Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Stuff is happening...

Stuff is beginning to happen in the studio.  I'm not exactly sure what that stuff is but it's emerging.  I went to the FW Museum of Science and History's off-view animal specimen collection and took heaps of reference photos.  I went with a list in hand of all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays.  Of the 52 listed I found 27 of the birds.  Most were skins but there were several really nice mounted taxidermy specimens.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the visit (some of which have nothing to do with Shakespeare) as well as the work that is coming from the experience...

  oil on birch, 12"x15"

I'm realizing that the space around the panel is just as important as the panel itself.

Above is a 4ft.x4ft. wood panel and below is a 5ft.x6ft. canvas tacked to the wall.

On a side note I present to you - meteorites.  There just so happens to be a small meteorite museum on campus.  I went there and it was awesome.  What I loved most (besides the fact that these objects were once orbiting around in freaking outer space) was seeing these otherworldly masses displayed in front of earthly, familiar photographed landscapes.  

I brought that idea in closer by having a very foreign meteorite inhabiting a very personal and recognizable space…home.

oil on cardboard, 8"x10"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week Three

This study is further exploring the release of Shakespeare's birds mentioned in the last post.  I found a wonderful book appropriately named The Birds of Shakespeare written by Archibald Geikie in 1916.  He lists the 52 species of birds found in Shakespeare's plays.  An ostrich, an owl, and a thrush are three on that list…only 49 more to go.

My three buddies above were painted on a birch panel scrap leftover after making this big daddy panel. It's the first large (4'x4') panel I've built.  It's so dang lovely in fact that I'm intimidated to throw paint on it.

This morning my guts told me that I needed to document what I've been surrounding myself with in the studio.  Doing this helps me understand what I'm most interested in and narrows my focus.  This is what my eyes have been seeing…

Friday, September 5, 2014

More Damn Birds

I'm two weeks deep into grad school and still alive, a bit overwhelmed but still kicking.  A routine is beginning to emerge and the first drop of paint has been spilled on the studio floor.  I feel like this is the perfect place to organize and document the work I will be doing so here goes…

More.  Damn.  Birds.  Seven years ago I began to paint birds.  Like non-stop all the time kinda paint birds and still to this day I don't understand their allure.  So instead of psychoanalyzing my brain, I'm just going to paint more because I want to.

That leads us to the starling painting above.  In 1890 the American Acclimatization Society released sixty starlings into Central Park.  This was their introduction to the US and by 1950 they could be found from coast to coast.  It is said that the Society planned to introduce every species of bird mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to America.  Some species thrived like the starling and others failed.

Next on the studio tour is this dude.  A mega field trip is in store for all of the MFA students next semester - we're going to NYC baby and I'm stoked!  A fund raising scheme has been masterminded which entails each of us to make 10 smaller works to be sold (I'll include details as they surface).  These 5"x7" canvases will soon bear the portrait of that badass owl.  

Above is the first painting I did in Painting I as an undergrad.  I think it's symbolically fitting to paint over it at this point.  At first I was going to work with the structures...

And then I said…hell no, I'm covering up the whole sha-bang!  It felt pretty great and it is still evolving.  These are sparrows and the painting follows along the same lines as the starling painting.  Sparrows were introduced to America in 1851.  They were released in Brooklyn.  To think that every sparrow and starling we see today are direct descendants of those original birds is an amazing thing.