Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ghost Town

Hurricane Irene 2011: I'd rather be in a dust storm.

This was my catch phrase for the evening. It's been an interesting week on the east coast. First an earthquake, which I felt rattle my bedroom for half a minute, never thinking for an instant that it was actually what it was. Then of course, the monster of Hurricane Irene, which bypassed my home state for the most part, (and cancelling my parents flights up to Philly this past weekend for a wedding) and slammed into the Carolina's, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast with a storm the size of Europe.

We were fine. Didn't even lose power. Did not attend the wedding. (Which by the way, I feel pretty bad about still.) Everyone was so back and forth about it - "Aw, it's just going to rain! No big deal," or "Fill your bathtub with water! Evacuate NYC and the Jersey Shore! Board up your windows!" My stance, for the most part, was just that with something like this headed your direction (a giant, swirling hurricane) better to be safe than sorry. I'm from Florida, I've survived countless OH NEVERMIND IT'S HEADING SOMEWHERE ELSE and the infamous category 5 that slammed my region in 1992. (I was 9, didn't have power for 2 weeks, school was delayed, we still had a roof over our head and many others didn't.) Whatever. They happen, just not usually up here.

Post-storm: With many of my friends now at or on their way to the playa, everything is eerily quiet. The internet is quiet, the city feels quiet. Communication has come to a slow stop. (Maybe a pause.) I've been having dusty dreams of playa adventures, and the longing I am experiencing after just one visit is unlike anything I've ever felt. When you're there, you're "home." Welcome home, everyone greets you. Isn't it good to be home? ... I wish I was home. (2012, baby, I'm there.)

I have an oddly large number of days off this week before I start working just about full time, and so I'm busy trying to find things to do with myself. It's only Tuesday. (Scratch that, it's Wednesday now that I'm posting this. Almost half over.) So far I've spent an entire day working on my commissioned painting, half of one to fix my sewing machine and patch some pants for my darling, and have started a couple of new pieces. Nothing big or drastic, just some subjects I wanted to revisit (drawing/painting of the Golden Spiral - another part of math and geometry I find fascinating and beautiful - attempting to finish up some paintings I started long ago, and working on a hand-painted card for my cousin's wedding I missed this weekend due to the hurricane.)

A Night in Wyman Park (Bamboo)
24" x 48", oil on canvas © 2010

I recently received an order for a print of my most sought-after painting, "A Night in Wyman Park (Bamboo)", pictured above. (I call it "Bamboo" for short and everyone pretty much knows which one I'm talking about... also referred to sometimes as "the really expensive one." The original painting is priced kind of high because well, I'm attached to it and it took many months on and off to paint.) The original size is fairly large, as you can see, and since all my files for my larger paintings that I can't fit into a normal size scanner are from high-res photographs, there was some serious doubt in my mind as to exactly how big I could print it without losing detail.

I am relieved and proud to say that I was able to print the painting everyone wants but no one can afford at 15" x 30" and it still came out amazing! (For any interested clients, a print of this painting that size will cost you $80. What. A. Deal!) I have had nothing but really excellent results reproducing my work so far for art prints. Not that I'll ever reach the limited edition number (most of them are around 100 or 50 prints) but selling anything feels great. I've been at this more "professionally" for almost a year now... and while it seemed rough at times, I can look back at it all today and think - "Wow. I sold one painting, 5+ prints, and have had one commission. Not bad." (This doesn't count printmaking sales, which involved a couple art auctions for various causes and some sales to friends here and there.) It could be better, but it could be worse. I'm still new at this marketing thing. Technically, since I never gave two shits whether or not my work sold or anyone saw it for most of my post-art-school-undergrad career, I have indeed made progress - even if just compared to myself.

Friday, August 12, 2011


"It's three o'clock in the morning, your back hurts, your arm hurts, you've been in there for ten hours, and there are no sounds except for the occasional fire truck. Finally, you put the brush down and ask yourself,
Man, what am I doing here?
-John Alexander

My hiatus was necessary. Now that one of my dear friends has recently started an every-day blog project, I see her posts and am reminded that it's time for an entry. (Check out Jexi's Project: O.365.M here - for all things object manipulation.) Time for one with substance. And pictures.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the future owners) I have only really been working on one painting for the past month or so - The Honeycomb Merkaba. It's taken me over, in a good way - it is a natural, normal thing to become obsessed with what one is painting. At least you know you will never let it be "done" until your obsessive self decides that it is, finally, finished.

I might have to force myself to work on something else soon. I'm getting deeply engrossed in this painting. I stare at it whenever I'm in the room, and sometimes for long periods when I'm "working" on it. Some of it is still instinctual - a bit - and I trust myself occasionally and go with the flow, let my unconscious fill the spaces, pick the color, it can always be adjusted. Happy accidents. Otherwise I stare and think, and don't make a move till I contemplate the results; the how (will this look next to this other thing?), the why (is there a reason it needs to be green, or yellow?) the what (will this change everything?), and on and on. I'm letting myself become deeply immersed in this piece. I don't know if I've ever been this ... careful.

I've also begun working on it upside down, occasionally, which are what these pictures are of. Thought it would be interesting to have everyone else check it out from another viewpoint as well. Here are some upside down detail shots of some of the more complex areas of the painting so far:

Getting smaller, and smaller, and microcosms of microcosms of the same shape,
repeated over and over again, like the infinity of fractals.

I let myself stumble over to Charmaine Olivia's website and blog again. I love her work, and I can't believe she's so young and so fucking famous (as famous as a thousand people following her facebook and twitter and blog, and oh right, getting jobs, and having shows, being published and that sort of thing) and it fascinates me, inspires me, and pisses me off all at the same time.
How does this happen? How does one get invited to do interviews, and photoshoots, and be published in all these fancy hipster magazines? I've been "concentrating on my art" for almost a year now, and it's had it's ups and downs, hard times and good times. Still haven't sold but one painting, and I sure don't feel any more recognized in the Philadelphia Art World, whatever that is. It makes me feel like I should take a break from this here monster, and do some silly little drawings, or something I can mass produce, something I can start and finish quickly, something that someone will BUYYYYY.... $$$. Right? It's my goal today to start a few other smaller things to distract myself with. (Oh, and apparently I should also be taking a whole bunch of narcissistic photos of myself and posting them here, because that seems to work for Miss Charmaine.)

It's worth a try:

At work on my upside down painting, blown out pic of me standing in front of my painting,
and then more working on my upside down painting. With wine.

Here are some detail shots of my studio area and the cool junk I've been arranging on it's walls for several years. This is what inspires me, I suppose. I'll leave you with that, and promise to write again without waiting a full month next time.