Featured painting of the week

Manomayakaya #1 (Guardians at the well of percipience), mixed media on canvas, 30x30", 2011.
Manomayakaya #1 (Guardians at the well of percipience), mixed media on canvas, 30×30″, 2011.

This week’s featured painting is Manomayakaya #1 (Guardians at the well of percipience), a painting I created in 2011.  It is among the earliest (perhaps even the first) of the square canvases I’ve done.

This piece is ‘mixed media’ — in this case acrylic and oil on canvas.

It is currently for sale.  You can see sale details in my Square store here.

Another view of Manomayakaya #1 in my studio among my other paintings.
Another view of Manomayakaya #1 in my studio among my other paintings.

 

Featured painting of the week: Skandha 3 (Torso 3)

This week’s featured painting is Skandha 3 (Torso 3), a figurative piece I created late in 2013.  I mentioned my figurative work earlier in the week in my post about new Etsy listings.  This week’s featured oil painting is among the larger figurative works I’ve done and this one explores an interesting geometric expression of the figure, almost a kind of mapping or ‘landscaping’ of the human form.  The title draws on Sanskrit Buddhist technical terminology.  At root the word “skandha” means “trunk” as in a tree-trunk. In Buddhist philosophy it refers to the constituent parts of human consciousness, of which physical form is an important part.

Skandha 3 (Torso 3), oil on canvas, 24" square, 2013.
Skandha 3 (Torso 3), oil on canvas, 24″ square, 2013.

The painting is 24 inches square (about 60 cm square).  I’m offering it for direct sale through my square store.  If you’re interested in more figurative work, please visit my Etsy store.  There’s more coming along this year, so stayed tuned for upcoming news or contact me with any questions.

Here’s an easy way to reach me:

Skandha 3 (to the left) along with Skandha 1, during the 2013 Gowanus Open Studios.  Skandha 1 is also available.
Skandha 3 (to the left) along with Skandha 1, during the 2013 Gowanus Open Studios. Skandha 1 is also available. Contact me for details.

Studio Notes – paysage planétaire completed

This is the final installment of my series of posts following the progression of a painting I started at the beginning of January – a “paysage planétaire” inspired in part by the work of Ferdinand Hodler and other painters from that era.  So, in my last post, described the overpainting.  Earlier this week, I put the final touches on this and completed the piece.  It was a little touch and go there for a while, but I think it’s come out pretty well:

Paysage detail
Paysage detail
Paysage detail - beefed up the clouds a little bit.
Paysage detail – beefed up the clouds a little bit.
Just about done at this point.
Just about done at this point.
Paysage detail.
Paysage detail.
One of the final pieces is the signature.
One of the final touches is the signature.

So here it is, complete.  Took about a month.  Part of the time was waiting for the layers to dry.  Lately I’ve been experimenting with a more traditional medium (stand oil and oil of Spike Lavender) which works great but dries slowly.  These were the only additives (besides mineral spirits and a little linseed oil) used in this painting.

Paysage planétaire (Avalanche Pass), oil on canvas, 24x24", 2015
Paysage planétaire (Avalanche Pass), oil on canvas, 24×24″, 2015

Studio notes – paysage planétaire, continued

I’m getting a bit behind in my blogging. The month is fast rolling to its completion, I’ve got what feels like a hundred pots in the fire.

Among those, the “paysage planétaire” I started several weeks ago continues to evolve. Last week, the underpainting was complete and I worked on the blue areas – sky and water.  This evening I worked on everything else.

Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″

 

The painting is fast approaching completion.

Paysage planétaire in progress.
Paysage planétaire in progress.
Paysage detail
Paysage detail

As I said before, every painting is an experiment, an exploration.  I cannot yet say if this one is a happy experiment.  I also cannot say whether it is finished. It could be.  Any thoughts on this?

Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″

Studio Notes – the paysage in progress, continued

As noted last week, I’m blogging the progress on a new landscape (a “paysage planétaire” in the spirit of Ferdinand Hodler).  On Sunday, I completed the underpainting:

Underpainting completed, Paysage planétaire, oil on canvas, 24x24", in progress
Underpainting completed, Paysage planétaire, oil on canvas, 24×24″, in progress

Tonight, I had very little time to get into it, so I just worked on the sky and water – the blue areas, mainly.

Paysage planétaire in progress, detail
Paysage planétaire in progress, detail
Paysage planétaire as it stands tonight, 1/13/2015
Paysage planétaire as it stands tonight, 1/13/2015

So far, so good! It starts to look more like a painting — i.e., something unique and distinct.  To be continued.

Featured painting of the week: “I will plant companionship thick as trees …”

This week’s featured painting is a piece I created back in 2010 for a special exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Calamus edition of Walt Whitman’s celebrated Leaves of Grass. The title of the piece, “I will plant companionship thick as trees” is a quote from one of Whitman’s Calamus poems, which are remarkable for their frank celebration of same-sex love.  The painting debuted at the special Calamus exhibition at the Hudson Guild (Manhattan) in spring 2010. This piece turned out to be the first of several Calamus inspired paintings I created that year.  The painting was also included in my solo exhibition at Thoughtworks in Manhattan 2013.

I will plant companionship thick as trees ... (Calamus I), acrylic on canvas, 30Hx20W", 2010
I will plant companionship thick as trees … (Calamus I), acrylic on canvas, 30Hx20W”, 2010

I’m offering it for sale now through my online Square shop.  If you are interested in owning this singular work of art and are in New York City, you’re more than welcome to visit me in Brooklyn to see the piece.

Another view of Calamus I as it appeared in my show at Thoughtworks during Summer 2013.
Another view of Calamus I as it appeared in my show at Thoughtworks during Summer 2013.

 

Studio Notes – the landscape evolves

As a sort of journalistic experiment, I’m going to follow the development of my recently started Paysage planétaire painting through several blog posts.  This should be interesting, and maybe disastrous, since I don’t know how the painting is going to turn out. For me, creating is perhaps like giving birth to something — that something has a unique and independent existence.  (Or, to put a humorous spin on it, sometimes I feel like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein — “It’s alive!”) Yes, I have a lot do with how it turns out, but ultimately the work takes on a life of its own.  If things go well, it’s almost as if the painting paints itself. So far, I think it’s going well.

So recall where I left it the other day:

"Paysage planétaire" in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″

Essentially this what is classically referred to as the “cartoon” – just the outline.  I also added a little texture and shading in blacks, whites and grays.  Today I started filling in the underpainting:

Paysage in progress, shot #1
Paysage in progress, shot #1

First blue sky. Then I started adding some greens:

Paysage progress shot #2
Paysage progress shot #2
Paysage progress shot #3
Paysage progress shot #3

Essentially I’m taking a layered approach, or a semi-layered approach.  I could have done it all alla prima, wet-on-wet, in one big session.  My plan is to finish the underpainting in this fashion, and then do a big alla prima overpainting to finish it off.  That will either complete the piece — or ruin it.

Here’s where I’ve left it tonight:

Paysage planétaire in progress (as of 1/6/2015), oil on canvas, 24x24".
Paysage planétaire in progress (as of 1/6/2015), oil on canvas, 24×24″.

The underpainting is not quite done. I’ll finish that up soon. And I’m going to find the reference to “paysage planétaire” and report back here.

Oh, in case you’re wondering the reference for this piece is a photograph I took in the Adirondacks (upstate New York) a few summers ago.  I’m not going to show that photo here since it is only a point of reference, an inspiration for the work, and not the work itself.  I don’t want to invite comparisons between this inspiration and the painting, which is definitely it’s own thing.  I’m not a fan of the concept of “representation” in art (at least as I currently understand it). But I’ll save that topic for another day.

Featured painting of the week – “Magnolia”

I’m featuring a different painting each week.  To start this series off, I present to you Magnolia, an oil painting I created in May 2014.  This painting was inspired by photos I took of some lovely Magnolia trees in a city park in Manhattan. The color palette is very simple: white, black, green, pink and blue. The painting is 12 inches square and the composition is very much about the square (the square being a favorite motif of mine over the past several years).

Magnolia, oil on canvas, 12x12", 2014
Magnolia, oil on canvas, 12×12″, 2014

This painting is for sale and is listed on my Etsy Shop! Check it out there!

Studio Notes – New landscape started

I spent some time in the studio this afternoon, stretching canvas and beginning a new painting in my “paysages planétaires” series.  A big inspiration for this series is the work of Swiss symbolist and proto-expressionist (my designation) Ferdinand Hodler.  (Occasionally I reblog Hodler images on my tumblr.) I believe I came across the term “paysage planétaire” in some essays about his work.  Alas, I can’t find the reference now.

Maybe it came to me in a dream.

In any case, this one is started.  Each painting is an experiment. Who knows how it will turn out!

"Paysage planétaire" in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
“Paysage planétaire” in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″