When done is not – pART Project update

#25 – Tuesday September 6th

When done is not, the revised revision makes its debut. Before sending the new canvasses  to the gallery, I’m finalizing titles, playing with the words accompanying the paintings, and signing off. Seal of approval and the figurative boot out the door. However, every now and again, even after the flourish of signing and dating a painting, something catches my eye . . . a slightly out-of-place line, a discord where I once saw perfect harmony . . . and I can’t resist. Now I wish I could say, every adjusted outcome has been a total success, blue ribbon and all that, but . . . no. And as I walk out of the studio toward the sink to wash my hands of the remnants, I mumble . . . “it could have been  a nice painting”. After, I’ll strip the pigment laden fabric from this frame, toss it aside, and as I stretch new virgin canvas across the structure, a small smile crosses my lips . . . ” That was interesting, lets have another go”. I don’t mind when a painting heads south, for even after 30 plus years of throwing paint around, it lets me know I’m not as smart or clever as I think I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but here the rule rather than the exception, when done is not and the revised revision shines.

The SRAM pART project for World Bicycle Relief is full on. The participating artists are an impressive group, and I’m excited to be counted in their number. The SRAM pART Project website has profiles of all the artists, including links to their websites, and photos of all the  pART project sculptures will be up on the site by the middle of September. All the pART sculptures will be auctioned off to support World Bicycle Relief. I’ll post the how & when as soon as I know the particulars.

What’s in play this week? I’m having a thing for resonance . . . Maya Beiser and her cello. Doesn’t hurt she does a lovely cover of Kashmir, and her playing makes my toes tingle . . .

Thanks for reading


Force of Nature Blooming and Appropriated

#24 – Tuesday August 30th

Our Stapelia is blooming, and has the most amazing flowers. It was a cutting from a friend, simply stuck into a pot on the back porch table, and left to its own devices. It’s grown like a weed and like I said, produces the most amazing flowers. They’re huge, star like, cream with maroon markings, and seven, eight inches across, dwarfing the plant.

I’ve been using more reds in the recent canvasses. Combinations of Naphthol red, Quinactidone red, Quinactidone burnt orange, Cobalt violet, with daubs of Iron oxide thrown in . . . a wonderfully deep, dark, rich red.  In one of the new canvasses, I’d blithely drawn in these wave-like lines using my red mixture, and only after, looking at the photographs of my Stapelia in bloom, did I realize I’d unwittingly appropriated the markings of this surprising flower. I’m usually much more cognitively deliberate in poaching from my surroundings and stumbling into this spontaneous intersection, however small, is a delightful reminder of the power nature exerts over me. Organic abstraction indeed.

What’s in play this week ? . . . Tinariwen’s latest, “Tassili”. Tinariwen is a collective of Tuaureg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of Mali, and as expected, their guitar driven music has its roots in West African Music, but also influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Elvis, and Bob Marley. The lead guitarist and founder, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, built his first guitar out of a tin can, stick, and a bicycle brake wire.  On Tassili, Tinariwen is joined by Nels Cline, guitarist from the band “Wilco”, two musicians from the band “TV on the Radio”, and New Orleans’ “Dirty Dozen Brass Band”. Seriously, listen and get your grove on.Tassili can be heard in its entirety here. http://www.npr.org/2011/08/21/139708091/first-listen-tinariwen-tassili

Molly Teardrop keeps growing and for a 7.5 month old pup, with a very svelte figure, she now weighs an astonishing 38.4 pounds. Molly promises to be a big girl, taking after her sire, Iron Will. On Sunday we had the pleasure to attend the monthly “Yappy Hour” sponsored by Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 Cattle Dogs in attendance, some with their respective humans, and some needing new homes. One of the remarkable dogs, Stevie, was blinded by an unknown person, but you can’t tell by the way he finds his way around, even playing fetch, by sound. Here is a photo slideshow of “Yappy Hour”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n30noj_rus4&feature=youtu.b  Molly Teardrop is in there somewhere . . . and ACDR’s website http://www.arizonacattledogrescue.org 

Thanks for reading.


The Final Physical Act

#23 – Tuesday August 23rd

The final physical act is signing and dating the canvas. Often the words that accompany a particular piece will have fallen into place by that time, but not always, and I’m still sorting through all the notes I’ve taken for this painting, organizing the language that will be its accompaniment. I don’t take naming my canvasses lightly, and when looking at a painting, I want to say its name, feel its words dance on my tongue, vibrate from my lips, a narrative of sound consorting with what’s before my eyes. For me, painting is an act of passion, a chaotic, irrational, life affirming mess . . . and the words that become the names, must share those histories, whatever path taken.

I’ve been thinking about histories, so I’ve peppered our Netflix que with documentaries. Of those we’ve watched recently, two I thought notable. First, “Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock” a 2006 film by Harry Moses. The film follows Teri Horton, a blue-collar, woman truck driver, in her efforts to have a painting she bought for $5 and thought to be a Jackson Pollock worth millions, authenticated. Featuring a bevy of characters including, museum curators, art forensic experts, gallery owners, and Teri’s own friends and family . . . this is an amazing, over the top, journey through the art world. Is it a real Pollock? That question is never answered, an odd twist that made the film even more entertaining.

The second, is an 18 minute film from director Louis Malle. The 1962 short  “Vive leTour”, chronicles the Tour de France and concentrates on the gruelling experiences of the cyclists, rather than any particular rider or who won the race. A favorite scene shows riders raiding restaurants for food and drink (including alcohol), then riding on, jersey pockets stuffed to overflowing. I love watching the tour, and have been known to watch many, many cycling videos .  . . and can be a bit jaded with cycling on film, when poorly produced . . . but  “Vive leTour” was a total enjoyment and I would highly recommended it to any cycling enthusiast. From Netflix, this film is presented along with 2 other of Malle’s documentaries on one DVD, “Humain, Trop Humain” and “Place de la Republique”. “Vive leTour” is also available on YouTube as a two-part video.

Tuesday’s tunes? Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. The band has been around since ’07, but I first heard them while trolling around NPR’s all songs considered. I listened to a song off their new album, “Marble Son” and the guitar work sounded reminiscent of Jorma Kaukonen’s work with Jefferson Airplane on “Surrealistic Pillow” and “Crown of Creation”. (Both albums were in heavy rotation on my turntable!) Anyway I downloaded the entire “Marble Son” CD and I’m glad I did. Phil Wandscher’s guitar work is a delight. Jesse Sykes has a lovely plaintive voice (much like  Marianne Faithful on “Strange Weather” ) invoking a perfect mood for my late night painting sessions.

Thanks for reading.