Songs About Women: Song Five: Tina

Does/did abstract painting.

When i first started painting I did acrylic pieces on (often) large canvas. They were “ok” but lacked volume & mass that I now achieve.

Looking back, I sometimes think that the art was in people watching me work on these large pieces, as I often did them in front of impromptu audiences.

I am way outside of trends and so do not worry about such things. However, it also became apparent to me that no gallery wants to give a show to a relative
(self taught) unknown of whom two pieces would take up all the wall space. The completed pieces were also taking up lot of room at home & in studio.

By happenstance I was given a little watercolor kit as a gift. I started to delve into that. I got some great effects and with little work fell deeply into it. I abandoned acrylics, being far better, faster, than I ever had been with those. I reduced the size of my work, with the largest being 9×12. I found great watercolor paper which is 5×8. The paper comes in spiral bond pads. This combined with my pocket paint set allows me to do fully realized pieces when on the road. Everything easily fits in my book bag or coat pocket.

Right away, people responded to what I was doing which drove me to work harder. Without the rigidity of formal training or classes I was able to develop my voice without having to fight against the academic veneer that many painters must fight to shake off.

I met Tina around the time I had just abandoned acrylics. I had always enjoyed painting, the process was the pay off for me. With watercolors it was a whole other level of enjoyment, something which instantly felt a part of me.

We chatted about painting, process & the gallery game. If you blinked you would miss the time that our lives intersected.

This was years ago, before social media was so prevalent and one (more often than not) only heard from direct peers when they wanted something. She seemed satisfied with what she was doing, which is all any artist can ask of themselves.

W.W 2019

 

Tina 5.5×8.5

 

Tina

Anniversary

Sometimes with my paintings I will do a piece where the viewer is only seeing a part of the subject(s). Just a torso, an arm, a breast, freckled forehead or knee.

There is the interesting dichotomy of the viewer only getting part of a piece, a close up, of a larger scene. Yet these pieces of larger going ons are fully realized works unto themselves. There is no need to see what the hand attached to the arm is doing or where the head not visible is resting.

The point & challenge of this is to have the emotion(s) come through to the viewer, conveyed only by the part(s) seen. By emotions I do not necessarily mean the subject is upset so hence, an angry arm. Rather, by emotion, I mean the viewer feeling something despite not being clued in by the usual facial or body language clues. The fact that there is no obvious programmatic aspect  allows for each viewer to put their own emotional resonance into it.

This piece is 9×12 watercolor on multi media paper. The couple were celebrating their anniversary and birthdays (50’s) which fell around the same time. Initially, I had no idea what they were going to have me paint. In their pose is not an acceptance or giving in to age but rather an earned knowledge & strength. To hear them talk, as you get older, all the superficial illusions drop away, certain ego driven worries do not distract nor hold one back any longer from ambitions towards different enjoyments.

 

anniversary

Turtles

The turtles keep surfacing when someones shadow fell across the surface of the fountain. They are looking for a snack or just to let everyone know that they are still around. They rise and fall with the rhythm of merry go round horses.

Kay found this hilarious.

9×12 Pencil & Paper

 

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Sculptures

I have been doing sculptures for years but always  looked upon them as a largely private matter.

Mostly, they are done just to keep the juices flowing. I had not really ever had  any intent to show or sell them.

Stylistically, they are akin to some of what Cy Twombly, Jack Whitten & Robert Rauschenberg had done. They are  one part totemic object, one part a sort of a chronicle of a moment and place. Intuitively I came up with my own rules which served me well from the get go. I will only use materials that are on hand and of the time and place that I am at. This lends a strong improvisational element to my sculptures while also allowing the place to dictate important aspects of the work’s voice.

It is “easy” compared to my other visual work since there is no pre plan and so a piece can never be wrong. Working in a different manner and medium from my other work has led me to view my process in a new light which ultimately adds to my chops and palette.

A few people having seen some of them, understood what they were about and even liked them. I would have considered it an achievement to have had even one person “get it” . So many more than that, it melted my resolve for them to remain unseen. Of course I fully realize that they are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea.  I am sure too, that there will be people that really enjoy my paintings and drawings but are left cold by these.

They are varying degrees of sturdy. Most done on the road, if not gifted would not make it home. And even left behind as a memento, they often have a limited lifespan. Others on account of the nature of the materials used, start to die the moment that they are born. The winner always in a fatal game.

This fragility makes it so that my sculptures are often three works in one. There is the conception and creation of the piece. Then there is the physical work itself for however long it lasts and lastly the photo of the piece.

Even knowing that some will not physically last, I have not photographed every sculpture i have ever done. I like the idea of their existence being akin to hearing a piece of music or poem. It can give pleasure and add to you in some way but its intangible.

Give me a pencil nubbin and scrap of paper and I am pleased. I do not need everything I do to be worthy of being framed or even seen. I get a huge pleasure now in the process. This is a major aspect of my sculptures importance to myself. The process is the pay off intellectually and spiritually.

W.Wolfson ’19

 

“Monkey Bird”

“Cecil Taylor”

“One Eyed Face”  (This one is actually very sturdy being wood & Steel)

Ganache

The relationship between artist and subject/model goes back almost to mankind’s nascence. The advent of cell phones has made expectations veer off from a portrait’s purpose. This is especially true in regards to  the public’s expectations.

The ability now of anyone, at any given time to whip out their phone and make a movie or take photos makes the casual viewer come to expect a work of art to lean towards hyper realism.

This defeats the purpose of art, exact visual reportage down to the smallest skin pore and one might as well just snap a photo. Portraits allow for multi layers of enjoyment and contemplation. Done right and they can be revisited, offering up new things with each viewing.

It is a matter of choice for every artist, but personally I always want my pieces to look like the subject. A commonality is that for every artist the dynamic with the subject. It  is  as if the artist is describing the subject but instead of words, utilized are the technique and style (voice) of the artist. I describe you, but my words are my own.

With portraits, the likeness is captured but so are  psychological insights. Not only are the subject’s positioning and posing conjured up but present too are aspects of personality that do not come to the fore in photos unless blatantly apparent (i.e drunk, crying, laughing et al)

I always try to use subjects who are not professional models as I want the body language to be their own and not the expected or academic positioning. Ideally, subjects are people within my orbit, the added trust of knowing each other bolstering the organic conveyance of emotion, which is the ultimate goal for all my work.

 

Ganache 9×12 Watercolor & Multi Media Paper

ganache

 

 

Soft Lead Pencil

Some time, way after the fall of mankind. Earth is a cleaner, if not kinder place.

“Bernie…yeah…Bernie…You’re killing me Bernie…”

A knock on the door, a head is poked in and quickly waved away.

“You forget, I cut my teeth starting in the copy room, working under the orangutans. Yes, yes it was very thoughtful of you to have remembered us during the holidays, yes my wife was very happy. No, c’mon Bernie…Bernie… we agreed on five percent…how good a quarter we had has nothing to do with anything…Ok, you know what, i can’t spend anymore time on this, you win, you get your seven percent. So much for ape don’t kill ape…ok..yeah-yeah no hard feelings, of course see you at the club…”

 

pencil & 5×4 Paper Quick Sketch

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Pocket Pad

Have been busy with a bunch of larger projects (including getting next short story collection ready!) but that would never keep me from compulsively reaching for ever present pocket pad when out and about (nor hour or two of woodshedding every night)

Give me a scrap of paper and pencil nubbin and it is one of my greatest pleasures in life, serving the process.

3×5 per side

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