Wayne Wolfson is a completely self-taught artist. His main mediums are watercolor on paper & graphite. His works have been seen in shows & and private collections worldwide. Wayne cites music as his key influence.
Regardless of subject matter, emotion is the most vital component for each piece. That the viewer walking away having felt something always being the ultimate goal.
When painting people, he has a style which he refers to as narrative portraiture, which he explains as:
“A non-programmatic piece where there is no concrete story occurring, yet the viewer feels as if witnessing part of a story or a small, self-contained one.”
There is a preference for density in his compositions. Utilizing watercolors allows for this but with a delicacy too, which is inherent for the medium.
I had many balls in the air these past few weeks including my first smaller trip outside of the city. Slowly, I worked on a painting where I tried a few new things. I am pleased with the results. The camera i had gotten during the pandemic as to be able to properly capture my work ended up being more of a nemesis than help. Despite having done all kinds of research beforehand, it was only after the fact i found out how notoriously difficult that it was to use. I sucked it up and went for a consult, the store owner was helpful, not trying merely make a sale. I ended up with a Sonny which is amazingly easy to use and feels good in my hand too. This is first painting i have used it on.
Artistic evolution is my constant mantra, with emotional resonance being my goal. I achieve if not both then at least the first by constantly challenging myself. I never want people to look at my work and after seeing a few pieces feel they have seen them all. Nor do I ever want to become the “…” guy in regards to what my voice is saying via images I use to do so.
Semi recently I started mixing it up with my Cinefield® works as I had previously been doing with my drawings & paintings.
The challenge I presented to myself this time was to use only one image and one of a limited color palette.
The initial wave of Pop art was portraying common objects or scenes, things which could easily be considered lowbrow of plebeian. It was not the objects portrayed which made a work Pop art, it was an ironic emotional detachment. Someone like Wayne Thiebaud often gets lumped in with the Pop artists for his wonderful paintings of cakes and other sweets. However there is painterly intent and definite emotion involved. He is not pop
He followed in tradition which started with the impressionists of showing objects that they encountered every day. Drinks and drinkers were often used as subject matter as cafes were de facto ‘offices” for artists and dealers.
Le Buver d’Absinthe (1859) by Edouard Manet
L’Absinthe (1876/6) by Edgar Degas
Buveur d’Absinthe (1901) by Pablo Picasso
Painted Bronze (Two Ale Cans) 1964 by Jasper Johns.
It occurred to me after I started my piece that I was working, a link in a long chain of artistic tradition. I had previously done flowers, faces and cityscapes and it was the novelty of subject which initially appealed to me though, not the tradition. Before anyone accuses me of pretension, I had gotten both a bottle of good whiskey and one of Absinthe for my birthday. I tried photographing the whisky bottle first but it was just a dark brown with no color variations, I next tried the Absinthe which worked better, this being my only impetus for using it.
I took three photos, not moving the bottle but standing in front of it, besides it and behind it. As is true with all my Cinefield® work, I only used photos that I personally took, working no digital magic. I used my trusty scissors and adhesive applies with a brush.
The work is 7×10. Soundtrack György Sándor playing Batrok’s Mikrokosmos books III-IV, kini Rao (various), Sun Ra Lanquidity.
Addendum: People are still under the impression that Absinthe was illegal either because of the wormwood or the high alcohol content. Neither of which was true. Some politicians in France had major interests in certain vineyards and importers/bottling concessions. Absinthe was cheaper and lasted longer so workers turned from wine to that. The outlawing of Absinthe was first and foremost a financial consideration.
People’s dreams of “The future” are never as mundane nor inconvenient as the reality. I find myself having to head back to Mars, yet again on business.
The first year or so after the war, every soldier was treated like a hero. The drinks were free. Now, a new generation of student activists who viewed the whole thing in less heroic terms. The root of which often was just a contrary streak in regard to their parents’ politics. We all took our medals off the lapels of our jackets, except a few of the older guys. In their eyes, to do so would be tantamount to a defeat.
I pulled my boots off, it served no purpose, it was safety theater for the less well traveled. Inevitably the line would hit a snag, everyone held up as prohibited fruit was confiscated from someone who didn’t want to pay those Mars prices and thought that they were slicker than the TSA.
The bell at the front desk. I appreciated that they managed to not only still have such an archaic device but that somehow even after all these years, they had prevented its theft. My fingertip hit the small nubbin atop the shiny silver dome.
“Ah Mister Wesley, welcome back. We have your usual room ready; Business or pleasure bring you once again back to us?”
I knew he would appreciate the subtly of allowing each eavesdropper to ascribe their own meaning to my answer.
I adjusted the strap on my bag and headed for the lift. I cast a final glance to the desk, we exchanged nods and I kidded myself that this time would be different.
I got some new paper to try for both my lyra pieces and watercolors. While the results with the Lyra were good, I much prefer my usual paper for the medium. I then decided to try doing a watercolor piece with it. And while I am very pleased with the results, with this too I prefer my usual paper. For both mediums though, the results were good enough that I will use up the pad, switching off between it and my preferred paper.
One of my great pleasures in life is portraying flesh in paint. I never tire of making volume and mass appear on what started off as a flat white square.
This piece is 7×10 “Marlina”
addendum: Deracine Magazine has new summer issue out, It has one of my early-proto “In the Eights”. The magazine has a clean minimalist design and is worth checking out
Slowly whittling down my previously on hold list of mundane but necessary things I had not been able to do while sheltering in place. I’ve managed to keep a steady if somewhat slower rhythm with my work.
I have been a fan of the music of John Schmersal since his days in Brainiac. Each of his subsequent bands has been different, the commonality being his ability to be genre defying, throwing whatever he enjoys into the mix.
He revisits one of the bands which also features Joey Galvan (drums) and Rick Lee (samples & sounds) both of whom possess equally cool musical pedigrees.
They just released a limited edition ep Prime Time / More Dismay on Blind Rage Records which features special guest star DANNY RAY THOMPSON from Sun-Ra on baritone sax.
It is a special picture disk. I had pleasure of doing the front & back cover plus the actual image on the disc all, of which are from my CINEFIELDS®
After a year plus of sheltering in place, one of the first things I did when at liberty to go out again was to restart taking walks. In finding a positive from a negative, the little things now all seemed fresh, new & beautiful. The palms, ferns and other tropical plants which grow up out of the sidewalks looked fantastic to my thirsty eye. The tiny architectural flourishes to be found on various older buildings previously unnoticed, now interesting and meriting a stop to look.
I am in no huge rush to go back to bars or even restaurants. It is my now twice daily walks which have made me once again start to feel among the living. I went to the local farmers market, half a second of apprehension from now finding myself among so many people again. The flower merchants with their plastic buckets offering sprays of color.
It is beauty not merely seen on my computer monitor nor emerging from the end of my hand onto paper that lets me know that I am returning to life.
This piece is 11×14. As always is the case, all the images are from photos I personally took ( in this instance from walks in park and farmers market). There is no digital magic, just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.
I am now still playing catch up with all the things I had put on hold for a year plus. I am very fortunate that none of it was extremely pressing. Dentist, roofers and a small parade of other things kept me from starting a painting or Cinefield®. I have slowly whittled the list down and started a new Cinefield®. These are labor intensive and so between the two things, it occurred to me I have not posted in awhile. While my studio is being taken over by sheets of tiny cut out images, i can not paint but I can still draw.
When i do short trips i do not bring my painting equipment with me, opting to just draw instead. Sometimes on longer trips even with my painting equipment at hand the weather conspires against me with rain or dark skies. By complete happenstance I discovered Lyra water soluble graphite sticks. I instantly got into this medium. It allows for painterly effects. I have a travel brush which folds into a tiny tube and this accompanying one of the graphite sticks which are size of fat crayon, now allows me to do monochromatic paintings on even short trips. The added bonus for me is that aside from how compact it is, I can use this medium at night (which I cant with regular paints) and in bad weather.
The expressionistic qualities of this medium greatly appeals to me and conveying emotion in only one color makes it that munch “easier” when utilizing a full palette.
I am already pleased with what I can do but am sure that down the line I will get even better.
Now twenty days past my second vaccine, I can start dealing with things which had been on hold for year plus. The vents in my studio needed flushing/servicing. Because of this, I could not do a painting nor start a CINEFIELD® which would put sheets of tiny cut out components everywhere.
I did my nightly drawing but also continued to hone my Lyra chops. This was perfect medium for my situation as it was like painting but each piece was one session after which I could put equipment away.
Studio is back up and running and i have started a new CINEFIELD®. As these are time consuming, i decided to post some more of my Lyra pieces.
I have specific pens, pencils etc that I use. Of course I constantly challenge myself by using lesser quality equipment, it makes using preferred stuff feel easy. As far as travel kits, i am forever tweaking that, the cases and holders all my equipment goes into. I always have three kits; the one for just bopping around the city. This is the smallest and its just a refillable pocket pad, retractable pencil and in the pocket sleeve of the pad a blender or two. This is used as I sit in cafe or bar locally, just doing quick guerilla sketching. As a side note, this is always within reach of my hand and has been around the world with me. I realized that because of the pandemic, it saw zero action for a year plus! It has sat in drawer of one of my tabourets awaiting its chance to see some action. My other kit is for short trips four days or less of being away from home. This is pocket pad, 5×8 pad few traditional pencils of different degrees of hardness and two types mechanical pencil & blenders. It’s still fairly compact, easily carried in book bag. Short trips, I do not bother bringing any painting accoutrements. My last kit is for longer trips week or more and this includes paints etc. The long trip kit is the one i tweak the most often as it’s important for me to work but very quickly space within a suitcase can be taken up.
I discovered during the pandemic a small company that made cases geared towards road warrior artists. The case was very flat and it came loaded with “free” pencils, erasers and all kinds of other sketching swag. Obviously I have not had chance try it out on road. I did try the pencils and sharpeners. All of it was of such low quality it got thrown out. It contained a small cellophane pouch inside of which was three short, pudgy graphite sticks. It reminded me almost of tailors chalk. I had never used it before, so decided try for hell of it. I enjoyed challenge of it and was actually pleased with pieces i did. My way of thinking was that if I could make something happen with low quality version, then using some made by a quality company would be even better. I started doing some research. One thing i found was that the Lyra graphite sticks were said to be basically the same thing, with benefit of being able to sharpen to a point where as the sticks were basically short rectangles.
I had bought one along with a sharpener ages ago but had not used it. I started messing around with it and found i really liked it, the pieces I did were loose and had a painterly effect. Lyra also makes water solvable ones. I bought one to try. It is a game changer for me. It fits in my pocket and all i need is that and one brush and I can do monochromatic watercolors. This will allow me to paint on short trips and not have to up the equipment i take. The actual process is quicker than my normal painting and best of all, I do not need sunlight and can actually do these at night. Two things not possible with my regular painting.
here are my first tries with it. I am sure that the more I do this, the better i will get but I am already pleased with results.