In the Studio #52

Several month back a friend of my from New York noticed the beginnings of a trend in my work towards floral painting and connected that perhaps it was due to all the ugliness, despair and uncertainty in the world these days. I’m not exactly sure what motivates me to paint other than a desire for recognition that might lead to a life totally devoted to artistic production. I’m equally unsure if times weren’t always desperate and uncertain, or if in a few years the times of this era might be considered the good ‘ol days. I know for myself I look back on the 2000’s and even the 90’s with a bit of nostalgia that glosses over much of the cultural/political baggage in the air then. This turn to flowers, specifically pansies and petunias, in my painting has presented a nice respite from my normal process which is usually more serialized, narrative, abstract and frankly obtuse. I relish sitting in abstract spaces so this break from my typical working mode has given me much needed time to recharge those engines of creative abstract expression.

What makes these plant paintings so appealing is that I found a way to incorporate my agenda into these pieces by giving each piece a ridiculously layered surface, and by adhering to a certain code of material application. First papering a surface, then collage, then drawing, then coating with enamel, and finally covering with a mostly acrylic collage surface that is what is seen by the viewer. The various secret abstract paintings are still present underneath, but what remains on the surface carries a broader appeal. Working in this way is certainly a compromise. I often have to bite my tongue when someone says that they like these flower paintings more than my normal work, or that the style is somehow markedly different. I’ve more or less contented myself with the fact that a certain amount of production in my studio needs to be devoted to this style of work just as a marketing strategy. I will say however the challenge of playing with the pallet knife is about the most fun I’ve had in my studio over the last year, and for that reason alone I am thankful for this course change in my practice.

Here a survey of the floral paintings I’ve made since last summer. I have a few more in mind for this summer before I hopefully change course again to paint and draw new fully abstract works.

I used to really be into the Yeah Yeah Yeahs back during the 2000’s and found myself listening to them again a few weeks back. I always imagine myself singing one of their songs at a karaoke bar and just rocking out to an unassuming and sedate crowd. My singing voice is horrible so I don’t think I’ll actually torture anyone with a rendition of their hits. Here are a couple songs from a short concert CD they did about a decade ago called “Is Is”. I like the songs “Rockers to Swallow” and “Kiss Kiss”. Here are some YouTube videos of the songs


Okay, I’ve been promising a blog on my thoughts on black abstraction for a while and I actually started it two weeks ago before I got distracted by life. In my thoughts on the subject I think what I’m rounding to has something to do with thinking about blackness as the ultimate abstraction for which black Americans are particularly adept at excelling at and appreciating, if given the effort. I’ll think on it some more and hopefully have a post about it shorty. Until then do be well.

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