Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review - Best Contemporary Painters

To celebrate the new year, I would like to do a series of year-end reviews. The first is a review of some of my favorite painters. Painters that I would love to exhibit if I had my own gallery. Oh wait - I do! I have a virtual gallery. Welcome to the first exhibit of Creative Influences!

The artists I have chosen for this first review are all contemporary. It is a diverse group, as any good art exhibit should be. The thing that ties them together is that I love them all. I tend to be attracted to works that some may consider lonely and cold. I adore seeing rain expressed on the canvas, and no one does it better than Pat Stier. I also tend to be attracted to solo figures in paintings, like Jeana Sohn's work. I adore melancholy romance like Sachin Jaltaray. I am also attracted to paintings that appear dynamic, and organic. Some are witty, but all are soulful, sensual, thoughtful. I've included some artists who are technically illustrators, but there is no denying the impact contemporary illustration has in modern painting. Each artist has taken the time to share their unique vision, and for that I am grateful. To me there is nothing more important than art.

Posthumous recognition is given to Jean-Michel Basquiat and T.L. Lange, two artists whose impactful lives were too short. The works are arranged in alphabetical order.  With no further adieu, here is the first Year in Review Series. Enjoy!

Flickr user Arty Zen is a facinating artist. Her paintings are done with a gentle hand, and are quietly contemplative. Ms. Zen's flickr set is a wonderful place to visit when stress becomes overwhelming at a desk job. Indeed, I often use her set as a meditation.

Chiho Aoshima.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Confessions of an Obsessive Painter, Vol. III

Below I wrote about my compulsive painting tendencies. Here is another example of that compulsion. Sometimes a painting just remains simple, and simplicity is something I strive for. But, sometimes a painting beckons for more paint and it is difficult to stop. I once read that Picasso said the most difficult part about a painting is knowing when it is done. Sometimes I wish I had someone to drag me away from a canvas.

Here is a painting I did last week. Based on the principle of Enso. But even Enso is impermanent.

It beckoned me. I added more paint and let it sit for a day. Sometimes I worry that adding more paint will ruin a work. But hey, I can always start over. And for the most part I am courageous about applying paint and I keep moving forward. (My new motto, described below.)

Here is what the painting looks like now. And I think it is done. 24" x 24", acrylic and marker on canvas, as yet untitled. I don't know what exactly is going on here. Creation maybe. Flight maybe. Movement, definitely, since that's always a theme in my paintings. I am leaning more and more toward organic forms and am highly influenced by street art.
This is probably my last painting for 2007. It's been a good year in paint for me. I am grateful because I feel as if I am finding my voice.
Stay tuned as I will be taking a new direction for 2008.

Day After Long Weekend

Leg lamp image from Red Rider Leg Lamps. Text from holiday card designed by SNL.

Well, I'm part of the small majority who are back to work today. Luckily the boss is out. You know what that means - that's right goofing off. I'm not ready to return to reality (as if I ever am) so I thought I'd show you some of the wonderful gifts I received for Christmas. I guess I must have been nice! My family were so good to me. I am a little overwhelmed with the wealth I received.
I know the holidays are about love and not loot, but here is some of the loot I received from those who love me. I am well loved and grateful.

Gift cards, ceramics and toys! Do my peeps know me or what?

Tea pot from Devotea, vase from CB2, Polly Pocket (My friend thought this looked like me! I always wanted a pink car.) Cube world. These things are incredibly entertaining!

Here is a card SNL gave me. We cracked up about this. Baby Bro didn't laugh as much as we did.

Card designed by Nancy Rider Hunt of Olive Sandwiches.
And, as if my weekend wasn't great enough - I watched Meet the Robinsons about four times. I love this movie! The Robinsons are the perfect family and the movie is very uplifting. I highly recommend it.

My motto for the upcoming is year is "KEEP MOVING FORWARD!"

Hope your holiday was filled with joy and that your transition to reality is a smooth one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to read my blog and all the wonderful support! I can't tell you how much it means to me! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season and the best year of your life!

Collage by Peggy.  Images: Bibendum, the Michelin Man; Airstream 2007 designed by Chris Deam for Design Within Reach; Bibendum holding Heller dinnerware designed by Massimo Vignelli for DWR; spaceship - drain plug designed by Olof Hansson for DWR; globe, trees and astronauts from CB2 catalog; Hotei sitting on Airstream.

Confessions of an Obsessive Painter, Vol. II - Dirty Little Secrets

Many of my paintings evolve, especially when I am unhappy with them. They become something else. I am working on an experiment in layering paint that I wrote about here.

This painting is probably my most radical experiment with evolution. In the original painting I was trying to create amoebas and was experimenting with glitter and movement. I was not happy with this painting, so knew it would receive more paint at a later date. I was then inspired by flickr user Ciah-Ciah and his "Creatures a Day" project. (In fact, I will devote an entire post to him at a later date). I had been wanting to paint cute creatures for a while, and knew they would be flower-like. But when the inspiration hit me I had no canvas! I am constantly running out of canvas. Since I didn't like the amoeba painting, I decided to repurpose this canvas.

I decided to experiment with metallic paint as I painted these little flower creatures. I love to contemplate this painting. It amuses me to think that amoebas evolved into little creatures. And it amuses me to think that another painting exists underneath. Like a dirty little secret.

Alien Flowers, 2007, 24" x 24" acrylic, marker, glitter on canvas.  When I do this type of experiment, I like to leave clues around the edges of what the painting used to be.

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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