Sunday, December 23, 2007

Confessions of an Obsessive Painter - Mini-Paintings

I admit it. I am addicted to Sharpie markers. It's impossible for me to see them and not want to play with them. They are as exciting to me as a blank canvas, or a fresh paint brush. They have energized many of my paintings. Image from

Here's another confession. I don't always like my paintings. I used to throw them away when I didn't like them. Until I found one that I had put in the garbage in a consignment shop. I wrote this story here.

A wonderful stranger really touched my heart and taught me not to throw away my paintings. I've learned that if I'm not happy with a painting it is actually an opportunity for further contemplation and that it will evolve into something else. So when I am unhappy with a painting the first thing I do is let it sit. Sometimes I learn to love them. Sometimes they get more paint layered on them until I like them. And sometimes I just like parts of paintings, so I chop them up to form a sort of gestalt. Here are a few examples.

This is my latest chop project. This painting was a fun experiment of mixing geometric with organic forms. But I just wasn't happy with it. Now it exists in its component parts. The component parts have had more marker added. My style is more organic all the time.

Here is another painting I was not happy with broken down into component parts. I am so thankful for digital technology. I have many mini-paintings where the original is not recorded. This painting is intriguing me a little, I may do a new version of it. This was one of my early experiments with glitter glaze and metallic paint.

All mini-paintings are about 4.5" x 4.5". Sometimes I put a bunch of them in one frame. Other times I duplicate one of the images (of course it's not exactly the same) onto a larger canvas. The cool thing about these paintings is they are easy to carry in my bag. They fit in a sandwich bag and they are like swatches. I am able to easily show people examples of my paintings. I've sold minis and had a couple orders for large versions.

I dream of having an entire wall in a gallery covered with these paintings, like a quilt.

Here are more examples, but the original of these no longer exists.

Here are the pieces of the first painting I cut into pieces. Unfortunately, I have no image of the original. I was trying to make something that looked old and Asian.

The other cool thing about the minis is that I can easily picture my work with beautiful furniture. I sometimes cut sofas out of magazines and create low-tech rooms. I want to take a class so I can do this with photoshop. For now the tools are scissors, tape and scanner.

I can hear Max Von Sydow's character (in the movie Hanna and Her Sisters) screaming in my ear. "You don't buy a painting to blend in with a sofa." Seems to be some arbitrary rule that art has nothing to do with decor. As my readers know, I like to break rules. Anyway, furniture is art. So when you are pairing a sofa and a painting, you are simply pairing art.

This looks like a great place to take a nap. I love to contemplate a painting while lounging. I went through a phase where I was trying to make paintings that look like windows. Nuba sofa by Studio Vertijet for Cor.

Aspen sofa by Jean-Marie Massaud for Cassina.

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