Thursday, November 30, 2006
Thanks to my friend Scott Newcomb I found out about Art Face Off, an online competition open to artists world wide. People visit the site and rate your work on a scale from 1 to 10; I think. The site also holds monthly competitions between different artists to determine who's the best. Although this may sound competitive it's also a good way to get your name out there and meet different artists in your area and internationally. You may also come across future patrons, and that's something no artist should pass on. About more than 3,000 visitors voted during the first round of face offs, different blogs are writing about this online competition and Europeans are digging it as well. Last night I joined and my work is up ready to be rated by you. Everything is anonymous so you can be as honest as you like. On the home page click on the top tab "Vote Gallery" and then click on "search artists" on the left panel. Type in my name on the keyword area and then pick the work painting from the drop tag. You'll find me right away. Hope to see some of you in this site soon.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I made a mixture of earth tones and some chalk so that I can get this new ground layer to be a little absorbent. I also needed to add chalk because the oil content was too high and needed to thicken it up.
I'm hoping with this new try things will work better, since I've taken note of many of my mistakes along the way. Now I'll have to focus on another piece until this canvas dries.
Friday, November 24, 2006
It's impossible that these canvases actually talk and have a personality, I know that. It's a mental trick that is triggered by my guilt. Why do I feel this way? Why do I have this guilt, and guilt for what? This is something I have never been able to explain. But it's always there like thick air engulfing me every time I walk into this room. I'm not sure how it is with other artists, but I develop a close connection to my paintings. I call them my babies, and not just as a term of endearment but as something more literal since I feel that I gave birth to them. Maybe I'm nuts but that's the honest truth. Is this close connection that makes me feel like crap when I see my most exiting work abandoned, collecting dust and cob webs.
I run my hands on the back and front of as many paintings as I can. As sick as this may sound, touching them is a way of letting them now that I still have love for them and that I haven't forgotten them. Every painting in this room is special. They were all painted during a period in my life when turmoil reigned supreme and a brush against a canvas was my escapeism. These colorful canvases were hopes of better things to come and they were my main reason for pushing forward. I always look back at that time with fondness, as hard as it may have been I'm thankful for it since it has shaped me into who I am today.
As I leave this old room I look back before closing the door and promise them that no matter where I go I still think of them as the best, and that one day I'll come back for them.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Moving along through the exhibition the use of color is explored further, with paintings made of two or more panels, diptychs and triptychs, creating beautiful color harmonies reminiscent of Color Field painting. The main impact of the retrospective is Marden's "calligraphic" paintings with its early beginnings in 1971, after the artist visited and then moved to Hydra, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Inspired by the land and history of the setting, his new work became looser and poetic. The work from this period was setting him up for his new style, a visual language Marden has been utilizing and modifying through the 80's 90's and present.
Marden's use of color became more neutral as the paint applications became more transparent. Paintings like the Cold Mountain series were reminders of foggy days in the wilderness when the play between tree branches and clouds of fog mix together obscuring and clarifying things simultaneously between foreground and background. Marden is one of many abstract painters who draw their inspiration from light, atmosphere, and other natural elements. Some the his paintings make use of a soft golden yellows that look like sun light breaking through the fog after a rainy day.
Brice Marden, Dragons, 2000-2004, ink on paper, 40 1/2" x 29 1/4", Private collection
Marden unleashes his use of color even more in his recent work, with rich reds, purples, and oranges. What at one time seemed to be natural light has now been replaced with "color light." Paint layers are more opaque leaving saturated color to reflect light its own way, with no connections to landscape. Even though the newer paintings don't have the misty feel of earlier work, the idea of nature is still present. Some the most recent work deals with the imagery of rocks; not representative but inspired by their shapes. Marden has also been inspired by Asian culture, especially Asian art. Dragons, an ink drawing/painting is a perfect example of that.
On November 20, I had the privilege to attend an artist talk with Brice Marden at the Strand. This was a very informal gathering as the artist, after being introduced by the Co-owner of Strand, Marden opened up the discussion by taking questions. It is here when I get to find out the meaning of "rocks" in his work. According to the artist, rocks were used by Chinese scholars in their studios as way to remind them of nature. And as mentioned above, his work is based on nature, not as "depiction" but as capturing the feeling of being in it; and about free association of energies like the energies of water and land used in Asian landscape painting.
Here I am standing next to Brice Marden as he signs the catalog for his retrospective.
On this occasion I wrote down a few quotes by Mr. Marden that I thought were right on point:
"Nature is everything but us."
"You take this colored dirt and make magic." (Talking about pigments)
"Andy Warhol is over appreciated."
"A work of art is a renewable source of energy." (Marden here quotes one of his favorite writers.)
Sunday, November 19, 2006
For Red Top the ink application was made up of thin washes, a common use of ink. But on Orange Blast the application becomes heavier. The good thing about Kremer's Shellac Ink is that they are so heavily pigmented that the pigment forms a buttery paste at the bottom of the jar, which you have to stir before using. But what I like about that is that I can take a small palette knife, scoop the color out and apply it just like oil or acrylic onto the paper. On Orange Blast the white specks of color were applied with heavy white ink using the bottom of my brush handle.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Again I started to work on it. I changed the background, thinking that maybe that would do the trick. At that point the background was a flat grey white that was not working and after a few layers of color the background became more dynamic. But I was not happy. I had to rework the face.
I had asked for your opinions about some of the difficulties I was having, and I thank all of those who responded to my dilemma. You were all very helpful. But after reading through all the comments I decided that it was my job to figure things out on my own, after all it is my painting. I started adding thicker paint and things began to roll in the right direction. The face started to change for the better, and soon, I was changing the background again. I started using a Blue Ochre I had hand ground into oil and after covering the surface I thought I looked good. But two days later I decided to change that color and tone it down. As of today the painting is very close to completion and I can't wait to put it away for good.
This is the a detail of the portrait. There are some things I need to fine tune but I'm happy with it. For some reason my camera made it look too orange. This is just a small sneak peek to the final piece I'm hoping to finish by the weekend.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
As many can see, I have not been posting as often lately. I have been focused on a few personal things along with the large portrait of my roommate Steve. I almost became obsessed with this painting for great part of the week, trying to flesh him up. Thursday night was a lazy night, and at the very last minute, right before going to bed on the wee hours of Friday morning I decided to do a painting and try a new set up.
I bought this paint box many years ago but never had a good use for it. Only used it one semester for a painting class and it was left abandoned after that. After seeing Peter Yesis' set up with his paint box it made me realize that I could get a better use of this box. So I set my pear on the top step leading to my balcony and set the paint box, like an easel one step down and I sat on the floor on top of cushions. I felt like I was in some exotic land painting on top of big cushions. As you can see I started working on a failed attempt at a painting from early this week.
This was a nice change from sitting in front of the easel in my painting corner. It felt refreshing and I can't wait to use this new portable easel around my apartment. I'm dying to take it with me to Connecticut during my Thanksgiving break. There are so many little treasures in my parents' home I can't wait to try to paint!