Studio 2012

My studio, 3/28/12

I have always been extremely lucky when it came to studio space. Since 1997, I have always managed to have a somewhat spacious area to work in. Rarely has the natural lighting been ideal, rarely have I had access to climate control and drinkable water, and rarely have I had the space that guaranteed complete privacy. Yet I have had a reasonably large area exclusively for painting for 15 years now. Last summer I moved my habit into the “Workhouse,” the residential home that I grew up in. It kind of sucked, I mean talk about loaded with memories at every corner. Still, as for space it is an embarrassment of riches; living room with a picture window coupled with the adjacent dining area provides plenty of wall and work space, 3 additional rooms that have become a “framing” room, a photo-shoot room, and a storage room to keep the rest of the place streamlined. Two-and-a-half bathrooms, a kitchen/bar, and a gas fireplace are the additional amenities that keep the place comfy. Don’t get me wrong though, I hate working there and hope to get out asap. It’s no-profile, it requires maintenance (like mowing), and I repeat, I grew up there so it’s a total emotional drag. However, the circumstances at the time required it, and I’m thankful to continue having a work space at all.

A couple weeks ago after taking digital slides of some newer work, it occurred to me that it may be better to move the actual painting space into what was at the time the photo room. I don’t know what I was thinking exactly, the space was a fraction of the living room/dining room area I was utilizing before. Regardless I moved the painting operation into the space while managing to keep the area clean and open, and snap! I had downsized beautifully into a space that for some reason was much more conducive to thinking and working.

Here it is in all it’s simple glory at about 3am, not unlike another better known studio space.

Sketches

Various Sizes, Charcoal/Acrylic, 2012

After the MLK critique, I felt that the idea of the “sketch,” blemishes and all, as part of the final product didn’t go over so well. Similarly, the act of painting without the specific concerns of painting fell flat. Otherwise, I think the power of the multiple, as well as the meditative/compulsive potential of the process has merit. A good series needs a good balance between repetition and variety. So I decided to continue the search for a banal object to repeat over and over, just with more painting finesse, and a more flexible format.

I began by making observational sketches in charcoal and acrylics of coffee mugs on the premises.

Coffee Cup

10" x 16", Acrylic on Canvas, 2012

I was trying to make a serious attempt at observation and application. I felt, still feel, that I am trying to mark time by repeating the same thing over and over, and the ability to utilize the changes in light would be a tool to fulfill that idea.

Water Glass #1

16" x 10", Acrylic on Canvas, 2012

I wanted an object that was minimal, but could have the potential to carry meaning. I had this basic water glass that, with some water, created interesting shadows. Joyce noted the notion of half empty/half full.

Like the objects from the last critique, these are all objects from my mother’s cabinets.

Water Glass #5

16" x 20", Acrylic on canvas, 2012

At this point, I wanted to paint in a fashion that took advantage of the medium. I wasn’t working in watercolors, so I wanted to do something that could not be repeated in watercolor, some method that was specific to the medium of acrylic. I was starting to pay attention to Frank Auerbach, German Expressionists, and was reading some writings of David Ledel. By Ledel, I noted a couple interesting points, like “Never blend. Never taper. Every stroke should apply an uninterrupted patch of paint.” I’m paraphrasing, but many of his points I could parallel to Auerbach and the German Expressionists. So I began to work the paint sculpturally, and loved the results.

This was also about when you sent another list of artists to research, including Karin Davie. Some of what I saw in her work I began to apply as well.