Archive for May, 2010

My hero

I was very fortunate to participate in a group show at the James Rieser Fine art gallery in Carmel, a show called “After the storm”. The artists in the gallery are all of my favorites, really talented painters like Kim Lordier, Michael Obermeyer, John Burton, Charles Movali and this guy, Ray Roberts. Ray is a painters painter. If you bring him up in conversation with any artist worth their salt, they all have the same response. They all kind of look up and to the right, off in the distance and nod knowingly with a long “yeah” usually followed by a “he’s really good”. Ray combines the use of great design, great shape making, division of space, simplification of form and an amazing color sense to effortlessly guide the eye through the canvas. No space or shape is not carefully thought out. I looked at this painting for an hour or so and he had 5 or 6 that you could analyze in the same way. He’s not just a painter, he’s a picture maker. He’s got a little N.C. Wyeth and maybe a pinch of  Maynard Dixon in him, but he still has a very unique voice. Jim Rieser said that while he paints fast he takes a long time to get to the painting, thinking about it for weeks.

What I love about this painting is how the river of flowers is crafted to flow over the turning field and back to the distant hills. It’s a very complicated and difficult thing to do making a bunch of orange and yellow notes read this way. I saw the painting at first in the evening when the lights were out and all I could see was the shape of the flowers and the shape of the trees in the distance. I thought, man this guy knows his stuff. I was talking with a couple of great local painters and the thought came up that there’s a lot of homogenization going on in the plein air movement. People are all starting to sort of copy each other or use some of the same tricks so when you flip through an art mag, it’s hard to tell them apart. Ray is a stand out in my book.


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The book is in

Finally after more than a few printing delays, the book Poster and Process is done and in my hands. I’ve been waiting to post this site until I physically had the books in hand so that when they are ordered, I can just mail them right out.  Here’s the link to the site if you wish to purchase one. If you are interested in also getting the framed print or original sketch, we’ll have to do that one by email. If you want to know more about it before you get one, go to the book page up top or the latest book post under categories at right.

Purchase Poster and Process  http://www.posterandprocess.com/

or go to link at right under Blogroll

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A good week

I’m posting these from the iPhone so I’ll get into more detail when I get home but it was a good week. I was invited to participate in a group show in, what I feel, is the best gallery in Carmel with a group of artists that I really respect. That right there is dream number 1, seriously. Then I won the top prize, also dreamy and then the gallery invited me in. F- n awesome. And then don Sondag and I got to paint with 2 of the most awesomest painter dudes evah, John Burton and Jesse Powell.
Anyway here’s a pic of the painting on the easel. More later about the whole deal i’m at the airport.

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Rocks and water

This is not a story with a happy ending; there’s a struggle for power, there’s man vs nature with highs and lows and in the end the guy doesn’t get the girl. This is the artist Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill. Sounds melodramatic ? It is. Painting is hard, painting rocks and water is harder.

I’m in Carmel for the art festival and wanted to do some studies of the coast so I go to Garapata where there’s plenty of both elements of water and earth. First is a quick sketch-in of the parts that don’t move and then a sketch of things that do. I’ve found that looking for and marking down key patterns that repeat is the way to go, as in the flow and shape of water and foam or the lines formed by the darks at the top of the waves. Where does the wave come in and how does the foam spread out or how does the spray fan out from the rock when it hits. These are the things we have to make note of.
The problem I ran into was not keeping it simple. I got so caught up in how things work I forgot to make a painting, I didn’t edit out the things that aren’t necessary, so this one got away but I guess that’s why they call them studies.

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Before i get started on this I want to remind everyone to check out Larry Groff’s blog on art, he’s got interviews with great contemporary realists, it’s real in-depth, intellectual smart guy stuff, not this goofy surfacey stuff. But, hey, I am what I am. There’s a link to the right.

And speaking of surface, I had someone come in to the studio and dig through my to-be-fixed bin recently. She pulled out this 12×24 and said she was interested and I said okay but I have to rework it because it’s extremely anemic. I painted it from the roof top of a 3 story house but because it was started around 3, that’s the palette I ended up with. I hadn’t looked at it in a while but definitely had a Yikes moment when presented with the errors of my past. She also said she would be interested to read about the glazing process, so I figured……. what the hay. I have extensive knowledge of the glazing process having done it now about 6 times so take that for what its worth. After a bit of research about what kind of medium to use i came up with a mix of damar varnish, turp and stand oil. It works great but is slow to dry so some patience is required. First a light coat of my medium with a touch of indian yellow, then three days to dry, then another layer with more indian yellow and a little red mixed in then three days to dry, one more with yellow and some burnt sienna and because I am not patient I just started in on the whole thing with opaque colors scumbled over the layers of glaze.

I’m told you can layer warm tones and green tones and pink tones and really get lovely effects. Ultimately I use the glazes to give an overall harmonious tone on top of the color and values I had already established. It’s a lot of fun and an easy way to put some color into the cheeks of a palid painting.

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It’s difficult to be focused on painting and being “up” with the epic environmental disaster currently unfolding in the gulf. I find it interesting that last night in the evening news it was 3rd or 4th in the line up after our governors switching political parties, a mayoral backing of a new candidate and some other stuff, somebody shot someone or stole something, you know, big news. The scale of this disaster could be bigger than any environmental screw up we have perpetrated to date. Worse than the Exxon Valdez multiplied by countless numbers by the time all is said and done. If there is a patron saint of marine life now is the time to get your prayer circles going and ring him up. We’re going to be seeing the effects of this for years to come with the destruction of already fragile and beleaguered ecosystems. It always takes something like this to facilitate environmental change which lasts about 5 to 10 years (in 1979 the Ixtoc spill was 140 million gallons in the gulf) and then big money comes in and circumvents it. Fuckers.

At least as landscape artists our impact on the environment is minimal and maybe in some little way we share the love of nature by celebrating it the way we do. By the way, the chart below was taken from the BBC news site, I don’t know if I’m violating anyones copyright by posting it but it’s really interesting to show the size of the spill (as of 5-9-10) as compared to other spills, the largest of all, the Ixtoc was also in the gulf. Not sure how many gallons or barrels in a tonne (british) but the estimates were based on 5,000 barrels per day spilling out into the gulf.

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