Here are some personal watercolors that I've been working in around assignments and painting in acrylic. Several weeks ago I was notified of my acceptance at the Vermont Studio Center, an artist's retreat in Johnson, Vermont for the last week in April. I'll be given studio space and room and board for a nominal fee. I had every intention of painting in acrylic for a week, but lately I've been hankering for some extended time with watercolor. About a decade ago I was showing at a gallery on the Cape when Robert Motherwell died. His widow came by the gallery with his handmade watercolor paper and asked that it be distributed amoung the artists showing at the gallery. I received about 15 sheets of the master's paper and have been petrified to use it ever since. It seems to me that this might be a good a time as ever to suck it up and apply some paint.
I'll be cutting out of work early today to head up to Burlington, VT for this year's Arthop festivities. Arthop is a huge arts festival, sponsored by SEABA (South End Arts and Business Association) that I've been participating in for the past 5 years or so. Artist's show their work in businesses all over Burlington's South End, which is Burlington's old part of town, and just happens to be where I grew up. It is a massive event. Last year I must have had 2000 people view my work and sold quite a bit. Over the years I've met a ton of people who are interested in my work. This is a great opportunity for me to get out of the studio, meet some people and try to make some sales without the dreaded gallery commission. This year I'm pleased to be hosted by Propeller Media Works that is housed in an old refurbushed warehouse, not far from Lake Champlain. I have what amounts to my own gallery space where I'll be showing a mixture of watercolors and acrylics, some 30 paintings in all. Here is a quick preview of some of my newer paintings.
Back When Robots Were Scary -
I did this for myself. Robots used to scare the crap out of me.
Get off Your Ass
Shtbnald (Superhero to be named at a later date) - I'm showing a bunch of watercolors about the escapades of this character too.
This painting was inspired by a Nova show on Intelligent Design vs Evolution. I for one am proud of my simian heritage.
I got off to a slow start this year as far as painting goes. I seems like I spent more time shoveling snow that at the easel for several months. Also, one of my galleries requested that I experiment with dressing up my paintings a bit, so I ended up building a wooden box that goes flush with the plywood edge. In the beginning, this took a hell of alot of time, but as I got more proficient, it got so that I could do this relatively easily and accurately. This treatment gives the paintings another 1 1/2 inches in depth and when painted, they look pretty slick. Hopefully the added dimension will entice collectors to crack their checkbooks. I've posted the latest here.
Here are some new paintings that I've managed to get to between work, family (3 teenaged boys running amok) and exercise. I recently had a bump in my spirits when I received a certificate from The Society of Illustrators that one of my paintings, Flaming Skull Visage won a Silver Medal for the Uncommisioned Category. I know what you're thinking. Hey, didn't A. Richard Allen win the silver in that category? Apparently there are more than one silver handed out for that category. I've corresponded with Richard via email and we've decided not to rumble for ultimate bragging rights. We might raise a glass, however.
Here are six new ones, hot off the easel. Since I have my panels precut, supply sometimes determine the size of paintings. I seemed to have alot of the smaller panels on hand so I started to go at it with smaller word paintings. I hope they are enjoyed in the spirit in which they were made.
Barn Birds I have this thing for bats. Particularly ones wearing hobnailed boots.
Glo Skull My wife pointed out that I really should have used florescent paint on this one. Damn! She's always right.
Lay Off the Fries- Easier said than done.
Floss Each Day-nuff said
Red Scare-Those were walking dildos in the lower right hand corner before I made them into missiles. Whew! Dodged a bullet.
Here's a new batch in the order I did them. I recently started a relationship with The West Branch Gallery in Stowe, VT and because of this I was asked to compose the dreaded "artist's statement":
To be honest, there is not a lot of philosophical hokum behind these paintings. They all started out as drawings in my sketchbooks in which I have been drawing in earnest since 1973. At present I have completed enough of them to fill the trunk of a luxury automobile and am working on filling a small U-Haul. I try to set aside an hour every morning to draw for myself, to brainstorm with pen on paper. I seldom start drawing with preconceived notions and I never know where it will take me. I am not interested in rendering reality, because frankly I’m not that good at rendering reality. I much prefer to bring a free ranging intellect to the process, that and some fairly primitive drawing skills.
The good drawings I make into paintings. Consequently, my paintings are conceptually all over the map. Working this way keeps me from being bored. The thread that runs through them all is certain off-kilter sensibility that I am told goes way back in my family.
I did this as a gift for my friend, Barbara Korecki, who is the pottery teacher at the local HS and has been very supportive of "The Mayforth Boys," two of whom graduated this past June.
Barbara's husband, Kenny, with whom I've been playing blues with for years, wanted a painting that was sold, so I talked him into a Blues King painting.
Brainstorm-Collaged onto the background of this are xeroxed sketchbook pages. I wanted to start out simple.
All Inclusive Holiday-I had been working on a large painting with collaged sketchbook elements that was giving me fits. I put that on the back burner and completed this over the weekend.
Here are six new paintings in the order I did them. I started out painting with a limited palette on prepared wood, so the color of the wood was evident. These were a continuation of a "black sun" piece that I posted last time. I had every intention of keeping with the limited palette for the whole series, but owing to what I'm sure must be attention deficit issues, I got bored and went nuts for the last painting.
At the risk of seeming like I'm pimping product, here are some recent paintings. I had a tough stretch there where things were not happening mojo-wise. Vacation helped a bit to recharge batteries, and now I seem to be over that hump. RAG and John Dykes were up for a visit the week before last and provided alot of encouragement. We had an epic day on the slopes after a late evening of single malt and trying to figure out the illustration racket. Which makes me think possibly that I should paint less and ski more.
Incident at Tent Rocks-Based on a visit to a spot outside of Albuquerque that was mind blowing.
Here Comes Mr. Sunshine-Started off as a sketchbook robot drawing and ended up as a robot painting with Japanese overtones.
See the Two Headed Mook- This doesn't look like a mook at all. Airports are good for mook watching. Had I known this earlier, perhaps this painting would have been more accurate.
All Worried Up and Nowhere to Go-The latest craze to sweep the nation.
Serpent King- You can never have enough hands when dealing with serpents.
Three Suns- Sun decorations are everywhere in Mexico, and they're always so damned cheerful. The malevolent sun niche was aching to be filled.
Another robot painting. This was inspired by a trip to Mexico the family went on last April.
Here are the last five paintings I've done in the order I did them. I recently had a couple of sales at a couple of local galleries, so I am heartened. My new life motto is "just peck away at it" and that's just what I've been doing.
This painting was done with the huge "works in a cubicle but thinks he's subversive" market in mind.
Pearls are always glamorous, no matter what the hair looks like.
This one is titled "Less is More, More or Less." Rather than gessoing the board to begin with, I prepared it with clear acrylic medium, so the grain of the board would show through. I thought the simple shapes in B&W would make a cool contrast.
This one was done with my fellow Drawgers in mind, because we are nothing if not self starters. It also gave me the opportunity to rip off Randy Enos'
shoe treatment, sans hobnails.
This is the second in a series of robots that I hope to continue with. Robots are great. They don't require a ton of drawing skills which suits me just fine. I'd already decided on the title "Xeno" before I looked it up. It means stranger.
Things have been pretty busy around here and I've been beating myself up because I haven't had alot of time to paint. I've only had the energy to do smaller paintings. So here are the three latest for your perusal.
This originally said "Stay Curious" which I think is important, but it was getting dangerously close to Curious George territory. So I pondered several weeks about what to "stay." I finally decided on enlightened, the joke being that it presupposes that you are enlightened to begin with.
Several weeks ago, Elwood and I had a brief back and forth about the importance of working play into the everyday equation. This is a note to myself.
At the risk of making public my deepest yearnings, I submit this painting for your consideration. You guys will know what I'm talking about. I can't imagine who might buy this little number, or for that matter why the heck I painted it.