Friday, May 30, 2008

Uh Oh, It's Getting A Little Whacky

We-oo. Brush had Stafani movement in him yesterday. Some of those stripes rubbed off on me.

But let's blame it on Jeff too. This came by email.

I had to have movement in that cascade.

I had to set up some color and texture.

Even though this will all be going neutral.

Huh? Neutral? But you're setting up vivid color. And what did your friend Jeff ever do to you? Organized chaos. Cacophanies of color. Where we come from color is alive and parading down the street at any given hour. Is it black and white? No. It's cafe au lait, sienna, vermillion, azure, and K and B purple. We play with color like we molded little minds, with vigor, intensity and a sense of humor. Ho hum will not do. So good luck to my friend Jeff Jennings on the opening of his new show in Houston, June 9. If you are near there, go by, it will be worth it. And for me and Brush, well we're going back to play some more. I feel the need for some golden ochre, some raw sienna moss, some greys and a kiss of cerulean blues.

My Muse today? This one is for you Jeff. You're an All Star. ( Even if they wouldn't let me embed the thing...:)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

4 Triangles and 1 Arrow

Focus on the right side of the painting.

There's a rise, a spacious cascade and a parade of little triangles.

Here's the first of the four shapes that will pull us back in after taking that trip to the top.

Here's the next one that starts that sweep right to left.

And here we have the central duo that catch the sweep and start the ascent again.

I've been holding back. I love this expanse, the falling cascade of thinly fleshed pure glaze. It's mostly a mossy veil and underbrush perceived at a distance. But these palmetto shapes act like hands. They point us in directions as easily read as an airline stewardess's fingers pointing us to the exits fore and aft. You can see in the last set, I've started adding detail. So watch these spots for line and color that whispers, soothes, beckons. 1 arrow of warm rising, a cascade of gentleness down, and 4 simple triangles. Those are my pals today.

Hm. Now for a muse...ahh, here..diagonal stripes and a sweet escape...Look at all the geometry.

We-oo. Off to my sweet escape. Come on brush. We-oo

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yellow Rises, Blue Goes Across

Colors have temperature. Did you know that?

Warm colors rise and come towards you. Cool ones move laterally and recede.

Here's how they are working for me in this piece.

You can catch a ride on the blue train to get from left to right. Grab hold of yellow balloons and rise. Although both warms and cools are occurring naturally, I can play one off the other, orchestrate if you will. I can bring out the warms in a vertical structure, increase the cools in a lateral shadow. In this piece, the fans of the palms that are cooler blue greens keep your eyes moving across the picture plane while spikes of warmer greens and yellows pull you up. They are both leading you to that upper right corner at the moment. How will I pull you back in?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

30 Minute Challenge

Have you set yourself a mission?

Maybe you have several. I do.

How's it going for you?

It's a good thing this weekend was a holiday. I was practically all done in. Ever had that happen? You're going along like an Energizer Bunny, then poof, you're drained. I didn't know I was pushing too hard. Oh, well, the signs were showing up. I just tried to ignore them. On a mission, had to get things done. Then Dave. That Dave issued a weekend 30 minute challenge. Hm. Easy enough. I chose spa. Simple enough to slow down twice for 30 minutes and treat my face to a luxury wash and masque. Do a simple peel. Some slathering of lotion. You know, more than the usual wash and go.
Well, once I stopped. Slowed down. Took a moment to luxuriate...I was done in. It felt so good. I napped. I know. Horror!! In the middle of the day. And that felt so good, I slathered more lotion and poured a glass of wine. Double horror!! I was alone. In the middle of the day. Napping, slathering and drinking....I checked on brush...yep, snoozing like a lumberjack.
Missions are good things. Targets yes, need those. But along the way, you have to have some of that treat yourself well time too. So what else did we do? Why we went to see Indiana Jones...Dave's not the only guy who can kick some metaphorical butt. Now just one more nap...and we'll be kicking some color butt tomorrow.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sweet Spots and Vibrations

Colors vibrate. Put two complimentary colors in proximity and you start a party. Every color in this image has it's compliment near by in some quantity. Can you find them?

We need pulse points within a painting if it is really going to work. That's why I am leaving in this accidental red. Cover it with your fingers and see the difference.

Set up vibrations. Don't fake it. Don't phone it in. Make us feel those chords you play. Strong to subtle. Cool to warm. A little and a lot. Pull us in, let us go, move us around the piece. Give us those sweet spots, those vibrations to make us feel the love.

My muse today? One of the most vibrating, sweet spot finding musical colorists of them all, Carlos Santana. Listen to the song.

Oh yeah. "Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it." Put yourself into it. That's our cue, Brush. Let's go play.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Build Rhythms

Those spots from yesterday. Can you find them? I'll keep this short so you can easily compare yesterday's images.

Here's my play box at the moment. Yes, it's mostly green. The biggest shapes, the major chords, must be put into place. Sneaking in are little hints of what is to come. This painting is built around a triad of colors: violets, browns and greens. You see that happening already.
Tomorrow we will talk of sweet spots and vibrations. Time for me to go play some more. Who's my muse today? I think Allen Toussaint... bring me some of that Southern magic...take me away from all the chatter...and let me play in the paint.

Oh yeah, feeling mellow already.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Watch This Spot

Why? Because this is where I am working today. This portion of the painting is a key access point. I need some up close and personal time with it. It isn't the only spot either.

There's this one.

And this one. So forgive me. Brush is calling. I'll show you what we did, tomorrow. I am going to use a little bit of the Doctor to help summon my muse. He can bring out the mischief in me. And I must go play.

Yep. Better already.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Organising Chaos

Broad strokes. First point, then line, now plane.

Don't get too small too soon.

We're mapping out values, and color chords.

Impact. Lights and darks.

It's early draping of the understructure. I am keeping glazes light. Cutting in the dark recesses. And making mid-tone mass. It's too early for detail. But the attitude, the spirit of the piece must be put in place. Some planes will pull you in. Some will let you go. Where some meet, yes, those will be pulse points. These planes will move you from spot to spot. Guide you through the piece. It's early. Just the first fitting of a gown. This is a busy piece. There will be detail. But first we must organize the whole. Get rid of white space. Set up the keys to play. Remember there will be music. Rhythms and a dance. Those must be given structure first. Then we can improvise. Play along the way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

86 Million Reasons A Passion Position Works

Let's not stop there. Let's toss on another 33 million as well. Huh? What is she talking about now? Bacon, Freud and The Fine Art of Dating. And Seth Godin's nifty little graph. Move over Emir of Qatar, the Russians are in town. And my jaw is on the floor. Recession? Niet. Passion? Da.

It's all about passion. See this little graph? I copied it from Seth because I liked that he has transferred a basic concept in art to business. You have to go to your zone. Passionate artists do passionate work. Lucian Freud produces 3, maybe 4 works of art per year, but those paintings will blow your socks off. He's 80 and is still putting it out there. Big time. His buddy Francis Bacon. Dead. But before he ditched this mortal coil, yep, passionate player. Along comes the passion between Roman and Dasha. Bacon and Freud are now the top record breaking artists at auction on the planet because of it. Freud knocked Jeff Koons right off that pedestal because nothing says I love you like 120million dollars of Post War superb contemporary art. Dasha wants to "open a dialogue with the Russians" with her own gallery in Moscow. I am assuming she feels very strongly about this.

Who wins? We all do. The ripple effect of this is globally beneficial. I'm thinking the Emir has a museum to fill. Roman wants Dasha's heart. Auctioners, collectors, and artists are reeling from the robust market here. The buzz is palpable. Just watch the next auctions. The competition's on. And in every studio an artist's heart has just been reassured. Full on passion in the studio. Block out the time. Balance all the demands. Yep it's organizing Monday. You can tell by my admin list in the notebook above. And here's a little task, artist or no.

Where's the point of all passions? Where must time be spent? There's no room for lukewarm, or maybe, or if. Find it. Find what makes you hum when you're at your best. I myself make maps before I set out. Set a compass. But the goal is time in the zone. It's not just about the money. It's about the quest. We're on the hunt, most of us for what makes it all worthwhile. Ask the Emir, Freud, or Roman and Dasha just what is it that they're after... No, ask yourself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lavender Lingerie

What? You thought the sky was blue?

I promised you the perfume of color.

Pulse points strategically scented.

Music to dance to.

And rhythms...relationships.
The promise of purple is transcendence. (Oh yes. Click on that link) [ Oh dear, post publish note: click on the minislip on that link...see on the left of the first picture. The sand and lavender. The direct link keeps going to the basque.] We're wearing lavender lingerie. Spritzing the scent of violet. A first layer carefully chosen because it is important to begin with the end in mind. Remember contemplation? The impact of the piece? Mystery, tension, resonance and return? We want flow and tension. We want boldness and subtlety. We want to sustain a pace, but offer pause as well. This requires setting up vibrations and color connotations. That shimmer that you see in the silk, the sand next to the lace? We want that. And we'll have it. You can bet on that. Oh yes, it is a must. You'll see that sand and silver beckoning, trees and sky in lucent radiance. Throughout the piece, these hints of sky will lie upon a log, a branch, a frond. You'll spy a peek or two. The scent will pull you in. It will energize at times, or convince you to linger, depending on where you find it and in what quantity. This painting must have allure, subtle persistent attraction. Offer a taste to the connoiseur, something, something of desire. When we're done, all clothed and fully dressed, you may not know exactly why, but your eyes will want that lavender silken sky.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's About Relationships

Ohhh. I hear all the guys in the room groan. Well, yesterday I said we have a seduction piece to paint...what did you expect? Relax. I just gave you a zippy little number of Harry dancing in the streets. It was almost Carl Sagan...or Dave Matthews...or this very austere guy talking about the Bauhaus...ugh...Already feeling better, aren't you? You see, it's about points and lines and planes...and the chemistry between them.

Before I can get into this and smear it around...

I have to do this. Set up some sweet spots. Pulse points if you will. And I have to make sure you are going to find them. Oh yeah, now it's getting fun. Pulse points of focus. Lines of force and direction. Planes where we'll put the perfume of color. And there will be music. The next time you look at a room full of art, find the ones you can't resist. What drew you in? Underneath it all are points and lines and planes working their way with you. Make no mistake, it's intentional. It's a bare bones call and response. Intimate essentials embedded. Rhythms. Heart beats. A dance.
Yep. Relationships.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anatomy Lesson

"Naked again?" Yes. It happens a lot in art. Ahem. I am talking about bare bones. Oops. Did that come out right? Yes. Every piece of fine art has a bare beginning, a structure to hang "clothes" on. You saw the nudes last week. You've seen many of the cakes. They all begin this way.
These particular bones belong to a new painting just begun. An interior designer who loves my work saw this one of my "Dragon Palms" and asked me to do her one, only much, much bigger. It needs to be contemplative, but energizing. It's going in a prominent place, but we don't want it to overtake its audience, just draw them in to reflect.

So it is a seduction piece. Yes. And all that that implies. Mystery, possibility, allure as smooth as velvet. Some surprise. Some things unexpected. Tension. A sparkle here and there. And since we are in it for the longterm something that keeps them coming back. All this must go into the beginning, before the clothes go on. So yes, we are naked again. Plotting out the fun.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You Asked For A Peek

Cypress Knees in oil on Bettina's linen canvas was painted in Santa Fe. Irony? Yes. "Wetlands in the high dry New Mexico?" you ask.

"Yes." Because luckily I had this.

And this.

And this.

"What's in the bulging black sketchbook?", you asked.
"Portals between past, present and future," I reply.
Although being very present is key, one's past informs the present which impacts the future. Daniel Langlois once said, "When you are at a moment of thrill, document it. " I do. Each paper clip, each scribble, each photograph, each study, allows me free passage back and forth to those moments and what is now. Continuity, patterns show up. Sensibilities are finely tuned or discovered, played with once again, maybe altered to fit the present moment. In these bits of quintessential moments that I have tucked away, I can find a heartbeat, a resonance to share. So what's in the black sketchbooks? Many bits of me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Going Analog

That's what I told Brett this weekend. "I'm going deeply analog on Saturday."

Compass setting.

Making maps.

Plotting out the plan. All with pen or pencil. Not a pixel in sight.

Here's a huge part of what I do. The notebooks. I am practically famous for them. I have had people actually steal them, ask to "borrow" them or just ask for a how to. People are either notebook worthy or they aren't. So a real look is rare. I thought maybe, just maybe, Organizing Monday would be a good place to let a little of the notebook magic out. So here's a very bare bones look at the beginnings of it. Not very fancy, but oh so essential. I call it my analog assistant. As an artist, we have lots of hats to wear and a constant feeling of juggling. In the studio we feel we should be doing something else. Do something else and we feel we should be in the studio. Sound familiar? I needed staff. Enter the notebooks. And a pencil and a pen. MIT's for today? Yes, in the notebook. Got your three MIT's? (Most important tasks) First rule on it all is collection. Gathering all your stuff in one place. Have little notes stuck all around? Put 'em in a notebook. One main notebook. There that's a start.