Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rewards Mailed

Hi Everyone

I have as of today mailed off all the rewards for the $25 and up categories, of whom have contacted me about receiving said awards. I am open to receiving requests/answering surveys as late as May 24th, after which time the shop is closed. I will, in the future, make the photos I'm sending available for purchase in my Etsy store, so get them in free, o qualifying ones, as you can.

And now, for something completely different - a view into a contemporary painter who also tends to work with ships (among other things) - Katherine Bradford

From the article:
Katherine Bradford, "Ship Blue/Red" (2011)
The ships are sharply foreshortened geometric forms, nearly trapezoids, which slyly allude to Minimalist sculpture. They are ungainly and muscle-bound — headless sitting ducks. Meanwhile, her Superman seems to be caught between flying and diving, both a pretender and a wandering line. In these paintings, Bradford views masculinity as simultaneously powerful and impotent, idiotic and funny. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they are not deadly serious, because they are.
At the same time, one could focus solely on the formal virtues of these paintings, the dialogue Bradford establishes between representation and abstraction, as in “White Ship” (2009-2012), where wide juicy swaths of white and black paint against a wider turquoise blue band become the reflection of the flat, irregularly squarish ship directly above, steaming along and seemingly unaware of the layered, atmospheric world it inhabits.

...

Bradford’s paintings are her own — they don’t look like anyone else’s, though I suspect in time they will influence younger artists. Her images of Superman and ships provide an alternative view of heroism and history that is more textured, knowing and absurd than the hollow, and exceedingly macho, neo-Romanticism of Fischl’s matadors and Cameron’s Titanic. There is an intelligence and sensitivity in what she does that can only be gotten by doing, and by remaining open to chance, impulsiveness and to the possibilities of what painting can teach you. At their best, these paintings embody a mystery that keeps opening up without ever revealing itself — they are that rich in their generosity.
Always good to know what other people are currently doing with the medium. It is an interesting, and not entirely answerable question, "why do we paint what we paint?" With certain sorts of decorative arts, or even with working towards commemorating an old master (as I seek to, in a way do) the question doesn't seen terribly important - or, through the project, the question speaks for itself - but when I view the work of artists - especially after mid-20th century, as the article alludes to - the raison d'etre becomes more important, or at least equally important, to the work itself. I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of sacrificing form, beauty and even representationalism to feeling, mood, or purpose in a piece, though I do acknowledge that many ways exist of viewing/representing reality (be it boats or whatnot), through skewing with perception, colour, etc.

Turner himself didn't shy away from playing a bit with the reality he saw - I have seen it in my own process with his paintings, as well as with what I have read about him. The later works are decidedly awash with light, with odd little shapes in pastel colours representing part of a town or a landscape. There was an committment he made between painting what he saw and portraying the psychological & atmospheric reality of his subject matter - a decision for which he was not always popular.

Geoffrey Grigson's 'The Shell Country Alphabet' states the following:

'Of English painters the most energetic into old age and the most filled with light, colour, and the drama of the forms and aspects of landscape, from violent to peaceful. His contemporaries disliked this 'queer little being...who seems to love his art for no other reason than because it is his own', but they could not disregard him. He was ugly-faced, ugly-shaped, bright-blue-eyed, self-educated-and humbly born of a Covent Garden barber and a butcher's daughter who died insane. They found him cold, hard, sharp, cynical, secretive, stingy, self-important, ruthless, intolerant, sociable only on his own terms, and slap-dash. When he was young and admitted that his way was to 'drive the colours about till he had expressed his ideas in his mind', they sneered at him  behind his back; and when he drove the colours round in catherine-wheels of abstract fire in his old age, they called his canvasses the 'wonderful fruits of a diseased eye and a reckless hand', and suspected him, with some truth, of being a sun-worshipper.In fact Turner's transfiguration of shape into colour-ecstasies developed from the most energetic exploration as a draughtsman of 'picturesque' places.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Serendipitous Unintended Consequences - Wood Sales


Sunrise, With a Boat Between Headlands c. 1840.
This painting required  an entire tube of white paint!!

A particularly popular trope at the present moment is that, whatever action that we might take to improve our common lot, “unintended consequences” will ever lurk beyond the visible ‘event horizon,’ so to speak, eventualities which, could we but see them, would strongly argue against our action. Unfortunately, this now viral idea, this meme, serves as a frequent excuse to permit those who ought to engage with others in concerted efforts at common improvement to avoid doing so.

Nothing could be more absurd. Without action, understanding is at best akin to a band-aid or a balm. Thus, whatever stands in the way of our attempting to better things is to be rejected, for the most part, rather than supported.

Our good fortune to connect with KickStarter and embark on the Epic Painting Project has already illustrated this contention repeatedly. Most recently, just yesterday, an offshoot of our work, not only unforeseen but possibly also unforeseeable, brought money, recognition, and networking potential to us.

As one might expect, this happy, yet unexpected, development did intersect with an absolutely intended result of our endeavor. To wit, my sweet spouse and I have long been collecting wood oddities with significant aesthetic impact but little or no clear ‘market value.’ A clear purpose of our pursuing KickStarter assistance was to show the powerful potential of these otherwise pack-rattish tendencies.



 Having now prepared sixty-nine panels for use, of which I have completed fifty four and begun five others, I am now officially on-track once more to fulfill my promise of ninety paintings in ninety days. Moreover, again and again, both Jimbo and I have marveled at how seamlessly the lines and form of the found-panels have complemented my renderings of Turner’s compositions.
Fishing Boat in a Mist, c. 1828

In the hurly-burly of living so close to multiple natural sources of such water-sculpted pieces, inevitably we have continued to collect additional of our stumbled-upon ‘canvases.’ Sometimes, these procuring expeditions discover an article already made-to-order. More frequently, we have to clip or cut or somehow shift the shape to match the necessities of Turner’s consistently-squared sinuosity, as in the cases on display today, Sunrise , Fishing Boat in a Mist, & Entrance of the Meuse .
Entrance of the Meuse, exh. 1819

We certainly never anticipated that my work would lead us to find customers for these natural ‘canvases’ themselves. Yet this is precisely what has transpired, out of the blue, as it were.

Both silly Jimbo and I have placed some of our work—photographs of his and epoxy-abstracts of mine—in a recent Asheville grassroots art show. Of course, in conversing with those who attended the opening, we both promoted aspects of the ‘E.P.P.,’ which has led to some e-mails back and forth with local artists.

One of these, Beth Topper, had actually more recently relocated here to the mountains—following graduation from the Savannah College of Art and Design—than had we. And, miracle-of-miracles, some of her work on display at the show in downtown Asheville also deployed found wood as a medium to present her art.

Once she had linked to ‘E.P.P.,’ she told us both how she coveted the gorgeous wood that we were repurposing so artistically. We didn’t need an engraved invitation; a visit was soon in the works, with the possibility of a friendly commercial exchange the upshot.
Jimbo as 2/3 of a demon!

She arrived with Noe from Central America, which was a bon-causa for me, who always relishes an opportunity for using the old Mother Tongue. They selected a couple hundred dollars worth of product,  without even delving into the hordes stored in different locations at our little casa. Beth didn’t want to spend   quite so much, so she and Jimbo whittled down the take until she had seventy-one dollars worth of material. She averred that she hated to pay retail and offered sixty-five bucks for this lot. Jimbo, who I can attest is a bit of a devil, countered that we’d take sixty-six. “I’m at least two thirds of a demon now and again,” he laughed.

They shook hands, we all hugged, and loaded up Beth’s Ford Escape without delay. Who knows if more such income is headed our way. Right now, we’re just happy to have exchanged wood for a ‘tank of gas’ or so. And, whatever the case may be, we’re certainly open to more of such ‘unintended consequences.’

Wood Panels for Sale
We have an outrageous quantity of wood panels, of all sorts of different sizes, available for sale at any level of price from $3 to $85, depending on shape, form, input, and marvelosity. These can be treated or untreated, gessoed or ungessoed. The upshot is, they will be one of a kind. Please contact me or Jimbo at spindoctorjimbo@gmail.com for more info.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Paint Party Friday updates





Some offerings for Paint Party Friday - as well, wanted to put it out there that I am currently selling some of the woods with which to make these wondrous work! Will be writing more about this in a following post.

For more info, please contact me in the comments or email spindoctorjimbo@gmail.com
This is an improved version of the 'Vasos Vacios' paintings (actually Visions of Medea) I discussed in a previous post:- the question still stands! Would love feedback from the general public as to whether I should leave the lyrics or change them. Already received feedback from one fellow who said "leave it!! it's part of the artistic process!" Any other thoughts?
This is fun - I have found a GREAT CONVEYANCE - in the form of an old dishwasher rack - to store all the paintings!

That's it for Friday! All check out the wondrous things at the rest of the Paint Party crowd - whom I hope to catch after I return from mine & sweet Jimbo's art show via Arts2People!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Painting and Rewards Video

Only a few stragglers yet to respond to the rewards questionnaire I sent out a few ago, but we have begun fulfilling already. Here is a brief video - along with some gratuitous video effects - showing some of this in action & some explanatory notes.

videoAs an aside, I know I need to upload more photos. I've obviously made loads since 2nd time I posted a massive upload, but it can be tricky to take the time. Part of the problem lies in coordinating technology, part of the problem in also working on a website, translation & other inescapable tasks that clash & contribute to the painting process in a way. I will share a recent one though with a question:



lose the words, or not?

I was fairly tired upon finishing this one at c. 7am (hint - I did not rise early) and what kept me going was the great ska/cumbia sounds of Vicentico + Celia Cruz singing Vasos Vacios - to all who are not yet introduced to the spectacular sounds of los Fabulosos Cadillacs, please, wait no more and quickly visit this link.

Then, even after finishing the piece, I realized I still had a chunk to finish to the right of the image seeing as the composition really ended on the right hand edge, 2/3 in or whatnot, and I still had, basically, that much to finish. I had done that intentionally. But I promptly decided "F### it" and quoted bits of the song instead.

I kind of like it - I think it gives the thing sort of a children's storybook feel - esp. since the painting itself (though bad webcam photo leaves much to be desired) has that illustration quality

The subject matter might be appropriate to the song which seems to be talking about parties and love and dissappointments and all that stuff - and the people in this "Visions of Medea", though it should be a ghoulish subject matter, for all who recall the story of Medea, they all look like a little crew of nymphs or ladies or whatnot, cavorting with bubbles and plants and stuff. In any event, it could be a party, it could be all sorts of things.

If enough people write me to say I really should edit the words out and place something more substantive, I'll do it. In general am open to any recommendation regarding this missing 1/3 of the painting.

I will follow up with a more deserving photo, but meanwhile, here's what the Tate has to say about it:

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775‑1851)
Title Vision of Medea
Date 1828
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimension ssupport: 1737 x 2489 mm
Collection Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference N00513

Display caption

The sorceress Medea was jilted by Jason, and slew their children to spite him. Here she performs an incantation. Ingredients for her spell are scattered on the ground to the left. She appears again above, fleeing Corinth in a chariot, and hurling her murdered children behind her.

Turner painted, and first exhibited, this picture in Rome. The coloured rope frame is a replica of the one he originally used.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Patrimony, Patrons, and Present-Day Panels of Petworth








Image from 'Enjoy Petworth'


One problem with the blogging that I do is that even the most innocent interest, a casual observation about something that Turner did and how it relates to my work for instance, can lead to a diversionary distraction that leads me down one rabbit hole after another. And, God knows, I love them rabbit holes!

PATRIMONY

Today’s situation began with such apparently harmless curiosity, regarding the great painter’s two primary decisions in his will . The first was the choice to deed all of his own works that he still owned to England, with the stipulation that the nation would soon thereafter build a gallery to display the hundreds of pieces involved. The second codicil opted to leave his nearly 150,000-
pound fortune—worth tens of millions of dollars by today’s standards, starting literally from his father’s barber shop —to a trust fund that would assist poor, struggling artists to gain exposure, training, and direct support.

In other words, he cut off his entire family from the vast majority of the wealth that his efforts had allowed him to amass. Nonetheless, when family members—which likely included both his out-of-wedlock children and assorted nephews and nieces—disputed the will, the courts overturned Turner’s intentions, so that kin got everything, except that England’s National Gallery ended up with 20,000 pounds, free and clear.


Furthermore, the place to display his work only showed up very recently, a century and a half after he decreed that different forms of his output must have a proper place of display within five to ten years. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ appears to have trumped a masterful artist’s generous wishes.

The whole scenario made me wonder what was up with all of that. In seeking to make sense of it, several important points about Turner’s professional and private life came to the fore, centered on two of my endeavors that I particularly enjoyed creating and continue to delight in seeing.

PETWORTH PANELS

Both of these panels seemingly originated from Turner’s multiple sojourns at Petworth, one of the domiciles of the wealthy George Wyndham, Earl of Egremont, whose multiple mansions included this family structure in the West Sussex section of Southern England. Here, over the course of nearly thirty years, Turner would amble and sketch, fish and sketch, write poetry and sketch, and paint both from his sketches and his prodigious memory. The Tate exhibit clumped this pair of paintings as central to Turner’s work at Petworth, where the master eventually ended up with a room of his own from which he could come and go as he liked.

The first, entitled simply “Two Women with a Letter,” is richly narrative, despite its being one of those works in which Turner played with highly impressionistic strokes and used unfinished conglomerations of paint to suggest areas of light and shadow. The Tate itself points out the quality of intrigue in the painting, as well as Turner’s clear fascination with the feminine. The wood that ended up depicting my recreation of this piece somehow complements the composition in a way that is almost chilling in its intensity.


The second canvas, “Music Party at East Cowes Castle,” while long associated with Petworth, may in fact have originated from another venue of the landed gentry that Turner cultivated. On the other hand, its tonality and technique so powerfully suggest the earlier depiction of two ‘ladies with a letter’ that the two oils certainly share some elements in common. Turner’s East Cowes’ effort is purportedly unfinished; in fact, the smaller portrayal that I’ve created—and again the wood chosen adds magic of its own—may appear more complete than Turner’s original.

Whatever the case may be graphically, the point is more or less indisputable.
Turner came to depend for his prolific outpouring of greatness for places and purchases that, in turn, depended on environments like he encountered at Petworth.

PATRONAGE

This question of how artists manage to ‘make ends meet,’ as it were, has to concern those of us who hope to make our way as artists. It also is an apt query for understanding the whys and wherefores of how art expresses itself as it does, both in the past and in the present.

For Turner, whose raw talent was as indubitable a fact of nature as the axiom that ‘water finds its level,’ perhaps he would have walked the path of the painter and ‘drawing master’ regardless of ‘friends in high places.’ But this is probably not correct. One way or another, the only buyers who could pay enough for piece—to permit the combination of adequate food and shelter, relatively expensive supplies, time and space to create, not to mention opportunities to travel and consider nature in its many scenic byways, and so forth—were men and women with fortunes to spend.

The only issue was who would provide patronage, not whether one might live as an artist without it. George Wyndham had a reputation as a generous, down-to-earth man who appreciated talent, honor, and insight regardless of the social origins of those who demonstrated the capacities and qualities that he valued.

He began to purchase Turner’s works in the early 1800’s, and Turner was frequently at Petworth, Wyndham’s main residence, regularly from 1809 to Wyndham’s death in 1837. For most of that period, he had his own studio and living quarters there.

Wyndham never married, like Turner. Like Turner, his progeny were all without the benefit of matrimony. Wyndham maintained as many as fifteen mistresses, with whom he fathered up to forty children.

One chronicler posits that “Egremont seems to point towards a more sensible and responsible breed of Victorian aristocrat” that were otherwise prevalent at the time. This may be so. But if it is so, the licentiousness of Vanity Fair is a more honest representation of this age supposedly noted for its stodginess and conservatism than are any number of prejudices about ‘good old days’ in which people followed social rules more righteously and so on. As I intuited from the little that I knew of Turner beginning this project, every stone that I turn over—the ninety paintings that I’m recreating each has this sort of history ‘underneath it,’ so to speak—reveals a richly wild and frothy life beneath it that belies any sense that propriety ruled among our European forebears.

TURNER’S PERSONAL LIFE


Though I will not delve too deeply into this today, all of these issues revolve around the social issues that pop up in an artist’s life. So much that is false and facile about the reality of the past, from which everything in existence now has sprung, predominates in how we think about things.

Turner never married. He consorted with the rich and powerful, many of whom were libertines, and yet longed to give guidance and assistance to people like him, whose parents were barbers and other working folks. His children were out of wedlock. He disinherited them in order to leave everything to art. Such rich and strange bits and pieces as these are merely a brief of this wild purveyor of visions understanding of light and dark, of water and earth.

Moses Sweetser’s 1878 biography, published in 1878, considered the Thornbury volumes that I cited above. Sweetser’s preface speaks to all who value art.

“When Thornbury was collecting the materials for the biography of
Turner, Ruskin admonished him thus: ‘Fix at the beginning the following main
characteristics…in your mind, as the keys to the secret of all he said and did:
Uprightness, generosity, tenderness of heart (extreme), sensuality, obstinacy
(extreme), irritability, infidelity. And be sure that he knew his own power and felt
himself utterly alone in the world… . Don’t mask the dark side.’”


EPIC PAINTING CONCLUSIONS

All of this, without doubt, gives the promulgator of an Epic Painting Project lots and lots to think about. In essence, one basic question is pretty easy to state. “How can an artist who didn’t come into life with any silver spoons find the space and materials and time to practice and capacitate her art?”

Turner wanted to help the likes of me solve that problem. Using the famous ‘five per cent interest’ phenomenon, he sought to ignore bloodlines and reward talent, to proffer to those ‘lower-crust’ painters and other cultural practitioners from English parentage a way to keep at it, in perpetuity.

Of course, the courts—and probably the inherent biases of social systems for the survivors of the well-heeled—often make such legacies as Turner sought to provide difficult to put into effect. Such was definitely the result in Turner’s case, in any event.

My loving spousal unit likes to quote a line in this regard from Aldous Huxley’s masterful, and too often ignored, Point, Counterpoint. The novel speaks to these matters as it spins a yarn of a promising and wealthy female artist and a poor and promising male writer.

The fellow laments that he will have to leave his love because her father has made good on disinheriting her when he sees that she fully intends to pursue a life with a working class scribe. She won’t hear anything of this plan, however, telling him that they will find a way, come what may.

‘The likes of us, my love’ she tells him, ‘must live by our wits.’

Friday, April 13, 2012

Roman Forum

Artist Daily is a site that provides heaps of interesting & useful tidbits for the artist. A while ago I noticed this essay titled Being a Copycat is a Good Thing - it provided some technical insight into my project -

"..copying master drawings is something many artists have incorporate into their studies for centuries because it is an excellent way to study and evaluate incredible artwork. It was a widespread method during the 16th and 17th centuries, and allows artists now and then to demonstrate their growing ability to draw and render, or to create an homage honoring a revered artistic."

And now I would like to discuss a bit:
Title Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane's Museum
Date exhibited 1826
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions support: 1457 x 2363 mm frame: 1762 x 2740 x 156 mm
Collection Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference N00504
Display text on Tate site: "One of the most important locations in Rome is the Forum, an area of ruined temples and monuments which represents the heart of the ancient city. Over the centuries, the Forum had been allowed to decay. By the nineteenth century, however, excavations had begun in earnest on the site and the broken fragments of Roman architecture were slowly re-emerging into the light. This painting, designed for the architect Sir John Soane, captures the view looking towards the Capitoline Hill. On the left is the Arch of Titus, and on the right, the giant vaults of the Basilica of Constantine."


This particular piece was one I had to tweak through extending it laterally, for the piece of wood I was set on rendering this particular painting on was wider than the image as Turner originally painted it. This is where the 'reinterpretation' comes in - where the sense that the choice of wood, due to its curves and lines, is meant to contain this piece - and contain it, it did.

This is one of Turner's work which shows his mastery of perspective - the great arch shows 3 monks blessing a woman, three buildings and the famous three remaining arches vanishing into a distance. To the right of all this appears a religious procession, complete with flags & various mendicants. Here's where I manipulated the space available to me by expanding the plane through duplicating one of the towers of the basilica.

A great New York Times article documenting Turner's travels through, and influence by, Italy appears here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/arts/design/01turn.html - a handful of paintings I have completed and will write about presently will go more into Turner's adventures in Italy, but meanwhile I leave with this from artchives:

"Exposure to the full force of Mediterranean light and the strong, contrasting colors of Italy’s land- and seascapes had dramatic consequences for Turner’s palette; he adopted a new range of vibrant yellows, blues and reds. Nor were these applied only to his Italian paintings, which he worked up from hundreds of often minutely detailed drawings and sketches into oils and watercolors when he returned home. The palette could also be seen in new works depicting his native land."

Am linking this to Paint Party Friday - please stop by to view all the other works by online painters - or, painters who gather online.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Naturizing Naturally in Nature's Glory

My ‘spousal support unit’ said that this would happen. Here I am on the
forty-sixth day of this project, more or less caught up in my output—having completed forty-three panels and begun five, with plenty more hours of evening before I crawl into bed at four or so—and I feel already the looming loss, when I
no longer have more and more paintings to produce, because my commitment, my audience, and my calling command me.

Commitment and calling just seem so bare, so inadequate, so paltry, if an audience and the resources that it conveys are lacking. Then again, keeping my fingers crossed as I imagine it, maybe someone will purchase the entire lot of the Turner outpouring, and at an equitable price, and then nothing will ever again keep me from producing, again and again and again, into the long nights of my dotage.

Anyhow, I definitely grok the idea these days that the journey is ever so much more the point than the destination. I mean, in so many ways, just taking this trek—through time and technique, along the path of pulchritude with paint—has been as cool a period of time as any twelve-thousand mile sojourn, halfway round the globe, that I’ve had occasion to take in the past.

Some of the days are so sublime that I have to pinch myself—is this really
happening to little old me? Today and Saturday both were like that. Rather than hang around our cramped little space—now rife with the clutter and clamor of prepping and pondering and painting—my sweetheart and I availed ourselves of Spring brightness luminous enough to blind an angel.

Like my husband and I, all of these people from the past—and their ghosts are palpable; that I promise—meandered along the waterways where we’ve twice recently set up shop to paint. Spring Creek welcomed us Saturday. We visited a
swimming and diving hole where—despite the recent heat wave and the dry times that the warmth induces—a Friday cloudburst had left the water level five or six feet higher than it was when, last August, both Jim and I hurled ourselves fifteen or twenty feet into the chilly depths of a deep sluice fed by and feeding melodious cascades of crashing white water freshets. Whether surprisingly or unsurprisingly, I felt a direct connection to Turner’s watery creations here; the chilly halls of British upper crust dames somehow suggested women who seemed equally at home overlooking the liquid chaos below me, as they appeared in the splendor of Pentworth-on-the-moors.

Today, we made our way to an easier jaunt along the Laurel, where I’ve
already had occasion to create an earlier panel, before Spring’s grip had appeared so certain. On this occasion, I faced a lodge where Azaleas and Dogwoods and assorted wildflowers held sway, while the rushing slosh of the Laurel slurped behind me. Jim took some photos, of course, on both days, and hunted up more wood for future projects.

The saying that his grandmother used to offer seems apt: ‘Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.’ After all, we’re halfway done, the work appears lusciously lovely, if I do say so myself, and maybe someone else with the means to put his (or her) money where his (or her) mouth is will show up and validate this work commercially.

If not, c’est la vie. The odyssey has been such a bracing expedition that I feel as If I’ve gone forth to the kingdom of heaven and had occasion to return to tell about it.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Random Insights & Chance Process Changes - A Freer Hand

Thanks to all who have responded to the surveys! The photo-producing machine will begin soon - and in the near future I shall be in touch with each of you personally. Especially those who have yet to respond!

At first, and for a time into this project, I fully intended to do Turner’s Tate paintings in chronological order. I’m not sure why this seemed important, but if my psychic distress from going against this self-imposed protocol is any indication, I attached real importance to it—somehow or other.

Now, I’m pretty much accustomed to choosing the day’s work arbitrarily. How much do I have to finish? Am I psyched to focus on complexity, or do I just want to flow with my brushes? The answers to these kinds of questions determine what I do in many cases at this juncture.


Thus, when I had fallen behind recently, I looked at the massive, free-form, clearly abstract compositions that are among the final outpourings of Turner’s oeuvre. Three of these—“Fall of Avalanche in Grisons (c. 1810),” “Mountain Landscape (c. 1840),” & “Norhan Castle (c. 1840)”—were what I completed in less than two days, helping me to catch up from a position of backlog and the tongue-lashings that result from a certain onlooking spousal unit if I’m being slow.

Not only did the sense of abstraction and freely applied paint make speed a more credible goal, but also the manual dexterities involved fit what I needed. After days of details, holding onto multiple brushes and squinting to insure that I matched all sorts of different brush-strokes and closely-rendered intimacies, I was finally free! One or two broad and soft brushes let me slap on the oils with colorful abandon.

I’m not sure that I even come close to approximating Turner’s results, but viewers can almost certainly see the smile inherent in what I finished here. I actually found myself giggling on several occasions, like a marathon runner might experience a sense of mirth at an opportunity merely to amble through he woods.

In actuality, each of these three pieces was an unfinished initiation, in watercolors, of underpaintings for later compositions that matched Turner’s capacity for creative rendering of reality. Of course, they are deemed precious now as indicative of Turner’s turn, as it were, toward impressionistic abstraction. I, of course, differed a bit in my approach, using thick brushstrokes as opposed to his watered-down creation, and adding a bit of something extra when the result proved too dull otherwise.


My husband suggests that in this apparently freely proffered contradiction lurks an MFA project in my future. Hypothesizing that other artists, near the ends of their creative journeys here on our planetary home, also had unfinished works, he sees the opportunity for Alicia to serve as a nexus of completion.

In this view, I would not seek to ‘do as Turner might have,’ or anything of the sort. Instead, I would take these beginnings as evidence of the world’s fecundity, which I would bring to a more completed state of fruition somehow. I’m not certain that I’ll ever engage this, but it’s certainly an interesting concept.

Am linking up to Sunday Sketches with the lovely Sophia & a large group of artists - feel free to check out what they do!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Random Newsworthy Items

Thanks to everyone who has responded to the survey! Still waiting on a few good people - though we probably will begin fulfilling this weekend. Some fun & interesting things related to this project as of now:

1) I have officially completed 39 days of my Epic Campaign - completed 37 paintings - have 5 in process. Were I in perfect order, I would have 39 completed, of course -- time constraints and technical difficulties have kept me where I am.

2) Had a fun, great art critique at Azule, a local arts incubator initiative headed by many charming French people. The architecture is amazing - every detail from the sidewalks to the unusual window panes is entirely intentional. I hope to be able to write about it more later on, especially in regards to future collaborations, etc. In attendance were, besides Jimbo and me, 3 poets, 8 painters, one photographer, and a local arts instructor presenting a lecture on principles of design. Got great feedback and a sense that local artists appreciated both the spirit and production of what I was doing. Also, oil painters tend to take for granted how magical & unwieldy oil seems to artists who don't work with the medium. A non-artist audience member remarked on the incredible texture and I had the pleasure of saying "just think about it this way... oil paints are just like cake icing!!"

Someone commented "I don't know..... it starts to sound like work!" That's the point though, isn't it? To begin to think about calling oneself a 'professional artist', or an 'artist for hire', or any other such iteration which means is able to make a living off one's craft, I imagine that at some point the effort HAS to be like... well... work... doesn't it? Would love other creative people's views on this subject....

By 'work' I mean, of course, something that is not always 'fun' - or something that can be put off till 'the spirit moves you to do it'. This last CAN work for someone like Turner who, as I understand it, felt the desire and need to paint and draw all the time. We're talking about a man who would go off for days in his youth, wandering through the English countryside with little more than sketching supplies and the clothes on his back, sleeping wherever the night caught him. For him, perhaps, it was never 'work' in the traditional sense of the word. But for the rest of us...?

So - at some point, I accept the idea that not only will the need to make art when the 'muse' is absent exist (making it seem like 'work'), but a need to make a defined schedule for making art will exist as well. Especially in the context of (hoped for) future commissions, the discipline of daily intense art-making must exist.

So.. yes. I agree with the fellow - it HAS become work, but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. Especially when you have The Jimbo to keep you honest!!!! He is a GREAT manager in this regard, helping with supplies, rewards fulfillment, giving occasional artistic advice due to his experiences with photography/composition (and wood), and in moments serving as Jiminy Cricket, or Mr. Bad Conscience, for those times when "this is too much like WORK!!!" seems to conspire against GETTING work done!

3) A wonderful institution called Arts2People exists in Asheville, NC, our nearest metropolis. This organization is not only responsible for myriad people=centered classes and exhibitions, it also made the incredible murals near Broadway.

Going on a completely separate arts errand, I had occasion to speak with Jennifer Gordon, currently executive director of the effort, and had a chance to mention the project. She loved the idea - stating the availability of gallery space and a potential opening party sometime after June. Arts2People have various gallery space donated to them by the City and the private sector, and daily demonstrate their importance/relevance in the local artistic community. I will be most proud if I end up debuting the Epic Painting Project through them.


4)I am launching a 2 month Spring Cleaning of my Etsy store. I am selling all - I mean, ALL - in my Etsy store for 30% off + free shipping within continental U.S. Amongst some items are Epoxy creations, dreamy nature photography by Jimbo (digital or prints available), & some oil on wood pieces. Hoping to clear out inventory so as to add more. So if you know anybody....

Codes (can be used simultaneously as far as I can tell):
Free ship: SHIPSHAPE1
30% off: SPRINGKLEEN

That's it for now! Hope everybody has a great week. Stay in touch