Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane

Hello avid readers,

As a fortnight has passed since my last communique, I thought I'd update you on the progress of my projects mentioned in the last post.

I've been spending the most time on my large acrylic self-portrait, which I didn't think would take so long to complete. Now a pattern is emerging: after the preparatory stages (if any), I begin painting with great hesitation, even if the composition is simple. Eventually, I reach a point where I get much more daring with my strokes and color; this is the point at which I know I am making a work that will please me. Along the way, I typically make many mistakes and many corrections.

As it stands, this stylized self-portrait is coming along, slowly but surely, awaiting more glazes and details.

During the past week, while waiting at the laundromat, I worked on the fantastic world/story I mentioned last time. I hate going to the laundromat, but I find that a potentially boring experience can give me the opportunity to brainstorm and explore the depths of this wacky collection of nerve cells I call my brain.

Hmmm...what else?

Let's finish with some movies or shows I watched in the past two weeks:

  • Kurosawa's Dreams
  • Black Adder (Series 1)
  • Jessica Yu's Protagonist (which features Mark Salzman, star and author of Iron and Silk, another great movie)
  • Palindromes and Storytelling (two films directed by Todd Solondz)
  • Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World
  • Lots of Woody Allen flicks, including: Mighty Aphrodite and Crimes and Misdemeanors (wow this list is much longer than I thought it would be)
Until next time,


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Upcoming Projects


I hope everyone is enjoying this freezing (for me) January day. Because I want to keep my promise to post more regularly, I've decided to write a post about some of the projects on which I am working.

  • One oil painting set in a fantastic, imaginary desert scene.
  • One oil painting (subject TBA on a black surface).
  • One acrylic self-portrait (although it will be more fantastic than realistic, still in the drawing stages).
  • Several random, unfinished acrylic paintings (not feeling too motivated to finish these at the moment).
  • Sketches for acrylic pet portraits.
  • Drawings and sketches of an imaginary world which will be the setting for some stories (if I get this world developed to my satisfaction).
I think that covers it. As soon as I have some new images to post, you'll be able to find them here.

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Painting for the New Year

Hello again,

Here's wishing everyone a belated Happy New Year! I honestly thought that I'd be posting more frequently here, so I'll give a quick summary of some things that I've been doing lately.

  • Reading from Just After Sunset, Stephen King's most recent collection of stories
  • Reading Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (This is my fourth attempt; let's see if I make it all the way through this time!)
  • Sketching ideas for pet portraits
  • Watching movies (Survival Quest, Hearts of Darkness, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, just to name a few)
  • Playing music and sketching out some new tunes
  • Painting
The big news is that I finished a new painting, one which I thought would be completed before the end of 2008. Yesterday I decided it was finally done, so here it is:

"Mustache #2" (2009, Plaka on Canvas Panel)

The reason it is called "Mustache #2" is I had a doodle that was going to be "Mustache #1" after I enlarged it and transferred it to the canvas panel. I drew the enlarged, mirror version (so it would transfer properly) freehand, which caused some unintentional alterations (hence the name).

I've started sketching what will eventually be "Mustache #3" then we'll see where I go from there. Perhaps mutton chops? Beards? The world of stylized facial hair is wide open.

On another topic, in addition to the movies listed above, I also saw Keith Jarrett: The Art of Improvisation. This documentary explored Jarrett's life, career and his ideas about performing. One of the most profound things he discussed was the ability of improvisation to stand alone, rather than as a way to get from Point A to Point B in a composition.

Personally, I think when I am improvising (not within the context of a tune, but actually improvising compositions), I am playing the most meaningful music possible. Of course, when I have listened back to such improvisations, I perceive a very different reality (a bit like the dichotomy of perception that Mick Goodrick refers to in his book, The Advancing Guitarist). Maybe I just owe it to myself to keep recording them, knowing the more I make, the better they might become.

The other thing Jarrett said in this documentary that fascinated me was that classical performance is almost designed for failure (I'm paraphrasing a bit). The performer of traditional repertoire already has success defined for them as playing all the notes in the score correctly, and an audience that will for the most part be judging the performer against an imagined ideal interpretation. The classical performer has already hit his or her peak if they have played perfectly during their practice sessions. There is not a lot of room for discovery once they are on the recital stage. I'm sure not everyone would agree that this is the case, but it makes sense to me.

Anywho, can't think of too much more to write now.

Until next time,