This jpg has been sitting on my desktop for years. Originally I scanned it to include on my watercolor webpage but then felt ashamed of the poor thing so I ignored it and placed it next to the trash icon. But every once in a while, I’d opened it up to take a another look. Finally, I’ve decided. I like it. It’s me.
It depicts two people sitting at a bar talking. Nothing special. I’m not sure anyone else would be able to even guess what it is. But although that was probably the original reason I felt ashamed of it, it’s also the very reason I love it. The light area hovering in between the two characters, is one of the many bottles behind the bar. Interestingly it’s also the shape of a microphone. I wonder if this shape was subconsciously selected by me, to promote a sense of conversation, interview, and listening.
This painting is two canvases of exactly the same size joined. Similarly to working in my watercolor book, which has a big spiral dividing the long horizontal spread, I stared on this painting by working on the left hand canvas. Feeling that the painting was coming along nicely, I added the second, right hand canvas and continued to paint the next portion of the composition. I joined the two canvases digitally. DOUBLE CLICK THE IMAGE TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK!
My worn baseball cap from our trip to Montauk. My beard, mostly gray now. My clavicle. My gaze, contemplating my reflection. My arm raised, doing my best to paint it. My studio and the palm tree that lives there. Our shades from Pearl River. The sky, sitting over Dumbo. How present I feel. My birthday is around the corner. This self portrait celebrates it.
Finally, I’ve captured it!
This painting depicts a feeling that I’ve been after for a long time.
Maybe we had to get married first?
Our domestic life is this painting’s true subject.
If it were the early days of the 20th century, Mel would have, here, her knitting in her lap. Being that it’s 2012, it’s her iPad.
This is a very special human.
Painting so often reveals life’s philosophy. This painting of Sam Kalda is painted by mixing and placing one color note next to another. I use a very simple charcoal plan, almost the simpler the better, which forces me to be in the moment, and fully present with what I’m viewing. Each stroke must do the right job in order to build the portrait solidly. Like rock climbing, each step must be, or even better, IS a step in the right direction. Don’t look back. Celebrate the moment.
A group of us have been meeting at FIT for some after hours painting. No grades, no crits, no bullshit. Thanks to Melanie for making it possible. Here’s a picture of my efforts so far. I’m using this time to work on a few personal painting goals. Most of them revolve around letting go, seeing clearly, and trusting myself. If anyone is interested in joining in, please let me know. BTW, that’s my mahl stick that’s leaning up against the painting. It’s not at all a part of the composition. But the more I look at this pic, the more I feel it works!!
The subway has been a great school filled with inspired models, but setting up an easel and asking riders to stay longer is impossible. Over the years, the many, many portraits that I’ve drawn on the subway have become increasingly important to my work. With the memory still alive, and my drawing as reference I’ve begun to paint the people I draw on the train.
This is soo Mel. There is still a fifth grader living inside.
Shot this with my phone while riding over the Williamsburg Bridge.
I really enjoy the added texture of the subway sounds in the background
and the familiar movements of a slow moving train.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MOVIE
“Crackling with life” is a term from a teacher, and something that I’ve been working to understand since I began. “Crackling” describes those rhythmic, baroque movements that bind together all forms, and weave a vibrant, kinetic fabric, mimicking our universe, its oneness and its infinite plan.