Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Progress of Patience

This image is the Day 8 post on my Daily Painting blog. It's called Over & Over Again.

I am posting it here because this composition has given me pause. The process of completing a painting every day, for only a week so far, has been very liberating. Yet, in the studio with my bigger works I am at a bit of a loss! "What was I doing"?

In the words of the great teacher: Patience Pays. I do know that it is good to be a little lost, in order to find the road less traveled. I am working hard at releasing the notion that I have to finish pieces by some imagined or real deadline, or that what lurks in my mind's eye matters so much. They have a life of their own.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Introducing my New Blog

Here is a sneak peek at a few pieces displayed on my new sister-site Daily Paintings: Art and Sadhana
This site is dedicated to showing a new painting each day. Check it out for more information and the first three posts!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finding the Essence

All irony intended, I feel that I have hit a WALL with my recent work. Flat and impenetrable. That is not my goal. My curiosity for dismantled homes is not only a question of composition and aesthetics; but also the vibration that remains of the stories played out between the walls.

So what now? I am trying to play more...to explore the essence of the images I document and not simply replicate them with paint.

The other day I pulled out a box of collage materials gathered on my many walks around the city and the villages here in Mallorca.  Above you see some examples of a bunch of collages which will serve as under-paintings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trust the Process

I want to share with you a book I am reading for the third time...I pick it up when I know my work is stuck and I need a good teacher. 

It's called 'Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go' by Shaun McNiff and published by Shambhala. He is actually from Beverly, Massachusetts, the city where I was born. You can read more about him here. The following is a quote that makes A LOT of sense to me in considering my approach to art-making.

"It seems that whenever I really want to do well, I am more likely to contradict these basic principles of creation (letting the unique qualities of unplanned gestures and color combinations emerge through the process of painting). If it is an especially important event, I am apt to plan too much. As I deliver the performance I realize I am following a script.  There is no magic unless unplanned expressions arrive to infuse the performance with a spontaneous vitality".

The thing is, even when I don't have a specific deadline, I feel that it is 'especially important' and that I want to do well because:
a. I am recovering perfectionist; 
b. I have made a lot of sacrifices to follow this path;
c. I balance so many other devotions and responsibilities, that studio time is PRECIOUS, I want to make it count.

The photos above were taken in La Llonja and Sa Quadrada districts in Plama de Mallorca...I've been looking closer at the walls.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Loosening up...

Now that I have had a few months distance from the bulk of work I have already created using building facades as a theme, I recognize that they are far too static for my liking. I am not throwing out a line for compliments, this is a genuine critique of the work as it stands alone but also with respect to the concept, which is important to me.

I am so curious about these exposed walls as cross-sections of lifetimes spent in the formerly closed quarters. So...where is the life in the paintings? The energy, the movement...I have a tendency to 'over-work' surfaces; and in the end usually prefer my drawings and under-painting to the finished product.

So, today I tried to loosen up- let the image breathe and no be so tied to the original photo I took. I incorporated some text, some stream of consciousness writing about the seemingly haphazard approach to home reforms in many Mallorcan towns. Then it occurred to me that I occasionally meet someone who lived in or next to the buildings I am painting...I AM GOING TO INTERVIEW THESE PEOPLE. Stay tuned for further development!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Iranian Calligraphy Art

Bahram Hanafi Baghchejegh
Born in 21 March 1966


Calligraphy & Graffiti

To follow-up on my last post, here are some of my pieces from 2000 - 2002 which show my interest in calligraphy. I have always used text of some sort in my work, up until about a year ago. I have taken a break from this ritual to free my paintings from a, perhaps, too specific interpretation. Looking at this older work of mine and that of José Parlá (http://joseparla.com/home.html) I am reminded that language does not have to be read to add richness and conversation to a piece.

Artwork by José Parla

Run, don't walk to see this beautiful artwork by José Parla. Although the result is quite different, what inspires him is very similar to my current muse: urban archeology, a rythym of layers expressing individual and community experience amongst the inevitable cycle of progress and change. This is aptly described in his bio. His work is at once totally contemporary and archetypical, calling on centuries of written and creative expression. Beyond the immediate reference to graffiti and urban signage, I see delicate pages from Da Vinci's sketchbooks, Arabic text, and the ephemeral depth of Monet's waterlilies. Seeing this work has catapulted me back into the studio, it is so good to be reminded of the beauty in everything that surrounds us.

Within the 'walls' of the edifices I have been documenting, I hope to develop such an exquisite attention to surface depth and vibrance! SIGH...

An enormous thanks to Luis in Berwick Brooklyn for sharing this with me.