Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More from the moleskine

lecture crowd

art bin

the kitchen and the hallway

hitachi drill 02

hitachi drill 01

Some recent moleskine sketches. The first sketch is from conceptual artist Jonathon Keats' lecture at Montana State University last night. He's a very entertaining and creative fellow, and has some very good ideas. The rest are all from around the house.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

bozeman main street #19

Another one bites the dust...

bozeman main street #18

Another spread finished. I've been going back and forth as to whether this drawing is any good. I'm having the same issue I had when I drew spread #2-- I've changed the scale of the buildings to accommodate a tall building. Here that tall building is the U.S. Bank building, one of the less attractive buildings on Main. If you look closely (at the actual building, not my drawing) you can tell it's a historic building that has been re-clad in '60s-ish Brutalist stucco and glass. Presumably this cladding could be removed to reveal the brick beneath. It's been done with other buildings on Main before, so only time will tell if the same fate is in store for this lovely structure.

My poor planning re: the scale change meant I started a bit high on the page and had to slowly move everything lower as I proceeded from left to right. I think it makes Bozeman look like San Francisco. But, hey, it makes for good variety from page to page.

Friday, February 20, 2009

bozeman main street # 17

I finished this one last week, and I'm almost finished with #18. I've estimated that I have 8 pages left in the project. Then I can figure out just what I want to do with it...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Me and myself

self portrait in bathroom mirror and bedside table
Something I've come back to repeatedly in my drawing and painting is the self-portrait, and I am certainly not alone among artists when it comes to autoritratti.  I think about this ritual a lot.  Why a "self" portrait?  Maybe the answers are obvious-- I'm a free (or at least cheap) and always available model.  I (possibly like most artists) am obsessively self-absorbed.  Am I a narcissist, or do I just want to know more about me?  I hope the answer is the latter, but always fear it's the former.  I don't like the way I look, but maybe it's that I like that I don't like the way I look, so I do like the way I look.  (Critical thinking starts to fold in on itself here, and I often find myself getting nowhere). 
self portrait sketch self portrait from life ink self portrait self portrait sketch
Because I use a mirror to do self-portraits most of the time, my process is often present in the work-- a glimpse of a sketchbook, the scrutinizing posture, etc.  This contextualizes the portrait as a part of art-making--is it me, or is it what I'm doing that I'm (we're) looking at?

My friend Chris Turbuck's entire body of work is essentially a self-portrait.  His drawings and paintings and prints recall scenarios and events from his life.  In the works Chris is vulnerable, naive, frustrated, self-flagellating, etc.  Yet as the author of these pieces he is self-possessed, driven and conspicuously confident for his very depiction of his humiliations and embarassments.  His narratives are of course also very entertaining.       
        An exercise of/for/with/against bureaucracy  Chris Turbuck  copyright 2009

The self-portrait is for me a ritual or exercise that I come back to periodically.  For Chris it is central to his reason for making art.  Maybe it's that the distracted virtuoso in me--the one who wants to try to draw architecture or tackle some new medium--is fearful of the "limitations" of such a purposeful vision, even though Chris is often every bit as daring if not more so in his tackling of each new project.  But I am the nevertheless compelled to return to the self-portrait.  I usually seem to find something good there.

studio full length mirror self portrait

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More urban drawings and a gallery opening

curtis music hall, originally uploaded by paul is just dandy.

I went out to Butte on Saturday to my opening at the Phoenix Gallery. I've never had a solo show before, and it turned out to be solo in more ways than one (not a lot of people showed up), but it was still fun to meet Mary and Tom at the gallery. Actually, a few folks came in, including my friend Nate's brother Caleb and his significant other Katie. Butte is a fascinating town with a lot of history and fantastic architecture, so I drove out a little early to see if I could find something to draw. The Curtis Music Hall was right across the street from the gallery, so I set up my folding chair and spent about an hour on this sketch. It was all of 25F in Butte that day, so an hour was all I could last.
butte, montana

I did a few other sketches in Bozeman this weekend-- this first one on Friday of an abandoned restaurant on 7th Ave. and another today, from inside my truck (cold out, y'know) of the corner of 5th and Main, a few blocks from downtown.

abandoned restaurant, 7th street

corner of 5th and main, bozeman

Check out my Flickr page for pics of the show.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Show at the Phoenix Gallery in Butte

chris with arms folded

To anyone in the SW Montana area who wants to see some art this weekend, my paintings are in a show at the Phoenix Gallery at 66 W. Park in Butte this weekend (in the historic Uptown district).  The reception will be the evening of Saturday the 14th (Valentine's Day) at around 6.  There will be four new works among the ten I'm showing.  Check it out!

Works in progress

spread 15 in progress
bozeman main street # 15

spread 05 in progress
Bozeman main street # 5
For anyone who's curious as to how a page in the Bozeman project starts out, these are some spreads in progress. Nothing surprising really-- I'm a righty, so I always work left to right.  I also work front to back, drawing foreground objects like cars and trees first and the building behind them last. I don't draw anything out beforehand. I just go for it and hope it comes together. I do have to think about how many buildings I might be able to fit on a page before I start, and how much room I've got left to work with sometimes. I don't like to break up buildings between pages most of the time. I try to do cars particularly fast, because I have no idea how long they're going to be there. A lot of people ask me why there are no people in the drawings. I feel like most of the people I see on Main Street in the winter are on the move-- not many folks on benches-- and I'm not setting out to do any gestural drawing. I kind of like the lack of people, though. All of my other work is figural, so it's nice not to have to deal with them when I do these drawings. But really, when I think about it, the cars and buildings are the people. They're the inhabitants of downtown Bozeman. They come in all shapes and sizes, and each has a different personality.

Here's a spread I'm working on now. It was getting dark (and cold) when I started this one on Tuesday, and I haven't gotten back to it yet. Hopefully I'll finish it this weekend.
spread 17 in progress

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fingerless gloves and website update

knit fingerless gloves on a dvd
I drew these fingerless gloves (okay, mittens) while watching (or listening to I guess) the documentary Shut Up and Sing about the controversy surrounding the Dixie Chicks' remarks about the last prez, what's-his-name. They are very warm (the mittens, not the Dixie Chicks--although they could be, too).

Meanwhile, I thought I'd let everyone who reads this (and there are two of you that I know of) that I've updated my website and it's now better and more badass than ever (and has 2009 copyrights), so go check it out, por favor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

bozeman main street #16

I went out once again today to draw in the sunshine. Really unusual for Bozeman this early in February, but I'm from South Texas, so I'm not complaining.

Anyway, when I first started the main street project, the building you see here (First Security Bank) didn't look anything like this. It was a none-too-memorable, '60s-style construction, set back from the street, with cement benches in the front, and a big time-and-temperature sign on the corner. From what I'm hearing, the renovation will make the building more "consistent with the character" of downtown. Of course, they're also adding a drive-though lane around the back. I guess they don't care much for the "pedestrian" character of downtown.

The buildings to the right are also both new (well, the one in the front is a remodel). To show that Bozeman developers don't all hate pedestrians, the tall glass building in the back used to be an ugly surface lot, and now it's office space. So, there are some smart things happening downtown, too.

I think this ended up being a nice little sketch. I drew for about two hours, took a half-hour break for some lunch, came back and finished it just as the sun disappeared and the air temp dropped about 15 degrees. I've now taken to wearing my giant headphones while listening to my iPod, so fewer people are bothering me on the street than earlier in the project. Of course, I'm also bringing my own portable chair, even though there's an empty bench just 15 feet away, so I might just look crazy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

bozeman main street # 15

It's been unseasonably warm in Bozeman for the last week, so I've finally been able to return to my Main Street sketchbook project. This is my second spread drawn from the north side of Main, looking south. The nice thing about being on the north side of the street is that, if it's sunny, it stays nice and warm, even on chilly days. The drawbacks are that the low winter sun is always in the south, just over the rooftops.   It shines directly into my eyes, which can be pretty uncomfortable, even with sunglasses on. The sun being behind the buildings also means there is a lack of interesting shadows and some details are hard to make out. Oh well. At least I feel like I was able to get back into a rhythm right away after such a long break (2 months.)

The building in the center of the sketch is MacKenzie River Pizza Co., a combination gourmet/Montana regional pizza place that is usually pretty good. It's also quite popular with the tourists. I like the "Hot Hawaiian" pizza-- jalapeƱos, pineapples, chicken, bacon and barbecue sauce. Good stuff.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Always with the blogging

Since it is 2009, it is essential that I start a blog or else.  Also, I need another website on the internet to check daily and be disappointed by.  Also, I'm pretty sure I threw out my left arm today, but I don't know how.  Also, I have watched three episodes of 30 Rock already tonight, and I'm pretty certain I'll watch at least two more.

Et voila!