Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two Things from an Interview with William Bailey

Recently saw this HuffPost interview with William Bailey, via Painters' Table. Bailey is not a painter I love, but I do respect him.

Two things Bailey said strike me in different ways.


"It is a remarkable time because there is a culture of young artists who are surviving somehow without the recognition of the larger art world."

Yes, that is remarkable. I guess I often focus on the frustrations of the situation, but it is still remarkable that we work and paint without that recognition. This is an encouraging statement. 


"Both the still lifes and the figure paintings come from my imagination. They are not done from life: they are done from memory and images in my head. So since they both have their origins in the same place its not that hard to switch from one to the other. "

This, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around. He paints still life from his imagination! He makes them up. That just seems to be against the whole point of still life. When I was a serious still life painter, I needed to work from life. Great things happen in the spaces between your eyes and the objects and your hand. Unexpected things, lively things. I just really can't imagine making still life such an important part of my life's work, and working from imagination. His work is completely different to me now. Imaginary objects! Wow. 

Homemade Artist Residency

When I was a kid, one of my brothers and his friends used to use spring break to stage a backyard two-on-two basketball tournament, and they called it the Riley-Montague Invitational, or some such thing, after, I think a couple of obscurish local college basketball players.  At least, that’s how I remember it.

 A couple years ago, I noticed, by way of Joanne Mattera’s excellent blog, that some artists rev up their production by ‘awarding themselves’ a residencyLaura Moriarty and Tim McFarlane were the two examples that have stuck with me. They put together homemade artist residencies by taking a couple weeks off the day job and strictly dedicating that time to working in the studio.

I realized I’d unofficially been doing that for years, just by virtue of the schedule of my day job. That is, a couple times of year, if I’m lucky, but at least once, I get a full, uninterrupted week in the studio, courtesy of working an academic schedule and/or having a civilized amount of vacation days. I just never gave it a name.  LIU’s spring break is coming up, which has always been a productive week for me. So, this year, let’s go ahead and call it a DIY residency, and perhaps I can even document it as such and share it here, and on FB.

Maybe I’ll even steal my brother’s name and call it The Riley-Montague Artist Residency. Because I always did like the sound of it.  

TBT? why not.

Throwback Thursday, that is. Which is a thing nowadays. Some old work, all oil on canvas unless otherwise noted.

An undergrad work. Hero and Lion (1989) oil on mansonite, 48in square.

 My best painting from grad school. Porch (1992), 60x42in.

House (1995), 20x24in. Private collection, Colorado.

Tulips (1995), 24x20in. Private collection, Ohio.

Skull with lemons (1997), 18x20in. Private collection, Brooklyn, NY.

Driveway (1997-9), 66x78in.

Red skirt 1 and 2 (2000), each 36x36in. Due to moving into a studio with no natural light, this was the first of a series of photo based work that continues today.

Swimming pool (2000), 36x26in.

Backseat (2001), oil on paper, 15x22in. From series of paintings based on my own street photos. 

Ohio turnpike (2002), 40x48in.

Go Go (2003), 54x60in.

These last two are among the first in the limited palette, b-movie series, started in 2005 or so. Each is 16x18in. Magician (top) and Ventriloquist. The latter is in a private collection in Brooklyn, NY.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

House and car

Charcoal, ink, and acrylic on paper, 2013, @40x50in.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Another work on rough plywood, in progress

first state

second state 

third state

The hips lost some girth in the third state. I will restore that. Although it does make the hair look bigger. Anyway, work in progress. This is oil on low-grade plywood, @12x10in, irregularly shaped. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Works in Progress - plywood

These are all oils on low-grade plywood panels, repurposed from a set of cheap shelving that was being tossed by a neighboring unit in my studio buildings. They are each irregular in shape and in the 10-12 inch range. The surfaces are very rough, and although the planks were already whitewashed, I added a couple thick coats of polymer gesso. I've found that I like working on the imperfect surfaces, that they keep me from getting too facile, much as working in acrylics does. (As I've noted in other posts, acrylics get clotty and slow me down; these ugly surfaces do the same, taking the oil paint in unpredictable ways across the furrows of the wood.) I've had to repurpose the paper from old drawings the same way, as I don't have a lot of money to spend on materials lately. For the moment, as I just worked on them all this past Wednesday, I don't consider any of them finished yet, but we'll see. They may be closer to finished than I know. Maybe it's time to take another look at how Braque added texture to his surfaces with sand, or how Jane Dickson paints on irregular surfaces, like astroturf.