Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Under the Influence of Chuck Close?

The start of my new painting.
For the past two weeks I have been reading "Chuck Close: Life" by Christopher Finch, which was loaned to me by my artist friend, Lani Tanaka, who raved about the book. Now, normally I am a fiction reader, in fact, this may be my first biography I have ever read. But since Lani liked it so much (and I was out of books to read), I decided to read this book. I am glad I did. It's hard to believe that someone who was so sick as a child, had learning disabilities, and was paralyzed later as an adult could have the ambition and drive to have such a successful painting career like Chuck Close did. It really is inspiring. It makes me feel like I should be doing more career-wise, frankly, but I am trying to not compare myself with others and their success in order to gauge my own. How's that working out, you ask? Well, let's just say that I will be working hard in the next few months trying to get my career to the next level.

Besides feeling like I should be farther along in my career, Close's large portraits really inspired me to paint my portraits larger. I have done my share of portraits but these were usually done on a smaller scale, not larger that 16"x16" in fact. It felt weird to have a stranger's portrait be larger than life because of the unfamiliarity of the subject to the viewer (not that having a large portrait of someone you know doesn't seem weird when you think of it). At any rate, I would have never considered what I do as something that could work on a larger scale unless the person (or people) had their whole body in the composition. After reading about Chuck Close and seeing his work, I decided why not? Why not make my portraits larger?

So today I started one of two portraits and so far, I am very happy with what I have done. Unlike Close's portraits where the subject was looking directly at the viewer, much like a mug shot, my subjects are caught in candid moments with the eyes looking away (although they will be blocked out at a later date). There is something carefree about my subjects that make me feel happy when I am painting them. In just three hours I managed to complete most of the underpainting for my first 36"x36" portrait. That's how excited I was to paint these.

I am kind of excited to work with just heads for a few pieces and I was already planning on working on a 4 x 4 grid of them (12" x 12") for an upcoming show at ArtHaus Gallery. Now I will have some larger ones to go with them.

This panel is 36"x36".

In other news, check out Culture Seen for Lisa Sipe's interview with me. The website has some great interviews and other articles of interest revolving around art.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Short Attention Span Painting

Lately there has been a million things on my mind. With finally finding a house, I seem to be busy with many things relating to it.  Because of this (and the excitement of buying a house), I haven't been able to concentrate on painting for long periods of time.

I have started three paintings in the last week and a half and can't seem to concentrate long enough to complete any of them. The under-paintings are complete for all of them, but that's the easy part. It's the part I like since it makes the most immediate impact. I go from having a blank panel to having this image slowly appear, almost like magic. It really is my favorite part of the painting process.

So I have completed my favorite parts on these three pieces and, well, that's about it. The good news is that I don't have any work that is immediately due, but I do have a solo show at Arthaus Gallery in October and a three person show at JoAnne Artman Gallery in November. I should be starting those pieces soon so that I am not overwhelmed later. Maybe once we close escrow on the house and move will my mind be free to paint...In the meantime it will be slow progress.

One of three paintings I am working on. All three paintings are 36"x36".

This is the most finished piece out of the three...still a lot of work left to do.

This is the oldest of the three pieces. It seems like ages ago that I started this.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My New Studio...Coming Soon

Ben and I FINALLY found a house that was perfect for us, and more importantly, our bid was accepted. We bought a house! And with this house comes the perfect space for an art studio. We are talking about approximately 280 square feet of painting space AND a separate office. My painting area even has a fire place! It really is a great place and I can't wait to move in.

Now I need to start planning the layout of the space. I need a wall to paint on since I keep breaking my easels, space for my large table where I wax my paintings, a shipping area, storage for supplies, storage for prepped panels, and storage for finished paintings. Good thing my husband is great at building things. We move in on August 10th so I'll be sure to post picture of how my studio turns out as soon as it's ready. I have a feeling that fixing up my studio will take longer than moving into my house and getting settled.

My art studio! The entrance to the bathroom and office are to the left of the fire place. 

The view of my studio from the other side. 

The office.

The office from a different angle.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Asterisk San Francisco Magazine Release

Last night Ben and I went to the Asterisk San Francisco magazine release party in San Francisco. The latest issue is dedicated to art and design, and includes the top 20 best artists in the San Francisco/ Bay Area. I am so happy and honored to be part of the top twenty! It's a great magazine so be sure to visit the website and get a subscription.
Asterisk SF Magazine opened up to the page with my artwork.

Artist friend, Lani Tanaka, and her daughter Makiko looking through the magazine.

Stack of magazines...

That's my painting on the cover, bottom rhombus!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Best in Show"

This weekend, July 14th from noon until 4pm,  "Best in Show" will be opening at Lanoue Fine Art, in Boston. It's a show celebrating man's best friend and will benefit the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center. My painting, "Jojo the Wonder Dog" will be in the show, along with many other beautiful works of art. If you are in the area, stop by and see the exhibit. You can also visit the website to view the full exhibit.

In other news... I worked on two new pieces today that I hope to have done by this weekend. I am starting to work on 36"x36" panels and really liking it. I have no idea how I will ship them since they won't fit in my VW Golf when boxed, but I'll worry about that later. I am trying to use candid snapshots that capture a random moment or activity. I don't want any of these 36"x36" paintings to be posed or static. This will be my third 36"x36" piece and shows, what looks like, children playing rescuers. It's an odd, odd photo but I think that's why I like it. 

I can't wait to see what this will look like when done. The boy on the left with the beanie is my favorite.

I finished the underpainting for this one today. It's 24"x24".

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Comfort of Familiarity

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me since we've been back from Italy. It's not a matter of getting back to regular life that has been getting me down. As much as I love traveling, I love being home. What's not to love about San Francisco, right? What has put me in a funk is this new series and house hunting.

This was freshly waxed this morning. "And the Winner Is..." 36"x36"
I am still struggling with getting what I see in my head to work out on panel. I feel like I am just banging my head on the wall with this one. I know that one day, hopefully soon, it will just click. I'm just not there yet. And while I know that this is part of the process, it sure can get me down. Somedays I wish I was trying to do something easy, but I know that easy doesn't get you far. Other days I think that maybe I shouldn't try and change things up, but then I remember that stagnation is not where I want to be. It's a struggle, painting something new, but I hear it makes you stronger as an artist and who doesn't want to be that?

We are also house hunting, and even though the economy isn't that great, in San Francisco there seems to be at least five bidders for every house out there. We have lost out on a few of them and it has been extremely frustrating. There are few places where half a million dollars gets you very little, or where bidding $70,000 over asking doesn't get you a house. That is quite normal in San Francisco. It doesn't help that we are looking for an in-law space that I can convert into a studio. Finding a place big enough for us to live in without feeling cramped, include an area for a home studio, and have a garage large enough to hold my husband's very large tools (think table saw, ban saw, drill press, and a lathe) is not easy, unless you are willing to do a LOT of remodeling. I know there's a house out there that is right for us. I just wish it were here already.

I finished this yesterday and waxed it this morning. "Cats and Dogs" 24"x24"
So here I am, on a roller coaster of emotions, which has had a lot of downs lately. I am finding that I am needing to be extra nice to myself (and fortunately for me, my husband is the best at making me feel better). I have been going to the studio and painting, but I am painting what makes me feel good. I am painting what is comforting and familiar. I am painting as therapy. I am putting myself in a place where I know I can succeed. Once I feel better, I'll go back to banging my head against this new series. Maybe by then we will have bought a house.