Friday, June 29, 2012

i'm a big metal fan

I was painting in my studio on this hot day while this fan blew cool air in my direction. I posted this photo online earlier because I wanted to share how pleased I was that such an old appliance still works perfectly. The reliable "Eskimo". The only thing it doesn't do anymore is oscillate, but I like it pointed right at me anyway, and in a 100 sq-ft space, that works. The title of this post is from a jokey illustration my nephew sent me a link to, though I confess that I'd have come up with a similarly goofy pun. The other link someone sent me was to a Vija Celmins painting of a fan, which I liked.
This piece is only 6"x6" acrylic on wood, and it's from '09, and I've since sold it, but I was thinking of making a bigger version. Since I am such a fan of this fan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

double or nothing

Yesterday I just shipped off a group of paintings to a gallery in Las Vegas NV, TastySpace. I'm having a solo show there in July! I will post the poster soon, which my friend is designing. I won't be able to attend the opening, so it is up to my paintings to speak for me. This is fine. I would love to go, but now isn't quite the time. I had never mailed more than a couple paintings at once, so I had some anxiety (and a few deep breaths at the post office), but I am excited to have the opportunity to exhibit somewhere new, and particularly across the country! I did exhibit my work in Truth or Consequences, but as part of the Art Hop one Saturday. How I'd like to make it out there again, too. I have likely mentioned this once or twice.
This is the selection for the show, along with some mini car/map-collages, titled "Road Trip":
 Most of these works are from the past year, a few are older (Radio Train in upper left & Mixer in lower right are from '07, and Little Red Lighthouse is from '02!). But I think they will hang well, and that together they offer a sense of collecting images of places and objects as one moves along.
I didn't give the paintings any money, because I don't trust them out there in casino-land; who knows what trouble they'd get up to. Plus what if they met other paintings and got married? No, they'll have to earn their cash on the walls. At least that's what I'm betting on.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Last week I drove by the Drive-By Gallery, which is part of Lift Trucks Project in Croton Falls, NY. Actually, I had made an appointment to see the space, so it wasn't a true drive-by. I had seen the show online (click the link to read more) and wanted to see it in person, as well as meet the artist who runs the gallery and has a painting studio upstairs. I liked the idea of a storefront exhibition, and I liked this collection of old, mostly Depression-era shoeshine boxes on display. I also had a great meeting with the artist, Tom Christopher, and showed him some samples of my work. 

 I'm just adding the below photo to indicate that I recently made these postcards. For sale at several places in Beacon including Tas Kafe & Clay, Wood & Cotton, and directly from me, for only $1 each. Not everyone wants to wear a dummy light on their shirt, but this town has lots of visitors and not many postcards celebrating esoteric but beloved local objects.

Friday, June 22, 2012

chalk and roll

I've participated in the Perry Chalk Art Festival a couple of times before, but this year I'm the 'featured artist', meaning in addition to a fun day of chalking, music, food and farmer's market festivities, I'll have a show at the Upstairs Gallery at the Arts Council on Main St. The opening is Fri July 13, and the Chalk Fest is Sat July 14. Here's a photo of me & my square (& my shadow) in 2010. Theme was 'In the Garden', so I purchased a fresh bouquet of flowers from one of the vendors and set to work:

This photo is from the same weekend, it's my nephew Sol with his birthday balloons, so cute I had to post it. Bonus that he's wearing my dummy light t-shirt. Perry, NY is where my brother Rick and his family live, so I do have additional interest in the town beyond chalk.
I've been assembling a group of paintings from the past couple years to exhibit, including one or two that were based on local places, because I often take pictures when I am in town. In fact, my first rusty truck painting was from a dilapidated vehicle I found by the Silver Lake Trail. I wasn't sure why I was drawn to it, but it certainly started something. 
This one, I photographed a couple years ago but never painted, it was just enough the way it was, abandoned to rust in the middle of a field overgrown by midsummer wildflowers. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

banner up

The banners went up on Beekman St over a week ago, but I was out of town for a few days, so I was very excited to see mine waving from a lamppost in all its 13-ft glory. Speaking of posts, I may add to this one later. The original painting (below) is 12"x16", so imagine my thrill at seeing it so big, and it fit the odd shape just the way I had envisioned. The banner presents a cropped vertical slice of Mack truck, just as it might appear if it were hurtling down the highway toward you, larger than life.

From, the website accompanying the banner project, on my work:
"somewhere in beacon, and on occasion points elsewhere, the waltons never left television. old things, not forgotten, just out of view, sit and fade into our history and nostalgic memory. but there’s the rub, or in this case the turtle wax: one glimpse at our ancestral technologies lets us travel, ever so briefly, through time. A cloud of yesteryear heading out to points unknown, from the Citgo, this afternoon."

Friday, June 15, 2012

come one come all

These two paintings, 6"x6" oil on wood, will be in the greatest show on earth. That's right, folks, here in Beacon, NY, at the Mad Dooley Gallery, 197 Main St. Opening this weekend, Sat June 16, 6-9 pm. This is a gorgeous circus-themed group show that my friend has curated, and I'm glad to be part of it. The 64 one is a small and slightly different version of the larger painting I posted recently. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

words to the why's

In this, the 3rd installment covering bootcamp weekend, our increasingly disciplined young artist learns about copyright laws & intellectual property law & contracts; receives advice on fundraising & an overview of NYFA's considerable resources, many of which she's been underutilizing; shares some of her goals; and reviews the 'artist action plan' in preparation for working on it in the next several weeks. Action? Plan? Me? Exactly. Then when we meet up again in July, we'll talk about the things we said we'd do and see if we did 'em yet, or at least started to. I like the idea of accountability. After investing the time, you want to see it through. Of course I have always been accountable to myself, but it's so easy sometimes to let that slide if it feels like nothing matters. Doing this program is like shouting bravely from the rooftops, "Hey! This matters!"
I took a long walk at sunset to burn off some pent-up physical energy, while all the information bubbled around in my head and that to-do list grew. Back behind the wheel in the morning. Haven't posted any pictures in a while; it was all about words this week. I'll get back to the pictures next time.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

the smartist

This morning at bootcamp, after each of us was hooked up to a steady coffee drip, there were two speakers, one on the subject of understanding/utilizing social media and one on finances/accounting/good business practices. The social media part was a needed nudge for me to better implement the tools I am already using, such as this here blog, my website, email lists, and Facebook. There are a zillion such tools out there, many I've heard of, some not. I can see that would be worth looking into. I think I'd do well to focus on creating a solid emailing system for news/shows that I can utilize in a snap, instead of being disorganized, time-wasting and inefficient. Perhaps I don't give myself credit; it's not so bad. But I suspect things take longer than they ought. I'm still holding off on Twitter; I could see getting too caught up in it.

The money presentation was informative. Prepare a financial plan, keep good records, make something called a "budget", and hammer out a few specific "goals". As with... anything! Make more, spend less, invest the difference. She said, chuckling, "You artists seem to have the 'spending less' part down.. you're pretty sensible." It's true; especially at the moment, I couldn't spend less if I tried. Therefore, I'll have to earn more. We discussed how artists often undercharge for their work. If paintings don't sell for the price necessary to charge to actually make a living, it's time to expand one's market. This segued nicely into the afternoon's lively panel, "Artists and Entrepreneurship: What is Success?" Your own idea of success will likely change as you go along. The important thing is just to keep DOing, making, and being who you are, engaging with your community, building on what you have to work with.
I just made a list of goals, divided into 1 month, 6 months, and 2 years, "for both daydreaming and practical concerns". The one-month is a to-do list, and I do have a lot to do, for which I'm glad. I have two shows to put together for July (more about these soon!), a few half-finished online efforts, some projects for later in the summer. The 2-year goals got hazy. I kept going, scribbling it all down. I felt energized by this task, and then I needed a beer. Had some great conversations with the others, new ideas and old reassurances.

Friday, June 8, 2012

camping it up

I arrived in Syracuse late this afternoon (a 4-hr drive) for the NYFA artist boot camp, where I am lucky to have a friend's house to stay in. I drove over to the campus where the sessions are taking place. There are about 30 artists, and we began by, naturally, introducing ourselves in front of everyone, a 2-minute presentation of who-am-I, what-do-I-do, why-am-I-here. Apparently I did all right, because several people afterwards said they liked my presentation and even my body language. Sometimes I don't even remember what I said, because I get keyed-up and my energy is going into NOT getting flustered, and focusing on what I want to say, and keeping my voice clear and audible. I felt good. I had the sense that I held in my heart someone I loved, who was proud of me for doing this for my work.
Then we formed groups and discussed the networking assignment we'd completed in the past week: to attend an event, meet a couple of new people and consider what kind of connections were possible. (I had gone to an event in Beacon yesterday evening.) This went well, too. Afterwards we went out for sushi and continued 'mingling'. I am looking at my papers, feeling very positive already, but need to go to sleep so I can be alert for tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


On a water-wavy page of my small sketchpad are scribbled notes about a CA painter named Michael Ward whose work I just saw in Bluecanvas. Two links in my first sentence: one to an artist I've never met but quite like (a glance at his website will explain why) and one to an actual print magazine (and also an art blog). I sometimes have the urge to borrow other artists' words about their work, to relate to my own if I happen to identify with them. Is this wrong? There are always differences, in motivation, method, perspective and so on. One thing I like is discovering what the differences are, beyond the surface of a similarity in subject. (Nothing like someone saying, "Hey! You both paint old trucks and signs!" Where to begin? I can rarely explain why I have been variously irritated and intrigued by this.) There are so many ways to connect to a certain subject/theme and to describe in paint (or another medium) why it matters. Then, to find the words.
Ward, Lanai, 14"x18"  
Ward, Beautify Your City, 24"x36"

My out-of-order notes read something like this, except, speaking of dangerous, I'm also writing from memory-impression: "Idealism/nostalgia... dangerous tendencies born of ego that obscure the world we live in. I consider my paintings to be documents of particular places and times that I sometimes alter and combine for the sake of composition."
On the subject of working from photos versus from life, there are "always little mysteries to be figured out, discoveries needing to be made that were unseen when the photo was taken... Painting from photos is less ego-driven" [than painting from life].
This led me to look up more on Watts, a philosopher & writer: "I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting."
I don't mean to take these quotes out of context. They still resonate. The idea of nostalgia does have something to do with ego. Even when the nostalgia is not even the artist's own, but rather a feeling that is evoked or projected, a quality ascribed to the work.

Friday, June 1, 2012

tiny answer

These are 2"x3" each, acrylic on canvas, made in the summer of 2010 partly to try and create an image very small that might nevertheless hold a lot of info within its diminutive dimensions. People might think that because I do paintings like this I must deeply enjoy being so meticulous, but I don't necessarily.. though I must derive some pleasure from the intensity of focus it requires. Mostly I think I just wanted to see these images in their entirety, down on a canvas, in their satisfying economy of size.  

diner near the taconic parkway, from a photo taken by a friend with me in mind.

 rounding a corner in beacon, after an evening bike ride. 

cartons stacked on the dash of an old ice-cream truck at the rhinebeck car show. 

just an old truck in a hudson valley field in summer.