In the Studio #64

I’ve been working hard in the studio, taking advantage of my consecutive days off the best I can. This week I finally got the lumber I need to put the first four 12 Gnostic Confessions pieces together and continued work on my Sea if Japan and Mercury paintings. That brings to 9 pieces I’ll be simultaneously working on at once which is near a record. I feel this urgent need to create as much work as possible now and get it out into the world to work for me.


Here’s a potted plant at an exes place that I find so beautiful. Its the phoenix plant, it nearly died a dozen times but has survived somehow. My model for perseverance this week.

It’s really interesting to work in the studio and see the things that you’re pouring yourself into be turned into a means to an end. I was joking with a friend earlier in the week and said that I often look at a painting as a cell phone bill or rent or car payment or merely as the work that will get me that shows I need to take the next step up that ladder. It’s not always the most encouraging way to look at work, but I’m finding it inspiring because I’ve had so much career ambition lately and feel like I’m on the verge of something big if I can only keep the engine running hot.

This week the Sea of Japan pieces were my priority, but only because they seemed to be speaking to me, not because it was a particular plan. In making these pieces I realized how responsive my art-making has become to online formats like Instagram. I find that I have been making more square and horizontal or landscape format pieces because they show better online. Also, I think my pallet, which is always colorful, has moved into a decidedly Fauve direction, free of the normal heavy dark outline element which is normally featured in my work. I dig this direction because it makes me feel like I’m responding to a larger system and not working as such an automaton, though when you realize an algorithm is dictating your choices it naturally creeps you out a bit.

I’m trying with the Sea of Japan pieces to let the Hiroshi Sugimoto photos on which they are based inspire me rather than dictate terms of engagement. It’s an interesting process for me because the urge to make a faithful reproduction of the photograph is so great. What I have to remember though is that I’m making a painting and not a photograph, and so I find the playful stroke(ie) mess I’ve made in these first two pieces of this four-piece set delightful and irreverent.

Here are Sea of Japan Nos. 1 and 2, inspired by Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs of the sea and ocean.

The Mercury painting is at no place that is significant as of yet.  Next week I expect it will be at a more critical juncture. The actual stretcher bars I made for the piece are some of the best I’ve made yet so I’m relieved that the piece will actually sit flat on the wall. I’m happy my carpentry skills are retuning to me somewhat. I can’t wait until next week when I can tear into that dreamy NASA Mercury photo and put my own spin on it.

Here are some images of the happening in the studio this last week.

Every once in awhile I’ll listen to some spare song that Pandora selects for me and find it really haunting and beautiful. While at other times I go to standards that simply get me revved up so I can move. For this week the quiet song is from Gabriel Garzon-Montano and is called “6 8”. The second song is from my favorite metal/punk band Every Time I Die and is called “Glitches”. Here are the Youtube videos of those songs


I think I’ll finally be able to focus on my Mercury painting and Gnostic Confessions next week. I’m gearing up for a slate of contest submissions so I’m hoping some of this work I’ve been pumping out will find a receptive audience somewhere. I think I’ll next blog about First Friday if there’s something to talk about. Until then do be well.

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