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Red House is another painting in the Charles Burchfield style, except I use much brighter colors than he did.  In Red House, I am experimenting with colors and minimalism.

 

Red House, 20 x 20, acrylic with pumice.

 





Man with Colors is an experiment that took awhile to come to fruition. As the painting progressed I became disenchanted with my efforts and put the painting aside, deciding instead to work on "The Dream House", "Kerouac"  and others (previous blogs, which you all should read out of the goodness of your hearts). 

 

Anyway, I did not care for the studio portrait painting. For one thing, I was not satisfied with the person I drew. It looked like some zombie or bummed out character. I felt the painting was incomplete, empty, and boring. 

 

So the disliked canvas sat against the wall. I sneered at it occasionally.  But after I finished "The Dream House" I was out of canvasses and things to paint on. I had the painting jones, had to do something, so I decided to work on the thing. I tried some stuff and things, got frustrated a bit, then went big with some color. I wasn't sure it was done until my wife told me it was done.

 

Man with Colors, 24 x 30, acrylic on a canvas panel.





I had this 30 x 30 canvas and I was sure I was going to do a portrait of some sort, because, you know, lately I prefer painting portraits. I look for a story (or try to see a story) when I view a portrait. The same is true when I paint a portrait.

 

But last week I was at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts -- one of the great museums of the world -- checking out the very cool art with my son.  I came across an artist called Charles Burchfield. He was doing his thing in the first half of the twentieth century. He was one of America's first abstract painters, conjoining primitivism with modernism. But what I liked were his austere landscapes.

 

So I went home and looked at my canvas. And I decided to do my own thing with a Burchfield twist -- a dark simple lopsided home with a psychedelic blast of colors.

 

I call this The Dream House. It is acrylic paint with a pumice base.

 


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I have about 20+ paintings of women smoking or drinking, but mostly smoking.

My women who smoke do not look happy or content. Some of them look angry, sad or forlorn, like they have lost something and all they have is their own existential thoughts and a lonely cigarette (or a cigar).

 

But a few of my smoking women look resolute and strong, ready to kick someone's ass. My latest, called Melancholia, may or may not depict a powerful woman, but does it matter? Melancholia is still in progress, but it's close. 


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Melancholia, oil pastels, oil paint sticks, on an acrylic pumice base. 30 x 30 x 1.5 inches on a gallery frame.

 

 


I saw a painting of the beat writer Jack Kerouac, by Willaim Theophilus Brown. Brown was unknown to me but I immediately loved his style and wanted to replicate it somehow. His Kerouac is oil on a small sheet of paper. My Kerouac is acrylic with pumice on a 20 x 20 inch gallery canvas. As I almost always do, I have added a lot of texture.


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At my place of employment, most of my friends know I draw on notes and agendas or what have you, during meetings. Cowboy Bob and Bessie Meet the Whale was sketched out during a Student Services meeting, all of 3 inches by 7 inches big. After the meeting I kept the doodle and put it on my fridge. 

 

Here's a thing you can do with an old door! I was going to throw this basement door out. But there was three feet of snow outside at the time and it would of been a huge hassle to lug the door through the snow. At the time, I happened to be out of canvases and I saw the potential of the door, so I went for it. The result is Cowboy Bob and Bessie Meet the Whale, 78 x 32 inches. Can you see the doorknob?


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Using oil paint sticks on a base of acrylic pumice, I painted another woman with a cigar.  My first Woman with a Cigar was done completely with acrylics. That acrylic piece was at the Flow Art Space exhibit "Woman" most of the month of May 2014 (see my previous blog entry). I have had a lot of positive feedback regarding the cigar-smoking woman, so I just completed Woman with a Cigar No. 2, but as mentioned above, using oil paint sticks, which gives a completely different look on the canvas. The oil paint sticks adhere to the canvas differently, more chaotically than the acrylics. The way the paint is torn off the stick by the sandpaper-like pumice leaves me wondering how the painting will turn out. Sometimes it's successful, sometimes not so much. Here she is:


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This painting is 20 x 20, as opposed to the first Woman... which was 30 x 30.

I am enamored with oil paint sticks.




This past Friday night, had a great time at the Flow Art Space reception for the exhibit "Woman."

 

http://www.flowartspace.com/.

 


Lot of friends, great art, and excellent comments about Woman with a Cigar. And as cool as that was, there was a very cool jazz band playing downstairs at the Black Dog Cafe.  The Flow show contiinues until May 17 so check it out if you can. Here's a picture of me with my jaunty Irish cap, looking all Irish, with my painting.

 


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