Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Outside the Box"
24"x 30"
Mixed media on stretched canvas

I've branched out a bit with the color on this piece, namely, the cadmium orange, and continued down the path with the gauze and texture. I've used the orange color a lot in my older work, but I've gotten away from it for quite a while.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The Day After Tomorrow"
 30"x 40" (triptych)
Mixed media on stretched canvas

Well, finally, after two plus years, and about three attempts, here is the finished commissioned piece that's tormented me since it's inception!  It is, in a nutshell, a painting about war.  One of the most difficult things about the piece, for me, was my own opinions about the war we are currently in.  It makes me angry, and the anger seemed to really be getting in the way of the piece originally.  I think that there is still anger in the finished piece, along with chaos and violence, but also I tried to instill a bit of hope.  

There are nearly 700 names of fallen soldiers on the three canvases from the Afghanistan & Iraq wars.  It took me an entire day to write the names on the piece.  I remember I listened to Chopin, and was pretty depressed by the end of the day.  The enormity of it starts to settle in when you do something like that.   I will never pretend to know what it's like to be in war, to be faced with the decisions those brave men and women make on a daily basis, which is another problem I had with the piece.  The client wanted a piece depicting what someone in war might be feeling, or experiencing.  I've watched countless war films, the biography channel, and the incredible 7 part Ken Burns documentary, "The War".   All of that, and still, I have no idea what it's like.  None.  Nor could I ever know, unless I actually experience it first hand.  So that was a huge hurdle to get past.  

The title was taken from a Tom Waits song of the same name.  It's a song sung from a soldier's point of view as he writes a letter to his family back home.  I listened to it countless times while I worked the painting and I think that helped me to focus a lot better rather than something so huge as WAR.   I also listened to a lot of Chopin, Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts" record, Peter Gabriel's "Passion" soundtrack, and other numerous things to set the mood.   

I used gold leaf, screen, lots of texture, and lots of loosely woven gauze.  I tell ya, it's been such a process with this piece that I honestly have no idea if it's any good, or if the client will like it.  I sure as hell hope so.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

30"x 40"
Mixed media on stretched canvas

This is a commissioned piece for a woman I went to grade school with back in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  A long story, too long to go into here.  The color palette is a bit different than I've done recently.  I've worked in the gold leaf, and even a bit of gauze that is visible upon close inspection.  There was a concern of physical weight of the piece, so I didn't go too crazy with texture, trying instead to make what I did put on the canvas, really matter.  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Letting Go"
Mixed media on stretched canvas

"Letting Go" is a kind of a working title for this piece.  Hell, I'm just happy to have finished it.  It seems an eternity since I've completed anything.  I've been faced with letting go of things lately.  We went to D's Uncle's memorial last weekend.  He was the artist.  I've been in my head painting, usually putting in 7-8 hour days at the easel, and not always happy with the results.   "Letting Go" is as much about the work, as it is with circumstances in my life.  

With this piece I've begun to use a new element;  gauze.  The lightbulb went on a few weeks ago while at an art exhibit.  I already use screen, why not gauze? Same idea, but it gives the piece a soft, almost downy quality to the areas where it was left untreated.  Other areas are varnished or painted, (or both) giving it different qualities.  I'm really diggin' on the gauze, and using it in tandem with the screen.  There's some screen in this piece, but most of it was covered up, by the seemingly endless work I did on it.  It's really come a long way from where it once was.  It has photographed more red than it really is, although there is some red in it...

This piece is for the upcoming show in June.  

Thursday, May 01, 2008

No painting yet to post today, although I HAVE been painting, thank you very much.  I'm still getting stuff ready for the show in June, but there's also been a lot going on with my acting lately, mainly, a change of agents.  It was a long time in coming, and I'm hoping the switch will bring with it a lot more work.  My life is mostly filled with 3 or 4 things.  First, my wife, (duh), but after that, if I'm not auditioning a lot, or working a lot as an actor, then I am at the easel, painting, about 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week.  Sometimes on the weekend I'll paint, but mostly, I try to get my running in then, the longer runs anyway, but ever since my sinus infection/surgery, I've really cut back on the running.  I've had to.  I'm rather sick of dealing with all of it, frankly, and yesterday, I decided to just push forward regardless of how crappy I may or may not feel that day.  I need to get back into running shape, and get back into the gym and get strong again.  I was supposed to run the Big Sur marathon two weeks ago, but that did not happen because of the physical crap I had been dealing with.  The running is much more than just physical fitness for me.  It's a form of meditation really, and when I don't get out on a long trail run for a while, well, I feel it.  I'm sure that D would agree that there's a marked difference in my demeanor as well.  When I'm out on the trail, I can sort through problems, be them acting problems, painting problems, or any sorts of day to day things that come up.  Running soothes my soul, and I'm anxious to get back to it.  I have been thinking of starting a running blog.  I don't know who the hell would read it, or why anyone would, it's not like I'm a world-class athlete, (far from it!).  I think it would just be a record of a regular guy doing running, training for an ultra or two, and what that entails.  Anyway, this post is just kind of a progress reports of sorts, kind of a "Yeah-I-know-haven't-posted-much-lately-but-here's-why" kind of report.  I'm hoping to have a few pieces finished in the next week or so.  Maybe I'll do some jewels in the meantime.  I gotta tell you, though, I'm just not feeling the small size of those right now.  It's hard for me to go from a large piece to a small jewel, and back again.  It really is changing gears for me on a big level.

I hope you're all well!