In the Studio #83

The studio has been humming with activity lately, with the prospects of moving to a steady stream of non-commission personal projects on the horizon. I managed to finish my latest installment of Puppet Pal Friends in a little over two weeks, and the experience working on the series gave me that little bit of hand-looseness I needed to go back into my big commission landscape piece, “Field Trip”, and finish the work.

After months of feeling like my new studio was someone else’s space that I was just borrowing for a spell, I can finally say I feel in my own element in #242. When I arrive most evenings after work I feel at peace, and ready to tear into work. Lately I’ve actually had to start jotting down project priorities because I get too inspired and can easily find myself doing a dozen pieces at once if I’m not too careful.

I have this feeling that’s been growing in my mind for a few months now that a great explosion of interest in the arts, specifically in buying art, is around the corner. Pent up demand to go “out” has made the whole country feel like a high schooler with spring fever. In the past when I’ve felt like this I took the gamble of making all sorts of work in the hopes that something would catch. I can’t really afford to paint all the pieces I’d like right now, which has never really stopped me in the past from trying. At least this time around this hunch, that audiences are thirsting for something new, makes my over-production feel justified in some sense.

Here’s “Field Trip”, 4 x 6 feet in acrylic, mostly.

I think the spring and the light changing has affected my pallet. When finishing my big landscape painting ‘Field Trip”, I noticed that the blues and greens I used became more vibrant over the 6 months it took to make the work. Now I don’t have a window in my studio but the walls don’t go up to the ceiling all around my space. However, sometimes light from the studios around me, which do have windows, pour into my room. That little bit of extra light really does get into the work, filling them with air, and well lightness, that I feel has freshens my little babies lately as winter moves into spring and summer. The last work in the Puppet Pal friend series I did this year perhaps most exemplifies this airiness.

Another thing that’s happening in the studio lately that I think influences my work is a sense of urgency, panic and anxiety. My colleagues are all doing hot work, which is by design because I try to associate myself with the best artists I know. And so their successes in sales and in output from their studios influences the types of works I do and the quantity. Artists at my meager level often have anxieties about the direction of their careers and what they’re doing with their art. And while in this forum I have often lamented this constant state of affairs, more times then not it’s a type of jet-engine fuel that drive output. I regard these more social pressures as a negative yet natural response that I try to harness for positive results.

So the latest piece I’m working on right now is another cedar shingle work. This piece I’m calling “When Ken-Ken Whistled Sweetly At Me”. The painting taps into a memory of one of the first boy I had a crush on as a child. It’s perhaps the best place to leave things this post because it is about memory and longing. Works like these feel more impactful because they are so personal. While often what others do can inspire as I just alluded to sometimes the best fuel for work is your own experiences. As a somewhat melancholic man with a sense of wanderlust one thing I have plenty of is off-kilter experiences and loads of nostalgia, so I imagine this new inner push to express myself creatively in an autobiographical fashion will continue.

Here’s progress on “When Ken-Ken Whistled Sweetly At Me”

Over the course of the nearly month its taken me to get this blog post out I’ve listen to an incredible array of music, far to much to list here. But they all seem to settle into a soft adult contemporary range. Last month I was obsessed with the group/artist Homeshake, but after listening to them for way to long I finally got a bit bored and let my Pandora stream me into new artists similar to them. That’s when I found I think my most interesting discover of the past few month, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I’m sure I’ve come across them in the past but this time I dove into their catalog. I think two of my favorite songs from them is “Multi-Love”, from the CD of the same name and “The Internet of Love”, from their record “Sex and Food”. Here are some YouTube vids of these tracks.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with stuff lately. I’m at this phase in life where I feel like I can’t fool around anymore and where every risk has to pay off. Its incredibly stressful, but its the only way I know how to succeed and move forward especially since I’m getting older by the second. Its hard to relax when you have a personality like mine. I have to work constantly between my day job and selling artwork to make ends meet, and so every accomplishment feels like pyrrhic victories, because I’m so tired at the end of the day all I can stand to do is drink and collapse into bed. I think the worse thing you can say to a person like myself is that your a failure-to-launch type of person. And so I grind on, trying my best to endure it all. I mention this here because I’d like to explore these feeling more in future posts. I’d like to arrive at some type of balance in my life and with my art and often talking out these feelings helps me settle on a course of action. Ok so until next time do be well and get vaccinated, but only if you want.

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