Thursday, November 30, 2006

Today, worked on dozens of details in the Wal M*rt area of the painting, as much in the upper part is drying. My amazing husband took the afternoon off of work to rewire the Art Trailer so some Miami driver does not crash into my art on Rt. 95, due to lack of brake lights. He worked through the sunset until 7:30.

(view from my studio) Now I will make a quick dinner, and do some research/business work tonight to get ready for Basel. Tomorrow will be a fun painting day, with major progress before I go away....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Worked out (trying to detox from the roadtrips), unpacked the car, got a flu shot that my sweetie set up for me (something I would never think of, but he was a boy scout and thought about how devastating it would be if I got sick in the next month). Need to check out Fertilization Purse and Fertilization Dress from the previous show to make sure they are ready to go to Miami for the show at Chelsea Galleria during Art Basel next week.

.....10:30 p.m. Weds.

Today, worked on the children some more, and finally have all the clouds at the same level of (non) completion. I am going to work on the bottom third of the painting some more this evening, but it will be boring stuff, so here's the pic for today. I am no longer feeling like a truck run over me, but I am cranky, as we have a seemingly endless problem with the combination of my Honda CRV and the art trailer.

(Skip this paragraph if you have no interest in electrical systems, like Yours Truly.) We have been to the trailer guys and Honda both 3 times, and the same thing keeps happening... everything works fine when I hook up the trailer and pull out, then somewhere along the line, the trailer brake lights and running lights stop working (the turn signals/flashers are fine), and this blows out the running lights on my car as well. I am ready to go to Target and buy the magnetic trailer lights and stick them on the trailer to solve the problem temporarily for the impending Miami trip, but my partner is My Compliment in this regard. He spent two hours tonight testing all the connections, but his conclusions are puzzling. That means interrupting the next two days of painting with car drop offs, explanations to both the Honda guys and the trailer guys, having to answer the phone when it rings, co-ordination of vehicles, etc. "All I ask," Kate said, "is that you quit interrupting my painting to HELP me".


Back to the painting, I am at the stage where there are things that I am hungering to see.... the shadow areas of the clouds need to get more blue, for example, and it is hard to make decisions about some of the other color issues up top until that is resolved... it will happen by end of week (because I worked on the clouds today with yellow, and that will have to dry before I put the next glaze down). I can't do Zahara's hair until the blue is down behind it. That is why I make lists and number them every day.... well, that is part of the reason, I'm sure the other part of the reason is a bad OC gene somewhere.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Home safe, after 3 days of straight driving. Arrived home at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains fed my soul, I hoped I could work some tonight but I am worthless, stupefied and brain-numb. A long hot bath, dinner, and a heating pad on my back, and I am down for the night. Looking forward to attacking the painting tomorrow after the gym and a flu shot!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Going Home, Part II

Today was that great drive along Rt 15. Everything was ready for my pick up at Geneseo, and I got out of there quickly to get on the road by 12 noon. Upstate NY and Pennsylvania is filled with old wood frame houses that sag like the owners inside them. My mood lifted as I passed horses and cows, and the black dog standing on top of his homemade doghouse, keeping guard. I remember how I had been in Miami for a few years, and was trying to woo a woman from Wyoming to come work with us at FIU. I knew she had horses, and so I took her to Davie, north of Miami, where there are lots of farms. I remember walking into a feed store, and stopping in my tracks as I caught my first whiff of hay, and how nostalgic it made me. Today it was the smell of people burning leaves in their garbage cans.

All along RT 15 there were pick up trucks containing truckloads of men dressed in camo and bright orange, carrying shotguns, walking down the side of the hill to lie in wait. A VERY long time ago, I dated someone who hunted: realizing that I was afraid to handle the gun, I got him to teach me how to shoot at clay pigeons, and later I went to the firing range and actually enjoyed shooting handguns at targets, and I was pretty good at it. I remember our heated discussions about hunting: I understood the rationale, but ultimately I did not want to be with someone who was capable of doing it. Today I wonder again, "who are all these men who are able to see a beautiful creature moving through the woods, pull the trigger, and stop its heart (then gut it)?", and I thanked God I wasn't married to one of them.

Going Home

Unlike last month’s colorful art trip, this particular ride back to the region of my childhood was marked by miles of bare branched, purple-grey trees.

After an 11 hour drive, I arrived at my parent’s house (where I have been storing my art trailer) at 9 p.m. I chatted politely for an hour and a half before I put my head down on the pillow, my brain still vibrating from the road. I was at my parent’s house for all of 12 hours, but managed nevertheless to catch a family crisis of Jerry Springer proportions, which awakened me from a Tylenol PM-induced sleep at 1:30 a.m. I had to leave by 8 a.m., and pulled something in my back manually turning the trailer around 180° in the back yard to hook it up, because my mother’s car was “dead” in the driveway and could not be moved to allow for easy access to the trailer.

I am suddenly a nine year old who doesn’t know what to do, my heart pounding, straining to look over the dashboard, and pulling away from their house with a trailer in tow. I turn onto the highway, heading further North to pick up my work from the latest exhibition. I look up at the pulsing clouds of birds escaping to the South, and wish that I was one of them.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

1. glaze general skin value, all
2. glaze darker skin value, all
3. orange, above left cloud & below
4. gesso/clean up edges of gown
5. prussian blue glaze, gown & baby blanket (plus sweater below)
6. begin eyebrows, hair

my list of painting things to do/done today. This morning, with Kevin's help, unpacked Sacred Ovaries (from the move last year!) and checked to make sure it looks ok and doesn't need any touch-ups, as it will be heading to Miami next week. Tomorrow early a.m. I get in the car for a commando trip to Geneseo to pick up art, to return sometime Tues. (or Monday night if I really push). Three painting days, then next Saturday I leave for Art Basel. Last night, slept about 3 hours, tossing and turning and thinking of all the things I have to do.... tonight, drugs.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Fall of the Rebel Angels", attributed to Mariano Salvador Maella... photographed at the Norton Museum this week before the guard lady yelled at me. (click to enlarge) I just love the change in the light from heaven to hell... my "hell" will not have red light, but the green stupefying light of fluorescents. I am home from Palm Beach now, looking up places and people to add to my mailing list from the new magazines I received while away. Painting will resume tomorrow, then back on the road on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blogging from the road..... our guests left on Monday, we had a great visit, went to see the Monet show at the NCMA, had too much to eat and drink (I made my first Tarte Tatin, and I am very proud of the results, thanks, I am sure, to the fabulous RED tarte tatin pan we received as a wedding gift). The Monet show was educational, in that the progression/development of his work was clear and accessible, but it was missing some of the showstopping water lily paintings that I expected to see as cornerstones of the exhibition. Now I am in West Palm Beach, at the home of some very dear friends. They have a fantastic collection, a great blend of beauty and kitsch, and it is always very nourishing to spend time in their space (and visit MY old paintings, as they have been great supporters of my work from way back). I will be baking today for Turkey day, and making my way to the Norton Museum, there is an extensive Wegman show there. It is most likely the same Wegman show that we saw in Washington a few months back, but I will enjoy it just the same. Back at the conception stage of the Assumption painting, I saw a very inspirational work at the Norton, and I want to go back and photograph it. I will return on Friday, get one day of painting in, then depart crack-of-dawn Sunday for upstate NY. Happy Turkey Day everyone!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

9 pm. Monday evening. Finally blocked in the Wal M*rt floor today. Only the most difficult (correction... most boring) parts of the underworld (inside the coke cooler, magazine rack, various shelves of merchandise, logos) need to be blocked in now, then it will be all glazing after that point. I find the painting difficult to look at at this point: there is so much visual noise in the bottom third of the painting. It is only after all the details have been finished down there that I will be able to glaze over the whole thing and quiet it down, give it an atmosphere.

No part of this painting is "finished" yet: some areas are only 2 glazes away from being done, some are 10 glazes away.

did a glaze of purple on all the flesh tones today for shadows. Will be 3 days before I can work on this again, but I will take images with me to look at during my time away from the painting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Addicted to Covering Canvas Real Estate, or "I'm in trouble now...."

So, as I mentioned, we have guests coming tomorrow. The plan for today was to paint until 2 or 3 p.m., then switch gears to "hostess" and look over recipes, shop, make a few things ahead of time, as well as doing some last minute things (2 rooms) around the house to prepare. So, at 2, I had been painting for a few hours, but had not done anything exciting. I had cleaned up the folds of her skirt with a little gesso, and worked a layer of Alizarin Crimson over the putti, her skirt, and the people below. I decided that the lower left figure's hand needed redoing, as it is too small, so I gessoed it out. But I was not satisfied.... and I thought, "I probably won't be able to the touch the canvas again for 2 days, I need to do something that will make a big stride so when I come back to it, I will be further along than THIS". None of this would have happened if my husband was on his normal schedule, with his stabilizing influence, and a reminder that I said I would stop at 2... but he had to go on a 24 hr business trip, and so I was left to my own devices.

My devices forced me to paint in the bottom cloud, now it is almost 8 p.m., and I have a shitload of work to do. Blogging will probably be spotty for the next few days....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Worked my ass off today, but don't feel as though I made great strides. I put in 12 hours... painted some of the figures in the lower half of the canvas (had to gesso out and repaint the hand of the woman above on the left, and will have to repaint her shirt to get her shoulder to go up.
It is a challenge to not make the Wal M*rt people into caricatures, to have the viewer feel empathy.
Worked on her gown some,
Then spent quite a while on flesh tones for Angelina and baby. They now have 2 glazes on the skin: there will be 3 to 5 more layers before the skin is done. It is a real challenge trying to paint babies to begin with, much less trying to get a likeness of a famous baby who has not been seen for several months except for one VERY fuzzy photo from a distance.

Was tossing and turning half the night last night. Did I mention we have company coming this weekend? The day after they leave, I leave town for 3 days, then the day after I return from that trip, I drive up to NY, pick up the trailer, pick up my work in Geneseo and drive it home. I will be home for a few days before I load up the trailer again and drive Sacred Ovaries, Fertilization Purse and Fertilization Dress to Miami to go up at Chelsea Gallery during Art Basel. Will be in Miami for a week for Basel, then drive home. I have 9-10 days to concentrate on the painting while baking some cookies, wrapping presents, and preparing for 10 people to come stay at my house Xmas weekend. Immediately after they leave, I load up the trailer with the painting you see above (only it will be finished) and drive it to Miami to put it in the Chelsea booth for the Miami Art Fair. I come home, have a few days to be ready to teach a mini-semester Low Tech Fibers course. I have never taught a fibers course before, indeed, I have never TAKEN a fibers course before. I have a rough idea of what I will teach in this course, but will be doing the syllabus and ordering all the supplies in the evenings on my trips in hotel rooms. Kevin and I are thinking about a nice vacation at the end of January... our one year anniversary!
Worth Ten Minutes......

I don't always agree with the man, but Walter Darby Bannard wrote a great piece called The Art Glut, originally published in Arts Magazine in December of 1986, though it seems even more true today. Thanks to Franklin Einspruch for creating the archive of Darby's writings, and for calling this particular piece to my attention in his own blog,

Here's just an excerpt, in case you're not convinced:

"Now, history tells us that the fashionable art of a time is never the best art of a time. It tells us that the best new art is always pushed into the background by second-rate, fashionable new art...Today's fashionable new art, like yesterday's, is second-rate, middlebrow art. New highbrow art cannot be fashionable because there are not enough highbrows, especially rich highbrows, to make it fashionable. Besides, highbrow taste goes by what it likes. It is personal and private. It doesn't look around to see what's "in." It doesn't make fashion, except in the long run. Highbrow art must win out over time by the peculiar staying power of artistic goodness.

Highbrow taste goes for pleasure; middlebrow taste goes for prestige. Highbrow taste can be "wrong" but it doesn't get suckered because it likes what it likes. Middlebrow taste insists on being "right" and always gets suckered because it either pretends to like what it doesn't like or is led into liking what isn't worth liking. The highbrow uses personal taste like a sense organ, to locate a source of esthetic pleasure. The middlebrow mistrusts personal taste and suppresses it in favor of the fashionable, which by its nature can be identified and labelled. The highbrow wants the experience of taste in action to be clean, simple, and straightforward. The middlebrow puts "importance" ahead of experience and fortifies his choice with "meaning" and "signifigance." Highbrow taste is always repelled by aggressively bad art...Middlebrow taste, blind and insecure, thinks history tells us that good new art is always "disturbing" and "outrageous," so it goes for aggressively bad new art."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

As of 9 p.m. (click on images to enlarge) Today was a good painting day.... some days, Kevin comes home and asks how the painting went, and I say "I worked all day, but there's not much to show for it... it didn't feel very good, it's not like painting clouds..." "You didn't cover a lot of real estate...", he'll say. "Yes, that's it." Today I covered lots of real estate... plus, it is satisfying to get some of the main characters resolved.

Tonight, I am thinking of my friend Nora. She just curated an exhibition on Joan of Arc at the Corcoran, opening tonight, and we were invited. It is a really big deal, and I wanted to be there to remind her of what a really big deal it is. I had to call her on Monday and tell her that I was not coming after all, and that felt shitty. I know she anticipated it, because she knew what the deal was with this painting, and I told her it was contingent upon where I was in the process. This is my last full week of painting... from now 'till end of December, it will be stops and starts, and I could not take 2-3 days off right now. I sent flowers, I will call tomorrow to see how it went, and I am thinking of her now.

5 p.m. Still working... you'll get a better quality image tonight. Painting clouds for the first time facilitated by listening to gorgeous bagpipe airs.... I have no Scottish in me, but I am like the children following the Pied Piper when I hear bagpipes.
A great entry on "winner and loser artists" over on the Ed Winkleman blog.... addresses many issues I have brought up here before.... I wish I had time to formulate a comment, but alas, I have a painting to finish.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

7 p.m. Have other work to do tonight, so this is it for today. Angelina will look less scary when she gets eyes tomorrow. Got a phone call from someone in NY today: she said that they were filming "a reality show" at ArtSpace in Raleigh a few days ago, and they shot a bunch of scenes in front of my Jesus Nightlight painting, so they needed me to sign a release. So, in January, keep your eyes peeled on "Wife Swap" for said painting. Has anyone ever seen it?

Today was a pretty intense painting day. It is kind of weird painting people I don't know from compilations of 50 different photos gleaned online and from recently purchased magazines. I have never bought a tabloid to read in my life, and I am begining to feel like a stalker, obsessing over these photos to get all the details right. At this stage, it still looks like a bad "fan painting". Shudder.

A fun day of painting Zahara and Maddox Jolie. This is just the beginning, there is a still a lot to be done with them, but here is what I had by 4 p.m.....

Monday, November 13, 2006

8 p.m. Monday
Stretched the canvas late last night, then soaked in a hot bath (I need a young, strong-backed assistant). Looking at it this morning, it is off-square by an inch, misread a mark while stretching it. Back on the floor.... the faster it gets restretched, the faster I get to the fun parts. Questioning whether I need to order stretcher bars that are 1 or 2" longer for more air at the top of Angelina's head. Will live with it for a few days, then decide. I never frame my work, but I am thinking that this one may need a frame. Again, live with it stretched for a few days, then decide. We are getting dangerously close to my trailer length limit, and there will be no time to use art shippers at this point.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Exciting opportunity = Insomnia

So our nation has been restored to a place where the "checks & balances" system will finally have some checks and balance. I feel safer, I do.... but that doesn't mean that I am sleeping better. Fear I am getting close to another insomnia period... feeling very stressed about the painting. There are visitors, holidays, and a few art trips between now and the time when this painting has to be finished. The deadline is one thing, but showing the work at the Miami Art Fair is a big opportunity, so the painting doesn't just have to be finished, it has to be AMAZING.

I did not paint at all yesterday, we are doing some much needed work on the house before our guests arrive next weekend (and we are having a full house for xmas). This morning, I put in the figures at the bottom of the painting, and Kevin is going to help me stretch it (loosely, for it will have to be disassembled again to get it out of my studio) tonight... I have not been able to put down any glazes because I need the painting to be dry to stretch it. It will be much easier to work on once it is on stretchers. I have no distractions this coming week, just a little cooking at the end for company, so it has to be a kind of gangbuster painting week.

Did find time to make Ginger Ice Cream with a touch of rosemary today, and it was a smashing success. Kevin has been cooking (and doing other chores) extra since I have been cranking on the painting, so I made him one of his favorites, Lobster Grapefruit and Avocado Salad last night... lobster tails were on sale at the Harris Teeter, the recipe is easy and really good!!!
Artist Audit

Yesterday, I spent an hour on the phone with a very nice lady from the IRS who was sitting in New York with my file in front of her, very perplexed. She had never dealt with a return quite like mine, and did not know where to start.

IRS: So you are a teacher… but do you also work in a museum?

K: yes in 2004, I was teaching, but I was also the BFA director, which means that I made a lot of trips to the museum to help students put up their exhibitions.

IRS: I see here that you have claimed business use of your home?”

K: Yes, the university required that I produce artwork as part of my job, but they did not provide me with a place to do it in, so I used approximately one quarter of my home to produce art exclusively.

IRS: So you spent over ten thousand dollars on business expenses in 2004?

K: That’s correct. It was an unusual year in that I spent a month living and working in NYC, so the number is even higher than usual.

IRS: That’s almost a quarter of your take-home income.

K: That’s correct. I put myself into debt with my business expenses that year.

IRS: …and most of these travel expenses, they are for what?

K: Conferences where I deliver papers, the delivery and pickup of artwork, traveling to see important exhibitions, and I go to NYC several times a year because I am trying to get a gallery there to represent my work.

IRS: And the university sees this as part of your job?

K: yes. It is a research university. Research makes up one third of my job description. While other professors need to publish articles or books, I need to have exhibitions, get reviewed, get catalogs, etc. At the end of the year I was evaluated based on how many exhibitions I had, where they were, how many reviews I received, etc.

IRS: ….and the university reimbursed you for only $300?”

K: That’s correct. $300 per year.

IRS: Why would anyone do what you are doing?

K: Theoretically, for the university, if a professor is very visible, it brings more students to study at the university. For me, I spend the money because I see it as a long-term investment in my career.

IRS: Well, forgive my ignorance about art, but it seems very strange.

K: That I have, effectively, put myself in debt for my career.

IRS: Yes. We don’t see a lot of that.

I have lived in an ivory tower for so long: I exist in a world of art, and I have as far back as I can remember. I don't really care what people think, so I haven't spent any time at all seeing myself through their eyes. Years ago, on my visits home from grad school, my mother would remark, exasperated, "Can't you talk about anything but painting?!" At the time, it was all I thought about. The largest part of my brain is still occupied by aesthetics, ideas, and career. Today, for the very first time, I realized that, to some people, artists must seem like they are from another planet.

P.S. Due to my obsessive receipt and record keeping, I came through the IRS inquiry with flying colors. Word has it that the IRS loves to audit artist/professors.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 10, 2006

8 p.m. Friday night. After working on minutiae on the bottom all morning, finally got to blocking in figures. Someone should do a study about anxiety and making art... psyched myself up for half an hour and made sure the right music was on, I was hydrated, comfortably dressed, sat and looked at it for a few minutes.... started blocking in the figures at 2:30, and did not stop until 8. Kevin graciously made dinner, though it was not his night, because I had to keep going.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

7 p.m. Thursday.
I hate when life interferes with my art....

Today was frustrating... had to stop painting twice to drop my car off at two different places in an attempt to solve a fuse/trailer light problem. Grrrr... means that I have to work later tonight to stay on schedule. My stretcher bars came today. I am trying some new "museum quality" aluminum stretchers with wood on the outside edge, from Utrecht. (I am not a covert selling blogger for Utrecht...) I will let you know how they work out.

My Petah Coyne book also came today. I peeked inside....I am dying to read it.... tonight when the day's painting is done. You can take the girl out of the Catholic school, but.......

I want to stretch this thing as soon as possible so it wil be easier to work on, that means I will concentrate on the bottom part that is being done in acrylic, and stay away from the top for a day or two so that the oil can dry completely before I stretch it.

So, the first guy who looked at my car spent some time looking at it and testing it, and put it two new fuses, but refused to charge us anything because he did not fix the problem. "I love living here", Kevin said as we walked back to our cars.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Unnatural Attachment to my Work

I have long been pondering the bizarre attachment that I have to my work. I have a really hard time letting go of new work, especially right after I finish it, I don't trade works easily, and I don't really even like to sell them, uness they are a few years old. I think it might be like going through all the hassles and pain of a pregnancy and delivery, only to give a baby up for adoption.... "Ok, well, that was an experience.... have a nice life....Bye!...."

Ideally, I would want to live with the work for year to learn from it, then exhibit it a great deal in the next 3 or 4 years of its life, then have it end up in a museum or the home of someone I really like so that I can go visit it from time to time.

I have heard other artists casually mention, "Oh, that painting's one of my best/one of my favorites, so I decided to keep it for myself", but my attachment borders on the pathological. I have thought for a long time that it is simply the amount of time that the work takes to make, and the fact that many of them are deeply personal, but I am wondering today if the process of making it plays a part: I go through so many steps and decision-making processes that, by the time I am finished, I know every inch of the canvas. The initial sketch is made, sometimes there are major revisons, then the lines are firmed up for the transfer, then I trace the lines on the reverse of the cartoon, then trace lines on the front again while making the transfer, then paint the surface with many layers of glazes. By the time the work is finished, I have touched the edges of each form 6-10 times. It is not unusual for me to dream about the painting while making it. I don't think that it would be very satisfying for me to make the work any other way.

...9 p.m. Weds. Woke up feeling sick this morning, not up to painting Angelina and the children like I had planned. So I did something that I could not screw up too badly... painted all the letters, then most of the area around the letters, in Wal M*rt. By 9 p.m., I could not unclamp my fingers from the tiny brush, so I figure it's time to stop. Will finish up the area around the letters tomorrow, and will hopefully feel up to tackling the tough stuff.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

...9 p.m. Tues. Challenging day doing clouds. Off to finish "Art & Money", and then watch the election results, hopefully while having a celebratory glass of wine!

2 p.m. Tuesday. A rainy day. I have daylight bulbs in the fixtures, but with the skylights I am very aware of the weather. I have never painted clouds before, so I was a little nervous, but decided to attack them today to kill the anxiety of thinking about them.

Monday, November 06, 2006

10 p.m. Monday night.

If you're a Democrat, don't forget to vote tomorrow!!!!
noon Monday...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

5 p.m. Sunday..... (click on image to enlarge)
Tedious painting day...I did some of the stuff that I dreaded doing...neutral colors, magazine rack, ceiling between the fluorescents. As the painting is not yet on stretchers, but stapled to the wall, I had to lie on the floor to work on the lowest parts. I am cranky. Only visual reward is that I am starting to feel some of the oppressive dreariness in the environment. Listened to some good music and figured out what I am going to work on after this. Came up with a kick-ass exhibition proposal idea that will pull together almost all of my seemingly unrelated recent work. May work a bit tonight, but it is my night to make dinner, and I haven't cracked my Sunday Times yet, so I may give my neck a break and start early tomorrow with the Angelina/Virgin transfer.

Just read in the Intrepid Art Collector blog (I only peruse 4 or 5 blogs regularly, I swear!) that this month's Art & Auction has an article on mid-career artists. I will be headed to the bookstore on my next painting break, and I'll let you know.....
5 a.m. Sunday....

woke at 2 am, gave up going back to sleep at 3, came upstairs and painted blues and blacks 'till 6. Now I am going to pick up Art & Money by Aubrey Menen, which just arrived in the mail today. I read about it on Ed Winkleman's blog the other day, and thought "that sounds like something that I ought to read". It looks like it can be read in a single sitting. Though I might surf the web for a cat sweater for the woman on the left first.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

....6 p.m. Saturday (after a trip to Michael's for some Prussian Blue)
My paintings know more about my life than I do.....

Since I recently dug up Nick Cave's (not to be confused with the Art Institute of Chicago's Nick Cave, who I googled yesterday after reading his review in the NYT) "The Secret Life of the Love Song" lecture on CD, I am listening to it again today as I work, along with "The Word Made Flesh" lecture. In "The Secret Life...", he talks about how the love songs he writes "know more about his life than he does". I have always found this phenomenon to be one of the most fascinating aspects of making art. My paintings are always "about" one or more things when I conceive of them, and the meaning changes as the work develops. When the work is finished, you think you have a pretty good grasp of its meaning, then, 5 years later, you laugh when you see all the intersections of art and life. Sacred Ovaries , for example, was painted one year before I had a cyst removed from my ovary, and began contemplating about trying to have a child on my own.

This painting is no different. The details in this painting were carefully chosen to convey subtle nuances of class issues, and the psychological ramifications of celebrity worship. But, as I paint Angelina Jolie in the clouds (Ms. Jolie takes flying lessons... I took flying lessons, but could not afford to continue...), her children (should we adopt, do IVF or just accept nature/the universe?), the bad clothes in Wal M*rt (nowhere to wear my cool/vintage clothes since I moved here), the bulges, (we have both gained 10 lbs since we moved here), my life is staring back at me.
All the major lines in this drawing.....
appear on this piece of scrap paper I had underneath the drawings as I retraced. (click on image to enlarge) I think I saw a conceptual drawing like this in a drawing show a few years back.
..... 10 pm Friday.

...... 7 a.m. Saturday.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Finally stapled up the canvas. I ordered stretcher bars yesterday, and as soon as they come, I will mount the canvas on them. I always wait until the composition is resolved before I decide what size the canvas will be... an inch on either side makes a big difference in the composition... it determines how the corners and edges work. (Control Freak painting lessons...). It is easier to have the painting on stretchers because then I can turn it on its side and upside down to work on it. This morning will be spent transferring the image. After some Photoshop experiments last night, I have decided to move the central figures to the left a bit to allow room for a new putti....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Working "from without", as opposed to "from within"....

The painting I am working on now is unusual for me. Most of my work is manifested internally, and relies very little upon events that happen beyond my personal thoughts & relationships. That is one of the reasons why I fought myself when the idea for this painting presented itself to me. Eventually, the painting won out and is being made, but I now find myself in a predicament that I have never faced before. Paintings that deal with current events have a shelf life, and are doomed to become "history paintings" as the situation changes. While I mean this work to be much more than an illustration of this period in time, the meaning will change dramatically if the "cast" changes.

Being someone who watches very little TV, and subscribes to art magazines (well, MAYBE a fashion magazine or two...), I normally do not follow what goes on in the lives of celebrities, but the whole Brangelina thing was difficult to ignore, one of the many reasons I am doing the painting. So, because of my obliviousness to this kind of thing, I could have easily missed the most current bit of news: in the past few weeks, I have been to many websites looking for images for the painting, and could not help but notice that "Brad & Angie" are looking to adopt another baby from India soon. As a painter who averages 3-12 months per painting, this may prove to be the most absurd undertaking ever.... the painting could be outdated by the time it is unveiled. I have a problem to solve. Looks like my original idea of multiple putti heads from various countries wasn't so bad after all, but that will be too busy. I am already playing with the jpeg on my computer to change the composition so that another putti can be added.
eraser mess... from all the times I have redrawn parts of this cartoon.

.... mid-day, before cutting the cartoon in half.

Putting graphite on the back of the bottom half of the cartoon for transfer. This took from 1 till 6 for both pieces.
Better living through technology....
printed out a jpeg of the image, and did a few color sketches this morning, to try and figure out the clouds.... this is after pulling out about 20 cloud references and looking up a few more on the web and printing them out. My final cloud scheme is a compilation of about 5 sources, embellished. The original plan was to do little international children putti heads w/wings circling round at the top, but decided that it would be too busy for the composition. Now firming up the lines on the sketch for the transfer. This is tedious process that will surely take all afternoon, possibly into this evening: first go over alll the major lines on the front, darkening them up, then turn the drawing over and trace those lines on the back. I will slice the cartoon in half to make the transfer a bit less unwieldy.