......as long they're hanging on YOUR wall, of course.
I have a show in April and I need to produce like crazy. Last week, I traveled to a remote area on the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains to immerse myself in my work for four days. I haven't had the opportunity to do so since my Route 1 trip, having too much on my plate at any given moment. Family, a full time job, teaching (that's a new thing), and an occasional game of SimCity leave me hours here and there to paint, so here was my opportunity to, as some might say in Amherst County, git er done.
No better place to do it than Luminhaus, a modern retreat perched on the side of a wooded mountain scape. Seclusion is the theme here, with only a land line and a steep, winding gravel road connecting it to the outer worlds. A long-distance call requires a phone card, which everything is here — long distance. No cable, no internet, and most noticeably, no humans.
I painted steadily, and thanks to Luminhaus' impressive collection of contemporary and abstract art, the views and its walls were inspiring. I'm painting for my new body of work entitled "Populace," a series of new paintings to open at Glave Kocen Gallery on April 6. A friend pointed out that I sought out complete isolation to paint images depicting urbanization.
Upon return, I was greeted with a cell signal and a speeding ticket. Damn you, civilization.
Two of the four pieces completed at Luminhaus. Several more are back in the studio and on the easel.
I woke up to a dusting of snow the second day.
The lineup of some paintings I started, and in a few cases, completed at Luminhaus.
Typically, when I'm in between shows, I have a tendency to wander with the brush, and more recently, away from the brush. Pen and ink has been popping up in pieces, as mentioned in my last post.
I've been locked in on acrylics for many years so this is new territory for me. I've produced five pieces using both acrylic and pen and ink, but I keep coming back to realism.
I continue to rebel against realism, but intricate detail always seems to win.
I've been putting up quite a battle lately, though, switching back and forth between more textural, raw paint and hyper-realism. Throw in the pen and ink, and I've found myself in a painting twilight zone where I'm not sure when to stop painting. Nothing feels quite done - maybe that's because they aren't.
This search for something different goes back a few years to the painting pictured right. As it happens in the studio sometimes, I was on an expressive tangent and decided to paint this tree into what I considered at the time a failed abstract piece. I did so, and felt as uninspired about what had transpired as I did when I started. I hung the piece in my studio, and found that I couldn't keep my eyes off of it. Over a course of two weeks or so, I realized that I had accomplished what I had set out to do months earlier. It was my "hey, your chocolate is in my peanut butter" moment.
Fortunately, that painting is in good hands, and I may need to drop by Adam and Kelly's to take another look since I can't seem to navigate back to that mindset.
Consistency is overrated. Here are a couple more pieces from the past month or so — further demonstrating my inability to paint like there's only one of me inside this human body suit:
I've been toying with a new abstract direction and stumbled upon this illustrative, almost folk-art style. After producing the Route 1 series, which was a heavily planned, long-term, all-consuming project, I found myself wanting to break away and paint in the moment. I was working on an abstract piece (below), and followed my gut. I saw buildings in the colors and shapes and proceeded to draw a fictional city on the painted surface with an archival ink pen.
What I find interesting about this work is that I have tapped into a naturally whimsical, childish side, one that I didn't know existed up there in the painting section of my right lobe. I've often been told I act like a child, but never that I paint like a child. Above is the second piece in the style, and on the easel there are the makings of what resembles a tree. That could change.
I know it behooves me as a marketable artist to stay within my genre/style of painting, but I feel compelled to explore. It's funny that there would be any hesitation to try new things. The notion that sticking with what works goes against every natural law of art. I guess that makes me a renegade, a maverick if you will. I can see an abstract Russia through my canvas... We'll see where it goes.
Works in Progress: A