Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Winter Sycamore - "#*^!"* paper! - demo

                                                 oil on canvas 20x16

 This comes from my recent trip to the central Calif. coast and may not be final. It was surprisingly tricky maybe because it`s a palette I`m unfamiliar with. The California Sycamore is a tree I`d see back in the hills when I was a kid. It always grew in a wash or ravine and it`s shade was so welcome. My Mom used to take a bunch of us neighborhood boys out of town to an undeveloped group of sun scorched hills. We`d jump out of the car and head for high ground while she stayed behind and read under a gigantic Pepper tree. We were a storm of chaos disrupting whatever creatures were awake in the heat of the day. That was sure nice of her! Today she might be arrested for child endangerment. The smell of this tree takes me right back to the dust and thorny bushes there. Here is a clump of them outside of Palm Springs;

They are so beautiful and in the desert, shed their bark and become absolutely ghostly.

                                    Marsh watermdia on paper 12x12

 This was painted on the fancy, linen-cotton, $16 a sheet paper from Ruscombe Mills in France. I hadn`t been working on this five minutes when it began to shred. Totally unacceptable! I had to coat it with a layer of acrylic medium just to proceed. The buckling was so severe that if I care to ever show it, I will literally need to press it with a steam iron. Piece of shit paper! The catalog said these were the sort of papers Turner used! Ugh! At the demonstration I did in my studio Saturday I had a creamy, sensual, bright white sheet of Arches 88 taped to the board. The clerk thought it would be great for watercolor! I had a still life set up before me, I did a quick sketch to guide me and with the first stroke of paint I knew it was all wrong. Like a paper towel! Someone whipped out a phone and within seconds read to me that this paper was developed for printing purposes. Absorbency would be important for that, but not for painting! So I grabbed a block of Fluid paper and began again. It`s cheap and dependable. This is what I painted;

                     Camellia and Magnolia watermedia on paper 15.5x11

 Not too inspired but everyone was quite supportive. They want me to succeed!
I fear my tribulations with paper will embitter me and become embedded in my soul. My suffering will become part of my very identity!
 The real problem is I`m not John Singer Sargent.
I`m so glad he was commissioned to do all those portraits of the wealthy. They financed his trips to the Alps, Greece, Florida and Venice where he did the most startling, breathtaking, and fresh  watercolors ever done. I have never met a watercolorist who would disagree. This is a new one I just discovered;


 This seems to be a page out of a sketchbook and I suspect the values are actually darker. But look at those distant hills and the cumulus clouds above them. To me, he captures the whole 'myth' of summer. That there will always be the gentle lake to swim in, sun warmed towels awaiting, a slow lingering evening ahead.
 Great landscape painting can conjure the bittersweet sublimity of living. Make you want to stay as long as possible.

                                                       Margaret Glew

 Margaret Glew is a fearless abstractionist I`ve admired for a long time. She digs deep. I just came upon this one recently and think it`s one of her finest. Though her application of paint is gritty, the colors and spatial ambiguity are lovely and lyrical.

Here`s a great little animated short by Alain de Botton on the purpose of art. It asks serious questions and offers thoughtful reasoning. It`s fun.

 Tom Cramer and I will talk about our show 'Environments' this Thurs. night, March 19 at 6:30 pm in the Museum 510 Gallery in downtown Lake Oswego.
What could we possibly say?

Thurs. March 26 at 11 am, I will be demonstrating my watermedia techniques at the gallery. I will test the paper first.

work for sale in my studio

I support President Obama


E.M. Corsa said...

I love how you expose me to new artists like Margaret Glew - fabulous! Thank you for that.
Though I'm not a lover of still life work, I do like your camellia and magnolia.

RH Carpenter said...

I, too, learn new artists (for me) from your blog and I thank you for sharing them. I smiled when I read this:
"Great landscape painting can conjure the bittersweet sublimity of living."
And you ask what can you say about art? You just said it! Glad the horrible paper didn't cause you too much stress and you got through the demo okay.