Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blogger for word mystery

Blogger for word mystery

The blogger for word mystery is solved. It turns out all you need to do is to close outlook to keep BFW from disappearing. Now on to the next great mystery!

It has been such a long week; I don’t have time to even recount all of it in the blog. Chronologically it goes something like this:

Dropped off paintings to Molly. Weisnewskis party. Joel and I drive to Detroit. Joel wrecks car in Breezewood. Meet Ken Freeman at big boy. Cool ideas about a hand die press. KT comes in to DTW. Xmas Dinner with Gimpy Ellen. Everyone bailed on midnight Mass. KT and I go anyway, but talk about how I have too many disparate things going on, and how I should change my schedule to be a four day week with longer days. All Polish mass in Hamtramck. Chinese food and Kong with Clark and Carol. Loaded up giant cabinet and sacred cow. Uneventful drive back to DC. TACT loads into T2. Geico Estimate of $2025, with $1000 Deductible. Pickup KT from DCA. Appointment set for next week with Rainbow Auto body. Bought materials for pegboard for the costume shop with Hal. Began erecting Noises off set. Vectorworks designed some of Trixie’s rocket. Found out that Penny-farthing wheels are hard to come by, and expensive. Setup business account at Chevy chase bank. Got KT’s car inspected. Failed. Ordered a new gas cap. Shopped for NYE party fixins. Loaded up Karaoke equipment.

Not much time for “real art” in there… I am looking forward to getting the holidays behind me….

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cindy and NYC

Cindy and NYC

Cindy Lauper was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. With the minor exceptions for the very weak singing by Sandra Bernhard and the standing crunch of the 930 club, it was really great. Something about her songs that survives the transition from bubblegum 80’s music to 53 year-old 2005 Cindy….

After that we went to NYC. Kyle and Alexia were fabulous. Their place in Brooklyn was really homey. I got the feeling that we were a bit high impact for them…but they knew what they were getting into.

After the Frick, we hit the MoMA for the Liz Murray show. It was good, but not as good as I had hoped. The color doesn’t translate in reproduction. The shaped canvases are cool, but they are a bit labored, perhaps forced…I just don’t feel like they picked the best pieces to represent her. The chronological order also seems to be almost a hindrance. The blatant way that the fluorescent paint comes out in the recent work, it feels like the jump that Frank Stella made in the 80’s, which is happily a phase he worked through… What impressed me is her open-ended funkiness…

The architecture in the new MoMA seems much like many office buildings built today. It doesn’t seem to help the art along much either. The collection seemed to be heavy on the "this begat that", perhaps more than before. The contemporary stuff seemed squished in high ceilinged rooms….Did I miss the Pixar stuff? Or was it just the vitrines outside the bathrooms?  The Redon exhibit was cool, but I can’t get over my dislike of lithography…

Otto’s shrunken head was a bit disappointment. Alexia got offered coke in the bathroom…But I did get to keep my mug…

I have done very little work, just organizing, which seems like treading water. I am a slave to my Outlook. But it is a pushover of a master. I can just move an appointment when I don’t meet expectations. However, I have actually been doing these entries since I made them a recurring appointment….

I will be sending off my paintings for Artromp 18 tomorrow. I have only completed 4 of the ones started at the beginning of the month. It’s kinda pathetic…

I have been procrastinating about the elevations for Noises; I will need to crank them out in earnest soon! Looking forward to a few weeks of hardcore scene painting in January…

I have slowly been working on a Trixie little drop in my mind…I’ve even called for a wild ballpark estimate from Theater services and supply…Ill talk to Joel about the rocket while we drive home.

Joel and I will be driving my truck to Detroit for Xmas. Ill be back early next week, so I will have another week of treading water to write about…Merry Christmas…

Thursday, December 15, 2005

DC DMV and Cotton Candy

DC, DMV and Cotton Candy

It’s supposed to be icy this afternoon. I haven’t been able to get even a tiny bit of painting in. Just been exhausted, and full of errands. I got my home residency permit, from the DC govt. $66. And I think I have registered myself as a business, and gotten an EIN # from the feds. All this, so that I can have a separate bank account for my business…

The unkindest cut of all is that they have made our street a permit parking situation. The deadline is the 19th. Which means I have to Schlep myself down to the DMV and get us some permits…

That’s been taking up most of my time. I have had Xmas shopping and the Trixie little thing too…Noises off, MFA search, Art fair applications, Artromp, Jay Rees’ gallery, you know, the normal hectic schedule…. This has been preventing me from getting any painting done. I have, maybe 8 new pieces that I have been itching to get to. They are not all as conceptually grouped together as I would like. There are some straight-up flowers, two vanitas, one large rollercoaster woman, and a monkey (on a skull). These paintings (they are only in cut form right now, so they hardly have become paintings…I will start painting when I get away from this letter) don’t have the cohesion that I would like in the work. They feel like the scraps left over after a successful painting. They are all valid, but they don’t belong to anything bigger than themselves. How important is it for me to have an overarching concept, or theme, in my work? I have been working in modes, Tiki, vanitas, and coaster. But what is the overall theme? Once I have an overall theme, I guess I will be making serious work. (I might take issue with that last sentence. Elizabeth Murray is able to make fun and, perhaps, frivolous work, but it is taken seriously) I want my work to have fun and whimsy. But that whimsy tempered by a slight sinister edge. This edge should be a reflection of trouble in paradise.  If serious critique of the world has to be stodgy then I don’t want any part of that. I would prefer to have my work be like a cotton candy. Pretty in presentation. Sweet. When you take a bite, it dissolves in your mouth, leaving a sweet crystalline grit. Sure, its got little nutritional value, but you didn’t come to the fair to get your recommended daily dose of vitamins…you came to be entertained. Perhaps I should look up that Baktin guy, the one who wrote about “carnival theory”…

I like the cotton candy metaphor, perhaps I can expand on it….

I got an email from a gal who bought an Elvis painting last year, and it sounds like she wants me to be in some show…More Elvis stuff on the horizon?

We’re off to NYC to see the Murray show this weekend. We will be going back to Detroit for Xmas since Ellen broke her leg. Perhaps I can scam a ride with Joel…

Friday, December 09, 2005

Domku sales and window shopping

Domku sales and window shopping

After the Domku sale last Saturday (12/3/05) SB called and said he wanted to purchase two paintings from me. I normally don’t like to sell paintings to friends, but I felt that I might do more harm than good by refusing to accept money. So I agreed to deliver them to his place.

I started out by going to Chevy Chase bank to setup a business account. I’ve never done that sort of thing before, but I feel that the time has come to start separating my finances from my personal life. Plus, I will need a EIN # (amongst other things) in order to take credit cards, which is part of the uberplan or trying the art fair circuit.

Turns out, I don’t have any of the right documentation to get a business checking account. I don’t have a business license, a trade name certificate, nothing. I vow that I will return with these things and get back in my car. I now have an hour and a half before I have to make my delivery. Whatsa boy to do?

I decided to kill time by going to the 14th St. Galleries. Its something I should do for my personal and professional development and it was just the right time of day (and week)

I started at Plan B. Group show. The stuff was all of a medium quality (a fact that has not impressed me when I saw the U of MD painting profs work their) but I got some ideas about how my matted work should be presented. The only work of note was Ted Milligan’s watercolors. They were small tightly controlled drips. The type that you get if you take watercolor and blow a straw at them while they are drying. He then embellished them with paint, using the similar hue trick (two colors of the same hue, placed next to each other makes the eye go “boinining”)

Next it was over to the 1515 building. G fine art had Lynn Meyers marker drawings on velum. It was minimalism gone bad. They weren’t computer printouts, but they looked it. They had all the hallmarks of minimalism, with that “I’m leaving a trace of the artists hand by making easy to figure out how I did them” factor. Once I figured them out, the trick was over. All I was left with was a nagging question for her: when you started in art, did you think that you would end up making thousands of repetitive tiny marker lines on giant sheets of velum? Is that really how you want to spend your time on earth?

A brief moment of digression: I went to see Les Miz last night. It wasn’t as good as I remember….but I was reminded of the feelings I used to get when I would read the journals of Delacroix. I always wanted to go back then and life in a world where there could be nothing but painting. That is, you could have your frock coat and your crust of bread and a candle or two and just paint. (of course this is not how it really was) In the audio book I am reading, (is that the right word choice?) Interviews with Studs Terkel , one of his guests (from the 50’s ) says that we are in a time when leisure is available to all. In the not so distant past, most of the worlds people were forced to work all damn day, everyday, just to keep food on the table. This is the world that would create barricades. Today, we have a duty to make the most of every tool we have. Our leisure time is a wonderful gift that mankind has only recently been given. And even though I seem to be oversaturated and over stimulated with so much possibility, I need to take advantage of every avenue that I can. Because the life where there is no free time, no ability to express oneself is just a hairs breath away.

Some okay painting was up in Hemphill, but he place was pungent with beeswax, which I was not impressed with (contrary to other bloggers opinions). The paintings were from the bigger is better, but that means the strokes too, school. Plus he seems to ruin the work by writing OM ME PAD ME OM on the me in pencil. Like, am I supposed to think that’s deep?

Fusebox had a bunch of BAD work from Jason Gubbiotti. His stuff really seems to come from the undergrad Corcoran rave culture aesthetic. Which is looking really tired. Plus, what his work is saying or reflecting is not part of the world I want to inhabit. I will say that some of his bent paintings are touching on something, but only in a bad formal way. Someone in the ARTcity documentary said that “how boring would it be if music were to only concern itself with the formal structures of insturments and notes…why does art seem to be preoccupied with that.”

The other work in Fuesbox is W.C. (unfortunate use of initials) Richardson. Who does these sexy-looking large paintings. Wait, they are all the same size. Wait a minute, they are all hung on the EXACT same spiral pattern underneath…whoa, they are all only consisting of 3 or 4 layers of figure ground alloverness. Once I figured out the trick, it was all downhill….

After all that I dropped off the paintings, picked up the check. Ill be cashing it and putting into the business account when I get the proper paperwork together.

MICA and the weekly hump


After a good bit of time, and a few life events, I have gotten a recommitment to the blog. I am going to try to keep up with this because of a portfolio review I went to recently at MICA.

First, it was full of kids. Lots of teenagers that were their with their portfolios, and doting parents. It made me reflect on how my education as an artist was not as nurtured as it is in these kids. I was never pushed to attend college in any overt way, it was just assumed. But I do remember asking about art school (not really knowing about what I was asking) and being dismissed by my parents. “You could become a radiology tech, and do art in your spare time” is the quote that, perhaps unfairly, rings in my head.

Anyway, hundreds of kids, all waiting to have someone (a grad student or a short-straw/low-totem faculty member) from a blue chip art school look at the drawings that they brought. I was different. I was looking for the graduate portfolio reviews. There was one. MICA had one person (from admissions…not an instructor) look at my work. I showed my slides and one piece that I brought along as an example of the things that the slides wouldn’t capture. He said that they valued someone with “real-life experience”, which I have, in spades. But then didn’t look at my theater portfolio.

The real reason I am telling you all this is because when started telling him about the work, I found myself speaking disjointedly and referencing things as “read”. This is a habit I have, which was thrown into sharp relief in undergrad, of talking about my work as if the audience has already been down the roads I have traveled, read the same books and had similar reactions to other art. It’s a defense mechanism and a shorthand. I don’t want to appear didactic, or too eager to “teach” people, but finding common ground quickly is something I try to do naturally.

So when I began to speak about my work, it was a smear of unfinished thoughts and qualifications. He asked me if I wrote. “a little” I said. Of course I write…I haven’t done any serious writing in years, but I think I could remember how it was done…what did he mean do I write? I suppose that is a fair question to ask of one of those children out there who haven’t been through their senior year of high school. I have a degree, damnit. I have written 20 page papers three hours before they were due…I always thought I wrote pretty well, too. But to answer his question, no, not for a while, other than these letters I write to Johnny Cash, in my sketchbook….which are more an organizational tool than anything.

Well, an organizational tool is what he meant. He was referring to writing about my work as a way to help organize my thoughts about it. Which is, other than a particularly pedagogic reaction to a problem, (a reaction that is not inconsistent with someone who is trying to persuade you into thinking that their institution could somehow help you “figure out” your artistic psychosis) a helpful piece of advice.

I did counter with an argument about how I don’t have any friends that are willing, or able to talk about artistic struggles (citing an example of telling an artist friend that his work was like so-and-so meets so-and-so, {both well known artists} and not knowing who either artist was) The administrators reaction? You need to get new friends (ones that MICA will be happy to provide for you for [I guess] $25,000 a year )

So, Mr. Cash, this is a long winded way of saying that I will be committing myself to using the tools I have been given at this point in history; Word, Blogspot, and Outlook, to help create a log of my activities as an artist. I will write more, which will help me organize my thoughts about my own work, which should, in turn, create better work.
I will be using Outlook to create a schedule for writing (which is better than writing whenever the mood strikes…because the mood only strikes occasionally….)

I think that “hump day” writing might be the best kind. Because it is far enough away from the events of the weekend, on both sides, that it will be a good day to reflect on where I have been and where I am going.

I, of course, will also feel free to add posts if something strikes my fancy…and I think that I will keep writing these things to you Mr. Cash. I know that you have a sympathetic ear. (I must confess, that I haven’t seen your bio-pic yet…reading your autobiography has cemented in my mind what your life was like. I bet Hollywood will just hit the broad strokes)


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Not keeping up with the blog

The crisis of conscience that I have had about whether what I want to say is to caustic for the public has made it difficult to get motivated to write. But lets face it, is anyone really reading this anyway?

I have been keeping busy with the C'huppa for the wedding (above), which still has some loose ends (how will it be electrified? Supports? Etc)

I have also bought 5 30"X40" canvases for the "haunted mansion" theme. The idea is to get family photos and graft them onto scary portraits. I am a bit daunted by the challenge, but I will welcome the opportunity to do some portrait painting on a large scale...The real trick will be to get acceptable photos of the family...I hope they can all take a joke.

Went to the Scott Brooks opening, Jumping through hoops, at gallery Neptune. This is a really good thing for Scott and the work looked fantastic. When making drawings the artist is at the most raw. Hence, most drawing has the look of experimentation, or unresolvedness, this manifested itself very rarely in Scotts work, but when it did, you could see that he was trying hard to cover it up. Not to sweep it under the rug, but to downplay it in such a way as to not make it a focal point of the work. These were very well resovled drawings, clearly not purposed for preparation for a painting, they were the works in themselves. The sepia/grisaille look of these works makes them more substantial (more presence, more levity) than some of the painted work he has done.

Much more could be said about his work, but I have to do some work of my own..Bye bye

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mac Problems

It seems that Blogger doesn't like macs. I can even spellcheck (let alone post pictures) from my mac at home. But my XP at work has all the bells and whistles...Oh well. I guess Ill have to wait to post those photos of Tommy that Sandy Kosel sent me. And I guess you will have to wait to hear me kevetch about my experences with LTA and Tommy (or more likely go through some tortured explination of why I shouldn't badmouth people on the web VS what good is this fourm, creatively, if I cant express my true feelings?)

Maybe Ill just take the whole damn thing off the web, and just keep it as a personal journal...Or I should write all this under a pen-name....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tunnel of Love

This is the graphic that is going to be on the invitations for our wedding. I think that it helps solidify (or perhaps demonstrate to our reluctant relatives) our intent to have a nontradtional, Halloween wedding. The orginal is 5"X7", done in my usual, cut paper then painted, manner.
The tunnel of love has been a theme of mine for a while now, and I am hoping to incorporate it into the scenery for the wedding.

Snappy Titles and Shaky Starts

Welcome to Between the Tines. This blogs main purpose is to serve as a repository of exposition, musings, photos, art and nonsense that have been cluttering up my sketchbooks for many years.

The simple fact is that I have always had a hard time writing by hand. I don't know what it is, but I don't have the patience for writing longhand. My penmanship is horrible. I can't stand the way my words look on paper.
The other problem with writing in my sketchbooks is that I think much faster than I write. Typing seems to alleviate some of that problem, but I still run unto trouble (namely poor sentence construction and spelling, thank god for spellcheck).

Lastly, the problem with sketchbook notes and musings is that they are directed at me. I have tried to write to "my future self", but that really feels phony. I always feel like I should be writing some grand treatise that will be some great revelation to me when I read it, fifty years from now. I have tried to solve this problem by writing letters to Johnny Cash. Don't laugh, it is a hell of a lot better to write your thoughts to someone "out there" (Johnny Cash just happened to be someone who I thought I could get to know better) than talking in some kind of narcissistic dialogue.

I may still write to Johnny Cash, seeing as he has been a good listener, lets just hope that he doesn't start commenting....

In the end, this is going to be a log. A log that happens to be on the web. I may spout off about something, but I don't intend for it to be taken too seriously. I also ask that all of you have patience with me, I don't tend to grasp the technological side of things quickly, so I might not have many links or photos for a while.

This is probably boring you to tears right about now, but, I just want to get one more thing out in the open. This is a public space. I may be more likely to say things here than I would in the "meatspace." Which means that I may wind up hurting peoples feelings. I don't know the best way to go about this. On the one hand I am inclined to try to be as brutally truthfull as I want to be, and on the other I have to consider the fact that the truth hurts. I don't think that changing names will really solve the problem because anyone involved could see right through it. Speaking in vague terms seems like it might water down the whole endeavor. I am going to have to think more about this before continuing. I wonder if there is a bloggers bill of ethics? or would that fall under etiquette?