painting

Playing the victim

playing the victim

I was having a conversation with a friend awhile back about how a workplace situation was causing some issues and what to do about it. While I was talking over a particular point, he turned to me suddenly and said “you’re playing the victim”.

I was taken aback for a moment, immediately angered. Our conversation ended soon after and we said our goodbyes, but over the next few days I thought about his statement, going over whether I was just bitching and moaning or I had a legitimate concern. Of course I thought (and still maintain) the latter, but my mind just kept on wandering, about where the line is.

We, in our life have choices, and the most important choices we make is how we respond to others. In part, this piece is a continuation of the theme I explored in a painting I finished awhile ago entitled “The Misinterpretation of Silence and it’s Disastrous Consequences”


Group show – reception tonight

I am in a group show called ‘Plus One’ that opens tonight at 580 Hayes Street in San Francisco.

Facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/493274464137285/496670510464347

 

plusone


Golden: WTF? Part 2

It should be known that the folks over at Golden reached out to me and said the caps are a known issue and you can contact the company for refunds:

 

“Yes – we had an issue with the cap caused by a supplier reformulating the plastic. We have remedied that problem and offer replacements for all customers who experience this problem (generally with tubes more than a couple years old). Please, call our customer service team for assistance: 800-959-6543 or 607-847-6154.”

 

Now I’m even a bigger Golden fan. More companies can learn from them.


Golden: WTF?

Or, as they say in my favorite syndicated comedy, What the Shit?

Apparently the plastic is weaker than the paint… Which, in some ways is a good thing, no?

golden 1

golden 2

In case you don’t get the two above pictures, that is the top part of the cap broken off, the white part on the neck of the tube is the other half. Notice the dried cylinder of paint that has resulted from the shape of the cap.

Here’s one more for you:

golden 3

Anyone want a half dried tube of Naphthol Red Medium acrylic paint?


Diseased or burnt?

One of my artist friends said my recent works, three pieces in particular, look like burnt flesh.

Images 2, 3, and 4 located here

Tonka said diseased.

What do you think?


Lesson #242: How to patch canvas (or how I spent last Monday night)

So every once in awhile, I get a little overzealous, and um… ‘damage’ a canvas. Usually in the form of a rip. Considering prestretched canvas is expensive, (especially because I don’t have the time, energy, or gumption to stretch my own) I formulated a way to repair it.

Here is my most recent victim:

ripped canvas

To patch your canvas, you will need the following (most likely you have these already):

  1. Acrylic medium
  2. Acrylic paint (I’m using black)
  3. Raw canvas
  4. A brush
  5. A palette knife
  6. Paper
  7. Several large books (or something very heavy)
  8. A drop cloth – this is optional, you can use more of the raw canvas as well.
  9. Beer (Any German pilsner or wheat will do)
  10. Bottle opener
  11. The ripped canvas

acrylic mediumacrylic paint

This is a pretty fast process, so you only need a couple minutes.

  1. Open the beer. Drink.
  2. Brush some acrylic medium on the rip of the damaged canvas. be sure to cover all edges, putting any threads that have separated from the canvas back in line. As you do this, you will notice the thickness of the medium starts to create a bond. Do this first on the back of the canvas, then the front. Smooth out any large deposits of medium that seep though on the front to maintain a smooth finish.

    medium on backmedium on front

  3. With the palette knife, place some paint on the back of the canvas. Be generous.

    paint on knifepaint on back

  4. Cut a piece of raw canvas just bigger than the area to be patched. Place this on the back of the canvas right on top of the paint.

    raw canvaspatch applied

  5. With your palette knife, place some paint on the small piece of canvas and smooth it out. You will feel the paint underneath moving a bit. This is okay, but try to keep the patch as still as possible.

    paint on patch

  6. Drink some beer.
  7. You should notice that the paint is more or less keeping things together now. If not, use more paint. You should be able to tilt the canvas now and examine the front. Carefully smooth out any large deposits that have come through the rip. Optionally, you can brush on more paint if you wish to to ‘seal’ the rip on the front. Do this fairly quickly as not to risk the integrity of the canvas recently applied to the back.

    paint bleeding throughpaint smoothed out

  8. Flip your canvas back over and place some paper on the patch (note to protect your floor with a drop cloth or some raw canvas).

    paper on patch

  9. Make sure your canvas is level and place the books or heavy object on the paper. Make sure you have significant weight on the canvas part itself and not the stretcher bars. Also make sure you aren’t tweaking the stretched canvas elsewhere with the weight. Notice my doctor’s office blue drop cloth.

    heavy object

  10. Finish your beer
  11. Go dancing at Deathguild

Let the above dry over night. Depending on temperatures and humidity, the patch should now be dry enough to pick up the canvas. Do this very carefully as some paint may have seeped through, adhering the canvas to the drop cloth, but should still be pliable as not to cause an issue. This will give you some time to examine the front of the piece and make any minor adjustments. If you do have any unsightly deposits of paint, you can smooth them out (very carefully) with your palette knife. Remember, the patch is not fully dry yet! You will see a ‘scar’, but don’t worry about perfection yet. Set it out to dry fully.

This is what the finished patch will look like. Notice the ‘scar’ detail. You can now slather on a bunch of paint to hide it, or use it as an effect in your composition. I took the picture with a flash to highlight the texture:

 finished

Good as new!


Lesson #241

Painters tape will gladly relieve you of India ink recently ‘dried’ on canvas.

 

india ink


i have exactly seven keys on my key ring.

My kitchen is literally a storage area for paintings:


Cute bunny rabbits

So I’m back in the studio painting cute bunny rabbits.

Open studios has come and gone, and now my studio is totally cleaned out. Totally. New drop cloths. It’s this sterile doctor office blue drop cloth now.

So as I began to put some details on Mr. Cute Bunny Rabbit no1, I started to outline this great eye detail, Just where the fur meets. Tori Amos‘s version of Slayer‘s “Raining Blood” is playing. And I flick the brush over the canvas, get more water, flick, switch brushes, paint, paint, then some more water and now some more white. No, water. Get some more wat — splash!

And that is how, my friends, you test the water capacity of the new doctor office blue drop cloth.


A diary of sorts…

Everyone knows that painting is a diary of sorts, and it is no surprise to be reminded of this as I start to refactor the galleries on my site.

I never know exactly how to display my work as many pieces have little or no relation to another while others do (some are series spanning years), not to mention the differences in style I jump between. Chronological order just seems the best way to conquer this beast.

What I wasn’t prepared for is the the way my analytic mind gave into the emotions of pieces ordered throughout the years. Not that these are unresolved, but when I think of a piece, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I started it, as well as when I finished it. Not only physically, but also mentally. Upon thinking about or sometimes handling a piece, I am transported to the time and space of wading through the ego or stepping into the shadow. Looking at the whole, I can recognize large sets of time correlated with events that produced a specific kind of work, and other time/event combinations where I was complacent and the reasons why. It is not so much that one understands things better in reflection, but that one cannot fully understand things while working through them.

The daunting task before me is leveraging this knowledge to try and further understand the why’s and how’s in the big picture of my work as a whole, as a reflection of life. Any creative outlet is, as is life, an experiment.


GODDAMNIT!

godamnit


Surgery

I performed major surgery on a painting last night. It was hard, you never know how it’s going to go and to top it off, this was the ‘non reversible’ kind. It is so easy to ruin a piece if you are not careful, but you get to the point where it isn’t working and impossible to do nothing.

This wasn’t as hard as what came next.

I have a small pile of canvases that have initial compositions sketched on them; the ideas are well formed, but not 100% ‘there’. I have to force myself on a (semi) regular basis to do housekeeping and go through said pile.

Last night I pulled out a piece that I started years ago and really thought would evolve into a great work. As I studied it for the millionth time, I realized I had to say goodbye to this old friend. It was very painful but I knew it had to be done. Artists are made from ideas and our work is an extension of them. When a piece doesn’t work and needs to be put down, there is this weird feeling of loss that you have to come to terms with.

So as Depeche Mode (classic, right?) rang out at ear splitting volume I white washed the idea I had so many years ago and tried so many times to make work. I really thought this one would ‘go somewhere’ but now it is apparent where that somewhere is — a 180 from where it was.


The perpetual problem of producing

Recently I’ve tried to cement a few ideas into some semblance of creative expression, though nothing has come to fruition. Now at the tail end of my second solo show, I feel depleted. At first when the show went up, I had incredible ideas and energy: new compositions were still coming and I was working towards finishing several pieces I started while preparing for the show.

Now I spend hours in my studio into the late night, with half finished canvases staring at me in mockery. The mouths of half formed figures laugh at my impotence; fingers from disembodied hands point accusations of fraudulence. Is it over?

In times like this, I honestly feel like I may never finish another painting again. How can I have nothing left to do with so much to say?

While I recognize this has happened before, I cannot escape the finality of this feeling. I remember when it happened last and being on the phone with Tonka outside of the office building where I was working. He suggested meditation as a method of clearing/centering my mind. It helped a bit, but sometimes nothing seems to kick start the creative engine.

Contention breeds creativity, but this is ridiculous.

I continue to sketch during the day, working out possibilities over coffee, milkshakes, and sammiches. Some ideas have potential, yet they soon dissolve into ambivalence when I consider them mere minutes later. Now it seems as I am trying too hard, which never works…


Embrace the dark

It is obligatory… whenever I show someone new my website or Facebook page, their response is “your work is dark”.

What the fuck does that mean? Dark as compared to what? I wonder if Tim Burton got these responses before he was big (or still does).

I don’t really think of my work as dark, but I know that it makes some people uncomfortable. It is confrontational on purpose, and if someone thinks it is dark, chances are they see something inside themselves reflected back, possibly afraid to examine further. I have sabotaged meeting people by sending a link to my site first. I have ended conversations with my work. Once Tonka had to leave the room. Mind you, I’m not complaining, it’s a great filtering tool.

It is not art without a reaction. The answer to that timeless question, ‘is it art’?

So I have made a decision. I will embrace the darkness. And if you thought my work was ‘dark’ before…


Future Self

The other week, I posted the winner of my Facebook contest. Said winner receives a print of her choice (dinner was reserved for locals), which happens to be of my painting Hasslich.

This piece has been hanging up in my kitchen for over a year, and while not becoming ‘invisible’, I have really revisited it in the process of prepping it for photographing.

“Hasslich” was one of the many 90%-done-but-not-quite-there-yet pieces that I seem to accumulate all to easily. When I finally finished it over a year ago, it was already languishing for an additional year+ in different studio spaces as I bounced from one place to another. It is really intense to view it now through the goggles of time.

I love what the colors do in this piece… the way the cold tones meld with the warm strikes me deep, causing and alleviating conflict in the same stroke, and back again. This combined with slight hints of color compliments push the subject(s) even further.

In all honesty, I still don’t know if it is about one, two, or three persons. I had a pretty solid understanding when I started, that was replaced during the painting and the subsequent ‘languish’ time period. And even today, I have a different filter that suggests it was even more personal than originally intended.

To be clear: it is most definitely about (at least) two persons. I just don’t know if these persons are me. I have always said my paintings are a self portrait of sorts, but nothing is more obvious when I stare into this piece.


Art show January 26th!

So I got an email out of the blue about a week ago asking me if I want to show work…

Yes!

I was ecstatic! The email was a reply from dropping off my business card months ago at Dada – an art bar in downtown San Francisco. It turns out it was just want I needed. I haven’t really painted anything since Open Studios (the Gears project I was working on has totally stalled – more on that another time) and shortly after I received this email, I started back in the studio. I have several ideas swirling around my head now that I’m getting dizzy, so we will see what happens (read: what work I can finish) before the show.

But, there’s a lesson here. Perseverance does pay off. I couldn’t be happier to be showing work, starting 2012 with a bang.


Gears

gears

Tonka found these on the sidewalk awhile back and picked them up for me.  They have been kicking around the studio for a bit and I finally pulled them out for an examination. I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend who was having some difficulties and my gears started turning. I realized that in accordance with my Transformation ideas (series) is the element of how these transformations take place; not the cause, but the actual process of transforming. It wasn’t long before the thought manifested: Gears are the mechanisms that drive our transformations.

I have a few ideas of where to go with this, though it is too early to be sure of exactly how they will translate to the canvas. In any event, these items will make up part of the finished piece.


This is the beginning…

I’m really good at not talking about my artwork.  I rarely ever want to share the intimate details of why I paint a specific piece, at times to my disadvantage.  I’ve always looked at artwork as a mystery for the viewer to dismantle, thus bringing their own experiences and convictions to develop meaning.   Then one day, Tonka told me ‘if you ever want to show your work, you are going to have to talk about it’.  Meh.

I had a ridiculously easy plan for this a few months back, but unfortunately, it didn’t pan out as I hoped.  I decided to make a Facebook ‘fan’ page where I would post new work, and the masses that loved it would provide their own commentaries and fuel a debate of what it is to be human.  My miscalculation was that anyone would voluntarily assume this role when me, the artist, wouldn’t even do it.

But yet I still don’t think we, as artists, should give away the mystery.  It seems that musicians can play this card famously to heightened interest and sales – we still flounder over Carole King’s object of desire (and you aren’t vein if you think a song that IS about you is… well… about you) and continuously postulate on what Lucy in the sky with diamonds is about.  But it seems us visual artists cant get away with that ‘i’m not going to tell’ strategy.

Ultimately, I know my work is challenging and highly personal, but all great art is.  And my fear becomes reality when I realize that most people don’t want to examine it. Though we never should be afraid to speak up and I offer this space here to share some thoughts beyond the miniscule Facebook posts.