Saturday, August 31, 2013

Web Vest Still- Life Landscapes

    Back in the old days when I used to wander around in the desert many of us would don (web)vests for a night out.  Back then our pouches bulged with all kinds of ‘stuff and our steps were light.   We were (literally) dressed to kill.   But the thrill faded quickly and the first thing we did when we finished the night was to unceremoniously drop our vests and collapse for a few winks.  But sometimes in the right light and mood I could look at my vest and its jumble of pouches and straps and see it not only for what  it was but as an object quite beautiful and unexpected:  A  still-life, a mini- landscape of hills and valleys.
     As I was glancing through an old sketchbook, I came across some little ball-point pen drawings that I had made of my vest all those years ago.  Strangely enough I apparently drew it with all the pouches empty making it look shrunken and flimsy.  It occurred to me that if I had actually worn the vest as I drawn it (with its empty pouches), it would have been like getting dressed up for a war and then forgetting to pack the bullets.

 How embarrassing. 


Monday, August 26, 2013


Long ago, in another life, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time sleeping outside. Sometimes I slept under the stars. Other times I got to sleep in a tent. Sometimes a big tent and at other times a small pup tent. Occasionally I would make sketches on scraps of paper that I would keep in my pockets.
What was it about the tents that so attracted me? The infinite patterns created as the canvas folded on itself? The play in the contrast of light and shadows?
But it wasn’t until much, much later that I began to think about what the tent represents:
Shelter. Escape. Warmth. Refuge. Safety. Privacy. Intimacy. Transiency. Portability. Mobility.
Here are some of those tents reinterpreted thirty something years later using a bit of acrylic paint and pen and ink .


The whole is the sum of many parts.   This is an approach that suffuses my work whether woven or collaged work on paper.   In this series I have glued raw canvas rectangular remnants  together to form small rectangular squares.   Once again my default is the portrait.  I enjoyed experimenting with the happy accidents that occur when applying pen and ink and acrylic to the dampened canvas surfaces.

Monday, August 5, 2013

'Bliss' Mini-Mural Project June, 2013

    The call went out to submit ideas for the next round of Mini-Murals on the train viaduct here in Oak Park, IL.  Never to miss an opportunity I submitted an image that once again emphasized my interest in the arts.  I chose to base my piece on a painting I had made a few years back that featured a leaping dancer hovering in the midst of celebratory figures playing music on a variety of instruments.  Stylistically I tipped my hand heavily toward some of the traditional modernist:  Picasso, Matisse, and Chagall.  
  The process is fairly straight forward.   I sketch a quick grid onto the wall to transfer the image and over the course of about 12-15 hours the work evolves, pretty close to what I anticipated.  In the end it's fun to compare the finished product with the original sketch held,   The question is which one is which?