Saturday, December 14, 2013

Orlando (revisited)

Orlando, the beginning.
Transformations, costumes, make-up, elaborate scenes, I'm thinking of Orlando and I mean both. I took another look at the movie recently which seems appropriate for Xmas time/ winter solstice. There's a surprising amount of action taking place on ice. Actually, just now I'm realizing the ice as a support, as a stage, may represent how quickly and easily things can slip and change dramatically. Time is an ocean, perhaps it's really a frozen ocean. 

Sometime I sit and think and sometime I just sit.
The big Chill.
Another time, another century in fact.
The Middle East. It always really is the middle.
Waking up with a different sex. You know how things like that happen?

Anyway, the other Orlando, the one in Florida is where I'm headed to right after the winter solstice in time for Xmas. Right back where I started from, a particular starting point anyway. Sometime after I get back I plan to post some more recent painting work. That will be more the normal state of this blog. Is that right? Normal?

Gone tomorrow.
Until we meet again.

Yes, loyal readers I've taken you here before.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

studio view

DSC06130 by scott_waterman
DSC06130, a photo by scott_waterman on Flickr.

Here's this with an explanation to follow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Au Contraire!

To all of those who may have counted this blog over and done with: au contraire! True confession, that list may have included me but I am back with the fall report.

Timothy Corrigan's house in France, Château du Grand-Lucé.

The season has kicked off with a fête thrown by the Los Angeles chapter of the French Heritage Society in honor of the publication of Timothy Corrigan's new book, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé  The subtitle  of the book is, Decorating a Great Country French House but let's be clear, this is beyond what you or I would call a house. Just take a look at the aerial shot above. I've circled the house in red. The formal gardens are to its left and the property includes the woods you see. See what I mean?

That's my friend, Alix,  in Timothy Corrigan's Los Angeles home.
Alix is standing in front of Timothy's (Jacques-Louis) David.
It's a study for the central figure in Leonidas at Thermopylae which is at the Louvre, (doncha know!).

Look, it's Timothy's book/cake.
 I don't know when they cut this. I must have left too early and I love cake!

Here's the twist. This French country house was bought by a Californian, that's Timothy Corrigan, and we just don't do stuffy and formal so the house was not only restored but made livable and comfortable by California standards. Timothy explains this in the text of his book as he presents the story of the house as if you, the reader, are invited over... to have some fun, serious fun! It was the same story at Timothy's Hancock Park house the night of the book party. He was putting some candle lit lanterns out on the front walk as I approached the house, greeted me, and invited me to go inside, find the bar, go wherever you want, explore. Hello! What could be more welcoming?

This is the chapter in Timothy's book where you get to explore the Pillement room. Not sure I could wait until day 2!

Now there's something extraordinarily special about Château du Grand-Lucé. It has one of the few remaining rooms painted by Jean-Baptiste Pillement. That's especially significant to me because I've long admired his work.

Here's the screen I painted in 1989 when I scarcely knew who Pillement was.

I've nothing but these casual snapshots of this work.
I'm sure my photography and painting have both improve since then.

In 1989 just before moving to California I had a commission to paint a folding screen and I chose Pillement's work as inspiration. Then sometime in the 90s I received another commission and called on Jean-Baptiste once again. I think next I'll paint a whole room. It could happen! 

I painted this in the late 90s.

My screen in situ.
This was really fun to paint.

Here a couple of my preliminary sketches for the screen.

Yes, I have a weakness for those fantastical surreal scenes that defy gravity and logic but where everyone , every plant, and all the architecture seems to be living a joyous life devoid of cares and woes.

And how is life in your world?

 Thanks so much to Edie Frère, Co-Chairman of the French Heritage Society's Southern California Chapter for inviting me to Timothy Corrigan's book signing and to my friend Alix Soubiran whose French Bubbles party actually kicked off the season a few nights before Timothy's party. That's where I met Edie and some of the French Expats who make L.A. their home. And to Timothy Corrigan, thank you so very much for a perfectly lovely evening!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Under a Super Moon

Out to Venice, back to L.A.,  then out to Santa Monica under a super moon. It wasn't as hectic as it sounds and in the evening a real treat. The occasion: a gathering of artists and enthusiasts for dinner, drinks, discussion, and a slide talk by one of the art world's slightly anachronistic painters, Julie Heffernan

A splendid mature mimosa strung with lights.

Jon Swihart and Kim Merrill, both artists, generously open their home for these gatherings if you're on the list. I guess I'm on the list now and am glad to be. I only found out about it a few days ago when I was referencing Julie Heffernan's work in conversation to a fellow RISD alum whom I'd also just met. There are no coincidences some say.

Jon Swihart's studio. A miniature portrait of Don Bachardy on the easel.

The artist collects, more of Jon's studio.

Julie Heffernan's painting (slide detail) and her own silhouette on the left.

So the summer officially begins with a lovely gathering of humans under a flowering mimosa tree strung with paper lanterns.

Through the porte cochere under a super moon and home.

And what's happening in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, June 6, 2013


DSC05404 by scott_waterman
DSC05404, a photo by scott_waterman on Flickr.
Recently in my studio and more on my Flickr account. Yeah.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dancer in the Dark/Light

Hanging lamps at Blackman Cruz

German Expressionism: dark and moody, something you'd expect from a northern European country, right? Then how did it happen that dark and moody film noir flourished in sunny swaying palms L.A.? I think if you live here you catch on pretty quickly. Angelinos are dancers in the dark and the light. After all you can't have strong shadows without strong light. Know what I mean?

Looking down on the design cognoscenti of L.A. @ Blackman Cruz

This past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights each had openings and I went to them all. So let's go back together and see what's on the bleeding edge of L.A. culture.

The Blackman Cruz version of comfort: their spiked poof.
Capote was here? Anyway, it's a hand carved coffin.
Some of the adventuresome play with contrast and scale at Blackman Cruz.

Thursday was Blackman Cruz which is not a gallery but Adam Blackman and David Cruz elevate furniture and objects for interiors to the level of a work of art on display. It seems like a slight to call their place a showroom or a shop because the interior architecture is  so thoughtfully  articulated. There's a marvelous change of scale from the two story tall great room you enter to the low ceiling upper floor rooms reminiscent of the Soane Museum. There's also open air deck with a view to the Hollywood sign to remind you where you are.

The space was once a disco and the giant mirror ball remains
 scattering flecks of light from the setting sun.
Upstairs at Blackman Cruz there's a clubby feeling
and a fresh take on Sir John Soane.

Their carefully curated collection has a jesting, slightly sinister principle of taste: bats, griffins, skulls,  that sort of thing. And there's a marvelous play with scale to the furniture and objects that includes big and hulking as well as tiny and precious. The surfaces have the same sort of range of extremes from shiny and polished to matte pentimento.

Here, literally are the dancers in the dark, well mostly dark.

Same as above, lit: Laura Owens' Gavin Brown Enterprise's Sci Arc Adjacent Alternative Art Space
The following night: time to get back to the garden.

Kayne Griffin Corcoran's new location on La Brea.

Friday was a return to art school in the sense that the opening I went to was exactly like something I would have gone to as a student. No doubt there were a number of students or recent graduates there. The space is an enormous warehouse just over the L.A. river from SciArc. The space is said to be Laura Owens' studio. Her paintings are hung, though I didn't see any evidence that she actually works there. I guess it's more of an extension of Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Laura's gallery in NYC, as I hear he's footing a portion of the rent. Whatever it is, it's a nice alternative gallery space that's a welcome edition to L.A.'s art scene. The location is industrial á la Charles Sheeler and the dance performance on Friday night mirrored that kind of stark stripped down esthetic. Following the live event:  a selection of videos which included the "By a Waterfall" number from Busby Berkeley's Footlight Parade (1933). And the crowd roared approval as it perfectly punctuated the evening's roster of high concept, art-world, in joke, navel gazing.

Detail of a James Turrell study for the crater.

This is the complete drawing, one of many on display showing the Roden Crater.

Last and by far the best was Saturday night at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. They could not have made a better choice to inaugurate their new location than the work of James Turrell who at age 70 is at the top of his game. Actually I guess James Turrell will be permanent fixture of the gallery as one of his sky spaces has been created in a room. There are specially designed reclining chairs to allow one to sit back and take in the sublime light bath but even standing and looking down at the polished stone floor you get a perfect reflection of the square apex. The changing palette of saturated color is intense and trippy like all of Turrells installations. 

James Turrell's room at Kayne Griffin Corcoran.
Looking up from one of the reclining chairs.
As I looked down the color's were already changing.
You start to imagine that the air itself inside the room is saturated with color.

The main gallery space was devoted to James Turrell's magnum opus, the Roden Crater. The drawings, maquettes, photographs, and associated material defining and describing Roden Crater have a Duchampian feel and yet there's no pun here just sublime artistry. I'm telling you this setting and this show on a gorgeous spring evening in Los Angeles, well, it's doesn't get any better.

James Turrell's supporting materials for the Roden Crater project.

Like a salesman sample or Duchamp's Box in a Valise.
The scale topography is more apparent in the side view.

Stay curious!
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