Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fruit of the Gods

Every year persimmons show up in my paintings. This one on the bench is waiting for a coat of varnish to take the glare off the surface and even things out. Other than that it's almost done. Usually I compose with the light source coming in from the left but not this time. This painting is a commission intended to hang in a spot with an ambient light source from the right. Both the real and imagined light are consistent. So until this piece is hanging on that chosen wall this persimmon painting remains unfinished.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are you busy?

As I left home today I stopped to stare at the ocean before climbing into my pickup. Then I noticed them.  Dozens of calla lilies right in front of me waiting for me to pay attention. They seemed to have arrived overnight. How'd that happen? The truth is I've been too busy to look at the overlooked. The irony is that if I had more work I wouldn't be so busy. That's what I tell people when asked that popular refrain, "are you busy?" Somewhere along the road I heard a story about Monet. He was painting in his garden and his neighbor asked if he was working. He said "No, I'm relaxing." The next day the neighbor saw him sitting in his garden staring. He asked Monet if he was taking a break. Monet said, "No, I'm working." The result is that I took a cue from Monet this morning and spent some time working among the calla lilies and my day was much better because I did.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quiet Mind

Yesterday I gave my journal a workout at the Village Market. So many thoughts racing through my head that I had to throw them down on paper. Life in these times has everyone I know thinking in new ways. Often it's necessary to go for a walk to try to clear the mind. It's said that a quiet mind is a creative mind. I believe that's true. The closer I get to that quiet mind, the more my imagination blossoms. Lately mine is anything but quiet. I fantasize about what that might be like for an extended period of time. Now that I'm fully back into the art studio I'm working on several paintings at once. I'll move paint on two to three main pieces and then go play on a small study. That's how it's been this last two weeks. I'm not sure if this is my preferred way of working but it tends to be productive. Or is it? Would I be better served to focus on one piece straight through to completion? I haven't allowed myself that option yet. Perhaps with a quieter mind I wouldn't feel the need to hurry through my creations. Why hurry? I have reasons. 
Below is a detail from unfinished painting:number two. A wave of cloth breaks on a shelf which also holds an unseen pear on the left side. The sky will be a midnight blue. The pear will be like the harvest moon. Painting the folds and fissures of cloth calms me down and for the moment I have a quiet mind. If what the great Ponca Chief White Eagle says is true, "the secret of strength lies in the quiet mind," then I have a way to go but a worthwhile journey ahead.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 Persimmons on a Shelf (day two)

The prep-work is so important in my larger paintings. Fortunately, for this one I created small oil and acrylic studies several months ago when persimmons were in season. Color is always intuitive for me. This is clearest when I work with the immediacy of pastels. For this commission I'm channeling that same playfulness with paint.  I'm tackling the possibilities that exist within the gem-like beauty of Hachiya persimmons. At 2.5' X 6' this trio of exotic fruit are nothing but fun right now as I head into day three. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Harvest Yourself

The beginning of a 16' X 2' 8" floor mural intended to be the mantra greeting as you enter the art studio. The colors may change but the sentiment remains.

Morning Sketch

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Workshops at the Jay Mercado Studio

Sketching and Journaling

as Creative Muse

This series focuses on the importance of the sketchbook and journal as tools for looking within while looking without. Find hidden in plain sight the artistic concepts that transcend cliche and express what is truly meaningful and relevant to you.

For questions and enrollment call 415-751-4232.

Donut Painting 101

This workshop introduces a basis for painting form using the donut as muse. Learn to trust your unique and intuitive sense of composition while creating a still life using a limited color palette. It's not about painting what you see but feeling what you paint! Become one with the donut from an artist's perspective and let yourself experience fresh expression while painting an American icon.

make more art:

call 415-751-4232.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Village Market

Two blocks from my art studio is the Village Market at 8th and California Street. Drinking a Blue Bottle drip coffee while sitting at one of the window tables is a great way to fill a few pages in the journal and make a sketch.  It's also a good place to see people I know, say hi to someone I've never met or simply observe. There are many places but this is the spot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

La Candelaria Mountain Potters

Driving a convertible VW bug to the remote village of La Candelaria in Baja, Mexico is something I recommend. Highly.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Labyrinth of Amber and Green

Back in my twenties before I became a painter I spent a bunch of time exploring LA's galleries and museums. I don't recall where I found the photography of Aaron Siskind but I found it truly striking. His work unveiled a world of abstract compositions in the most unlikely yet obvious places. Elegantly cropped images of neglected walls covered with peeling paint and boulder mounds are what stick in my mind the most. He set the bar high when it comes to learning to look and I'm still learning. My front yard is a great place for channeling Aaron. I often find my inspiration in nature's debris. A pile of kelp that washes up on the beach after a storm will always fascinate me. It's a labyrinth of amber and green waiting to be entered.   

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fish Cup with Yogi Tea

I've been enjoying the multiple-personality weather we've been having each day. One hour it's sunny with blue skies. Then a sudden hailstorm almost knocks me off my feet as I go to move my truck away from the possibility of falling branches. The ocean changes colors as often as the waves change moods. I can relate. I'm doing all I can to remain grounded these days as I get my art studio back into shape as a place to create, share and receive artistic vision. Each day I'm closer and each day has a common start. A quick sketch in the morning brings me alive. So do streaming words in the journal. And exercise is my required meditation. Without this trusted trio I would be as unpredictable as today's skies. There's enough daily uncertainty that I don't need to add more. But there's never enough beauty. That is why I need a relaxed mind. Not just to be calm, but also to harvest myself and bring forth whatever ripe fruit is ready for plucking .   

Tuesday, March 2, 2010