Thursday, April 29, 2010

Miike Snow "Animal"

I heard this song last night while having a few drinks with friends at a Brooklyn bar. This is such a feel good song and I just wanted to share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Towel

I gave myself a challenge a few years ago when I painted on onion still life with a towel. It turned out to be a royal pain in my ass but I was so happy with the end result that I challenged myself once more. In 2008 I completed a small still life of an heirloom tomato wrapped in a colorful towel. That was the hardest thing I had done in terms of creating texture that was believable. I set to top myself once more last year. Since then I've been slowly working on this still life, perhaps the slow pace was preventing me from working on the towel, which covers more space in this painting.
I have been so afraid of the time and pain I would invest in this piece that I keep setting it aside, and if I do work on it, it's to "fine tune" the onions and tomato, but how much fine tuning can I do?
I had no choice and I had to start working on the towel. By now I have thought about how I'm going to approach it but after thinking about it for a year my mind has gone blank and I don't know what to do. I try to remember how is it that I worked on the last towel, but as I remember it that was also another battle!
I have been adding dots, blobs, color upon color trying not to get an even pattern. The texture of the towel needs to bee more random, I think, for it to look right.
So far I don't know if I'm succeeding, all I know is that I'm chiseling away hoping of the best.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Work Continues

I have been painting on and off, working on multiple pieces such as Jarod's portrait, and three still lifes. I became blocked with the portrait, and to my aid came this beautiful onion I saw at the market when shopping for dinner one night. Immediately it found a home in my studio sitting atop a blue dish. How can I resist painting two beautiful colors such as blue and orange?
The sketch for this onion is a bit rough at the moment, I'm letting the paint settle on the ground for a few days. The gesso ground I have on this surface is too porous and paint sinks in. Hopefully in a couple of days I'll start working more on it.
I've also been working on this still life on canvas. Once again, an idea came to me as I was cooking. I guess this is a good thing, cooking allows me to see possibilities in subjects but the bad thing is that it delays my dinners!
I have added a little color, working on it sporadically as it sits on the studio floor. It seem I'm all over the place these days, I can't focus on one painting. For the moment the plan is to finish a larger still life I've been working on since last year, and to finish the Jarod's portrait as well. We'll see how I handle it!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Drawings from the Met

Juan de Pareja after Velazquez, 2009, pencil in moleskine sketchbook
It's been a while since I've posted images of my moleskine drawings. I still carry three moleskines in my bag, that has never changed, although I haven't been doing as much drawing as before. I do get a lot of drawing done when I visit the place I call my sanctuary, the Met museum. The few pages posted on here are some of the drawings I've done during my visits in 2009. This is also my third moleskine sketchbook, which was begun after the second book was stolen in December of 2008.
Visiting the Greek and Roman sculpture galleries has been fun. It's such a pleasant experience to draw from these amazing marble sculptures while hearing the sound of running water from the fountain in the middle of the courtyard. This area of the museum has become one of the main destinations within the museum for artists. You can see many with their sketch pads and drawing tools trying to capture the grace of these stone figures.

The Lute Player after Valentin de Boulogne, 2009, ball point pen in moleskine sketchbook
I try to visit the Met at least once a month, and after six years of doing so I have memorized the location of most of the works on view, at least the paintings hanging in the European galleries. This is why it's a nice treat to run into a new painting that has been brought out from storage or that has just been recently bought. This was the case with The Lute Player, a beautiful work done in the style of Caravaggio by the french painter Valentin Boulogne.
Marble Torso of a Boy, 2009, ball point pen in moleskine sketchbook

Marble Head of Herakles, 2009, ball point pen in moleskine sketchbook
This is the second time I've drawn the head of Herakles. I was very proud of the first drawing, and after I lost the sketchbook I felt the need to re-draw it in the new one, hoping that I would do a good of a job as the first. I say this is okay, but I still prefer the first one.
Marble Statue of Herakles Seated on a Rock, 2009, ball point pen in moleskine sketchbook
This is perhaps one of the most beautifully sculpted torsos in the history of art. Every view of this piece is breathtaking, and it took me a while to make up my mind as to which side I would draw.
Detail from The Holy Family with Saints Francis and Anne and the Infant Saint John the Baptist, after Peter Paul Rubens, 2009, ball point pen in moleskine sketchbook
The Holy Family by Rubens in one of my favorites in the Met's collection. He has such a way of creating movement in his pictures, everything seems to be in circular motion that takes you on a visual ride. I have always liked the way he portrayed the baby Jesus in this painting, with his little stocky body twisting and reaching as Mary holds him steady, graving to his naked rosy flesh. This sketch doesn't do Rubens justice, I know, but this was one of those quick sketches I squeezed in that night before the museum doors closed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blog accident!

I have been spending time trying to get my blog back to the way it used to be. I lost all my links and other customized items when I tried to switch to a more current page layout. I was originally trying to change the way this blog archives past entries, I wanted them archived yearly and not monthly like it is now. It's too long of a list and it takes too much space. My settings don't give me the option for archiving yearly, but I have seen other blogs with the same template as mine that do. I thought they might have a more current template. I "switch" my template and all is gone and I still can't archive yearly! I have many hours of work ahead of my typing in the HTML template every single link I had built since 2006. Blog entries will be few in the coming days.

Friday, April 02, 2010

New Order

My studio in 2009
It was one of those things that was never right. My studio always felt tight, messy, and had become an unpleasant space to work in. I wasn't sure what it was, and I always felt I couldn't do much with the small space I had and with all the furniture I had acquired. It kept bugging me, and Sunday it finally came to my head how it was supposed to be. I was about to embark on a huge project, rearranging my studio from top to bottom in hopes of attaining a better working space.
My studio now
I spent all of Tuesday moving book shelves, books, canvases, bottles of mediums, and countless other things I had cluttered my studio with. The end result has been more than I expected. I now have a much better, open space where I can be happy at work. I have room for two easels where I can work on multiple paintings.
Everything is within reach, and I'm no longer facing a wall like some punished child on time-out. I've been able to get a every piece of furniture to work together creating a much better system for storing, displaying, and working.
This spring cleaning also made me realized I have way too much paint! Aside from large tubes, I have also amassed a large collection of small tubes. To keep me from buying more I have them out on display on my painting table. I thought they looked great on the drawer and wanted to keep looking at them while I work. This will not only refrain me from buying more, but it will also make me aware the larger color range I can explore in my work.
I couldn't top taking pictures of my tubes of paint. They are like candy to my eyes and I thought some of my fellow painters might appreciate some artist's porn!

Since my studio remake, I haven't been able to stay away from it. This can only mean more painting to come.