Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mexico House

I used to have a habit of working in “Monet-like series”.    As Monet had his penchant for haystacks and cathedrals, I had a thing for palm trees and running figures.  In watercolor I did a series of Long Beach palm trees in different color families, warm colors, secondary colors, or in different values, capturing the light at all different times of the day, just like Monet did.    I did a series in oil paint of a girl on a wire (It was called “The Pedestrian” named for the woman that ran out from behind a MUNI bus and across the double yellow line into my windshield one night on Mission St), I have her driving a "wheel" like gadget to symbolize her mendacity when she was clearly not in control.  I was always experimenting with different techniques and styles on the same subject.  It was really fun.
MEXICO HOUSE oil on canvas 10"x14" 1998
Well about 10 years ago  a painting called "Mexico House".  It was this humorous image of a house with an exaggerated antenna on the roof top.  The house rested behind a red brick wall and had inviting, glowing, windows and a warm yellowy patina to its walls.  I was trying to conjure the most inviting looking house without turning it into a Thomas Kinkade painting.  (No offense Thomas Kinkade fans, the man has skills)  The brick wall felt like a paradoxical element, which in a way seem meant to keep the viewer out, and/or is protecting the scene behind it.  Sticking out from the roof is this ridiculously tall TV antenna, which only people of a certain age will recognize in this day of cable and online video streaming.  I don’t know exactly why, but it brought to mind my idea of a fantasy house in Mexico, all simple, cozy, and family feeling, nestled in a wooded field, all alone and kind of rustic, yet totally plugged in to mainstream pop culture with a custom homemade TV antenna so they could get the fights or something.  The wall I think is protective and symbolized their separateness from their big neighbor the United States.

I really love the image and yet, when I first came up with this image, I did only two, a 10”x14” painting and a 4”x5” painting.  I have finally, after 10 years sold them both!  My friends Missy Feigum http://missyfeigum.com and Mike Stache are getting married and they liked the image so I recently painted one that is 8”x8” as a present for their nuptials. I am also making another larger one that is 16”x24”.  With this image I am going back to painting things from my head and not from observation.  Here is how it looks so far…
MEXICO HOUSE one  (Bricks on wall are huge)
MEXICO HOUSE two (Looks pretty good, but...)

MEXICO HOUSE 3 (Decided to make the antenna longer, so house had to move down a bit and shortened wall.) 
MEXICO HOUSE 4 (Positioning is better)
MEXICO HOUSE 5 (Finished, just need to wait for all that white paint to dry so I can put on the blue glaze.)
Ta-da, ok it has a terrible hot spot on the bottom left corner, but the painting is good. 

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