I came to Hanley Farm to paint and had a hard time choosing a view, because I liked so many views, so I painted one
and then painted another
and that one was painted in the same scale and basic location as the first, so they both fit together, which made me motivated to make the third view
so they all fit together like a puzzle.
I often listen to audiobooks when I paint. Whenever I look at a painting I made, I think of the book I was hearing while I worked. The middle and the left painting make me think of Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. The painting on the right makes me think of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. And maybe the beginning of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett. The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon feel so similar that they kind of mentally flow together. I recommend all three books.
I read an interesting article about discovering the current stereotype of a city by typing “why is ————- so” and letting Google’s auto complete fill in the common searches. That led me to wonder what the stereotype for artists is these days. So I keyed “why are artists” and then “why are artists so” and guess what — people think artists are weird, poor, liberal, sensitive, emotional, depressed, moody, messy and important. Crazy also came into play. (At least some people think we’re important – but they didn’t know why, because they wanted Google to tell them. )
This experiment came on the heels of a day out painting plein air in downtown Medford. I thought I’d found a quiet street but there were lots of people who came by and if they said anything they mostly said something like, “Looks like you’re having fun!” Fun. Okay. It’s kind of true, but it’s pretty revealing about what people generally think artists are doing. Art is fun when things are going well. When you’re in a groove, when you’re so engrossed that you don’t need to eat, won’t answer the phone etc, BUT people don’t get that if we’re supposed to be anything but Sunday painters having a nice hobby in retirement that it takes consistent, persistent WORK. And struggle. In the moments when the best work is created there is a zone that is awesome, but to get into the zone you have had experiences that are to the right or left of the zone, where you over correct and have some painful crashes. For me, to achieve the work I want to create, I’ve had to study and keep at it, and even now I have goals I want to achieve that I have to study and work at a whole lot more. Not only that, the very best artists make art every day, which I almost do, but not quite. The fact is, I couldn’t make anything that anyone would care to see without having put in in tons of time and thought and preparation over many years. Fun, on the other hand, is a nice dinner with friends and family. Fun is playing at the beach. Fun is relaxation. Painting is sublime, but it’s work. It’s exhilarating and heart breaking. It’s more fun than fun and it’s not fun at all.
Being misunderstood may just be why we’re so crazy, depressed, weird and moody all the time. 😉
Pear Packing Alley, South Fir Street Medford, Oregon Oil on Panel, 12″ x 16″ $500
Last Friday I woke up to a glorious sunny day – the first in months! We always get a February false spring – or February Fake Out, as some call it. Warm weather for a few days before it starts to rain again. I gathered up my stuff and headed to a street in Medford that I’ve wanted to paint for a long time. Pear orchards have been a large part of the local economy here for years and this street – S. Fir St in Medford hosts both Naumes and Tree Top packing plants. Playing with and paying attention to the perspective on this one was super fun. It was fantastic to be out working en plein air after many months stuck in the studio. Of course I have grand plans again this year to spend much, much more time painting outside. We shall see!
Well I have been very busy painting and working, I’m still finishing up the Smithfields series, I promise there will be some sort of splash involved. I will invite you all to the opening, and then once the pieces are “unveiled” I will show them here. In the mean time, I’ve just scanned some images of pieces I painted last summer. As you know, lately I prefer to paint urban scenes, and because the traffic and pedestrians move too quickly, they can’t be included, so the pieces have this nice isolation with all the buildings and the sun, making it look like suddenly there are no people in the world.
The weather is now nice enough to head out doors, I’m looking forward to traveling to Klamath Falls, Oregon, a town a couple of hours drive over the mountains. It’s high desert, lots of distance between trees, which I think makes for better paintings. I just have to plan it.
I’ve been taking photography classes from Ezra Marcos as well. I’m not trying to become a photographer, but I would like to have better photos for my Etsy shop and this blog. Check out Ezra’s work, it’s fantastic, very fun.