Friday, September 30, 2011

A Little Explanation

Recently, I have been posting paintings which thematically involve the figure in landscape. This is a fairly dramatic break from my past work which dealt strictly with the landscape. Not only were these former paintings just landscapes, but landscapes devoid of a human presence or apparent influence. I think this calls for a little self-reflection.

The immediate emergence of the figures is my exposure, fascination and overall love of how the old masters employed and dealt with the human figure. Specifically, I am talking about Titian, Rubens, Rafael, Da Vinci and a few others. There was a romantic and heroic portrayal of the figure and how it related to the world that I connected with. I relate to the way the figure and the land in these paintings have a connection that seems part of a material and spiritual whole. Part of this attraction stems from my reaction against a contemporary tendency to rely on cynicism, despair and an overall nihilistic view of the modern, human condition. I share many of these same feelings but I somehow want what I put out into the world to be a bit more beautiful and hopeful. We as human beings have some soul-searching to do as far as our attitudes towards nature, the land and towards each other if we are to advance from our current state. I view these paintings as vignettes into a different world. One that is a bit more humble, connected and reflective as to where we fit in.

I am relying on a classical Western approach to the figure while simultaneously inserting these figures into landscapes that are idealized and very personal. I am not trying to evoke specific places but rather relying on my intuition and visual instincts to create a place that treads a line between the real experiences of being in the land and a more romanticized, imagined dream world that is comforting to travel through. These are places, people and attitudes that hopefully will heal the things that make being alive in the 21st century so difficult. They do that for me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

New Work: Figures in the Landscape

Back in October of 2010 I talked about some figures I have been working on for the past few years. At that point they were in progress and now they are all very close to being resolved. The undercurrent throughout all of these is the human relationship with the land. The landscapes are imagined, intuitive responses to the figures surrounding them. One relies on the other but there is oftentimes a separation between the figure and land. This is most obviously represented by figures and landscape being rendered on different panels and then being reconstructed as a whole.

above: "Balance/Imbalance" is the working title of this panel. It's done but needs some flanking landscapes or figures to accompany it.

above: Very close to being done. A loose "transition" theme pervades this one.

above: This panel is done as well, but it also needs some accompaniment.

Above: Almost done. I may tinker with the figure a bit more.

The center figure is done. The flanking panels are almost there.

above: The center figure from the above triptych.

above: Cat from New Seasons in Portland was so kind to pose for this one. "The Year of the Cat" maybe?

above: This one may stand alone. It's the biggest of the lot. 11 inches x 16 inches

above: Completely done. This one is framed the way the others will be. A little wood overlay to separate the two panels.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Latest Etchings

In recent days, I have been hustling the little ones off to their centers of learning and then burrowing into my new studio space and working feverishly on my latest group of etchings for my
Kickstarter project, "A Visual Life in the Roaring Forties".

It is quite the drive across town, with devastation, downed buildings, bulging roadways and the billowing clouds of fine dust brought to the surface through liquefaction. But art persists as does the vague semblance of normalcy. Here are a few of the latest efforts, all of which are very close to being done. I have been fiddling with some new methods of applying and etching the aquatints on these and am finally starting to get the hang of it. You can click on individual images to get a closer look...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quick Update

Well, here we go again....Another devastating earthquake has struck my fair city. Christchurch, New Zealand was rocked by a 6.3 quake two weeks ago today. It hit at the worst possible time of day and unlike the 7.1 quake in September, this one has claimed some lives. The death toll is climbing towards 200 and the damage has been far more severe. A road I ride into town most every day has sunk about 4 feet and there was severe flooding and liquefaction all over the city but most was concentrated in the eastern suburbs and the CBD. However, this time, my studio has persevered and it looks like I will be able to continue work on my etchings and paintings. I hope to post some more art related stuff shortly but things are very much in flux at the moment. Thanks for all the kind words from everyone.
See you all soon!