Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Out of focus

I need to paint more. I really just want a good series of paintings.  If I can stop getting distracted... For my final thesis project I really just want a wall of glass. Thirty 3'x2' still-lifes in a 6 by 5 grid would be rather impressive looking as well as make it impossible to hang 58"high to center.
Here's something recent:

I've also been looking at the pipes in the stair wells of the art building.  I really want to do a series of wide rectangular paintings that could be displayed above each other. Each painting would have the pipes on a different floor. I think the shapes are kind of neat.
The paintings I want to make would have most of the  pipes orthogonal to the edges of the canvas so this isn't the best picture but these are the pipes I'm talking about.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brass and Oil

A friend of mine told me about this artist, Diana Gibson. I am a fan. It's nice to see some modern realist still life paintings. There's a smoky/watery feeling to these paintings that I'm not sure how I feel about. Part of me likes it, part of me is unsettled by it somehow.

Three Garlic Cloves

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thesis Exhibition Proposal/Angry Rant

I intend to have a series of related paintings.  This seems rather obvious as I am a painting major.  My focus and my desire have been to paint glass for the past several years.  I think it’s fitting that my senior thesis culminates in paintings of glass.  For four years the reception of this idea has been both poor and good.  There always seems to be some question as to why anyone would want to paint still life. Nearly every time, when given the option I will paint glass. And very often this has been dismissed. My final projects have been assumed to be some kind of introductory class assignment. I am constantly pushed in one direction or another to paint what others conceive as a path with more options.  I enjoy painting landscapes. I enjoy painting figuratively.  I have even enjoyed painting abstractly. I have. But still life is the only thing I’ve painted that I feel like I have to keep defending.  It’s not merely defense of a painting, but defense of an entire genre. Am I honestly expected to meet this challenge? My first oil painting was seven years ago. For the last five years of that time I have met with only occasional encouragement for the path that I want to pursue. My work cannot defend itself.  I have only just begun my exploration. At every step I am tempted to say “Morandi did it!” and lock myself away. But I yield to comments. I explore other options. I try to placate. I paint abstractly. I look for ways to relate painting to my study of physics. I try to find other elements of interest for people. I’ll modify my style and see where that takes me. I’ll paint something different and see where that takes me. Time after time I abandon what I really want to do because the grass may be greener. And time after time I return to glass.  Perhaps I’ll have expanded my technique. Perhaps I’ll see something different. But nearly every time my return is a quest for salvation, for a return to peace, for something that I understand and can explore happily.  But that is not the case. I am forced to look at my work with new eyes and question “why this, why that?” I return cynical and discouraged.        Eventually I remember that the whole point is that I enjoy looking. I like imagining the light curving until it meets my eye. When light hits glass it interacts with the particles that make up the glass. The light bounces back and forth between the particles, being absorbed and released. On the visible level this results in the path the light bending. When it finally reaches my eyes it is focused onto cells which have evolved to stop sending signals to my brain should they bit hit by certain wavelengths. These certain wavelengths are of course determined by the microscopic structure of these cells and their ability to absorb light is done is created by the same mechanism of the glass. When these cells stop signaling my brain my brain is given a lot of information. The wavelengths are translated into colors. The intensity is translated into brightness. This forms an image. This image is processed into things I recognize or things I don’t recognize. All of these processes are transmitted by the same mechanism as the light through the glass. Of course this is a simplification. One cannot say what happens during any of these interactions. One can only see the results. One cannot be sure if the particles one is referring to are “real” or if they’re just useful tools for guessing what will happen on an observable level. No one truly understands how or why anything we see can be seen or perceived. Should I paint abstractly?   Nothing that humans have ever imagined is stranger than nature. Should I relate my paintings to physics?  I paint as part of an exploration of the natural world. My current area of focus is glass. To exhibit anything else for my final thesis would be untrue to myself. I intend to fill the space provided to me with paintings of glass. I don’t know why I needed to write so much explain that.
Morandi did it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Consistently Inconsistent

Why do physicists do this*? Don't use 'm' to index energy states and to denote mass or use 'e' for the charge of an electron and the exponential constant in the same blasted equation! Scientists are supposed to question conventions, not perpetuate senseless traditions**! You're allowed to define your variables! Why not use μ for mass or q for charge? Those are pretty standard. Or why not just make up a symbol? ħ anyone? Pisses me off...

*This rant brought to you by footnote 4, on page 147 of Griffith's Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (2ed).
** Apparently Feynman made his own mathematical notation when he was younger but gave it up when he realized it made it impossible for him to communicate what he was doing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shiny Things

These are paintings by Janet Fish.  I love the subject matter and the final product, but there's something strange to me about the construction. I haven't seen any of these in person, but I saw her paintings a few summers ago in DC Moore.  For the most part she doesn't blend her colors on the canvas.  There are trails of solid colors snaking through the canvas.  The precision is amazing but I feel like it'd be a constant struggle with the paint to lay anything down that way.

Contrast that with George Nick: Up close sections of these painting look like indistinguishable blobs.  The paint is thick on the canvas and there are several colors in a brush stroke.  This doesn't feel like such a fight with the paint.

This is a recent painting of mine (My submission for the water show). I've never painted as tightly as Fish, but for this one I loosened up more towards Nick (Though I doubt my surface is a quarter the thickness of his).