Sunday, November 6, 2016

Book Report 2

Amelia Handegan Rooms, arrived in a gift box.

It has recently come to my attention that I am published, again.  Look, it’s a selection of my painted commissions for your perusal in not one but two more Rizzoli publications. I say two more because I was first published by Rizzoli in the late 80s. However, this is now and Windsor Smith and Amelia Handegan both got book deals for 2016 and I am there and you are here and we are all together. So let’s take a look shall we?

The cover shows her own place.

The chapter heading for Birdsong reproduces my sketch.

This is my sketched, reversed and off color in the book,

A spread from Rooms showing  a part of my mural.

Birdsong, the house and its hallway covered in my mural.

Also seen in Rooms this painting I copied from an anonymous 19th c work.

I’ve probably done enough work for Amelia since 1988 to warrant a book unto itself but Amelia Handegan Rooms is about her work, beautiful work. I’ve done a number of large scale murals for her interiors and it’s always kind of thrill just to be able to make a painting so large, forty feet wide for instance and that was just one panel out of four. In "Rooms" you see glimpses of that mural project, (for a house called Birdsong);  a sliver of painted panels I did for Amelia’s own foyer; and a copy I made of a 19th c. hand painted wallpaper for one of her clients .

The cover of Windsor's book hints at my silver leaf painting inside.

The top photo is from the book, the other two are mine.
Clearly the colors change significantly based on what the silver reflects.

Fyi the drawing for the wall painting seen above.

Another page from Windsor's book, same room, opposite end.

The Windsor Smith book, Windsor Smith Homefront Design for Modern Living, came out earlier in the year. There’s just one project of mine in the book, I’ve only done one project for Windsor but it’s a doozy and it ended up in Architectural Digest. It’s another unique opportunity for me, painting on silver, and painting an entire room in Chinoiserie. Oh and there’s a perverse thrill in hanging with a Picasso, rather a Picasso hangs on top of my painting.

What’s next? Tell me.

That's me standing before a stretched canvas for my current project.


Do you want to see my other book report? Follow this link- My first book report.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Those blog posts, Pinterest accounts, Tumblr sites, and the like that present a random selection of images without credit, caption, or context they’re a bit of bĂȘte noire for me. I like to know what I’m looking at and especially if I like it where I can find more and more about it. So is that what I’m doing? Not quite. All the images are mine; seen with my own eyes in cities and places I’ve recently traveled to including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and the eastern shore of Maryland. Enjoy the images and know that I’ll be happy to tell where they came from and anything else that might help. Just ask.

In the meantime I’m working on something big, relatively big, rather big actually so stay close.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Comish

Recently commission:

A painting for a private client based upon a small work of mine. I reassembled the elements creating a new proportion and slightly altered composition in Photoshop and using this rendering as a sketch produced a new painting. 

My original painting: ink, watercolor, gouache, paper, 11" x 30", 2012

Final version of Photoshop rendering.

Studio view: acrylic on canvas

Studio view

Finished commission: installed view.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Song For A Future Generation

Song For A Future Generation

That is a song sung 95 generations ago which sits atop a hill in Brentwood under a tent at the Getty Center. If you think of the Mogao cave paintings as songs that’s a better way of interpreting them than dull prose and you slip easily under their spell, bizarre, fantastic, and wonderful. The ideas behind these murals are stories from Buddhism when Buddhism entered present day China from India through the Silk Road. The Silk Road, the internet of its day, spread not just silk and goods and people but ideas across the globe. And consider this: the day of the Silk Road lasted at least a thousand years.

What’s sobering is that the stories these paintings tell are the issues of today like sympathy and understanding over ignorance. So here we are in present day Los Angeles, so privileged to be able to experience these marvelous works, recreated to scale, exactly as they appear in Dunhuang. And summer nights, Friday and Saturday at the Getty Center are the best: no crowds, live music, and the cool of the night. Failing that here’s a taste, some images, links to videos, and the Getty site itself. I hope you will enjoy.

In China this is what the exterior of the caves looks like.

Also in China near the caves this charming and hokey stage recreation of the paintings.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Be Still

 Be Still
Detail of walls I painted in 1986

When it comes to the work of Clyfford Still there’s a lot left to be said. He “dropped out” of the art world early in his career having achieved a high level of recognition and died with an estate that comprises more than 90% of his total output as an artist. The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, the beneficiary of his estate has yet to even examine all of the more than 2400 works he left behind. I’ve recently returned from Denver and am still savoring the experience of visiting the museum, the only one I went to on this trip.

Painted walls, 1986

Let’s go inside the museum but first a slight detour back to 1985, (or was it 1986?). I wasn't looking directly at Clyfford Still’s work but that was my inspiration for painted walls in the office of clients for whom I’d already painted most every wall in their house. I recall they were very surprised with the results. I tried to describe beforehand what I was going to do but there was no sample painting and so seeing what I had in mind executed full scale was dramatic. They approved and were delighted. The walls were covered with canvas per my request and I applied a malachite palette in liquid strokes. The results are akin to Still though his application of paint is by contrast quite dry. I’ve not done anything quite like it before or since. 

Meanwhile Clyfford Still spent a lifetime investigating variations on jagged vertical abstract forms. Now that the bulk of his work is under one roof and available to scholars and the rest of us his paintings and creations will not doubt be parsed, analyzed, and evaluated like never before. The museum also includes his working materials, correspondence, personal library, and other effects which all offer clues to the mind of an artist. Together the collection and building create something absolutely brilliant and astounding that gives us an insight into a virtuoso, painter, and inventor.

An early Still that hints at later developments.

One of a number of small scale studies preceding the large canvas works.

Clyfford Still's mature style.

The works are thoughtfully hung on raw concrete, stark white, and high keyed colored walls.

The interiors volumes are beautifully proportioned and connect in delightful and surprising ways.

The architect, Brad Cloepfil, with Allied Works has an excellent website that shows their mood board of images, material tests, sketches, false starts, and digital animations that lead to the final design for the Still Museum.  There are other museums devoted solely to one artist but I doubt none that so successfully present the development and maturity of a singular vision. They’ve even thought to include a glimpse behind the scenes including views of some of the many works in storage as well as a working scanning lab where a technician can be seen digitizing a Still canvas. Fascinating.

Above: a selection of Stills hand ground pigment.
Below: a technician photographs a Still canvas and the artist himself.

The main staircase and one of the open air porches off the second floor. Minimal modernist architecture at it's very best.

The entrance.

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