Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is an in-progress shot from 2007. I remember being most interested in the white foreground shape, and being frustrated by the rest of this painting. I ended up painting out all but the white shape and cutting the panel into a shape. I tossed it aside for a couple years, and then painted it into something else.

I just happened onto this image and am blown away by the simple egg shaped figure in landscape.

When one paints imagined figures within the illusion of a gravity-bound space, it so easily slips into a yucky type of surrealism, stylistically. Some of this results from a perceptual rut, where we tend to lump together to many different things, without distinguishing what's really there. I tend to reject some of my own tendencies, because I start identifying them a certain way, with certain types of work.

Long-winded way to say I wish I had this panel and I'd paint out the white shape and the yellow shape, and just leave the big egg.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rulers and Rules

6' x 12', latex, glazing medium

As I painted this, I kept being reminded of Harry Davis. He was my foundation drawing professor, and his pet peeve was ruled lines. He banned rulers from his class, yet he insisted we draw straight lines. I totally get it, and especially during this project, where I painted quite a few long straight lines with a script liner brush. The handpainted line is beautiful.

The next year I had Robert Weaver for an illustration-focused drawing class. He insisted that every straight line be made with a ruler. He expressed every bit as much outrage as had Prof. Davis (for non-ruled lines) that anyone would do otherwise.

Were I to go back in time, I would stump them both with a Mary Yeager quote, "Rules are for amateurs". Mary used this phrase most often in reference to gardening, but it's applicable to almost everything, and it's really fun to say. Mary is also responsible for the "Dumbass with a dream" title I've used on a couple paintings. Some friends have chattered of about collecting and publishing Mary's unique truisms. If you ever run across a book titled "Yeagerisms", buy it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Confession- I'm Into My Day Job Work

Below is end of day Friday - I was supposed to be done, or close, but I have at least three more days to go.
Being off work today, I'm already missing it. I have a very strong desire to paint a one-stroke lintel, allowing it to trail off, naturally creating dimension. Architectural rendering is amazingly satisfying. It really slows me down, and I can't dash through it. It slows me down and I start enjoying the process in a different way.

It doesn't show, but the monochromatic color scheme is actually a very subtle layering of brownish gray over blue-lavender gray, with slightly yellowish highlights.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Luis Coig Reyes

Other Important Things, 8 1/2" x 11", watercolor and graphite
Baby Jesus and the Larva, 2' x 2', watercolor

I recently found this wonderful work by Luis Coig Reyes, via his currently in stasis blog, Corpus Callosum. There I am included on a "like" list of artists that is pretty humbling. Wow. I'll be raiding this list for upcoming Rocktown posts.

Be sure to view the 102 Tiny American Paintings on Luis' site. Great accompanying statement. These are inspiring, they make me want to re-path my work.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Black and White and Read All Over"

Dowager Brooch, 12" x 8.5" oil on wood

Brooch of Bewitchment, 14" x 12", oil on wood

Buffalo Heart, 14" x 12", oil on wood

I can't tell if I'm legitimately self-doubting or just in a grumpy mood, but the boa frame annoys me. I feel I've sacrificed a painting (an experience) to make an art object (a symbol for experience). I also have mixed feelings about exploring the point where a painting functions as an object. It seems interesting. All human pondering is interesting, and formal considerations are ultimately about human pondering. I just think this particular issue, the workings of a painting functioning outside of the 2-d realm, may be of relatively minor interest, compared to the workings of a painting within the 2-d realm.

These are for the upcoming color-themed show at the Harrison Center (16th and Delaware St, Indianapolis). Opens on Dec. 4.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bootleg Exhibitions and Mt Comfort Gallery

Jenny Buffington at Bootleg Exhibitions Vol.1

Aaron Schmidt at Bootleg Exhibitions Vol.1

Tyler Meuninck in "Public Works" at Mt. Comfort

Saturday, I hit two closing receptions at the corner of English and State St. .

Tyler Meuninck was showing some great paintings, done mostly with a beautiful palette of pinky browns. These urban landscapes combine atmospheric space with abstracted space, which works especially well with the mid-value, low contrast paintings.

I had heard and read from many different sources that Bootleg Exhibitions, across the street from Mt. Comfort, had hosted an excellent inaugural and second show. There is so much local marketing bs pushing entities to succeed by blowing hype, that, to some degree, I blew off the input I receive on this gallery. I shoulda listened better.

The space is so exciting that the work shown forms a symbiotic relationship with it. Well, I should say, the artists are intentionally working with and within these conditions. The space is raw, and display decisions are brilliant. The rawness is embraced and played upon, but not in a precious manner. Rather the arrangements are unselfconscious, direct, and efficient. I can't really address the work shown, because I stupidly waited until the closing to see this show (and missed the inaugural show entirely), but what I saw was very good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm Breathing Air Again

...after being underwater for three weeks.

I subcontracted with Steve Paddack of Paintbox Studios, and we also had help from artist Mike Brown. We painted three scenic wall murals, and two window murals, all depicting biblical geographical areas. This is for a church's new childrens' learning area.

Above and below: Entry mural, Northern Galilee, 10' x 25'

Sea of Galilee valley, 10' x 30'
(this area will soon have a giant boat in which kids can ride)

Northern Galilee, 7' x 16'

Interior room of a Jerusalem home,
with windows looking out on a terrace and on Jerusalem,
6' x 6'
This was a great project, and I really enjoyed working with others. I like that these murals have nice light and space in them, even though the project didn't require this. People really do respond well to "painted worlds" once they actually see them in person. That's reassuring.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yard Offerings From Below

These are fairly early finds at 1650 Kildare, from a few years ago when I still enjoyed hanging out in my yard. I spent several years hand digging my garden. I've had people tell me I'm full of shit for thinking these are anything other than rocks...

I've thrown back the iffy ones and kept these two, because they are obviously human-made tools. It doesn't show, but the larger one has a very refined axe-end to it, with a very bulky front area. It appears the lower part of the axe-end broke and they tossed it aside. I would not have expected these to be made this way, refining an area before shaping the entire thing.
The cat tail in the last photo is from current times.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Henri Art Magazine - Color

Mark Stone of Henri Art Magazine has been posting a series of essays on color. He points out how the use, and perception, of color in art has dramatically changed over the past few centuries. He then very intimately links this, through specific artworks, to our own changing character as a people.

He frames these thoughts within a Modernism vs. Post-Modernism comparison, in ways which further clarify these movements.

Color: 16th Century
Color: Mannerism
Color: Chromophobia
Color: Emphasis
Color: Simulation

Monday, October 26, 2009

New American Paintings is Out

I'm too wiped out to link or scan a picture. I finally picked up a copy from the newsstand. I feel totally tolerant of my spread, which is a very good thing. I think this issue (#83) has some good work. Lots of individual work. Again, I'm not going to bother with saying whose work I like..

I will try to do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Beat is Sick

This Beat is Sick: Bushwick Art Spaces Stay Open Late.

If you're in Brooklyn, NY this Saturday...

"This coming weekend get out and see all the art you never had the time for before! Without the clutter of hundreds of random living rooms diverting your attention, see Bushwick's most respected spaces at a time more conducive to high culture activites - 6-10pm on Saturday night. This is not to say some of these places aren't actually living rooms..."

More Sugar!

More here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One thing leads to another

I have several small shaped panels, some have been painted, some have not. I'm not very committed them. I sanded this one down and repainted, specifically for an upcoming color-themed show (juried so I'm not officially posting this image yet).

I have a group of large shaped paintings which I'll be showing at the Harrison Center Gallery in April 2010. I'd like to augment this group with a subgroup, and originally had a plan to almost subvert my own work, by using the large shaped paintings as 'beings' in smaller narrative paintings. I'd have them comically running around or lying on the ground, shaped similarly to a pool of water. It cracked me up and also fulfilled my ongoing need to negate (partially anyway) what I've already done. Those paintings had become my "serious" work, and I needed to knock them down a bit. But I never applied the idea; maybe it's better as an imagined dalliance.

These smaller shaped pieces will work well. They'll relate to the larger work in a very real, nongimicky way. It will be good for me to work smaller and faster with the similar formal elements. These can make more cohesive statements, which will satisy something.

I also like being mentally into the next project before my opening on Friday.

Quick snap of current reworked painting

"Morning on Earth", 24" x 48"

I'm not sure whether or not I'll include this in the show Friday. I am including two other similar "landscape" paintings, in addition to the Mounts, and this is the panel that triggered the whole series. If I do include it, I need to build another frame sometime soon. I may need help...

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Mounts" at 4 Star Gallery

Mount G, 10" x 10", oil on wood, 2008
Excellent timing. Next week I will be showing my "Mounts" series, for the first time in person, in entirety, at 4 Star Gallery. A group of these paintings are included in the current issue of "New American Paintings" #83, which just hit the newsstands this week.
The 4 Star Gallery show runs Oct. 16 - Nov. 14, with an opening reception Oct. 16 from 5-9pm, and a "First Friday" reception on Nov. 6. If you're in town I hope you can make it.
653 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianpolis, IN 46204

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Steve Paddack at 4 Star Gallery II

Flight of the Reliant, 10" x 8", acrylic on canvas

Expedition! 8" x 10", acrylic on canvas

Temple of Unspoken Opinions, 36" x 48", acrylic on canvas

Redundancy of Errata, 60" x 48", acrylic on canvas

Residence of Smithee, 36" x 48", acrylic on canvas
You'll have a second chance to see Steve Paddack's Redundancy of Errata, this Friday, Oct. 2 5-9pm, at 4 Star Gallery, 653 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis.

These pieces are painted in multiple glaze layers, with unusal color combinations. They are cringingly beautiful and strange, and best seen in person.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Did I ever mention I lived in a trailer for most of the 90s?

Well now, I can't believe I have a blog called Rocktown, Indiana, which is a pseudo-self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek reflection upon the cultural geographics of my life choices, and I've never mentioned the trailer. I spent most of the 1990s in this trailer, and had it been located in some sweet rural woods rather than a trailer park, I'd still be there. It's a 1963_________ I can't remember the brand. The label was right by the door and I saw read it every day. The main part is 10' x 50', with an attached 16" x 20" garage. I visualized what I wanted, scoured the "Trader", and found it, for $1800.
Original turquoise fridge and sink, "banana" breakfast bar. This front area was an open space about 30' long with two of the lofted window areas, and a bumped out area that widen the space.. The back room had a third such window.

I installed a climbing pole and the cats ruled the lofted window areas.

I died when I walked into a fabric store, looking for something cheap to cover the banana bar, and found this. It wasn't cheap, but it was perfect.

This is the only home I've ever really "decorated". I just kept finding the perfect things. The end. (hee-hee. that's Ava's manxy ass coming out of the [original turquoise] sink).

Stephen Magsig

La Maison Blanche IV
oil on linen/panel, 2009, 5" x 7"

Dequindre Cut Shadows
oil on linen/panel, 2009, 7" x 5"

Swing Bridge to Zug Island
oil on linen/panel, 2009, 5" x 5"

"Postcards from Detroit is a diary in small paintings from American artist Stephen Magsig."
I found Stephen's work through a facebook link and have been enjoying. He has set up an ebay auction account for these works, which links directly from his blog site.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"A Taste of Sugar", An Inaugural Show

Artist Gwendolyn Skaggs has a new space in Brooklyn, NY, "Sugar", which will open this Saturday, September 26, 6-9 pm. Location is 449 Troutman Street.

I'm very excited to see familiar faces in this inaugural show, including former Indianapolis artists David Frye, Steven Stoller, and Jacqueline Skaggs. Oh yeah, I'm in it too!

"Sugar" is an evolution of "Alcove", (formerly at 547 W. 27th St., 6th floor, Chelsea, NY.), which offered an interesting exhibition "challenge" of sort. The gallery was a hallway, with one artist on each side, face to face.

Congratulations to Gwendolyn.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Revised Paintings III

Mount M (before)
10" x 10"

Mount M (revised)

Mount U (before)

Mount U (revised)

Mount M had been overworked, Mount U never really finished. I'll be showing the entire series of 12 paintings next month at 4 Star Gallery in Indianapolis. Opens Oct. 16. These will also be featured in the New American Paintings which hits the stands Sept. 23.