Of course, the family asked what I want for Christmas.
Of course, I only know what I don’t want (shirts with epaulettes, what the hell is that about?
Then I actually started thinking about what I want.
~A replacement dinner plate for the one that is chipped.
~A covered butter dish that matches (white porcelain) so I can have soft butter and KT won’t think she’s eating dust.
~A double action airbrush because I want to use some of those techniques on a small scale (But I also already said I don’t want art supplies because I am flush with paint and canvas so this probably already backfired)
~A Calphalon grill with press because ours got scrubbed to death and now is stick only instead of non-stick (although the one I saw at the store may be a panini press and why?)
~A Calphalon 1qt sauce pan with lid
~Tupperware. Seriously, nesting storage tupperware
This is a lame list. (Maybe not the airbrush)
I remember wanting Transformers and GIJoes and He-Man figures. Now I really want practical things. Like gift cards to Apple Store (not App store) and someone to help move furniture because I really need to carpet the last bedroom.
I find it harder and harder as an adult to ask for things. First, I’m an adult, I should be able to get things on my own without relying on the kindness of family and friends. Second, I’m an adult, if there’s something I need or want, I go get it. I wanted an armband case for my phone so I can go running more easily. I didn’t really want to wait a month until Christmas to open that option up for me. I bought it. $15 and I don’t feel bad. Could I have waited? Yes. Was there really a reason to? No, not really except to give someone an imaginary check box to fill.
Do you want to get me something I REALLY want? Give me time. A couple extra years of grade school for the kids. An extra month in the Spring. A 25th hour every couple weeks. A 61st minute in the morning. C’mon you physics nerd friends, let’s do that one together.
That’s probably why I buy so much stuff for the kids. I love watching the excitement on their face; the overwhelmed rush of emotions. I remember having that on my Christmases growing up. It was amazing and crushing at the same time. So much to get through. So much to be thankful for. So much to play with. I know our Christmases are already crazy, both grandparents live in the same area code as we do. Am I artificially creating an emotional response in them? Yes. Will it be a lasting memory? Yes. Is that a bad thing? Ask their therapists in a few years.
But Christmas has become zero percent about me. It’s about these moments that I want to engrain in the kids memories. So I don’t care what you get me. I’m glad to be having the time together. Christmas is the one day a year where all of my wife’s clients also have off so I know there are no calls. I know that I can just hang out with our family. Christmas morning with my mom, Christmas afternoon with her family. Christmas night with everyone together. And 99% of that is watching the kids go nuts. And we don’t have infinite Christmases to spend with them.
I know they are growing up even if they don’t. They think the status will always be quo. But it won’t be. Things will change. People will move. Families will grow. Decisions will have to be made. But the memories that they take with them are going to be their foundation for their Christmas future.
So while I am genuinely excited to not have to go to Crate & Barrel to get odds & ends, I am also genuinely thankful to the people who realize, I’m an adult. I don’t need crap for crap’s sake and, unfortunately for the shoppers in my life, I have the things that I need. What I need is not what I want. And what I want is, sadly, unattainable.
I had a painting. It didn’t work the way I wanted it to.
The name was better than the painting.
I gesso‘d it.
I painted 2 shades of blue next to each other. It worked as a base, maybe of a night horizon but not as a finished piece.
I added stars. It was better.
I added a comet like object coming in over the horizon. I liked the colors and idea of space-born bodies entering the atmosphere. But, it wasn’t a finished piece yet and I couldn’t pinpoint what was missing. I set it aside.
I came back to it days later. I looked at it in my hands and flipped it. Maybe it was upside down the whole time? It wasn’t. I flipped it back. Then, in a stroke of pure artistic brilliance (read: just examining it like any normal person) I turned it 90 degrees.
I saw that what was the horizon was now an edge. That edge was of a much closer body.
I masked and painted and masked and painted and then added cuts of detail to the newly shaped extreme close up of this celestial body.
Unrelated, I had a canvas that I just kept experimenting with. First I was using just color blocking techniques but I never felt that it became what I intended. Or, possibly, the reality of the situation was that I was having trouble getting my palette to match my imagination. So I set the canvas aside and moved on to other work on clean canvasses.
A while later, I thought it may be that I was worried about color too much and maybe it was time to experiment with texture. This, in my mind, already ruined canvas was the perfect testing ground. I began using much heavier acrylic paints and smaller brushes. I moved the paint on the canvas rather than into it. Peaks and valleys formed and it was a textural landscape, at least into comparison to the work I had been doing lately.
Then, in a completely different piece, I got back to some different techniques using spray paint and palette knives. This was what I did in my last fine art class before college graduation (here is an pretty good example but the artist here is not me).
I took some of those multicolor blending techniques and created a chaos of color and texture on the canvas. Some of the texture old from the previous trials, some of it new in the pooling of the spray acrylic.
Looking at my work up to here, it’s easy to tell that I am not averse to a simple idea or simple form being the entire image. There is beauty in most works that are made on purpose. And there is beauty in some works that are made by accident. But, sometimes, to me at least, the accidental creation needs to become a part of something else to be finished. Here I saw right away that I had not created a fantastic piece but a fantastic background. But the chaos of color that I had needed a balance. A deliberate and contrasting image that could stand in front.
What’s more chaotic than love?
Hey art patrons,
This has been a great summer for me. So many things have gone my way and even the things that haven’t have had a net positive impact on me. As a big thank you, I’m offering 20% off all the art that is currently at Northside Social in Arlington. And 25% off of everything that’s available on the site but not hanging out in the world right now.
Since I don’t have a cart system, the prices listed on the gallery are all the full prices. Take the appropriate amount off of that.
I can’t wait to start showing off my ideas for fall.
Obviously paintings are a visual medium. But many paintings, as large as they are, should be appreciated as close up as possible. Since this gallery of mine is everywhere (thank you, internet) and the paintings are physically in Virginia, I thought it would be nice to take some detail photos and talk about what was going on in my mind when I made these. I hope this sheds some light on my process.
This piece is very recent in my body of work. It is very gestural in its movement on the canvas but ethereal in its form.
Initially, I wanted to create the feeling of layers in the image. But I couldn’t get the center to look right. So I took it a step further and cut the center out and put a second painting behind it. Below is a clip of what it looks like.
I could start this post any number of ways and I considered them all.
The noir cold open: I was 21 the first time I died. It was raining. I was on the way to buy art supplies.
The light-hearted tale: Let’s take a trip in my way-back machine! Let me tell you about my false starts and my pop culture roots! Let me make all my heartaches seem like quippy romantic comedy montage scenarios!
The truth: I paint because it makes my soul feel good and hopeful and in control even when everything around me makes my brain and heart feel sad and bad and lost.
Geez. That’s heavier than the noir. Let’s try and find something in between. Continue reading