Monday, October 26, 2020

I'll Be Your Mirrors

Paintings for sale. For the first time ever I've got paintings online for sale. I'm calling the collection, The Villa Mirrors. Some I've sold to private clients, a couple are in a restaurant in Charleston, S.C. and one hangs prominantly above the mantle in the main salon of the Villa Feltrinelli in Lago di Garda, Italy hence "The Villa Mirrors". While they last The Villa Mirrors are for sale on my webpage

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Return to the Scene of the Rhyme

I used words from Billie Elish and Beatles' songs in my painting.
I’m back! I’m back in Palm Beach at Bricktop’s restaurant with another big bird painting. That’s what the employees call it, “Big Bird”, and presumably they’ll call my second painting: “Big Bird 2” because it is a painting of a big bird too.
Near left my new painting and far right in the distance my first one.
My first one was a popular hit and there was immediately talk of painting more but here we are, it’s taken four years to get an order for a second one. Like the first it is an homage to Audubon and his “Birds of America”. The idea was to take a John James Audubon bird as subject matter but render it with a twist.
I caught the last of this sort of scene when I visited S. Florida in the early 80s.
A surfer from 60s California but I needed him as compositional motif.
With that assignment I immediately thought of the contemporary artist, Walton Ford, because he’s made a career of that sort of thing. Except I didn’t bother to reacquaint myself with Ford's paintings so my results are hardly anything like his and I’m glad of that. Both my paintings combine a sort of serious fauna study with some playful and absurd representations of life in South Florida.
Shes seems like fun, so I couldn't resist.
It's always good to get another perspective on things.
And by the way the second big bird isn’t even based on Audubon, rather an image I found in the Biodiversity Library. Still it looks like an Audubon. Sounds like an Audubon? Let’s say is rhymes with Audubon.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Los Angeles


The all-seeing eye: Blade Runner, Warner Bros. 1982 

What the eye sees: Los Angles, the mythical future.

Roger A. Deakins won best cinematography for Blade Runner 2049, deservedly so, probably, though Blade Runner, the original, is simply superior in every way. Every way. Los Angeles is big, a big target, so it’s quite easy to hit. Hit it. What’s more sophisticated is to capture it in an intimate way. And can we have some warmth and wit? Thank you.

There is a city by the sea
A gentle company
I don't suppose you want to
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you

Fr: Los Angeles, I'm Yours (from Her Majesty) Colin Meloy

Years ago I began a search on behalf of my power couple clients in charming Hancock Park, (a park-like Los Angeles neighborhood). I was looking for just the right imagery for a dining room mural. I like to make these sorts of projects contextual so I’m thinking: park-like, lots of foliage and bucolic. Alas nothing was sticking. Out of frustration I tried an urban view in which I had no confidence thinking it was not only not the right imagery but also too derivative of Ed Ruscha or Peter Alexander. Surprisingly they seemed to like that idea, still the project was put on the back burner and I thought completely snuffed out. In fact, I learned they’d covered their dining room in a patterned fabric. Years go by, end of story.

My painted sample pinned up for sizing up.

Last Spring, I received word, game on. No, this can’t be, I thought. Paint the urban L.A. view on top of the pattern? Ridiculous. But I went through the motions, made a painted sample and half-way through I could see it. This can work. And so it came to be. A “Little” fugue in G Minor. The yellow flower forms from the patterned fabric peak through here and there and read alternatively as a heavily body or lights from the urban fabric. And the grisaille palette derives from the grey in the substrate. And in fact my painting bears practically no resemblance to anything either Ed Ruscha or Peter Alexander painted. It’s at once abstract and evocative. Los Angeles, I’m yours. 


There’s something else really special about this project. I managed to get my very good friend Sue Garner to help me.  So fun.  Sue and I went to art school together and we worked on The Ponce in Atlanta but that’s another blogpost. Be seeing you.

That's Sue, that's me.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Folks Who Live on the Hill

Looking over the precipice 1500' up:  Mesa Verde, Co.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterwork, Hill House, Helensburgh, Scotland.

Fall is always a little melancholy don’t you think? And I hadn’t really thought of it until just this moment but so are house museums because they’re not doing what they were meant to do, to be alive with people living in them. This past summer I visited where ‘The Folks Who Live on the Hill’ used to live, two house museums. One is actually called Hill House and the other, well the other was way beyond what you would think of as a house on a hill, the cliff house(s) of Mesa Verde. So in the way of a harvest for something that developed in the summer we will now take in some of what Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Anasazi of present day Colorado cooked up. Seemingly so far apart in every dimension the more I look at them and think about them the more they have in common to me. It’s a little spooky.

What you see on the wall outside Hill House.

First view of the house, the Firth of Clyde visible in the distance at right.

Asymmetry from every elevation, a hallmark of Hill House's design.

The massing of forms and shapes defy expectations, delightfully.

Inside and outside views of the main staircase.

Just inside the front door.

Two closer views of the main hall.

Margarget MacDonald's work blends with CRM most everywhere you look.

Margaret's gesso panel above the fireplace.

Detail of Margaret's work.

The Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, CO.

Balcony House, one of two cliff dwellings I visited.

The Anasazi'’s decision to leave the flat top of the mesa where they had been living, venture over the cliffs, and build in the recesses of the rock remains deeply mysterious. Why they left these dwellings in the late 1200s is also unknown so archaeologists continue to investigate this fascinating place, a UNESCO World Heritage site. I am not especially afraid of heights but climbing out of these cliff dwellings was terrifying. Satisfyingly when you’re out you get that giddy sense of having cheated certain death. Was it ever routine for the natives? Btw our guide for Balcony House kindly informed us before we descended into the dwelling that should you have a panic attack or any other kind of attack that might prevent you from getting our on your own steam a helicopter would pick you up, a $10,000. ride back to the top.

My photo taken in the Cliff Palace.
A  diorama of the the imagined life of the Ancestral Puebloan culture.

One of the ladders you ascend to get out of Balcony House.

Looking down into the canyon, something not to do when climbing up.

A section view of the mesa. The dwelling is the small notch near the top.

There's written and there's verbal too.

A earth view of Mesa Verde. It's slightly right of center.

And tell me, what did you do this summer?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Enchanted Forrest

The Enchanted Forest
Jackson Pollock 1947 
Kia..what?  It had been a while since I’d created a commission for the interior designer, Amelia Handegan, and as if to make up for lost time this was a big one, a large mural and several paintings for the River Course Country Club on Kiawah Island. 

Four panels from my Kiawah mural

19th c. Japanese folding screen

My original rough sketch ready to be faxed.

First version watercolor rendering for mural.

Second version watercolor rendering for mural.

It was a short cold winter day ending in that kind of absolute darkness you only experience far from light pollution, the night lights of city living that I’m so accustomed to.  All the roads were lonely, mostly deserted, so I had no choice but to trust the directions that sent me further into oblivion. By the time my rental car reached the Island I was practically giddy with anxiety. But a beautiful cottage, stocked with food, cozy and inviting, restored me after my transcontinental flight and ramble in the car. I was here in the low country to meet Amelia and Leonard Long, the developer, to find out what they had in mind, to pass muster, and to make a proposal on the spot. All went well and I was sent back to my California studio to create.

Above: various views of one side of my mural installed.
 “Just get it up, get it up!” If memory serves that’s what Amelia told the installers when she saw my mural unrolled. If it’s on the wall she reasoned there’d be no turning back. The developers wouldn’t be able to reject my work as she felt they might. Too radical? Not country club enough? Probably. I’m not sure. Anyway, not only am I not a landscape painter but my background is purely fine art/ art school, no special training in painting technique. The work is essential made up of abstract expressionist gestural painting mark making and washes. Who does that? Well, a lot of people, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, even traditional Japanese brush and ink painting but not the sort of thing you see in local South Carolina artist where grass always means green and the sky is sky blue. That’s exactly what they got for the additional paintings, not part of my commission as it turned out.

A professional shot looking straight down the hall,
my mural on either side.

Above: view of the mural on the opposite wall,
including details for comparison to the Ab Ex's.

Helen Frankenthaler, Barometer, 1992

Painted in 2006 by 2010 all went up in smoke. Well no, they saved the blue and green paintings but my mural and the structure: a total loss.  Looking back over the photos my work still looks good to me and it lead to a number of other commissions. The project nurtured my intuitive sense of Wabi-sabi, to trust my instincts, and let go on a big scale. The wild low country landscape is part of my DNA at this point, a metaphor for much in life, our lack of control in the grand scheme of things: Nature with a capitol N as Frank Lloyd Wright was fond of saying.

The finished clubhouse above and the beautiful disaster below.

A couple of my reference photos, the imagery that became my mural.

Well you do enough talk
My little hawk, why do you cry?
Tell me what did you learn from the Tillamook burn?
Or the Fourth of July?
We’re all gonna die

We're all gonna die

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