A recent view of the studio with works in progress
A: It’s the fact that no matter how hard an artist works there is no guarantee that money will be forthcoming soon. I work very hard at all aspects of being an artist, from creating pastel paintings and educating the public about what I do, to finding galleries with whom to partner, responding to interview requests, staying on top of social media, writing, etc. Under-appreciation seems to be the fate of too many contemporary artists.
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Posted in 2020, An Artist's Life, Art Business, Art Works in Progress, Studio
Tags: artist, aspects, between, contemporary, creating, devoted, educating, finding, galleries, guarantee, interview, least, making art, matter, partner, recent, requests, responding, social media, staying, Studio, the public, under-appreciation, works in progress, Writing
Recent works in progress
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Poets can look at a painting and understand it without having it spelled out [and] painters can read poetry… People say, I don’t understand what it means, about John Ashbery’s poetry. Painters would never say that… The idea of “I don’t understand what it means,” looking at abstract painting and saying, “Explain it to me, what does it mean?” You don’t say that, and you don’t ask people to explain music. And so, poets, painters, composers don’t need explanations. Explanations are for other people… burdened by logic.
Elaine de Kooning quoted in Mary Gabriel in Ninth Street Women
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Posted in 2020, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Art Works in Progress, Inspiration, Pearls from Artists, Quotes, Studio
Tags: abstract painting, “Ninth Street Women”, ”what does it mean”, burdened, composers, Elaine de Kooning, explain, explanation, John Ashbery, looking, Mary Gabriel, painters, painting, people, poetry, recent, saying, spelled out, understand, works in progress
Works in progress
A: I have two large (38” x 58” and 58” x 38”) untitled pastel paintings in progress.
Comments are welcome!
Posted in 2019, Art Works in Progress, Creative Process, New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Studio, Working methods
Tags: easel, pastel paintings, today, Untitled, works in progress
Works in progress, soft pastel on sandpaper, 58″ x 38″
A: For many years I always worked on one at a time because I have only one or two ideas – never more than that – about what I will make next. Also, I believe that “all art is the result of one’s having gone through an experience to the end.” (It’s on a note taped to the wall near my easel). So I would work on one painting at a time until all of the problems in it were resolved. Each piece that I undertake represents an investment of several months of my life and after nearly three decades as an artist, I know that once I start a piece I will not abandon it for any reason. When it is the best painting that I can make – when adding or subtracting anything would be a diminishment – I pronounce it “finished.” In the past I would start the next one only when the completed piece was out of my sight and at the frame shop.
But a few years ago I began working on two pastel paintings at a time. When I get stuck – or just need a break from looking at the same image day after day (I am in my studio 5 days a week) – I switch to the other one. This helps me work more efficiently. The two paintings interact with each other; they play off of each other and one suggests solutions that help me to resolve problem areas in the other. I’m not sure exactly how this happens – maybe putting a piece aside for awhile alerts my unconscious to begin working deeply on it – but having two in progress at the same time is my preferred way of working now.
A note about the painting on the left above, which was previously called, “Judas.” I happen to be reading “Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell and came across the word “judasing” used as a verb meaning, “doing some evil to a person who profoundly trusted you.” I’d never heard the word before, but it resonated with an event in my personal life. So the new title of my painting is “Judasing.” This is a good reminder that work and life are inextricably (and inexplicably) woven together and that titles can come from anywhere!
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Posted in 2013, An Artist's Life, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, New York, NY, Painting in General, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods
Tags: " "Judasing", "Cloud Atlas", abandon, above, alert, anywhere, area, art, aside, before, begin, best, break, change, come, complete, David Mitchell, day, deeply, doing, easel, efficiently, end, event, evil, exactly, experience, finished, framer, given, happen, heard, help, idea, image, in progress, inexplicably, inextricably, interact, investment, Judas, labor intensive, life, looking, make, making, meaning, month, note, painting, past, pastel painting, pastel-on-sandpaper painting, personal life, piece, play off, preferred, problem, profoundly, pronounce, putting, reason, reminder, represent, resolve, same, solution, someone, start, stuck, Studio, suggest, switch, taped, time, title, together, trusted, typically, unconscious, usually, verb, wall, week, work, working, works in progress, woven, year
A: I am continuing with the “Black Paintings,” a series started a few years ago. Compared with “Domestic Threats,” these paintings are stripped of everything – walls, furniture, rugs – except the actors, who appear on a stark black background. As I’ve continued working over the years, I’ve learned to communicate better. I’ve stripped away all the extraneous stuff and gradually have been able to do more with less. There is wisdom in simplifying the work to reveal the essential vision. It is an artist’s life work.
The first photograph below is of a carved wooden figure found in Mexico City at Eugenio’s, my favorite mask store in Mexico. She is part of a male-female pair. The second image is my 20″ x 24″ photograph of her, the starting point and reference for the painting. The next five photographs, I think, are self-explanatory. Questions are welcome, as always.
Posted in 2012, An Artist's Life, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, Domestic Threats, Inspiration, Mexico, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Travel
Tags: Eugenio's, mask, Mexico City, store, works in progress