Open for Critique…kinda

So after much studio time (on and off, over a year) I am at last, pretty close, almost positive, for the moment, finished with my latest paintings. And although I have heard younger artists, seemingly without any pause (or apparent modesty) call their work “masterpieces” , I am in no way inclined to make the same claim; but I am pleased (for now).

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Seizing Sanctimonium 

2016

56 by 40″

oil on canvas 

click on the image to enlarge

 I have been eager to get the painting into a presentable stage as Sunday is my turn for the critique group I have recently  joined. As some of you might remember this is a bit anxiety producing. My paintings are very far from random and imbued (crammed)with meaning : personal, mythological, literary etc. All not terribly obvious from first encounter. I fear it might not be well received or understood, but that is something I cannot control.  One of the problems I anticipate is that the one being critiqued is  not to respond while criticism is being made. I might have bitten off my tongue by the end of all of this.

So wish me and the painting well.

I will tighten the painting some more next week, details and glazings, saturating shadows and such. Then I will try to explain the painting at some length in the final post. Hopefully with a better image.

Until then , be well.

Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert (a fellow and his pig)

 

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Just moments ago I finished up a drawing of the abbot of the desert St. Anthony. This well intentioned saint who sought to avoid worldliness and the corruption that follows only found himself in the thick of it. Anthony is my muse (as he was to Bosch, to symbolists such as Flaubert and to many  Surrealists), I turn to him time and again and have lost count as to how many works I have devoted to this early father of the Church . But one attribute of the anchorite that I particularly love is the company he keeps, pigs. The pig is found in many depictions of the hermit but this  is the first time I have worked one of my favorite beasties into the composition.  I’m sure there will be many more.

In this depiction I tried to incorporate,in a whimsical way, classical elements to depict worldliness ; not that I feel humanism is corrupt but classical sculpture can certainly raise one’s pulse.

 

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The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert (and his pig) 

2016 graphite and pastel on paper

18 by 24″ 

My love of pigs is personal, being a vegan I have a particular attachment to this highly intelligent and sensitive creature . David sponsored a pig for me this year as a Christmas present, her name is Sweet Tea and she is well tended to by the loving folks at Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. Although I wish she lived with us we can easily visit her in Tuscon AZ, we plan on visiting her at least every boxing day. This image is from the day we first met, as you can see she is quite adorable and friendly. It is delightful how pigs rush to you when you enter their compound, ever greedy for treats and attention.

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Sweet Tea

Like I mentioned Anthony is often depicted with a pig, this little gem of painting by Lelio Orsi (1511-87) is one of my favorites at the Getty, I search it out whenever I visit.

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On my last visit I noticed this wee little pig pawing at the anchorite’s robe as fervently as my pug Viola.

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As I mentioned I will be sure to return to Anthony time and again, my very sweet and very talented friend, the artist and musician Henry Kitchen offered to pose, sending along this funny photo. He is actually a perfect Anthony, right down to the hoodie.

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I’m sure to take him up on the offer very soon.

Until then, back to painting, good night.

Today’s Progress: The Great Demiurge

I feel I am finally nearing the finish line on a large painting I have been working on. Today’s segment being a demiurge character (part of a long complicated personal narrative that I will go into at some other time). A demiurge being understood as a false god, or as Webster asserts:”in Gnosticism and other theological systems, a heavenly being, subordinate to the Supreme Being, that is considered to be the controller of the material world and antagonistic to all that is purely spiritual.”

With  the false Christians (who one would hardly call ‘heavenly”) in the GOP espousing such ugliness to win their party’s nomination this evening, finishing my own false idol was  particularly satisfying.

With that, I clean my brushes and head home, good night.

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New Print: The Proposition

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The Proposition (red)

2016

relief print on paper, 10 by 14″

series of eight

$300.00

I am rather pleased with this print, once again utilizing the pochoir technique in addition to a cut plate.The alignment is pretty good and I feel it has a satisfying composition of color and line that I admire in German Expressionist prints ( and film).  I am also enjoying taking a painting and making a print of it ( or the other way around).

The Proposition 2015 oil on panel 8 by 10"
The Proposition 2015 oil on panel 8 by 10″
Initially this print was printed in black which I like but I delight in color.

The Proposition 2015 relief print on paper , image size 8 by10"
The Proposition 2015 relief print on paper , image size 8 by10″
I sense I am going to be returning to commedia figures in this upcoming year as they seem to keep popping up in my random sketching . They have long fascinated me since boyhood and I look forward to further exploration.

The Proposition

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The Proposition

2015

oil on panel

8 by 10″

I just finished this painting moments ago; it is a companion to a relief print bearing the same name.

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Now off to tend to the beasties.

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 Post Script: kind words concerning this painting my my new favorite podcasts Pleasure Town.

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Link: http://pleasuretownshow.com/blog/

A Proof for Jim

As I run  proofs of a new plate I have just finished cutting, I am reminded of the man who taught me all I know ( or remember) about printmaking, Jim Machacek, who recently retired from teaching printmaking at San Diego community colleges for thirty years. I find myself fastidiously looking for errant marks, unnecessary details and the quality of the inking. I can hear him griping out loud to the class “TOO much ink!”- too much ink makes a muddy print and was the bane of his teaching career apparently. But as I run my fifth proof, nearing the end of the editing (I think), I’m deeply grateful for the rigor Jim instilled in me.

This proof, for a new print The Proposition is for Jim’s approval.

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 The Proposition

 2015

relief print on paper

10 by 14 inhes

This has been a tricky composition for me, layering the figures, adding shadows in two colors but I am going in the direction I had  hoped for. I initially thought of employing a separate plate for the shadows but after looking at German Expressionist prints I was inspired to more fully utilize the drama of black and white. I may still make separate color plates for contrast color but I’m pleased with this print. I’m glad I have Jim in the back of my mind guiding my cuts.

Thanks Jim.

IMG_7386My teacher and friend Jim Machacek taken at LACMA this week, in front of Noah Purifoy’s The Spaceman. I’m happy Jim drove up from San Diego, battling insufferable traffic, to visit me; I’m hoping to see him soon once again on his turf.