Lyra water soluble graphite sticks have become one of my favorite mediums. That with a brush and pocket pad and i can do painterly pieces even when sitting at a cafe table. And I need not sprawl out taking over the table. I am also able to maintain discretion as I would hate to be like one of those people stateside who feel it necessary to go to Starbucks to show everyone that they are “writing”.
Aside from fully realized works, i continue to woodshed, hands, feet, whatever is in front of me. It is akin to a musician practicing scales. Both Renoir and Matisse when in the twilight of their years said something along the lines of it being a shame that they did not have a few more years left as they both felt that they were finally starting to get it. Coltrane before and after a concert or recording session would still put in time practicing. This has been my overall approach too. Regardless of how my day is spent, an hour or two at night woodshedding.
I do not go for the outwardly dramatic thing in my sketching. I let the organic truth of whatever the thing is create the emotion. A sort of raw reportage without any preconceived agenda. All pieces are either 3×5 pocket pad or 4×4 pocket pad. My 3×5 pad has circled the globe with me more ties than I can count and is always besides my bed or in my pocket during the day no matter where I am in the world.
About to head back to Europe shortly. I had previously written about being able to utilize a pocket printer as to be able to do Cinefield® pieces in my Paris studio. As I live right around many great art supply stores i am sure that I will be able to find adhesive. However, I have never been one to leave things to chance. So i have been experimenting with glues which i can bring with me and are not as outright industrial as my adhesive.
The nature of my pocket printer pieces is that they are small, index card sized at most, 4×5. The first one I did, I tried a liquid glue stick of Elmer’s glue. This wasn’t ideal as when it got on the front side of image it caused discoloration. Also it was so liquid-y that there was no way to really control it despite the fact it was in a pen like delivery system.
In an absolute pinch I could have made due. My final attempt was with the glue sticks with which school children work. This took a bit of learning curve as pieces and sometimes entire sections after the fact would pop off making a brief snow flurry of cut pieces upon my table.
I got a handle on how to best utilize the glue stick, although it made everything more labor intensive. The good thing about it is that I can easily pack a glue stick in luggage w/no hassle from TSA.
There is very little chance though, because of the nature of the glue, that pieces I do would last. The photo I take of the finished piece will be the work/the art. I can’t fully explain why, but there is a freedom in this.
Of course it may be non issue as I find my preferred adhesive once moved back in.
Like all my Cinefield® work, every image is from photos which I personally took. One can see more edge/line of each piece, that is the nature of using pocket printer. The printed material is akin to business card sized photos, there is the impossibility of seamless edge blending as i often achieve w/my regular paper pieces. this piece is roughly 4×4.
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.
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.
I had been working on a large project and so knew doing a full scale Cinefield® was not possible. I get equal enjoyment from my ongoing “In the Eights” series. Their benefit being that they do not take up as much studio space and so I can do them at same time as something else.
For this series within the series, I had the pleasure of Kini Rao posing for me. She fully embraced my ethos of truth is beauty and her pieces are all the more stronger for it. No digital magic is used, just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied by brush. Each one is roughly 3×5
I am always considering new models for the series. If interested send me an email.
I used to do large paintings, acrylic on canvas. Door sized things. I was not very good at the time and I sometimes think the real art was in the making of the pieces as I often had an audience. Everyone liked the works but I think it was being caught up in the moment or after the fact, remembering the time.
I got serious about painting, I got good. I am far better with watercolors than I ever was with acrylics. I got rid of 95% of my old works.
My paintings and drawing tend to be far smaller now. my largest graphite pieces are 9×12 with the paintings being 7×10. (more often than not 5.5×8.5)
I have a logic to this. I want the viewer to feel as if ease-dropping in on whatever scene I am putting forth. As important as the emotional effect, i have the first time or new collector’s in mind.
When first getting into art there is a vague sense of what one likes. The more you delve into art, the more exposure you have, the palate becomes fuller formed. To get one of the larger pieces so en vogue when first starting out, you run the risk of it dictating the timber of a burgeoning collection.
I want a collector to live with my works, not under them. For people where space is at a premium, the now seemingly typical big-boys dominate a room. The real big pieces, you have to almost put goggles over the mind’s eye, you stop noticing it except for rare instances and this defeats the purpose of having art.
With my now firmly established voice, I have no idea if my technique would even work with large pieces. As a challenge for myself I have decided to do a few larger (for me) pieces. Regardless of whether I can make it work, I still do not see myself going as big as is popular. Bigger is not better it is just “more”.