Is that digital?

for a couple of weekends before Christmas I had a studio sale / open house… met some lovely people, and sold a few pieces.
One large painting that is now finished was sitting in the studio, and a woman came in to admire it, and asked me, “is that digital?”

Me, standing there with a puzzled expression on my face…. she, trying to explain that she had just seen some other work in town that was so beautiful, and on canvas, that she thought it was a painting…. and of course it was a digital image printed on canvas. It deceived her into thinking it was something else. So, of course, she was now thinking that this must be commonplace, and if you see lovely images/colors, and they are on a canvas, they might be digital images…. never mind that you are in the studio of a person who paints, and my work isn’t that realistic.

Talk about a teachable moment!
and one of my few pet peeves- the trend in recent years for anyone with a high-end digital camera, photoshop and printer, the time and money to travel to exotic looking places, and the strong inclination to self-promote to be putting out these images on canvas in any quantity they feel like.
The lines just get too soft and the general public gets too confused and thinks they are holding something of great value – cuz it’s on canvas?

a bird in the hand . . . almost

The other day, I arrived at the studio, with several things in hand to unload.  One of the casement windows  had been open for a couple days, but the weather had turned a bit colder, so I thought, “I should shut that.”  Then, in the corner of the room, I heard a small shuffling sound, and out popped a finch who promptly tried to make a run for one of the closed windows!

She could see there was an “outside”, but how to get to it?    The golden leaves of the trees are just outside, since I am about 30 feet above the street level, and birds often perch on my wide stone windowsills.  After trying to gently usher the poor confused thing in the general direction of the now two open windows, I decided to go down to the car for another load of stuff, leave the windows open as much as I could, and hope for the best.

When I returned a few minutes later, it seemed that nothing was skittering around behind the racks anymore, so fingers crossed, I assumed it had gone home, and cranked the windows closed again.

Well that explained the bird poop spots on my floor!

When not chasing wildlife around my work environment, I have started two new pieces, shown below.  It’s interesting that I got comments about the blue one when it was in an even sketchier preliminary state, that it looked “finished.”

I’m not sure what that means to some casual viewers… perhaps that it is lively and fresh?  they they can see a picture or image and that is sufficient?  not sure – should have asked.  My response was that it didn’t have nearly enough density or history yet to feel substantial, and that may or may not make sense to someone wandering around on a First Friday. The concept of “thin” has many connotations in painting, like the literal layers of paint, a prematurely short conversation with problems suggested by the painting…

I also keep lots of different drawings, worked over photocopies, and sometimes notes to myself on the walls to keep me on track about what intrigued me enough to begin something.

and now that it is getting cold – the city has turned off the water in the spitting fountains outside, and the squealing crowds have also left, which makes concentrating a tad easier.

people stop by . . .

Occasionally I like to work with  my door open. Either by a few inches, to help the air circulate to keep the fumes down, or all the way, so I can sit in a chair opposite, and look in at my painting on the wall.  I’m not one of those painters who loves an audience though… so the best days to do this are when the building is closed to the public.

The other day, while scrubbing away on a piece, I felt the presence of someone outside the studio, and turned around to see a kid starting to slide a piece of paper under my door.  I poked my head out, said “hi”, and he told me he had drawn this and wondered if I would like to make a painting of it.  I’m not certain if this was some unusual way of trying to commission a painting, or he just wanted to give me a new and different challenge. Either way, I was totally charmed. As we talked, I found out he loved to draw, and wanted to try painting sometime.  My guess is he was about 9 or 10, and appeared to be walking around the building by himself, just because he wanted to look at the art! So, here is my assignment … should I choose to accept it….

"could you paint or draw something simalar to this?"
"could you paint or draw something simalar to this?"

I was impressed by the way the image was a balance of intricate little parts and larger shapes, and the great cloud of steam coming out the top having volume as a results of his overlapping the curving lines.  A very carefully observed, robust train engine!  . . .

Today, another wanderer came through, even though the exhibits are closed on Mondays.  She was visiting town as part of a giant gathering of religious types at our local university.  After chatting for a while, she began to pull something out of her purse, and I was thinking “oh no, here it comes, the pamphlet promising me ‘eternal life’ or something similar.” Fortunately, we didn’t go there, and instead she pulled out a business card for one of her husband’s films, called Magdalena- Released from Shame. Something about how women in the middle east are oppressed. Haven’t checked it out, so can’t say what the real message is.

Anyway, you never know who’s going to find their way back to my little corner of the world!