Sunday, June 28, 2020

Busy Painting

Finished some very big To Do List things this weekend. It took me some time before I could start the work you see above, from actually doing the above work to being able to cut the pieces down (not shown here. I may share to Instagram and FB later today.) I really wanted to keep the above either as they're shown here or torn down into journal spreads but I didn't. Last night, I broke out the ruler and started ripping them down as individual pieces, which is what they were intended to be. Each one will soon make its way to their intended destination via the postal service later on tonight.

100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock Acrylics: Utrecht, Golden, Holbein and Sennelier
 a regular pencil
Stabilo Aquarellable All in One water soluble pencils in various colors (except white)

Sunday, June 21, 2020

An Abundance of Paint

Recently a very good friend gifted me with an extremely generous Blick gift certificate. Before buying, I took inventory of what I have, what I use, what are my favorite mixing colors and what I truly needed (I had an abundance of red so I skipped ordering that for now.) Like many, I have been hesitant to spend any extra money during safer at home orders on anything other than food, rent and toiletries. Paint is a necessity for an artist but it is also a luxury and I wanted to make sure that I put the gift certificate to good use.

One of my goals the last few months has been to explore and expand my knowledge of paint. I've been painting for 23 years but there is always something new to discover. 
I haven't used any of the Utrecht paints in jar form before (I usually buy it in tubes.) I love the quality of their paints especially their professional grade heavy body. 

Ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, titanium white and a little black make the most beautiful Cezanne greys. (Thanks, Maira Kalman, for this tip.)

Since I do not know when I will teach in person again, I have class paints (NOT shown) that I am looking to donate to young people/teens who don't have access to acrylics. Any suggestions of people or places that are accepting donations of gently used paints would be greatly appreciated. I can mail them in large flat rate boxes anywhere in the U.S. 

-journal (which I make)
-Coccoina glue stick
-scissors and a metal ruler (for cutting/tearing)
-paint brushes
-palette knife
-water based paint markers
-.35 rapidosketch pen (with black India ink)
-Stabilo Aquarellable water soluble pencil in various colors (black is my favorite)
-water brush pen
-collage material

Have you made anything lately? If so, what? What are some of your favorite must have tools?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

What I'm Reading: Jack Whitten Notes from the Woodshed

For the past week or so, I've been staying up late reading Jack Whitten's Notes from the Woodshed.


Whitten should be required reading/viewing for every creative individual.

“I want to put the fear of God in these paintings. I want to evoke a spiritual—magical—cosmic existence with a material connection—emotionally charged….”

I first learned about him in early February. David and I went to a book signing/presentation at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles. I had been wanting to go to their bookstore for quite some time but the timing was never right. I'm so happy that we finally had a chance to go. While there, I flipped through Whitten's Notes from the Woodshed. I didn't buy it (it was one of those bills and food before anything else kind of weeks) but I couldn't stop thinking about him.

King's Wish (Martin Luther King's Dream) 1968

I started googling his name when I got home.

When California began "safer at home", I dived in. I listened to as many podcasts, youtube videos and soaked in his words. Jack Whitten KNEW his stuff and I was hooked!

April's Shark 1974

"The developer" was ONE of the tools he created and used to create paintings like April's Shark, long before Gerhard Richter painted his famous works.

Whitten didn't stop.

He was always creating, pushing his tools, and learning from them, except for the times when he ran out of paint (which he talks about in Notes from the Woodshed.)

Black Monolith X, Birth of Muhammad Ali, Detail, 2016

“I am back to zero. The only thing I have to salvage from the past fifteen years is the fact of the hard backing; the bringing of the floor up to the wall. This is meaningful. I want to start 1986 with a clean slate. Of course, this destroys any chance of getting a gallery, no one is interested in an artist at the end of a series and beginning a completely unknown beginning. I am black, 46 years old, angry, tired of teaching, tired of being poor. ...What am I to do?”

I have much to learn and more to read (and re-read.)

Discover Jack Whitten:

Jack Whitten interviews on Instagram here and here.

LISTEN here:

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

My Painted Life: 24 December 2019 - 8 June 2020 Journal

After working on the cover of the journal (beginning on the 24th of December 2019), I didn't pick the journal up again until the 2nd of February 2020. During the month of January, I had other projects to finish. I don't like to work on more than one journal (or page at a time) so I set this book aside to finish other work.

This is the second largest journal that I've ever worked on.

This is the first time I have worked across the page in this size (an open page is 20 x 15". The book is 10 x 15" closed.)

Each page took several days to complete. Some pages took more than a week. When I didn't have a paint brush, marker or scissors in hand, I was processing and thinking about the page. I was studying various artists (reading, looking and listening to podcasts/youtube videos.) Each page is meticulously and thoughtfully layered until it said what needed to be said. I struggled the most with the words on the second to last page (with the artist at the easel) as the United States is in the middle of a mass revolution in thoughts and actions, and hopefully (finally) moving towards a massive systemic change.

Artists studied include:
Henri Matisse
David Park
Richard Diebenkorn
Vincent Van Gogh
Paul Cezanne
Wayne Thiebaud
Elaine de Kooning
Arshile Gorky
Delita Martin
Jack Whitten

Handmade journal using a discarded book cover, waxed linen thread and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock

Acrylics (Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht, Golden)
Water based paint markers (Posca, Holbein, Molotow, Sharpie)
.35 Rapidosketch pen with india ink
4 in One Stabilo Aquarellable water soluble pencils in black, brown, orange, red, yellow, blue, green
water brush pen
Coccoina glue stick

Video flip through:

Friday, May 22, 2020

Studying Elaine de Kooning


I've been reading Cathy Curtis' book Elaine de Kooning: A Generous Vision. I LOVE this book. It's well written, engaging and inspiring. I've shared two favorite clips above that I think are definite food for thought.

I will argue forever that inspiration is everywhere and that we learn from each other. Art is enriched when we study the past and share with each other.

Torn between picking up one of my books on Gorky or Giacometti next.

Have you been reading any art books?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A View from the Orsay

Edit: I thought about it last night and added as well as changed a couple of things... 
I realized after the fact, I wrote peeling paint when I meant peeling paper. Ce la vie.
My palette.
I really liked it as it was but it didn't feel finished.

The page is about two separate days in France, exploring Toulouse (discovering peeling wallpaper on a demolished building) and a trip to the Orsay. 
I usually like to build up the layers but I wanted the text to peek through. 
I was going to build on the collage text to the right of the figure but decided against it.

Two pages left (I am writing this to hold myself accountable. I have two other projects I really want to work on but need to finish this big book first. Sharing how many pages I have left means I won't tear them out or glue them shut.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tristan has Graduated!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to draw and build. He dreamt of imaginary places, big cities and faraway lands. He drew maps, construction sites, outer space and goofy goober sundaes.
One day, this little boy was gifted LEGO and suddenly, a whole world opened up. Every moment of his waking (and probably dreaming) hours was spent in the Magical Land of All Things Lego. 

At some point, he discovered LEGO stop motion films. This young boy wasn't a stranger to film or animation. When he was a babe in arms, his parents took him to the movies; to meet masters such as Ray Harryhausen, Stan Lee, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton; on regular weekly trips to Golden Apple Comics and every July to San Diego Comic Con where he could, "be with his people."
This young boy had a big dream. His dream was to be a, "great filmmaker." He looked to his current heroes: Genndy Tartakovsky, Pen Ward, Stephen Hillenburg, Craig McCracken, and Lauren Faust. Where do all great filmmakers go? California Institute of the Arts, aka Cal Arts. He decided that's where he was going no matter what. He put all of his eggs in one basket, applied and was accepted. With the help of his advisor, he was granted a generous scholarship. He got his foot in the door, set his course and stuck to it. 
He took the courses he wanted to and worked hard. Once while waiting for approval to take a course in a program he wasn't a part of, a faculty member said, "You're not listening. It doesn't matter what I'm saying, you're just going to do what you want to do."
In the spring of 2018, the boy decided he wanted to jump in and work on a big film. He applied to work at a special FX company in Canada. He was assigned to two films (Predator and Dolittle.) He may have jumped up and down in the parking lot of outside of an ice cream parlor but there are no photos and he will deny it if you ask, so it's best that you don't and just take my word for it. In May, he packed his bags and set off on his grand adventure. 

In Montreal, he battled freezing cold, ice and snow. He was far from family but he made new friends and was open to new adventures. He lived in an apartment with no heat (not telling his parents this until after he left.) He met a, "very, very smart" young woman and fell in love. 

While at the film studio, he worked on several major films including Predator, Dolittle, Aquaman, Call of the Wild, Shazam, Dumbo, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Artemis Fowl. For his first film, Predator, his received his first screen credit. In a theatre in Hollywood, his parents cheered, pointed and clapped when they saw his name on the big screen. 

He worked hard on nine major films until the spring of 2019 when he decided that school was calling to him. He wanted to cross the finish line. He wanted his diploma and another film of his own under his belt.
Late Summer 2019 arrived, the young man and his partner settled into a place of their own within walking distance to the school. They were devoted to their studies as well as to each other. 

In 2020, Samantha returned home to study while Tristan spent his last semester excited about being a senior and dreaming of his graduation. Then in March, the world became a science fiction film. Tristan moved back home, back to his childhood bedroom where his adventures began many moons ago. He finished his classes while working for a major film company next to the LEGO that started all of his dreaming.

Last Friday, the young boy who had dreams of becoming a filmmaker graduated. 

This isn't the end. His story is only beginning. 

Congratulations, Tristan! Your father and I are very proud. We are excited to see you write your next chapter. 

When you're at the movies, please consider staying for the credits. It's not just actors and directors who make films. Each of those names floating by you played a part in what you are experiencing.