Sunday, September 27, 2009

The New Style

Here is a finished version of a piece in my experimental new style. I was feeling quite confined by the technical aspects of the meticulous hard edge pieces and wanted a looser option. In the classes I've been teaching recently at SCAD my students were pushed to play with texture, so naturally it spilled over into my work. I finished this last spring, but haven't really worked on any paintings all summer. Summer is sort of a down time for festivals and with two new jobs, my brother's wedding and learning metalsmithing over the summer, painting sort of took a backseat to life management.

Autumn Fields, 2009 (acrylic on wood) 16" x 20"

Yesterday however, I finally busted out the mini-frames and canvases and got the drawings completed for the next batch of paintings. I got the modeling paste on them as well (although not photographed). The modeling paste is a thick opaque spackle like substance that can be used to create texture and height where acrylic paint cannot. The paste is put down first, allowed to dry and then I paint with acrylic over it, both with watery washes, and thick applications with the palette knife. It is difficult to see the pencil lines in the little frames (if you click to enlarge you can see them better), but I will upload another photo soon of the modeling paste phase that will be easier to see the composition (along with the layer of added texture).

Not sure what to do about the fact that my beloved House of 10,000 Picture Frames has finally closed. After 35+ years in the business, the owner's were ready to retire and could not find a buyer interested in keeping the business alive. In addition to being right around the corner from my house, they were super friendly and willing to let me scrounge through the back room for scrap frame. This warehouse was full of every piece of frame that had ever been cut down, scraps saved no matter the size, and they would put together great frames for very little cost (after I dug them out of the heap). House of 10,000 Picture Frames... you will be missed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mixed-Media Experimentation Class

Summer at SCAD-Atlanta

In addition to taking classes this summer, I was teaching classes as well. I spent eight weeks with a great group of high school students in a mixed-media experimentation course. We worked in a variety of media, playing with color, texture and layering. It was a very productive summer, each student completed five pieces.

The next two pieces were direct observation studies. India ink was used to gestural lines and while it was still wet we began densely coloring the peppers with oil pastel. The smearing of the ink was worked into the oil pastel and created an interesting texture as one resisted the other.

The next two pieces are inspired by the abstract landscapes of Richard Diebenkorn. His high horizon, color field paintings use line and bold color to indicate the magnificence of the environment in which we live. Students used modeling paste and a palette knife to scrap on a textural undercoating. After the modeling paste dried, watercolor was brushed onto each section separately. After the watercolor was dry acrylic was scrapped across the top edges with a palette knife to pick up a highlight on the ridges. The resulting pieces, while small, were stunning.

Whoa Nelly!

Jewelry Class - Summer 2009
Amalgam Arts

We were asked to find something that interests us as
the inspiration for a few pieces of jewelry.
I chose the Art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

These pieces are sterling silver, copper and brass.

It's been a crazy summer, and it turned out to be a true teacher summer for me. I have entered back into the world of public education, accepting a postition at both Norcross High School and Georgia State University.

At Norcross, I am teaching 2-D Design, 3-D Design and Jewelry. I spent a bulk of the summer in a metalsmithing class, brushing up on technique. Turns out it is not like riding a bike. After getting over my initial fear of the acetelyne torch I was able to create a few really nice pieces. Picking the brain of my instructor Wendy Tonsits at Amalgam Arts was my main focus after becoming comfortable with the equipment. I was constantly assessing what we were doing in the small jewelry studio and figuring out how I would accomplish the same thing in an art room with up to 30 teenagers. I had a great time and am looking forward to seeing what I can get my high school students to produce.

There is more to share regarding the position at Georgia State and I will share that in another post.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Finally Made It

There is finally a space at the Virginia Highlands Summerfest that will feature my work. Booth 441 (which at this point I couldn't tell you where that is... but will update you). After years of trying to get in I was put on the wait list this year and low and behold enough people in the painting category just ended up not able to make it.

I've got some new work I'll be posting in the next day or so and will be spending all of next week getting everything ready for presentation. Hope to see you out there!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Amah's Shoreline

Jersey Shore, Mildred Landers (oil on canvas)

Amah's Shoreline (acrylic on wood) 16" x 20"

This is a reproduction of a painting that my grandmother did in the 60's. It is currently hanging above my television and after seeing it every day for months on end I realized I wanted to create an hommage to her and this particular composition is one of the most compelling and in line with my Ideal Destinations series. Mildred Landers' style was impressionistic and painting with her as a small child inspired my career in the arts.

Painting on Wood

Undisturbed (acrylic on wood) 22" x 22"

I've been accumulating frames from a number of sources and then cutting wood to fit them. Instead of my typical unprimed canvas substrate, the wood is yeilding a similar natural, matte finish, but with a lot less consumption of paint. The wood doesn't soak up as much of the paint and the smoother surface makes it a little easier to create the rediculously OCD hard edge lines so characteristic of this series.

Monday, February 16, 2009


After teaching several lessons on Richard Diebenkorn's style it was impossible to resist a little experimentation. Typical of his work is the high horizon and block sections of land. The resulting work incorporates some of the style of my Ideal Destinations series (bright colors and simplified shapes) along with a heavily textured surface.
Modeling paste is scraped across the surface and the acrylic paint is applied in washes, saturated coats and with a palette knife to create additional texture.
None of these pieces are finished and I am still trying different surfaces for the adhesion of the modeling paste. These pieces are all on canvas panel and I want to work on stretched canvas, so I must try the flexible modeling paste.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Four Elements Series

beginnings, 2009
block print over watercolor

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Four Elements Series

This is my submission for the theme of "Earth" in the Four Ocean Press Four Elements print exchange.

Terra, 2008
block print over watercolor

Monday, January 5, 2009

Slacking at the Holidays

It's been a good vacation in terms of spending time with loved ones, with the exception of my art. After a few disappointing shows in Florida I had to take a little break from the studio. Inspiration comes and goes, but definitely lurks in the corners during periods of inactivity. There aren't many winter festivals close to home and things around Atlanta don't get rolling again until April. I've got plans for some shows in Florida in the early spring, but it is a bit hard to bring myself to paint with as many paintings building up without selling. Sure, I'm an artist, I'm supposed to live to create art, but I am practical and I'm running out of space to store it (need real studio, not guest bedroom/office/studio). 

Ideas aren't scarce, in fact a different direction is where I'm headed. It will be similar in style to the Ideal Destinations series only looser and more abstract. Vivid color and idealized landscapes will still be the dominant characteristics, but I will be adding texture and a thick application of paint (which I love doing and am missing with this current OCD series).

I'll post some examples in the days to come and make myself do them since I'm letting it be known in cyberspace, wouldn't want to let you down, those of you barely listening (thanks).