In the Studio #74

This week I feel like I caught up with myself and am now more or less on track with where I feel like I need to be in the studio. I finally finished Gnostic Confessions No. 3 and made the final Earth paintings’ panel. I also finally began work on a pair of bouquet paintings I call “Adela’s Bouquet” and “Adela’s Bouquet, Two Weeks Later”. I feel like I collect all this frustration from not being able to paint or be in my studio, due to my having to work my full-time job all week, and then I explode with all this productivity when I’m at the Banana Factory. It leaves me feeling very exhausted and always hungry for that always-right-around-the-corner opportunity that will liberate me from the burden of W-2 employment. A friend once said that I am my own rescue so I try not to dwell on such fantasies for very long, but when your dog-tired from working essentially 7 days a week on of two jobs – sometimes painting does feel like a “job” in the bad sense – then you indulge in a vacation fantasy from time to time.

The primary goal this week was to finally finish Gnostic Confessions No. 3. Here it is all gleaming and waxy-shinny:

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The most fun and challenging aspect of making these Gnostic Confessions pieces is adding the waxy, encaustic layer at the very end of the process. Fun because it’s like playing with fire. The molten encaustic is temperamental. It’s homemade and has a tendency to separate, but I love painting and pouring it all over the edges, sides and select interior portions of the piece. The challenging part is making sure the encaustic serves a compositionally useful purpose and is not just ornamental. I’m somewhat divided on its actual compositional usefulness since the gel medium does a lot of what encaustics do, especially the translucent encaustics I use. But it does give the works an aquarium feel, making the piece feel like it’s a world within a world which is hard to translate in photos

Finishing Gnostic Confessions 3 felt like a real accomplishment for me and it freed up creative energy allowing me to consider new work and begin long planned pieces. Before I tackled the three works I preplanned months ago this last week I took some much needed time to think about what comes next. I’m feeling this energy surrounding the Black Lives Movement and feel a calling to make work which responds in my own way to the racial animus occurring. There was a recent incident in Allentown where I live in which a cop detained a suspect using the same neck-pressing tactic that killed George Floyd. The offending officer was exonerated and allowed to return to work. This of course has set off a storm of protests locally. I though that I might return to those cedar shingle works once again to see what I can come up with. The two other pieces “Matthew Likes Darkies Best” and “Kenny’s Carpetbaggers Lament” seemed to work so well. I made one of the two panels I need for the work I’d like to create and began playing around with some ideas. I think what I’m interested in is the disposable nature of black bodies which I’ve mentioned on occasion before. To this end I’ve been scouring my burgeoning folders of collage materials looking for the right images to use. Like with the other cedar shingle works I made in the past, this one too will involve sheet music from a bygone less tolerant era.

The main event this week after I did my little bit of play was to finally begin work on my still to be titled Earth painting and my bouquet flower painting duo “Adela’s Bouquet”. It was very emotional for me to build the last panel in this planet series, the works were and are a massive and still untested gamble for me. I’ve only sold one of the eleven panels in the set making for an expensive venture to date. My hope is that the ten remaining pieces might make for a ready-made show somewhere triggering more sales in the future. In any case, the preparation of the panel thankfully went off without a hitch, and beginning this next week I’ll begin the build-up the secret painting layer.

My series “Adela’s Bouquet” is turning out nicely as well. The underdrawings seemed to get good responses when I uploaded them to Instagram last week, enough that I plan to upload them for poster sale on saatchi.com where I sell my work online. People often tell me to stop at this point, sometimes quite angrily. I’m glad I have the confidence enough in myself to not be dissuaded from my vision because of the opinions of others. This is not to say I don’t listen to advice, it just means that I make efforts to blend advice into what I already know is true for me so that I’m not washed here and there by the currents of public opinion. These flower painting are also inspiring me to look at other botanical scenes and so I think the late summer and fall will be devoted largely to nature painting.

 

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This last week I found myself searching for a new sound to replace my Khruangbin obsession and I stumbled – thanks to Pandora – into this group called Moonchild. They sound very much like another group I adore, Hiatus Kaiyto. I’ve just started listening to the group’s catalog and like their album “Voyager” especially the songs “Hidaway” and “The List”. Here are a couple YouTube videos of these songs.


I continue to be slower than normal with blogging which I’m working on rectifying. I tend to bundle all my creative activities around my days off work and sometimes things fall off the list. Again I blame time-vampires. This next week I plan to get my Earth planet painting at least to the underdrawing phase and to get a good paint ground on the two Adela’s Bouquet pieces. With any luck I’ll be back on schedule by the end of the week. Until then be safe and well.

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