Monday, August 22, 2011

Hooray swimming

I need to try some other batteries to see if they will allow for functional camera and WIP, but then haven't done much painting the past couple weeks until the past couple days. The air conditioner was out, so my studio was not very habitable. Lots of back and forth between house, air conditioned place, house-pet sitting, work. I did get some drawing done in the air conditioned places... where I didn't get the paper all damp...

Anyway, not me in the photo - not sure who he is, but looks like he's having a swell time. The photo is by French photographer, Jacques Henri Lartigue. I found it amongst the interesting tidbits at Ancient Idustries blog.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Salon Show

I just put paintings up at 4001 Duval Salon in Hyde Park - they welcome walk ins - yes, it is at 4001 Duval. Most of the works are having their premiers in the neighborhood (I couldn't help putting up, "Winter Coats"), but this one, below, is having it's first showing anyplace.

Courtier 2 x 3 feet acrylic on canvas

The puppy is modeled after my sister's little poodle, but rather than going for a likeness, which would depict something like terrified, I went for mischievous. It doesn't show very well, but the ochre ground blends into gold around the middle of the canvas. The shade is taken from a Japanese screen with which Peter Marino was posing in an issue of Architectural Digest I picked up several years ago; the pillow is borrowed from Francois Boucher - he used it in that painting of Louise O'Murphy.

Here's some work in progress:

Unusual for me, a still life, but for some reason I feel a compulsion to make some at present. Partially, I'm interested in the challenge of making interesting still lives. A couple others pending.

I'm re-using several older canvases, the ones that look too muck like wallpaper, as well. Obviously the old ones (framed in black) are no longer available...

Still figuring out at what the pigeon is looking: magazine, book, newspaper, Austin Chronicle.

Another still life:

This one is now cut down into several segments, two of which are here undergoing work.

Ceramics from Hokusai and Venus statue a great aunt gave me when she moved from her house in Texas to a smaller one in Louisiana.

This is a painting by a San Francisco artist I like, Deth P Sun, that I bought a few years ago from a show at Motel Gallery, now Motel Projects, in Portland, Oregon...

...that I'm using (with the artist's permission, of course) in the other fragment of the painting. Almost a still life, this one - pigeon peeking in from the one side.

With all the artists, Cy Twombly, Hedda Sterne, Lucien Freud, dying lately, it is perhaps odd that I shall conclude with a memorium for a Japanese singer (and not an English one), but of more personal relevance is the singer Isshi, from the band Kagrra, who died last month.

Kagrra split up earlier this year and I haven't enjoyed their later as much as earlier work, but a favorite band nonetheless, combining guitar-focused pop and traditional Japanese sounds in a compelling way. A number of videos on youtube: "haru urara," and, "omou," are songs I particularly like.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Well, why has it taken so long for me to follow up on my Canada post with the collaborative painting that Mali and I did while I was there? Well, I've been letting my hair grow out and I've taken up pen-and-ink correspondence for the majority of my missives and getting the right feathers for my new hat... MON DIEU!

...and these shoes! You surely can't suppose they came from some, "shoe store?"

I've been into the mid-seventeenth century Dutch painters of late, finding bits, mainly the textiles covering the tables, to incorporate into my own paintings; learning a bit more about that whole milieu. This painting is Gabriel Metsu's, "Man Writing a Letter," from the National Gallery of Ireland (presently it's in D.C. for a Metsu show - I WANT TO GO). Right now I'm taking a break with Hikaru no Go, but otherwise, have been pouring over Metsu and de Hooch with a little Ochterveldt and Mieris thrown in.

Reading as well as looking at pictures, yes. A little annoying how little is known about these artists from such recent history, and how little is known about many aspects of life of the period, but that's an interesting aspect of history: how little we do know and how little can be even extrapolated with certainty. The removal of biographical information, however, does make it possible to look at the pictures in their own lights, as it were - no Picasso to separate from the Picassos. The scholarship seems interesting, though, regarding the period in which Metsu, et al. lived and worked, so of course my reading list has gotten longer.

Tangent city.

Anyway, here's the painting Mali and I did when I was in Calgary.

This is a good example of how little a photograph can tell you about a painting. The long, green streak is a pretty thick drip and some of the squares on the right side (some of which aren't visible) are lozenges formed with acrylic medium. Sneaky Mali started taping the side for squares just when I was coming in to paint the figure, so we hashed it over an made some space, so that part is odd for me since it isn't conceptually where or exactly how I would have put it in my own work, but it ended up well balanced - I was going for something kind of David Salle.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back from Canada

...and this is the image I choose to depict Calgary? Ah, the things that impress us Austinites...

To be honest, though, not many of my Calgary photos came out to my satisfaction (for public exhibition) and I really didn't take that many since I was pretty busy the whole time!

Another successful Art forMS this year: raised a good bit of money for the M.S. Society; had a swell party; and some quality artwork found new homes. Yet again, Mali collected a fine batch of work from artists around Calgary and beyond (e.g. Austin, TX). I, personally, enjoyed this years art even more than last time's and would like to have gone home with a haul of new artwork (at some pretty fantastic, bargain prices), but, alas....$.

However, I did get a nice gift of one of the artworks. Mali's husband's mother gave me this swell, little painting from the auction as a thanks for helping out with the event.

What a great, little fellow! I'm totally loving it! I haven't been able to get a satisfactory photo, but this one, "Powdered," is by Ljubica "Luba" Todorovic. Most of her work is more abstract and larger, as you will see when you visit her website. I saw one of those when I visited her shop; want one of those, too...

The days leading up to Art forMS were busy, but less crazy than last year since Mali is very well organized and last year's event provided a good template for this year's. The day following Art forMS, Saturday, Mali, Ben (husband), Miles (son), and I went to an open house and glass blowing demonstration at Bee Kingdom, a popular Calgary glass studio (which has donated works to Art forMS). It's newest member, Kai (who also, independently donated a work this year), demonstrated his particular method, in which a work is constructed from multiple, sculpted, segments of glass.

Saturday evening Mali and I headed out to High River, a little town about half-an-hour South of Calgary, for an opening at Evanescence Gallery which shows Mali's work. Here she is with one of her paintings at the gallery:

You can, of course, keep up with Mali at her website.

Sunday, I helped Mali shuffle paintings for and attended Calyx, a group art show/sale that takes place a couple weekends of the year in Calgary and Edmonton. I think more jewelry and that sort of thing sells than artwork, but Mali sold a couple paintings - that's always exciting - and just heard she sold another, good-sized piece in Edmonton.

Also at Calyx, I met artist, Lisa Brawn, who was not only showing there, but also has work at Evanescence Gallery, other places in Calgary, and here in Austin at Yard Dog Gallery. Mali came across and pointed out to me the Yard Dog ad featuring one of Lisa's woodblock paintings in an Austin Monthly magazine I'd brought, telling me that she runs into Lisa's work everywhere lately. Anyway, Lisa's work involves carving an image onto a wood block which, instead of being used for prints, is painted with color and then black on the lines that would make black lines on a print: quite striking and cool pictures... sculptures?

After the whirlwind weekend, we took things a bit easier. I spent some time building Lego constructions, kicking around a beach ball, and blowing bubbles (the blue ones don't work so well) with Miles; had some delicious Indian food with Mali and Ben one evening; ran some errands; watched a movie about surfing penguins; visited some art galleries; hung out with Darcy and Greg at DaDe; general hanging out.

I'll need to get pictures of the results, but Mali and I also did some collaborative painting. That may be a good feature of its own.

The day before my departure, we all went out to Canmore, a little town in the mountains outside of Calgary where we had coffee, stopped into several shops and galleries. None of my pictures gives a clear idea of the town, but here is one scene that includes an amusing, old building and a view of the mountains that surround the town.

Calgary had snow the first couple or so days I was there, then it was mostly clear with some rain during one part of the day or another. Not much Springtime action as far as green was concerned...

That evening Mali and I went to art openings at Art Central, a collection of galleries, etc. in a building in downtown Calgary. Luba's shop, which has already moved at this writing, was there, so we visited her there where she was featuring work by her husband, photographer Sean Esopenko; Lisa Heinricks, another Art ForMS artist, at Stoneworx Gallery, which was featuring her paintings along with little sculptures by one, Tobias Luttmer; and a space in which the Consulate of Mexico, Calgary, was exhibiting works by contemporary Mexican artists.

We'd planned to make some more openings elsewhere in town, but had a late start since Mali had a yawning episode related to a concussion from which she's recovering. Plenty to see at the Art Central, though, and we followed the art viewing with a late supper with the Stoneworx set, then returned to Casa de Ben and Mali, where I packed.

Friday, I joined Mali for a Mother's Day concert at Miles's school then it was off to the airport and back to Texas.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ahoy, Canada!

Heading out to Canada (Calgary) for about two weeks to visit my friend Mali and help out with the Art ForMS benefit-art auction with which she is involved... pilots... The event is Friday, April 29th, 6-9:30 in the evening, at DaDE Art and Design Lab, so if you're in the Calgary area, swing by to say howdy and maybe pick up some art.

The following days, Mali is showing at a group show, Calyx, so I'll be around there then.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


At last: another update of paintings! Of course they've been on my official website for a while now, but haven't featured them here.

All of these continue the set I did on board, taking advantage of the brown ground.

I suppose I should have positioned the images side by side, since they are sort of companion pieces; you'll get the idea, though.

Open Parenthesis - 11 x 14 inches - acrylic on board

Closed Parenthesis - 11 x 14 inches - acrylic on board

Side by side, you get a better idea of the parenthetical theme and the top-bottom, rug relationship between the two paintings. Open them up in separate windows! Shuffle them around! The dogs are Morgan (open) and Oxnard (closed), whippets, who were my family's pets.

This next one is a pharaoh hound. I had a commission years ago to do a drawing of this fellow and recently (compared to the date I began the painting) came across some of the images for that work and thought to myself how interesting it would be to play the color of his coat off against the color of the board, connecting the lower and the upper, less developed sections of the board, foreground and background with the patterned, dog cushion dividing the image. I applied more paint to the dog area than originally intended, but am not dissatisfied with the result.

Pad - 11 x 14 inches - acrylic on board

I had originally intended that all in the set of paintings on board would be less finished in not just the background areas, but in general, with an overall sketch-like quality. Ah, well...

"Things that are Fuzzy," was supposed to have a background in the same manner as the grakle paintings, but I wasn't liking it, so I made it darker.

Things that are Fuzzy - 12 x 16 inches - acrylic on canvas

This is the only dog of the bunch that is still alive... my sister's little poodle, Tyrone. Anyway, after I darkened the background, I thought, "it looks like one of those George Rodrigue, Blue Dog paintings!"

It may be blue poodle paintings from here on out...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


New selections from the cat department today.

Chloe - 11 x 14 - acrylic on board

More Chinoiserie - 11 x 14 inches - acrylic on board

Did I post the same image twice?

Aha! No! or yes, or sort of... maybe. The same painting, no, so technically, no, but the same composition for each.


Well, The cat depicted is my friend's, Stephenie's, cat, Chloe - that seems to be a punctuation mess, but I think you know what I'm saying - which died last year. Stephenie commissioned me to paint a memorial portrait, so I decided to paint two copies: one to go to her, one to show and (hopefully) sell.

Plus, though it's usually not such a concern, I was concerned about getting the likeness, so wanted a couple stabs at it...

"Insistence of Memory," is kind of an odd one in the oeuvre - bit of a different look.

Insistence of Memory - 24 x 30 inches - acrylic and oil pastel on canvas

The idea for this one came from a photograph of another friend's cat (also a dead cat), Dali: hence the joke of the title and the watch. I was also going for a disorienting feel with the non-perspectivally correct stripes. Originally I'd planned to have another magazine, in the back where the seat meets the back of the sofa, which would have had another watch ad, though the position of the page would have been folded a bit for that melty watch look - wasn't working out.

I got annoyed at the painting fairly early in the process and wasn't pleased with how it was going, so I decided to get a little experimental and complete it with oil pastel... and I don't know how many coats of varnish... Anyway, I find the results more satisfactory than what I expected to get from completing the work in acrylic. I like the drawing-like look of some parts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Up and Down and Up at Brick Oven

If you missed the Hyde Park show, you can see my work now through May 7th at the Brick Oven Restaurant on 35th Street (it's between Jefferson and Kirby - it is not the one downtown).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Bold Return

...or a return, at least, to incorporating people into my work as the principle subject.

A Cloudy Day at the Beach - 22 x 28 inches - acrylic on canvas

Originally, I started this piece as one of my Color-Panel paintings: at that time, the foremost figure, from a photo of a friend a friend of mine made when she was teaching in Japan (image not posted here), was more closely cropped by the sides of a smaller canvas; and if I remember correctly, I did not start it then because I was unable to decide on a background.

At some point, I was inspired by this image I saw in the April 2005 issue of House and Garden magazine, to include a figure in a similar pose, but reading, behind.

However, when I came back to this painting more recently, I thought I would paint one of the whippets (the skinny, white dogs in such works as my, "Winter Coats") sitting behind the front figure. The canvas, at this point, was going to be a taller, narrow canvas the same width as the originally planned size, though of course without the bars on the sides. Then I went back to the reader idea, combining several additional images for the model.

"A Cloudy Day at the Beach," is also a good example of my incorporation, collaging, of various sources. The pattern on the nearest swim suit and reader's towel are both adapted from Elizabeth Peyton's painting, "Ben Drawing,"

...the first of her paintings I saw - reproduced in the reviews section of Art in America or ARTnews. I was able, at that time, to find a few additional images of her work online. At any rate, enjoyed the look of her work, the drawing, use of color, and fluid application of paint, often dripping and running. I've yet to see her paintings except in reproduction, but do enjoy the images, so a bit of homage.

Though it doesn't appear as prominently in, "Beach," as in other works, I frequently use elements from scenic wallpapers such as this one from Griffin and Wong, for bits of foliage or to separate spaces.
The background finally presented itself this past Autumn when I visited an exhibition of paintings from the Walter's Museum (Baltimore) that was on view at the Blanton (here in Austin) in the form of Constant Troyon's, "Coast Near Villers.

A bit less foreboding, weather-wise, in my adaptation with a little change in topography. Originally, I was going to use another beach-scape by one, Ludovic Lepic, that was in the catalog to another exhibit, "Sargent and the Sea," which I saw this past summer at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. One of the paintings in that exhibition, "Neapolitan Children Bathing," from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts,

also ended up in my painting when I decided I needed some figures on the beach (also presenting an opportunity to pay tribute to Sargent, another long time favorite).

The little fellow with the floating devices pretty much demanded an update with bright orange water wings...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

CD Release!

The new CD from Nancy Green, concert cellist, which features my painting, "Spanish Early Evening Painting," (seen below in the non-album edit) is out now! Check out the track samples on her website,, and hop over to Cello Classics to order a copy of the CD. The company is U.K. so the price will ring up in pounds, but with shipping, it comes out to just under $20... when last I checked on the rate of exchange.

Even without my work on the cover, the album is worth owning: the music is a pleasure to listen to and Ms. Green has a style and sound I particularly like. Of course the performance is great.

A few of you, of course, know that I played cello in the past and am particularly sensitive to how the instrument sounds. dilitante! Though hardly a precise comparison, in describing her sound (after listening to her Tovey and Kodaly recordings) to a friend, I imagined her playing as being a Cabernet as opposed to a Pinot Noir, which I likened to the sound of Yo-Yo Ma (although Mr. Ma is one of those good Pinot Noirs one - who doesn't like that varietal - comes across and actually enjoys). On this most recent album, I think Ms. Green leans appropriately towards Tempranillo: nicely bodied but with a pleasing crispness.

I also have copies of her Brahms sonatas for cello and piano and the Tovey/Kodaly recordings, both of which I recommend. The Kodaly sonata for unaccompanied cello is a favorite: you should definitely get that one... you must have it!

The painting, if you are wondering, is not available. It is a favorite from the 2nd phase of my Flower-Pattern paintings from 2007 and sold some time before Ms. Green contacted me about using the image for her CD. In truth, she first contacted my gallerist, Dawn Chapman of Libertine Gallery after she'd seen the painting on the gallery's website, so special thanks to Dawn for having the image there and representing my work.

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