December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from Process.

 [What If Money Was No Object - What Would You Do? - Time To Unslave Humanity]
[Alan Wilson Watts (6 January 1915 – 16 November 1973)] Source:

What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?

Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do. So I always ask the question, what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.

See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch, and no vomit it never gets there. And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question,

What do I desire?

*   *   *   *

I am almost finished with the last painting of 2012, and I have had a breakthrough of sorts, reconciling the way I paint with the way I think I paint with the way I want to paint. Manna. And speaking of reconciling, I just finished August...

December 29, 2012

How it goes.

DETAIL: work in progress.

After taking a few days off to spend the holidays with some family, I am back. Allow me a few sentences to talk about the self-imposed obstacle course I have devised in order to make things way more difficult than they should be:

I have banned myself from making abstract paintings using process as a starting point. Ironic, no, considering the title of this blog. This is not new. I'm just constantly reminded  that every day I must have a loose, tangible, thinly-veiled plan of some sort before I pick up a brush. Maddening.

What this also means is that I cannot walk in the studio and dash out of the starting gate at 100 mph like I used to do. Again, this is all self-imposed in the name of difficulty. Instead, I now look around and observe my surroundings until either something clicks or I exhaust myself thinking about the overwhelming banality of what I am doing and give in to the impulse of just needing to paint something, anything.

Last night I started a painting of the dog laying on the rug. I only had a few minutes to capture the essence of his pose before he walked away bored with my pacing back and forth between the palette table and a decent viewpoint.

No one talks about essence anymore.

the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, esp. something abstract, that determines its character: conflict is the essence of drama.

Okay, so I am painting abstractly after all. I probably knew this. Intrinsically, of course.

When I started the painting, I thought, the dog, really? What's next, candy wrappers, glass prisms? Then I thought of Louisa Matthíasdóttir, or maybe I thought of Louisa Matthíasdóttir first. I can't remember. Excerpt from her bio:
1968 – Daughter Temma graduates college- Daughter Temma adopts gray cat, Kisa, and husband Leland Bell adopts Mischka a Hungarian sheepdog dog who both appear in paintings of the time
I may have posted this part of her bio before because like how important it is.

So, I'm looking at the small painting of the dog this morning, (10 x 8 inches) and thinking:
  • He looks like an alligator.
  • I managed to flatten him out so that he looks like one of the motifs in the rug pattern. 
  • I nailed his expression.
I still have to finish the rug, and I need to start another painting.

December 27, 2012

Studio Read of the Week:“What Do We See?” Richard Walker and Our Place in the World by Hearne Pardee

This week's studio read is a short review from Art Critical.

Richard Walker
Fireplace and Shadow, 2011
oil on panel
16 x 24 inches
image: Alexandre Gallery

Somewhat unrelated, while rummaging around this morning, my Uggs took a bullet for my toes. I will be auctioning off a vintage cast-iron American eagle boot scraper with sharp pointy wings of death, so fast it will make your head spin, though of course, I might paint it first.

December 21, 2012

Mystical Corn Cob Pipe Denotes World Going Up in Smoke.

DETAIL: In progress, with 0 Filbert.

If you're a nerdy painter, you might have enjoyed the juicy thread on Facebook regarding tiny brushes that I started. I thought I was suddenly inept at handling a tiny brush and I wanted advice. My brush had 3 hairs, would barely pick up paint and would not smoothly transfer paint to my surface. I was concerned. I've been using tiny brushes (0's and liners) for a few years now. Some painters saw my cry for help and answered my request. That's what I love about painterpainters. They share. They reply. In the course of the replies, I learned of 2 products: Doak's goop and linseed oil soap. And of course I learned people's preference for mediums or sans mediums. The most accurate reply for my situation turned out to be "spring." I just needed a new brush. I didn't jump to this conclusion immediately because I had forgotten that the brush didn't start out with 3 hairs. I just knew it was the smallest brush I owned and that lately it was difficult to work with. I replace my tiny brushes often, but my other 0's were trashed, so there was nothing to compare it to. I purchased a new brush the next day. The local place doesn't carry my brand, so I'll have to order a some online, but the new one was like manna from heaven. vroom. I was so excited, I was tempted to paint minute details all through the night. I caught myself and switched brushes.

I'm reworking some recent linen paintings that weren't sitting well with me. Don't ask why a corncob pipe is any more important than a lamp in front of a fictitious outdoor scene; or a chair leg is more important than a painting I copied from a slide; or a chair in front of a fireplace with a brass candlestick is more important than something else, but 3 paintings took a bullet this week. I used to be embarrassed to claim this as my MO, but it's true- sometimes I paint something and it sits in the studio waiting and then one day soon thereafter, before anyone sees it, I decide not to associate with it, and continue painting on it and it turns into something else. Sometimes I regret this, but it's always a gamble either way.

I'm still happy and optimistic and light. I've been in the studio every day and nothing is annoying me. Unbelievable. It truly is the end of the world as we know it.

December 18, 2012

life and gratitude

I have no solid reason to be feeling light and happy and yet, I've been optimistic going on 3 days in a row. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened, and in fact I listened to the news in shock trying to grasp what happened. My heart goes out to everyone experiencing grief this holiday season. 

But like I said, nothing extraordinary has prompted my lightness. I worked until 1 a.m. in the studio last night. That's like a millennium after my bedtime. I don't know how it happened. I just kept working.  Tonight might be the same. I left thinking the evening was a bust, so I'll be spending tonight as The Fixer. A few paintings recently sold. I turned in my grades and declared the semester over. I spent 3 solid days creating a new portfolio in the name of professional development and took action after creating said portfolio without  the usual self-scrutiny and second guessing. Not entirely true, but I was on a mission and I put on my big ass ego hat, the one adorned with all the chutzpah and bravado and carried on.  I paid all my bills without having a financial meltdown and tidied up my office. I went to the cemetery to pay my respects. I was sad, but did not stay sad. I've been nervous about some things- and yet, I've been optimistic since Friday. Seemingly this coincides with the semester being over, but it also coincides with taking action with recent work in the studio. I was growing accustomed to the isolation, thinking everything would be fine just staying in my studio and painting. Keeping a low-profile as it were. And so it was, but taking action and honestly reviewing the current work  felt good. The recent work has been a risk. It's smaller in scale. It no longer looks "edgy," a term which has lost all meaning to me. I no longer feel the need to write statements showing how well-read I am, nor quote a critical theorist to make sure the work is framed contextually. I've accidentally referred to my paintings as pictures twice. I laughed both times though I also did a brief refresher on Wittgenstein and thumbed through JWT Mitchell because although I no longer am inclined to look well read, I intend on staying well-read. 

I used to resent the 90's because I thought that was my lost decade. Now that I'm coming up on 13 years post-90's, I'm cool. I'd like to acknowledge some highlights from this past year and openly express appreciation for everything and everyone it takes to make this stuff happen.

Two solo shows:
Customs House Museum, Clarksville, TN
John Davis Gallery, Carriage House, Hudson, NY

Six group shows:
"About Face," curated by Daniel Weinberg at ACME., Los Angeles, CA
"Hot Paint," Weekend, Los Angeles, CA, curated by John Mills, Jay Erker
“Lineup Round 4, From The Gut, With Heart,” Sugar, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, curated by Gwendolyn Skaggs
“10 Years L.A. @Foundation Kaus Australis,” The Prospectus, West Hollywood, CA, curated by Carl Berg
“To Live And Paint in LA,” Torrance Art Museum Torrance, CA, curated by Max Presneill, Jason Ramos
"Modmen," Alfred Williams & Company, Nashville, TN, curated by Sera Davis Cremona

Three reviews and an interview:
Studio Critical, Interview, 10 Dec. 2012
Parr-Moody, Karen, "Thick, colorful brushstrokes evoke nature," Review. The Leaf Chronicle, 22. June 2012
Ramirez, Lawrence. "Mary Addison Hackett: The Walk." Madrona Musings. The Torrance Art Museum Blog. 28 Feb. 2012
Hoff, Chris. “Small Is Big At The Torrance Art Museum.” Review. OC Art Blog. 7 Feb. 2012

One invitational benefit show, two actually, but I can't remember the other one.
"Incognito," Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA

Two group shows scheduled for next year. 

I love my job. 

Collectors and collections.
Some of which happened due to the above shows and people. And yes, I used the money to pay my expenses and keep going. 

My artist friends and family who've been there for me. 
You are the best. 

Painters. dead and alive.
goldmine. I discover something new every day. 

The dog. 
I donated to his former shelter today in gratitude. 

I'm grateful for feeling grounded again. It feels like a healthy I-don't-give-a-flying-fuck-I-got-this kind of grounded. I've finally accepted that there's always going to be a small dark place after loss, and that's okay. And if you need more proof that life is awesome, I'm writing this in my pajamas at 1:50 pm sitting at my desk in my cozy office before I change into my bulwark coveralls and head into the studio. 


December 13, 2012

What to read in the studio this week.

Edward Winkleman's "Occupy Your Studio" post contains several gems including:

"What new models will emerge to clear the cacophony and confusion must be dictated by artists and their work. That's the only meaningful reason the market or the art world at large nurture the current generation of artists, so the important ones emerge and actually realize their full potential. All the rest of it, the parties, the glamor, the egos, the two-spread pages in the fashion magazines...and I indict most of the artists out there as well as the dealers, collectors, and fair organizers with those distractions...all of that is fun but ultimately meaningless."
"I'm serious. In the middle of the night, when I wake frozen in an existential panic about all the bills and stress of competition and the endless fragility of everyone involved, I gently work myself back to sleep thinking about the importance of leaving a meaningful record of our generation for posterity...what we were really like. I comfort myself with thoughts of what importance my tiny role in this process has."

Over at The Brooklyn Rail, author and painter, Richard Kalina attempts to divide painting into categories, a critical rubric or sorts, as he talks about the general state of painting in his essay, The Four Corners of Painting. Too many points to consider in a sound byte, but I leave you with this:

"We are living in an age where various forces, primarily market-driven, but also critical, curatorial, and educational, are fostering a decidedly ahistorical attitude. A willed loss of historical perspective has a not-so-hidden implication—and that is that all work is perforce new and fresh, that it springs from the artist’s absolute individuality and therefore should not be questioned from the point of view of history, although it ought to be granted the very prerogatives accorded in the modernist past to “groundbreaking” art. This does us all a disservice."

December 10, 2012

Interview with Studio Critical

Full interview at

Thanks to Valerie Brennan for interviewing me for her blog about contemporary painting.

December 09, 2012

Waxing Poetic

Wax, 2012, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. 

I spent the weekend anticipating spending the entire weekend in the studio. I succumbed to peer pressure on Friday morning and put a wreath on the door and bought a trendy tabletop tree. I went to the closet where my mom kept all the Christmas decorations and decided to clear out that closet and donate everything to charity in one fell swoop. I made one trip to the donation center and filled 3 garbage bags. It sounds awful, but I was actually happy when I heard an ornament break as it rolled out of the box and onto the floor. Whenever something breaks, I feel relieved, as though my job of making decisions just got easier. My neighbor convinced me to save some stuff for a garage sale. I could have hung on to the plastic dirty flocked Easter bunnies in all their plastic dirty flocked splendor, but I didn't. Instead, I selected the candle that appears in the background of Christmas pictures dating back to the 60's and set about to paint.

(usual caveat: shot in the studio with the iPhone. Hi-res image to show up on website later.)

November 29, 2012

November 21, 2012

Today, I am grateful for Paint Hands.

If the polyphonic soundtrack isn't synced up yet, do come back. And I suggest you play both at once, in round for a more robust viewing experience.

November 18, 2012

Road Trip: The Indy Art Scene

Quoting from a recent article in the Nashville Scene on the state of the arts in Nashville: As for the upside, Callaway put it best: "Say Nashville to someone, and an image pops into their head. Sure, that image may be dead-wrong, but at least we have a cultural stereotype! Indianapolis can't say that." 

Personally when someone says Nashville I have an image of the time I ran into Whole Foods to grab a vegan almond cookie to eat on my flight back to LA and I saw Keith Urban standing in line with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. Is that dead-wrong? I think not. 

So in an effort to see if Indianapolis actually had a cultural stereotype other than being the middle finger of the South, and because I'm desperate to see paintings that don't look like they were voted best of anything or some other hyped-up superlative, I did a quick road trip up to Indy to catch a few painting shows.

First up was Kyle Ragsdale's solo show, Tableaux at Harrison Art Center where for the most part, figures appear to be participating in some sort of mysteriously staged production amidst a bucolic landscape. The sheer volume of paintings in Ragsdale's show was a reminder that alla prima is alive and well.

Kyle Ragsdale, Herron Morton Woodpile

Kyle Ragsdale, Here, But Not Here.

Kyle Ragsdale, Stick Pile

Kyle Ragsdale, Oxbow Chair

I was slightly less enthusiastic standing in front of Elise Schweitzer's large-scale figurative work, Centaurs and Belly Dancers at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The respectable but predicable brushwork was evident throughout the show, but as a whole didn't engage me over the long haul. Still, the fact it was painting hanging in a contemporary art space, easy to get to and open to the public was a plus.
 Elise Schweitzer

On the way to our final destination, I was introduced to Casey Roberts of Mt. Comfort Gallery and Rachel Ritchford's show Future Days, a series of medium cool, tie-dye hued paintings of landscapes suspended in a geo-abstract trance. Elegant and trippy with enough cerebral signifiers to remind me I was only 3 hours from Chicago where Ritchford received her MFA from SAIC*.  According to the text for the exhibition, which shares its title with spacey krautrock band Can's album Future Days, the work "examines the phenomenon of geometric abstraction as a metaphorical interpretation of psychedelic and entheogenic experiences."

Rachel Ritchford, Untitled, 35" x 44"

Bonus track was getting a sneak peak into Casey's studio and seeing some of his fantastical cyanotype landscapes which I could barely peel my eyes away from...
Casey Robert's, Twin Lakes, cyanotype drawing, 42" x 52"

...And which I will segue into our last stop- Carla Knopp's equally fantastical landscape show, Kinkade Meets Turner Paints Sci-fi With Fanbrush at Dewclaw. Knopp uses the same alla prima method of wet-in-wet as Ragsdale, and infuses her usually muted palette with high-keyed transparent hues that at times border dive off the cliff fittingly into saccharine. Using the uncharted territory as a metaphorical search for new meaning, Knopp's exploratory landscapes deliver as the show title promises- a mash-up of Kinkadean kitsch channeled through Turner with fanbrush after racking up some serious hours on the Sci-fi channel. The result is a glimpse into a humorous, yet disquieting realm. Knopp and Roberts recently showed together in the Tenses of Landscape show at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Gallery.

Carla Knopp, Leviathan

Carla Knopp, Cyclops

Carla Knopp, First Thought of the Day

Carla Knopp, Four and a Half Worlds

*[Note: The editor spent the 90's in Chicago at the perennial deathbed of painting.]

[Note: the editor has no affiliation with the state of Indiana, any of it's inhabitants nor even a soft spot in her heart for it, but at 45 mpg, she's developing a wanderlust to see what's happening with painting within a few hours drive. If you'd like to promote some shows in a nearby city with or without a cultural stereotype, email me at maraddhac [at]  gmail {dot} com.]

November 14, 2012

"About Face," at ACME.

I'm pleased to be included in this exhibition curated by Daniel Weinberg to be held at ACME. in Los Angeles. I'll post some images (including mine) throughout the month. 


Reception: Saturday, December 1, 6-8PM
Anh Duong, Philosophy and Prostitution, 2008
oil on canvas, 38 x 24 inches

Reception: Saturday, December 1, 6-8PM

ACME. is pleased to announce "About Face," a group exhibition of small works on paper and paintings by over thirty-five artists curated by Los Angeles art dealer Daniel Weinberg. Approximately fifty pieces will be shown throughout ACME.'s three gallery spaces.

The exhibition showcases eccentric, small-scale portraiture that distort classic presentations of the human face and/or figure. As a group show with roots in Surrealism and German Expressionism, the exhibition reflects the influences of individual artists such as Lucas Samaras' Polaroids and Alice Neel portraits. The effects of the current Digital Age are also expressed in several works.

Artists include Richard Artschwager, Lutz Braun, Cris Brodahl, Kristin Calabrese, Brian Calvin, Anh Duong, André Ethier, Asad Faulwell, Steve Gianakos, Alexander Gorlizki, Scott Grodesky, Mary Addison Hackett, EJ Hauser, Kati Heck, Jonathan Herder, Becky Kolsrud, Robert Lostutter, Ashley Macomber, Josh Mannis, Eddie Martinez, David McGee, Damien Meade, John Mills, Malcolm Morley, Ryan Mrozowski, Loren Munk, Jim Nutt, Robyn O'Neil, Ed Paschke, Joshua Petker, Jerry Phillips, Stephanie Pryor, Helen Rae, Tom Sanford, Amy Sarkisian, Allison Schulnik, James Siena, Neal Tait, Michael Tetherow, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, John Wesley, Karl Wirsum, and Tad Lauritzen Wright.

ACME. 6150 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048

November 06, 2012

Please Vote

I'm tuning off news coverage for the next 24 hours. I'm tired of the hypocrisy. 

View from studio window. My Obama yard signs are still intact. 
UPDATE: no, they are not intact. Someone stole them on election day. 
...but they couldn't steal the election. tsssst. 

Mary Addison Hackett, "Vantage Point," 2012, oil on linen, 7 x 5 inches

November 03, 2012

Sometimes, I could do watercolors all day and night.

The paper arrived. I've been asked to participate in an installation to be held next year at LAX. I want to have them completed before it gets too cold to use spray paint and fixative outside. Which then makes me think I should move my studio some place warmer. Like back to Southern California.

I wonder what my dopamine levels are when I am engaged with the watercolors.

October 31, 2012

A belated post on "Red," the play about Rothko

"If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won't. People can stand anything these days."
"Rothko kept the commissioned paintings in storage until 1968. Given that Rothko had known in advance about the luxury decor of the restaurant and the social class of its future patrons, the exact motives for his abrupt repudiation remain mysterious. Rothko never fully explained his conflicted emotions over the incident, which exemplified his temperamental personality.
Today's post is lifted from the parallel universe of Wikipedia.

October 27, 2012

Waiting for Yupo

A suburban home studio. A table.


MAH is sitting at the computer trying to order paper. She pulls out her credit card with both hands, hyperventilating. 

I had a good day working on some watercolors/gouaches for a project. It might be 2 projects, but I'm waiting to hear. Optimism prevailed and I ordered enough paper for two projects. I also reeled off an artist philosophy statement for an application rather effortlessly after a couple of years of working too close to the bone. On the way to the library, I had my hair chopped off about 3 inches by someone who didn't quite understand that I didn't want a blunt cut that gives me a frizzy triangle look. My $30 haircuts have finally played themselves out. I'm fashion conscious enough to know that I look like I fit in now. My cosmopolitan locks are gone. What's next? Spanx? Jeggings?

October 24, 2012

Dream time.

So in my dream last night my ex and I are arguing over where to hide a gun. We were being held captive by some thugs a' la Breaking Bad or Reservoir Dogs and it was us vs. them. We kept moving the gun from one hiding place to another under a tablecloth with each of us thinking we had the better hiding place. One of the thugs found the gun, because, of course, my ex had last moved it from where I had stashed it. At this point, I thought for a moment and then grabbed the jackknife hidden in my boot and started fending off the bad guys. My ex fainted at the sight of all the blood and I tried to imagine we were in a sitcom while I tried to drag us off to safety.

I doubt this will become a painting and I'm not sure I'm ready to interpret it.

October 17, 2012

Book club report #2: "The appleyness of the apple"

"There are two ways of going beyond figuration (that is, beyond both the illustrative and the figurative): either toward abstract form or toward the figure. Cezanne gave a simple name  to this way of the figure: sensation. The figure is a sensible form related to a sensation; it acts immediately upon the nervous system, which is of the flesh, whereas abstract form is addressed to the head and acts through the intermediary of the brain which is closer to the bone."
Deleuze, Gilles. Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2004. 31-32. Print.
I'd like to think that I'm being productive by reading about paint, but I had to take my car in early this morning for a service appointment so I made do with their shuttle service and arrived on campus considerably earlier than I needed to arrive. I packed my watercolors and my sketchbook. I am in the library. I can update my resume, draft a teaching philosophy and apply for a FT job, or further self-educate myself by reading about painting and doing some sketches. So far I have chosen the latter. I read the latest copy of Modern Painters then switched over and continued reading The Logic of Sensation. I'm tired and I want to paint. The shuttle will pick me up this afternoon and then hopefully I (am apparently so tired that I couldn't finish this sentence). I watched the debate last night and cursed at the bullyman on the monitor within 5 minutes. I cut some wood panels for some smaller works. I want to be in the studio painting on the larger work. I said that already, yes. I planted some pansies over the weekend. I tried to rake the earth and get rid of weeds before I put a weed cover down. I have a tree preciously canted as the result of a recent windstorm.
The appleyness of everything.

I gently used the skeleton in the closet as a coat rack while I ate lunch today.

October 16, 2012

Book club report #1

I'm currently reading The Logic of Sensation, Deleuze's book on Francis Bacon that highlights the act of painting and the notion of sensation. It was a random selection while browsing the stacks at the library. I'm not really in a book club. I doubt I could find 5 people who would read this with me.

Speaking of Carl Jung, here's what I like about synchronicity: I'm on Chapter 2 of TLoS, and there's mention of El Greco's "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz." I'm sitting in the den by a bookshelf still partially filled with books from my mother's collection. I glance over and see a small paperback published by the National Gallery of Art. It is called, "Spanish Painting." I open it and see EL Greco's "Saint Ildefonso,"which reminds me of Bacon's screaming pope painting that was done after Valasquez's pope painting.

EL Greco



Early on my mom was a Spanish professor and had a deep interest in Spanish literature and art. While sorting through the house, I've come across these little gems (small press books on art and artists) and it always makes me grateful that for every plastic pan or ball of string saved, there was also an appreciation of art.

Back to Deleuze...

Bill Killebrew at The Parthenon

You know that feeling where you want to keep looking at a piece of art and someone has thoughtfully put a bench in front of a painting so that you could do that until they closed the doors behind you? If not, check out Killebrew's current show at The Parthenon.


October 13, 2012

The rock eater

Dog stealing a rock from the fireplace.

Dog hiding under kitchen table guarding sacred fireplace rock in his mouth.

I don't get it.

October 10, 2012

Lucky Number Seven. Process has a Birthday.

Thanks for reading, writing and sharing.
Paint on.

Your truly,

The editorial staff at Process

October 09, 2012

Yellow Jack

I have strep. 101.3 and no that's not a radio station. I've been hallucinating to NPR for 2 days and feel so bad that I can't remember what normal feels like.
I'm trying to make sketches of quarantined ships when I'm lucid.

September 22, 2012

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Lookers and Seers, Everybody Dance Now, 2012
Soul, hope, and way. If found, please return to rightful owner. 
Last seen at the intersection of Truth and Realism. 
I may elucidate later.

September 19, 2012

September 18, 2012

Since I am not a magician.

I will tell you where I get my source material: Everywhere, but currently, I'm mining the family slide database and finding images that are compelling for one reason or another. I'm at the point where order is going to erupt into chaos before hitting order again. I'm about to make the no-turning-back-decision of cataloguing the images according to subject matter rather than keeping them in their semi-organized carousels and boxes according to seasons, events, years, and sides of family. It's a fake order now anyway. Some slides are labeled, some are not. People, many whom I don't recognize since they were taken before my time-standing, sitting eating, posing; Rockefeller center, an apartment interior I sense belonged to my aunt and uncle, empty roads and scenes from places that seem familiar but no longer exist; ocean cruises, The American West, The Rural South; shadows, cars, floral arrangements, and family pets that in the light of a projector bulb read like a mystery.

I’m about to destroy this fake order and for the sake of art create a new one. The mystery of the past will no longer be logical.

September 15, 2012


I worked about an 13-hour day in the studio yesterday. It was a 12-hour day, but after I walked the dog, I screwed the corner braces onto the stretcher I had made earlier in the day. At approximately 9:45 pm, the screw slipped as I was drilling, and sliced into my thumb. Last year, I had a bread knife incident with my finger that looked like a mass murder had taken place, so I now have an emergency first-aid kit tailored for finger cuts in my kitchen. It is a mason jar containing finger cots, Neosporin, gauze, butterfly band-aids and a couple of regular band-aids. I'm going to modify it even more and tear open the sterilized wrapper of one band-aid and place it in a tiny ziplock bag inside the mason jar. I'm currently inventing the ¡OHFUCKICUTMYSELF!® quick-release band-aid wrapper. It's for people who need to open band-aids by themselves when their thumbs and index fingers are bleeding the fuck all over the place.

But I digress. 

It was a 12-hour day because on Fridays, I pull a double shift in the studio. Yesterday's shift started off by unstretching a 60" x 48" canvas (30 minutes) and trying not to be so concerned when after 7 years on a stretcher bar, some of the paint chipped off the edges as removed it and loosely rolled it up. Oil on linen. It can be conserved if it ever needs to be, and I knew better than to get freaked out and ditch it, so I moved along. But afterward I wasn't sure I wanted to work on a 48" x 60" canvas yet, so I built a (32" x 40") stretcher. There was some wasted time involved. I forgot I had removed the sawdust bag from the table saw before the last flood. Also, black leggings and a black t-shirt aren't really optimal for working around sawdust, but I let that slide. 

I rolled a short stint in the office into the studio day. I need to apply for some teaching gigs and other things, so I worked on trying to condense an art statement that could serve as a bio. If you ever want a litany of gerunds to describe your work, I'm your woman. The problem is they were all true descriptions. Walking away, before I went crazy, I poured myself an espresso. 

I know what I'm painting about, but specific imagery stumps me every time. Waiting for the glue to dry was an excuse to angst about what to paint. It's not what people call a block or anything, it's about wanting to pick the right thing- which in a way is contrary to what I'm dealing with- there is no right thing, so it's another contradiction. There's a conflict between wanting to paint that, and wanting to paint toward or around that while watching everything unfold. Perhaps that's where the tension lies. I could just start painting, but my head's not there anymore. I need more. Or less. There's something about painting things that is both empty and satisfying. If feels dumb-more mute, but open and grounded. I am looking for this groundedness. 

I'm guessing I inherited around 2500 slides. I have not counted them. I should, so I can be more accurate when I make that claim. I grabbed a box of slides form the closest source, held a few up to the light, and settled on one. I decided I wanted to push myself toward realism for a day by using a projected image. I'm on the fence about using a photograph or a projected image as reference. It's a bit paint-by-numbers compared to how I've been working, which in a weird way intrigues me. I also want to develop more realist skills for myself as a painter. It's a discipline thing and a patience thing, but I like challenges.

I'll end with this fantastic quote by Alice Neel:
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is.. unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far."-Alice Neel

September 08, 2012


I had a great and much-needed studio visit this morning with Jenny Hager in Los Angeles. It was like old times except instead of visiting each other in person, we were both on our hands-free devices and had pulled up each other's websites while we went through the work talking about everything from content to formal issues, technical shop talk to gallery talk. Making work in a vacuum gets a little tedious (I was going to say 'sucks,' but that would have been predictable). It was a refreshing visit. Jenny and I both moved to LA around 2000 and met each other within a few months because we had studios in the same building. We hit it off, pulled each other into a few shows and kept up a dialogue about the work on and off while I was living in LA. There is something to be said for continuity in artists' friendships, watching one another's work evolve and sharing in each other's progress.

September 05, 2012

The Sound of Brakes

If I have time, I'm going to reinvent myself as a true romantic. I'm halfway there. I just need a stylist, and less cynicism.

The new studio, aka the former living room. I kept one wall red as a tribute. I may lose it later. The paint on the other walls is Sherwin William's First Star. It's a light gray, but it breaks lavender especially in the darker areas behind me. When I have time, I'd like to repaint it with Swiss Coffee. I've used the breakfast hutch in the back to house some oversize art books. I can lay down on the sofa by the window and look at the trees or stare at my paintings.  I discovered enough wool blankets stowed away to open a yoga studio or survive a deep freeze. Behind me are two large floor easels and my flat files. I've never actually sat in a chair to paint before. Different. The space has a good vibe to it. I'm a little neater than I would normally be, but that's fine for now. 

I just want a few minutes or a week or two or a rock solid month of clarity. This idea of reinvention is based on my innate longing to simply be who I am as a painter, an artist and a person, without concern for what's popular, sellable, theoretically erudite, or pretentiously unpretentiously hip. And while I haven't been motivated by the above concerns either professionally or personally, I've spent too much time concerning myself with nuances like how to keep the work out there at a critical level, how the work will be read or received, and the million dollar question, what changes do I need to make in order to sustain both my studio and day-to-day living expenses since weathering a divorce and a difficult relocation back to my childhood home in the south. There is less chaos in the work than there used to be, probably because there was so much chaos in my life for a couple of years. The seemingly haphazard strategies I relied on have given way to a more introspection approach, involving a sharper focal point. It's taking some time to catch up with the work in that regard.

So maybe that's not being romantic at all. Maybe it's my desire to be authentic without worrying about the outcome. I'm talking about the subtleties of making the work and the lifestyle match up with a little more lightness and grace. Which is all to say that if I were to have a vision board, the above picture of my studio would be included, only outside the frame, there would be no worry and no second guessing.

The dog stays in the picture. 

Fall Seven Times, Get up Eight

"Instead…only try to realize the truth."
"What truth?"
"There is no hyphen."

- - - - - -
I've been selected as one of the artists for acquisition for the Music City Center's public art collection.
In other news, my motorcycle battery was covered under warranty. I replaced it and went for a ride today, making sure I grabbed the season's first pumpkin space latte before circling back. When I got home, I worked on a painting, shuffled some furniture around in the new studio, and retreated to the studio couch again. I'm digging the studio couch. It's been years, I tell you, YEARS.
Here we are, hard at work. Someone's got separation issues.

August 27, 2012

A conversation:

Q: Hey, didn't you have a motorcycle?
A: Why yes, I did, but it's dead. I just discovered that my nearly brand new battery which was on a battery tender  doesn't work after my circuit breakers tripped due to either a flood or a lightning strike and I haven't had a chance to remove the battery and see if it's the battery or the bike that has an issue.
Q: Oh wow, sorry I asked.
Q: Other than that, how is everything?
A: I wish Eurovans got better gas mileage
Q: I didn't know you owned a Eurovan?
A: I don't.
Q: Let's talk about your paintings?
A: Let's talk about Fairfield Porter
Q: Why?
A: Someone called him lazy.
Q: You don't think he was lazy?
A: No, this is lazy:

Q: That doesn't look finished.
A: That's what I thought until I remembered it was a painting. I decided to stop working on it.
Q: I think you're kidding, but I'm never really sure.

[note: a much tamer post than I intended. I ran out of steam.]

August 25, 2012

Act II

In which our protagonist returns with her 2nd cup of coffee and pretends like nothing happened.

Poor abstraction.

Curbside service

I'm at the drive-in today.

August 24, 2012

Old flames

I woke up after having a dream about someone. I won't name names. There was also another person in my dream. They were together. I was much wittier than she was.

Seemingly unrelated, I was trying to find my way back to abstraction this morning, you know, like just to see if the chemistry was still there. The sex was a lot more work than I remember it being and I forgot how awkward it could be. I left the room saying I was going to get us some coffee.

August 23, 2012

Mug shot

It's a good likeness, yes?
Our neighborhood has been under siege.

August 18, 2012

Operator Error.

I accidentally deleted some posts by remote.

I fixed a running toilet for $8 bucks.
I made a smock dress.
I painted the walls of the living room, moved the easels and palette table inside, and hung my "studio"  sign from my Culver City studio over the door to make it official. I'm back in business.

Fast Forward:
I consider myself a hard worker, so when I feel exceptionally lazy and tired, like I do right now, I pay attention. I claim no super powers, but based on experience, I take this to be a sign that I should take advantage of what appears to be a fallow period, or a calm before a storm. I'm excited to have a studio sofa.

August 09, 2012

This is not a rant.

Consider yourself spared of my rant on the local arts "scene". Or "arts" scene. Dealer's choice for what to put quotes around. 

I'm not attending any more local lectures or panel discussions. I finally realized I am not the target audience. Not only that, but I received a parking ticket for a broken meter machine. Friggin uneven gravel lot waiting for a high-rise and they slap some broken-ass money machine in the corner of the lot and call it "parking." End of story. 

It's time for a manifesto. and free parking. Would it kill you, Nashville, to have free parking somewhere downtown? 

July 25, 2012

As a painter, I think you shouldn’t expose the public to things they already know, almost as an obligation.  You have to take them beyond where things are easily explained.   I think of myself as a very conventional person, very ordinary person, but I do believe that one of the obligations of an artist is to go toward transcendence, and that seems valuable to me. That’s good enough for me to keep going. -Wolf Kahn

I'm still working on sorting through things in the house: a pile for garbage, a pile for sale, a pile for Goodwill. Endless Summer. It was hectic for a week or so and just when I felt I made some progress, my garage studio flooded while I was out of town-about 4 inches of water according to the water marks left on the studio furniture legs. I didn't have any artwork on the floor. I know better. I'm guessing an electrical cord, the one connecting my battery tender to my motorcycle was submerged in water which caused the breaker to trip. The water eventually drained out, even though I don't have a drain. Since sweeping silt in 90 degree heat is not something I'm willing to spend a solid 8 hours on, I've put in about 2 hours a day cleaning up. I should have it swept up by the weekend. I don't know why I pretend I can work out there. I'm a Romantic, but not that romantic.

I opened up the inside studio again and pulled out some watercolors.
I thought about abstraction. I even called a few times just to hear its voice but hung up before it answered.

Untitled watercolors

July 15, 2012

Rocks and stuff

It is not going as smoothly and guilt-free as the Ministry of Furniture would have liked us to believe. After a few  back-to-back 15-hour work days moving things around and attempting to restore order, I melted. I lost track of the time. The cupboards were almost bare. I had frozen yogurt with my raw oats one morning because I had run out of regular yogurt. I let it melt while I showered. It was fine. A little chilly, but fine. I made some headway, but I was unable to concentrate in the studio. It was raining and the studio felt like a swamp. I finally resurfaced yesterday after playing with my rock collection at breakfast. I made miniature cairns. It helped.
I did not grow up to be a klepto, but I remember stealing that white slab of marble from my Sunday school class when I was 2 or 3. I don't actually remember attending class after that, however. I do remember my mother trying to return it, but obviously I have it still. Later, in kindergarten, I stole a conglomerate at nap time. If that turns up around here, I will be elated. I miss that rock.

Later I painted. I wasn't sure how it was going. I usually don't paint over canvases. I don't think it's a good practice for a number of reasons, but I needed a canvas and there was something about the soon to be destroyed  painting that irked me and it wasn't a good irk. It was a last ditch effort to make an abstract painting when I didn't feel like it kind of irked. This feels better. I'm glad I painted over the other one.
(^ I still need a better shot of this.)

I've been staring at this  for the last 30 years:
It's been in the kitchen cabinet along with a George and Martha washing plate, a beer stein, and an old gourd. It's from 1983/84. I was making paintings of vessels at the time and decided to paint a couple of actual vessels. I would call them vases now and drop the overt essentialist feminist overtone that marked my work as an undergrad.