Monday, July 1, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XVII

Greetings to my dear blog meanderers on this glorious rainy afternoon. I'm not being facetious. I actually love rain, though it is starting to interfere with my quest to end seasonal related depression. If I don't get some vitamin D up in my pores, I'm going to lose my cool (not like there's much of that to lose though). I sort of missed the boat on that blog post last week, so I thought I'd post four paintings today to express my shame and regret.

"Farewell Tour"

Well you don't know how long I've been waiting to type "Painting L". Just kidding, I've realized this roman numeral thing has gotten way out of hand, but I have to see it through. I'm a see-through-er -- to my everlasting regret. Most people probably don't even know that "50" in roman numerals is "L. Would you take a look at that. My blog is both stupid and informatory... the more you know. Anyway, I couldn't be more excited to say I'm finally (more than) half way through "The One Hundred Paintings Project" ( insert confetti ). I just had to paint a sad spectacled bear, because they are my favorite of all the bears, and it's been a long time coming. If someone wanted to get me one for my birthday next year, well wouldn't you know... I'd just love it right to death.


This has turned out to be one of my favorite paintings I've done so far. I didn't think to much of it as I was starting out, but it pulled together nicely, I think.


This one on the other hand, did not. I had a much different vision for this painting (the vision being... not bad). The under-drawing was good, but I messed up somewhere in the painting process. I find that happens every once in a while, whether it's because I'm rushed or just generally "not feeling it" I create a painting I want to trash. I couldn't do that though, because it's all part of the process after all.

"The Spark"

And then I got back in the game with this painting. I'm mostly pleased with the way it turned out, and I painted it pretty quick. Maybe the fastest painting I've done so far. This idea was kind of sparked by my experience as a young art student. I used to come into high school really early in the morning before classes started, to work on this watercolor painting of a deer skull that was set up in the back of the art room. It was so quiet I would just sort of feel alone with myself, this skull and the inspiration.

That about does it for now. I'm going to try and paint four paintings per week if I can swing it. It won't be easy but I'd like to have these paintings done by the end of summer -- God willing and the creek don't rise.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XVI

Hello, hello. Just a quick-lunch-break-update today (has a nice ring doesn't it?) I feel like I've been running for home plate on this fifty painting milestone for some time now. Every time I paint three more paintings I'm still not quite there yet. If this was a silly, slapstick comedy... every time the camera would pan back to me I'd be further and further away from my target (or in my lost baseball metaphor--home plate). Like that endless running scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail: Seen HERE. I don't know why, but I just had to throw that in. 

"The Clearing"

I don't have too much to say about this week's paintings. Or I should say, I have too much to say about this week's paintings. So I'm just not going to, because I don't really feel like it. I'm feeling very nonchalant today. That's really what people mean when they say "I don't know" anyway isn't it? 

Highly Revered Art Critic & Collector: "Alex, what does this painting mean?"
Me: "mmmidunnoo"

"Casual Pollination"

A large part of this week's paintings were trying to come up with some creatures that were my own design, and not just strictly bears, or dogs, or something. I've been having some fun with it. I like this weird little bee-dude. Again, some of the information was lost in the painting because of the large white areas. I should probably invest in a good camera one of these days.

"Tall Tales"

This was actually a last minute painting. I really wanted to get a third done by today, so I threw this one together. I like the idea, it probably could have been executed better. For some reason I've always liked compositions that show people's lower halves. There's sometimes quite a story from the waist down... that sounds bad, but you know what I mean. I once had a friend who said she used to judge people by the shoes they wore, solely (haha, I'm so funny). At the time I was like "Well that's kind of shallow"... but actually shoes-- or lack thereof--can say a lot about a person.

Anyway, I'm out. Toodeloo.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XV

Salutations! I'm moving ahead with three new paintings this week. I've been trying to get back into the habit of creating a minimum of three paintings a week but the free time is scarce. Though I will say this, I think I'm getting faster at painting. Painstaking details like wood grain used to take me a lot longer than they do now. Sometimes I'm even finishing two paintings in a day and they are executed more precisely and with better craft than they were in the beginning of the project. I'm almost at the half-way point now and the project is proving successful in all the ways I hoped it would. I think my skills and concepts are strengthening. You can really see the evolution of that throughout the series, which is why I think it will make such an interesting piece when it's displayed together in the same room--and it's gonna need to be a big room. Here's some paintings--as with all my paintings, light areas of color do not scan well. All three of this week's paintings involved a significant amount of white space. You'll just have to take my word that they look at least a little better in real life.


I really enjoyed the character I came up with for the thirty-sixth painting. This sort of faceless, cloaked deer, who is pensive and mysterious. I wanted to re-visit him again (and will surely re-visit him more in the future). In this painting he is being transformed from dark to light by these butterflies (who are a symbol of metamorphosis and change). In fact, this painting, and the last one from this week have similar concepts. I've been thinking a lot about change lately.

"The Guests Have Arrived"

I hadn't done a funny painting in a while--well funny to me anyway. I really get a laugh out of the rabid raccoon eating birthday cake (and it's really come in handy for birthday cards) and wanted to make something in the same vain. This whale is about to get a good birthday present. Mmm... sea-sailor... my favorite. 

"Collectors Calling"

I had a dream recently about a rabbit and a dog. That has nothing to do with this painting but it made me realize for someone who likes dogs as much as I do, I don't put them in my paintings very often. I think this is only the second dog in the series. I wasn't exactly sure where I was going with this painting. I knew I wanted to have these menacing birds looking through the windows, and all these locks on the door. I guess sometimes people think they are keeping themselves safe but the quality of life is a lot less if you're not willing to walk outside of your comfort zone. The black vines were a last minute addition. The point was that you can't keep bad things out forever, and that problems need to faced or they will find you. In the back of my mind this painting also reminded me of how I feel every month when student loan payments roll around, heh. I was originally tossing around the title "Debt Collectors" but it was really more than that-- more universal, in the end.

I've already got some ideas cooking for next week's paintings. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XIV

The life de-weeding took a few months I guess. I can't believe February was my last update, yikes. It seems like it took forever for winter to end, and it's still ending... and it's still ending... and it's still... but somehow it's June and I don't know how that happened. I just swam in a lake last weekend, but I don't feel ready to put away my galoshes just yet. I feel like winter was a bad boyfriend that I kept trying to break up with and winter was all like "But baby please, just give me one more chance". And I was all like... "nah". Every now and then I still get schmaltzy late night texts saying "I miss how I used to laugh when I watched you dig your car out of a quickly ever-descending snowbank, in 5° weather". Good riddance--that's what I say. Now, summer has arrived just in time for me to start complaining about how hot it is and how it makes me want to scratch my own skin off. Cheers.

Needless to say, winter depressed the crap out of me and somewhere during that time I was in and out of the doctors a lot for a variety of reasons and I got no artwork done aside from my 8-5 job. So it seems like my blog has gained a few inches of dust, but I've been creatively active in other ways, such as music, fine art painting, puppeteering, and the like. I've been feeling lately, like I really want to build something with my hands, like a bookcase or something but lumber is expensive so it's back to the "One Hundred Paintings Project". Segue, segue... etc, ect. 

"Air Raid Shelter"

I can't exactly remember where I got this idea because I drew the thumbnail back in the fall and the painting sometime back in March, but I suspect it was because I was listening to a song by Andrew Bird called "Near Death Experience". There were a few lines that really resonated with me, but these ones especially hit close to home:

"You used to be like toffee,
Between the kitten's teeth
You used to build arid (air raid) shelters
Out of sticks and leaves
And spend the whole day underneath

You used to be like copper
Pliable but strong,
You used to smile and nod,
Say "You're right" be polite
When you know that everybody's wrong"

Now I'm pretty sure what he really says "air raid shelters" because "arid shelters" doesn't make any sense to me (why would a fort of sicks be dry and hot?). Not to mention the title of the song is "Near Death Experience" Alas, the internet says it's "arid shelters", either way, "air raid" is the way I heard it, and it struck a cord because I used to build forts out of sticks and leaves all the time when I was kid. Feeling like it was some sort of impenetrable fort where nothing could get at me. I feel like those two verses really embody what it was like for me to be a child, to have all this knowledge and then not be able to articulate it, or worse, knowing that no one would take me seriously. So I wanted to illustrate this kind of lonely, but peaceful picture. I purposely chose not to have a subject in this one. I used a lot of pastels to really get the feeling of childhood. 

"Recurring Dreams"

The title of this one is self-explaining. I get a lot of recurring themes in my nightmares and dreams. Even the scary ones are starting to bore me.


This one was actually inspired by the title before the painting existed. I do that sometimes, I like to work around a phrase or word, instead of the painting or song coming first. Whenever I hear the word "scrawlings" This is exactly what I imagine. Beetles that have tipped over a well of ink and scratched their musings onto paper. Words evoke funny images sometimes. You can only imagine what I see when someone says "chicken scratch". Here's a hint... it's got little to do with chickens scratching.

That about does it for now. I've got other paintings in progress. Many ideas mulling up there. I'll try not to take 4 months to put them on paper.

Monday, February 18, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XIII

Trying to think of clever witticisms for this week's paintings, but I got nothing. The printer is running a couple hundred catalogs and the smell of toner is giving me a pounding headache. Plus, it's Monday, which means absolutely nothing, seeing as things like time and days of the week are all made at the hands of men and they don't really exist (oh boy, whatever does that mean-- too much for a Monday morning?), but people use that as an excuse for things. SO... when in Rome or in this case--the elaborate fabrication we call "reality"-- do as the dreamers do. If you really want my opinion, I'd much rather endure a Monday than a thursday. Plus we have the "Monday Morning Meetings," which aren't as whimsical as the catchy alliteration might have you believe, but it does break up the day considerably. In conclusion that is why I'm not the least bit funny or heartfelt this morning (or so I lie), etc, etc, Here's a painting.

"Cold Shoulders"

Unfortunately the first two paintings you see here would not scan well. I always forget when I have large areas of "light colors" or white they tend to get blown out. I've done my best to color correct it and bring some of the information back but I will probably have to resort to using a good camera to reproduce it when the time comes.

Sometimes the weight of the world can make you a sad, cold bear... Or bearer.

"Stomping Ground for the Young Believers"

Again, a fairly ambiguous sort of painting to everyone but me and the truly analytical. One of those call it as you see it types. But I will leave you with this, "stomping ground" is a double entendre-- with both meanings being the subtle ones. Wink.

"The Box of You Is Bottomless"

This painting was actually based on a poem I wrote last year. A close friend and I started a weekly poetry club, since we both had a fondness for the written word and wanted to become better acquainted with creative writing. The amount of poems I walked away with that I didn't actually hate could be counted on a finger. You're looking at my visual interpretation of it. I'd like to post the poem with it, but I don't have it memorized and it's at home somewhere stuffed in some desk drawer. I like to think of my desk as an airplane or hotel. Overbooked and then they tell you once you get there that they can't fit you in. My ideas being the sad nobodies that have to wait for the next plane but are probably forgotten about. I have a lot of nobody thoughts in the dark precipice of my desk drawers (and mind, really) waiting to be rediscovered. By then I'll have grown a year older, a year wiser and think they are too naive, no doubt, and stuff them back in the drawer from whence they came and the end begets the beginning. I myself could go for being stuffed in a desk drawer right about now, nevertheless... I have no internet at home, ergo, I could not post this post from the comfort of my digs.

The poem was about losing a person (applicable to whatever form that may be) and being surrounded by their things, their life of possessions (or lack thereof in some instances) that made them who they were, and how those things can sometimes take on a life of their own and become that person. It's the reason collectors collect things and the reason sad girls burn boxes of their ex's mementos. It can be painful to hold onto and therapeutic to let it go--therapeutic to hold onto, and painful to let it go. In summation, I believe the last line of the poem is "The box of you is bottomless." Hence, hence and stuff.

Huzzah, yet another mile stone. I shake my own hand in congratulations. Now having completed 40 paintings and realizing I am almost  half way through the project. Whatever will I do when this project is over? Probably start the "Two Hundred Painting Project." Stay tuned--gonna be a doozy.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Hundred Paintings Part XII

Dusting off the 'ol blog here. It's been a couple months now since I've given an update. A lot has happened in the past few months--good, bad, and good-bad. But it wouldn't be life it weren't inconsistent and you certainly can't fully come to appreciate the moments of true joy and repose until you've been dragged through Hell and back at least a smoldering handful of times. I've actually been in Utica, which is very far from Hell, so far in fact that I may hereafter call it the right place for me right now. After sort of floundering for the past year or so and not knowing what to do or where to go (or truthfully, where to run away to), I very serendipitously ended up in Utica again, and overall it's been a very inspiring and encouraging time of my life. It's brought new light to a city I used to find inescapable. I feel contented to be around what I consider a heartening slew of hard working, creative types.

In short, the recap since August is this: I drove down Florida--my longest car trip where I have driven to date, moved to Rome (not Italy sadly), started a new job as a graphic designer, fulfilled some duties as a maid of honor for one of my best friend's forthcoming wedding, holidays, freelance, car trouble, business trips, endured a horrendous bout of the flu, played shows, took up yoga, made some friends--tried to be a less reclusive person in general, and moved to my own apartment in Utica with my cat. This is all a small fraction of the iceberg that you can actually see, the rest of it is below the icy surface gouging holes in the Titanic of my life. As such, I accidentally forgot about stuff I care about and in truth maybe the only "things" that really matter right now. Like painting, and the way grass smells, writing chord progressions that make me want to "do the dance"-- (as my good friend Lucas would say). Winter has been a cold-hearted, fickle, cussing nightmare this year. I need some good old fashioned sunshine to put things right inside my heart and mind again.

With that said, as concisely as possible, it's not so much that I forgot about the "One Hundred Paintings Project" as I've become imbibed by a dark cloud of jarring and yet illuminating life truths. In reality, the problem was (and always has been) that I remember too much. And have felt nothing but guilt and shame for the past couple months having put off this project. I feel like I neglected a sad puppy. And I just don't like to see a sad puppy-- nor do I like to be one.

So here is to starting anew. I have begun painting again and my goal is to finish the project by the end of Spring. Overreaching? Maybe. I've done crazier things though.

I think the summation of my life from August to present will suffice for explanation and dissection of this week's paintings. I'm going to keep the interpretation up to everyone else, no need to go into too much detail.


This first painting I've also submitted for Illustration Friday's topic this week, which is "wings".

"The Edge"

I like this one I think.

"Let Sleeping Beasts Lie"

Sometimes people really shouldn't poke a sleeping animal that can tear your face off. I'm just saying. Maybe some questions are best left unanswered. There are worse things than curiosity left unsatisfied. 

I'm starting to find my use of roman numerals obnoxious. I originally thought it was a good idea because in the process I could teach myself how to read and write roman numerals, but now I feel like it's pretentious. 

Oh yeah, and it's my birthday; I was painting on my lunch break yesterday in the Cafeteria here at work (I take my lunches at 2 pm lately to avoid gawking while I paint) and a woman whom I've never met comes up and asks me:

"Are you painting that for your birthday?" Thought: Yes... I'm painting a picture to give myself on my birthday. 

Which I thought was humorous at the time, because people ask the most absurd questions when they are confronted with art. Like, 

"Did you paint that whole thing?!" Thought: No, in fact I found it and decided to complete it with the watercolor paints, china nests and paintbrushes I just happen to bring to work today.

I can't even handle my own sass sometimes. I don't know where I learned to be such a smart aleck but luckily I've developed a sass filter and I try not to be condescending in any way. There is so much I myself know nothing about. In fact, I'd encourage even the most stupid questions. At least it means people have a pulse and care about anything. The fact that a complete stranger knew it was about to be my birthday was thoughtful enough. I know what people actually mean when they say these things is "Wow that's really nice!" -- and we all need a little bit more of that in the world.

Herein lies the truth. As I sit here today, I've come to regret even thinking it was a dumb question at all, on the contrary...quite perceptive. In many ways I do feel like completing these paintings was a gift to myself. They are really so much more than paintings to me right now. This project represents something, metaphorically that I've been trying to do for a long time. To not have given up on it means a great deal to me, and reminds me that I'm not a person to simply give up on things I've invested in. In hindsight it might have been the most insightful question I've received all week, so thanks lady from work. And Happy Birthday to me. Whew.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Will Miss This Someday


I have so many things to post and update on. I feel like I haven't been home in a month. There's about a million things demanding my attention. I've been doing a lot on the musical front too. Currently working on songs for two albums (one which is sort of conceptual). Tonight's songful excursion lead me to write a fairly depressing ballad. So this is my 1 a.m. demo (I say demo like there is a mystical time in the future I'll actually record a version of it when I'm not really tired and using my computer mic--laughable... I probably won't. Ever). It's really unfortunate I can't be inspired or productive at reasonably convenient hours of the day. I have a theory on that, but I will elaborate another time. For now you could just listen to this sad song and stuff.

Here's a song! (It's the topmost song)

I Will Miss This Someday (demo)

Here's some lyrics!

"I Will Miss This Someday" (I know, not very clever, I'm tired)

Winter is over
But you don't smile still
And I miss it like
The sweetgrass
Of spring

Winter is over
But you don't look so well
As your vigor and life
Start to melt

Carpet beetles topple and play
Through a patchwork quilt of tousled hay
Citrine and pressed
Where the snow once lay
You look up at me and say
"You know, I will miss this someday"

Winter is over
And all that grows
Is a crushing sense
It all comes to a close

Winter is over
And you're not the one
That is telling yourself
What to do anymore

Your eyes go kind of empty and crossed
You look past the dew, tears crystallize to frost
And you tug my hem gently
As if to say
"You know, I will miss this someday"
"You know, I will miss this someday"

Winter is over
I still walk by our house
As the roof and my heart
Slowly sinks

Winter is over
A skeleton of beams remain
Like a cage
'Round this ghost of a place

And my eyes go kind of empty and crossed
As I look past the wreckage of something I lost
When I turn away, what I mean to say is
"You know, I still miss you some days"
You know, I still miss you some days
You know, I still miss you some days
You know, I still miss you some days