I have been unexpectedly tied up with various things. Even with a full tilt boogie schedule, I draw or woodshed every day. All the various mediums which have become synonymous with me I fell into by complete happenstance while exploring. Each of these things, no longer new to me, I miss if I got too long without doing (or should I say crave?). My next big project is a large painting. While I can’t start it yet, I get the same pay off emotionally/intellectually/spiritually doing Lyra pieces. Although monochrome, they have a painterly feel to them and the touch required in making them is similar. An additional plus is, if I can achieve the desired feel utilizing only one color, then when using my paints proper, it feels easier.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout my oeuvre, emotion is my ultimate goal. I want the viewer to feel something. Music is my main source of inspiration regardless of subject matter or even medium.
I have pretty big ears, never restricting myself to one genre nor era.
Although I lean towards jazz & classical I do have some categorization defying things in heavy rotation too. Things like Kruder & Dorfmeister, Kina Rao and Funki Porcini.
Funki Porcini is an absolute favorite to whom I have listened to for years. His music encapsulates various moods. In lieu of one sonic voice ever present on every album which can lead to a feeling of heard one heard them all, he offers up instead, technique which he uses to great effect to create dense dreamlike works.
My Cinefield® vary, from cityscapes to floral explosions to abstracted colors and shapes. The commonality being their density and dreamlike quality.
I now have the pleasure of one of my Cinefield® being used as a cover for the forthcoming full length album by Funki Porcini. Both share the same title. As is always the case with my Cinefield®all the images I used were from photos which I personally took. There is no digital magic, just my trusty scissors, I applied adhesive with a brush. One difference in my methodology was in only listening to a specific soundtrack comprised of a pile of albums including the new one and a few other favorite of his as I worked. The piece is 11×14 inches.
I will put up details on where the album is available once its out.
Cinefield® – Where the Sauce is Deluxe 11×14
There is a special multi-night gig associated with this going on:
We will be doing the album launch with the Laserium at commonground in Coventry, four nights 28-31st January.
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.
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.
Being in Paris has always been a sort of battery for my work. During this pandemic for the first time in decades I found myself cut off from my usual arrondissement and sources of inspiration. I recognize many had it far worse than I, so bare in mind I am not complaining. I needed to find a new way to work for essentially first time in my career.
I had my usual routine but mixed in with this were little challenges, explorations as to facilitate both evolution and insperation. I started several series utilizing new to me mediums, ideas and goals.
Gossip in one of them. It is not a book so much as a work of art which utilizes text. It is not only something very different for me but in general unique. I would call the art “immediate” in the same sense as some of the works by Wayne White & Ed Ruscha’s text incorporated pieces. You view it, have initial ideas but then chew upon it after the fact.
One thing I highly recommend is that you do not take a peek inside as amazon offers but rather go in completely cold with no idea what awaits you. Were it up to me, I would offer no “sneak peek” but amazon has other ideas in that department.
Rarely do i promote my works to buy. I would always rather have an audience than customers. With Gossip, it is meant to be viewed as a whole start to finish and there is simply no way to show parts of it in journals or what not without loss of effect.
All the images are created by me as is the text.
From the back cover:
At its best, the stream of life is like a great jazz standard. There is the familiar melody but with each player there are infinite variations and improvisations occurring within the known framework. Not just what the player says but the way in which it is said, the tone, make it worth revisiting. Further variation derives from our perceptions. One person’s requiem is another’s calliope.
Here is my riffing on humanity, flurries of notes darkly funny, tragic and image rich.
I have always tried to post new content once, maybe twice a week. This is not for lack of material. Ostensibly, we are all here to connect with like minded people or even better, introduce something about ourselves be it our work or way of looking at life to others who otherwise may not have encountered it.
This seems counter intuitive to a lot of people as the pervading modus operandi seems to be machine gun firing content out, if not hourly then daily. The average person who is actually reading blogs most likely also has other social media sites they are keeping up with, twitter et al. If even half of the number of people one follows takes this approach, it really becomes static-babble. Your follow/like(s) numbers might be up there but how many people are really looking at what you do, how many people are you truly connecting with? I mention all this not by way of complaint but to hopefully help those who are receptive.
Connected to this phenomenon are artists who have things to sell. There is nothing wrong with making people aware of what one does and where others can find it for sale. However, artists should want an audience and not customers. I was shocked when I first joined twitter as it seemed to be a million people shouting “look at me, buy my stuff” (with little if any reciprocation) with the rest of them just posting memes or quotes by others. Again, the machine gun approach to promotion. It’s not effective and depending upon the frequency of chance to purchase promotions, can be a turn off.
For this reason I try to keep my own promotions to a minimum. I want an interested audience and have always been willing to patiently play the long game as is in line with the seriousness behind what I do.
This is one few times I promote. My new Novel “Keeper of the blue” just came out. I am very proud of it. The interesting genesis behind the works’ gestation is briefly explained in my short forward. It is available for Kindle & paperback.