Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Video interviews with artists

Here's a handheld video done by Nick Pasquariello at, interviewing artists during the Open Studio event.
Click: here

I'm in a section at 24:16.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

New Illustrations

I also do design work, right now, mostly for my rock bands. I just did two posters that have a rabbit starring in them. Worlds collide.
(Yes, I need to match the fonts but I just can't decide about the fonts.)

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Painting books again

Well here I am again with the painting of the books. I tried to keep this loose and underworked but it still took a long time. The cat and the mouse did not take much time at all but they also aren't as loose as the books.

Not sure if it's done but I have an open studio coming up on April 23 and 24 and will have to break down the arrangement. That's the disadvantage of having shows in one's art studio, but perhaps it's more interesting for the visitors.

Looks a little dark here. I borrowed my friend Kathleen's cat for this one. The books are mainly design books and magazines.

I also have 4 new paintings of flowers.

Most of my recent creative effort over the past two years has gone into writing and drawing another book based on the life of a typical rabbit. I am almost done!! I have two drawings to do, the cover, and of course pre-press, but the book is out with a few friends for reading and suggestions. This book is long...something like 88 pages of color drawings. So I'll be really excited when it's out!!

I have also made a Kindle version of "Dumbunny" recently which took at least a week.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Painting books

I woke up in the middle of the night with a vision of a traditional, classical-looking painting of a pile of books. You must paint what you dream about!
I want to work with books since I have a lot of feelings about all the art being done with books that don’t involve reading.

I am now painting it at the studio, sitting low to get a good vantage point. I put a spotlight on the books and turned off the other lights. It is difficult to see the canvas though.
I gave a nice piece to the large Lyme Light Foundation auction that is coming up next month. I realized I did not have any other recent work that I could give to an auction. So I decided to paint some flowers. And it's Spring and I love tulips. I have had good luck donating flower paintings to auctions. I will show a few of these new flower works at the next open studio.
White Tulips with Watch
I am trying to keep these new paintings vastly underworked rather than vastly overworked.
I am also working very hard on another new book about rabbits. I just sent my first draft off to some readers! Still a lot of work to do. It is a long book with over 70 color illustrations.

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Notes from the Artist Salons

Notes from the Artist Salon at Hunters Point Shipyard on October 29 is 2015
Artists showing: Diana Krevsky, Stanley Goldstein, Carrie Ann Plank
These artists salons can be really intense for whoever else is lucky enough to attend. There's often something so intimate about the evenings. The artists seem to be open to sharing their ideas and process. Perhaps these artists are always like that. Or possibly, having an audience of other artists brings up other questions than one would normally get at an event like Open Studio. Whatever it is, these Salon evenings are always thought-provoking. Some of the artists carefully arrange the studio for the night and some let it all hang out.
Also, it is remarkable that the evenings change drastically depending on who shows up and which artists participate. It always amazes me how each artist has a very different process of how or why they make art.
This salon was unusual in that we got into talking about artists and children, artists and painting what we love, artists and aging, artists and cancer, and it became a fairly heavy night. Heavy, in a good way.
We started at the studio of Diana Krevsky. While we waited for folks to show up we talked about a painting of hers that Krevsky found at a Goodwill, got it back, and then worked on it.
Krevsky then read us a funny piece she had written about her work. I wish we had taped her! Krevsky’s work is funny and topical and also beautiful to look at. Newer pieces included Waterbird made out of bottles and cloth, some wood assemblages, a gun made out of soft pastel baby items and cloth, a binder full of cartoons, and many other paintings some with collage or assemblage. She showed us a work in progress as well. [We saw some of these works featured here: While I was web-researching I found her 911 works which are powerful:
Then we went to the studio of Stanley Goldstein. Goldstein had hung some large paintings for us to see. He also had three, new, large, charcoal drawings on the back wall. We could compare them to a painting. After we were done fawning over these, Goldstein walked us through the history of his art process; showing sketches, color studies and final works, and works in progress (although some of us were interrupting him a lot with inane questions). He showed us his son’s early work in comparison to his own. He talked about his relationship with his gallery and how that impacts the artwork. Then ensued a conversation about various gallerists. We saw this playground painting (among others):
  Lastly we went to the studio of Carrie Ann Plank who is a printmaker in the studio with other printmakers and two giant presses and other machines. Plank likes to travel, and she attends many artist residencies. Plank talked about how she was able to sometimes go to residency without a firm plan of what she would do, but instead, come up with ideas reacting to the situation there and create wonderful art, sort of on the fly. Plank showed three bodies of work from three different residencies: some large etchings of natural objects, interesting prints featuring textures of her own skin, enlarged and manipulated on the computer and then printed, and some delicious little paintings that involve prints, painting(?), gilding, and with a shiny coating. [You can see examples of the three series here:] Something about Plank’s work, or perhaps the cumulative effect of the evening, brought up the topic of cancer, which we discussed for awhile.
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Notes from the Artist Salon, May 5, 2015
Artists showing: Kim Smith, Dolores R. Grey, Leslie Lowinger
I recall Kim Smith saying she doesn’t consider herself an artist but she makes quite a few lovely collages out of book scraps. Some of the collages are fine art, some are called Signs of Wisdom and contain text or sayings which she sells at a lower price point. Smith also has a thriving business called Smith & Co. where she sells book prints or art created from books. Smith generously gave us all a signed copy of her book, an art memoir, Where Quirky meets Menacing! [We saw collages such as these:]
Dolores R. Grey
Adding to what Dolores is already known for, assemblage often in little boxes, colorful monoprints, collage, gift cards and jewelry (of which I am personally quite fond and own several pieces), Dolores had several life-size, ornate, dress sculptures made out of recycled paper on dress forms. One piece I liked very much was made out of pattern paper that is used for sewing clothes. Dolores talked about how she has made many of her and her family’s clothes. []
Leslie Lowinger
Leslie had a lot of work up in her studio from our last Open Studio event, as well as etchings in one or two colors, some with irregular shaped borders, some with text. We were thrilled with her large flipper bin, which contained large prints that we were pawing through and really loved. Leslie also gave many of us a nice silk-screened bag that she made.
[I believe we saw some of these: and some of these:]
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I neglected to write about a few artists salons that we had, so perhaps I’ll mention them now.
Artists Salon, January 23, 2015
Artists showing: Dominique Caron, Stacey Carter, Alberto Ybarra, Stephen Namara
We met at the studio of Dominica Caron. Caron’s studio was full of very large, very colorful, mostly abstract paintings, as well as some more representational works and landscapes. We were intrigued by the way she hung the art and how clean and white everything else was. Caron talked about her childhood growing up in France and how it influenced her color sense. She talked about her inspirations to a group of people who were trying to hear her and ask questions. There where also a roaring cocktail party going on in the back the studio (possibly due to the spread of goodies Caron had served or the fact that there were a lot of people there who hadn’t seen each other in awhile). It made it very difficult to hear what Caron was saying. Caron generously in shared her knowledge of acrylics and process tips. She mentioned her tip for adding a drop or two of dish liquid to the brush water. Caron also answered questions about various works. [We saw works like this:]
Then we went upstairs to Stacey Carter's studio. Her studio was fairly crowded with stuff so we couldn’t all actually fit in the studio at one time. It looked like a working studio. We were sort of taking turns going in and out. Carter creates large, photographic-like prints of ships and other large vessels and then she paints on them. Carter showed us some of her older work such as sports figures and talked about a large commission she was working on. Unfortunately I missed much of her talk because I was doing crowd control out in the hallway and trying to make space for others. [We saw some of these:]
Lastly we went to Alberto Ybarra’s large studio. He recently sold the large painting, Drone, that I really wanted to get a close look at. But he had lots of other really interesting work on view, and talked about some of his inspirations: very dark but successful. It generated a lot of conversation and interest in his work. We gravitated towards certain works in little clumps discussing the paintings. Some people remained out in the hall having a cocktail party.
[Some paintings here. I was really struck by the huge, Single Family Duelen:]
And lastly we went to Steven Namara’s studio. Steve is always been a great favorite of everybody at the Shipyard. He talked about some of his old drawings and how he got his start because of those. He showed us some new paintings and talked about the symbolism in them. (I was so impressed by the rendering that I had not thought about the content). He also answered questions about a lot of his work for some artists and others continued the traveling cocktail party. [We saw this piece, among others:]
Cocktail party ensued for quite some time after that we finally broke up.
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So each artist is different. Who comes to the salon is different. All this makes each event very memorable and poignant. Each salon has filled me with questions about what is art, and why do I make it? It really gets my head spinning the way each artist’s process is so different from mine. It never ceases to amaze me how the shipyard artists are all processing our lives through our art but in also very different ways.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Getting ready for Open Studio

I'm in the middle of the seasonal race to clean up my studio for the big open studio event. With over 150 other artists opening their studios, it's a huge event. Also it's free, free parking, open to dogs, children, and used to be free booze – so we get large crowds.You can't imagine just how messy and hazardous most studios get. The Point Office is always after us to keep them clean and uncluttered and fireproof, which is good. Many of the artists are there late at night carrying boxes in and out of the building. I take boxes of unfinished paintings home, some of the artists store stuff in theirs cars for the weekend.

This year I have too much of my new series for the amount of walls. Can I hang from the ceiling? On the ceiling? But I guess it's not about quantity.

A friend advised me that my studio at the event always looks too much like a gallery. She advises to be like another artist who has paintings from floor to ceiling and in piles; lots of work; and says "she looks more eager to sell." So yesterday, I managed to precariously lean way over on the ladder and hang some small paintings way up near the ceiling. Looks cluttered. I'll take them down if I can get up there again.

In all my time painting, I have only thrown out one piece and that's because I thought it might be radioactive. I have destroyed many works by painting over them – what I call a "sacrifice" – my private, pagan offering. If the piece being sacrificed was quite good, it lends good energy to the new painting. When these paintings go to someone's collection, I know how much is under the surface and it feels like a multiple sale. 

We are asked to donate a piece of art for the auction. That causes me to go through a lot of older work hunting for something that is great but that I can give away. I get a lot of stuff out which needs work, or framing, or matting. Then I run out of time and shove it all back into the cupboards again. Once I choose a piece, it  simultaneously loses its value and goes up in value – which makes it hard to price.

20th and Rhode Island, 12"x16", plein air

I chose a really nice, little plein air landscape this year. It's a view of a steep hill. I was in an emotionally crisis when I painted it, but sat in the car on the corner all day painting for two days. The edge of the hill is a bit furry. I tried repeatedly to sharpen it but it kept going furry. Maybe it's the horror I was feeling right there on the canvas. And some idiot moved the car. (It's not their fault but still...) As a finished work, it an old-timey 1930s naive quality. I already regret giving it away, but maybe someone will love it as I do.

Going through all the old pieces I can't believe I still have so many. I love them all and I love their flaws. They record the feelings I had throughout my life and each one has a story.

People say "They're like your children, ha, ha, ha." They are the stories of my life – more like my autobiography. It's hard to think of an autobiography where each paragraph is being sent to a different home, forever.

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I bought a new (refurbished) camera to make videos but also shoot stills of my work. So far the camera has turned out to be so complicated and I can't figure out how to get a good focus on the stills. It's taking nice large images but not as sharp as I want. I have read all the directions many times and watched tutorials on youtube. I made my third test yesterday. Close to getting a focus on the smaller works. The big paintings have to go to a professional to shoot.

Anyhow, here is a bad photo of this large new painting, a still life of a pile of stuff with fake fur, animal print and feathers. Needs a title.

What should I call this one?

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Titles submitted by friends and art lovers

During my Spring Open Studio, I showed two of the new tall paintings. To me they feel like figure paintings. I called them “Totems”. One of my visitors said that was kind of a cop out. So I asked the many guests for suggestions and received a lot of wonderful, fun suggestions. See below.
Thank you all for playing. (I have a newer, really nutty painting for title suggestions for next time.)
This painting reminds me of a Madonna because of the blue and the red, and the fact that the Madonna is usually sitting with adoring creatures around her. (Yikes, this is a really bad slide and not actually a final version of the painting.)

Getting ready to move
Garage sale—dog not for sale
Rec and Waiting
Rec in waiting
Family Life
Everyday life
Crap happens
Moving to College
Star wars
What does not belong in this picture
The sound of the phone not answered
Direct TV
What the dog knew
My next trip
Dog Robot
Guarding the goods
Animal Husbandry
Madonna of the Shakeweight

And there's this one:

Silly Goose
Read and Ride
Stacked message
Temperamental Storage room
Garage sale with swan
Getting ready to paint
“Swann’s Way”
Duct tape
Swan contemplating retirement
Swan lake
3-Ring swan
Balanced chaos
Swan song
Swan unplugged
On vacation
Swan library
Bicycle Duck
something with 'Tinguely' in it...

Thanks to the person who suggested Jean Tinguely. I had forgotten all about him. The wonderful robotic sculptures. He used a lot of bicycle wheels. I just read about the piece below in "The bride and her bachelors: five masters of the avant-garde" by Calvin Tomkins. 

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