2014 in review and plans for the year ahead

Thank you all for following me this year. I’ve enjoyed the support, and I hope I kept you all reasonable entertained.

If you’re interested in the year in review stats from WordPress, see below.

With this year at an end it’s time to plan for next, which should be more deliberate than the past two. Here are three things I want to do:

1. Set up a store

2. Paint more frequently, and with more thought and theme behind the work

3. More fiction and criticism (starting soon)

Happy New Year!

Year in review:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Light on a turkey neck

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My dad suggested I watch Renoir, a beautifully lit and shot film about the painter at the end his his career and the start of the relationship between his son Jean (the filmmaker) and Andree, the new model. In the movie Renoir has a couple lines about the light on the flesh of the model, how that is everything. I was thinking about that idea as I worked on the turkey neck this morning, which is really fascinating in terms of light and shadow and warm and cool colors. I imagine this turkey is pretty proud of his neck. The key part is the warm glow under the chin. Still more to go on this, but I think I am on the right track. I need to let it dry so I don’t ruin in. There’s a lot of line work to do go get all the little wrinkles in the neck. I need to sort out how to convey that without going over the top in keeping with how it works on the head.

Thanks for reading.

Turkey, Marianne Moore, Roland Barthes

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To A Prize Bird
by Marianne Moore

You suit me well, for you can make me laugh,
nor are you blinded by the chaff
that every wind sends spinning from the rick.

You know to think, and what you think you speak
with much of Samson’s pride and bleak
finality, and none dare bid you stop.

Pride sits you well, so strut, colossal bird.
No Barnyard makes you look absurd;
your brazen claws are staunch against defeat.

Last night after a very nice Christmas day with my parents and my in-laws over, my daughters having fun with their dolls and new games (Don’t Break the Ice and Let’s Go Fishin’ are just as awesome now as when we were kids), I spent some time in the studio reading some new books (shown) and returning to work on the turkey. The above poem by Marianne Moore seemed fitting for this bird, his pride starting to come through with each brush stroke.

I read some analysis of Marianne Moore’s poems–it might have been Calvino’s essay “The Bestiary of Marianne Moore” that talked about the difficulty in understanding some of her work. In another essay I read recently–I think it was by Barthes, but now I can’t find it–there was a point about not as much attention being paid to the act of reading and to the reader as there is to the act of writing and the writer, that the reader is as important as the writer. With this in mind, creating is a form of reading, and juxtaposition might be a further way of interpreting work. Thank you Marianne Moore for adding something to this in-process turkey. I’ll be thinking about this painting a little differently now. And thanks Mom and Dad for the new books.

Here’s a close up of progress so far:

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The Metropolis of Tomorrow, Yesterday

I am working on a few posters that will have watercolor paintings as the central image. For this one of the imploded and famous Hudson’s department store building in Detroit I found an image online, then simplified the structure, and elongated the tower to make it seem more ascendent and monumental, inspired by Hugh Ferris’ renderings in “The Metropolis of Tomorrow,” which I have admired since I encountered them in college.

The reference photo came from here.

With this one out of the way, I can turn back to the turkey. And with all this cold weather I have been thinking a lot about coffee. A coffee series seems in order.

Thanks for reading.

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Studio cleanup

I took the day off from work today and spent a little time cleaning up my studio space, touching up some old paintings, and laying in the background of a new painting. The light coming in the window just now was compelling and seemed worth sharing.

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Business cards

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Preparing for next year, I thought it was time for some original artwork business cards.

First I did a few concept sketches before settling to the final design (you can see the winner on the sketchook Page in the picture below. Then I got some watercolor paper and splattered three paints on-cobalt teal (pg50), quinacridone magenta, and lemon yellow (py175). Then I splattered water on top. Whatever happened happened. Here was the post painting stage:

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Finally I cut them out of the larger sheets to business card size and wrote my name on them. Contact info will be on the back. I hope you like them. They were fun to make.

Thanks for reading.