Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Quarter way inland through the state, amtrak floats over marsh . We honk and clang. Windows and plastic molding shutter. Pale grey sky is mirrored a shade darker in water. There are no hard edges here. Mirror grey and mottled red, green, and yellow grasses pattern themselves off into the distance. Urban texture is suggested on the horizon fringe.

The lady behind me is talking to her newspaper. "mm hmm" She flips a page.

The lawyer two seats back is arranging case reviews by phone. His ability to get to the bottom line mid-chit chat suggests ex military, but it could be the result of commanding a steep hourly wage.

The perceived interrogation of painting in recent weeks has driven me inside. Art making feels burdened. The field of studio art has unfurled and inflated, displacing my current craft. I keep being asked "why paint?" Since studio art practice is not limited to discrete objects, is the making of image-specific objects obsolete?

Fortunately, my elective choice (advanced painting)has forced the brush in my hand twice a week and reminded me of some of the Whys. The physical process (the ritual of it?) and the color and form discoveries. Painting's slow pace gives me time to meditate on the subject. Do I need to document the process beyond the final image? Or work on location? Painting from direct observation is lauded for the extra info you get from the subject (color, changing light, etc). Photos provide forms which become filled with personal abstractions on canvas, but the presence of the original forces me to edit and respond.

Its easy to gloss over the depression of past weeks. A new roll of canvas, and some five foot stretchers, boosted excitement about pushing my limits in this medium.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Inching towards plein air

Sketched under 80 east
Painted in studio
Only got one honk. Is there a good time to time to linger under

Visited the east coast contemporary painter show at the ccas (sacto). The amtrak from Davis offers more views of industry, fresh housing, farm, field, and the marsh. The bike ride through the capital dumped me on hightraffic one way road. The lack of pedestrians (an oddity for the hub of the state) made it easy to take sidewalks in desperation. Neighborhood are spotty but with promise. I finally happened in a bike path on19th st abdcould hustle into the ccas. The show had some built up pieces and some subtle ones. My favorite work was by jake berthot - subtle shifts in tone exploring tree motifs.
i've been feeling as if pai ting has been excommunicated fron the art world- so a roomful of pigment texture and color offered a needed boost

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Deleted some cement today. Abandoning previous judiciousness with what I leave in the painting. The canvas was too cluttered at this size, so I added more bldgs and ditched confusing structures.

More caravvagip

Monday, October 22, 2007


Copying a Carravagio's 'death of a virgin'

Friday, October 19, 2007

Spouse rocks

Brian helped me set up these kicking shelves as a drying rack in the
studio. Each slot can house a 4' tall canvas. Wood shelves with
drilled out holes for dowels create the partitions.
Now I just need to stretch some big beasties.


Trying to get less stingey with paint - also trying to leave some
ochre aside for bright tones

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

...of a realist

(Picture: Highway painting test - absorbant ground turns canvas into paperlike in texture).
School is enigmatic. My advanced painting class is half-populated by realists. My grad group, conceptually driven. Art is mid conversation - awaiting change, either through participation or evolution. Photos document possible conclusions.

Still evaluating what's in store for me as a 'first year'. We are let loose regarding materials or content. Late winter, the full faculty descends into studio, interrogates/investigates, and proffers a thumbs up or thumbs down. The interdisciplinary focus of this program seems to invite ephemeral practice.

Considering my fondness for two dimensional objects and subjects related to a recognizeable bits of city-i am left with the question that drove me to school to begin with- how to defend representational art? It seems easy to categorize it as decorative.

A consolation today was revisiting my short term goal of playing with scale and materials to see what best relates to the subject. We watched a sheeler's movie "manhatta" in class recently. Dynamic compositions and dramatic scale, monumentalized the city. Although aspects of industrialization have shown their grimy side since, the movie still resonates with me.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Good studio day

An easiness of mind evidenced in duo espresso art.