Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Urns Gone Wild

So this is what you get when you mix imagery of urns and 6"x6" test panels with plaster, graphite, colored pencil, acrylic paint, and some tracing paper.  It is a continuation of the vitrine idea on a smaller scale.  I am obsessed with the notion than an object can encapsulate a specific space giving it greater value and/or sacredness than the space outside of its parameters.  It began with the structure of the home, then moved to vitrines, and smaller still to urns.  The plan is to build boxes to place these pieces within not only as a framing/display device but also for portability and protection.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Start to Finish: 'Japonisome' Vitrine

The vitrine collection is growing .  Below are the process pics of the latest edition which I lovingly nicknamed The Potbelly.  This pet name is a far cry from the description given by the Christie's March 2012 The Opulent Eye catalogue I pulled it from.  And I quote…  

"A French 'Japonisome' lacquered-bronze-mounted mahogany vitrine-cabinet in the manner of Gabriel Viardot, late 19th century"

step 1: apply vinyl sticker graph to pink flashé paint panel.

step 2: cover up vinyl with more flashé paint.

step 3: add awesome vitrine to surface.

step 4: begin sanding off vitrine shape and wonder why I choose to make tedious, hand-numbing work.

step 5:  sand negative vitrine space.

step 6: hang with the rest of the vitrine family and rest hands.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Clearing the Decks!

Studio - October 2, 2015

I'm clearing the decks people!  Stowing away all of the paintings, eye candy, and anything else that doesn't have to do with thesis show work.  What is the thesis show work you ask?  Well…the answer is vitrines.  (Vitrine:  a glass showcase or cabinet especially for displaying fine wares or specimens.)  So far I've been resourcing images exclusively from Christi's catalogues which has some of the finest examples of vitrines in all of the land.

There are about seven months until the show, so things could completely change as they so often do...the vitrine fascination is ever so gently veering in the direction of curio cabinets.  (Curio cabinet: encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined.  Modern technology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities.  -Thanks wikipedia.)

In-progress vitrines from Christi's catalogues, 22"x16", mixed media

Why vitrines?  Long story short…
Placing a sea shell inside of an elaborate display case has a completely different feel than placing a sea shell in a shoe box.  When inside the case, it takes on a greater sense of value.  The air inside of a vitrine is no different than the air outside of a vitrine but that encapsulated space within its glass walls instantly classifies the object as having significant importance.

It is the same feeling we put on a home.  (The subject of home is still heavily on my radar.)  I've found that it is not so much the physical structure of the house that interests me, but rather the space that is captured within it that I crave to understand.  It is the life force that exists inside - like fireflies in a jar.

drawing for double-sided vitrine

In-progress double-sided vitrine, 24"x36", mixed media

Shit got real when this book came in the mail.

Another phase of this shift in focus was a studio visit I had this week.  Members of a gallery panel swung by to check out some work and I put up the New Zealand paintings (which have been sitting in a box for 4 years) along with the panels I did in South Carolina this summer.  Seeing this work together crystalized some things:  First, I find it so interesting that the quickest, most potent way to explore home is to leave it.  I've done that my whole life.  Secondly, to show two bodies of work in my hometown that were done on site in far away places sat very well in my being.  It felt like a full circle kinda moment.  I hope that the visit will lead to a show about that very subject.

South Carolina work on the left and work from New Zealand on the right.

Goodnight for now geometric house paintings...

Friday, August 28, 2015

First Week/Last Year

For the past year I've had two bodies of work running parallel to each other - representational depictions of nature and wildlife and abstracted architectural structures.  (I've felt split in half.) Last semester I made the decision to focus mostly on the architectural work - it is a new way of working for me so there is a lot to explore and experiment with.  

Here I am now - midway through the first week of my final year in grad school which means…THESIS SHOW!  Eh-ghads!  Translation:  I need to start making a cohesive group of work to show in May.  So what do I do?  I complete two paintings…one meteorite and one geometric-fied cube.  At first I felt like I was back to square one, completely torn between which path to take - organic vs. manmade, but then I hung them side by side and realized they were pretty much the same form.  What does this mean?  I have no fucking idea.  But it's taking me somewhere so I'm just going to buckle up and move along.

Meteorite, oil, 31"x23"

Cube (until I come up with a better name), oil, 22"x16"

The cube painting above had an interesting morphing process….

At one point last semester I considered this a finished painting.

But then I decided to flip it upside down and add some yellow.

Next I just sanded the hell out of the whole thing and blocked in some super dark purple.
Added some finishing details and ta-duh!…painting conversion complete.

Hey, you know what helps when you're trying to decide between two paths?  Add a third path.  Just kidding, it doesn't help at all but it's a nice distraction from having to choose from the previously discussed paths.

Vitrine I, flashe and gesso, 13"-ishx11"-ish

Vitrine II, flashe and gesso, 13"-ishx11"-ish

Friday, July 17, 2015

Flowers, Fake Grass, and Acid City

I began the two paintings below last semester.  They were originally part of six panels that I planned to be a cohesive series but three became individual paintings of houses, one turned into a weird chair painting, and these two branched out on their own.  They kept inching closer and closer towards each other on the wall, gradually turning into the pair they are today.

Stage 1
 Holy Patriotism!  Muse ease up the red…

Stage 2
Whew.. The blue calmed things down a bit.  What's up with the smoke/clouds above the grass?  I don't know…just seemed like the thing to do.

Stage 3

The flowers got some work today.  It's coming along, not as quickly as I would like but I've got two museum gigs this summer so studio time is less than ideal (learning that efficiency is the key).  But just because I am at work does not mean the making comes to a halt, it means the Acid City series is growing.  Who says you can't make art with limited resources…office supplies rule.

Step into my time machine, fast forward a month and real flowers/fake grass is complete!

Someone Else's Homestead

Someone Else's Homestead

Someone Else's Homestead, the series I began during my South Carolina residency this summer, is finito and photographed!  I am not exactly sure of the order or orientation the paintings will be arranged in, above is a test shot. What a great sense of closure and now the door in open to fully jump in and begin new work.  Here are some general words that describe my experience at Rensing.  Next on the agenda is finding a venue to show the series…hmmmm….

To immerse yourself into another person's environment is to become consumed by another person's thoughts, beliefs, their life.  Those feelings take time to dissipate after you have left the space in order to  resume your own life again.  The transition period takes awhile to stumble through, it takes time to absorb the experience and then to leave it behind.  But you quickly learn that there is no way to fully resume your previous existence.  There is no picking up where you left off because the experience changed you, and maybe in just the most subtle of ways or maybe you see the world entirely different.

Chair, Flashe and acrylic, 31"x23", 2015

Baby Goat, Flashe and acrylic, 31"x23", 2015

Sewing Machine, Flashe and acrylic, 26"x20", 2015

Cabbage, Flashe and acrylic, 26"x20", 2015

Basket, Flashe and acrylic, 22"x16", 2015

Pinecone, Flashe and acrylic, 22"x16", 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015


It's pretty much the dead center of summer.  I've had about six weeks to recover from the first year of grad school and have about six weeks to prepare myself for the second (and final!) year.  A good portion of the summer was spent at the residency in South Carolina and I am super happy to report that I finally finished the series, Someone Else's Homestead, that I began while in Pickens.  It is a great feeling of closure and has led to a new and smaller series that I began and am really enjoying.  I love how one project can unfold into the next. The painting portion of the series is complete, now it is time to photograph and write a proper statement about the work.  Better photos to follow!

Singer sewing machine that lives in the Rensing library.

One of my beloved baby goat friends.

Vitrine:  a glass showcase or cabinet especially for displaying fine wares or specimens.

So I am into vitrines now.  Like the Penny portrait from the last post, my interest in vitrines came from a catalog I got at my museum gig.  The catalog is filled with urns, artifacts, and beautifully elaborate display cabinets.  The interesting thing is that these decorative vitrines are empty so their purpose of housing fine wares is taken away, leaving them to be art objects unto themselves.

Vitrine imprints.

empty vitrine in-progress 1

empty vitrine in-progress 2

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lani's Penny

The world is enormous with billions of people cruising around on its surface so I find it fascinating when a person crosses your path that you instantly become pals for life with.  Lani is one of those rare people.  And it is a mathematical fact that if Lani is rad then her dog, Penny, will also be rad.  Well, I can attest that Penny is indeed an amazing creature.  Lani asked me to paint a Penny portrait and I said hells yes.  As always, the journey began with research.  And coffee.

The wheels begin to turn...

My museum gig provided me with a very unexpected direction:  A Sotheby's African, Oceanic, and Pre-Coloumbian Auction Catalog.  I instantly knew I wanted to collage some of the images from the catalog into the Penny portrait.  Why you ask?  For three reasons:  1) The artifacts are sacred, rare, beautiful, and valuable just like Penny is to Lani.  2) The rich earth tones of the pieces are similar to Penny's coloring.  3)  My pal would never in a million years guess that I would use ancient African artwork in the portrait.  WILDCARD!


First move was to build a panel and then...SURPRISE!  A turquoise under-painting?  Why yes!  (I wanted the background to be a cool brown to contrast Penny's warm brown fur.)

It was challenging to choose from so many amazing artifacts.

And the painting begins...

Stage One

Stage Two

Stage Three

 Ta-duh!  Here is the final portrait...

Penny, acrylic, 18"x14.5", 2015

Final stage:  Penny girl gets shipped to Phoenix.