Monday, October 27, 2008

Watercolors, Good Things Come in Threes

One of my required studio classes is called Issues and Images in Contemporary Art. It is a lecture, though is placed in the studio category because we only get graded on a sketchbook that we turn in at the end of the semester. I've never really been able to sustain a long term sketchbook, though I must admit a vice of collecting them. I've had trouble sitting down and making myself work on it. I'd rather work on a larger project. Though I know that working in a sketchbook will aid me in the end, I can't make myself do it, familial stubbornness, I guess.

I've had my watercolor palate sitting on my desk for a few days and it seems to me now that I work more reliably when I have a palate already set up, the dirty cup of water helps too. I don't worry so much about initially mixing the correct colors, I just dive in. And because of that my palate, the range of colors used in the painting rather than the object itself, had become more personal, if not more mature.


I've been intrigued by graffiti for a while now and am always pleased to find unique, interesting pieces. A tag might not be beautiful, but the way in which it is situated into a space might certainly be. Here I've found Jellyfish on the side of 595 at home. On the side of a highway is blatantly out in the open, but, because of the flow of traffic, the incline of the hill, situation of greenery, and the subject matter of the tag itself, there is a hidden innocence and goofy childlike spontaneity to it. I loved painting this, and I enjoy that it is currently hanging in my kitchen.


This was the first painting I did this semester after an artistically unproductive summer. We worked on it for two class periods, a total of seven and a half hours, which is the least amount of time we spend on an in class project. I find this piece pleasant, but not necessarily all that engaging.

Under the Bridge

This is the 'under the bridge' marsh painting I spoke of in the last post. The lightness of the foreground and the pillars does not explain the intense difference between the bright sunlight of the background and the intense shade caused by the overpass. Also the detail and texture is about as detailed as the smaller studies below, but the simplification of mark is not as effective on a larger scale. I plan on going back into this painting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So Here We Go

Over the summer I took a landscape drawing class, four hours a day, five days a week, outside, drawing. It was fantastic. We went to some unusual, out of the way places, one of them being beneath an on ramp to the Cooper River Bridge. The area was as dingy and sketchy as any other dirt and gravel lot beneath a highway, but this one branches of into marshy wetlands and the Cooper River, the bridge's pilings, pillars wrapping off into the distance. Last week I did a painting there (I'll put the photo up when I get back to school). The painting itself is not extraordinary. Afterwards though, after calling it quits on that work, I picked up some random scraps of gesso-ed canvas, and spun out some delightfully spontaneous marsh scenes out of my head. They jumped out of me, fresh, energetic, and cathartic. Each taking a minute or so they lack the evident self doubt that develops through my longer works. It took making the larger, less affective painting to find these, as you cannot intentionally enforce spontaneity. 


The idea behind this whole project is to force myself to keep a better record of my progress through the next year and a half, to have an easily manipulated chronological view of my works, mishaps, and the artists that I look to, a virtual sketchbook if you will. For example I don't have any pictures of my paintings in various stages, yet, though, at times, I find some of the unfinished stages more appealing than the finished work itself, and so, though I have gained from the experience of the painting, I can't share that with anyone else, and sometimes feel like a loon for being extremely proud of a piece that in its finished stage is not so appealing. 

Comments will be greatly appreciated.