Thursday, June 12, 2014

Making a "Positive" Statement

"Billowing Up", acrylic on canvas, 9" x 12"

I created these paintings to apply for membership into the McGuffey Center for the Arts, as happy as I have ever been with a series and for the first time no plans for when or where they might be shown.

"At the Foot", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 12"
"Mountain Drive", acrylic on canvas, 12" x 16"
"Interwoven", acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30"
"In the Valley", acrylic on canvas, 18" x 24"

My Statement

In a different context, I heard the phrase “positively filling negative spaces” and to me this represented my art in several ways. My process begins by quickly sketching in nature: seeing and experiencing my surroundings more than transcribing details. While being in nature I feel a love for it’s ever changing cycles and inspired by all of the beautiful visual variation. This experience positively fills my mind, crowding out negative thoughts.

Then I take these sketches back to the studio where a dialogue begins. I rework the sketches until the composition speaks to me telling me it’s main idea.  What is this view of nature showing?  Usually a verb is brought to mind such as growing, multiplying, expanding or comforting. Nature is always moving forward changing, evolving and making an active or positive mark.

Then the process of painting begins by choosing colors intuitively. I like using minimal black and white sketches as a reference because then during the painting process I am free to play with colors and add details. I love the results of the painting stages: seeing the layers and evidence of what came before and is partially covered. I enjoy the contrast of thick paint against thin washes and detail marks against areas of color. I imagine the air space in the painting being filled as if by soap bubbles, no real negative space. All filled positively.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Live Paint Demonstration at IX Park

A few weeks ago, I painted during a fund raiser called "Let's Revel" for IX Park in Charlottesville, VA. It was so much fun! I was painting away while so much was going on around me: live band performances, food and drink trucks, balloons flying around during an auction presentation, a drag act, people dressed in costumes and mural street artists painting away. To reflect the spirit of the night, I picked a friend of mine's former Halloween costumes. I combined two of her photos to get the image below with the blue face. I thought her head dress was creatively inspiring. People seemed to enjoy the quick evolution of the painting. And I loved performing this way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I am working on the UV protection coats so I haven't taken down all of the plastic yet but almost there. I love being at the location, sad it is coming to an end.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicken Spot Illustration

I worked on making my latest painting into an illustration with Adobe Illustrator this morning. Would love to collaborate with my design and publishing friends this year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicken in the Snow

"Chicken in the Snow", 18" x 18", acrylic on canvas.

One of my goals for 2014 is to be more direct with my painting. I want painting to be like drawing, feel immediate and expressive. One way to do this I feel is to paint more from life, so Tuesday I went out in the snow to paint. Well this was quite an experience with water based paint. By the end my water cup full of brushes turned to slushy. The wind was whipping, it sounded just like the cartoon version of "Rudolph" when the misfits run away. Once I got paint all over the canvas, I proceeded to drop it face down in the snow three times. So I took it into the studio to dry flat on the table so when the snow melted it didn't make the paint run. Well the end result with a little reworking is pretty cool. Maybe I will go throw another painting down in the snow today.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mural Progress

I was doing a meditation and the facilitator asked what colors you were seeing for love and I saw magenta-purple and yellow-green. I wonder if they are my real colors of love or they are what I see when I close my eyes remembering the mural painting.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Third of the Way

I am a third of the way through the mural and doubts arise. I am reminded of an article I read in the Smithsonian about a project and the director said if everyone is happy you aren't doing something right. You are not pushing it enough. Most have been complimentary of the mural but there are a wide variety of artisans and tradesman working on the building and many have their opinions. The painting is not everyone's cup of tea, some that are making strange comments I suspect really think realism is the best way to go in art. But the owners use words like "love" and "spectacular" so I am satisfied. I am also reminded of reading that Cy Twombly's work arises the most intense reactions of love and hate. I love it but don't have the courage to paint like that, not yet anyway. I actually think that I wouldn't mind painting realistically on a large mural because from my brushes' and eyes' perspective it is abstractly just blending colors. I heard Chuck Close say something similar in a documentary and it made me appreciate him as an artist even more. He said he was engaged and enjoying painting the little abstract paintings in the squares then it came together as a large realistic portrait for his viewers. If I was to paint this again, I may do it all differently but I had a bold bright vision and I went for it. All you can do is your best at any point in time and keep looking forward. Should you ever regret going for it? Do actors or singers worry they were too bold?