Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Chopped Up Week

"Gauges" 8"x8" oil on canvas.  Added some color using a water color technique.
This week I worked on some stuff that is old and some that is new.    I have all these small canvases, 6"x6" and 8"x8" lying around the studio so I did a bunch of these thick Richtery grounds on them.  Its an experiment born from losing not one, but two perfectly good motorcycle paintings to a soapy death.  I am holding off from starting the subject of the painting and dealing exclusively with the background  first.  Feels very weird to work this way.  Another challenge is that sometimes  I have to deal with a excess of texture from these backgrounds.
"Acid Bike"  6"x6" oil on canvas.  This one I ended up covering up the painterly background with this acid green.  I couldn't help myself.  Sometimes yellow as well as red can just take over my senses.  I am a drunk again.

"Moto Profile" 8"x8" oil on canvas.  Ok you saw this one, but I changed the background a bit and no disasters! 
  Here is the old stuff of the week.  The 20"x20" Moto is different but it's back.  I am treading lightly.  I will see if I learned my lesson.   I am not finished with it yet!  I still have to figure out the background.
"20x20" oil on panel

"Orange Bike" 16"x24" oil on panel.  Remember this one?  Its limping along.  I am loving the right hand side and the top right, and the middle bottom... and the left wheel...  Ok, I think the only part I am not in love with is the upper left hand side.  Scott Inguito one of my studio pals will probably try to get me to paint out everything but that part.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things Are Happening, I Just Don't Know What.

For people that don't know me, I stopped painting for about 12 years.  Next week marks the end of my first year back painting.  During that period of time when I wasn't painting,  I had my daughter, Makiko, who was a wonderful distraction.  However, lot's of other stuff happened too, that made me think that I might never paint again. I was ok with that.  I already gave myself 20 years to paint.  What more could I expect?  Then I got laid off from my teaching job, so I rented a little studio space, not knowing what to expect. When I allowed myself to think about it,  I thought worse case scenario  I wouldn't have anything to paint.   At best, I might pick up where I left off when I stopped painting, which was kinda surreal in style, imagery picked from my girly imagination, with very personal and difficult content.  Content that was sometimes hard  to find.  I didn't think about it too much though, because I didn't want to freak myself out.

So, I was surprised to find that it's been completely  different than anything I expected.  For one thing, I started painting from observation, something I had not really done since my undergrad days.  It was so... FUN.  I think after teaching high school students how to work from observation, I actually learned something.  Also my imagery is happier and more universal. 

This year has been super, and not at all what I expected.  I had feared that I wouldn't be able to paint.  I feared I might be done, but really the opposite has happened and it sometimes feels just like a fire hose has been turned on.  I have moved through a lot of different series this year, instead of laboring over one idea for months like I used to do.  I don't know which is better.  I am choosing to just observe what is happening and go with it.   I have definitely lightened up, and it's... refreshing.

I have observed a pattern.  I flip back and forth, working on a bunch of small things at one time, to working on one large thing at a time.  I think it's pretty common.  Another thing is I switch back and forth from knowing exactly what something is going to look like  from the start, to waiting till I see something on the canvas.  Then I have to pay a different kind of attention, where I try to stop my hand when something good happens.  Difficult way to play for a impulsive, compulsive person like me, but it keeps me amused.

Some stuff I have been working on lately, mostly small.
"Away" 6"x6" oil on canvas

"Gauges" 8"x8" oil on canvas

"Orange Bike" (still a work in progress) 24"x16" oil on panel
"Scooter Eye" 10"x8" oil on canvas

"Moto Profile" 8"x8" oil on canvas

"Blue Bike" 10"x10" oil on panel

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Painting Is A Sequence Of Creation And Destruction. Also Known As A Bad Week

It has been a bad painting week.  I hardly got any time in the studio and the time I was there I was destructomatic.  Here is only one of the paintings I destroyed this week.  I couldn't even take pictures of the other ones.  The 20"x20" motorcycle was one of them, yes!!!   I have been trying to resuscitate it and it looks like crap!  I don't have a picture of the attempted resuscitation, but here is a picture of the soap disaster.
It looks interesting in this nice little miniature version on screen, but it didn't stay this way.  I spent all yesterday ruining it some more.  I think I am staying out of the studio today.  I am going to the beach.  Maybe I will get eaten by a shark. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things That Move Us...While We Have Gas.

20"x20" Oil on Canvas.  So far so good.  I have learned my lesson.  I am going to wait till this bike is thoroughly dry before I mess with the background.  The last time I painted a motorcycle I sprayed the soap on, when it was still a little tacky and watched helplessly by as the whole thing melted right off the canvas.  

I have been working on a "vehicle" series.  I like the way our machines take us places physically and in our minds.  I like that their bodies have lots of plane changes.  This series started on Highway 5, painting semi trucks, Subaru's and tankers.  The series has expanded lately to include bikes, motorcycles, and scooters.  I might next paint some police cars and meter maid carts.  I have not yet decided if I can paint them well enough.  They are not as pretty as other vehicles, though they are pretty iconic and the black and white of a police car is pretty classic.  Its hard to get good pictures of authority conveyances. For some reason I always feel guilty and a little conspicuous taking pictures of police cars, especially when there is an officer in the car.  The other day I saw a police woman parked in the turning lane in the middle of Valencia Street, eating a huge muffin, talking on a cell phone. I didn't take her picture.  Just shows that parking is tough for everyone in the city and everyone's gotta eat.        

 This was the first sketch. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seagull... Check!

It is finally finished! Needs a title.
I know I am stubborn.  I am a bull after all, maybe a Pit-bull, but a bull in any case.  All that matters is that I got my way.  Here we all are in this exciting time.  There are people Occupying Places and it is wonderful to behold.  Important things are a foot and here I am, I figuring out how to keep both the Seagull and the funny yellow shape.  It keeps me amused.  Anyway, it was touch and go there for a while.  I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was going to have to sacrifice the seagull.  I thought I was just giving myself time to say good-bye to the flying sea rodent, when all the while, in the back of my mind I was scheming on how to keep the damn bird.
At first I put a nice Viridian Green/Prussian Blue/Alizarin Crimson glaze over the top half of the painting, including the yellow shape.  I thought that toning down the value of the shape would make it work.  However, it was the seagull  that was the problem not the shape, which I knew but was still not accepting.  So glazing the shape didn't really work.  Finally, in a desperate attempt I drew the brush down over the seagull and.... voila!  It worked!  As soon as I saw the bird recede, I knew it was going to be ok!