September 26, 2011


I've been giving the blog and my penchant for the mundane and irreverent some thought. I've decided to be less funny, less chatty, more painty.

Van Gogh
The Flowering Orchard, 1888
Oil on canvas
28 1/2 x 21 in.
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

September 23, 2011

Studio to Studio Correspondence Report

I'm leaving the studio wearing my paint overalls, carrying a canvas under one arm and a bucket of paints in the other when two guys in suits asked me if I knew where the mixer was.

I don't even know what I would say at a mixer. "Hi. I finished painting a hillbilly grifter today, worked on two abstract paintings, and am wrapping up a large painting of my dead dog, Fang. So, what do you do?"

43 days till show time. 

September 20, 2011

I was so impressed with my selection of unmentionables today that I had to mention them

Something about wearing my Bulwark coveralls all day prompted me to go for plaid and chartreuse underneath, proving once again, it's what on the inside that counts.

I worked at the home studio today, out in the garage, since it wasn't flooding, sweltering or freezing. My only moment of distraction happened at the very beginning when I thought about swapping the boring but very functional Bombay Company desk in my office, for the antique writing table that's been haphazardly stored frozen in time for the last 60 years. I didn't get very far with the swap. I opened the drawer to find it untouched from 1940 something. I won't bore you with a list of all the contents, but sheet music, typing ribbon tins, a newspaper headlining a flood, and an elegant brochure and dinner menu from some fancy-pants aviation dinner event my grandfather had attended were a few things I found.

I thumbed through the contents and set them aside and then started painting. I thought about how nicely illustrated things were back them. I thought more about this and decided that photography not only attempted to kill painting, but that it was responsible for the demise of a cultured society as well. The desk needs a little TLC. Since it's a writing desk it only has two drawers. I'm not sure if that will work for me in the office, so I also considered making it a paint table by adding another 4 inches and some casters. Either way, it was too much work for a studio day. The garage is dusty. I had to scrape down the palette on my existing paint table. I found myself getting irritated with the dog hair and lint that I was inadvertently dragging around the paintings and I'm not OCD, not really. Not much. Maybe sometimes. It was a good and productive studio day.

September 14, 2011

I'm getting closer to visualizing change. Sometimes I'm referring to physical change, other times I am referring to a mental attitude or a way of life. Every now and then if I get depressed I like to imagine anything is possible. I'm bizarrely attached to my hardwood floors, but in reality I would like blond wood floors. But then I wonder if I would have to clean my blond hardwood floors more often. My dark hardwood floors hide dirt. They also attract dirt. Tough call.

I also like to imagine I could sell every single thing I own, except the dog, and except my supplies. I could then easily move anywhere in the world and live in a white rectangular studio with natural light and blond wood floors and the dog, and a mop. I breathe easier knowing it's possible. I'd like to make up a number, like 12— and tell myself I can't have more than 12 pieces of furniture. It seems doable. Even reasonable, maybe. The room I'm in now has 9 pieces of furniture: 3 bookcases, 3 desks, 2 chairs and a floor lamp. There's another bookcase in the closet. I am in the office. I need to work on this. I'm getting closer to visualizing change.

I'm still painting things that have names.

Mary Addison Hackett
Intervention, 2011
oil on linen on wood panel
10 x 8 inches

September 11, 2011

Speaking of luxury goods, I watched Gosford Park last night, Altman's last film. I had seen it when it came out. Netflix thought I might like it and was kind enough to suggest it to me. I had forgotten how beautiful the set design was. I concentrated on the palette used throughout the film and various lighting schemes.

This painting was from a few month ago. I can't remember if I posted it or not. I've been rather scatter shot in my image posting. 
Mary Addison Hackett, Company in the Living Room, 2011
oil on linen on wood panel

I've been building my own stretchers from scratch. Nice, yes. I'm happy with them. I admit feeling content knowing I've labored over them. For the really small paintings, I experimented with making some wood panels and stretching linen over them. I think I will continue to do this. I'm trying really hard to develop some consistency. I'm rather slow to the draw on this matter. So slow, perhaps, that it might not be detectable for another 50 years.

This painting below is in progress, and the usual caveat: it was shot with my iphone in the studio.  It almost felt good to paint it. At first. And then it became difficult. When I look at it and look at the one above. I almost see the same thing, but not quite.
Mary Addison Hackett, [Not yet titled,] 2011
oil on canvas

PS. I'm thinking about going to Miami this year. Anyone else? 

September 02, 2011

I thought I loved my staple gun until I met my table saw.

It's true. I'm a little over the initial infatuation phase and I know eventually I'll take him for granted, but right now it's the real thing. I am cranking out my own bevel cut stretchers like a pro. The three components of being an artist I gripe about the most are the prep phase of obtaining stretchers and panels, and the shipping and packing finished artwork, and the office work part. Like most artists, I just want to make the work. I don't have an assistant. I have thought about hiring one when I get really busy, and have had a couple of offers in the past, but have justified that it's not THAT much additional time to do these things. It is of course, but I digress. Plus, my studio's never been that conducive to having a second person work with me. I move around a lot. I stumble over the dog sometimes. But my point being is that suddenly building stretchers is fun- enough. Not like OMG exhilarating super fun, but the dread is gone. Office work will never be fun. Theoretically, shipping and packing could be more fun now that I can build my own crates. Again, not like OMG exhilarating super fun, but the dread is gone kind of fun.

I'm about a month and a half out from my residency show. Normally I do not like to work up until the last minute before a show. I like breathing room to think about the work and study it while taking a step back. I don't want to understand the work while I'm making it. This show's a bit odd because it's in the residency gallery space, so although it's a solo show, it's more like a... actually I don't know what it's more like. I've never been in a show where the space is so linear, and it's been a while a few years since I haven't been thinking in terms of a solo show a year ahead of time. During the residency, I've been thinking in terms of showing up to the studio and painting, which is what I'm still doing and I suppose this is how I work. It's not random by any means, but the work has evolved organically in a non-linear way. During their making I wasn't bothering to force them into some overarching theme, though of course an overarching theme is evident. They fall into categories, so there is underlying logic at work. I was asked if I needed more time. I think they're worried that since my work is small I need to make more in order to fill the space, but that's not my MO. If it were, I'd probably need another year or two to let the work multiply and group itself accordingly. In normal world, I should have enough work for two solo shows. In train car world, it might look like crazytown. So be it. When I look at all the work from the past year, it looks like a good start to a retrospective. I was thinking of titling the show "Introspective" using a mod 70's font as a play on the concept of retrospective, but it reminded me of one of those jokes that no one gets. I'm either ahead or really behind the curve right now. Or off the curve completely. That's possible, too.