New thoughts, figuring out new ways of deconstructing compositions and layering that leads to an impossible to photograph painting = another day in the office.
So I've been back in California a few months but I feel like I've just gotten here as I'm only now finding time to create. Finally being able to get this painting onto canvas after thinking about it for a year and a half has been a relief.
There's just something about wheatpaste graffiti in a foreign city that I've always gravitated to. I especially love seeing the decline of these pieces and catching them in a final stage of their lives. This is the second piece in my "Death of Art" series where I document deteriorating graffiti that I think are almost more powerful having been acted upon by exterior forces. Street art seems to be the best and most honest reflection of our modern selves (in my opinion) and I like to record their mature portraits.
It's always a good thing when the first piece you finish in a new year turns out to be something you absolutely love.
What I really enjoy about this series is that, at quick glance, it's fairly innocuous. I give the suggestion, but your imagination has to do much of the work. It can be as provocative or tame as your attentions allow.
After a summer so hot there was really no way for me to get out and paint (I salute you who did, you're nuts) I'm finally able to start my plein air work again. Starting small with a little wildflower patch at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.
This series took a turn out of the meadows and into the tropical. Just in time for fall (my brain makes decisions even I don't understand.)
Sketchbook experimentation leads to new things. Rolling with it.
Sometimes (most times) I really miss the Aegean Sea. This is Livadia beach on Anti-Paros. Gouache watercolor on Cartiera Magnani paper.
Italy has a strong, well documented history of graffiti (my personal favorites being what can be found in ancient bath houses), and when I was last in Rome I guess I was really diggin' what all the modern artists had to say. I keep looking back to my time in Italy for inspiration and in doing so came across an entire stash of photos of Roman graffiti circa 2010. This one that I chose to paint, I just have so many questions. For starters, what the hell is happening here? Did the person who ripped it down dislike it simply because it was graffiti or because of the message? Who was the artist? What are those little flying heads all about? Guess I'll never know, but at least now I have a piece of a Roman wall hanging on my wall covered in another artists handiwork and that's enough for me.
This piece was a big turning point for me in terms of subject matter, style, and personal honesty in my painting. It's by no means one I would consider a compositional success or my favorite piece, but it pushed me somewhere I needed to go. Despotiko is a small area of a small island in the middle of the Aegean Sea where you can see shards of sixth century BC pottery poking out of the ground. I visited there while studying art in Greece and there's something 'other' about this place on the planet. Some energy coupled with an absolutely gorgeous land/seascape that you can't help but respond to from a place deep within. It's stayed with me ever since I left and this is a piece that was a catalyst for me getting to a more meaningful place in my art. Despotiko is magic.
Another plein air piece from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in preparation for an upcoming spring show. This one was a serious challenge with the composition and the tricky lighting that was changing so rapidly as I painted, but it was well worth the effort.
Because it's December 15th and it's 70 degrees outside. I was waiting for snow, but I guess I'd do better to just enjoy all the flowers still in full bloom around here.
Needed a break from all the holiday work to create for myself. Out came this little guy. I don't know why, but recently I'm very interested in revisiting my time spent in Venice. I guess I just miss that lovely, lively water.
The stories this garden tells, I want to know them all. Two new plein air pieces from the past few weeks at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.
Never was there a garden I loved more.
When the images you see in front of you flatten against your reality, you find yourself in unexpected places.
Second between second, leading the way, the firefly sends out it's nocturnal call to shed light on an moonless night's bounty from the meadows.
Once Upon a Time...
I lived in Venice.
Because sometimes you just need to spend about 100 hours of salvaging, repairing, filling, sanding, staining, gilding, and painting a 1940s vintage armoire thus saving it from a life of slow decay. How does one do this? With hand painted Art Deco "wallpaper," gold, copper, and silver details, hummingbirds, flowers, and lightening bugs.
This piece was in need of some serious love. Old, peeling paint, delaminating wood, broken parts. The damage was worse than what first appeared, but structurally she was sound enough to make the effort.
The Outside: A Chinoiserie Wallpaper Inspired Hand Painted Mural
The mural features camellias and fuchsia flowers, hummingbirds and fireflies, all highlighted with silver leaf on the branches where the moon illuminates from above. The legs are silver in both the front and back, and 3/4 up the front legs they're stained a deep, rich brown. The top as well was stripped to the wood and stained a deep coffee color with silver leafing along the edge. The copper "tulip" drawer pulls are new-old-stock from Ajax Hardware Corp. circa the 1960s.
The Inside: A Hand Painted Art Deco Pattern with Gold Detailing
The inside is probably my favorite and most hated part of this restoration. To understand what I mean, it took about 30 hours to hand draw, paint, and gold edge each inch of this vintage Art Deco palm pattern into the inside of this. It was a hellish task, as creating most sumptuous things are, and I couldn't be happier with the result. Opening the armoire from the outside moonlit garden scene to the burst of sunshine within - worth every backbreaking effort.
Some more photos for you to check out the details. Click to enlarge.
My hallway into our guest bedroom, aka, The Chill Chamber, aka, La Jolla, aka, whatever we decide to call it each day. Gouache on paper.