July 11, 2016

309 The Road Ahead

309 Road Trip

309 The Road Ahead

11x14 inches :: original oil painting on canvas panel

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I spent so much time debating between this landscape, or a dog, or rabbit to select as my subject for today I was stressing myself out. I finally asked my daughter and though I thought she (the animal lover) would say the rabbit or the dog, she surprisingly said the landscape. As soon as she did, my stress bubble popped and I got to work. I used a photo by @alexstrohl as reference for this work.

July 10, 2016

308 All of Myself

308 Still308 All of Myself

12x12 inches :: oil painting on canvas panel

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In today's @nytimes magazine, I read a beautiful poem by African poet Gbenga Adesina titled How to Paint a Girl. It makes me want to be this kind of painter ... one who paints all of myself as I give all of myself to every painting ... of faces, of flowers, and even of ordinary lemons from my quiet and ordinary tree.

I referenced a photo of peonies in a blue and white vase by @johnderian for this work.

How to Paint a Girl
by Gbenga Adesina

With him you come to learn
that when a man is called to paint a girl
he paints all of himself.
His tiny songs are the floss in her hair,
the tulips on her blouse are the stories
his sisters told him under half-nights long ago
in the lost country of music. With their half-furls and
follicles and buds and brown twigs that speak more
of withering things. The tiny sigh, the one you almost didn't see, the silence in her eyes, is the night his mother
died while he fought rebels in the Nigerian army.

July 09, 2016

307 Fiat Lux

307 Fiat Lux307 Fiat Lux

6x6 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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I definitely had the mindset of Andrew Wyeth on as I referenced a photo by @niravphotography for this work. Window. Light. Shadow. Contemplation.

When the first blocking in of the work was going well, I knew that the rest of it would go well, as long as I did not overwork the stroke. I'm pretty sure that how the first few moments of a painting goes indicates how the rest of it will go. When things start out frantic and incorrect, it continues to spiral out of control. When things start out calm and correct, everything just falls into place. It was a joy to paint this work. "Fiat Lux" is Latin for "Let there be light." The beautiful words that govern the educational system of the University of California.

Melancholy and Gratitude


I am mesmerized by the art of Andrew Wyeth. Magnificent works mostly with tempera that have a cloud of melancholy hovering over them all. Certainly he observed and contemplated the world and the human condition with intensity. I think that is the job of the artist. And when I do my job, I can't help but get melancholy. It shows in my work I think. And frequently I try to be honest and reference emotions I battle as an artist/human every day including loneliness and sadness. And usually someone points out to me how sadness needs to be overcome by being grateful. Stat. To which I want to officially respond here. Being melancholy and being grateful are not mutually exclusive. I can be both. I AM both. The subject of many of Wyeth's works were windows ... portals that certainly get me to look out and within as I ponder the bitter, sweet, ironic, tragic and beautiful facets of our singularly brief and collectively never-ending human condition.

Relentless Swarming


In Seven Brief Lessons in Physics, Carlo Rovelli writes: "Quantum mechanics and experiments with particles have taught us that the world is a continuous, restless swarming of things, a continuous coming to light and disappearance of ephemeral entities ... A world of happenings, not of things."

I feel the passage could be describing art, not just physics. I think art is a world of happenings, not of things. It's a coming to and disappearance of. And just like scientists who never feel satisfied after discovering the latest, the artist also never arrives. We continue to inquire, seek, and seek again. Sometimes with a sense of loss and disappointment and loneliness. Sometimes with jubilation and assuredness. To me, that is art. A never-ending, restless swarming of things.

July 08, 2016

306 Peonies Everywhere

306 Peonies Everywhere306 Peonies Everywhere

8x6 inches :: oil on gessobord

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I was having lunch with my friend today and she asked me what I'm most excited about right now in my life. I thought and thought and thought and replied that at that very moment, I was most excited about the idea of going back home and doing my 306th consecutive painting, which is exactly what I did. I had originally planned on painting more of the roses from yesterday but a photo of peonies I found on the internet took cuts and got in front of the roses. It's a work that keeps me mesmerized with the challenges of getting it right with tone, color, value.


July 07, 2016

305 Done

305 Done 305 Done

6x6 inches :: original oil painting on gessobord

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I've been reading a book titled The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. There's a passage where he states that a painting isn't done when every inch of a canvas is covered, or other conventional and arbitrary measurements/definitions of "done." He argues that it's done when the artist has expressed on the canvas the part of the subject that the artist finds unique and interesting based on the artist's unique point of view. I really like that idea very much and pondered it intensely as I was painting this rose that I bought from the market today. So the parts that I thought was interesting about my subject was the dimensional quality of the petals ... causing the right most petal to appear closest to the viewer and the inner most petals farthest from the viewer. I also felt that the reflections of color in the vase was interesting. So when I felt that I expressed those points of interest, I allowed myself to get a little crazy with the rest of the background, doing bold and crazy strokes and wipes to push and pull and break rules and just have fun and accept that whatever would happen in the background didn't matter, given that what I found as most interesting about my subject had already been addressed.


July 06, 2016

304 Understudy

304 304 Understudy

18x24 inches :: original acrylic painting on stretched canvas

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This is my demo painting from the private painting session that I taught today. I referenced an oil painting that I did from a while back but ended up welcoming in a very different energy altogether with this one. Her expression reminds me of a dancer ready and waiting to go on stage.

July 05, 2016

303 Perfect Petals of a Rose


303 Perfect Petals of a Rose

8x8 inches :: oil painting on gessobord

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It's an endless universe. Flowers, that is. I look inside them and I think how in the world did this miraculous thing happen? I suppose that's what surgeons say when they look inside humans. And what astronauts say when they look into space. And wow, we now have reached Jupiter!!!

It's when I get to learn how these miraculous things are actually a drop in the bucket of the vast universe that I feel genuine and non-phony shifts within me from "I don't know if there is something higher" to "I'm probably sure there is."

How else can you explain the petals of a rose? I used three roses I placed on my kitchen table as reference for this work. My second work for today.

302 Perched Bird

302 Perched Bird302 Perched Bird

10x8 inches :: original oil painting on canvas panel

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Another day, another bird.

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