Sunday, July 22, 2007

Studio Stuff

I've completed a couple more paintings in the "Meditation on War" series since my last entry.

Over the Drina River
Oil on panel, 12"x17"

Plastic Window
Oil on panel, 12"x9"

I'm doing some small paintings right now. It's a nice change. This series of paintings about war is kinda heavy, and seems to call for larger works. I mean, heavy subject matter means it's gotta be big in order to do it justice, right? But now that I've done three small ones, I've found that there's definitely a place for smaller works. They're a lot fresher, for one thing. I don't spend a lot of time doing workup drawings and thinking about the meaning of each and every item. And they don't have to have multiple layers of meaning. All of these are based on things I saw in Bosnia - just quick images that, for whatever reason, left an impression in my memory.

None of these are copied from photos, by the way. I do use photos, but usually there are multiple sources for each painting. The Drina painting, for example, was triggered by a snapshot I took during a helicopter trip. The landscape in that photo was boring, so I used a couple of other photos to guide me while I made up the "Drina" composition.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to start working in a slightly different way. This past week I set the ball in motion by contacting some people representing various veterans organizations. I hope to be able to find some vets to work with me on some paintings. Exactly what that means is still to be determined - whether that's in sharing thoughts, stories, images, or (better) sitting for a painting whose storyline is based on their experiences.

Also this week, I came across another artist who is working along similar lines. His name's Aaron Hughes. He's a young guy who spent a year plus in Iraq. Afterward, he completed a BFA and did a powerful series of works based on his experiences. You can see his works here.

And just a couple of days ago, I discovered that there are efforts underway to hold a large-scale anti-war protest event in Washington on September 15th. That's the day that General Petraeus is scheduled to present his report to Congress. Last year, I went up to DC for Camp Democracy, which was also an anti-war event. I thought it would be big, but turned out to be very little. This one, though, might be the real deal. I'm looking at taking my display tent and political satire paintings up there. The event is being organized by the ANSWER Coalition and you can read about it here.

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