Sunday, August 26, 2007

Scratched Out Baby

So I was painting this self portrait.

Sometimes I wear my prop tiaras in the studio. I have a lonely dramatic streak. I like to play act. Sometimes dress up with the absurdist accoutrements of power makes for good self portraiture. But maybe it just makes me vain and silly, repetitive, derivative and naive. I'm not really sure what I'm doing here. Nor am I ever really sure where the doing leads. Not working from nature very much these days (oh imagination and appropriation how you do rule me), I sometimes feel a shock when I look at myself in the mirror. I like having to come to terms with what I think I know with paintings involving direct observation. It fills me with doubt, which is sometimes good for my painting. I scratch things out and hide things. But later I can look at them more clearly. This painting is one of those tiara portrait scratch-outs. Hording drawings and paintings feels better than not hording. There are more of these. I'm less ashamed of them days after I do them. They feel more like process works, getting from here to there. I think I will post more of them in the next few days, I have some from a few weeks before. A kind of autobiography of shame and failure, I almost prefer them to the usual unflinching perfectionism. There is a kind of busy workmanship to so much of the painting I do, that doesn't leave space for the prevailing weakness I so much enjoy in my craft. I like to nurture that weakness, and also my faulty eyes, my shaking hand, as these are the failures which make me most sensitive and kind. What kind of painting is necessary now? I don't really know if there is any kind of painting that is necessary. Certainly not the kind I make. Shoes and food are necessary. I certainly want to see more pleasure and pain commingled with a kind of abrasive Dada play. And surface. We need more surface aggression, pleasure, and play in the studio. No more easy commodities, but definitely more thinking, more observation, and more irreverence. I love the classics and I want them down. I need my play and calculation with brushes like I need a new administration in the White House or a fresh salad with chicken.

"That is why he never finished working... We never see ideas or freedom face to face." - Merleau-Ponty "Cezanne's Doubt" 1948

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Like Butter

Have you ever been to a butterfly conservatory? Its kind of like a zoo / aviary for free flying butterflies. Ah arcane tourist attractions that have astounding pull!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fab Decor

Some snaps of the walls where we stayed. Helena, our innkeeper, was an amazing chef and knew how to find the excellent antiques in Niagra and Ontario.

What's on my travel easel?

I set up next to the American Falls on the Ontario side and had a 5 hour day working on a casual little underpainting. Here's my mini study of the icon.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Self as Thing

I've just started choking down my summer reading. Why oh why do I wait till August for nonfiction? But the first book, "The Tears of Things: Melancholy and Physical Objects" by Peter Schwenger suits me just fine. It seems a subtle treatise for someone like me who purports to paint still life, however bent...