Through the late winter months, my work balanced itself into two connected streams of thought. See here and here. As we enter early spring, my drawing and painting investigations have been adapting to the environment.
I’ve been busy lately, and now finally have the time to do some reflections.
The closing weekend of March, I co-hosted a pop up art show in Oklahoma City in a residential space. The two night show showcased my recent bodies of work in a more approachable environment, a home, a location with different context from a gallery.
Leading up to the event was the usual preparation of transportation, media releases and signage. This time around, I too took on the goal of building my own frames for my paper works. The inspiration came from my recent acquisition of oak flooring from a 1920s bungalow in my neighborhood. The wood needed some work but was beautiful to work with. The smaller frames also features glass from windows reclaimed from houses in the neighborhood. Hence the radio silence. Take a look at how the show came together.
Check of the bodies of work here
I’m an working Denver artist and I can’t get away from having to write and talk about my work, despite it being troublesome. I know that the viewer wants to know what I’m thinking and why I’m painting, just as much as they want to understand why they are interested in my work. But most of the time, these things can’t be described in words.
There are things that can’t be communicated in words, and there are people who can’t communicate in words. There are deeper meanings to things. There are deeper understandings to things.
As I spend more time in the studio and reinvigorate my body of work, I’ve found I spend a lot of time with my own thoughts. About the piece I’m working on, about my process, the process of making in general, and that of the artists I know.
Watching other artists work is like osmosis, without a direct transfer of technique. I am sure I have picked up on mastery of my teachers over time. One of my most influential teachers was taught by Richard Diebenkorn, and I sometimes wonder what, if any, of his techniques have made their way into my work…
Here is a silly instructional video about how I put my canvas stretchers together. Shooting alone got the best of me on this one. Let me know what you think.
Please also, if you have a Google account subscribe to my YouTube Channel.
Also, please check out my Etsy and favorite my shop (it would help me out a bunch). I wound stop you from buying any while you where there too.
In my latest Get Your Phil of Art, I spend a quick moment sharing one of my preferred materials. Here I’d like to spend a little more time sharing what I love about Williamsburg Oil paints. As a non-representational artists that working primarily in the movements of color and composition its important to have stand up colors. I think my work speaks to that.
The pigments are outstanding, it’s really easy to mix and blend colors. You can tell the quality of the product just by the feel. I’ve been using these materials for over ten years. I used to have to order them direct but now I am able to find them locally as well. I also enjoy that these are made in US, knowing that the company making these has not sacrificed any quality.
If you find this video interesting or entertaining, consider following me on youtube.
I posted last week about an inspirational moment eighteen years ago that has influenced the way I make my paintings. In another serendipitous moment, I got an email Friday for an artist presentation by none other than Homare Ikeda, the same artist I had just reminisced about. And the presentation was going to happen the following day, Saturday, at Meininger Art Materials.
The event was part of a series called Demo & Dialogue, organized by the Art Students League of Denver. The Art Students League was there for me in my youth when I had limited access to art and art instruction.
The idea behind demo and dialogue is open up the artist’s process to the audience by having the art work on a piece. Ikeda gave us an open invitation to interrupt with questions as he worked on two large (and several small) works.
“On the island I am from they had no sense of what art was. I’m lucky I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what art was. Before I came to the US, I studied traditional painting so I’m aware of how I use my brush. I will hold with my left hand or use two brushes, that creates negative space.” -Ikeda
I was struck by how similar his thoughts about process and his approach to making resonated with my own. Ikeda approaches his art with openness and flexibilty, focusing on the process with little interest in the product. He is able to speak about his process and work with depth and humbleness.
“I’m not trying to make a painting therefore finishing is not my goal, the process is something that excites me. I have many paintings that come down from one show and I keep painting it. I know what color theory is but at the same time I just grab whatever I can grab. I’m looking for surprises. In my mind I ask, ‘Should I keep this or do I change it.’ I have options.”
“Painting is honesty. If the artist is honest it’s a good painting. Getting honesty is very hard to deal with. Painting is making me more than I am making a painting. ”
The demo wrapped up after close to 2 hours and Ikeda stayed answering questions and greeting the crowd. I waited to approach him and thank him for sharing his craft and thoughts. Last week I had shared my blog post with him and his response in person was as gracious as his email had been. It may not surprise many these days as Denver emerges onto the national scene, but we have long had a vibrant art scene including artists like Ikeda.