Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to the loonie ward

The people from "The Ward" contacted me to do a few more drawings for some reshoots ... so, that's what I've been up to all weekend ... not slackin' off. Wish I could share the drawings here with everyone ... but, sorry, you'll have to wait for the movie to come out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Works from the Heart

Yesterday I did a "quick draw" at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (known as the MAC) before their annual Art Auction (in which I had the afore mentioned Monroe St Bridge painting). I must admit some great trepidation for an entire week before the gig. A lot of people become nervous before these kinds of things and ask themselves dispairaging questions ... "am I good enough to do this?" or any number of things. It's funny, but knowing that I had to do it months in advance, I didn't have a qualm ... then, suddenly, the week before the event, I became filled with those weird questions ... "what makes me think that I can do this?" and "what if I totally mess up?" etc.

Part of what had me in a slight downward spiral was my outing of last Saturday. I went out to Cheney where I painted a woman playing her piano. Well, I started the painting, anyway. It was a decent start, and I took lots of photos to finish it in the studio. I'm confidant that it will be a very nice piece ... but somewhere in the middle of it, my confidance took a nose dive. Part of it, I'm sure, was just that I was overly spent, having been up for over twenty hours ... but, in spite of the fact that it was a good outing, I was still filled with the feelings of my physical limitations as I headed home from the sitting.

A few things helpped propell me into the MAC venture, though. Knowing that I've done these kinds of things before (although in very different circumstances and formats) was comforting. When I got my things together and set up a preliminary still life I felt a lot of the tention drain away too. Sometimes the set up can be a very time-consuming part of doing a still life, and knowing that I only had two and a half hours, I couldn't be squandering it moving items around. (I went out and bought about fifteen bucks worth of produce, another fifteen or twenty bucks worth of props .... and ended up using only three onions and other props that I already had! I'll have to make some eggplant parmasagn or something ... not sure what to do with that cabage or some of those other things, though.) I went to the MAC days ahead of time, too, to see the space that I would be working in -which helpped me to plan ahead.

Then there's Tony Robbins. Those of you who have not read any of Anthony Robbins books, you really should give them a read. There is great power in his words. One of the things that I've gained the most from of his techniques, is to visualise the most posititve results ahead of time. Talk to yourself positively, and positive things are the result. He calls it neurolinguistics - fancy title for keeping a positive attitude and reinforcing it with encouraging self-talk. I go as far as to write out a scenario about how things can go. It wasn't one of Mr Robbins' techniques -- but it sure works for me. Sometimes I go to the extreem and have great fun with it. It really takes the pressure off, too, when I'm in the situation and can remember some of the fun things that I came up with in my pre-event stories. [This also works for getting rid of bad memories and feelings, too.]

Lastly, I looked to the experience as an adventure, something out of the ordinary - forcing myself to take the risks and grow. And, y'know, it worked wonderfully. As I started out, I was totally relaxed and having fun. It's not the best still life that I've ever done, but it was one of the most enjoyable. I also met some other artists and made a friend in one of them.

I was a bit disapointed to see that three of the other four "quick-draw" artists were using photos. One guy even had his photo almost finished when he brought it in to work on. How is that a quick draw? I'm not dispairaging the use of photos in artwork ... heck, no. I am inclinded to use them quite a bit myself -- but I don't think that people want to come out to a fancy art gala to watch someone copying a photo.

Both of the paintings ... the quick-draw piece and the Monroe St Bridge painting sold at the auction. Everything at the auction seemed to sell for far less than what they were worth, but I was happy with the prices for which they sold.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I did another charcoal portrait for a couple of Russian brothers that I work with, Alex and Peter. Their dad passed away a few years ago and they asked if I would do a drawing for them. I thought that it was no big deal and did the drawing a little bigger than they asked and put it in a poster frame so that it wouldn't get smudged.

I was kind of embarassed about how they went on about it and thanked me so profusely. It really was a simple drawing ... not much of a photo to go by. I could tell that they were touched ... which, actually, was payment enough ... but then they almost doubled the price that we had agreed apon before hand. "You capture the father's heart." Alex told me. Wow, I wish that all artwork had that kind of reward.

Also, I stopped into the gallery the other day when I was walking the Bloomsday course (not too far off of the route) to use the bathroom. I found that the painting of the Viola player had sold (to the musician's wife, who works in the gallery). I walked out feeling kinda bad, actually, that they spent their money on it. Then I laughed at myself. I feel badly when things don't sell ... then I feel bad about taking people's money!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Went for a Walk on a Winter's Day...

Gesterntag, I went for a walk ...
All the leaves were - all the leaves were brown,
And the sky was grey - and the sky was gre-aay,
I went for a walk on a winter's day - on a winters day ....

I was going to just walk the Bloomsday course (check it out at http://www.bloomsdayrun.org/) ... I live only a few blocks from one of the big hills on the seven mile course (knick-named Doomsday hill), and I figured that it would be a nice long walk.
Well, no great surprise to note that I didn't stick to the course ... there were things to see and explore along the river -- so, my seven mile walk turned into more of a ten mile hike ... but it was fun and I found lots of places to paint. Perhaps next week I'll start jogging parts of it in preparation for the Bloomsday Run. I've never done it, and have always thought about doing so.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Musical Arrangement

Friday morning I arrived at the gallery at five thirty ... giving me plenty of time to hang my work for the Artwalk on First Friday that evening. I turned on my ipod and had a nice, relaxing time just hanging my paintings. It's difficult to fully express the pleasure that it was. I'd spent well over a month working on the theme of music - planning and preparing ,,, all of the big things ... but all of those little details, too, like frames and tags and signs ... I even had posters made of each of the things on display.

When I was finished hanging the work, it was one of those sweet, rare moments to step back and see all of my accomplishments put together.
It was wonderful to have the whole gallery to myself, too. After I'd completed my task, I wandered around the gallery. Brandon Boyd singing "In My Room" was on my ipod as I started my tour of the four rooms that make up our co-op of 20 + artists. It was sublime ... a feeling ... a space of time so rich that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to impart to anyone who hasn't had a similar experience.
The Artwalk went well, too. There were lots of visitors to our humble establishment, and I sold a few things, too. This morning I received the nicest of emails from someone who purchased a small aquatint of a violinist. It was touching.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

State V

Oy! The aquatint that I've been working on for the last few weeks is not turning out the way that I wanted. All of the subtle detail and fine shading were obliterated in the last acid bath. I'm okay with the print that I made from this run ... but I'll still work on this one until I get it right. In the mean time, the 5th state is the one that will have to hang in my show this month.
Off I go, now, to hang my "Musical Arrangement" at the gallery.