In the Eights: The Beautiful Orlov sisters

This is part of an ongoing series. The genesis of the project can be found here with new installments appearing throughout my blog;

I now have two printers. One is black and white and used just for text. The other is a high-grade/hi def photo printer for my visual work.

As I went to print up the first of these 8’s I forgot to toggle the switch so that it printed on regular paper in black and white. I actually liked it and so am including it here. The other black and white image was an element of chance occurrence, I lifted the paper up and the unfastened components formed the face. It’s looser than my intentional 8’s but I still liked it.

I am always seeking models for the series as it continues to be ongoing. When I am not the one taking the photos, they are done specifically for me (as opposed to found images). There’s no digital magic just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with brush.

this was by chance composition when all parts not glued down slid during moving paper

Victory

I do not often paint large pieces. There’s a completely different physicality involved. The way I have always worked, when I see a piece in my head before starting out, included in this vision/conception is its size. If I envision it small, it’s not merely a matter of using larger paper to make it big. I can only make a thing as I saw it in my head.

With Victory I saw it big.

I enjoy the challenge of leaving my comfort zone. Most of my paintings are 11×17, this one would be 20×30. I have a large wooden easel. It has heavy brass machinery. I pull on a loop below the ledge upon which the canvas sits to raise or lower it on the wooden axis. There is a wooden crossbar on the bottom which connects the two front legs of the large tripod.

While painting the lower section of the piece, I sit on a stool leaning forward. My feet rest on the crossbar. It feels as if I am on a ship, brush in hand. Seas calm, seas stormy, call me Ishmael.

Victory 20×30 inches watercolor & Paper

Cinefield® – Oohma Polumbo

When I started this Cinefield® I had decided to stretch myself as I had no deadlines. I work no digital magic on my pieces, but the photos I use are of course kept on my computer. Being a little under quarter of the way done with the piece my computer of seven years gave up the ghost.

I wanted to research what best option was for new one as unlike last time i bought one, I had concrete ideas of what I was going to use it for and what I did not need it to do. The research was the first delay. Once I determined what I wanted, it would take about two months for them to make it for me. I cleaned up the paper chad snowdrifts, switched to painting and some of my other visual projects.

As I was not merely sitting on my hands waiting, I did not mind. My third delay, the computer showed up and upon getting it set up, my equally old printer died. The amount of work she had done for me (ships & printers are always referred to in feminine form) made it not so shocking. I had already been looking at new printers anyways. Knowing ahead of time what I wanted and needed made the wait for a new one shorter.

The printer I got is geared towards photo film too. I bought few different types to experiment with while working to finally finish this piece. I was curious if I would be prevented from getting the flush edged fit as happens with my pocket printer mini-cinis. That film is akin to instamatic camera film, this is not, so I am able get the flush fit.

Aside from trying for more diverse color palette a few things made this piece different. The components consists of the paper on the old printer I always used, new printer with different type paper and three types photographic paper also from new printer. It was very different for me too in that I have never put down a Cinefield® for more than a day or so. The extended time away from it was totally new experience for me.

As is always the case, all the images are from photos I personally took. I use my tiny trusty scissors and adhesive applied with glue. The piece is 11×17 inches.

Maggie

I had been in the middle of a full sized Cinefield® when my computer of six years gave up the ghost. This rendered my needed printer into an expensive paper weight. I switched to doing a painting. This is 11×14 watercolor & tan paper.

“Maggie” 11×14

errata thought on the elderly: In media & especially television, a shorthand for “old people” they often will reference big band music (usually Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman). A few Rolling Stones albums just hit their 50th anniversary mark. If you do the math, an “old” person was not swinging their gal arround on the dancefloor to “Take the A Train” but rather Hendrix’s electro lament for a decades turmoil & new found freedoms.

Paris Painter 4 : Like Sonny

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.

How it began

Selfie

Kini in Cap

The End: selfie freaked out & tired @ Heathrow

Cinefield® Go,Baby Go

My collage work in a very short amount of time became part of who I am. I lamented the fact that for longer trips/residencies I would not be able to do them. I began to investigate ways to perhaps make it happen.

The easiest thing would be to just use magazines/newspapers from wherever I was. This didn’t appeal to me as I have always prided myself on only using images from photos which I personally took. I researched pocket printers.

My Cinefield® are very time consuming and how to get the images aside, I had already had it in my head that were I able to do them on the road I would go far smaller as it would render a trip pointless were I to spend entire time alone in studio working on a piece. I also have other creative things that I want to do while on the road and the way my normal Cinefield® are made would have eliminated that possibility.

Another practical aspect of going smaller is that all the pocket printers I was finding seemed to utilize types of film. I did not want the raw materials to become cost prohibitive in constructing them.

For obvious reasons it was important that the photos not be laminated which eliminated many of the choices.

I found a device which literally fits in jacket pocket and feels solidly built. It connects to phone via blue-tooth which allows me to use any/all my own photos. The film is not exorbitantly priced although I will stick to my normal paper when not on the road.

My in general goal for doing pieces on road is small in size and utilizing no more than one packet of film per piece. Time wise, no more than two days working on it as this will allow me to also paint, write and absorb wherever I am in the world still.

The small size allows me to also do other things for the hour or so at a time that I am pressing a piece (basically laying heavy books atop it to get rid bubbles).

The film required a completely different touch and technique. In general I have only done several smaller pieces. Surprisingly, they are harder to do than normal size. There is less room to create rhythm/tension & release. What were already small piece often need to be made even smaller.

This is my first piece using the pocket printer. As always, it’s only images from photos which I took utilizing my trusty scissors and adhesive applied via brush.

It is 4×5 inches. surprisingly, it only took seven photos (the photos for pocket printer are about the size of a business card) I did it in two days. I was pleased with result and the fact that I pretty much met all the “rules” I had in mind.

addendum:

The news is bleak. The internet is fertile grounds for scams masquerading as charities or people who want to help. A hero of mine, José Andrés has a charity whose goal is to feed those in need. It eschews any politics for the basic notion that you can change the world by feeding everybody. This charity is not solely concerned with the Ukraine, although they are boots on the ground there now. Over the past few years, wherever there have been natural disasters he and his colleagues could be found trying to help out via feeding those who are hungry for whatever the reason.

I recommend to all to at least take a look at their site as it’s worthwhile.

https://wck.org/

“Cinefield® Go,Baby Go” 4×5 inches

CINEFIELD® Return

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.

A Million Ways to Die

For all my work regardless of medium, emotion is my main goal. One way to ensure this happens is fostering a constant evolution.

I received many great responses to my last collage and it is a personal favorite. For my next one, I knew that I wanted to do something as dense but also different.

I limited my color palette which I have done before but this time i went with darker, more somber colors. There is a return to a more outright sense of narrative in this piece too. The last piece was a beautiful scene but not story. To my core I will always be a city boy and now I have created another one to visit in my daydreams.

As with all my collages, there is no digital magic worked. I utilize the old school method of scissors & adhesive applied w/brush to photos which I personally took. (new camera for photo)

“A Million Ways To Die” 11×14  (the lines visible beneath pieces don’t mean anything , they were resting on piece scrap paper w/discarded sketch)

 

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Face Dances: Assorted Tangos

I work within several mediums now. All are taken seriously, with none being considered second class citizens within my oeuvre. My favorite thing is to conjure up flesh in paint. Next on the list would be drawing faces. I never caricature the subject, doing a sort of raw reportage. This means I put in all the little imperfections of which I posses my share.  I do prefer portraying an extreme emotion. Unlike a potentially phony smile or the staid visage which a lot of us offer up to the world when aware of being watched, it is real. The real for me will always be beautiful. Regardless of what else I have done during the day every single night I draw too. One benefit of all the time I put into the pencil is that I have become fairly quick in executing portraits. This is a sample of evenings over past week or so.

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Two Tales: Vertical intoxication/Elation

I can fully appreciate nature. It offers a different kind of inspiration than that of the man made kind. However, I can only go so long without concrete under my feet and the smears of neon streaking the air like forgotten halos.

When based out of Europe some of my friends teased me about this but for them, coming to visit me was their vacation, so it’s understandable that they wanted to see things as would not be encountered elsewhere. A few hours train ride and you can get your fill of mountains, Forrest or ocean. I enjoy it for a day or two, all of it being bearable as I have my pencil in my pocket along with its accompanying little sketch pad.

Right by one of my Parisian watering holes they put up a plaque a few years ago for Poulenc, who had lived in the building. When all his peers were going to Italy, the warmer climes of the South of France & Brazil, he largely preferred to stay in Paris with the concrete under his feet and the availability of a place to stop for a drink every few feet. Now further inoculated against the good natured teasing I swim through the currents of streets and alleys which I could probably now do blindfolded.

“Ok, have fun in Giverny, I am around just working, drop me a line when you guys get back.”

“It’s going to be hot, you sure you won’t come, we can catch a later train.”

“No thank you, I am just working.”

One can not become a connoisseur of a thing without a component of snobbishness. It is an earned right though and so long as it’s not utilized against anyone else, is permissible. I like all kinds of cities and feel the better ones all have something visually to offer by way of inspiration.   The older ones, aside from their obvious architectural attractions, have their winding streets and the sense of happy ghosts. The newer ones, a vertical frenzy, which  when done right is a poem, when wrong (as is the growing case with San Francisco) a generic sprawling mess of metallic stalagmites.

I tried some new things with both these collages. Both are 12×17. As is always the case, I used no digital magic. My trusty scissors & adhesive applied by brush to photos which I took. Two urban valentines of a favorite city.

 

“Our Story” & “What Do You Need Two Lighters For?”

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