Bringing Randy Blue Fauns to Class

I’m taking an introduction to digital photography class and frankly I hate it.

Although it is an intro class, a working knowledge of Photoshop is in order (something I was unaware of).  I might very well be the only person in class who has never worked with the program; my fellow students zip from one application to another.  I feel like a dinosaur.

Our first two assignments have thankfully been hands on, and I have done  relatively well. It is not without a bit of smugness that I  have observed my fellow students’ inability to render.

The following is a silly exercise in which three pared down elements must be synthesized into a narrative. In spite of hating the class, the assignment was fun; I might do another version.

This effort was inspired by Sartre’s No Exit. 

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visual exercise II

The following is the assignment sheet:

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My printmaking class is going very well, this is my third semester and although I have produced only a few prints I can claim  to like,  I am learning a lot. Thankfully my anxiety that my professor did not like me or my work has proven to be  due to ridiculous insecurity. He has proven to be very helpful and supportive of my work in spite of our aesthetic differences. I look forward to afternoons spent at the press in spite of the oppressive California heat- apparently printmaking studios do not warrant air conditioning.

The following image  is the final version of my first dry point exercise . Again, I see flaws but I now know how to better handle the technique , next I plan to combine drypoint with aquatint. 

IMG_4118Temptation of St Anthony

drypoint intaglio print

Well that is it for this evening , have a lovely weekend and to my fellow Landsmen, L’Shana Tovah!

Take care,

Lg

Back To Class, First Proofs

The Fall semester began this week and one of my courses is Printmaking III- I cannot believe how quickly time has flown. I am still very much the novice, but I do feel I have a better grip on this elusive medium. This first week of this semester I have focused upon two plates : one a relief print on lino ; the second an intaglio drypoint on copper.

I am determined this semester to achieve a better grasp of intaglio , I find it so challenging. The following are early proofs, the lino being the more successful of the two.

IMG_4098 Redemption of the Father

Artist’s Proof # I

relief print,lino on paper

plate 10″ by 12″

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 St Anthony of the Desert

Artist’s proof # II,

drypoint, copper plate, 6″by 8″

As I said the intaglio needs a lot of work. Given that I am determined to work solely in drypoint for this print, the “burrs” are causing me some trouble. I will this weekend rub them out, adding more marks as needed. This is when I wish I had a home press, I am burning with a desire to resolve this problem NOW!

But I must practice patience,  taking deep Ujjayi  breath. Printmaking is not an immediate art, at least with out a home press.

The inspiration for the relief print, which is close to complete, is the following watercolor ( a VERY immediate medium ). 

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Redemption of the Father

Out of the Hermitage :the completion of the Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert

At long last I have finished my painting of The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert. I have some shading to tend to, a few details that need enhancing, but for now, I’m out of the Hermitage.

2The Temptation of St.Anthony of the Desert

oil on canvas

36 by 52 inches

2013

It is satisfying to have chronicled the painting from the first roughing out until completion. I haven’t posted play-by-play images, as that would be dull as dishwater given the progress I made, but I have stashed them in my library.

3scrubbling in, first day

Given that I may very well be the worst photographer ever, I am going to post individual images of details.

4Randy Blue Fauns

1

5

Fury/Siren

6

Bearded Siren

4

Albino Boy

7

The abbot, an attempt at self portraiture, not sure if it is successful or not.

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A detail of my trusted mechanical pencil; the bane of every art instructor I have had. There is a serious resistance to mechanical pencils amongst the art establishment. I developed a fondness for precision instruments when  I worked in interior design. Habits fall off slowly.

The “L” is not a signature but a reference to 50, my age right now.  A memento mori.

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Bearded Prickly Man

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Iguana Boy

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A wee little red devil who unfortunately doesn’t photograph well.

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source

In finishing this painting there is a personal symbolic value, I think i’m ready to start venturing out of my own hermitage. I have for the last year been squirreled up with my dogs, my paint, and my thoughts. Essentially a recluse. As I gear up towards moving to a vital city, attending a school that is both exciting and intimidating , I’m finding myself more and more venturing forth. A small step in tackling my anxieties is taking a yoga class with my sister-in-law this afternoon; silly how intimidating that feels, but I’m going forward. Wish me luck.

Until next time,

take care, be well,

LG

Post Script: On the themes of hermits,  the hermitage, and creation of art and one’s self ; this morning’s New York Times ran a piece about a Brooklyn artist having had spent his life practicing his craft in isolation was “discovered” at 64 by a major gallery, the show a whopping success.  A fairytale story of course, but heartening.  His work is rich and he has clearly dedicated his life to Breton’s ideals.  The paper quotes the artist, Rafeal Leonardo Black as saying “Everybody writes poems at 15 ; real poets write them at 50.”

Encouraging words.

iggy

Dispatch from the Wilderness

Several months ago I posted my intention to begin a new painting  The Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert ; these few months later the painting is progressing well enough that I feel able to post an update. I have been working on it in between class assignments and several other smaller paintings.

It is a rather large painting, 36 by 48 inches. The image is a bit fuzzy as I’m having difficulty photographing the painting ; but as the painting is still unfinished a bit of fuzziness allows for progress. The sheet of paper, which I use to wipe off excess paint, hides the Abbot, he is of yet  just a sketch.

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Temptation of St. Anthony of the Desert

unfinished

oil on canvas 36 by 48 inches

As I have been noodling with the painting,  I am  as usual kept company by the pugs Rose and Viola. This image below explains my slow progress, Viola just demands a certain amount of attention, she is my greatest Temptation.

562180_10200625206982204_1520932710_nViola, the vigilant studio assistant

I’m taking a break, my eyes grow weary with  the tight work, I have a Dead Mother  I am working on,  a far looser painting; I  will switch off after my dinner break.  Viola is at this moment in the study with me, snoring away, delightful company as always.

Until next time, take care, LG

Saint Antony of the Desert

Today is the feast day of  Saint Antony of the Desert (251-356); according to my Dictionary of Saints, “Antony” is the proper, if not archaic name for the abbot. I am not channeling my latent  New Jersey “guido” tendencies.

He has been a favorite saint of mine since boyhood and I have played upon the theme  of his wilderness exile numerous times, with varying degrees of success. But since leaving L.A. and moving quite literally to the desert I feel a keen kinship to the saint . San Diego, particularly East County where I now live, is a wasteland. It lacks interest in culture, intellectualism or beauty, San Diego of surfing fame is pretty in a vapid sort of way, but for something to sink your creative teeth into it is best to look abroad; or within your own reserves.  

Like the famed abbot, I retreat to  my cell and work, time and again I am stunned at how this”exile’ has been a boon. when I was in L.A. I would dawdle with vanities, little actual painting aside from what I was being paid to do was attempted. This hermitage has become a treasure.

I mentioned earlier I was reading a brief biography of Max Beckman by Reinhard Spieler, Max Beckman, 1884-1950, The Path to Myth (Taschen). I have long admired his beautiful 1936/37 triptych Temptation of Saint Anthony; what I didn’t know was his thoughts behind the subject. According to Spieler, Beckman felt:

“Ultimately Temptation deals with the inner conditions necessary for the creation of art.  Beckman depicts the artist as a modern St. Anthony, exposed to a myriad of temptations; at the same time these temptations are the foundations and mainspring of his art.” (121).

This had me thinking,  for Beckman’s thoughts made clear my own nebulous pondering ; so often I too am tempted by many wonderful inspirations, some “sacred” and some decidedly profane.   How do I go about synthesizing them into work that is authentic to my own desires and not slavish to the source. What I do not want is a mock Baroque or Renaissance pastiche.  I made a list of what has haunted and inspired : classicism, academic realism, Renaissance/Baroque art, porn, saints, narratives and myth making, on and on.  What I hope to do in my next painting is confront these tempters/inspirations head on, in my own version of Anthony in the Desert.

The following are a few sketches that I have been putting together, many more will follow.

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detail of tormenting fauns

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Preliminary sketch, I am most likely going to replace the conventional depiction of the abbot with a self-portrait .

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An earlier sketch, I like elements of this and may very well include them in the final painting …or not.

I was also, just to clear my mind playing upon an image of a  seductress from one of my sketches, translated as a relief print.

It is a very poor initial print, I will play with it some more, make a final print in my upcoming class when I have access to a proper press. But I thought I would include it with this post nonetheless.

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My introduction to the saint was not though religious fervor but through art. Numerous, far gifted artists have played upon this theme. I have in the past made note of it, this link is for a particular  personal favorite; not only because there are numerous pieces of wonderful art but because there is a really wonderful clip by the incredible George Mélliès, his La Tentation de Saint Antoine, 1898. It is not to be missed.

Until next time,

take care, be well,

LG