Hey everyone! As you saw in the last post, the plein air season is pretty much over for the majority of us California-based artists. For me, that means I am hunkering down in the studio to paint female figures as I love to do. Being the mentally restless person I am, I was starting to get anxious to come back to the studio and put away the landscapes for a little while in order to get back to my first artistic love. I finished these first 5 paintings of this new series for a small solo show at a place I've shown before. More information about that at the end of this post, but first a little about the series.
These paintings are the result of a shoot I did with a model I took to Salt Point State Park along the northern Sonoma coast. As you can see from the photos (and my paintings) it is a very unique stretch of coastline especially for the area. The bubbly holes in the sandstone is called tafoni, and has shaped the rocks of the coast into an alien landscape. Since it's pretty remote from most of the rest of the Bay Area, it's virtually unknown to most people even who live in the area. It is quite gorgeous especially when you catch it on an elusive fogless sunny day. Taking a beautiful girl out here, adding some "pretty" props, and juxtaposing her against these wild craggy cliffs makes for an interesting unspoken narrative, don't you think?
And now, a bit about the paintings and my thoughts behind the making. This series was a bit different for me, because it's the first time in quite a while where I haven't relied on some sort of visual "gimmick" to carry the theme along. The paintings are pretty straightforward in terms of execution, but they are still quite a departure from the reference photos they are based on. I am very interested in using more props in my work to bring an ambiguous narrative into my work. The mystery in this series I believe comes from deciding in your mind who she is, what type of place she inhabits, why does she carry this wreath of flowers into this desolate terrain? A lot of the fun that came from selecting from the reference was seeing which formation of rocks against the pose/drapery created the most interesting abstract design. The park itself is an amazing abstract sculpture garden, so it was just a matter of finding a great design within it.
This painting was really fun to do. I blocked it in with a painting knife, then used a stiff brush with stiff paint (Foundation White) to get the texture in the brushwork. Fun way to work and yields great results. Once the first pass dried, I glazed with a dark color over it, and wiped away the excess, leaving dark pigment within the ridges. I then went back over and scumbled semi-wet paint over it get some extra texture on to it. This one is probably the best painting in terms of texture.
”Thalassa” 14x11 Oil on linen mounted on cradled panel. 2012. $925
Ever Inward 12x18 Oil on linen mounted on cradled panel. 2012. $1295
This painting was a fun one to design. I like the subtle swirl of the shadows of the rocks that surround her. I think the pose of her covering her chest conveys some sort of protection against the tempest of spiralling dark shapes around her.
“Nausicaa’s Dream” 15x10 in oil on cradled canvas board. $975
“Solar Arc” 20x14 Oil on linen mounted on cradled panel. 2012. $1675
•I will be showing these paintings along with a bunch of other figurative pieces in Calistoga for the month of November. My friend J. Kirk has been a big supporter and patron of my work since before I started pursuing my career in fine art full-time. He's doing a good job with bringing independent artists out of the shadows of the wine-and-polo-shirt region known as Napa Valley. There is a ton of undiscovered talent in the area, and J. Kirk has been doing a good job of creating an artistic hub along with the rest of the independent art scene in the area.
If you are near Calistoga and want to come check out the new paintings in person, here are the details: "Of The Occident"
Saturday, November 3, 2012
8:00pm until 11:00pm
Yo el Rey Roasting
1217 Washington, Calistoga, California 94515
I am hoping to have some other cool exclusive things to check out as well, so please come out if you can!
Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale