Your Nose in A Tent
Open Studio this coming weekend ! Open at 11 AM till 5PM.

What you see above is less than 1/6th of what will be on display. No kidding: over 100 framed pieces, both oil and watercolor. And plenty more unframed . . . . .SOOOO MUCH to see!!

If you need directions, just drop me an email to tell where you’ll be coming from and I’ll shoot directions to you. The email address is in the bright blue sentence almost directly to the right of this post.

Don’t miss this annual event! It is the only time I put up such a massive one man show.

Wine, cookies, nibbles, art chatter, giggling, general goofing off, and painting demos.

Come enjoy the fun!

Mike

The Endless Fountain . . .

“Parade”
watercolor 15 x 22 inches

Every year around this time, to get ready for Open Studio, I clean out my flat files . . .and sometimes, I move furniture in my studio to readjust things. There is a serendipity that occurs, literally, every single year: I find works I had forgotten about completely. Many times they are simple musings, others they are terrible failures I had hoped to save at some point. Yet, once in a while, an old painting will surface that rocks me back on my heels and makes me wonder why it was hidden away. Here is one, “Parade,” which I cannot imagine why it was hiding. Of course, I had to put a few finishing touches on it, but, for one reason or another, I love looking at it.

I believe this painting is approaching 12 to 14 years old. I can see quite a difference in the way the paint sits on the surface versus how I paint now. . . . . .a sure lesson for not throwing away your old paintings: we can really see our progress.
I found a few more, too. But you’ll have to wait to see those. 🙂 That flat file has been giving up surprises every year. There must be something pushing that stuff to the surface!
I have come to the point that I don’t worry too much about having paintings for Open Studio. 10 drawers of paintings have never let me down!
By the way . . .are you planning to come to Open Studio?

Sometimes I play

“Bottom of the Dome II”
watercolor 15 x 22 inches

Sometimes I Play . . . .

So, but now, you know I am having Open Studio this coming weekend and the net weekend from 10AM to 5PM (Oct 9,10 and 16,17) . . . .

You also know I have been painting a lot these last two weeks when I should be doing chores . . . .but I am finished with that stuff for now. So, it is time to PLAY!! Yes, you read it right: P L A Y!

My form of play has to do with challenging myself to some outrageous (maybe not this time) or challenging art “reach.” What I mean by “reach” is to do something I do not normally do . . . .in other words, try something new and different, where I have to reach to make it work.

I learned to reach when I did a series of 100 + still life paintings, all of the same set up and same point of view. The project forced me to focus on doing something other than copying the subject. Namely, to concentrate on shape, color, value, texture and line instead of the subject itself. My challenge typically is to narrow down some aspect of one or more of those jest mentioned elements. For example, instead of copying what something looks like, such as a tree, I will take on the challenge of shape design through the entire painting.

In this painting, shape design was definitely at the top of the list, as was line. I set out to use line as a source of entertainment and to make flat, angular shapes. A ‘good’ shape is not symmetrical and has a notable direction. Each shape bounded by the orange lines follows those two ideals. There is more to it, though; something enters the equation called “dominance.” In this case as you examine the outlines of each shape, there is an angular nature to all but a very few. That angular characteristic adds a familial similarity to all the shapes which brings about a sense of belonging . . . . . . .often referred to as repetition, this aspect of angularity ‘dominates’ the overall picture space. Had this aspect been left to be random, chaos would have ensued and the painting would have had a confused look about it. There is room for a few shapes with gentle curves, which add some subtle contrast and interest to the repeated character of the shapes.

This was simply plain fun to paint! The dazzling color, the hyped up contrast of color against dark, the zippy and often vibrating red orange line and the passage of blue violet through the piece excites the eye in many ways. I had done a piece like this a year ago and caught myself mentally revisiting what I had done. I caught myself hopping up and down with excitement as this piece neared completion.

Sometimes, you just have to play.

Experimenting with the Elements

Line Experiment
watercolor 14 x 21 inches

It has been a while since posting last. To get back into the painting mode I will sometimes take on a familiar subject and ‘let her rip’ by applying the paint in ways that are completely different than my normal painting ‘style.’ In this painting I used wet paper and an oil painting filbert brush to scrub in the paint. This yields wild and brilliant colors but also opened the door to using line in an otherwise different way. In the end, all of the elements (7 of them) are present, but some are emphasized in such a way as to attract attention.

This painting of half dome in Yosemite was more of an experiment than a painting. It may never see a frame or a mat, but it certainly allowed me to ‘get off the leash to run’ and get the crazy urges out of my system. It served another purpose: discovery. While fooling around in a free fashion, I found a few little ideas (like red shadows) and using dense, opaque colored line (integrating gouache into the watercolor pigment) atop the trees. This shifted the focus from the dome to the trees and the white shape behind them. These discoveries of how to exploit the different elements of design can often lead to new approaches in more serious paintings.

Open Studio is finished for 2009. Now I am putting everything away for next year and attempting to get back to living a normal life. Thanks to all who came and a special thanks to all my enthusiastic patrons.

More Self Promotion

“Yosemite Awaiting Winter”
watercolor, 21 x 29 inches
There are just weeks where everything seems to work right . . . .that is to say work properly. And these last few weeks, have been very very exciting and rewarding . . .all the efforts are bringing wonderful rewards.

Over the last several weeks, I have been planning a trip to Yosemite while preparing for open studio. To say the least, I haven’t been able to get Yosemite out of my thoughts. A special about our National Parks on TV hasn’t helped, either. It served to hammer me into a mental place of craving to paint. So, this is another of the Yosemite pieces done while prepping for Open Studio.

Oh! Did I just say OPEN STUDIO again? I did. It is only half over. If you didn’t make it by my home and studio last weekend, there is still one more weekend . . . .October 17 and 18 from 11 AM to 6 PM.

The first weekend of OPEN STUDIO was exciting! We had approximately 500 people come to visit. Not all at once, but it was a steady flow of people for both days. With over 70 framed pieces up and my studio set up to accommodate lots of interesting art thoughts and demos, people were glad they came. Won’t you join us on the 17th and 18th?

An Update

“Greyhound Rock”
oil on canvas panel, 8″ x 10″
This painting is of a landmark north of here called Greyhound Rock. I have, as you probably already know, a fascination with the vivid colors of ice plant. On this day, however, the foreground ice plant was green . . .almost kelly green. So, taking artistic license, I chose to use different colors to help throw the focus up onto the rocks and sea. (By now you must be getting bored with this, but I can’t help myself!)

On another note, I should say THANKS to all who came to my open studio. Many artists, including myself, often measure the success of such an event in the numbers of paintings sold and the dollars brought in. I must take pause, however, this year for the obvious reasons relating to the economy, and make sure that I don’t drift too far into the mercenary mire of revenue versus artistic success.

Considering the financial climate we are all suffering, I had a fabulous open studio. The first weekend averaged about 130 visitors per day. The second wasn’t quite as well attended, but still, very worthwhile.

The studio was set up with several lessons that the lay person and artists alike would find to be interesting, such as a simple still life set up painted in 9 different color strategies to show how mood is often determined by the artist’s color choices. There was also a large board onto which I collaged (loosely) around 20 plus pencil sketches of preliminary studies. This board was next to two watercolor paintings (posted a few weeks ago) which were derived from those sketches. People found these displays fascinating . . . and the studio, too. ( Art studios are where mystical magic happens!) There was something for everyone from over 100 framed, original paintings on display around the property to the studio to the informative displays.

Open studios, as I reflect on it, are exciting and fun, like ‘open house’ kinds of parties . . . . . . . . .where friends and neighbors drop in, munch a little, chat, visit, update each other and eventually wander out refreshed and glad they came. This is similar, but there is much that happens in the way of expanded networking and being introduced to other artists and art events. In short, it is a function from which many new challenges and activities grow. Aside from selling nearly thirty paintings, this was a rich and enlivening experience. I could go on and on about the value (priceless!) of such events, but I shan’t bore you with my verbosity. Just know that with all the complaining about the amount of work, I will do it over and over again.

Thought you’d like to know how it went. If you came, thanks for coming. If you didn’t, I hope to see you next year!

OPEN STUDIO OCTOBER 11,12 & 18,19

My Brush Counter / Taboret
Yesterday was one of those bizzzzy daze !! Lots of great visitors and sold several nice paintings.
Myrna and her husband came by and spent some time and took a bunch of photos. Her blog has several photos and comments about what was here. Check it out. link
Note, the sign at the upper left sez, “Truth: There is no way in hell this studio is ever this tidy!”
The calligraphy in the green mat hangs in my studio where I see it daily. It is so very important to me that I should share what it says here:
EXCELLENCE can be attained if you . . . .CARE more than others think is wise . . .RISK more than others think is safe . . .DREAM more than others think is practical . . .EXPECT more than others think is possible.
Back to open studio.

Some Days Are Just Better

“Beach Trap”
oil on linen panel, 8″ x 10″
Some days everything just seems to fall into place with ease. Today, this painting almost fell off the brush by itself . . .developed from another sketch. Do you suppose practice has anything to do with it? I do.
The way the light hits these cliffs and dances about is a constant source of delight to me. I hope you don’t get tired of them.
While cleaning my studio this last month ( a HUGE task, incidentally!) . . . . . .(why does it get that deep?) . . . . .I sorted through all of the last years’ panel paintings and culled out all of the unsuccessful ones . . .then painted over them with a light coating of orange paint and put them to dry. Those panels have been what I have been painting on for the last 7 paintings. I allow the orange undertone to peek through in a few places. It adds a nice ‘warmth and sparkle’ to the work. Also, I am testing a new medium as I paint these. . . . . Gamblins’ “Meglip” . . . . . . . . . . . . .I have never used it before, but I am noticing that the paint takes on a nice glow since the medium is nearly crystal clear. It will never yellow, supposedly. The paint also seems to shine a bit more than when I use “Liquin.” I will keep playing with it and see what comes up. . . . .and do some more research about it. Do any of you painters out there use it? Care to comment? I would appreciate any thoughts or guidance you might have.
Tomorrow, I open the studio to the public. I am ready! If you live in the Bay Area, or are travelling there this weekend or next, stop by. My address is on my website.
Whoops! It isn’t there like I thought it was! Best to email me if you need address and directions.

A Return to Normalcy

“A Sailor’s Delight”
oil on oil primed linen panel, 8″ x 10″
At last, most of the preparations for Open Studio are finished. I hung the show yesterday outdoors . . .over 80 paintings out there!! . . . .and because it is outside, every painting and hanging spot had to be coded so we could take down all the pieces then, on the day of the show, replace them in minutes. It is an arduous task, believe me, to arrange the show in a cohesive way and to get all the positions just right. Now, it’s clean house and do a few small details and we are ready! Yay!!!!
With the extra time now, I can putter away at the easel . . . .wellllll, sort of! I have a gallery show coming up in November, so now it is time to prep for that. Then another show in January of just watercolors. Busy!
This little fella was fun and interesting to work with color and values. I apologize for the slight glare on the painting . . . .I can’t see that in the camera . . . .it happens.
Normal is back!! 🙂

OPEN STUDIO OCTOBER 11,12 & 18,19

Open Studio Invitation
postcard image
If you live in the Bay Area or are going to be visiting during the dates in the title, please come by my studio for a visit. There will be LOTS and LOTS of artwork on display, a demonstration or two, great munchies, wine and plenty to talk about. It is a biiiiig event in this town. There will be some 270 artists exhibiting . . . half on the weekend of the 4th and 5th, the other half on the above dates. MY STUDIO IS OPEN THE 11, 12th and THE 18, 19th. The address is 105 Geneva Court in Santa Cruz. Join us!! We’d love to see you!