Pre-Trip Errata

Getting on plane tomorrow so here are some quick sketches and thoughts in between closing up stateside studio:

I just finished the biography on Alexander Calder by Jed Perl. I had not been into Calder beforehand but developed a new appreciation for him after finishing. I have shelves of books on biographies/histories of Paris during different eras which include all the artists that where then on the scene.

For modern art eras, Calder was often featured. He was portrayed in a sort of often parroted shorthand, as an impish figure who artists in all the various movements liked (surrealists, futurists, cubists et al) even though he was never formally a member of anything.

Marcel Duchamp too was embraced by key figures in many movements which he purposely never joined. Duchamp had the glamour of enigma and an obvious influence to varying degrees on many artists who came after him for generations.

After reading this wonderful book the two had more in common than would be apparent from other books. Duchamp’s mien was always sphinx like which lent a sort of gravitas to whatever he was doing.  Calder was serious about his work but had a joyous disposition. If he did not get along with somebody, then he just did not bother with them. He had artistic theories & philosophy but he was reticent and never pontificated about  them. This lent a sort of playful veneer to all that he did to casual gallery & museum goers. There was a joy to what he did, but a serious joy.

This is the second book I have read by Perl on an artist to whom I was initially indifferent. It underscores that no matter how much one knows about art or how well formed their aesthetic sense, there is always room for more exploration and to pull new things into oneself.  And as I have often said, with certain non-fiction authors, it is well worth reading anything that they put out. Jed Perl definitely falls into this category.

 

9×12 quick sketch Calder

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It was just Duke Ellington’s birthday.  To people not well versed in jazz Duke Ellington is “Take the  A Train” or that sort of sludge of sound behind really old cartoons which utilized swing music before Carl Stalling came on the scene with his innovative sonic madness.

There was always forward thinking elements to what Duke & his orchestra were doing. He was constantly evolving and adding to his vision and sonic palette.

He composed in so many forms that it’s bittersweet to think of the years where he was lumped in with other, mere entertainers. Publicly, he never seemed to complain about this. In his final decade or so when he was starting to truly get his due,  in performance he still would often include medleys of the hits as to please the crowd. Remnants of when  this  American Mozart, despite his skill land ambition had to set toes to tapping.

For beginners to his oeuvre the best place to start are his later recordings. These works are more easily acceptable to someone  used to post bop jazz (used to be called “Modern” ). In his final years, Duke seemed to be allowed to record whatever he wanted. It runs the gambit in diversity. From Tone poems to suites, to soundtracks to trios and sacred concerts to teaming up with musicians young and old that he admired but had not worked with in small ensembles (John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong)

I first got into his work by delving into the later stuff. I enjoyed that so much i started looking backwards. Years ago I would not have been open to it, but now i treasure all Duke.

There is probably at least one of his albums to fit no matter where you are in the world and what you are doing. All around the globe, my pencil in hand and the rich coloration as envisioned by Duke wafting up out of the speakers.

Sir Duke Quick Sketch 9×12

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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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Rache

“Serbia is the new Paris.”

“Every city wants to be, claims to be the new Paris.”

“It is very true of here.”

“Dance with me, it is one of things Serbian girls are best at.”

“Maybe we will have a drink later.”

The pen felt cool then hot as it rested in my breast pocket.

W.Wolfson’19

Rache 7×10 Watercolor & Cotton Paper

 

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Pocket Pads

I always have a pocket pad on me, more often than not it is my Midori w/ customized paper. I compulsively try different brands and set ups/ style.

I do in general prefer the refillable ones. There is something about having same pad accompany me all over the world and grow increasingly familiar in touch and sight for me.

There are some great non refillable pads out there too. Within my diverse collection of pocket pads they all fall within the 3×5 size range.

One thing I like about mixing thing up pad wise is that although they all are the same size each company’s paper has different properties. My voice remains present but each type of paper adding something of its own property’s to the mix.

It is akin to a musician using different instruments for different types of songs (think for example, Miles Davis or Jimmy Page)

Here are some quick sketches done on pocket pad of company I just discovered.

 

 

Patricia

One of her grandmother’s last wishes was that she get in shape. Although she liked her body as is, she agreed.

Photos are exacting in their detail so that the mind does not retain the memory of feelings and other acute emotional detail.

I was asked to document the body that she was leaving behind. No matter how much a portrait matches the subject, there is that component of space which we all fill in ourselves.

Capturing her with brush and pencil will keep her past vivid in memory and not merely a perfect reproduction from which all emotion has been freeze dried out.

Patricia 7×10 Watercolor & Cotton Paper

 

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‘Nita

Emotion is a truth which is always beautiful.

Collecting art has become rarefied. Where as formerly passion and an eye (personal sense of aesthetics) were the main & most important prerequisites, they have been supplanted by space and money.

The size of my works is intentional. I have in mind new collectors for whom space is at a premium. Apartment dwellers should not feel it an impossibility to start a collection.
I also have in mind burgeoning collectors who are just starting to delve into the myriad genres of art out there. A large piece starts to dictate what directions a collection will go in for people living in normal sized spaces. Smaller works do not create a visual limitation.
I want the collector to live with my works and not (feel as if) under them which may occur in apartments.

Always is the striving for emotion to come across in my work(s) and this size bolsters it by almost creating a senses that one is witnessing a scene, the viewer as a voyeur.

” ‘Nita” 9×12 Watercolor & Cotton Paper (1st painting of ’19)

neets

Black & Orange Can

Lopsided grin not visible but the splashing of the water did not drown out the song that she sang to herself. The traffic, one driver in anger or celebration leans on his horn and through the closed door could almost be Fats Navarro taking a chorus. W.Wolfson

 

Last Painting of ’18 9×12 Watercolor & Multi Media Paper