Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Sur Wildfire

A friend just sent me pictures of his dad's home by the ocean in Big Sur. Some of you might have heard about the horrible wildfires that struck across California last month. Its amazing the house didn't get taken along with it. Hoping to drop down there for a visit this fall to make some artwork...more on this soon. I've always wanted to spend some time in Big Sur.

Claus Gorge owned this home up until his death last november. Why is this guy so important that i write about him? I'm not too sure, except that i have found myself immediately curious about this man, and his life in Big Sur. What's exciting is that i have not had the opportunity to understand another artists' life lived by actually getting to spend time in the place where they lived their life, and to perhaps stand one day in the shoes of a man who has many stories to tell. I'm honored to be invited to this place, to this home.

His son, Justin, is a friend of mine, and has welcomed me to get to know the life of his dad by seeing his body of art down at the house this Fall, to read his journals, and to generally spend some time creating my own artwork in the pristine environment Big Sur has to offer. Here are a few images that Justin sent me. The fire almost reached the house....lucky for us it went back down the hillside.

More on this project the meantime, i'm still painting and getting ready for Open Studios in San Francisco. I plan to position the work as references to these wildfires here in California, the detruction they bring with them, and the new vibrancy that comes afterward, new growth out of the ashes of our burned past. Its also a metaphorical reference to personal struggles i've had more recently, and clearing away the old to make room for the new. Another mandala in life.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Calvary of the Tanners

I've found myself in a departure back to old Flemish paintings after a three day visit from some out of town friends. They took me back, when i least had expected it.

On Edo.....sigh....

I attempted the Edo Flower studies in acrylic, and actually found myself a little wanting afterward. The reference imagery i was working from were moreso woodblock prints, and in that regard, weren't challenging enough on the acrylic painting side, and very "blocky," so now i'm moving on a bit to more developed paintings of hands. My hope is to really start focusing in on painting bones and flesh, and to dive deep into old Flemish pieces. Now that the boys are gone, there'll be alot more time to myself in the coming 6-8 weeks as i have to get ready for Open Studios here in San Francisco.

Here are some fleshy-boney hand paintings i found along the way. My friend Brett Amory, an artist here in San Francisco, has been talking with me alot about cools and warms when doing figurative work, and also, after my friend's stay here with me in SF, and his apparent love affair with oils, i've been thinking about starting to work with them, but don't really feel myself so drawn to them. I'm actually more inclined to go back to gouache, or even better yet attempt egg tempera.

More soon....



Saturday, August 2, 2008

Edo and Postman Pat

Hello friends.
Last year i spent alot of time developing color palette, and also in study of the German silhouette film artist Lotte Reiniger. I mostly fell in love with silhouette film work because it embodied those things that i found fascinating about my childhood watching clay-mation type cartoons like Postman Pat in England. (circa 1980)

But today, i want to look to other influences that have always been there but i've never really addressed, one being early japanese manga, woodblock prints, and learning how to incorporate those styles even more to my work. I also find it interesting to look at the turn of the century and how there was a strong non-verbal dialog between european artists and asian art, and how i believe we are witnessing a "NEO-Japonisme" of today, or a new "Japonisme" of today.

A picture of Hiroshige, and a similar painting by Van Gogh
inspired by Hiroshige


So with that, i'm starting to witness this in myself more and more, and i will be looking at artists of the Edo period such as Katsushika Hokusai, Hiroshige,Katsukawa Shunshō, Kanō Masanobu, and many more i'll be researching in the coming weeks. I am finding it particularly interesting to study flowers in their works and also metaphoric meanings in dreams of tidal waves and its relation to spiritual realms.

Some images from the Edo period....
The Great Wave off Kanagawa


I recently finished three new pieces for an upcoming show at Opera Gallery this fall, and begin now, on my body of work for Open Studios in San Francisco. This is a departure, as it was last year too, for me, in that, i plan to delve into a study of Hokusai flowers for a bit. Not sure how many paintings i'd like to do yet, but i find his works amazing, beautiful, and iconographic in many ways.

I also, want to take a step away from painting people over these next few paintings, develop my skillsets in other areas, and focus my detailing on other objects but still maintaining color palettes and techniques found this summer. Doing all this, as a study, so that i might incorporate this learned and developed styling into future paintings, landscapes, and exploring all this within continuing to work with acrylic paint.

Much love anyone reading.. :)