Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Moving On...

Following the success of The Mining Ruin, I've decided to do something totally fun. My teacher was okay with that once he saw the canvas I brought in and realized that it probably couldn't be taken seriously. It's an old canvas, full of texture from someone else's painting, and painted lilac. I took a photo of Lake Austin and have been doing a landscape on top of the textured canvas. I think it rocks! As my teacher finally admitted, it creates a lot of tension for the viewer to see a calm landscape on top of so much texture which is full of motion. It's cool!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mining Ruin

It occurred to me that y'all hadn't seen the painting I referred to with the f-ing rocks. It's a work in progress, but getting closer every day.
The Mining Ruin is inspired by a photograph by Anne Kobdish of a ruin in West Texas near where her sister has a cabin. She took the photo in the early morning while tramping around with her camera and a cup of coffee. The thought of that coffee and the peaceful early morning stays with me while I paint this. Big sigh...

What Be Happenin'

I spent Thursday afternoon helping move paintings from the old Austin Figurative Gallery to the new location, an unfinished horse barn on 4th Street. Both Chris Chappelle and David Ohlerking were super excited and totally upbeat about the renovation ahead of them, so I would do well to emulate their attitude. Me, I like a brand new place so all I have to do is move in and hang pictures on the walls. Maybe buy a little furniture, do a little shelf paper. So, all I can see is a huge daunting task. What they see is the chance to do what they want with the space, since the owner is amenable to whatever they want to do to improve it. Well, I would be, too, if I was renting out four walls and a dirt floor. Whatever they do can only be an improvement!
While loading the ton of paintings from AFG into our cars, I came upon a couple of large canvases. Lin was going to throw them in the trash, 'unless you want them', so I brought them home. They're covered with texture, so I knew that I already had a good start on a painting. No smooth, detailed painting for these. Yay! Cuz after doing all the f-ing rocks on The Mining Ruin, I am done with detail for a while.
I found my inspiration picture while perusing a Realtor's site for a 4 million dollar home overlooking Lake Travis, the link of which came from John Mackey's blog. What I love about the painting is that Frank walked in the door last night and said, "Hey!" (which means he noticed it, which is a good thing) and when I told him that it was Lake Austin, he said, "Yeah, I could tell". So, another Yay! And y'all don't have to feel sorry for me that I live for the moments when Frank actually notices a painting I do. I use him as a good guage of the general public's taste. If I get a "Wow" from him, then it's possible that I'm getting close to a "Holy Shit!" that I'm working toward.
As I said, I am tired of being mingy with paints, so it was great to grab a huge paintbrush and paint large spots of color. By paying attention to tint, tone and shade, I think I've got the general feel for Lake Austin View heading in the right direction. I really only wanted to give an impression, but I'm sure that there is still more to do in helping it move in that direction without actually going into tiny detail. That's why I study at Noel Robbin's studio; he's a great guide.
I'll probably upload a different picture soon. This was the only one in focus when I took it upstairs in my "studio", formerly known as the game room. There are still vestiges of the game roomness that I am looking forward to letting go to a new home. Specifically, the daybed and the drum set. Interested?
I love having the space to move back and get a feel for my painting. Getting the drums moved out was a good step in the right direction. Now a floor covering so I don't have to be so super cautious with my paint. And better lighting because I'm going crazy with just windows and really poor overhead lighting. I'm thinking track lighting, which would be easier to install than going with the can skylights. Time to talk to my handyman.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Doodle Painting in oil 10x10

If you've never tried it, "doodle painting" is da bomb! Just like the doodles you do with a pen while you're stuck on hold for too long, or talking to some long winded friend/relative, it is a fairly mindless activity. You can consciously choose your colors and shapes, but it doesn't have to represent anything or have any meaning other than to be pleasing to your brain, your hands, your eyes.
And...I think it is like a palette cleanser for the brain. If you're hanging onto too much angst about a painting that you're working on, this is the equivalent of jumping up and down, shaking your arms, rolling your shoulders and saying, "Whoooo!"
It is not a painting that will hang in a gallery and elicit a "Holy shit!" by the viewer (my ultimate goal as an artist). It is an "Oh, how fun!" kind of painting. So have fun!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"What's Up, Doc?"

Not original, I know, but kinda fitting. The painting is an abstract for a show we did at Austin Figurative Gallery this weekend. Never having done an abstract/deconstruction, I was wary of how it was going to turn out. I think, because I had a concept of the human body being dehumanized by medical procedures, it was easier to do than just saying I was going to do an abstracted figure.
I suffered through the first two weeks' painting and then had to go for a mammogram and Xrays of my back and neck. The whole experience of feeling like body parts instead of a human being is what helped pull the whole painting together. And then the last part was to make an incision down the spine to allow the glow of the human spirit to pour forth.
The final touch was the medical label at the top right, like you see on Xrays and charts.
If you don't know, I had a total hip replacement 3 years ago, which is included in the painting. Because of that piece of ceramic and titanium, I AM less human, but because I can now live a life free of pain (and pain killers), I am able to feel more human and alive.
And paint to my soul's content.