This blog is my portfolio of artwork, a journal about my process of making art...and the things that I have no words for...


Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sketchbook Project

I joined up for this year's project, missed it last year...if you haven't yet, the deadline is October 31st!

My theme is Monochromatic...I'm really looking forward to getting started, should be fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finally...a new painting

Just a detail

It seems that I've gotten out of my funk...although I've been drawing through most of it, and mucking around with washes on paper, being like a kid with a coloring book, I began laying down color on a 24 x 24 inch square canvas that I had started prior to my mother's passing...and then painted it white along with everything else that I had in progress at the time (as noted in a previous post)...

Detail of the Brown Layer, 10/13/2011
 I started with my favorite mix of burnt umber and terra verte as the first layer, it was so lovely I let it linger like this for a few days...

The Near Black Stage 10/16/2011
 ...then I slathered on my favorite Paynes gray...to which my Fred exclaimed, "I liked it better brown"...well, so did I, the surface was just so beautiful as is...and I lost my confidence in it for a bit and left it sitting looking near black, the deep blue with brown showing through...

Then yesterday I went after it with my blues...

detail
detail

There's a story here...I'm getting to it...every painting has those tales of how they came into being...this one digs into my past...

In the many moons ago time when I was an art student at SU, I was an independent-minded type of student, willful, wanted to do my thing, to "get on with it" in a manner of speaking...I had a professor, Jim Dwyer, for figure drawing...he was very kind, had plenty of great stories, he was very engaging and offered a wealth of information and advice based on his years of experience, which I appreciated very much. I was mining my figure studies for larger works in my other studio classes, and tended to pull my best gesture drawings of the day out of the newsprint pad and work into them to create finished studies to tack up in my studio (which a figure drawing instructor from the previous semester encouraged.) Well, apparently, I did a bad for this particular gentleman's class...(I always got myself into trouble for not following directions! It's that willful, independent-mindedness, "get on with it" that gets me into trouble all the time. Drat.) At the end of the semester, when Jim asked for our portfolios of our best drawings, I brought these finished pieces created on top of the gesture drawings done in class...although he said that they were fine drawings, and appreciated my desire to take what I learned in his class and go the extra step into the journey of making art, he didn't want finished work for this final portfolio. So Jim firmly sent me out the door to go find the gesture drawings that I did in class...oy vey...I was mad...I had to go all the way back to the dorm to fetch them. I brought back the "good, but not as good" gesture drawings, so that's how I wound up with a "C" in my last semester of figure drawing. I was not a happy camper about that, but I got what I deserved...a lesson learned.

Anyway...Jim Dwyer passed away in April of 2011, and on this past Thursday evening, there was a little ceremony celebrating his life and art at the Delavan Art Center (where my artwork shows along with Mr. Dwyer's) ...many of us reminisced about our time spent with Jim, and what a kind spirit he was, independent-minded, a gentleman, and how he loved working with the kids, one memory recalled by a friend was a student asking in regards to abstract painting: "Mr. Dwyer, what do you work with if you don't have a subject?" Dwyer replied, "Subject matter limits what I have; with no subject, I have everything to work with." Which is a priceless one. Then another recollection was made that right around the time that Jim was getting ready to retire he said that "Just at the time I've so much to say -- nobody is listening." Which is all too true, I had noted many of the students in my classes were not as respectful of the elder statesmen teaching in the program. I enjoyed the classes with the professors nearing retirement than I did the younger fellas who were more keen on the current art world and self-promotion, they seemed more impatient with students, at times much harsher with their criticism...(much of this conflict and discord left a bad taste in my mouth over the years.)

Well, anyway...during the reminiscing the other night, a friend of Jim's got up to speak, and recalled a time when another artist visited Jim in his studio and contemplated a blue square painting that Jim was working on at the time...this other artist (who was a figurative artist, where Jim was geometric and color-oriented) declared: "It's a window." Jim looked at him and said "No, it's a fucking blue square." Goodness, I laughed so hard, it was the best thing I've heard in a long time. A shot in the arm that I needed because I've been so sad about losing my mum that it's truly been an energy suck...and so because of this amusing little story, I made my very own blue square...window, in memory of Jim Dwyer...and my mother.

The Blue Square Window, 10/23/2011

My mother would have saw a window, Jim would have most certainly loved it as a blue square made in the way that I wanted to make it (and not because someone else dictated that this is how it's done.)

Later: 

Well, shoot, I tipped in its side and now I can't decide which way I want to have the top!


...guess I'll live with it for a while one way, and then with it another way for a while...