Friday, April 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall.

All ya gotta do is call. If you're old enough or broad based enough to know the song I'm referring to then fine but this blog post really is about the seasons. Here in the northern hemisphere we're entering Spring but I can't forget readers in the southern hemisphere because they're starting Fall. So I've selected a project of mine that reflects the season no matter where you are. Impossible? No really, I've done it and you don't even have to get out of bed. Actually I'd prefer you get into bed. But first a word from our sponsor: Jean de Merry.

One winter I painted a flowering plum branch used in a print ad for Jean de Merry. They make furniture with an moderne/deco sort of vibe. Some how a flowering plumb branch seems to go with that. What doesn't it go with? Anyway, it was a fun photo shoot with a French stylist, yummy French catering, and a hunky model. So Christian Maroselli and Jean-Claude de Merry partners in Jean de Merry the company are the sponsors I'm referring to. Although, it's really just tongue in cheek because they had nothing to do with the real reason for this post, the four seasons bed.

One of the last projects I completed before leaving San Francisco was for an Episcopal priest who also happened to be a Chinese scholar. He was specifically interested in Chinese art history and had some beautiful scroll paintings among his treasures. It was kind of wonderful be able to examine his collection which might otherwise be in a museum but at a certain point it became a distraction from the commission he had in mind for me. A small daybed with a canopy had long since lost it's soft decorative feature and it was up to me to come up with a replacement. What I decided upon was a set of four images instead of just one so that the bed could change with the seasons.

The flowering plumb is for Winter, lotus for Spring, bamboo for Summer, and the pine symbolizes Fall. It's funny to think of but I wasn't so excited about the job when I took it. In the end I was rather happy with it. I think it's so pleasant to be able to lie down and gaze up at the paintings. I couldn't tell you the dynasty or school or whatever, they just beautiful images. I had to let all of that art history go because the images and the symbols just work.

The idea of symbolic imagery in painting reminds me of the beautiful chinoiserie in the HBO movie about Grey Gardens. Did you happen to catch it? When the music teacher realizes he must leave Grey Gardens you see a painted bird taking flight right next to him. And then there's a scene where Big Edie has been left all alone and she's on the phone trying to convince Little Edie to come back home. Meanwhile over her shoulder in the chinoiserie is a bird in a cage. Isn't that brilliant? Want some symbolic painting in your life? All ya gotta do is call and I'll be there. Yes I will.
Or just leave a comment, that'd be nice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adorned The Wall

Have you ever wondered what they think of you in Italy? No? Me neither, but I got the chance to find out, I guess. I mean, I've been published a couple of times in Italian shelter magazines so I guess they told me what they thought of me. I haven't translated the articles in a while. You're welcome to go for it. Download my .pdf files and give me your best translation. I imagine it will turn out something like: “Me Talk Pretty One Day” or “Adorned The Wall” which is what you get from Il Muro Ornato with a free online translator. Il Muro Ornato is the title of the first article about me in Casa Vogue from October of 1991.

However, I've decided to reproduce here pages from the second article about my place in San Francisco that came out five years later: Casa Vogue, May 1995. What's interesting to me is that my blog is not the random ramblings I sometimes think it to be but instead a coherent message with a common thread. In my last post I showed pictures of the Pontormo figures I painted on a bed and you will note that the panels from that bed are sitting on my mantle, blank, and awaiting my touch. They're there on the page of Casa Vogue. Do you see them?

The other reason I thought to share these pages is because of Hollywood Forever Kevin. Do you know him? Check my comments! He really gets my work and I love his enthusiasm. So much so that I invited him over. Come see for yourself I told him. It's hard to believe that's my first meeting with a fellow L.A. Blogger. There are so many of them you'd think we'd be tripping over one another. Oh, no, that's wrong. I did meet Brooke Giannetti but that's before I was also a blogger myself.

Anyway, back to Kevin. While Kevin was here he reminded me how much people love my giant leaf. “You haven't blogged about it?” he demanded, as if “Why not?!”. So I hereby present my gunera leaf, plucked from my cutting garden in the Sunset District of San Francisco and published in Casa Vogue. My cutting garden, some people call it Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park is one of the perks of living in the foggiest part of San Francisco and I really appreciated it! Now I invite you too to appreciate my adorned walls. They're long gone but preserved for history.


The marvelous doyenne of design Diane Dorrans Saeks brought the talented photog, Alan Weintraub, out to shoot my place for inclusion in her book San Francisco Interiors. Alan later sold the same images to Casa Vogue through his European agent. They repackaged the images for a magazine and see? That's how it all works.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Originally uploaded by scott_waterman
This is an experiment, not a typical post. I am writing this directly from my Flickr acct. The image is a shot taken yesterday in my studio/storage where a chance meeting has taken place. The enigma continues.

Stay close.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Go Figure

I mentioned in my last post that I wasn't keen on using the human figure in my work. Ironically the first paying gig I got as a muralist I painted a human figure. But it is very stylized, very abstracted figuration. It's taken directly from a surviving Ramses II image from ancient Egypt and I painted it in the Fabulous Fox Theater, of Atlanta. This was 1981 (or '82) and my first exposure to decorative painting. In fact my job at the Fox was rather pedestrian. I was mostly doing house painting for Joe Patton who lived in an apartment in the Fox. Sensing my lack of fulfillment my boss threw me a bone and let me create a mural in a place where one did not exist. He sits over the door to the back entrance to the box office. You would see it if you simply opened a door off the lobby that you're not suppose to -and you have my permission to do so. Tell them you're looking for Ramses in your best Charlton Heston-Moses-voice of authority.

The theater is filled with elaborate decorative painting and it was in the process of being restored by decorative painters but I arrived on the scene a bit late and they didn't really need another decorative painter. Still, it wasn't long after I painted my mural there that I left to work on more interesting projects. And in fact I have used the human figure now and then. I like the use of the figure in chinoiserie because it's given no more importance than a flower or an umbrella. The photos of my screen are sort of terrible so I scanned my original sketches for you:

Years ago I painted some guest room beds for a Texas Tycoon, one of the Bass clan. The designer had some elaborately carved Spanish colonial style beds delivered to my studio and I think they must have asked for some figures. I can't imagine why I would have painted them otherwise but I think the beds turned our nicely, especially for a guest room. Don't you think? Would you sleep in it? I used Pontormo as my inspiration.

Dream on.

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