Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Update on the Landscape

I have been working on this landscape for a few days, and although I know it's developing fast I still feel like it could and should be faster. No need to rush things if you want them done right but I'm still trying to achieve my goal of finishing it before New Year's.
This is a small detail of the progress in the tress in the far back and in the sky.
Working with green has never been my specialty, and trying to get different shades of it so that the different masses can be distinguishable is difficult. Been looking at Corot books and it makes me so mad how easy he made it look...the guy was a genius.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nando Update

Work continues on Nando, I don't want to rush it but I do want to complete two paintings-including this one-before the year's over. I had set a goal to make it a good painting year, it was better than 2007 but not to the full potential. I got too distracted, but I do have to admit six "finished" paintings in one year is better than the three of last. Things get more complicated since I will be moving in two weeks...yeah who am I kidding right? I will keep trying though, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Landscape 4

Painting is steady lately, with most of my focus on Nando's portrait which I must admit is coming out better than I expected. Portraits are starting to be more fun to paint, it seems like I'm slowly getting over my fear of painting people. But as enjoying as it has been to spend long hours on Nando, I do need a break from it. I begun work on a larger landscape, another subject I'm enjoying, but I know this one's going to give me few headaches. But as always I'm up for the challenge. This will be the second of a series of three Asheville landscapes, and so far I'm up to a good start. The only minor problem I've encountered is the canvas being too loose. I stretched this a while back and since then I've had it against a wall and somehow the canvas stretched and it became hard to paint on. I'm waiting of this first layer of paint to dry so that I could re-stretch it and make it tight.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

He's Back!

Nando got a new face lift, or at least I started giving him one a while back, and now he's looking better. Three attempts were made at this portrait with this being the best of them. Not so long ago I feared that I would have to begin from scratch again, but I was not giving up yet. Mostly since I'm using an Artfix oil primed linen which is a very expensive little piece of material. And during hard times like ours I just couldn't let it go to waist. Sometimes the size is all wrong and no matter how or what you try to fit in the space the painting will always have ways of letting you know it won't work. On the previous attempt I could not fit him in the space, and so it was back to the drawing board and figure out a better size. This time I chose a longer frame which seems to be working better.
I spent long hours the last couple of days trying to bring the painting back to life and all of the sudden things started to click. It all became clear and at that moment it was easy not to turn back. After working with a light blue color in the background I started seeing a sky which led to the idea of a landscape. From there on the concept grew to make this painting a little more personal to my friend Nando, who, when the picture is finished, will recognize the landscape behind him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local Color in 2009

Back in October I published a small blog post about Local Color, a movie about a young aspiring artist. The release date was set for November 7, 2008 and then it seems to have been pushed to December 5, 2008. Now the release date has been pushed further back to 2009, but no exact date has been set. Reviews are out and some are very positive but we really won't know until we can judge for ourselves.

For more information visit the official movie site: http://www.localcolormovie.com/

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Joan Mitchell: Sunflowers

"...I paint with a real interest again-it's so wonderful-I had forgotten-no I'm not happy or anything so sudden but just while I stand there putting paint on, life is maybe wonderful & beautiful after all..."
Joan Mitchell
Letter to Barney Rosset

Joan Mitchell, Sans Pierre, 1969, oil on canvas, 105 5/8 x 79 7/8 iches. Collection of Robert Lehrman, Washington, D.C.
It was one of those beautiful, sunny, but cold winter days. The day started out like any other, rushing to the train and begging to some divine force to make the train go faster, get out of the train and walk against the freezing wind towards the west side. Little did I know that Judi was running later than I was. It was Tuesday and the galleries were open, so why not have a look at what's going on?

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1968-69, oil on canvas, 76 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches
It was the usual business walking down 25th street, go in here, check out this here, the same galleries with the same expected work hanging. Walking closer towards 11th ave I realized Cheim & Read was coming up so I decided to make it my last stop before heading back to Judi's studio.

Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1969, oil on canvas, 63 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches
As I read the sign on the thick concrete blocks "Cheim & Read" I open the large heavy frosted glass doors hoping to see something good. The moment was like opening the gates of heaven, my first peek was a large Joan Mitchell painting, Sans Pierre, hanging tall and proud in the first room of the gallery. My heart skipped a beat and as I look to my right at the larger gallery room I see even bigger paintings by Mitchell waiting to be looked at and explored.
Joan Mitchell, Sunflowers, 1990-91, oil on canvas diptych, 110 1/4 x 157 1/2 inches
Her marks are like no one else; they are strong, bold, energetic colorful, almost frantic. Mitchell painted from a place deep inside that needed to be unleashed and it didn't matter much if it was understood or not. She let herself out with a great amount of confidence only found in artists like Pollock and De Kooning.
Joan Mitchell, Sunflowers, 1990-91, oil on canvas diptych, 110 1/4 x 157 1/2 inches, Private Collection
It is remarkable that as the years go by her work remains fresh and intense. Just like El Greco and Van Gogh she was ahead of her time, her daring paintings are almost a race between her hand and time in the effort "to convey the feeling of the dying sunflower."
Joan Mitchell, Sunflowers, 1990-91, oil on canvas triptych, 24 x 59 1/2, Private Collection
Joan Mitchell: Sunflowers will run through December 20, 2008 at Cheim & Read.
Joan Mitchell, Two Sunflowers, 1980, oil on canvas diptych, 110 x 142 inches, Private Collection