Sunday, June 29, 2008

Proof of Life

Where have I been?  Last week I was teaching all day, every day, going to yoga, and finally coming home to deal with this:
And this:And Saturday morning we made these:And Saturday afternoon we got engaged. 

Oh yes, I am a coy one.

By the way, if your name is Jennifer or Daniel Kirchner, we're waiting to tell you in person this weekend, and I was 98% sure that you wouldn't read this.  So don't be mad, even though finding out from my blog is super lame.  

I also read my second favorite novel of 2008, The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich.  I highly recommend it to anyone who loves language and beautifully depicted, intricate webs of human relationships. 

I am also preoccupied with my love for our new kitchen.  It's a fun kitchen, with red formica counter tops, and lot's of room for two people to shuffle around each other.  (I chose to cut out the view of our nasty, sweaty yoga clothes piled on top of the washing machine.)  
I've been experimenting with a different "concoction-in-a-pot" each week, since we don't have time to make dinner every night.  Tonight I made an absurdly enormous pot of curry beef stew.  I think that I missed out on a stage of cognitive development somewhere, because I cannot, for the life of me, wrap my brain around volumetric measurements.  Matching the correct sized tupperware to my leftovers is a task beyond my capabilities.  And concoctions-in-a-pot tend to get out of control, so that we somehow ended up with a two-week supply of curry beef stew.  This is particularly unnecessary, since we're going on vacation for four days this week.  Anyway, the fun of concoctions-in-a-pot is that I use a recipe merely as an ingredients reminder, instead of following it line by line with all of that pesky measuring.  I also like to add ingredients that are not listed in the recipe, which can be risky.  For example, I decided to add a jalapeno to the curry beef stew, just to give it a little kick, and now it's almost too spicy for me to eat.  But Charley loves it, and had three helpings last night.  So overall I feel like it was a win.  

Another thing I like to experiment with is beverages.  This interest is rooted in my former life as a professional mixologist at the Knights of Columbus.  In any case, while I was making the curry beef stew I slipped some little bits of ginger into this gin and tonic that I was sipping:
and voila!  Best gin and tonic ever.

So, basically, the mad-scientist way that I cook is remarkably similar to the mad-scientist way that I paint.  Ha HA this IS an art-related post after all!  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I promise to resume my usual, more abundant posting as soon as I finish unpacking and get all of the loose bits of my life under control.  But for now, here's what I've been up to in the studio this week:
On Tuesday I struggled with this tiny figure for hours and hours before I decided (after a little mini crit. with Debthat her presence in the painting is 1)conceptually redundant and 2) compositionally icky.  So I scrubbed her out again:

I really liked the little figure though, so I'll save her for another painting.  

Wednesday I made this new cut-out moth that I'm planning to sew onto the painting.  I was originally planning to use a different moth that is featured in some earlier posts, but after a whole lot of staring and contemplating, and staring some more, I decided I wanted a more luminous one, with folded wings.  I'm planning on making him some little legs and antennae.

And today I added some more little bits of human debris:

Overall, it's been a week of fussy tweaking.  And a lot of interruptions!  

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Self-Portraits and Self-Discipline Trickery

Yesterday I began sketching this tiny little figure into my birdcage forest painting.  I'm using this photo for reference:
I often use myself as a model for my paintings because I'm cheap and convenient.  I also feel like I can be kind of generic-looking, which makes me a good stand-in for a sort of "any girl" character.  I typically don't show people the photographs I take of myself, but I like to blog openly about my process, and this image isn't that embarrassing.  In a side note, please feel free to admire my majestic orange couch, circa. 1972.  My affinity for this piece of furniture borders on the absurd.  

When I'm having trouble getting to my studio in a timely manner, and/or trouble focusing when I do get there, I turn to books on tape.  I listen to them in my studio, become engrossed in the story, and kind of trick myself into sitting still and focusing on painting.  A book on tape can get me to sit still for five straight hours.  If I don't finish the tape in one work period, I race back to my studio the next day to find out what happens next.  And then I paint.  This is especially effective because I don't have a tape player in my car or my house, so I can't sneak the tape away to find out what happens next.  Right now I'm into mysteries.  The Agatha Christie one on the right was particularly dark and freaky.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We are almost finished moving, but I have just begun nesting!  Charley has never seen this domestic side of me before and appears to be deeply amused.  Speaking of nesting and birds, there are certain hazards involved when moving furniture with a pickup truck:
My bean plants are apparently on steroids.  I had this jumbo string bean for snack today: 
Just when I think that I'm thoroughly exaggerating the plants in my painting, their real-life counterparts grow bizarrely and one-up my imagination.

Usually I lay my big paintings on the floor and sit on them while I'm working, but yesterday I was painting with this piece propped up against the wall.  I was sitting really close to it, with a view kind of like this: and I had the feeling that I was about to fall right into the bean forest.  So yay, it worked!                

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Today I repurposed some scraps of old paintings to make these business cards:

And I finished the vines and added some more critters in this piece:
I'm going to add more moths tomorrow.  I'm on the fence about the great horned owl that I began to add near the top left corner.  He's proportionally huge, which I like conceptually.  But I'm worried that his size confuses the perspective of the piece in an unappealing way.  Definitely something to sleep on.

And the cutest dog ever is visiting!  He wants to sit on my lap and lick my hands while I'm typing, which isn't really working for me.  So he's been relegated to the bed.  The plaintive staring is piercing my soul!

I made some little books on iphoto and they arrived yesterday!  I really like the way they came out.  Here's a peek (please excuse the hideous photo quality!):

I also had my opening at Jameson & Thompson tonight.  It was fun and I ate my body weight in grapes.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Packing Method

I think I need to take a new, less "creative" approach to packing.  So far it's gone something like this:

1) Begin placing books into boxes.  
2) Find book I'd forgotten about.  
3) Spend hour reading book.
4) Repeat.  

1) Begin wrapping glassware in newspaper.  
2) Catch glimpse of interesting article in newspaper.  
3) Spend 20 minutes reading article.

All of this reading had left very little time for blogging.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bits of Things Floating About in My Head Today

Today I delivered work to my framer in Jamaica Plain.  I use Jameson and Thompson, and cannot recommend them highly enough.  In any case, my work will be hanging in their gallery space this month, as part of Jamaica Plain First Thursday openings.  So swing by on Thursday night, look at some paintings, and say hello!

I worked more on my bean plant forest painting today, and I expect to finish it later this week.  Huzzah!  

I'm also in the process of moving, which is a bit distracting (I'm so so so excited).  One of the reasons I've been able to survive as an artist for the past two years, is that my mom and my stepdad have been providing me with shelter (and supremely awesome home cooked meals) so that I could afford to rent studio space and quit my 50 hour/week job.  And it has been F-U-N, especially because my mom and I both snort when we laugh.  So as I prepare to leave the nest (again, and this time thank God before I'm 30) I've been thinking about all the friends and family, and soon-to-be-new-family that have helped me, and continue to help me pursue this crazy artist life.  And then I become emotionally overwhelmed, get all misty-eyed with gratitude, and space out in my studio.  

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Critters in the Vines

On Friday I de-installed my show at the public library.  Afterward I didn't have enough studio time to finish up the vines in this piece, so I played around and began adding some critters:This fox turned out to be proportionally bigger than a real life fox.  But I like him this way--I think his subtly larger size enhances the dreamy quality that I'm going for.  Here's to happy accidents!

I also added this huge luna moth to the top of the composition.  He's actually a paper cutout that I made a few months ago, when I was playing around with more traditional watercolor techniques.  I liked him in straight watercolor, but I ended up repainting him in gouache to better integrate him into this piece.  He's still not quite finished.  Right now he's taped to the painting, but I'm going to sew him on tomorrow.  I'm excited to use some stitching on a larger piece.  This kind of layering adds a really interesting new dimension to the landscape, and it feels like a nice, organic next step for me to take.