Sunday, August 29, 2010

Studio Stuff

Ugandan Guard
Oil on panel, 16"x12"

I've been working in the studio this week on three projects. One is the series of paintings based on my experiences in Iraq. I've decided to do more of the small 16"x12" portraits, the newest of which is shown above. They're enjoyable to do, but they're also very meaningful. In my Old Times series of paintings, half were narrative paintings (paintings with some sort of story behind them) and half were portraits. I found that the two types complemented each other. The narratives told stories or explored concepts about aging while the portraits gave you real people who were living the stories. In this series, I started doing the small portraits as a way to get back into the painting rhythm again, but have really liked this growing collection. So this week I got ten more panels. I also painted over a couple of the small paintings I've done since returning to the studio. They really weren't any good and I want to use the panels for more portraits. I feel like I'm on an interesting path with my paintings now and it's a good feeling.

Another project that I've got going is the preparation of a series of new intaglio prints for a show at Bella Vista Gallery in November. It's been a few years since I pulled any prints. The process is very technical and very different from painting. Instead of working in large areas of color, I'm working with lines on a small metal plate. The subject matter is very different, too: Asheville scenes instead of war stories. I've got two drypoint plates pretty much ready to go, I think ... won't know for certain until I pull the first prints. There will be some etchings as well and I've got a couple of plates ready. For the past couple of days, I've been studying James McNeill Whistler's intaglio prints to help me get my thought processes oriented. To me, Whistler's prints are magic, beautifully done and very evocative. Hopefully, some tiny portion of those characteristics will transfer into my plates.

The third project involves art classes. Over the years, I've occasionally had people ask me if I teach. The answer has always been "no", since I never saw much demand for it. Recently, however, I've had quite a few people asking. So I'm putting together a Painting 101 course that will provide a foundation in oil painting, including oil paint, brushes, canvases and panels, safety, color theory, composition, various kinds of paint application techniques, and so on. It'll be a 6-week course right here in my studio, and cost will be $150, with students providing their own materials. It'll probably go from early October to mid November. Anybody out there interested?

In late September, two sets of studios here in the River Arts District are going to have Open House Weekend. I'll be a part of that here in the Cotton Mill Studios building, along with five of our artists; the others are in the Curve Studios just up the road. The dates are Friday, Sep 24th, through Sunday, Sep 26th, from 11-5 each day. Additionally, there will be "twilight hours" on Friday from 5-8 pm. I'm probably going to spend that weekend pulling the prints for the intaglio show at Bella Vista. If you're in Asheville that weekend, come on out and visit!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have two little dogs that are telling me that I've been ignoring them long enough and that I'm in for some serious playtime.

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