Lately, many parcels have been arriving at my house. I guess they are all sort of “props” for my art installation. I thought I should start taking photos of them for yucks, whether they make sense to you or not.
Not that I post all that much on either blog, but I have been posting more on my regular bloggie than I have here, and for that, I apologize. For all I know I have different reader(s) here than I do on there. And maybe it’s been confusing having two blogs, I’m not sure, but that’s what has happened my friends. What can I tell you? One blog is a little more specific than the other, especially since this one will self-destruct in five…four…three…two…
Just finished today: Ladder to Dad
This only took five and a half weeks, and it will be the biggest one in the show: 40 x 60 inches. It’s all oil on canvas. Some parts are thick with paint and some parts are flat, but I think I’m satisfied and I can move on.
I can move on and get back to work on all the other paintings and details for the show. Gosh, I’ve been so busy. And maybe spending so much time on one painting makes me feel like so many other things are passing me by, but that’s just silly thinking. Silly, silly thinking.
However, I have at least three more of these to do, and five more of the ones on wood. Think I can do that all before March? Plus the movie? Plus the rest of the watercolors?
Anyway, I thought I would post progression shots of the above painting. Ready?
First I used a very, very thin acrylic wash as an undercoat.
Oil paint goes on top of all of it.
Then I render things with a tiny brush so it’s a bit more detailed.
This is the undercoat for the sky, which is a toxic oil mixture that gives me a migraine.
This is the last thing I did to it before I scratched the lines in the sky. I covered it in oil paint and semi-blended a blue and lavender sky.
Here’s the finished painting again so you don’t have to scroll up to see it.
That’s it for today. I napped for an hour afterward.
Well Happy Halloween!
This picture is from The Rise of the Jack ‘o Lanterns, which I saw last night. It was really cool! Those are all carved pumpkins and there were thousands and thousands of them. Pretty mind blowing.
I’ve been battling a little flu bug/Ebola thing, but it’s nothing too bad, just feeling a little crappy physically. I tried to take it easy yesterday other than going to this event last night, but today I mostly worked.
I wrote the above a couple of days ago and I thought I would come back and re-edit this entire post because I was pretty sick when I wrote it and forgot half the things I wanted to write in it at the time I was writing it, so here we go…
I’m working on a 40 x 60 inch abstract landscape in oil. This is just the underpainting.
Now it looks like this, as of today, which is Sunday, November 2nd. (Sorry about all the nasty shadows.)
I also managed to complete a few others that I had mentioned since last time, like Peyote’s Walk:
I know it seems like I’m getting a lot of work done, but I’m still behind, and now I find out that the gallery would like to move my show up two weeks into March, which as you might guess, is quite the conundrum since I’m hardly on target as it is.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this little problem yet. I’m either going to have to edit the show that I intended to exhibit a bit, or bring in a few older pieces to tie into the exhibit – which wouldn’t be totally weird since I make reference to a few older paintings in my movie.
So the new opening date is now Thursday, March 19th, 2015. You got that?
In other news, the movie is coming along, slowly but surely. We just recorded the final voice over. The movie is narrated throughout by yours truly.
I also now have the little television that the movie will be playing through at the show and it’s so old skool cool, it’s not even funny. See?
It’s from 1975. Classic! It’s small, but that’s the way I wanted it. People will be sitting on lawn chairs inside the tent and watch it at a close distance.
I have four chairs so far that I’ve been storing in my studio. I’m not really sure how many I will need.
I don’t expect 20 people watching this thing at a time. I’m sure more people will be milling about the gallery.
As for my scheduling, it’s going to be really tight. I need as many days to work as possible. I get tired a lot, so it makes it a little difficult, but it is what it is.
I have discovered a few little time savers here and there. I can share them – like canvases take longer than gessoboards, and painting flat (once you’ve drawn out your composition that is) is faster than painting upright. But now that I’m onto larger pieces, that might not be possible. We’ll see. I might have to stand and paint flat at my upright cutting table.
Painting this large one is going to take some time. After I am done with it, I’m going to feel like I got myself over quite a hurdle.
I also will work on the largest panel next. I haven’t even prepped it yet. It still needs to be sanded and sealed, but I know exactly what it’s going to look like already! 🙂
It would be nice to have that done before my curator, Anne Hromodka, comes for her studio visit on the 14th. The only thing is – I’m also doing these small watercolors too. They are actually for the movie. I am also framing them to display them in the show. They are animated in the movie (just a little) and each represent a “burden” I’m leaving behind in my life. There will be 11 in all. I think I have already showed the one that represents “depression.”
Anyway, those all need to be completed by the 11th to be incorporated into the film, plus Photoshopped into transparencies, so I don’t know how much I can get accomplished before the studio visit in actual fact. I’m at least half finished with the watercolors though. Hurrah.
God, this must be so boring!
Anyway, that’s it.
I’ve been scarce around these here parts, haven’t I? I am just hoping that some of you are following my studio blog to see what’s been happening in general. I suppose I’ve been so busy working on the project that I have just been remiss in posting any entries on this blog lately, but I am getting through the paintings as fast as I can.
This is the most recent piece that’s actually been completed. It’s called Homestead for the Clown and it’s just 9 x 12 inches (mixed media on birch wood). There were be quite a few small pieces in the show since I’m not so keen on working huge these days.
However, there will be a few larger pieces too, but nothing ridiculous. The largest birch panel is a 36 inch square.
As for the abstract landscapes in oil, I am going to do my best to make at least one that is 40 x 60 inches, which I think is pretty big if you ask me, which you didn’t. That’s the largest that will fit into my car though.
The car won’t matter since I will have plenty to cram into a rental truck. I have plenty going into the Project Room, as small as it is, as well as paintings for the walls. All of that won’t fit into my car unless I did a couple of trips to Venice from the East Side, which is also plausible. We’ll see.
Right now I have been working on the fourth and fifth abstract landscapes and it still feels like I have so far to go to get to my goal (which are a minimum of nine paintings) since they are only going to get bigger from here. M theory really is that the bigger they are, the faster they will go; I won’t have to spend so much time with a 000 brush anymore.
This is the last work-in-progress pic I have the the fourth one:
I reckon I can finish it by the end of the weekend if I’m lucky.
Here’s the other one I’m working on:
This one is on a 20 x 24 inch panel and I can already see that the panels are taking less time than canvases. I don’t know why, but they are. I always do the foliage last by the way. It is the most fun part for me and I like to save the best part for the last part – cuz I’m a little kid like that.
As for my movie, it is coming along very well and I meet with my collaborators once a week to get things moving. Then we both (all) have tons of homework to do in between meetings. So far, I am really happy with the way the film is turning out and I am excited about it being part of the show! I just hope it’s as cool as I think it is.
I finally got my dates for the spring show at Shulamit Gallery, which will be April 2 – May 30, 2015. The only thing is that the following Saturday is the first day of Passover, so I’m still not sure when the reception is going to be.
I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I had to buy a new tent for the Project Room. It’s better. Trust me.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to do more check-ins more frequently if I don’t get too out-of-my-mind busy.
Thanks for reading!
Believe it or not, I am still studying Kabbalah even though I have put my kabbalah paintings on hold.
As a matter of fact, I have been taking an extremely interesting class at my temple about Reb Nachman‘s last story of the Seven Beggars. I may have mentioned this before.
The story is so full of symbolism, kabbalah and Torah teachings, I wouldn’t know where to begin if I were to try to sit here and explain it. Forget it.
I may have mentioned that before too.
But I can try to point out a little something- something that I found interesting about upon studying the Hebrew letter Lamed anyway.
So…First of all, I’m not going to try to explain what this means:
but it’s called the Sefirot in Kabbalah. It is, in a very crude nutshell, a diagram for the 10 emanations of God. That’s about all you really need to know so I can try to make a point.
The top three circles are so mind-blowingly spiritual with higher consciousness stuff that we humans can’t even comprehend it. That’s how up in the clouds it is, so to speak. It’s so above our consciousness, we just can’t touch it, let alone understand it. It’s basically unattainable rock star stuff that even Moses had a hard time believing when seeing.
Now, see the circle that has the dashes around it? That represents like a drop of hope to be able to brush against some semblance of one day understanding that consciousness above our own. And that circle is most often called knowledge.
Sometimes that circle doesn’t even appear on the sefirot diagram! That’s how elusive it is. And there can be a whole book written about the subject of knowledge itself, since wisdom is something entirely different, and many other avenues must be taken to even lead one to actual knowledge. Plus, most people aren’t even aware enough, open enough, have enough humility to learn, or realize that they don’t know jack to begin with.
But I am digressing just a little. Maybe even complaining since I was one of those people myself.
But I am giving you this tiny amount of background because of something that got me curious about lamed, remember?
Okay, so first of all, the full spelling of lamed is lamed-mem-dalet – a short phrase that translates to “a heart that understand knowledge.”
In kabbalah, lamed represents aspiration – the contemplation of the heart, and the literal meaning of lamed is “to learn” or “to teach.”
So, this got me thinking.
I also noticed that it is the only letter in the alphabet that goes above the line of the other letters. There are a few letters that drop far below the line, but only one that goes above it. Lamed. And this really reminds me of the circle in the sefirot where consciousness barely touches the worlds above our own.
That circle with the dashes around it partially sticks up above the line – that bar that essentially separates the upper and lower worlds.
[I mean — not in this diagram, but it’s supposed to! That circle is supposed to be higher up. A portion of the top of that circle should be above the top bar.]
And it’s interesting to me that the tip of the lamed is also in the shape of a yud (The Infinite Point) – revealing the spark of essential good that was subsequent to the tzimtzum.
By the way, a lot of people liken the tzimtzum to the Big Bang theory, which is a very interesting concept, especially since those intellectual Rabbis had no idea what in the world quantum physics were at the time they came up with the story. Quantum physics had not yet been discovered for centuries.
So all this symbolism and coinkedinks are coming up for me on my studies of lamed.
But I really think these two symbols are linked. At least that is what I am finding. And whatever I wind up finding in these studies are all I need — to help me find what it is that I need.
Make sense? I hope so. It sometimes doesn’t make any sense to me.
Also by the way, this photograph of this special joshua is on the Huffington Post Image Blog this past week.
Yay for me! 🙂
ALSO: I just posted a new entry on Carol’s Bloggie.
It only took May, June, July and half of August to figure it all out, but here I am, ready for take off.
I suppose three and a half months of creating and experimenting isn’t too much time in the large scheme of things, except I could have done without all of the tumultuous stress and loss of hair.
At first, I really though that the Kabbalah Paintings were going to lend themselves perfectly to the show in the spring, and maybe they would have. I came to realize that it really didn’t matter what I made as a result of my time in Joshua Tree, that would be the perfect thing.
What I didn’t know then what I know now.
Isn’t it always this way? Hindsight, 20/20, retrospection, afterthought, recognition, anamnesis, backward telekinesis, all that. We are so much wiser looking back. Just like how you can get all the right answers watching Jeopardy during a rerun. I love when that happens.
That reminds me of an I Love Lucy episode. Pretty much everything reminds me of an I love Lucy or a Twilight Zone episode. It would seem that those two shows would map out the rest of life like some kind of a palm reading or something.
Anyway, back to boring old art.
Since the day I came back from Joshua Tree until, I’d say mid July, all I was doing was working on those Kabbalah paintings. You saw me. I revealed every bit of it on this blog, especially the first one. I talked about how I was doing it, what was going on in my head, and all the significance behind the colors and composition.
It was loaded with a lot of stuff.
The fact that Firmament (the first one) is going to be featured as my cantor’s album cover is a major honor that I am absolutely over the moon about! Still, I was honestly starring at it every day, thinking about changing it. It had undergone so many changes, maybe more than any other painting I had ever created, which goes to show you that my confidence was somewhere in the underground sewers of Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, I was working on a few more…
And I started also working on some watercolors of the sefirot, as pictured above. Those were a no-brainer. I love them and I don’t have any “doubts” or mixed messages about doing them. I feel like I can make as many different versions of that as I can think up, or as Kabbalah has meaning. It’s endless.
But then, as you may or may nor know, I got a wild hair up my butt to start doing some abstract landscapes that began to tear my world apart. It drove me absolutely bonkers and took me forever to endure, yet I worked hours on it every day. You might not be able to see that in the final version, but it’s true.
I didn’t take a picture of it until I was some hours into it, but here’s a bit of the progress:
Even though this painting was difficult for me to get through, it brought me to a breakdown. No, I mean a breakthrough – about what I wanted to be doing and how I wanted to be challenging myself.
I also remembered that I had other things in mind regarding the landscape while I was in Joshua Tree. While I was snapping photographs it didn’t occur to me until I finally got all my film developed, which came around the time I was finishing up the above painting, that I had this other idea too.
I was walking around with the camera strap around my neck and sketchbook in hand with the intention of turning these sort of quick sketches:
into these kinds of collage paintings:
So I guess what I’m saying is that despite all of the studying I did on the Torah and Kabbalah, I can not deny my intense interest for the Joshua Tree landscape. I think it was what allowed me the solitude for my mind to open to be able to assimilate all of that kabbalah stuff.
And I am still studying it. Have I told you guys that I have been taking this very interesting class at my shul about the last kabbalistic tale that Reb Nachman of Breslov ever told? It is called The Seven Beggars. It’s fascinating!
I really wish I could impart everything that I have learned about kabbalah, but I am such a novice still. I have learned such an immense about of information – invaluable information – and I wouldn’t know the first thing on how to even explain it. And that’s not even me trying to be esoteric. I swear!
But that’s that, and I won’t start.
I have been working on a new landscape. Another one that will take me another lifetime, it will seem. I only have two shots of it so far:
And what’s been my point in showing and telling you all this? Well, I am ready to finally take off into these directions of the landscapes. so much so, I even have more secrets up my sleeve regarding me reveling in this even further. I just hope I can do it!
I’ll tell you this, it might be biting off more than I can chew in terms of it being a painting challenge, but if I can do it, I think it might be the most exciting thing I have ever done.
However, This last week I actually crunched the numbers with estimates on how long each painting will take me and just how many weeks I have until the show, but since I really do not have a date for the show, and I still have to make a movie, I really do not have much time!
I am worried that my deadline is the last week of February, giving me only about 29 weeks. Honestly, that’s about six less+ paintings under my goal since I originally imagined that I’d have another month. I was just looking at the way Shulamit’s schedule has been going for their spring shows and for the past couple of years, their spring shows open the first couple of days of March. (Now I wish I asked for a fall show.)
Anyway, I have no idea why I am blogging when I have work to do. Bye!
Well, it’s been about a week or so and I figured I should probably clue you all in on what’s been happening in the studio and all that. In my art life, as it were. Give you an update as to how the project is going…
How about I do it in pictures? That’s always fun.
Here’s been the progress on this one, now titled Shekinah:
And here it is, almost finished, although the colors are not as accurate as they are in the top picture:
All I have to do now is stitch the “tet” pattern in the background. I have to wait for the oil paint to dry first though.
Then, remember these two compositional layouts?
Well they are complete now and became paintings for a brand new series that I am calling my Masonry Collages. They are inspired by the houses that are near the West Entrance of the Joshua Tree National Park.
Guesthouse, 20 x 20 inches. Mixed Media on birch panel.
The House on Doggie Trail, 20 x 20 inches. Mixed Media on birch panel.
When I say “mixed media,” I mean I used that Zinsser Universal Sanding Sealer I spoke about on my other blog, and I fell in love with the stuff! I am never going back to shellac again. I have to thank the good people in the Acrylics Forum for helping me find this stuff.
I wound up sealing 13 panels with it. (Why not? I had it all set up.)
Once I used the sealer, I was able to use my Nova Color clear acrylic polymer to stick the various pieces of paper and fabrics on here. I was not able to do that when I used the shellac, so I am one happy camper.
Then there’s the oil paint, of course, the colored pencil, and the bits and pieces that should accompany that thar stuff, but overall, it’s a mishmash of I don’t know what ya call it exactly, except for what have you.
So there you have it.
On the video front, I have been making some steps in the right direction there. I have nothing to show you, nor will I be showing any of that along the way (I don’t think. I kinda want it to be a surprise), but I was able to get my first rough storyboard together — kind of.
Okay, wait. Put it this way…I was able to get the first few not-so-rough panels together of the first act. I suppose the story already has its “rough” completed. It just has never been written down in the physical universe.
To be continued. I’m so tired right now.
The rough patches seem to be over. I figured I should announce that. I wanted to wait a little bit to make sure I was really back on track, and I am.
I don’t have much to show, visually so far, except for these composition layouts. This won’t show you much, but if you don’t mind reading and using your imagination, I’d like to explain what’s been happening this last week and a half.
Now, these don’t look like much right now, but they will be something – hopefully – interesting when I get through with them. They are mixed media pieces: college and paint on birch, obviously, and they actually are taking a fair amount of planning. However, there will still be room for them to take off in an unknown direction once I lay down the basics.
Laying down the basics are what is taking all the planning because the panels I have were already sealed to take oil paint. Now I am going to be using acrylic based mediums and they require a different wood sealant.
Today the humidity is like 50% and I am going to be outside sanding about 12 panels. I’m ready though.
The final paintings will have raw pattern paper, like you see here, painted pattern paper, and fabric. I’m also using pieces of Style Cards, which look a little bit like this:
These style cards are used in garment manufacturing. They go with a grouping of pattern pieces that make up one garment, or one style.
But I digress. That stuff is so uninteresting. I just like using materials from that industry for personal reasons.
Anyway, once I stick all these pieces on the wood, I will also be painting on it as well, and then we’ll see what happens.
These mixed media collage paintings are based on how certain architecture is incorporated into the rock formations and boulders in Joshua Tree around where I was staying on my retreat. Of all the photographs I took out there, these were most interesting to me as far as lines and contours were concerned. I was even thinking of paintings while I took the pictures, but had forgotten about it until recently.
Meanwhile, what was bothering me, or upsetting me over the last couple of months was the fact that I have been inspired to pursue several subjects regarding my experience in the desert. I felt like I had to chose one.
I came to the conclusion that I should probably just create as I please and see what comes to be in a few more weeks.
I could have a flippant attitude, like if wind up having a mish-mosh of work after months and months, then so be it. But that’s not me.
Because at the moment, I am working in three different directions! That’s a lot. Too many. I know, But I’m going to go with it because I am interested in all three for now.
I say all that, and that’s not even counting the movie! Ha!
The thing is, I feel that given the time, I feel like I could have it under control…I just need a plan. I’m really not good without having a plan. And the plan is to finish at least two to three paintings in each series and then reevaluate what I am going to do. I feel I can complete this in four more weeks or so. Then I will see what I have.
Right now, I have two completed in the Kabbalah/Rock series. (I’m going to have to name these series soon!) I also have two more partially done.
I have two architecture pieces started.
And remember that terrible landscape? I may have talked about it before. Well, after many hours of labor on that thing to save it and get it to a point where I was finally happy with it, I finally succeeded. And now I want to do more.
So I have one of those.
And none of these look alike.
Here are the completed Kabbalah pieces:
Can you even tell these were all done by the same artist?
We’ll see how it goes.