Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On the rocks? No, just chilled, thanks.

I've been so remiss in my posting duties I'm certain that by now any dedicated readership I may once have had has long since evaporated (am I a nerd for LOVING that I was able to get "have had has" logically into a sentence? Yes. Yes I am). End apology.

So... quick catch up. Everything's different now.  I'm officially a Bostonian and no longer a Cantabridgian.  I'm unemployed and working full time at getting another job when I'm not using my bed as a workbench and making art.  I have awesome roommates.  I'm in love with a lawyer. I've sold three paintings in the past couple of months.  And I'm going to church.

So here's a photo of "Judgement Day," the most recent sale and the piece of which I'm currently most proud.  Check out the link to the right where prints are available if you'd like a copy for yourself ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New York Bound

I'll be showing some work in New York this weekend at the West Chelsea Art Building's Open Studios event. 

I'll have pieces in studio 915 and/or 411 through the Suzanne Schultz Gallery.  There's a reception this Thursday from 5 to 7.   I haven't been to New York in ages so I'm looking forward to this. 

There's more info on the event here: http://www.westchelseaartists.com/index.html

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There's more than one way to skin a model

The always amazing Jen Catalano will be stopping by the studio this evening and I'm wicked excited. We're going to coat her in liquid latex so I can photogr aph her tearing herself apart. In the painting I'm planning, the universe will be blasting forth in a single violent moment of creation.

Pics to come if she'll allow it.  Which I doubt she won't.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Put on a happy face

For St Drunky Day, Katie and I scrubbed the shower and advanced the progress of the current work with beer and paint.

This is Katie now that she's finally seen Harold and Maud.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Styrofoam Joy

I've found the perfect yellow.
Prop building continues with the search for the perfect ribbon.


I have to write about Katie.

You don't see these things coming, but they happen.

I'm actively not posting photos of the current series as it develops, so I cannot offer the possibly necessary corroborating evidence, but when she's around I paint more. And better. And think more clearly.

I made the mistake, possibly, of telling her I loved her after I'd obviously been drinking.  She's told me since then she loves me too, and it's apparently a sisterly thing.

That's okay I suppose.

The work is better for her frequent visits and that's good enough for me.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mobile blogging

This is sort of a test. This is a photo from the studio of a current work in progress for a new series. I'm posting through the blogger app on my new smartphone and want to see how well it works. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

29 Newbury Interview

I just got a link to the video filmed by Andrew Swaine for BNN's It's About the Arts in which I and a couple other folks were interviewed at the reception.

I tried to embed the video but it doesn't seem to work, so here's the link!
(don't worry, it's short)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekend Update

I made some good progress yesterday building up the layers I want for this piece.  I started using some metallic silver in a few places and am in love with the way it catches the light.

We'll see how this develops.

For now though, I'm making preparations for the reception later this afternoon for my show at 29 Newbury.

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing everyone there.  If you want to come, you can find the details of the event HERE.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Weekend (Mostly) to Myself

For all intents and purposes, I've got the weekend to myself, which is a rare thing.  Normally my son comes to visit every week, but he's visiting an uncle today, and tomorrow I have an event to attend to which I can't really bring him so we won't get together again until next week.

I owe my employer 3 hours of work today. Tomorrow, I owe 2 hours of work and there's the closing reception for my show at 29 Newbury.  The rest of the weekend however is entirely mine.

This is a painting I started about 7 years ago I think.  I was experimenting with projectors at the time and made this based on a photograph of a one of my very first models, who at the time I took the photo (maybe 13 years ago) was a long-time lover.  The photo I took at that time was originally used as inspiration for a painting I did for a class in which we were exploring impasto techniques. I gave that painting to her and still miss it.  It was one of my best paintings at the time.   In the photo, the shes laying on a large chair, so you'd have to rotate the canvas 90 degrees counter-clockwise to see the actual pose.  But because in the original painting, I'd decided instead to orient her the way you see her above, I decided to do the same thing again in this piece.  Perhaps in certain ways, I wanted the new painting to replace the one I'd given her.

For this painting, however, years later, I wanted to do something more "pop." I spent a few days working on this one, and then just got stuck.  Something wasn't right and I was never quite been able to put my finger on it.  I kept painting different things in the thought bubble and then painting them over, assuming the problem was there. For years.

What I recently came to realize though was that the real problem was the approach itself.  I was looking at this cartoony, pop image as some sort of ideal.  I was trying to make this piece one of a number of extreme deviations from my otherwise compulsive need to create deep, rich textures.  And this was wrong.

I have this great friend named Katie.  She's absolutely beautiful and utterly inspiring.  Lately, I've been having trouble painting and the other day, she came over to visit and I was painting again.

The piece needed more texture.  And color.  And it needed to be messier.  And darker. I also took Katie's advice to heart and reoriented the painting so this poor girl can finally lay down.  I have to fix the hair because of this.  No big deal.

It's not done.  But I've made significant progress.  What I think it boiled down to was that I had to start looking at the traced image as a blueprint- an underpainting- and not the ultimate realization of the idea.

So with my weekend to myself, I'm going to see if I can get some more work done on this without Katie around.  I'm optimistic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Last Tree

"The Last Tree" Acrylic on Canvases: 2010
Back in the summer of 2010, I went up to visit my dad in Maine.  I had painted a picture recently and wanted to give him one.  We hadn't seen each other in a few years and I wanted him to get a sense of my work.

After we arrived, I took a few photos of the painting so I'd have a record of it, and then spent a great week with my dad, my son, and my then-girlfriend.

And then somewhere along the line, I lost the pictures I took of that trip. 

It had been so long since I'd seen the painting I couldn't even remember exactly what it looked like.  And then the other night, I found the SD card with the photos on it. 

Here are a couple of closeups for you:

A huge fan of Dr. Seuss as a kid, I think this piece probably had something to do with The Lorax.  My dad, something of a hermit and definitely a lover of nature, seemed the logical recipient for this one.  I called him yesterday morning to ask him if he'd check the back of the canvas for me, as I always sign, date and put the piece's title there.  Since I couldn't remember what I'd called it, I figured I'd ask him.  It turned out I'd never named this one, so I'm now calling it "The Last Tree."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Show @ 29 Newbury: Reception Feb 12th

I am very happy to announce that I have 13 paintings currently on display at a great gallery/restaurant located at 29 Newbury Street, Boston, MA, 02116, called (creatively) 29 Newbury

 The pieces I've included in this show span ten years of my endeavors, with the centerpiece of the show, "Synaptic Discharge," having been completed in 2001.  The rest of what's now on display is work I created from 2009 to 2011.

The show will be up through the middle of next month, with a closing reception on Sunday, February 12th from 3 to 5pm, so if you'd like to meet up, see my work in person and interrogate me about what the hell I was thinking, you should mark it on your calendar.  I don't know yet if the very lovely and well-renowned bar will be operating during the reception, but I'll do my best to make that happen.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"It's About the Arts" interview with Glenn Williams

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of being interviewed on "It's About the Arts" by the charming Mr. Glenn Williams.  The show airs on BNN Monday nights at 6pm on Boston Cable Channel 9.

My agent Suzanne, of Canvas Fine Arts, set this up for me and is in the studio during this segment.  You can see me looking up at her a few times to see if I'm doing alright.  Suzanne is also the co-host of the show, so she's seen a lot of these and said I did fine.

It should be noted that unfortunately, they've listed my name on the banner that pops up a few times as "James."  Don't worry.  I didn't change my name.  It's still me.

I had a great time.

Naturally, I was a bit nervous.  And I warned Glenn that I can be a bit chatty.  But it was fun.  What was supposed to be a 10 minute interview turned into closer to 14, so he had to sort of rush me at the end, but I think it came out ok.

Here's the video of the portion of this week's show with my interview:

Dishes invading every corner

I sometimes make it sound like I'm being much more productive than I really am.  Lately, I've been sort of stuck.  I keep starting new paintings and being unable to finish them.  I paint fairly often (although not every night, like I often suggest), but lately nothing's getting actually DONE.

I've been thinking about the reasons for this.

First, I blame the dishes.  It's a weird phenomenon, I suppose, and possibly slightly neurotic (or whatever the proper diagnostic term is- I'm no psych expert), but getting the dishes washed seems to dominate nearly every aspect of my life.

Here's how it goes: 

We start with a clean, shiny sink clear of dishes of any kind, and shelves of neatly stacked plates, bowls and glasses filling the cabinets. 

Then, I cook something.  Nothing too elaborate, because I try not to generate too many dishes, but something simple, like boiling up some quinoa or pasta and maybe roasting some veggies to go with it.  Maybe steak and mashed potatoes with broccoli. Maybe just a sandwich.

By the time I'm done cooking, the sink is maybe a third of the way full.  Then I eat.  After adding THOSE dishes to the mix, the sink's about half full.

A few hours go by and then I get hungry again.  I cook and eat again and now the sink's full. It's at exactly this point I should really wash the dishes.

What actually happens is this:

I fret over it.  I avoid it.  I find other things to do instead, like watch TV, compulsively alternate checking Facebook, my email, and the stats for this blog, play Mario Kart or go visit a friend.  Later that night, it's time for bed, so I happily put it off until the morning, having successfully procrastinated.

In the morning, it's time for breakfast, but I skip it because all my dishes are in the sink and heat up some coffee instead.  For the same reason, I then subsist on cigarettes, coffee, and the occasional slice of cheese for sometimes a day or two.

During this entire time, I can't seem to do anything.  First of all, I'm starving.  Secondly, I spend so much time worrying about the dishes that I can't concentrate on getting anything else done. 

At some point, the guilt and the smell are too much for me so I tackle the dreaded dishes.

It takes me all of perhaps 20 minutes.  Maybe less.  And I enjoy doing it as soon as the sponge is in my hand.  I actually LIKE doing the dishes.  And the sense of accomplishment when I'm done is significant.

By now, I'm really starving.  In a bad way.  So I cook something.  And now I'm right back to square one, avoiding washing dishes like the plague.

I'll be entirely honest here.  This is one thing about myself, like many others, that I really don't understand at all.

It's sort of like when I was really little, I remember resisting bath time like my life absolutely depended on it.  Later, I'd have to be dragged out of the tub because I was having such a grand old fun time.

Every night.

Yeah... I don't make any sense to me either.

Other than the dishes, there seems to be another issue affecting my ability to paint.  Namely: people.

I like to think of myself as a recluse.  My whole life has been spent trying to get away from people and get some privacy. 

And apparently, I finally won.

Now I live alone in a single room, work from home at a job that requires I be there 7 days a week, do my artwork at home, and basically only see people during daylight hours if I step out for cigarettes or groceries, or when I hang out with my son on weekends.

So I find myself craving human contact.  I don't socialize with any one person every day except when I buy my smokes from Tommy, the Chinese guy who owns the convenience store across the street, whose terrible English is possibly overshadowed only by his unabashed racism. 

Luckily, he doesn't seem to hate white people and he seems to like me, so it's slightly less awkward than I suppose it could be.

I don't plan a lot of social engagements ahead of time, because I try to keep my evenings open if the mood to paint strikes, but then I often end up sitting around messing with the internet instead of painting, wishing I was out doing something with a real live person instead.

So I've been trying to be more social.  I played an epic game of Settlers of Catan the other night with a buddy who also had the Seafarer's expansion and that was awesome.  And I went to a party last week I heard about on Craigslist of all places and where I knew absolutely no one except the friend I brought as murder insurance.  And that was really fun too. 

Good people. No murder.  Lots of art and fantastic food.

But at this point, I wonder if even were I out every night would I feel fully socialized? 
I'm not sure.  Maybe I just need to meet the right woman.

At any rate, I'm fairly happy overall with my life right now.  What painting IS getting done is mostly good.  My job gives me equal amounts of time to myself and things to complain about, both of which are important to me.  I live someplace I love, have great friends and a son I love more than I'd ever have thought possible.

Now I just need to figure out the whole painting thing again. Maybe I should just move someplace with a dishwasher.

Speaking of which, I've got a sink full of dishes right now, so I'd better go find something else to do instead as quickly as possible.

While I'm doing that, you should check out my FineArtAmerica page, where you can purchase the newly-available prints of "Small is Home, and Far Away" at 16x the painting's original size, starting at only $22!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stepping Stones

I've been really busy lately.  Christmas with family, New Year's Eve with friends.  That was good.  Then last week I went to an art party in Somerville and met some really cool people, which was great. 

Last night, I was interviewed on BNN and hopefully will have a copy of the video soon.  I'm still scrambling to get everything ready for my show at 29 Newbury, which has been rescheduled to run mid-January to mid-February. 

I'm working right now on a larger piece (30" x 40") painting over an old canvas from probably around 2002 I never finished.  It's progressing steadily, but very slowly- which is strange for me.  I generally work more impulsively, but I've been enjoying the planning of narratives lately.

Also, I'm pretty sure I have the flu.  Or something.  So that's complicated matters.  If this post seems disjointed or otherwise jump-aroundy, blame the Sudafed.