Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Inspiration at the Met's Ancient Egyptian wing

I went to the Met the other day and spent a couple of hours in the Ancient Egyptian wing. I saw a lapis lazuli figurine that blew me away. It was small. But it filled the room with its energy. I keep seeing that vivid blue color in my mind's eye. 

De Kooning wrote that Ancient Egyptian art "trembles silently." For a period over 3,500 years Egyptian artists created some of the most moving art I've seen. These artists worked under the most strict rules of proportion, color, and measure imaginable. These constraints barely changed for thousands of years. It makes me wonder about the "freedom" contemporary artists have.

I want to make paintings that are stable and quiet yet vibrate with an internal energy. All of the above was in my mind as I made this painting. It's awkward. And a bit bizarre. Maybe it's a dud. But the duds I make tend to lead to something good. Eventually. At least that's what I tell myself. The alternative is too depressing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More from the Two Figures series

Here are some more in the Two Figure series. (I'll eventually get around to coming up with a more poetic name for this series.) Some of them may be a bit confused. But I am drawn to how the figures are filling the panels. 

I want this series to feel like living flesh on a panel. Gross. 

No. I don't want them to only feel like biological life. I want them to hint at the energy that is behind our flesh and blood existence.

I had a beautiful experience in the studio yesterday. One of my paintings I had put up caught my eye. It was moving within the panel. Pulsing. No, I wasn't stoned. I looked around at the other pieces I had up and they all were undulating and vibrating. For a moment the works felt like they were alive and breathing. It lasted about ten seconds. Experiences like these keep me going.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Two figures develop from Reaching Mother series

With the Reaching Mother series I've been noticing that there's a hint of two figures overlapping in some of the pieces. So I have decided to deliberately work with two figures. Here's one I made a few days ago. 24" x 20"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Another triptych

I just finished this:

I can't stop staring at Piero della Franscesca's "Four Saints".

The colors in his altarpiece may have no resemblance to my piece. Nonetheless the colors in this triptych are making me happy. It measures 12" x 20".

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A larger group, a blue group

Here's another one from the Reaching Mother series.

Looked as a group it's the largest piece I have done: 58" x 58" with each individual panel measuring 16" x 16". I'm happy with this scale; when I stand about four or five feet away it takes up most of my field of vision and envelopes me. It's a clear illustration of how integral scale is. In my other life as an illustrator I'm unfortunately immune to the issue of scale. This is because I am working on a monitor. And many of the illustrations my studio produces are used on many different sized platforms: print, phone, iPad, and website etc. So with my painting I'm relearning what scale means.

I want these pieces to pulsate and move. My eye does travel around from panel to panel. That said I am concerned that the variation of sizes of the image on the picture plane may feel unintentional or random. But I'm not sure about this yet.

I also just finished this blue group. It's smaller: 25" x 25" with each panel measuring 6" x 6". It may be a little too reminiscent of Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Some recent work

Below is a triptych I just finished. Each panel measures 24" x 12".

As they interact there's a hint of motion I'm excited with. There's a more to explore here. For instance, I haven't tried using different color palettes within each group.

I also made the three below recently. Each measures 24" x 20". I've been stepping away from the more assertive line work I was doing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Reaching mother progress

I've decided to arrange the mother series as a group. The one composed of squares is working well. Maybe they need to be a little closer to one another. I'm not sure about the group of 8" x 10"s. I keep seeing a more vertical version of these. But I'm having some difficulty getting them to work. What is interesting me about these though is that they are taking on a face-like quality.

I always want to work large. My impulse is to try one of these at 36" x 36" or 36" x 30." I'm not following this impulse. They work really well as small, intimate, pieces. Arranging them as a group may be a way of having my cake and eating it.

As I've been making these I've been wondering what the hell am I doing. I'm making so many similar pieces. It feels uncomfortable. Like I'm wasting my time. A friend of mine said that's a good place to be in when painting. Rather than forcing my will on what I want I am more receptive to what is happening in the process.