Thursday, August 12, 2010

Patchwork City

This is a 30x40 canvas, which is nearly as big as I can get. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this painting--I don't know if I can put more atmospheric art up on my walls, but storage is a problem. And since space is an issue, I have only a small, fold-up table-top easel, and that can't hold more than 40 inches of height on a canvas.

All the same, I'm trying to figure out how I can make the next 30x40 canvas more affordable. I'm doing another. I think this painting says more than I can articulate on the subject of my former home.

I tell people I hated New York, but that's an oversimplification. There are a lot of problems with New York. It's really hot in the summer, window air conditioning units take all the fun out of life, bugs and rodents are everywhere, neighbors are crazy, and even in the expensive restaurants, the tables are all but piled one on top of the other because there's no space. There's no space, and everything is old, old, old. Rent is high, pay is crap. Grime in the subways, grime in the apartments, grime in the air. There is no dirt like New York dirt. It's impossible to keep anything clean. The floors are uneven, there is no storage space, and the evening commute is noses to arm pits through all of midtown.

And actually, some of those things were attractive features. You know. It's kind of Romantic, all those layers of dirt revealing layers of other things. There is no place more real than New York. It's a really beautiful and really hateful city, both of those things at once. I miss it.

I try to tell people how it made me feel, but I don't know how to articulate that kind of roar, then I start to ramble and it comes out very negatively and I don't really want it to, and I think people have all heard that same story before. So I say I hated it, and that's part true. My bitching aside, awful things happen there.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Graffiti Face

The above painting, which I am calling Graffiti Face, is another painting I made from leftover paint on my brushes at the end of my painting sessions. There's actually nothing I don't like about this painting. The muted, dirty colors, the accidental nature, the patchwork-y deposits of color, the fact that to me, it's a face painted on a concrete wall.

I want to paint more like this, but whether I could do it again to my own satisfaction, I mean, whether I could reproduce this particular style and make not look contrived is questionable.

I also painted two limes tonight (see below). The very minor challenge was to paint them and retain the appearance that they were in a bowl, without painting the edges of the bowl. I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I bought these limes from my avacado man. I love limes. I love their thin skins and they way they fit in my hand. Unfortunately, I don't usually eat limes. I use them in drinks and in guac from time to time. I guess I'll have to use these in a beer.

I also painted the avocados I bought from my avocado man. They were delicious when the painting was done.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

fun with still life paintings

I'm sure I've painted still life subjects in the past but I have no memory of it. They weren't memorable experiences. Recently I saw some paintings by an artist, I don't know her name, they were just still life paintings, but there were lots of them. The sheer number of paintings this artist had painted, all of them still life subjects, all of them very ordinary (the subjects), was impressive by itself. And then, they were beautiful (the paintings) too. I mean, they were extraordinary because the subjects themselves should have been banal and instead her attention and care made them striking in their ordinariness.

I saw what she had done and I thought, I want to try that. I want to paint ordinary things and make them beautiful. I started with food--it's the classic still life subject, right? I painted white eggs in a white bowl. Something about the luminosity in this painting--the cream colored egg shells and gray blue paint--makes me squeal (privately, to myself).


I loved the first one so much I had to do it again.


This satisfied my egg thing. I'd like to point out that I've noticed that both the egg canvases have a very pleasing weight, and if I bang on the underside of the stretchers with an open, flat palm, the canvas makes a low, deep, gong noise. I wish I could remember where I bought these two canvases.

So then I painted tomatoes. I cut it open because the fleshy, greeny, dribbly parts on the inside are the best part.



Then I took a break from the still lifes and switched to a landscape. Love the colors.


And then I did a cantaloupe going bad in my fridge.


So then the cantaloupe thing didn't go the way I wanted it to and I became frustrated. It was 5:00 in the evening. I cleaned up everything to quit for the day. I was looking a the clock thinking, great, I can quit early and get everything else done that I need to do tonight and go to bed at a reasonable hour (1:30?--who needs sleep). But I kept turning around and looking at the kitchen table, the sunlight falling on the table. I do most of my painting at night--not so great for still life paintings. It's good to paint in natural light, but tomorrow I go work and I won't get home until I've already killed most of the daylight. That seemed like a terrible shame. And I have these carrots. I bought them just today. If I don't cut off the green parts and put them in fresh water today they'll get mushy and I can't eat them then, but if I cut off the green parts they won't be nearly as fun to paint, and that's actually why I bought them in the first place. So, I dragged all my painting materials back out and set everything up and this was the last painting I made.


The carrots are my favorite. It's a heavily textured painting. Plus, was a total surprise. It started off going so badly. I wish I had a better picture, but it was dark by the time I finished and I get poor quality photos at night.