Friday, October 30, 2009

Box of Cloth (unfinished)

Painting from home can be quite peaceful, especially when I'm lost in the puzzling folds of crumpled cloth in a crate. I believe this piece is starting to come to life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Box of Cloth

When I was a kid I would draw mazes and labyrinths. I would get lost in it. Now I see it as a form of meditation. My childhood fascination has evolved somewhat and taken shape in the form of cloth and kelp. The process of drawing and painting these is so satisfying that I imagine if I did nothing else I'd be truly content. Apparently I won't allow myself that yet, but this week I'm excited to be painting two boxes of cloth. At the Legion of Honor there are several paintings that I study just for the drapery.  I imagine the artist having the same fascination as I do. A timeless connection perhaps. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Big Rock

From the Lands End Trail you can easily see this jumbo sized rock sitting in the water just off the shore at Mile Rock Beach. It used to be part of the land mass but was cleaved away long before San Francisco became a city. Back when there were grizzly bears still roaming this peninsula. Probably further back than that. When the tide is low I like to get as close as possible and sketch the huge sentinel rocks that punctuate the coastline here. However, this rock has always held my fascination more than any of the others. It's so big!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Seal Rock behind the Cliff House

Drawing on butcher paper has its pluses and minuses. On the upside it's three bucks a roll at Walgreens which is a short walk. The pale brown color is a pleasing mid-tone and the surface takes gouache pretty well. On the downside, I tend to re-work my drawings a lot which really tests the limits of the paper. With this brown cheap stuff I have to show some restraint or else rips happen. The paper buckles and is tough to get flat without putting it under glass. I prefer tough papers like Rives or Fabriano but I thought I'd try something new for awhile. It's a good idea now and then.
This drawing is based on a sketch from earlier this year which is based on wandering my neighborhood for sources of inspiration: my self-created residency from which I'm building a series of paintings.

Friday, October 9, 2009


The pillow I sleep with has been with me for some time now. It's heavy like the lead vest you wear when getting x-rayed at the dentist. It conforms to my head when I sleep. It also poses well when I want to draw a pillow. The idea of drawing pillows came to me years ago when I came across a series of pillow drawings by Albrecht Durer. Since we artists tend to draw the things that surround us I'm guessing that his was probably the one he slept with, too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Green Chair

This is a chair I bought at a yard sale about six years ago around the corner from the house where I grew up. The woman hosting the sale was a niece of the man who'd lived there and since he'd just passed away it was time to sell everything I suppose. I really never knew him that well but it dawned on me later that when I was a kid he probably read the newspaper I delivered  while sitting in this very chair. Now I sit in this chair. I write, sketch and read books.  It's strong and comfortable.  Seems he broke it in well. 

Open Studio (but not at my studio!) Saturday 10/17 from 10 to 5

Since I don't have access to my studio this month I'm at home working with the idea that self-limitation is loaded with possibility and less is more. By less I suppose I mean that I've gone back to basics by drawing with charcoal and conte on butcher paper. The feel of taking a little black stick and  making marks on paper until a shape emerges or a design comes alive is so completely satisfying that it's all I've been doing lately. The decisions are pure. The action is natural and primal. It's involves the entire body, not just the hand and eye. And, for me, time is elastic and has no meaning when I'm lost in the reveries of drawing. I rarely walk away from an unfinished drawing unless it serves the drawing by doing just that.  And that may be the hardest thing of all to understand: knowing when to walk away.

Monday, October 5, 2009

OPEN STUDIO (but not at my studio!) Saturday 10/17 from 10 to 5

My studio building is under severe retrofit and face-lift and there's half a dozen mumbling Czechs crawling all over my space making a mess with hammers and saws while replacing windows and other stuff while their grumpy dog leaves hair on my couch. There's scaffolds and a black shroud all over the structure. So I find myself working from home and invite you to be my guest there on October 17th for a one day Open Studio at our bright green dwelling by the beach. Sutro Park is across the street as is a path to the beach and Lands End is two blocks north. So why not come and make a day of it! 
There will be donut art. There will also be landscape and interior drawings. Like the rough sketches that precede them,  my charcoal drawings provide a crucial compositional and value step toward knowing my subject which happens to be this lush and historic northwest corner of San Francisco known as the Sutro District and Lands End.  Please come see what I've been working on. This is truly a place of beauty!