Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Untitled Painting part 3

Once again, unfortunately, I don't feel like writing. I've written some interesting things in the past, so feel free to browse and read some of my older posts. Honestly, I just can't tonight. I'm tired. And I keep making typos. And I have this tiny little split on the tip of my right index finger that is making typing kinda painful. So instead of reading, if you're shy and/or lazy and don't feel like perusing my older posts, here's tonight's latest version of my yet-to-be-titled work in progress to stare at...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Untitled Painting part 2

About an hour of work. Hopefully part 3 tomorrow. I wish I had more to say, but...

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Painting, No Title Part 1

I had this idea of ending this project about a month ago, but It doesn't look like that idea is taking hold very well. Circumstances being what they are, I've decided to press on with the material I've collected over the last 4 years and keep doing paintings from The Meadowlands.

I needed to start a new painting for an upcoming studio tour, and I knew I wasn't going to have any opportunities to find a new subject to study and go out and shoot photos. I delved into some photos from the last hour or so of a shoot I did in 2010, and found some pretty intriguing ones.

I had a swatch of canvas that was enough for a painting that would measure 30" high by 64" wide, a rather unusual proportion, and certainly a new one for me. Finding a good image that would crop nicely to that size was a bit of a challenge, but I found one that captured a nice sublime moment. The geometry of the image was what really grabbed me, as there's a beautiful array of large shapes in the picture that divides the space nicely. There's also a big expanse of sky which creates a feeling of freshness and openness in the piece.

I snapped a photo after doing a quick sketch on the canvas, and I think I'll try and capture each sitting like I've done in the past. I don't feel like painting tonight. I can list a million reasons why I won't start tonight, but it will only sound like a whole bunch of half-assed excuses, so I won't get into specifics.

Here's the sketch, followed by the photo. I have no title yet. I'm probably not going to attempt think of one tonight either. That should show you how lazy I am tonight...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Golden Hour

Photographers often refer to the early mornings or evenings as "The Golden Hour," the time of day when the light is soft and warm, shadows are long and dramatic, and it all adds a special quality to photographs with rich colors and soft contrasts.

Back in January 2010 I was on one of my early photo shoots for this project, and as I neared the end of the day I stopped off at Laurel Hill Park to use up the rest of my film, after a pathetic trek 50 yard trek through the foxtails which felt like miles. What followed were some pretty stellar images, none of which had been used until recently, when my wife and I were looking for new images to hang around the house in advance of an upcoming studio tour.

I cropped some of the best ones to squares to fit some frames she had, and I found some gems, which had been previously swept under the rug until today. I may even make one of them into a new painting, although I'll have to find something that will work in a 30" x 64" format.

Scroll down and see if you agree that these Golden Hour photos are what I think they are...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The 9th Annual Mary Liz Memorial Masters Exhibition

When? Thursday, March 7th from 7-10PM. Where? Off The Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank's, the NE corner of 13th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, PA. Who? Robert Bohné, Matthew Green (me) and Jim Montgomery. What? An opening reception to remember. Why? because we love art, and we love parties. Why not?

I have 4 paintings on display in this exhibit, Xanadu, Laurel Hill, Snake Hill Summit #1, and Kearny. I'd have more, but they're too damn big. Stop whatever you're doing on March 7, cancel all of your plans, and come on down...

Got A Piece Of The Rock

This is a story of a painting that I thought was finished re-emerging and finally becoming something far greater that I initially thought it could be. It's also a statement about a painting finding its own way, in spite of my best efforts to get it done simply and quickly. Some images are just determined to make a statement. Finally, its about a project that won't end, no matter how much I want it to.

On a windy and bitter cold Sunday in January 2009 I traveled with my buddy Willie Joe to Laurel Hill Park near Secaucus, NJ, just off of exit 15X on the New Jersey Turnpike. Laurel Hill used to be known as Snake Hill, and it's an unusual geological formation that seems to have been dropped in the middle of a vast swampland on the banks of the Hackensack River. The Turnpike skirts the eastern face, and motorists have for decades been enchanted by this very odd, very graffitied rocky knoll. Folks may also recognize its profile as it served as the visual inspiration for the Prudential Insurance logo.

I have personally been curious about this place, and finally made time to go there and climb it, for the purpose of taking photographs as I began my study of the New Jersey Meadowlands for this project. Many people have climbed it, mainly the local youth, primarily for the purposes of underage drinking and spray painting various illegible words and phrases on it. With Willie holding fast at the foot of the hill, I climbed it, utilizing a rusted fence that wrapped up the steep contour of the north side.

After about 10 minutes I had reached the summit at the south end which offers a perfect 360 degree view as far as the eye can see, as there are no other land formations or large buildings anywhere nearby. The closest obstructions of any size are the Palisades to the east and the New York City skyline just beyond, and city of Newark to the south west. The surrounding windswept landscape was very bleak and very cold, a perfect setting for some amazingly sublime photos.

I started the painting a few months after the trip, and after one sitting I had a completed sketch showing the south view, with the swamp, the Hackensack river and a railroad bridge in the foreground, the city of Kearny, NJ in the mid ground, and the Pulaski Skyway outlining the horizon in the distance. I put the painting aside and started another, and it sat for almost four years.

I pulled the painting out, and even offered it for sale, as I was satisfied by the sketch, as it had a nice, painterly, impressionistic quality and said everything I felt it needed to say. Shortly after, I took it out for a studio visit by a gallery curator, and she asked me if I had planned on finishing the painting. From that point on, it took on a life of its own and became what it is today.

Its interesting to note that I had officially declared this project over, until this and two other paintings from that 2009 trip made re-appearances in my studio. I still feel that the project is done, but my needs have changed. I'll need new paintings for some other events I have coming up, and this project still has plenty of unused material for subject matter.

See below, Kearny, 30" x 48", oil on canvas, then (2009) and now (2013).