Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chuck, Philip and Me

The movie, "Gerhardt Richter-Painting" was so inspirational to me.  I couldn't wait to get to Amazon to buy his biography.  I wanted more Gerhardt!  More, dammit!  More!

I didn't get it....  It was "$100.  For a book... on Gerhardt Richter.  Ok, if I had disposable income, I would get it.  Yes, if I had money to burn,  I would definitely get Gerhardt's amazing biography... that or shoes, kidding... kinda. 

So instead I got the "Philip Guston Collected Writings, Lectures, and Conversations," for $25.53 and the "Chuck Close-Life," by Christopher Finch, for $25.13.  I started Philps's book first, (because I really love his work), and his words ... hurt... my...brain.

He says stuff like;

(On Rembrandt)

"...there's an ambiguity of paint being image and image being paint which is very mysterious."
 (This I got...  I think.)

Then he says,

"Painting permits, utlimately, the joys of the possible, but the narrow passage to this domain of the possible suppresses any illusion of mastery.
Only our surprise that the unforeseen was fated allows the aritrary to disappear.  The delights and the anguish of the paradoxes on this imagined plane resist the threat of painting's reducibility.
The poise, the isolation, of the image containing the memory of its past and promise of change is neither a possession nor is it frustrating, The forms, having known each other differently before, advance yet again, their gravity marked by their escape from inertia."

(and finally...)

"Painting is a clock that sees each end of the street as the edge of the world."


I am going to have to wait till I am smarter to read this book.  Thus, I turned to the Chuck Close biography and boy am I am glad I did.  This book, is so much more accessible.  Plus, Chuck and I have soooo much in common.  There are so many things but, here are just three examples:
  1. He is an only child.  I am an only child. 
  2. His father died when he was young.  My dad died when I was young.
  3. His mom is named "Mildred", my mom is named "Mildred."
 Chuck Close,  Big Self Portrait, 1967-68, Acrylic on canvas, 107-1/2x83-1/2 in. (You have to see this in person.  It is almost 9 feet tall.)

Philip Guston,  Painting, Smoking Eating, 1972, oil on canvas, 77 1/2 x 103 1/2 in.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Idle Progress

This one is called "Idle Progress." 

In the beginning...

The fun is just beginning.  The junction where both the left seagull's wings hit the front wheel of the bicycle is problematic to me.  I am going to try pushing that tire back.
I added my new Williamsburg Cadmium Red, which I would compare favorably to Bobbi Browns lipsticks.  Both are loaded with pigment. Oh my!
I am inching my way into a higher quality paint addiction.  However, I can rationalize it, because I am down to only one other vice right now, and that is Diet Coke.  I can hear you all cringe.  I swear, Diet Coke's getting harder and harder to find in judgy San Francisco.  Restaurants are ceasing to serve it, because they say it's bad for you.  Hm-mm, OK, maybe it is time to switch to Bourbon. 

So far I have only indulged in expensive paint when I have a store coupon and  luckily, I am painting thinner these days.  Impasto would be a killer in fancy paint that was 30 -75 bucks and up,  for 37 ml tube.  Good paint is really amazing and thrills me like... well ya know, it's good.  I just experimented and bought some "plain wrap" paint, thinking I could use it as filler.  It was so yucky, like putting down, BAD spackle.  (That's bad, to be worse than spackle).

I wonder how much Gerhard spends on paint?  He uses good paint.  In his documentary movie, every  "plop" of paint I heard hit the ground, made me want to grab a scraper and save it.

BTW, this painting is not finished.  I told myself I was not going to blog anymore about stuff still in progress.  However, I think this one is going to disappear, so this might be it's only debut.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ghost Pigeon

Animals dream, but are there animal ghosts?
Ghost Pigeon 30"x40" oil on canvas. 
I was going for more air and less congestion in this one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Roller Coaster Of A Week And Thank You Everyone That Came Out To The Roll Up Gallery Opening!!!

This was a roller coaster of a week.  It started with a spirit killing presentation at a local gallery, then moved on to a very nice gallery opening, followed by a great movie that was so resonating and affirming (but killer boring to my family and friends) and, finally, my breaking the bathroom window trying to kill a fly.   (Keyword, "trying," that fly is alive and kicking, living upstairs on Makiko's window sill, waiting for a fast break.)   The window is going to cost at least $500.  Bug karma is quick.

The week began in a downward direction, with a bizarre gallery visit.  I must admit, I don't really know what happened.  The gallery said they were interested in my work and asked me to shlep some over so they could see it in person.   Then, I think, they proceeded to give me a "critique."   I am all for critiques, except the questions seemed a little canned and geared for advertising, "What do you want the viewer to take away with them, after seeing your work?"  I don't know.... "Love/Buy Art Now!"  There were three of them.  The first two made me wonder why I was there.  The third person of the group, thankfully, was very friendly and professional.  All in all, from their manner, I would have guessed they were hating the whole visit and didn't like my work much. Which was weird because they had invited me with a very nice email.  At the end of the interview (or critique or whatever it was) they didn't say they were rejecting my work, but that they wanted to see what it would be like in three months.  The whole thing left me very confused and bruised, so I very nicely thanked them for the critique.  In the end, I am always Japanese.

The next day the roller coaster ride went up as I made a delivery of five paintings to the lovely Betty Bigas.    She is the curator of Roll Up Gallery at Public Works.  Such a lovely person and she created such a nice show.  Thank you to all my friends that showed up to the opening and to all my friends that brought their friends!

Then the week peaked when we saw a fantastic movie about Gerhardt Richter-Painting!  I could relate to everything he said.  It was a wild feeling.  He said stuff like,  "To talk about paintings is not only difficult, but perhaps pointless too.  You can only express in words, what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate.  Painting has nothing to do with that."

Oh... my god.

Then he said this, "When I first approach a canvas, I can smear anything I want on it.  Then there is a condition I must react to... by changing it or destroying it.  There is no plan." (OMG) "Each step forward is more difficult and I feel less and less free until I conclude that there is nothing left to do.  Painting is not just a question of aesthetics of painting pretty pictures, which perhaps isn't very difficult."


Then the week took another dive when  I splintered the bathroom window.  I hit it with a rolled up magazine.  I was trying to kill a horrible, ugly, black, noisy fly, ca-ching $500.
I only hope this next week is boring.