Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hello Przasnysz!

I just received digital copies of the show announcements from my upcoming show in Przasnysz, Poland, small town two hours outside Warsaw.   This solo exhibition features works on paper from the Night Fictions series.   The show opens October 2, 2010 and will be on display for a month in the Gallery "Na Pietrze"  in the Joseph Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski Center of Culture before traveling to other venues throughout Poland.  I am very honored to have been offered this opportunity, and by the very nice work done on the poster announcement above and the card announcement below.   My thanks to gallery director Krzysztof Gadomski and Stefan Niedzialkowski who first introduced us.  A big thanks as well to the gallery staff!  Dziękuję bardzo! 

(In case your Polish is a bit rusty, the announcement is a pretty direct translation of the bio listed on my website.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Eurasian Red Squirrel

As the majority of my readership is American, you may have though the squirrel from yesterday's update to be more than a little odd.   As half of the imagery in this series is invented, you may have thought it to be a bit of artistic invention or fantasy.   While I agree that there's nothing wrong with an artist taking license by painting a gray squirrel red and adding some devil ears for good measure, I am writing to assure you that this squirrel is very real and indigenous throughout much of Eurasia and, in particular, Poland. Among other things, the Kracow cycle is about the bridge between Poland and and other cultures, with the portrait from acting as a vehicle for this projected fantasy.   A traveler to another country is first struck by all the differences, and I was always particularity interested in the new varieties of small animals in the cites and woods.  The ubiquitous crow, the gray squirrel, both are absent.   Magpies, Jackdaws, Rooks, and this curious little red fellow abound.  Like it's American cousin, the reds are very fond of nuts and can be quite friendly if you have a pocket full of almonds. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Secret Corner Revealed

This may come as a bit of a shocker to those who have been following this painting and have been pretty happy with it's progress without any animal interaction.  I mentioned that I had an idea of what was going on all the while, now revealed to be a red squirrel.   I was reticent to show the earlier stage (smaller image) as the block-in reminded me of one of Bill Murray's explosive sculptures from Caddyshack.  It's more recognizable now, and I also had to adjust the position of the arm to seem less cramped and integrate the composition.  Next step is to integrate the colors and start bringing this one in for a landing. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Portrait-with-an-Owl Racket

I was cruising through Kittery today, totally unaware that it's annual Septemberfest is in full swing.  Other than the carnival atmosphere, I was attracted to this huge sign advertising "Birds of Prey."  I am so glad I stopped.  It turned out to be "The Raptor Project, "  an amazingly large traveling bird show with 15-20 birds of prey just hanging out for your inspection, an artist's paradise! For $10 you can have your picture taken with an owl, which I must admit is much more affordable than one of my paintings.   The birds are all rescue animals, and all proceeds go to supporting the project.  They are only in town for two more days, but will back for Yarmouth Seaside Festival in October.   Given that I was caught without my good camera, I may have to be some sort of bird groupie and catch these guys next time they are around.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bring on the Green

Here's the latest from the Beata/Abi addition to the series.  I can be very rough and intuitive, but occasionally I do stop and make some conscious risks.  I began the painting with violets and ochres instead of conventional flesh tones, and kept warming things up with pinks on top of that. The painting was needing highlights, and my first impulse was to keep going with a lighter pink in the highlight for naturalistic skin tones.  I paused and thought, "what's the fun in that?"   With the colors left on my palette, I mixed up cool mint which would add maximum contrast, hoping this would bring out the volume, and it worked.   Though I've discovered this color logic over the years on my own, it is essentially a very old idea stemming from Venetian painting, where color, not value, is relied upon to create the illusion of volume.  Reflecting further, I am struck by a little more irony and contradiction built into this series:  I began by riffing off of Leonardo's imagery, which is essentially Florentine and his methods are Florentine, relying chiefly on value.   By all accounts, though, my methods are direct and Venetian.   It's a conceptual flaw, but I think I'll just keep going regardless.