In the Studio #45

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to blog about anything, since June in fact. I think for a while the blog had felt like an assignment that I gave to myself and I began to wonder why, so I decided to put it (the blog) down for a while to see if I’d miss it, and lo and behold I did. There must have been a dozen times over the last few months that I wanted to say something but got to busy to get to it. Well I’m here waiting for paint to dry in my studio and so I thought no time like the present.

Anthony Smith Jr Pilot (Or How Do You Stop a Flying Dreadnought) No 6 mixed media

Since I last blogged I finished Pilot number 7 (see above), and I think it’s probably my favorite of the set. I’m now in the middle of the final painting in the series and it’s the piece I’ve dreaded the most as it is the culmination work. I feel lots of pressure to tie all of the dangling thematic threads together in this one work and it might be too much for this one piece to bare. Unfortunately, that means I might have to leave some of my ideas out of the work.

This painting is supposed to hearken back to the first Pilot piece I did back in 2014, using many of the same motifs. It’s supposed to also incorporate various elements from the other works in the series as well, but for the most part I’m trying to stick to those first original themes. These themes include my large stencils of lions, dragons, octopuses etc; crowns, the royal set of my stylized pictographs, and scrolled signs of Latin phrases ( in this case reading ‘it is possible to achieve victory over death‘). Here’s what the first painting in the series looks like:

Anthony Smith, Pilot, Or How Do You Stop A Flying Dreadnaught 1, 32 x 48 inches, mixed media painting, 2014 large

I’ve spent much of the last month and an half just painting backgrounds and under-painting/ secret paintings for this work so I feel like I’m just now starting to engage in the monumental challenge of populating this world I’m building. Unfortunately, because I’m such a slave to my method (and a perfectionist to boot) I can’t move forward until every last detail of this background image is complete. It might take another week or so before the parade of gesticulating characters arrives to dance and play on my technicolor streets. Here’s where the last Pilot painting stands today:


Though I’ve found this series exhausting I’m happy that I’ve attempted it. Doing these paintings reminded me that I can still do big things, even in my 40’s. I’m so looking forward to January when all eight works will be on display at the ArtsQuest Steelstacks in Bethlehem Pa. This upcoming show will represent not just an artistic accomplishment, but also a deeply personal success as well since I’m not the same person I was when these paintings began. Looking back on all the pieces together will be like a life journey of sorts, allowing me to see how I’ve grown and changed over these last 4 years.

I’ve gone through about a dozen different musical obsessions since June which I hope to circle back to and blog about in the future, however; my latest interest is Frank Ocean, particularly his last CD “Blond”. Here’s my favorite track on that record, it’s called “Pink + White”. Hope you enjoy.

Okay that’s it for now. I’ll try to blog again later this month after this last Pilot painting is finally completed. Until then, do be well.

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