was surprisingly comfortable place to watch the vid.

Guerra Paint. It's not just a paint store, it's an experience. My micro order arrive today. This is what I will be spending all my money on:

Met Sharon Butler of 
Two Coats at her studio, who after an all too brief studio visit whisked us away to the East Village. Sharon was a most excellent gallery guide and all-around great person to hang with on a Sunday afternoon. More great conversations about the various intersections of art and life. We also started a conversation on abstraction, but I don't think we finished it.

Sharon Butler at her studio.

Elizabeth Condon at Lesley Heller

Running into Mira Schor and Susan Bee

Lynda Benglis at The New Museum

George Condo at The New Museum

Rafaella Chiara at frosch & portman