In the Studio #58

I haven’t had the time I’d like in my studio over the past few weeks, which is a source of great frustration to me as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. However, I have managed to get a few things done to advance a couple projects which were my priorities for the Fall. I’m working on 3 projects currently, one quick drawing series I’m calling “100 Bitter Lemons”, a continuation of my hanging flower pot series “Tim’s Porch Petunia’s” and an abstract series of works I’m calling “Higgins Bosons”.

I think the most significant feeling I have going into these works is one of apprehension. I’m a little scared of each of the series for different reasons. The 100 Bitter Lemons series – which I’d like to blog fully about later – is scary for me because it’s very loose and gestural. I’m always sensitive to how abstract drawings are perceived. These works are designed to be prompt works, the prompt in this case being past relationships as a motivator to draw. I’m trying not to put too much work in each piece to see where my hand takes me. When I was younger an artist who I respect, Joseph Karoly, commented on the gestural quality in my pieces. Joe would say I had great “hand”. Over the years I think I’ve lost some of that looseness which this series is designed to hopefully remedy, or at least harken back to so long as I can not care how others react to the drawings.

The “Tim’s Porch Petunias” pieces are scary – or at least challenging – for me for compositional reasons more than anything. There’s a natural arrangement of the flower pots that the exaggerated orientation of the picture plane prefers as well as the photos I’m using as source materials, but I’m fighting against both these urges to make works that are a bit more compositionally dynamic. It’s hard for me to let artwork I create do what they want to do naturally without forcing an agenda on them. In this case, I’m the only one that would even notice the clever tricks I’m trying to incorporate into these works. Should I be conservative and conventional to create classic works or edgy and maybe push an envelope or two, these are the questions I’ve been asking myself with these final works in this set.

Higgins Bosons are paintings that intimidate me because when they’re done they’ll really show me with my pants down. Underneath most of my paintings is an elaborate skeleton which I’ve detailed here many times before. In this series, I’m letting that skeleton show with a little embellishment from some drawings of the Higgs Boson particle. When their done this small set of 4 paintings will feel more like half-finished works that I’m letting be finished at the secret painting phase.

Here are some images on what’s going on in the studio along with a final shot of a trip to the MOMA on the first day of its reopening a few weeks back.


I’ve been trying to listen to different jazz artists lately, one who I like is the band leader of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Johnathan Batiste. Here’s a piece from his album “Jazz is Now” called “Sunny Side of the Street”

Over the next few weeks I plan to finish at least the 100 Bitter Lemons and Higgins Bosons works with the petunias works likely lasting into December. As I work further on those pieces I’ll blog on them. Until then do be well.

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