Sunday, August 31, 2008

another new boat painting

On the eve of Gustav arriving on the Gulf coast I have started a new people in a boat/adrift/flood/metaphor/life painting. Not on purpose did I choose to do this painting at this time......but there you are....another flood. It is of course, "life as flood/disaster/decisions/inertia/passive/group up the creek without a paddle" painting which addresses the way we lead our lives....not just actual floods/boats/people.

I am ok with the beginning of it. It seems there is more to say with the paint on this subject and as yet it is not time to stop.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

diminutive gouache moments

A sign of relief in returning to some small gouaches on paper. They are little worlds unto themselves and do not require weeks to finish. In this medium, my brain is on release and crash or invigorating ride. I do sometimes make a sketch, but it never turns out that way...the piece takes on its own life and becomes something above, or below my expectations, sometimes can be a bit weird or disturbing....those are the best.

The butterflies in the garden are gorging themselves. And they are very territorial....chasing others away, dashing around the yard like tiny violent tornadoes. Still the mosquitoes rule the land water and air. Woe to you if you linger too long in the tropics here. The birds take their share but it is never enough. It is a violent world out there.....I am thankful that for me, here, it is only the creatures.....and for the rest of the world.......I close my eyes, squint them tight, hold onto the idea of eventual justice, and wish for peace.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

two new paintings....not such a big deal

Two new paintings just finished. In Acrylic. And I can breathe.
I am happy with the results of persevering with the new/old medium. Like oil, it just needs a few good layers before anything comfortable can happen with the paint. Like moving it easily.

Much to my surprise, I find that I can keep the squeezed out paint going for a while (a few days) by covering it tightly with aluminum foil (I mix paint on aluminum pie tins). So, I am somewhat amazed to say that acrylic isn't such a big leap from oil after all. Silly me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a fine rattling storm in texas

The skies are rumbling. These wild East Texas thunder storms were a source of panic when I first arrived on these shores. California rain is basically mist. Lightening did hit a very large Loblolly tree next to the house once, throwing me across the room....I was washing dishes....and blowing out the lightbulbs. The strike had gone down the tree and then jumped to the electrical box. Very exciting. But no real damage. I am very respectful of our storms.

The whole back of our house is windows (we live in what could only be called a mid-century indoor/outdoor dwelling) and the extra water pours off the roof like a waterfall. We look on our badly tended but creature friendly backyard as the rain comes and feel we are in a primeval forest.
The bamboo rises and falls like swells on the ocean. The smaller plants flatten and toss helplessly. The water swirls on the pebbles and runs a race to the concrete to the street to the filling sewer.

We count the seconds from the thunder to the flash, knowing we are ok.....until there is one that is simultaneous. Then, like the rabbit I am, I sit on the couch with my feet up (there are metal pipes under the floor !) telling the dog that everything's fine. Chances are, we'll need the candles.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

These are indeed the dog days of August. The author of a blog I read lives in Maine.....and they have a very short precious summer. I need to try to remember that.

The large acrylic painting of lots of people is finished....or at least for now, and called "the photograph" at least for now. And I'm concentrating on the "What to Take with You" painting about flood. I have to admit that the acrylic is no longer presenting much of a problem. I finally got comfy with it.

Feeling quite morose tonight over the whole economic situation and my own. I am at the point where I am ready to sell my great old antique toys but now find that there really aren't the toy specialist auctions around here. They are all in the UK. Yes, yes, I would do Ebay, but hate all the diddle diddle of it. And the truth is that what I consider a valuable piece might be considered tatty old junk by others.

Ah well. We must all tighten up and muster on as someone probably said, somewhere, sometime.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The paintings are going better.
I don't hear anything in the studio walls anymore. (ie rats or squirrels)

But....there are birds in my fireplace. The flue is closed but i can hear the babies twitter when the mother comes down the chimney with food. When she flies in or out there is a big tunnel whoosh up or down. This has been going on for a few weeks. The babies sound louder and louder but they haven't left yet. And the mother feeds them up til 8 pm or so.

It would be so romantic and interesting if they were chimney swifts or some other interesting mosquito eating bird. However, the rat guy who was here the other week said they might be starlings. Starlings are the obnoxious loud irritating birds that nest in trees in urban areas in huge numbers. As they settle in for the night they boast and yell and declare all their adventures of the day. It seems to go on until well into dark. There are starlings downtown there are starlings in the trees of my grocery store and many other places where there are people trees and buildings. So far none here.

So, I'm going to wait until all the twittering and whooshing stops, wait for a few days and have someone put a better screen over the top of the chimney. All of this is a great diversion along with several others....allowing me to procrastinate on the paintings. Ha.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

new paintings suck

Well, they don't really suck. But some days it sure feels that way. I am returning to two new/old things at once: back to the big paintings after 3 years of small ones, AND relearning acrylic.
I am trying all sorts of mediums including 409 cleaner recommended by a friend on flickr. They work some what.

If I were working on panel and small, it would be a dream. The problem is working on large roughish canvas (primed, but not sanded). I like the texture and the incomplete marks you get when dragging a brush along that kind of surface. But it is slow going, refilling the brush very very often. And a little more difficult mixing the paint right on the canvas the way I was used to. I guess I'm used to working very quickly and immediately.

I know the watch word that I need to put over my door: ADAPTATION.
Adapt to the new situation, whatever it is, or sink. Period.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

really really old paintings

I've been looking through the old files.....a time wasting thing to do. I see that I have been pretty good about listing paintings, size, year, price, sold to whom (except in the cases of pieces sold by galleries who didn't give me names and addresses....another subject). But I see that my slides are a bit spotty in that I just don't have photos of all the pieces I have done. Sad for me. Back when you are just slinging paint and busy with all that life to be led, you just don't get to every detail.

Oh well. I am putting up some large old old paintings on for the fun of seeing them along with later pieces. Having all these paintings/drawings on flickr has been excellent for trying to understand what the thread was and still is through all the work I have done.

It's almost always about some sort of relationship. Often people, but even in a still life, the objects are having some sort of conversation. It's interesting for me to look back on.

Monday, August 4, 2008

the eve of a blow

I hope I am not wrong. The media here in Houston is huffing and puffing about a possible hurricane arriving on our doorstep. Edouard. They speak of the "cone of uncertainty" hovering above us in a yellow spread of color on the screen. It doesn't look very likely to me......but that's just my intuition.

The mass panic at the grocery store is palpable. Empty shelves where bottled water, some canned goods and party snacks were piled up yesterday. Not to mention ice.

I certainly don't make light of this....we received many Katrina victims here. And although it is very long ago, we did our share of waterless, electricityless, camping during Alicia in 1983. And my spousal unit stared out the window of a Galveston hospital watching Carla advance while his father tried to get over a heart attack.

I'm just not a fan of panic. The constant drumming of the press hypes the drive towards panic. If we all got on the freeway out of here, we would all still be on the freeway next week. This is a city of five million people. Come on. The press loves drama, let's be honest.

OK, so sue me if we get hit with a big one. I figure, have a few pieces of plywood around (in advance...not the day of), some bottled water (fill up milk cartons and stick them in the closet), have the odd flashlight and candle and be respectful of nature. Maybe don't build right on the beach.

Oh, and the rats seem to have left the studio. Hummmm, what was that about a sinking ship?

swamp, 55" x 29"

in progress

flying fish, 55" x 29"

eye with a view

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About Me

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I am living and painting in the little town of Houston. A far way from my San Francisco beginnings. I paint what I see of the human condition, be it human, animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.


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