Seven Hues for Subtle and Arcane Endeavors

#61 – Tuesday May 15th

The devil is in the details. The origins of this idiom have been attributed to several folks, most notably the writer Gustave Flaubert, art critic  Aby Warburg, and the architect Mies van der Rohe, and this week, it’s been the mantra for my efforts in the studio.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve repainted these three figures, the red, blue and brown, (although those simple monikers don’t do the hues justice).  Van Dyke Brown, Colbalt Violet, Naphthol Red Light, Transparent Brown Iron Oxide, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Anthraquinone Blue, Titanium White, and graphite combined, layered, and washed, one pigment on another, scraped, sanded then done again. It seems such a subtle and arcane endeavor but absolutely essential and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our little heat seeking four-legged missile, known as Molly Teardrop, is 16 months old today. Molly has an innate need to be up high, and here she is, gingerly picking her way along a downed tree, for an audience of five (including Alta Bear who is not as impressed nor entertained, as we were).

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A Year In A Picture And Four Explorations In Red

#42 – Tuesday, January 3rd

Molly Teardrop, from pup to young cattle dog. She’s a wild, headstrong, heat-seeking fetch machine, climbs like a mountain goat, rails the trail, a dervish in the house and as I’m often reminded when she exhibits less than acceptable behavior . . . it was I who picked her out . . . and in our world, she’s the perfect companion, another of our kind.

A bit of red always finds its way into my canvasses, but almost never as the dominate color. Actually going back and taking a look, there are only three other paintings I can recall, featuring this much red. “Curtain of finite sin . . .” was in the recent show at Perimeter, and completed in late 2011. The second example, a canvas from 2008, “Oh my sweet cantankerous mistress . . . “. And the third “Wound up . . .” from 1998. Now this one. Twenty twelve, a red hot year?  I’m thinking I’ll find that out in due time.

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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.

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”  Molly Teardrop is in there somewhere . . . and ACDR’s website 

Thanks for reading.