Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day One of Mural Making: Goldilock's Chair

Blank white page
 At last, it was time to begin the mural!  I underestimated the size of this project both dimensionally and laboriously.  The rough surface eats up my paint and slows me down.  That said, I'm happy with my first days work, and looking forward to completion over the next weeks depending on sunshine and childcare.  If you happen to be on South Blvd. between Humphrey and Taylor, check it out and the other murals standing by.

PS I enjoyed the variety of passerby with their questions and comments of encouragement; however, my favorite came from a little four-year-old-ish boy who identified the mural as the very chair from the Goldilocks story.  Mission accomplished!
I might prefer this simplicity

in context with other murals and Uniion Pacific West tracks

Friday, June 28, 2013

What's Making Me Happy This Week? --Month?

Pierre Bonnard's Nude in the Bath and Small Dog
 As much as I love summer and its adventures, I'm mourning the lack of time spent in my studio.  On the other hand, I have had time to absorb some literature and other cultural phenoms.  All of which is milling around my brain like a stew, bound to spill onto my canvas somehow.  So, in the tradition of a podcast which I follow, I'd like to share "What's Making Me Happy This Week":

To begin, the above mentioned podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour: NPR, is a panel of various pop culture experts at NPR dissecting movies, TV, comic books, you tube, music, and anything else collectively consumed by the masses.  I love the level of seriousness in their approach, the choosiness of their language, and their overall nerdiness.  There is something wonderful and satisfying about looking for broader cultural meaning in a complete analysis of the the Oscars.  This program is definitely one of my guilty pleasures and a fun way to begin the week.  I usually listen to it on Mondays while I paint.

Over vacation I began reading Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings, a novel that follows the unfolding of six friends who met and bonded during summer camp for the arts named Spirit In The Woods.  They sarcastically self-titled their tight-knit group The Interestings.  Wolitzer examines how artistic talent expresses itself in the adult worlds of these six and how class, envy, and success can manifest and act as catalysts.  Of course, I came away with questions regarding my own "talent" and the never-ending mystery of whether there is a time to surrender a dream in acceptance of reality or to ante up and demand real success.

Doubling up on my literature, I listened to Nancy Horan's audio book, Loving Frank which is an historical novel telling the story of Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress, Mamah.  I don't want to give away much of the plot here in case you have a chance to read or listen to this incredible tale of romance, intellect, and ultimately individual freedom.  Again, I responded to the questions surrounding what it means to make art or even have the right and freedom to express one's own ideas.  Of course, being partly set in Oak Park intensified my interest.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I have not been on any of the tours offered, but rest assured, I have truly solidified my resolve to learn as much as possible about this genius of architecture and see his work which remains incredibly fresh and modern.  There was one passage, undoubtedly more Horan's words than Wright's, that caught my attention regarding Wright's artistic philosophy.  To paraphrase it was something about the geometry of our souls that is born in ancient patterns of farming which have engrained our sense of beauty.  Thusly, we should build our houses by following the land.  Just a side note, I'm lately really impressed by Architecture's ability to both reflect modernity and encourage it.  It's amazing how built environments inform our lives and culture.

I've been gazing at works by Pierre Bonnard, a French painter and founder of Les Nabis.  Of course I'm attracted to his use of color and pattern, but I'm absolutely struck by his compositions which feel so modern.  Every inch of his canvases are worthwhile.  This is something I struggle with in my own work (among lots of other things).  His work makes my heart ache because of its beauty.

Currently, I'm reading The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach which follows a college baseball phenom who loses his gift of perfection when he begins to think too much.  I'm only a third of the way through, but it makes me long to be a storyteller and perhaps making me regret not having read Moby Dick (lots of whaling references).  It's a great American novel and fun summer read considering the presence of baseball season.  Thanks for enduring this lengthy post.

One last thing, if you are looking for something fun to listen to this summer, I recommend Jake Bugg who I have to remind myself is only 19 years old.

Martha's Rocking Chair

 I began this painting weeks and weeks ago and have been slowly altering it.  This was one of those paintings which began without a clear image/direction in mind.  I tried to move through it restraining judgment, making amendments based on instinct.  I'm not sure how successful it is.  I do like the floor.  It seems I'm happier with the end result when I  have a plan, but the more experimental approach can allow for surprises and discoveries. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scallop Seascape

This month's exhibit at OPAL is landscape themed.  Landscapes are something that I haven't been very motivated to paint, and the few that I have attempted have proven extremely difficult--particularly if painting outside and on site.  The world shifts and moves as wind, light, and shadows manipulate your supposed stagnate model.  It can be completely frustrating.  I suppose also that I prefer to look at things up close rather than at a distance.  I'm more comfortable painting a unit (a person or a chair) rather than an environment. 

So, my schedule being such that I didn't have much time to generate a landscape, I considered abandoning any plans to do so.  But having returned from a beach vacation on the Atlantic ocean, I felt called to try to depict my meditations of patterns and rhythms of the sea:  waves, lines on sea shells, fish scales, and bubbles.  Actually, the sensation of standing in the sand as the waves erode my ground left me dizzy especially with the relentless, roaring waves and whipping wind.  The ocean pulled me out of balance, unsettling me.  It was sort of a weird game that a toddler might play--rushing to my feet and then quickly running away before being caught.  While playing the game, I realized that I find comfort in nature's orders and how they can be found at both the mirco and macro levels.  This kind of discovery feels more than satisfying--it feels joyful. 

In the end I realize that I didn't really paint a landscape, but a seascape!  Oh well, there will be another opportunity to take a look at land.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sandbridge, Virginia

I've been on vacation this week and finding inspiration in this new place.  Here are some photos of things catching my eye. Hopefully, enough of these sights will inspire a landscape painting or else, I won't have a landscape painting for the next OPAL show. Cue music of doom . . .

Battleship USS Wisconsin

Pop Design Art & Interiors

 These pictures were taken at opening night of Pop Design Art & Interiors.  Everything looked great.  Here's hoping that our loads will be lighter when we pack up. . .

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chicago homicides related to gun violence in May

Dionte Maxwell, Patrick Sykes, Scottie Cartledge, Michael Kizer, Name Unknown, Linda Williams, Vaughn Allison, Jauan Lewis, Malcolm Dobbey, Charles Jones, Tevin Kirkman, Fearro Denard, Gregory Dixon, Leetema Daniels,  Antwon Price, Trevin Hullum, Angel Cano, Miguel Delaluz, Torri Stewart, Edward Jordan, Shaneda Lawrence, Keith Johnson, Quintana Love, Ramar Bonner, Clifton Barrney, Marqui Thompson, Jarell Dotson, Jaelin Lusk-Slaughter, Deandre Calahan, Brandon Byars, Keith Spencer, Ronald Baskin, Blake Ross, Ricky Robertson, Kevin Ambrose, Kendrick Wright, Eduardo Jaramillo, Pierre Howelett, Darrin Rodgers