I wish I could make the idea of building canvas stretchers sexy, but it is just some milled lumber. There is something special about building things yourself though. In this case building the skeleton of the skin that is the canvas that is almost never seen or thought of. Eight 45 degree cuts attached to make perfect 90 degree angles. A few pieces of strait lumber to keep the rectangle from flexing, so when the canvas is attached it will always be flush when hung. Simple ideas but sometimes not easy to complete.
I have been building variations of painting surfaces for 20 years or so now. The first semester at school, A painting instructor of mine at The School of the Art Institute approached me while in a painting studio and I think he asked why I was working so small. As an art student I was pretty broke and working larger at that time was not in my budget. He suggested I go down to the wood shop at the school and start making my own canvas stretchers and stretch my own, as it would be more cost effective and I could start working larger. A semester later I was asked to apply for the advanced painting program by the head of the painting department. The rest is history as they say.
More that being cost effective, it became this integral part of how I make work. It makes the painting process deeper for me. I am not just slapping some paint on something I picked up at the art store. I was part of the birth of the surface that I will then lovingly apply paint, building composition and having a connection with the end result.
Here is a fun little project I did and made a time lapse of it. I will be making a tutorial on drawing with graphite with this footage as well soon. Check back in in a week or so and I should have it ready. Please go to my YouTube page and follow me if you have a YouTube account. Or if you have anything you would like to see me make or have a tutorial idea leave a comment. Thanks again!!!
I started a awesome new collaboration project with the Denver artist Kat Potter, AKA my wife. She is a local art educator and very supportive of me as an artist. The current project is based in the idea of line and landscape. I think the work speaks for it’s self, but it is only a fraction of the beauty that surrounds us in the natural world.
We would love some feed back. So let us know what you think.
Hillside Colorado is one of my favorite places to visit. Located just east of the northern edge of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range and west of the Wet Mountains in a sublime valley. It almost pains me to give away the location of this magical spot, but it is too good to keep to myself. If you would like to stay there you can find information here.
So why would a non-representational / abstract painter like myself be drawn to doing a landscape. Well, it was there and it was transcendental. I love making all types of work outside of my primary work. It makes my abstract work so much better. Having other forms of visual communication makes for more informed abstract work. It helps to experience the work and be able to reflect on it, and use that energy to drive my primary mode of expression.
I love to work where ever I go. I took up way too many supplies to work while I was in Hillside and on the great driving trip from Denver to Hillside via 285 though Salida Colorado. But I was glad to have all that I needed to make some Plein Air works on paper that came out pretty nice. I have not done much Plein Air works in the past, not thinking much of it. I made a great discovery that working in the environment is far superior than working from an image. Just like working on a real subject, it becomes more tangible, I felt that I could gather the experience of being there.
On the way back I took a drive to St. Elmo to the west of Browns Canyon down a road that cuts in between to mighty peaks of the Collegiate Range, the same I was painting a few days earlier. It was a super drive cutting between mountain streams, groves of aspens and a ghost town.
It has always been a great joy of mine to have grown up in Colorado and live in Denver. There are so many places to see and experience in the state.
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.
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.