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.