Thursday, September 26, 2013

A New Reason To Go To Alameda

There is a new reason to go to Alameda. Gary Comoglio has opened a brand new gallery. I have a couple of things in it, but I won't be at the opening... I'll be in Lanai, on my honeymoon.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Long View Is In Progress

This was the sketch.  You can see that it is painted on top of an old painting. The only thing I am keeping from the old painting is the semi in the upper right hand corner.

I re-oriented it and started the drips.

I want more color.  I am started to add diagonal "line" divisions to create movement and space.

More dividing and MORE color.  The Ultramarine blue and the yellow on the right have just upped the ante.  They have made everything else look under painted.   

The bike area was looking FLAT.  I like the handle bars.  They look flat and at the same time like a cutout leading to another dimension...maybe The Twilight Zone.

Typical painting, every time I do something I have to re-paint everything else.  It is getting richer and richer and more and more detailed. 
Does anyone know what kind of bird that is?  I shot it at Taco Bell in Pacifica.  Maybe it is the rare and chubby Tacobellius.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Elmo and Me Watching TV

I was just watching that Paul Klee documentary with Elmo.  (I can't get anyone but Elmo to watch art documentaries with me.)   He said, (Paul not Elmo), that one shouldn't ever know how a painting is going to turn out.  Hear, hear!

The narrator said PK was an excellent draughtsmen.  He compared him to Durer.  

However, PK was most excited about painting.   When he visited Tunisia, he started freely working with water colors and experimenting with color.  

This experience made him exclaim that he was finally a Painter! 

I can relate.

Paul Klee

This is Elmo harassing a cat.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Still Painting

I had a very nice studio visit with Gary Comoglio  today.  He is opening a new gallery in Alameda.  He said some nice things about my work.  I think he said fearless.  

This is coming a long. Few more layers and dimensions.  Bike is a bit bikey.

Ring Throes

Back here in San Francisco, I started the week by losing my engagement ring! (Probably not a good omen)   I noticed it was missing when I got to the studio. 

So I walked home and back to the studio twice, looking under every car and tire.  I was on my bike so I imagined the bumpy road shaking it off my finger.  Crazy, I know... but I was out of my mind.

Thomas the plumber, came out and took apart the pipes, to no avail.  I was resigned that it was lost forever...

Then... yesterday, three days later, Makiko was in the shower.  When she noticed that the exfoliating glove made a funny new clinking sound.  She said she tested it a few times before looking inside and lo and behold, eureka, voila!!!  There it was! 

The terrible week got "better."  I got a couple of different people wanting to schedule studio visits.  I put "better" in quotation marks because gallery interactions cause me acute anxiety and give me the blues.  Don't know why, the art lovers can be perfectly nice and usually are.

Anyway, I don't know what will happen from that, but for now I feel...  LUCKY.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Studio In Lanai

No, it isn't your monitor.  It isn't suppose to be red,  it really is magenta! 

This little two room building is behind our house. Originally it was a Philippine  bakery.  The left door is going to be Tom's drum room, the right one is my studio.

The insides are still under construction.

Drum Room.  It is very difficult to photograph a small windowless room.
Armen, our contractor extraordinare, has done a lot to keep the feel of the original buildings, yet give them a much needed face lift and modernization.

One of the many things that he came up with was taking out the old window from the DR and put it in the kitchen. The DR walls were doubled to make them more sound proof.  (Lanai plantation houses are single wall construction, which means they are 3/4" thick.)

Then he built a new matching window for my studio.  We will get more light in the kitchen and in my studio.  And.. all the windows will look like they have been there for 76 years.

Arty photo of studio.

Studio view from the inside.

There is going to be a washer and dryer in here too.  Though the words "oil paint" and "laundry" in the same paragraph make me stutter.
Oh, well... somethings can't be helped.  Just keep looking up... the beauty all around and think... happy thoughts... 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Scale, Layers, Color and What Else?

The most dreaded question, "What are your paintings about?"  

It always makes me feel like a deer in headlights.  It's hard to distill experiences and thoughts to a couple of sentences.  

I am always thinking about what is happening in my work, but it is a dialogue between me and the painting.  It is a kaleidoscope of problem solving, experiment and hindsight.  

Sometimes it takes a year to know what a painting is about.

I think this painting is almost finished.
 What I want my paintings to be about... at least at this moment I am writing this... is whatever I can get away with.  I am playing with layers, space, color, and the hoped for prize of movement and emotion.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Guess Who Rented The Rothko Documentary?

It was me.  I rented the Mark Rothko documentary.  He made Makiko and me scratch our heads.  I tried to get someone to watch it with me a second time, but had no takers.  I live with Art Documentary Haters.
Baby Rothko (first layer)
So, in an effort to understand, I am making a "Rothko."  I have at least, three counts working against me in this endeavor, but they won't keep me from trying.  Number one, I know an important part of the Rothko mystic is scale and my painting is 12"x9".  Second part is that Rothkos need to be grouped and have a room of their own.  That was a very important element to M.R.  He did NOT do group shows with other artists.   And the third problem... oh yeah, you need to be Rothko.

Even with all that working against me...  I am feeling it.

Interesting and gutsy fact about M.R., he turned down showing paintings he made for the Seagrams Building and returned the money.  (I think it was $35,000.)  Because he ate there with his wife and found out it was a fancy Four Seasons Restaurant, instead of a commissary for the workers!

He wanted his work enjoyed by everyman, not just the rich.  What a luxury.

To be continued.     

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stealth Blogger

I am still blogging, but I am not posting about it.  I am refocusing.

Last week, I went with two friends and my daughter to pick out flowers for the wedding.  I guess flowers are on my mind.  I think these funny paintings came out of that.  They have a little bit of my old obsessive, surreal style and a little bit of Robert Crumb.

This was the first or the funny flowers.  I gave it to Makiko for her birthday.  I like it on it's side.  

This is the prototype bouquet.  It is too pink, but I like the poppy pods.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Makiko's Cake

I made a Joseph Buey's Birthday Cake for Makiko.  It eats like a brick cold.  However, if you heat it up you will be pleaseantly surprised with a heavenly bread pudding like concoction.  

Chocolate cake with coffee, coconut oil, butter, tons of eggs, sugar, (the white kind), buttercream frosting, chocolate chips and bee's wax candles.
I am the stealth blogger...

Monday, July 22, 2013

I've Been Gone... Short and Sweet

I woke up talking about painting.  I figured I needed to do a little blogging.

My mom was sick and gave us all a scare...  Actually, she is still scaring me.    

Taking care of Mildred was an intense ambush of spontaneous therapy.

Running up and down the 5, I ended up not painting for almost two months, yikes!  I've gotten back to work, but what I am doing is all a blur.

I am working on old stuff and new.

This is finally almost finished.  I think I have been working on it a year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Mousekateer

 I finished M.'s painting last week.  I leaned into making it sweet.

Somehow, she still is a little spooky to me.
For years, maybe even decades, before my daughter was born, I dreamt about her.  

In the dreams, I was always super busy.  When suddenly, someone in the dream would say, "Hey, here is a baby.  Want it?"  Of course, I always said "yes," even though in the dream, I was always in the middle of a crisis, with my hair on fire.  

In the dream, I would put her on the back seat of the car, or on the bed.  I would tell her to just wait there.  I would be right back. 

I would go back to dealing with the issues in the dream.  Then, in what felt like hours...  I would remember...

Yikes!  I have to check the baby!

I would find her all wilted, kind of dehydrated.  I never had any idea when she had last been changed or fed.  One time she had rolled under the bed and was flat as a pancake.  (This is a dream, remember?)  I patted her back into shape.  All the while, I promised to do better.  She had such a wise understanding look on her little tiny face.  She trusted that I would learn.  

So needless to say, when I finally did have my daughter, I felt like we had known each other forever.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Getting Back To "Normal"

When I got back from New York my head was full of all the killer things we did.  The rest of me was a little haggard.  My skin was cracking off, my feet were calloused and I felt all puffy and weird. It was slow going, getting back into the swing of things.

However, a few things helped a lot.

I got a massage at "Relax Feet," which is a misnomer.  For one thing, they massage all of you... for and hour... for $20... and...  best of all, you keep all your clothes on.  I love it.

Also, I have been making and eating yummy protein, veggie and fruity meals and snacks from Melissa Joulwan's cookbook "Well Fed".  I feel less puffy, a lot clearer headed and  best of all less grumpy!

I got into the studio, where I got a little... very little, painting done this week.  

I started this a while ago.  M saw it and now she wants it.  I guess I have to finish it.
I started it on a lark. 
The photograph image of M.'s cutesy pose is what caught my eye.  Because of her expression and pose, I knew attempting to paint it, could result in either a crazy, over the top, sweet painting, (blah) or a painting with a droll sinister air.   I am hoping for a bit of both.

So far... sinister is winning.

I forgot to include this painting in my New York post.  

It made me crack up.  

The artist,  John Baldessari thought it was very funny too.  He thinks it is  even funnier  that it is hanging in the MOMA.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New York And Some Stuff I Liked

I was in New York this past week with my daughter and Tom.  At first I was grumpy and overwhelmed.

Then two things charmed me.  First, I fell in love with  the timeless quality of a city that never sleeps. Even though bed time in my real life is about 9:30, it would be nice to know I could get a pedicure or a fresh deli salad in the middle of the night.  I would get comfort just knowing these things were possible.  Time would disappear.  Maybe living like this, people would live longer...  ok... I know that is untrue.  

Second,  everyone, and I mean everyone rides the subway, not just the car-less, or parkingless or those who just  need to get to work.  This makes the subway a great place for one of my favorite activities, people watching!

We went to a lot of great places.  However, one I recommend is The Tenement Museum.  It was a evocative experience that is very relatable.   All three of us agreed it was one of the high lights of the trip.  

We went to the MOMA, of course... I saw some nice surrealist paintings.

I like this painting by Max Ernst.  So weird.  It is a woman in a hedge, or a woman as a hedge.  I wonder if he used a sponge to get that texture? 

Max Ernst

I also liked the Rosenquist and the Katz.  There is obvious skill in their use of light and composition.  I don’t know why I like Katz.  Maybe it is his courage to paint that lazily, and that thin at that scale.   He is fresh and has a great sense of color. 
Alex Katz
James Rosenquist is easier for me to love.  Though his images can be quite jarring.  "Mad Men" on acid.  His compositions are graphically seductive, as opposed to seductively graphic.   
James Rosenquist
 In any case,  I am compelled to analyze the paintings of these two guys.  They make it look soooo easy. 


I saw one of Gerhardt Richter’s black and white portraits.  It is so beautiful in person.
Gerhard Richter.  It is really better in person.

I always liked the way Ed Ruscha and Richter blur some of their images.  I don’t know about Ruscha, but I always assumed Richter did these paintings fast and thin and then blurred them in one go.  However, seeing them in person, I am not so sure. They don’t look that thin or that fast.  Though he left evidence in some parts of brushing over images with a soft brush.  Some parts it is not so obvious.  He probably took forever adding paint and wiping it away till he got what he wanted.  As he demonstrated so mesmerizingly, painting his abstracts in his documentary.  Like a Zen Master doing it over and over till he got that rare combination of skill and spontaneity.

In any case, in person, the portrait looked rich and lush, like there is a transparent layer of marzipan laid on top of the painting, integrating the surface.  A lot of images look better in books or on computers, like my favorite guy, Morandi, lush in print, thin and sketchy in person.  But Richter's definitely look better in person.

Ed Ruscha

I painted rather surreal stuff in the 90’s.    Naive painting was in vogue.  Too much skill and realism was distrusted, at least that was my impression.  Seems funny now.   

This is an old painting of mine from that time.  "Every Dream Is  A Wish"

At the MOMA I saw a vase made by bees.  Talk about skill. 

We loved New York and found New Yorkers so very polite and friendly.
The three of us, on the other hand, could be found, freaking out over directions all up and down 34th Street.  Finally, Tom and I learned to leave all navigation to my eleven year old daughter.   She was the only one that ever knew which way we were suppose to go.   

Can't wait to go back. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

San Francisco Loves Their Art!

Thank you to all Art Lovers that came out to Art Explosion's Spring Open Studios.  I loved seeing all of my old friends and making new ones too.

As many know, because I am a monko-tade, (文句を言う), or bellyacherI have been busy mourning all the artists that have moved out of AE in the past year.  I have been lamenting so much that I failed to notice that there are a lot of really wonderful, accomplished new tenants.  Also, the old tenants have really stepped up their game!  There were some blank walls and some empty studios.  These empty spots, in my opinion, helped give the eye a welcome rest because all the other walls were booming with powerful art.  (At least that is one of the comments I overheard).  Overall, the art work looked finished and spaces were thoughtfully arranged.  (My studio looked, as usual,  looked disheveled,  till Liza B. and Ale B. came by Sunday and Feng Shuied it, whew!  I am such a two dimensional person.)

The kids were networking.  I was so busy gabbing and looking around, that this is the only picture I took all weekend.  But it is a good one.

I admit my reluctance when AE decided to go independent.   Scheduling our  Open Studios on a separate weekend from the rest of San Francisco seemed crazy.  Who do we think we are,  asking the public to make a trek out on an extra weekend?  So, it was a nice surprise that this weekend was one of the best OS I've participated in yet, proving yet again, that San Francisco is full of people that love their art and their artists!

Sneak peek...
This was the beginning of the new  "Sleep" painting.  
Super far to the left.  Will it work?  We shall see...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sleeping During The Day

"Sleeping During The Day" is one of my favorite titles.  I painted the first "Sleeping During The Day" in graduate school.  I love the concept of incredible relaxation, comfort in a sunny spot! In reality I am a non-napper.  We are faking it in this picture, except for Elmo who is staring right out of the picture plane.  

Right after I painted that painting as part of my thesis, ha!  Thesis cracks me up.  (and sold it to the Swigs), I went on to paint a more autobiographically truthful painting called, "Insomniac".   Maybe this new one should be call, "Wishful Thinking"? 

Ok, I will tell you right up front, I am going to do this painting again.  My intent with this composition, was to make sure that my butt was not in  it.  Duh, I really failed.  However,  I like the red slippers. 
"Sleeping During The Day" 24"x20" oil on canvas.  It maybe finished.
 Gonna do another one, sans butt.  Wish me luck.  Here are the stages "avec butt" has gone through so far.
Sketch in paint.  No painstaking drawing for me.  I know, I could have fixed the butt issue here, but I didn't.   In the olden days I often did a painting up to seven times.  It's no biggy.

Scary hair!  Scary eyes!

Getting there...

This is the second to last version, (last version is posted at top of page)  This is when I had the bright idea to close my eyes.  That made it a less disturbing painting, for sure.  I was playing with crazy shadows on the wall.   
It is finished for now, I think.  However,  I have found with the paintings in this "Family Series" that I can't leave them alone.  I'm tweaking hard.  
For example...
Added more color and stuff to this one.  I can't leave it a lone, agh.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Family Series

So it appears I am still on the Family Series that I started to explore a few weeks ago.  Here is the second in the series.  
Phase 1.  (This is Elmo as a kitty)
These paintings get painted pretty fast, 2-4 days, almost Alla Prima. 

Phase 2.  More yellow, less kitty.  Elmo was not pleased, he loves kitties.

Phase 3. Lighter.  I thought it was finished here...

"Yard View" 15"x10" oil on canvas.
It was finished till I watched "Picasso Sex Magic Death" on DVD and I read the Juliana Romano interview.  They both reminded me how I long to be free.   So, here I am being as free as I can for me, right now, today...

Remember this one?  It got a "Alla Prima" shot too.  

Alla Prima 2
"Trio" 10"x15" oil on canvas