Friday, March 24, 2017

Vermeer's Studio

For the last several months I've been working with the figure after a long time away. Kris Risto and Deb Sementelli have been bringing models in for figure sessions. It has been great to get back to it, but grueling work. Three hours of drawing and painting broken only by an occasional swig of beer. Kris has organized a couple of little shows of sketches at a little local gallery, but I have been working a few of the sketches up into finished works of which this is the most ambitious. One day the model was lit in a fashion that reminded me of Vermeer's light so I got the idea to work the figure into Vermeer's studio. I like the result. the color is keyed up a bit, but I don't think it is works actually. I had to reverse the model's direction and I turned the map into a blackboard, like the one in the studio where we work. I changed the artist's figure to me, but I tried to keep the shirt design. Everything else I tried to stay faithful to. Copying masterworks has a long history as a training method and each time I have done it I've experienced revelations. This time I was struck by the sophistication of the composition. Vermeer's tight construction of form and color holds together like a fine clockwork. I tried moving a few things around and it was immediately clear that the original location was the better one. A symphony without a note out of place. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017


I was at an opening of a former student, Theresa Musatto, at a small gallery in town that is no longer exhibiting,the Urarro. She is a grad of MICA's painting program and the work was wonderful. While talking with her about her work the conversation led to challenges of working in a non-representational vein, which I don't often dabble in, but after the conversation I went home with the intention of focusing on some non-representational exercises. These four works were the result. Inspired by images from planets from NASA, I just tried to divorce myself from subject matter as much as possible and just let color and texture drive the image.

The above was the first to be done and I was working with various violets and maroons and trying to suggest heat, but the cold heat of space. I was thinking in terms of a transit across the face of a sun. Not being able to completely escape some form of representation, I guess.

The second one was the least successful from an expectations standpoint, but I like the lower right hand corner portion and some other bits and pieces. Composition didn't quite pan out the way I had planned.

This was all about green and unfortunately a gas giant kept trying to force my hand and then while I wasn't looking that big Jovian orange spot shows up...what the H.

 This was the piece that I ended up being the most pleased with despite it being the most representational of the bunch really. It just had a nice feel to it, literally. The last of the project for now, but it is just the beginning of setting free the bears...maybe.

Friday, February 10, 2017

One Problem Solved

Alright, one problem solved. I've figured out how to get back on my blog. To celebrate I'm putting this painting on. It is from January. A landscape experiment, 24" x 30", that evolved out of reading a monograph on Turner and I like the end result. I will try to get more recent works posted following the past year of neglect. I'm also working on another landscape type piece.

The problem that didn't get solved is that Trump is still the president. I keep waiting for the day when he goes a whole 24 hours without saying or doing something really, really stupid. Three weeks in and no sign of a break. I'm sorry world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trying to get back.

I am trying to figure out why my blog won't let me make post from my laptop, but appears to allow me to post from my iPad. This is just a test run. It keeps sending me to a place that doesn't let me post. So we'll see if this works.

 We have now begun our descent into Trumpworld, where facts aren't facts, but alternative facts are. Where an environmentalist can deny climate change and the greatest backer of the CIA likens them to     Nazis. It will be a dark descent and folly will likely pile on folly like Ossa on Pelion. He is not my president, nor will he ever be. He might be our president, but he is not mine. And as far as the people who voted for him, how you can justify voting for a sexual predator, I cannot fathom, but I feel sorry for your wives, sisters and daughters, and if you are a woman who voted for him, you are an embarrassment to your gender.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lengthening of Days

We are climbing out of the pit of Winter. The sun waits around longer and longer each day before painting the sky orange and the birds are doing more than just clearing their throats. However...

...things have been pretty much locked up on the beach over the last month, so work has been minimal and mostly limited to moving some stone into caches. I did make one large painting, so the month wasn't a total wash. It is a 48" by 30" continuation of some of the smaller explorations of earlier this year. I like the result. Zebra mussels, leaves, pebbles, sticks and sand that regularly migrate onto the beach and then off again. Warm earth tones and Northern European business of space and composition. I think it will be my Spring show piece.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Still At It

So a new year has begun. I was working on the beach and in the studio until mid-January when my water bucket froze over and the beach succumbed to ice dunes. I have migrated into the house for the time being and am finishing up my first big piece of the year. It should be done by the end of the month. In the mean time here are a couple of paintings that haven't been posted yet.
 The above piece is the central panel of an eight foot triptych of the breaking up of the lake ice. It was in the Mercyhurst University Exhibition...kind of the poster child of the show. I like it and its Anselm Kieferian feel. Unfortunately I have no place to hang it.
This piece is the follow up piece to the little study previously posted and it is related to the big piece I'm working on now. A palimpsest of beach detritus with a great range of textures and colors...I like the eyefest that it presents. I wanted to make sure I got a January post in to see if I can get my posting discipline back. More to come. Just so its on the record...if Trump wins the Republican nomination they should fold as a party or dump every registered Republican who voted for him out of the club. We are sinking to new levels of stupidity as a nation.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The End is Near...Again

The year is winding down and it is doing so in unseasonable fashion. Whereas the last several years have seen Decembers white and cold, this year December has been more like October. No snow, little rain and days in the fifties and even sixties this weekend. El Nino is responsible for this according to those who track this kind of thing. I've been doing some work on the beach, but it is mostly moving not making so I don't have anything to show for it. November's storms washed and arranged the beach several times, so I have also spent some time collecting and salvaging. As far as painting is concerned I have done some small things to ease myself back into work and I just finished a piece but haven't photographed it yet. They are both beach of milkweed and the other of the typical matrix of pebbles and leaves that carpet the littoral.