Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I have officially declined to participate in this years' Park Slope Studio Tour. I kept delaying about sending in the application, until finally I realized that I don't want a bunch of strangers trooping through my studio in May. In fact, I don't think I even want my friends trooping through my studio right now. Strange and mysterious things are beginning to happen, and they need to happen in silence and in solitude. I may post detail shots, but I'm not sure.

In other news--God bless Peter Schjeldahl.
...Ryman stays fresh and taut. Even out of date, his conscientious integrity ought to abash today’s hordes of careering youngsters, whose idea of the future of civilization reaches little beyond the next art fair. But to be shameable, under present conditions, may be an unaffordable moral luxury.
...Two other artists contribute negligible works with arbitrary political associations.

Is all of this a mite thin and forced? It is, along with almost everything else of recent vintage in an art world where frenetic production has outrun any substantial supply line of ideas. Nearly a century of experiments in abstraction have become a fund of handy tropes. What’s lost—while being barely preserved, with monkish zeal, by the likes of Ryman—is a sense of risk at the frontiers of convention.
About a year after I graduated from art school, I realized that I could either follow art fads, and hang out on the Scene, and critique and discuss and schmooze and opinionate--or I could try to make some art with integrity. I could not do both. At the time I thought that this was a temporary state of affairs; I figured I'd work for a few years, produce a solid body of work, get grounded in who I was and what I had to say, and then re-enter the Scene.

Come to find out, I think my Scene-aversion may be permanent. I don't just love Art because it's Art. I love really great art, and am supremely indifferent to the rest of it. Moreover, having to address the rest of it produces so much brain-chatter that I can't be still and listen to my inner voice, which is the one that makes the paintings.

However, I am very pleased to report that my bodywork practice is doing so well that I can now afford to be shameable, at least through the end of April. I raised my prices at the beginning of the year, and now I note that I am getting a lot more calls from Google hits to my website. It seems that people are more inclined to trust a person who charges more. I knew this was true in theory, but I was still gun-shy after experiencing a precipitate drop in business the last time I raised prices, when I was working in Williamsburg. That, I see now, was probably just due to the fact that artists are cheap.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm still here

Sorry for the hiatus, there. First I was working on a Creative Capital Letter of Inquiry (thanks for the editorial assistance, You Know Who You Are), then I was taking stretcher bars apart, turning failed canvases over, re-stretching and re-priming them, scrubbing down and re-priming other failed canvases, and working on this one, which is in danger of being overworked and over-complex, but which can possibly still be saved.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach a point in my career where I don't wreck most of my paintings halfway through, and then drag them back from disaster by scraping and re-thinking and trying twelve different things until something works. I keep thinking that someday, I will just put it down, and it will be perfect, and I'll put the next one down, and the next.

But then I'd just be working on autopilot, and it wouldn't be fun anymore.

Look what I discovered about the proportions of a scorpion, as relative to a circle with the focal point moved exactly half of the distance from the center to the edge:

Nifty, huh? I know that scorpions are more or less proportioned like this, because I spent several months while living in Mexico, drawing and painting the scorpions that lived in my house. I was also dating a Scorpio at the time, and it was going badly.

But that's probably too much information.

Yes, I know, it's too busy. It's also too wet to continue messing with, this evening; also the hues are too homogenous. But I SEE it in my head, I swear. It WILL be better in the morning.