Thursday, July 22, 2010


Sketching with Santa at the Palace of Wonders! How could you miss the opportunity to:

A) Sketch beautiful women WHILST drinking beer
B) Have a private audience with SANTA six months before anyone else!

ARTISTS! SANTA NEEDS YOUR HELP! Snickelfritz, the "naughty" gift designing elf has taken ill, and Santa needs some fresh sexy designs for this holiday season. For inspiration, Santa has brought you two fresh burlesque performers to sketch. Bring your sketchpad, your sick little mind...and COME SAVE CHRISTMAS!
Christmas in July drink specials all night long! Hey, no artists materials that are too wet or messy. Leave the dirty stuff to us!
If you really need a FB invite, you can go here:

To be honest, this Sketching with Santa gig has been a major component of my fever dreams during my recent bout of swine flu (turns out it was strep)...I would lay in bed, sweating through the sheets, imagining that I was stuck in a chimney, and that the gremlins were coming to get me!!!
Needless to say, I haven't been working on very much while I was sick. But what meager offerings I have are worthy of a bit of discussion. First, I started working on a new drawing that was going to be a preparatory drawing for a larger piece.

Bat out of Hell study
Pastel on Prepared Paper 14"x11"

I had the idea of making a real chaotic hell scene (the fever dreams again) where there were devils flying biplanes inside a cavern coated with suffering souls. So, I thought that one way of getting some movement into the piece was to have the planes follow a "flight path" through the cavern, with the foreground plane as a framing device for the rest of the scene. Unfortunately, the pastels are far too clunky for me to get the level of detail on such a small piece of paper. So this remains a study for a larger picture...

The other piece is really an experiment. I had been getting the notion that perhaps my work was losing some of its spontaneity and life. So, I decided to go back to some of my roots. That is, when I started making "art" with a purpose, in late high school, I would make things with a certain wonkyness. Really it was an attempt to convey a sense of aggression and expression to the mark making because I was riding high on all of the abstract expressionist art history I was it felt good to stab at the canvas, and make bold marks. In the intervening years I dropped this method of mark making in favor of a tighter style (which is probably a consequence of feeling that I needed to prove that I could draw and paint more than I needed to prove that I could, er, emote) So, recently, I got the notion in my head that I should take a whack at trying to recapture that same feeling in my work now. I began working on a full sheet of 24"x36" BFK in pastel, directly from a still life I hastily set up (the skull with the fez is my "go to" still life setup...its cliche, even for me, but it dispenses with the "meaning" of the objects in the still life so I can get right down to business) and I began to attack the paper in the old way, without regard for proportion or draftsmanship.

Still Life with Kraken
Pastel on Paper 36"x 24"

In the end, I don't really know what to make of these results. I enjoy the directness of the process (I knocked this out in an hour and a half) and I even like the "willful ignorance" of the application of pigment...but there is, something about its lack of sincerity despite the fact that I was trying to be very sincere! I particularly like the passage with the bottle...its just enough to give you the idea that it is a clear bottle, while letting the viewer fill in the blanks...Expressionists and impressionists had results like these, but they were supposedly working from a framework of theory that gave their work a reason to look the way it did. I don't have any theory to fall back on (well, conscious theory) and yet wouldn't this somehow be a more "pure" expression of my mental state? Seeing as I freed my mind completely and went solely with "what feels right"?

Anyway, I'd be interested in what you think...does this mode of "expressionism" say something to you? Should I embrace the wonkyness? Am I barking up the wrong tree entirely?

No comments: