Saturday, September 26, 2009

Recent Paintings - Fall 2009

On view October 3, 2009, 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Offices of Courage & Renewal North Texas
1229 7th Ave. (Corner of W. Magnolia, just west of Benito's)
Fort Worth, TX 76104

I'm showing a handful of new (and maybe a couple of old) paintings next week during the Fall 2009 Southside Arts Goggle. This will be the first time I've exhibited in around 10 years. About time, you might say.

These will be on display at the offices of Courage & Renewal - North Texas,  located at 1229 7th Ave. (Corner of W. Magnolia, just west of Benito's). In addition to my work, C&RNT will also be showing photographs by Donna Bearden and sculptures by Wayne Martin.

In years past Arts Goggle has coincided with Fort Worth Gallery night, but this fall takes place on October 3, 2009, from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. I'm intending to be there most of the time (with a little break at some point for dinner).

For those who've never done it, Arts Goggle is basically a street festival. There will be lots of art in non-traditional venues, music, food and general good fun. It's the sort of thing you can park and wander from venue to venue quite easily.

For those who are directionally challenged, here's a map to the office of C&RNT (click to pull up the full Google map):

Sunday, September 06, 2009

50 First Dates vs. Same Time, Next Year

A friend, responding to a recent Twitter post, asked me the difference between the mindset of working in acrylics vs. working in oils. Before I start, let me say I've worked in both, and both can be very satisfying -- so this is not an endorsement of one over the other.

The short reply I gave was that acrylics were 50 First Dates, and oils were Same Time, Next Year.

In 50 First Dates, the character of Drew Barrymore has no memory of the day before, placing considerable challenges on Adam Sandler, who is courting her. Likewise, with acrylics, the paint is dry in an hour; there is no direct interaction between each layer of paint. Once the water evaporates, you're done.

Which can be good, especially for smaller pieces. There is a clean freshness to working in acrylics; you can (almost immediately) overpaint without having to think about how underlayers are going to react. I tend to work in layers of thin transparent paint, building up layers and gradually working more thickly.

The movie Same Time, Next Year chronicles a 24 year affair, consummated once a year. And so it is with oils: nothing is every truly forgotten. Each time you take the brush up you continue the previous conversation. Your past is always waiting to catch up with you.

You can go back in and rework, remove and repaint anything. On the other hand, doing too much results in a jumble of mud. Many's the time I've gone in after a session, disgusted with the day's output, and wiped it down with a turpentine soaked rag. I've done this to work I've done two weeks ago.

The funny thing is, it is not really erasing. A ghost of what you did, what you learned and how you failed remains: to haunt you, to guide you. And that layer of wiped paint somehow retains some sort of psychic energy. Some of the best painting I've ever done was on top of a wiped down canvas.

As acrylics dry, they become sticky, and impossible to rework. Because they are water-based, they more strongly resemble working in watercolor or gouache. Most (not all) of my acrylics are works on paper.

Oils continue to be slick and workable for a long time (unless you use an alkyd painting medium). Because of the longer drying time, one has to consider thinking of how to manage the paint layers. With enough turpentine, you can work back into almost any paint film, whether you intend to or not.

Not sure if this answered any questions, but if all it did was generate more questions I've succeeded on one level.