Thursday, December 16, 2010

Muddy Little Secrets #2 In Progress

This will be done someday, I promise

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tell Me Your Muddy Little Secrets

Matthew Green, Muddy Little Secrets I, 30" x 48", oil on canvas, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big Meadow

I finally got the paintings down from the A-Space and was able to photograph Big Meadow. About 75% of the creation process for this piece is chronicled on Lester Martin's YouTube channel in the series, How To Paint A Masterpiece.

Matthew Green, Big Meadow, oil on canvas, 48" x 72", 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Muddy Little Secrets

Below are 3 works in progress from Five Miles From Times Square, Muddy Little Secrets I, II, and III. In one or two older posts I have the photos from which these paintings are done, so feel free to check them out for accuracy.

I should have #1 done in about 2 or 3 more sittings, and I plan on entering it into a juried show at Off The Wall Gallery in Philadelphia. The show is called Deja Vu: Art and Memory and I think a cross section of an old landfill fits the theme rather well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

denouement (big meadow pt 8)

I got sick and tired of painting and videotaping at the same time, so a lot of steps were missed between the last 2 videos. The painting is done, however and is hanging at the a-space in Philadelphia as part of an exhibition of my work titled, "Something Old, Something New" until September 30.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Big Meadow at The A-Space

The A-Space anarchist community space has generously offered to exhibit my work for the month of September. If anyone actually reads this blog and happens to live in the area, visit the A-Space website and find out when someone is there (they don't hold regular hours, generally speaking although someone is usually there during the day). We're having a reception on Sunday, September 26, from 5 – 7 PM, so come on down for some free wine and cheese and heavy conversations about art, the environment, politics, social change, or baseball.

I'm calling the show "Something Old, Something New", since I'm showing new work dates from 2003 to present. It's also the first public unveiling of Big Meadow, the very first painting for the Five Miles From Times Square project, which I've shown in progress on Les Martin's youtube channel. The final video will be posted soon, although the finished painting looks dramatically different than what it looked like while we were filming.

Here's the skinny:

4722 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA

or visit or for more info

And finally, perhaps someday soon I'll have photos of the finished painting to post.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Painting Done

Big Meadow is complete. I will post pics when I have them. As far as the Big Meadow series of videos, we kind of abandoned that after a while. It was getting a little tedious and distracting to keep working for the camera. Some of the areas were too detailed and the work was progressing too slowly for it to be an interesting video. The final sitting, however was pretty active, so too bad I didn't have the camera out, and the painting is much looser and more expressive than my usual realism work. I expect the rest of the series to be similar. Maybe I'll have photos to post this weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Most Valuable Wasteland In The World

Monumental Meadows was a series of 9 articles over 9 weeks published by John T. Cunningham in the Newark Sunday News in 1959 [view PDF here]. The ideas laid out in my proposal about the push for reclamation, the proximity of The Meadowlands to New York City and New Jersey's industrial base, the high demand for usable real estate in the region, the obstacles faced by builders and engineers, the folklore and stigma of the meadows, etc. are all pretty consistent with much of what Cunningham wrote about 50 years ago. Maybe I'm not so crazy after all.

Something that I didn't explore and maybe should have was cost. Any project in this area is going to cost a shitload of money, and we all know that money doesn't grow on trees. Fill, pilings, labor, all of these things are needed on a massive scale just to erect a single building when the bedrock is 120 feet below the surface. Even the Egyptians knew that they needed unpaid slaves to build the pyramids without going broke.

I've been told that The Meadowlands is a place "where dreams go to die." The Swartwouts went broke. According to Cunningham, "if words were dollars, the meadows would have been reclaimed long ago." The 40's and 50's were times of big dreaming in the Jersey Meadows, when total reclamation was a reasonable goal, and only a fraction of that has come to fruition. As with most Big Ideas, the line of demarcation between dreams and reality is a wall of impasse made of money.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Article in Broad Street Review

I sure am glad I'm done having children after canoeing in some of this water. This just came out today in the Broad Street Review...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

FMFTS updates

Below are more photos from 5/16. Hopefully this week I'll return to the studio and pick up where I left off last Sunday on Big Meadow. Last night I made some changes to my website's videos page, and I'll also have a link tomorrow for my latest article from Broad Street Review.

I'll be planning a new field study soon, acting on a tip I got recently about an area to check out, the old Standard Chlorine facility in Kearny. I may enlist the help of my brother again, and hopefully we're both done reproducing because according to what I've read, the place is a superfund site.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the meadowlands giveth

Many thanks go to my brother Chris for agreeing to let me use his canoe and for enduring tides, winds, gnats, nasty smells, sunburn and general weirdness on the marshes. The meadowlands indeed giveth, but only on their terms. What they give they can take back at will

Photos from May 16

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Meat

The most recent photos and new vidi are in the can. I was out yesterday on the water with my brother Chris fighting the winds and the tides from Lyndhurst to Snake Hill and back.

I made three important observations yesterday:

1) The outgoing tide on the Hackensack River is a force to be reckoned with, especially when you're paddling against it.

2) Some places out there are downright nasty, especially when you see them close-up. There is land made of garbage, and that was especially noticeable in Lyndhurst from the canal where we put in the canoe.

3) Some places out there are absolutely gorgeous. The marshes on the west side of the river opposite Secaucus are near pristine, with clean water and virtually no trash. There are even patches of the original salt hay, most of which has been choked out throughout The Meadowlands by the notorious common reed. There are some areas where the salt hay has been restored through mitigation, but the areas we saw appeared to be natural.

The new video and photos will be posted shortly.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I was planning on going into the swamps tomorrow, to get some new pics, and new video footage. I also need to continue a series of articles I'm writing for an online publication called Broad Street Review, the first installment of which you can read here. The weather, however has different ideas and I had to reschedule for May 16. Thanks to my brother, I'll have a traveling companion and access to a boat.

I guess tomorrow I'l get back to work on Big Meadow and maybe browse the lists of potential donors for my grant proposal, which by the way, I've been rejected by I think 5 foundations so far with one pending, and I expect that rejection to come in about a month. I also have not gotten feedback from some of the other parties to whom I sent the proposal for, as I put it, "a matter of general interest." These include Captain Bill Sheehan of the Hackensack Riverkeepers, the director of the NJMC, Congressman Steven Rothman, and author Robert Sullivan. If any of you folks happen to be reading this blog, I can assure you I'm not asking for money, I just want a vote of confidence, kind of like an intellectual high-five, something to make me look like I have important friends. This could greatly increase my chances of getting funded in an economic downturn.

I gotta remember to take this thing one day at a time. This is advice I got earlier this evening from Bad Blake.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Judge For Yourselves...

Video guru and madman Les Martin cut our latest installment in the never-ending Big Meadow series, in spite of all of our failures as viral marketeers. The video features an original soundtrack by Impossible Gardens.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Going Viral

I haven't added any new entries to this page in a while because 1) I'm not sure if anyone is reading it and I hate wasting my time, and 2) I've been vlogging instead. Since the conventional approach of applying for grant funding for this project has come up empty so far, I attempted to approach the problem through a more modern method, viral marketing. With the help of my friend, former colleague, and esteemed videographer Lester Martin, we carefully crafted a viral marketing plan that failed miserably. The idea was to document the creation and development of the project's first painting, Big Meadow. We underestimated how common a practice this was, that our idea was far from unique. You can see the first try at this in my last entry from 3/10. We're gonna continue with the plan of filming me painting, but probably toss out any notion that this can be successful as a viral marketing ploy. Art just doesn't capture the imagination the way that singing dogs and laughing babies do. We shot more footage last night and will be editing and posting that soon, and hopefully will be adding some original music from a musician friend of mine. It will be pretty fantastic, although I think it may get a grand total of 13 or 14 views on youtube. Whatever. Keep on charging the enemy so long as there is life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Painting

No amount of inadequacies on the part of the art supply or shipping industries can stem the creative tide that is unleashing as I type this. I have this fear, however, that in order to complete the claim of 12 paintings as outlined in my proposal I may need at least 5 years, unless someone ponies up at least the 70 g's I'll need to pay for materials and keep my family alive while I paint. This painting is a little different from what I had originally envisioned, and may seem a little off-topic for this project, but who cares? It's imposing, just like the impression I had trying to force my way into the reeds back in January (see post from Jan 23 but please don't laugh at my crappy video). The next time I explore something like this it will be a lot closer to home. I discovered some sights along the Delaware River waterfront in Gloucester City the other day and the next venture will explore that river front on the New Jersey side from Gloucester City south into where it opens up and becomes the Delaware Bay. Water craft is desperately needed for that, as well as for FMFTS, which I hope to score in about a month or so. I've decided to plod along with this project, whether funded or not. What else can I do? I have to paint, and The Meadowlands is calling me.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Exactly 17 days after my first attempt at buying materials for my first painting, a small box from FedEx jammed full with 6 yards of canvas was sitting on my doorstep when I returned from the store this morning. Also, to add a new level complication to my system of purchasing canvas and stretchers is the fire over the weekend at Philadelphia International Records at Broad and Spruce in Philly, in the same building as Utrecht, where I usually buy stretchers. If there is a God, he is certainly having fun with me. At least I can finally start.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Waiting For The Man

Today is sunday and its been exactly one week since I placed my order with Pearl Paint for my canvas. I realize there were weather issues here in the Northeast but 3-5 days have come and gone. This is beginning to remind me a little too much of a certain UPS situation from August and September '09. Do I have to start writing scathing e-mails again? Maybe I'm blacklisted from package services. My only friend in the shipping business these days is the good old USPS. The guy likes my dog, that makes him OK in my book. Plus I always make sure my sidewalks are clear when there is snow on the ground.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Life's Little Hurdles

Maybe God doesn't want me to paint The Meadowlands. Pearl Paint on South Street in Philly is gone, as I learned when I went there last Friday, so I bought canvas at Utrecht, but they don't sell the 52" rolls I usually get (which fit nicely on 48" paintings). This first one I want to do will be 48" x 72". Utrecht had squares of canvas, so I bought a 77" x 2yd square, thinking the 2yd side would have a little extra, but it didn't. So I ordered a 53" x 6yd Fredrix roll from Pearl online, knowing I would have to wait a few days for the FedEx guy before I could start. I thought at least it would be here by the end of the week, but now the weather forecast is looking rather bleak. If snow stopped the USPS last Saturday, I couldn't imagine FedEx making deliveries Wednesday or Thursday in the snow they're calling for. So now I wait. And wait...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

FMFTS Update

I beat the weather yesterday and got materials for the first painting. Giant piles of snow would have made for treacherous parking in downtown Philly next week, adding to the challenge would be trying to maneuver my 22-month old son around with me on snow/slush/ice covered sidewalks. Now I'm ready, and I'll be painting for the first time in about 5 months starting next week.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Painting 1 of 12

I took the wife's suggestion as which of the photos from last post should be the first painting in the series. Can you guess which one it's gonna be? Hint: it serves as the perfect metaphor for the beginning of the project, as it expresses perfectly my initial frustration as I set out on my first field study at the beginning of this project. You get a better idea of what I'm talking about in the video from last week.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Photos from day 1

In spite of all my bitching as to whether or not my trip was worth my while (as seen in the video below) I managed to snap off some pretty nice photos. At least one of these should become the first painting in the series.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just One...

Here's one photo from the digital camera taken in Carlstadt. I wonder if I could get to the Izod Center by canoe from here. Later on in the day, came the best part over at Snake Hill under the Turnpike bridge. You'll have to wait until I get the film (yes, film) developed for those photos. Nowhere in that entire marsh are you unable to hear the din of the Turnpike, but under that bridge it was a unique experience. The sound there is unlike anything else. It's not a symphony of noises, but rather relentless shattering of peace and tranquility that will go on as long as humans drive, ride trains and fly. The place is an environmental horror show, and what you see on the ground is much like what you hear. A random array of scattered flotsam, the waste of humanity. No matter what anybody does to protect that place, it's a complete disaster. Even the water smells putrid. I gotta go now and get ready for the Jets game.

Day 2 – What Now?

I was up till 2:30 this morning editing and posting that calamitous little video below. Notice about halfway through I start saying "we" as if someone is out there with me. Actually it was you, the viewer. Did you even realize that you were there? I have to finish a roll of film (yes, film) on my camera, and then take 4 rolls to be developed before I can post the results of my "adventure." I'm waiting to see if anything I did yesterday made that trip worth my time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Someday I'll look back on this and laugh.