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My last post

Here anyway. I’m happy to let you, my tens of readers, know that I have a new website. It was designed by a great kid (Corey Hickey), and I can call him a kid because he is about a third of my age. It has the blog, a bunch of new paintings and some old stuff that I still like, it’s simple and easy to view on computers and smart phones alike. For those who are curious, it’s still goes through WordPress, God love em, but it’s hosted by someone else. It’s a custom site, not a template. And it’s at the same old address www.larrymoorestudios.com  though you may have to clear your cache to see it and don’t ask me how to do that, I had to look it up. Once you get there, if you want to continue to get updates, look for the little orange radiating insignia on the main page next to the blue and white F (facebook) link and give it a squish. Also note, new email address. So tired of having to spell and explain elmodraws@cfl.rr.whatevs  (and no it’s not related to tickle me elmo). I’ll still get both but am phasing out elmo.

I’m excited… it’s just a friggin website, ferchrissakes, but it comes at a time of transition in so many ways. I’m looking for the new path in my painting, I’m starting to really enjoy the writing here, cliffnotey though it is, and I just feel a change in the wind. The blog may take a new direction, no longer a place to drop new work, it will be more about the process and the stories. So come on over to the new old larrymoorestudios, have a walk through and let me know what you think. And thanks so much for all the supportive comments.

 

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Emily and me

This will be my second to last post here, I’m pretty close to launching a brand new website and the blog and all things will be rolled into one website. Next post will be to let any of you who actually read this stuff know what the deal will be. If you are a subscriber you’ll just have to resubscribe from my website. Since I will be able to post new work to the new site more easily, the blog will become something else. Maybe more about the life of an artist, or things that I’ve experienced. For example….

I first met Emily in the spring of 2005 in a big mixed use marina called Moss Landing during the Carmel Arts Festival. She was a good lookin thing, nice lines, kinda middle aged and for the life of me I could not tell you what kind of boat she is. I don’t know boats, but I know I like painting them. I stumbled on this little scene and right away knew that it was going to work, it was already set up. Many times I will look for way too long until I get the “ping”,  just sort of a visceral response that says “paint this”.  In the process of working on this one, a guy came up and was looking over my shoulder, he pointed to the green and yellow and white boat and said, “I just bought her”. He proceeded to tell me he knew nothing about boats but decided to buy this one anyway and sail it from Hawaii and he went on to say that he nearly died in a big storm on the sail over. Dumbass.

Fast forward a year and I’m back at the same spot. And, there she is. Up “on the hard”, I’m not making that up, that’s what they call it. Emily sat patiently as I started this one but halfway through the marine layer blew off and the sun came out and I had to come back the next morning. No biggie, she wasn’t going anywhere. I show up bright and early and somehow somebody levitated a big old Lays Potato Chip box truck right in front of the boat. No clue how they got it there. Fortunately I had the drawing in so I moved from one side of the truck to the other to get all the colors and values. It worked out okay.One more year later, I’m right back in the same place hoping to find my girl. I figured surely she would have moved on by now but after a little looking around, I found Miss Emily in the same place I had found her originally. I talked to the owner again as I painted and he explained that he had burned all his money working on this boat for three years and was sort of done with the whole thing and hoping to sell Emily to some other unknowing schmuck. I think the moral here is… don’t buy a boat. Or never get involved with a girl named Emily sporting a green top and a yellow waistband and a white dress.

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The 5th element

As painters of the natural realm we utilize several important tools; design, shape, color, value (plus a few others) but there’s another element in the artists repertoire, surface. Some artists go for the smooth as glass look, it brings a kind of mystery to how the piece was created. No foot prints. I like to see the hand of the artist, see the marks and the knots of paint, be able to run my fingers over the paint (if it’s mine) and feel the texture. Some will really play this up by adding a thickener to the paint or by loading the brush with a palette knife in order to get big lumps of gooey paint to come off the brush.

I’ve started a new series of bigger pieces for the people who still have large houses with large walls. This one is 48″x60″, not the biggest piece I’ve done but big enough. To get the paint to build up I incorporated every trick and device I could drum up. Big cheap brushes, palette knives to load or scrape or blend. I like this one, it’s got a thing and so far anyone who has walked in has liked it too. I have a few other canvases that are bigger, 60×70 and I’m looking forward to slathering gobs of paint on them. In order to do that though I’m ordering quarts of paint so that I’m not burning through expensive big tubes. I haven’t figured out the frame thing yet… I have two galleries that are good with the gallery wrapped canvas idea of presentation.

And in other news… I’m working on a new website, brand spankin new from top to bottom with a lot of fresh work and some old favs. Most of the older work is going away. Movin forward. And the blog will now be attached to the site so it’s one stop viewing. Haven’t figured out if the 4 or 5 of you with subscriptions will have to re-up or not yet. Should launch in the next week.

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I am the Mighty Worrier. It’s my one true super power. My Clark Kent disguise is my ability to find humor in most things but my real strength is the ability to fret with the force of 10 megaton bombs. Not about normal things, but about really stupid things. I go into a restaurant and I start looking for the ideal piece of cutlery to use as a star of death in case we get overthrown by ninjas. I keep a laser guided nerf dart gun by the bed in case a burglar comes in because in the dark all he’s gonna know is “laser on my forehead… I should leave”. I never sleep naked because if it comes to wrestling said intruder I can’t have my junk flapping around. I worry about the island of plastic the size of Texas floating somewhere in the Pacific. My super power does serve a purpose, however. When I get on a plane I immediately start the process of angsting over everything from ball lightning to vortexes to furry critters on the wing and thanks to my secret power, these things never happen. Oh the lives I have saved over the years keeping the planes afloat simply by covering all of the worst case scenarios. I should get a medal.

But there was a time, a life changing moment in time, when I stopped worrying and simply did the stupid thing that popped in my head without fear of reprisal or fear of the future, the result being that all the kids in high school saw me differently from that event forward. It change me overnight. In a way I have my physics teacher to thank. Mr. Spoto’s name was perfect for him, he was like a cross between a smart alien on Star Trek and something out of Lord of the Rings, he did not exactly inspire through intimidation, though he was a great guy. In class one day I was called to the chalkboard to solve an equation, it was like one of those dreams that has since repeated over and over again where I’m in class for a test and I realize I never read any of the material and I’m there in my underoos. I had, in fact, not studied the material a lick and was not really sure how I would ever fake my way through proving Plank’s constant. But I did notice two things; one was that the chalk catcher thing was filled with about 2 inches of chalk dust that ran the length of the chalk catcher thing and two was that Mr. Spoto was seated about 3 feet from the far end of the chalk catcher thing. I quickly ran the equation and realized I had no choice but to blow the entire mass of chalk dust onto our little Frodo the Science guy. I took a deep breath and let it go, the whole length, and he disappeared in a blooming cloud of inert dust, I was banished from the dork forest for three days and reemerged triumphant to all of my friends. The rest of my high school life was cake.

As this is essentially an art blog, I’ll bring it around. Worry and fear are the key inhibitors to true creativity. How many people paint a certain way or a certain thing because they see that others have done it? How many people are copying the artists that are copying other artists? A lot. Why? and here’s my theory on that, they fear not being accepted, either socially or economically. History isn’t filled so much with the artists who have solved the same equations the same way every time but who have looked for another way. Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, Thomas Hart Benton, Damien Hirst (love him or hate him), Tim Hawkinson, Anish Kapoor, Pollock, all the Ashcanners, these are all artists who have come at the thing another way… taking the other path without fear. Think of it this way, if you were the last person standing on earth after the Apocalypse and you happened to live near a fully stocked art store (because, really, who is going to loot an art store at the end of civilization), what would you paint? Now don’t get me wrong, there is no shame in painting the landscape when a million people have done it before you, there’s always something new to say, I get surprised almost every day at the latest new way to put color and form together to interpret a natural setting. Just saying, think about if you only had a little amount of time left and you knew it really mattered… what would you do? I say go for the chalk tray, I’m trying to get back to it myself.

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That’s my new nom de plume or at least it is for the next few minutes. I’ve been thinking about a bunch of different things from a variety of conversations about painting. It may be a tad rambly and disjointed but walk with me a while and lets chat. It’ll at least give me a chance to post some better shots of the studies I did while out there in Cali-walla. First up is my last, semi-whiny post about flailing in Carmel last week. A bad day there is better than pretty much anything, it’s one of those places that reminds me why I do what I do. I have a drive, a passion, to get that mother nature on canvas, even if  these things have been painted a thousand times before. I want to simply put down in paint that mountain, to borrow from George Mallory, because it’s there. It’s a combination of honoring the beauty that nature has to give and engaging in the honorable pursuit of the art of art, that and to make a few bucks on the side. So maybe I didn’t deliver when it mattered. I showed up and I did my best. So I didn’t win something or make a few bucks, it wasn’t my turn.

Paint outs in general are great training, wonderful learning experiences and a chance to make great new friends. I can’t tell you the number of times I have thought, upon viewing another artists work, “I didn’t know you could do that!”.  The Carmel event, while it has changed over the years, is still a good event if only for the chance to paint the area, an excuse to go there and write it off. It’s more like a sporting event because you have only two days to paint enough decent paintings to hang. It ramps up the adrenaline and makes us really focus on doing good work. Just doesn’t always go that way. I often wonder though about things like the quickdraw, yes they bring in more buyers, people see the work in progress and bond with it like a newborn. But,  at the same time, these people see that it takes only a couple of hours to do what we do. Is that the right message? You and I know it takes a lifetime to pull this stuff off. But it’s like watching eggs boil. See? Only a couple of minutes and they’re done. Forget the fact that it took the chicken a couple of million years to develop a convenient way to deliver our tasty breakfast. I think in a way it cheapens not the work but the process. It takes a little of the mystery out of it.

Also, the events themselves aren’t really a big source of income so much anymore, people come, I think, to get a deal. Some artists price their work down a little, or maybe lower the opening bid such that, with only one bidder, the painting sells for less than its actual value. I like the events that encourage the artists to price the work to it’s full value and they either get it for that or they don’t. Many buyers have told me that they have experienced regret after the fact for not buying a piece because at the time it seemed to expensive. A good painting will stick with you. I know. I think I’m finally getting to the place where, as much as I hate to say it, it’s time to just focus in on doing a serious body of work.  Ever see the big dogs at these events? Not so much anymore. They are doing private shows with Sting and riding in limos with hot Russian escorts and sporting gold lined Javan Tiger fur coats. Yes….maybe it’s time for me to get serious. Right after I finish making this fake license plate that says “SML PNS” that I will stick on the back of whatever Hummer I find at the grocery store parking lot.

The other topic is this…. Scrape, toss, sell or save. I was going to do this as a separate post but I’m trying to come up with enough words to wrap around all these pics. I’ve talked with a number of artists about this, people I really respect, except for that one guy with the outstanding warrant for stealing women’s underwear from Kmart, the guy can paint though. What to do with all of these studies. For me, if someone wants to buy a small plein air study, by all means. I’ll just take a pic and put the study up on the ol compooter screen. But many do the studies just for that purpose, as studies. Then they do larger versions directly from the studies. What that does is allow for another level of interpretation, removed from photos, the artists voice really gets to come out. I never like my photos anyway. So it seems to be the consensus to keep and paint from the good ones. Maybe sell a few here and there when mommy needs new shoes.

What about the ones that suck? Some keep them as a reminder of how far they’ve come. Not me. I paint over them, though I still haven’t found a good solution for that, whatever I use to cover up the paint scat, like baloney in my shoes, it just feels funny. There are people who are drawn to some crudeness in the bad ones and want them, sometimes even for money, but do I really want that crap to show up with my name on it? No.

And what about the ones that are beginning to suck? I’m an hour in to a P.O.S., do I just keep attempting triage or as my mother used to always say “stop touching it!!”. John Burton calls it rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (and no he’s not the one with the underwear problem). Here’s a lesson I never learn because I want to win. If I have to add a friggin unicorn in the corner to make it work, I will. But I scraped a few last week when I realized it was just unsalvageable and went for a walk to clear my head. Scraping does give power back to the artist.

And speaking of tossing out old work… I have been thinking for years of having a kind of art based burning man thing. Build a tower with old art, maybe a big fort shaped gizmo or some kind of effigy and just let it go up in flames. Better yet would be the proper Viking funeral for all these old illustrations and crappy paintings… a raft built up with piles of art that no one will ever want and send it up in flames. I wonder if I need a permit for a proper Viking funeral on my lake. It would be very cathartic and I think I’m ready for it.

So, now that I’m almost out of pics, I’m saving the other 5 or 6 for the new website that is about to go live… Yay…. I will sum up. It’s okay to suck, it’s okay to scrape, it’s great to use your studies as studies and only sell a few here and there. Paint outs are fun but are they serious? In a way, of course they are,especially the ones held in the museums, but to really get serious, you gotta go it alone. I’m going to get serious. and Quick draws send the wrong message…. still gonna do em. I just won’t be too quick about it.

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Story time

Two posts in one day. I must be avoiding something. More often than not, the thing that is so great about painting is the stuff that happens around the painting; something cool in nature, like the time I came face to face with a herd of friendly elk, or the great people I have come to know, or just being outside and really getting to see and feel nature. But once in a while something happens that is just damn funny.

I had just wrapped up my third day of workshop teaching in Maryland and after a lovely dinner with some of my class, I dropped by the local watering hole to have a nightcap. There I ran in to two artists, one I knew and one I didn’t. Just a couple of guys painting and pallin’ around. Really funny guys too. The two Steves. So we line up at the bar and have a beverage or two and talk about….. wait for it…. art! Yes, that’s pretty much all we ever talk about, well, that and good stories. One of the Steves was dressed with a topcoat and a big scarf wrapped fashionable like around his neck, a beret and a stylin mustache that managed to get most of the beer before he got a chance to swallow it. Also at the bar were a couple of ladies celebrating something and one of them comes up to us and says, maybe because of the dapperness of Steve 2, “what do you guys do?”. Now normally, I’m only too happy to admit that I’m an artist but for some reason I decided to lie. She just had a certain drunk gullability to her that I couldn’t resist. I looked at her straight in the face and told her that we were part of a collective brain trust with several very successful inventions under our belt and that having made our millions we were now practicing a form of full contact ice fishing in the Himalayas and were vying for spots on the Winter Olympic team. A mountain range, by the way, that came to mind because as far as I know they don’t have a lot of lakes there. Much to my surprise, she bought it. And the two Steve’s started adding on more and more ridiculous details about our chalets and our decked out Sikorsky helicopters, which is how we get to the lakes in the Himalayas. One of the Steve’s was also the proud owner of a tall ship in Scotland. Ahhhh it’s good to be rich.

After a while I had to take my leave and felt bad about the lying and fessed up, she was a school teacher and it just didn’t seem right. I had heard the next day that her friends abandoned her and the dapper Steve 2 got to drive a very inebriated lady home to her husband. I think he just sorta dropped her off and squealed outta there. I sort of wished I hadn’t fessed up though, it was a good story.

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Busy busy

I’ve been pretty busy of late. It’s a full time job keeping up with the galleries, not because they are selling like crazy but because after a while, the work goes stale. People coming in time and time again and seeing the same work hanging there, well, they just lose interest. If I’m not giving them new work on a regular basis then in the eyes of the viewing public, it’s same old same old. What have you done for me lately. My gallery in Charleston, Horton Hayes, emailed me and said, hey, it’s time for new work.  I sent them a boat painting I was just working on and they said, “great!”. So I sat down, or actually stood up at the easel and did 2 30×30’s and 4 20×20’s.. still working on the last one. I’ll post that later, trying to take pics in progress for a demo post. Here’s what I did in the last 2 weeks. The emphasis here is loose and fast, it’s better that way.

and this last one, which I’m calling Harbor lights, got the last minute addition of lights to the buildings after Matthew Cornell came in and said that it might work better with the dusky nature of the light. But I did it after I shot these, I’ll take another pic later and post it.

I sent them shots from my iphone the second each one was done and ordered frames already. Whatever they don’t want will go to other galleries.

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