Thursday, April 10, 2014

Row row row your boat

A recent painting installed by Photoshop.

Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Penny Lane

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...

From a collection of my paintings, part chance, part control.

athid sent me an email asking what I would suggest in the way of a painting for a restaurant they were putting together. Usually I’m given clues, a design direction, something, but in this case I was only told: brasserie. So, French, ok. I immediately go to the major French influence in my work, Duchamp, and assemble a collection of my paintings for them to browse. Included in the mix are works of my other bicycle reference which in my mind goes with the Duchamp oeuvre though it’s not of him; it’s the canopied penny farthing from the stylish 60s British import television summer replacement show, The Prisoner.

Another of my paintings in an imaginary installation. I wish.
My first painting that includes the penny farthing.
There it is, the Prisoner bike.
My recent painting for Brasserie Gigi.

Cut to the finished restaurant, Brasserie Gigi in Charleston, S.C. where my painting hangs just barely two weeks after first getting wind of this project. If that’s not a rush job then you tell me what is. And it’s remarkable. Amelia has again assembled an interior using such a deft touch that there’s hardly any notion that it’s been decorated. And you can scarely believe it hasn’t been there since, I don’t know, the 20s?

There's my painting, framed and hanging in Brasserie Gigi!

Tempting, n'est c'est pas?

Now, had been up to me I would have used the straight up rendering of the Duchamp Bicycle Wheel for the restaurant. That'll keep them talking! But I didn't campaign hard for that idea. It’s 2014 already and our culture has not yet fully absorbed the impact of Duchamp’s work -created in the early 20th c.! Still I love the absurdity of The Prisoner high wheeled bike; delightful and preposterous in equal measure and that's Duchampian.

My rendition of Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel.

My flowery rendition of Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel

It's really my painting but (le sigh) another one of my fantasy installations. 

Brasserie Gigi, where they say the oysters are exquisite. Will someone please confirm that for me? 

Bon au revoir, Gigi.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Palm Beach cont'd.

More pix from Palm Beach and my commissioned painting at Bricktop's Restaurant...

"Crazy Fun" is what a client of mine called this commission.

Patio of Bricktop's Restaurant, Palm Beach. There's my painting at the end.

Click on images to enlarge. See previous entry for some back story. Add a comment will you?


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Water, water, everywhere

Xmas tree seen on the Winter Park Scenic Boat tour.

Here’s how it works: I think up a subject, gather the pictures then write words to go with it.  I had one subject in mind, a recent painting project but when I viewed my images for this post I realized the real subject is water. It should have been obvious to me since I just got back from Florida, a peninsula surrounded by water, and as it happens I spent every day looking  at water (in a lap pool), crossing over water by car, paddling on water in a canoe, standing on water in a yacht, and oh yes, I painted water. The painting is the main reason I brought you here yet the water depicted in it is hardly noticeable -but you can decide that for yourself.

The Winter Park home of Mr. Rogers of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood fame.

So,  picking up where I left off last blog post, yes, I spent the final days of 2013 in Orlando with side trips to Palm Beach and Wekiva, (from the Creek Indian word for "flowing water”).  All of Florida sits on top of water that is often just barely underground and in many cases is at the surface in the form of ponds, lakes, and rivers which are often connected, chained they call it. Getting in and on that water means you’re visiting the real Florida as far as I’m concerned.  On my last full day in Florida I took the Scenic Boat Tour of the Winter Park chain of Lakes, established in 1938.  The boat drivers give a kind of schmaltzy description and there are moments that feel like a Hollywood tour of stars homes, “straight ahead the twenty-two thousand square foot lakefront home of…” but the scenery was so lovely and the weather so beautiful that a little drippy chatter hardly mattered.
Google map view showing the start/end point of our canoe trip (race).
My canoe mate.

Great blue heron as seen from my canoe. Can you find it?

Let’s Active! Even better to be active on the water, we chose canoeing. And with two pairs in two boats it became an impromptu race: out to our furthest point and back to the start. My boat won, btw. Along the way I saw some would be subjects for my painting, water fowl:  the Florida ibis, a great blue heron, a number of vulture, alas no roseate spoonbill which is what I painted. Conveniently I relied on Audubon rather than direct observation for my work.

These are the elements that made up my painting.

“Paint the Roseate Spoonbill but with a twist” –that was my directive for the commission; a painting for Bricktop’s a restaurant in Palm Beach. Optimistically they initially scheduled an opening for Thanksgiving. I easily made that deadline and actually another deadline, a seemingly impossible deadline, to create four more paintings, more about those later.

Here is my (almost) final collage before I started painting.

I added these words which makes almost as much sense as "Let's Active".

The completed painting in my studio.

 Here I thought you might be interested in some behind the scenes of how I often put my projects together so I included the separate disparate elements I collaged to create my final composition. I think this is one of my strangest commissions to date but let’s hope it will keep diners and imbibers entertained and returning to solve the riddle wrapped in an enigma surrounded by a mystery.

My work is hung on the open air porch and this shot is so new the dining tables haven't even arrived.

My little side trip to Palm Beach was partly to view and photograph my work installed at the restaurant which unfortunately was a little behind schedule so my work was not yet up. However, the manager, John Becker, very kindly emailed me a couple of photos today that show my big painting hung. Later I’ll show you the rest of my work there when the restaurant is in full swing. It’s the perfect time open a new bistro and catch the wintering crowd. Balmy South Florida is the place you want to be in the U.S. when it’s winter. Current forecast predict 36 hours of frozen fury for about 100 million Americans.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Orlando (revisited)

Orlando, the beginning.
Transformations, costumes, make-up, elaborate scenes, I'm thinking of Orlando and I mean both. I took another look at the movie recently which seems appropriate for Xmas time/ winter solstice. There's a surprising amount of action taking place on ice. Actually, just now I'm realizing the ice as a support, as a stage, may represent how quickly and easily things can slip and change dramatically. Time is an ocean, perhaps it's really a frozen ocean. 

Sometime I sit and think and sometime I just sit.
The big Chill.
Another time, another century in fact.
The Middle East. It always really is the middle.
Waking up with a different sex. You know how things like that happen?

Anyway, the other Orlando, the one in Florida is where I'm headed to right after the winter solstice in time for Xmas. Right back where I started from, a particular starting point anyway. Sometime after I get back I plan to post some more recent painting work. That will be more the normal state of this blog. Is that right? Normal?

Gone tomorrow.
Until we meet again.

Yes, loyal readers I've taken you here before.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

studio view

DSC06130 by scott_waterman
DSC06130, a photo by scott_waterman on Flickr.

Here's this with an explanation to follow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Au Contraire!

To all of those who may have counted this blog over and done with: au contraire! True confession, that list may have included me but I am back with the fall report.

Timothy Corrigan's house in France, Château du Grand-Lucé.

The season has kicked off with a fête thrown by the Los Angeles chapter of the French Heritage Society in honor of the publication of Timothy Corrigan's new book, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé  The subtitle  of the book is, Decorating a Great Country French House but let's be clear, this is beyond what you or I would call a house. Just take a look at the aerial shot above. I've circled the house in red. The formal gardens are to its left and the property includes the woods you see. See what I mean?

That's my friend, Alix,  in Timothy Corrigan's Los Angeles home.
Alix is standing in front of Timothy's (Jacques-Louis) David.
It's a study for the central figure in Leonidas at Thermopylae which is at the Louvre, (doncha know!).

Look, it's Timothy's book/cake.
 I don't know when they cut this. I must have left too early and I love cake!

Here's the twist. This French country house was bought by a Californian, that's Timothy Corrigan, and we just don't do stuffy and formal so the house was not only restored but made livable and comfortable by California standards. Timothy explains this in the text of his book as he presents the story of the house as if you, the reader, are invited over... to have some fun, serious fun! It was the same story at Timothy's Hancock Park house the night of the book party. He was putting some candle lit lanterns out on the front walk as I approached the house, greeted me, and invited me to go inside, find the bar, go wherever you want, explore. Hello! What could be more welcoming?

This is the chapter in Timothy's book where you get to explore the Pillement room. Not sure I could wait until day 2!

Now there's something extraordinarily special about Château du Grand-Lucé. It has one of the few remaining rooms painted by Jean-Baptiste Pillement. That's especially significant to me because I've long admired his work.

Here's the screen I painted in 1989 when I scarcely knew who Pillement was.

I've nothing but these casual snapshots of this work.
I'm sure my photography and painting have both improve since then.

In 1989 just before moving to California I had a commission to paint a folding screen and I chose Pillement's work as inspiration. Then sometime in the 90s I received another commission and called on Jean-Baptiste once again. I think next I'll paint a whole room. It could happen! 

I painted this in the late 90s.

My screen in situ.
This was really fun to paint.

Here a couple of my preliminary sketches for the screen.

Yes, I have a weakness for those fantastical surreal scenes that defy gravity and logic but where everyone , every plant, and all the architecture seems to be living a joyous life devoid of cares and woes.

And how is life in your world?

 Thanks so much to Edie Frère, Co-Chairman of the French Heritage Society's Southern California Chapter for inviting me to Timothy Corrigan's book signing and to my friend Alix Soubiran whose French Bubbles party actually kicked off the season a few nights before Timothy's party. That's where I met Edie and some of the French Expats who make L.A. their home. And to Timothy Corrigan, thank you so very much for a perfectly lovely evening!
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