Thursday, August 17, 2017

Metro Card Paintings, The Finale

Tree at Daylight, 2017, oil on metro card, 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches

My three paintings for Single Fare 4 are completed and submitted.  It was fun working on them and they served as a good way of working out ideas and approach for other paintings.  For starters I'm working mostly from imagination these days, and it works for me when only dealing with it in drawings or monotypes.  Color is a whole different thing, you can't fake it, everything has to fall into place and look natural.  When work began on these metro cards I hoped I could achieve what I have with my works on paper in color.  
Tree at Dusk, 2017, oil on metro card, 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches

In the beginning I wanted do a good job with these in hopes to stand out from the crowd of talented artists who will be exhibiting, but soon as I had all three cards on the easel and began work they started to come alive.  Ideas started coming and it was more about challenging myself and meeting my expectations and vision.
Tree at Moonlight, 2017, oil on metro card, 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 inches

The biggest challenge was to paint my very first night-scape, or nocturne, and as it turns out it was not as hard as I thought!  With this painting I'm ready to develop a new group of paintings I've had brewing in my mind but never had the nerve to start.  I think it's time to make paintings of all those dark, moody monotypes.
Single Fare 4 opens on Saturday Sept. 16, 5 - 10pm. at Highline Stages - 441 West 14th St. NYC.
Exhibition will be on view Sunday Sept. 17, 12 - 6pm., hope you all can make it.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Recent Paintings

Autumn Sunset, 2017, oil on linen mounted on panel, 12 x 12 inches 

Painting has been slow recently, mostly because I've been stuck on a rut about trying to figure out the purpose of my work.  To say that I'm bored with it sounds terrible, but at this point I need a new direction, I need to figure out what's the next step but nothing comes to mind.  I'm not pushing it too much, it will come to me as I keep working.  The only thing that I can say is that by looking at the paintings completed this year I can see growth when it comes to execution.  I hate the word realism, or when people say "oh looks like a photo," that is not my intent because photos are flat.  I do see a more detailed way of handling the paint, and the funny thing is that I'm not striving for detail.  I'm actually moving around more paint than before, sometimes blobing and sculpting it.  The paint application seems to be getting thicker, this is due to my switch to hog bristle brushes which I am loving.    
By the Lake, Prospect Park, 2017, oil on linen, 10 x 15 inches 

Another little change has been the introduction of Cobalt Blue to my palette.  I've used this color in the past, I'm not new to it, but never to this extent.  Also, Ultramarine Blue has been my go to color for everything.  I'm using it in mixtures to achieve my darks, slowly moving away from using black which I only used sparingly to begin with.  
Overcast Day at Hyland, 2017, oil on linen mounted on panel, 14 x 11 inches 

I have been looking at the Impressionists more, their color sensibility and paint handling seems to speak more to me than earlier landscape schools.  Don't get me wrong, I love Constable, Corot, and painters from the Barbizon school but the Impressionists have that modern element that is still relevant to contemporary painters.  
Spring in Goodwin, 2017, oil on linen mounted on panel, 11 x 14 inches 

Speaking of Impressionist, earlier this spring I was able to catch the Alfred Sisley exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Connecticut.  His work left my friend Charles and I banging our heads against the wall saying "damn this guy!"  The show was inspiring for us both, which I believe has directed me into this new way of seeing and using color.  
Summer Reflections, Prospect Park, 2017, oil on linen, 10 x 15 inches 

Funny, here I am talking about looking for a new direction in my work and it seems I have already found it, I just didn't realize it! I just needed to write about it for it to become clear.  Color, color, color, that's what I need to focus on more.  I think we are on to something...back to the easel! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Metro Card Paintings

Work is underway on three metro card paintings for Single Fare 4, an open exhibition using NYC Metro Cards as the "canvas" for the art.  The concept was created by artists Michael Kagan and Jean-Pierre Roy back in 2010, and since then the popularity of the exhibition has grown.  Over the years important artists have part taken on the event, which brings an element of whimsy and fun to an over stuffy art world.  
I created three little drawings for Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again, and I must day I was not prepared for the incredible work that was exhibited that year.  What do you make in such a tiny little space?  I was not sure back then and so I did quick little sketches of subway riders.  This time I'm trying my hardest to stand out because on year two I felt I fell flat on my face.    
I'm making three landscapes, (what else would I make?) on the metro cards, and my approach is similar to my monotypes.  I covered the cards with a mixture of burnt umber and burnt sienna and began to wipe out areas, just as I would with an inked copper plate.  This will serve as the underpainting, which will eventually get covered with color. 
I don't have anything specific in mind yet, I'm just feeling my way through it and I'm just going to have fun.  Although the pressure is on because I'm off to a late start, the images are due in less than two weeks and I just started last night...yikes! 
I've known about the show for a while and I was not intending to submit any work, I feel like I'm running around complaining I have no time, and this would have been one of those things that would have added unwanted pressure.  Besides, you can't find metro cards lying around the floors of subways stations anymore.  A few years back the MTA began charging for the metro card every time you had to get a new one.  The idea is to save money on the little plastic cards, while keeping the stations clean because people used to just throw them on the floor after they were used.  Now you keep your card and refill it.  I think it was a smart move, but it did make it a little difficult to find metro cards for this exhibition. 
Thankfully my friend Kyle came through and gave me three metro cards he was not going to use.  He even gessoed them and had them attached to a plexiglass for easy painting.  Thank you Kyle, I guess I can't back down now!

Here's a short video of the beginning stages for all three metro cards.  This is the first time I'm working on multiple paintings at once, who knows maybe I'll make a habit of it. 

Monday, August 07, 2017

New Monotypes

Al Borde de un Bosque II, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 10 inches, sheet 11 x 13 inches 

I present to you the latest group of monotypes, all completed in my last session at the Grand Army NYC.  I continue working with spontaneity and imagination, letting things happen as I go along.  I hope you like this new group.  
Al Borde de un Bosque II, 2017, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 10 inches, sheet 11 x 13 inches

Arbolado XIV, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

Arbolado XIV, 2017, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

 Darkness & Trees, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

Darkness & Trees, 2017, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Soñando Caminos I, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches 

Soñando Caminos I, 2017, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Soñando Caminos II, 2017, monotype, image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Soñando Caminos II, 2017, monotype (ghost print), image 8 x 6 inches, sheet 11 x 8 1/2 inches

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Recent Drawings

Untitled, 2017, graphite on paper, 14 1/2 x 6 inches 

These are three drawings completed in July.  As with all the tree drawings from earlier in the year I keep exploring compositions I arrive at almost by chance.  After toning the paper, loosely with some sort of dry media, usually the powder remains after sharpening my pencils on sandpaper blocks, I begin to work with some of the random shapes that appear.  From there I carve out the image and let things happen as I go.   
Untitled, 2017, genuine sepia ink, pastel, and pen on paper, 14 1/2 x 6 inches 

I like to mix different elements in the drawing to create depth.  In the drawing above I used Genuine Sepia Ink, an item not found in regular art supply stores.  Genuine Sepia comes from the ink pouch of the cuttlefish, which it releases when it feels threaten.  The pigment is made by extracting the ink from the fish and letting it dry.  The dried ink is then ground up into a powder which is then used in different binders to create various types of paint.  If you would like to get your hands on Genuine Sepia, either in powder or in ink form, call Kremer Pigments.  
Untitled, 2017, graphite and pastel on paper, 14 1/2 x 6 inches 

No Sepia here, just old your old fashion graphite pencil and pastel.  Unlike the drawing with ink, the graphite creates a more subtle contrast, almost like mist.  So far I'm only drawing with a limited range of materials but I am beginning to get some ideas on mixing other things on different types of papers.  Nothing has been started yet but things are brewing.  Stay tuned for more.