Tragic Comity: Prologue oil on canvas, 36"X32", in progress shot
From a new series, Tragic Comity, I've recently been working on. The images included are sourced from vintage photographs found online, recombined to create vignettes that are quasi- allegorical in nature. I'm interested in an ambiguity between life and the theater of life, between instincts and social mores and where they meet. The exploration is still quite new and the piece I've included is a very direct work by comparison to the sketches I've been producing, which I'm sorry I haven't included. I want to reserve all of my personal comments, descriptive or critical (of which I have many), so that this work itself may be viewed without a particular slant or bias. Any comments and criticisms, (formal, palette, thematic, etc.) are appreciated. I feel a bit stuck in some ways and feedback would be most helpful. Thanks.
So...yeah. I started getting back into painting much like one gets into a pool. A pinkie toe first, then a leg, then the other leg and finally a giant leap off the steps into the water. Pretty soon you're thinking a bunch of rambling thoughts that are kind like "woah! I'm in the pool!" and "holy crap it's cold but kind of awesome!" At least that's how it's been for me. The pinkie toe is a metaphor for testing out new materials, like the bright pink 'hipster-ish' painting. It was fun and challenging to make this. I used Golden flow acrylics, matte medium for transferring the image (first time I ever did that,) paint markers, Fiber paste, and ink. It seemed that after I played around with new materials I just sort of got going again.
Anyway, the five pieces that you see here are the most important pieces that have gotten me to start working again.
The car pieces are my newest pieces. The three of them have transpired over the last week or so. They are about making amends with a past you cannot change and setting it free.
But they are also about painting a piece of my childhood that has remained vivid.
I take these car references and appropriate them using images from my travels and memory. I should note that the last truck painting is done in oil, glitter, and Pearlex powdered pigments. Glitter has a magical way of reminding you that it's okay not to be so serious all the time. The study of the truck is done in watercolor -(I experimented with text but decided against it in the final piece )- and the blue van is a study for my next painting done in ink, sharpie, and watercolor. Another reason why old cars are so fascinating for me to paint is because they are becoming a relic a past. Every year we get a little further and further away from our dependence on oil-ran cars. These cars I remember so thoroughly (I spent a lot of time in them) will be so exceptionally ancient by the time I am an old lady. The century of cars came and went. Sooner or later they will be absent from modernity. Maybe our great-grandkids will never experience them, who knows.
The next painting is based around relationships of family members with one another and how that changes in a different environment. I like the drawing, but the colors are really aggressive so I sort of stopped messing with it. For now, it is a study for a larger painting.
The last painting is in reference to Brian's Japan trip. He took an picture of a painted heart while traipsing about in Kyoto. I was so drawn to the cleverness and simplistic beauty that I adapted it and painted my own version for him.
The painting is made with acrylics. It is also heavily textured and layered with strips of cardboard and recycled paper.
Starting with a run of drawings all from live model sessions, this painting is an attempt to bridge the gap between my figurative drawing habits and a practice of painting that is tending more and more towards the abstract. All of the previous drawings and subsequently this composition have been built spontaneously over the course of a three hour short pose drawing session. As poses built up, I began to edit, narrow my focus, and try to feel out a sense of movement and gesture throughout the image. Parts of the image that were stable remained stable, those that changed were allowed to flow and sweep and change scale and location to serve the composition. The challenge I face in creating a painting based on this idea is rooted in keeping the vitality of the drawings intact. When laying out a composition on canvas, I didn't try to copy the original...more or less just translate it's essence and general flow.
Realizing that the process of painting could take an unexpected turn down the line, I figured that as long as the basic infrastructure was there the rest might somehow hang in place. Another consideration is that the sketch is monochrome, and not wanting to lose the structure of the drawing in a sea of color, I have been careful to keep my color choices toned down. The palette at this point, is essentially primary: transparent orange ochre, scarlet red lake, cobalt blue, lemon yellow, ivory black and titanium white. Starting with a grey toned ground, the under-drawing however, was done with paint pens in a few colors. I started this way in order to give myself a direct link to the original drawing method. Using multiple colors, mostly neutrals, I was able to set up some initial depth as well.
In concept, the work is still an experiment. It's an attempt to see how one of my more spontaneous practices translates into a longer studio painting. It's an observation of an expanse of time, maybe illustrated. It's specific form, but seen briefly, and then more. Lather, rinse, repeat. As I near completion on this piece, I wonder what will survive of the initial joy of the moment or if, as in other works, the nature of the paint itself will become too seductive. I'll take my cues from the cubists on this one. See shallow forms, observe edges, resist extravagant color; document space rather than illustrate.
So I've been sinking my teeth into my new series, I have a few more small pieces and a large in progress one. In terms of critique I could use your thoughts on the overall direction of this series(since I have been on it for a bit) as well as your thoughts on the in progress one. The big one is going to be a wall scroll, I have dowels that I plan to sew into the top and bottom.
I also have a short statement that I wrote for the series if you guys have thoughts on this:
"This series of work investigates the nature of diagrams. Diagrams translate a visual truth to us; they explain organisms and the way that they live through dissection and careful consideration of parts. By examining the question "What would an in progress diagram look like?" I explore this visual language of finding my own truth within line and form. My influences include Richard Diebenkorn and Agnes Martin as well as the drawings of Rachel Whiteread."
I thought my last pieces were small....nope not small enough. I have been working on several pieces with a maximum dimension of approximately 8 inches. Paint palette peelings l have saved since college in a worn out grocery bag were finally put to use. That, with the smallest leftover scraps from my large collages, plus some more prisma pencil.
Hey ladies! So I have two new little ones to show you. And the first study I didn't post last time.
I didn't post that first one along with the big cardboard one mostly because I wanted to know what you all thought of that one on its own (it was the scarier one and I think I needed more feedback on it.) Now that this post is about small ones I think I will show it. Cece and Katie saw it already at the art walk. So the little ones are really giving me an opportunity to have a more relaxed experimentation of the subject. While projecting the drawings onto the big ones allows me to have that kind of drawing interaction, doing the small ones gives me a really direct response to the shapes and lines. I think I will keep making these for a little bit. I am definitely finding more questions and more ways to explore my subject.
Do I want to create some sort of labeling language? How does changing media affect the exploration? How can colors designate certain mechanisms.
While I look at them together I am wondering more and more about these things...They are fun. I think I want to push a little more outside of my comfort zone for the next ones. Hoping for interesting results.
ALSO: the world's tiniest diptych ;) *not a verified claim.
Hey ladies! This is my brand new painting, it's my first large oil painting since QUITE a while back. It was a little scary, I won't lie. It took a lot of leaps to get back into it and I have to say that having this deadline kept it moving a lot better.
I will have to take some time to sit on it before I can tell if it is done or not, but at least it's critique-able. I would keep it kind of in the context of my last piece, although the media is different it is using the same method of composition and subject matter.
On another note, I will no longer be living in the same place as my current studio space. I'm trying to see the glass half full, I think it COULD work out for me. At the very least I will understand the differences between having your studio at home or having it in a separate space. Thoughts on this? I think it could be good for me to think about what I need to complete during the week and get some ideas and execute them during the weekend. It could allow me to have a more regular schedule in terms of studio time. We shall see. At least I've built up some momentum!
Line drawings have saved me from going insane while working on my next problem child collage. I have completed about 50 ink drawings. Whenever I got stuck or frustrated, sumi ink was my savior. But now I am starting to think, what can I do with all of these drawings? More drawing, more line, more play. Sure, I can pull compositions from them, collage the actual ink drawings together, add color, or just leave them be. Only more play will let me know if these are destined to be something else.
It got me thinking about play, the type that's necessary to give you a break from the work you think you should be making - if that makes sense. When your play and experimentations are vastly different from your "body of work," (as it is in my case) at what level does it enter and change that body of work? Does play slowly integrate and overtake? Or does play cause major and sudden shifts in your work? Or is it just play, no strings attached. I am sure it's different for every artist, and I'm sure my play influences my collage works. But...is it ok to freak out when you like your doodles more than your finished work? Because I'm freaking out just a little bit.
Anyways, after the jump is my in-progress problem child collage, and a slideshow of some of my reprieve drawings that I am actually more excited about. I may have to stop the collage for a while and keep inking. We shall see what unfolds.
So, I have spent the last year and a half drawing, but once my paints got shipped from CA last month, the paints are out and I am drawing with paint.
I think you guys know how I feel about my sketchbooks since you probably feel the same way about your own. They are precious little diaries filled with beautiful drawings, crude and silly doodles, and private notes. A sketchbook holds no real value for anyone but yourself.
All of the paintings you see above exist in one of my sketchbooks. As I try to re-create the drawings in oil paint, it becomes a new challenge in mark-making and they end up taking on their own life separate from the original drawing.
These guys are pretty small since I don't have much space, but it works for now. We'll see what comes of this new work...