Saturday, August 30, 2008

Curlin Groupie

I'm posting this from the Spa - here to pick up the artwork that didn't sell and collect checks for what did.

I guess I've become somewhat of a Curlin groupie. Those eyes and expression amaze me. The Wood was no walkover as Eoin Harty made him work for it.

Curlin Woodward MemorialAnother amazement was the light crowd. After all, this is one of best horses on the planet. Discussion with locals and others concurred that the season was off on attendance and handle. Geesh, this is Saratoga, people. But then, these are strange times for most.
Saratoga race trackI'm also here to deliver a business proposal to NYRA but I won't spill the beans on that tidbit until later.
This is an impressive crowd: the Have's and Have-more's. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base. - George W. Bush

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Creative Challenges

horse racing artIn progress, oil on canvas, 34"x60"

Getting there. After last week's power outages from Fay, I managed to get some work done on the piece I started.

thoroughbred paintngThis is the artwork that pays the bills. Cranked out with the explicit purpose to sell for decent money. Business is about sales.

I create two types of paintings: a) commercial tried and true racing subjects, traditional in tone (yet still dynamic), not pushing any envelopes, produced to keep my business in the black and appealing to the majority of my collectors. These paintings establish that I've learned my craft, developed decent skills and am a respectable painter. Then there's b) what I consider the real "art", edgy, innovative, exploring all levels including: boundaries of edges, concept, presentation of emotional feel, multiple canvas theories, paint application as expression and forcing this genre into the esteemed mainstream.

This is a tightrope I traverse every day in the studio. Of course I desire to create the "art", yet I'm under considerable pressure to be financially productive. The "art" is acceptable to museums who eat up the genre with a big fat twist (art snobs consider painting passe although they desperately grasp at anything radical or remotely fresh to appease a certain longing), while collectors respond with only mild interest.

So, am I underestimating my collectors and their ability to appreciate leaps outside the box? To actually be contemporary? Am I unconsciously repeating the same 'ol same 'ol to really placate myself? On one hand, I'm bored and that screams volumes about the process. On the other hand, Michael has recently retained an intellectual law attorney because I tend to freak him out on a regular basis with my manic brainstorming. ("Can we do that?")

"I own up to my own mediocrity, embrace it actually, and think of it as the petri dish wherein I strive to culture my own excellence". - Carole MacRury (thanks, Carole)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay's Aftermath

tropical storm fayVenturing out this morning into the sunshine after four days of intensive rain was simply lovely. The rain gauge boasted ten inches, and I joined in on a game of Pick-Up Stix .

marigold treeThe worst casualty was our Mexican Sunflower which measured out at fifteen feet tall. Root ball intact, we did our best to prop her back up.

mexican sunflowerI hope this won't traumatize her beautiful flower show in the fall. She stands, a bit disheveled yet proud.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore - Vincent van Gogh

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay

It's been a challenge to get any work done this past few days even though I love to paint on rainy days. The power has gone off, on again, off, on again, repeatedly. Today I threw up my hands, closed the studio and caught up on some reading. Have you ever noticed that it only takes a quick electrical blip to screw up all the clocks in the house?

tropical storm fayAbove is the view out my studio door this afternoon. It's been mostly a rain event in Ocala, albeit relentless, probably going on about 48 hours straight and hard. I wanted to wander over to OBS but, yes, the weather can keep you home. The sale was dismal anyway.

hurricanesI think the ditch may crest this evening. Thankfully, the house is built up about three feet. Only my studio is at ground level and Michael has attended to that with boards and caulking. So far so good.

You don't need to pray to God any more when there are storms in the sky, but you do have to be insured.” - Bertolt Brecht

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunday Morning Arcane-ness

My friend Helenea sent me this video. It's long - 20 minutes - but well worth it. If you're not getting ready to go to church, indulge in a high cholesterol breakfast or savor the Sunday paper, then give yourself the gift of experiencing neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. Go get yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy.

There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul. - Arnold Bennett

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Finally, Time to Paint

Regardless of home renovation chaos, work must proceed. As much as I love working at home, this past week has me seriously considering a studio off premises. After all, every artist requires "zen time" to be creative. It's been a strain and a lesson in just what concentration necessitates from my easily distracted brain...

Finally, a new painting in the beginning stages. Yet another request for "horses runnin' atcha" from an excellent gallery. I aim to please.

thoroughbred racingOil wash on canvas, 34"x60"

The "Curlin" portrait is in northern transit as I write. Amazing how the Champ can generate lots interest with a mere mention of running in the Woodward.

"The only way I could work properly was by using the absolute maximum of observation and concentration that I could possible muster". - Lucian Freud

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tear Down Those Walls, Mr. Bray!

WARNING: there are no pretty pictures in this post.

I've been gradually collecting porcelain and decorative tiles for quite some time with the intention of re-tiling the shower off the kitchen. Having obtained the sum amount required for the project, I asked Michael to remove the old tiles. Well, because ours is an older home, there is no home improvement endeavor that does not beget several more.

Here's dearest standing in a hole where the shower used to be. He's non too pleased about my renovation ambitions and even less thrilled about being photographed in the trenches:

home improvementTurns out the walls and floors are significantly rotted and mildewed and plumbing must be replaced. Now we're into major renovation. Me, whining: "...I just wanted to re-tile the shower..."

bathroom debrisThe pile of debris is our driveway is extremely unpleasant and growing. Is there an abstract/cubist painting here?

Of course, this affects studio time as the bathroom is just on the other side of one wall. I found out that it's difficult to paint on a canvas vibrating from sawzalls and sledgehammers.

"Every act of construction is an act of destruction". - Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Champ

Artists don't always have carte blanche to paint whatever floats their boats (or canoes). Especially if principle income depends on sales of paintings and/or accompanying widgets. Sometimes a display model is required to show potential clients, which led me to create this piece:

curlin"Curlin", oil on panel 18"x24"

The big hoss was a stunning vision as he walked into the paddock for the Man O' War. Such a far cry from when I photographed him last year cooling out at the Oklahoma training track. With the cool demeanor of a confident prize fighter, this dude knows he's something really special. Yet his temperament is quiet and his expression calm as if he's distracted by an encompassing greatness we'll never comprehend.

"A horse can lend its rider the speed and strength he or she lacks, but the rider who is wise remembers it is no more than a loan". - Pam Brown