December is coming …

… and that means Patreon patron rewards!

Earlier this month, I announced the launch of my Patreon Artist page. If you haven’t visited it yet, please stop by!

At the beginning of each month, I mail out patron rewards to all patrons pledging $5.00 or more.  For December, I will be choosing rewards from among the pencil and and ink artist trading card (ATC) sized work pictured below.

Abstract landscapes in pencil and ink.

If you are considering pledging your support, now is a good time to do it! If you pledge $5 or more before December 1, you will receive one or more small works on paper each month!  There are other rewards as well!  See the rewards descriptions for all of the details.  Visit my Patreon page to find out more!

You can also pledge just $1 per month! For just $1 you get access to all of my patron-only content, plus I’m cooking up some new ideas for 2018, including possibly doing artwork raffles for all patrons, regardless of pledge amount.

So if you, or someone you know, loves art and you want to support individual working artists, I hope you will consider pledging today.

Introducing my New Patreon Page!

Thank you to everyone who came out to see my work at the recent Gowanus Open Studios.

Since then, I’ve been extremely busy setting up and testing my new page on Patreon.com.  I’m now ready to officially invite you to come check it out, and help me keep making art!

What is Patreon?  Patreon is a relatively new platform that enables artists and creators of all sorts to obtain support from individual fans and patrons.  I first heard about Patreon from a creator of French language learning videos and podcasts (check him out! he’s great!), and was immediately intrigued.  Then, in March 2017 the New York Times published an interesting article focusing on the site: “How the Internet is Saving Culture, Not Killing It.”  I was then definitely interested!

Artists have always had patrons.  Making art in New York City is extremely expensive.  As many of you are aware, I had to give my studio at the end of 2015 for budgetary reasons.  Artist studio rents continue to go up, and many studios have left my immediate neighborhood.  What to do?

With all of this in mind, I have launched my Patreon page and I am asking for your support.  For as little as $1.00 per month, you can help me afford quality materials, eventually rent studio space outside of my home, and make more and better art!

Patreon is also a really nice, clean platform for sharing my process and new works with you.  And you can easily share with me your ideas and feedback!

Detail from “Lifeworld 43” in progress. You can observe the process and be among the first to see the finished work on my Patreon page.

Finally, there are rewards to patronage!  First of all, by pledging even just $1.00, you will have exclusive access to new online content — new works, detailed discussions (hopefully some videos) of my art-making process and some new content ideas that I haven’t even dreamed up yet!  And, I hope to institute raffles of my art to patrons in the new year.  If you pledge $5 or more, you will receive free art from me, as well as discounts on my works for sale.

If you have read this far (and even if you haven’t), I sincerely appreciate your interest in my work.  I hope you will check out my Patreon page and consider offering your support.  Thank you!

Something very last minute — My art during Gowanus Open Studios

Hello everyone!  I had not planned to show any work during this year’s Gowanus Open Studios (happening this weekend, October 20-22), but a last minute opportunity presented itself.

Abby Subak, Director of Arts Gowanus, reached out to artists who formerly had studios in Gowanus, and asked us to participate as “Gowanus Emeritus Artists” in the “Silent Auction & Garden Party: One Piece Per Artist GOS 2017” show at 313 Butler Gallery.

So — my piece, “View from beneath the surface #1” will be included in the show.   The event, a silent auction, happens Saturday night, October 21 from 5-9 at 313 Butler Gallery, at 313 Butler Street in Brooklyn, New York.  The art remains up through November 13.

“View from beneath the surface 1,” oil on canvas, 12″ diameter, 2014.

The full event description can be found on Facebook, here.

Artworks: A Benefit for Arts Gowanus

I’m pleased to announce that, once again, I will be contributing to this year’s ArtWorks — a benefit for Arts Gowanus!

This year’s event happens Thursday, May 11, 2017, 7 – 10 pm at Shapeshifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215.  I will be there!

So join me in celebrating the arts and artists of Gowanus and take home a piece of original artwork from a local artist!  I’m donating my painting Lifeworld 10 (2013):

“Lifeworld 10,” oil on canvas, 20×20″, 2013

Need I say that this is a rare and amazing opportunity to obtain one of my Lifeworld paintings at an amazing price?

By buying a ticket to the ArtWorks event you are buying a chance to “win” this fabulous painting along with 74 other great works made by artists working in Gowanus.  Plus you’ll support the critical mission of Arts Gowanus to promote, support and advocate for local artists and a sustainable arts community in the Gowanus neighborhood. Here’s a link to some of the other artworks available.

In case the art isn’t appealing enough, don’t miss the food, drink and revelry.

Tickets are on sale now, $250 single, $300 for couple, which entitles you to one original work of art… Click here to buy tickets!

Ticket sales are limited, so act fast!

Winter …

Winter–in the eleventh month
Snow falls thick and fast.
A thousand mountains, one color.
Men of the world passing this way are few.
Dense grass conceals the door.
All night in silence, a few woodchips burn slowly
As I read the poems of the ancients.

–Ryokan (Japan, 1758-1831)

Winter bamboo, Mt. Tremper, New York, 2015

Pinhole research – December chill

I’ve recently started up again with some explorations in digital pinhole photography.  How this works is: you take a digital SLR, take off the lens and replace it with a modified body cap that serves as the ‘pinhole.’  (I don’t recall where I purchased the pinhole cap, but if you Google ‘digital pinhole – Nikon‘ you’ll probably find it quickly).  Your camera needs to be sophisticated enough to have all manual settings — and most importantly, the ability to manually hold the shutter open — it’s called ‘bulb’ on my Nikon.

My old Nikon D-60 equipped with a pinhole body cap I found somewhere on the Internet. The cap is just an ordinary body cap with a hole drilled in it, covered with some film with a tiny transparent spot in the middle.

Shooting pinhole is a very different experience, and I imagine it is closer to what the earliest photographers experienced.  It requires patience and a great deal of practice.

One difficulty is that I can’t really get a good view through the viewfinder of what the shot is going to be.  It takes some practice to aim the camera body in the right direction.  Since the shutter needs to be open for a good 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds or more, one needs to be really immobile (a tripod or monopod helps).

Digital pinhole also suffers from the problem of dust on the sensor: something that wouldn’t normally happen with film pinhole technology, since each frame of film is virgin.  The digital ‘film’, i.e., the sensor, is hardly a virgin, as it gets used over and over again, and my Nikon is pretty filthy at this point.  Photoshop is a huge help at this juncture!

Prospect Park, December 2016. Digital pinhole photograph, liberally cleaned up and tweaked in Photoshop and Lightroom. A fun, ‘painterly’ process, but entirely digital.

Shooting this way is a [potentially] meditative experience.  In a recent outing, I came up with a number of really interesting shots that I can then liberally work with in Lightroom and Photoshop — it really brings photography closer to painting — and for me, provides fascinating subject matter for oil paintings I want to realize. (See Lifeworld series).  So this pinhole outing is a form of visual research.

Below are a series of abstract detail shots that were all created from the full image shown above.

Pinhole zoom-crop experiment number 1.
Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #2
Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #3
Pinhole zoom-crop experiment #4.

Which of these should I use for a painting?

Painting of the week: “Osage chiasm”

This week’s featured painting is an odd one I created way back in 2009.  “Osage chiasm” (that’s chiasm not chasm) is 20″H by 16″W, and is acrylic on canvas.  The piece is essentially a stylized portrait of one of my favorite trees: a very old Osage orange that lives on the Nethermead in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  This painting has been in my living room for the past several years, and I look at it every day.  The photo doesn’t quite do it justice: the colors are weird and don’t reproduce well.  In the real life the blues of the sky are considerably more vivid.

“Osage chiasm” acrylic on canvas, 20×16″, 2009.