Wednesday, November 20, 2013

...the way in is the way out.

More rocks. The only way to know the rocks is to spend time with the rocks. Fog. Sun. Haze. High tide and low tide. They are always there waiting. I sketch on site mostly. Take notes. The sky and water are as important as the rocks. They play supporting roles but no less important as a the lead. So I really have to know all of the players in this tableau vivant. And take my time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

...coastal rocks.

The wind, ocean and time beaten rocks sit patiently in the waters off of Lands End and hold their poses for me. Each time I walk by these monoliths they seem to say, "Look at us and know us. We've been here all your life. Make us into art!"
So I'm looking more and knowing more. And the art is happening. This is the continuation of an ongoing series of small paint studies. The sky and water are abstract shapes which will evolve and  support the majesty of these big rocks. Long overdue and always finding their way into my sketchbooks, sky, sea and rock now share easel time with my pillow paintings. Hard and soft coexist at my studio!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


If the only way to know something is to try and understand its essence then sketching might be the best way. I've been studying the coastal rocks at nearby Lands End for a long time. These big chunks of stone have been sculpted by wind, water and time. Now they're drawn by me. They want easel time and and will be getting it. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

...the three pillars of zen.

Just as the sketchbook is a place for random studies, streaming and reportage  so are wayward panels and scraps of canvas I find while cleaning the studio. Using my current palette I take time out from the projects in progress to play around with something completely unrelated. A little planned spontaneity goes a long way toward satisfying other facets of my creativity.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

SF Open Studios!

This weekend San Francisco is rife with a range of cultural activities including the start of SF open studios throughout the northwest parts of the city. I'll be exhibiting new paintings alongside the wonderful artwork of other artists inside my workspace. All the art is connected to an ocean theme. Clearly the sea surrounds us in this town and inspires so come be surrounded by sea-inspired imaginings Saturday and Sunday all day!
Jay Mercado Studio
4754 California Street @ 10th avenue

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

...bed sheet.

Resting on my west wall easel is a  48" x 60" composition titled Bed Sheet. As a painting process it's continually meditative and as an artwork I want it to be the same.

Friday, September 13, 2013

...ocean beach pillow.

Living near the beach I can't help but include the ocean in my sketches, my concepts and ultimately my artwork. The above image is a detail from one of my recent paintings. The ocean starts to appear as I walk west toward home. The horizon always seems high as I descend westward through the avenues. This is especially so as I get closer to Lands End begins above Sutro Baths. The view never gets old and is always worth the walk from 10th avenue to 48th.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

...SF Chronicle interview!

Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine I was interviewed about art making and other things. I'm grateful to be in my hometown newspaper!
Many thanks to Sam Whiting and Russell Yip for making it a cool happening.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 paintings.

I have a pair of red-lens glasses that when worn makes the world a monochrome place. They've helped me see form without considering color for the moment. Looking at a painting in a mirror or through a reducing lens provides a fresh perspective on a developing artwork and so does the removal of color. And then I appreciate the power of color more after I've taken it away for a bit.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

...power on.


Focusing on the path not the obstacle. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

...power out.


California Street has hosted a string of accidents over the last two weeks. It's a bit crazy. People in a hurry? Or just not paying attention? Texting? Well this morning this van took out the power in the area along with a couple of parked cars. Two utility poles went down. He's okay fortunately. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Gallery Representation!

I'm delighted to announce that I have entered into a committed relationship with a San Francisco gallery. Last month, the owner of CK Contemporary gave me a call after seeing my painting Lone Jimador at Copita in Sausalito. As luck would have it we found common ground. Now I'm officially among the cavalcade of talented artists they represent from all over the world. My work has been shown in different galleries over the years, but I've not been fully represented in this great town, my home town, until now.
CK Contemporary has an inviting street level store-front which is half a block from bustling Union Square. Collectors from all over the world stop in. Even though the setting at CK presents my art in the best possible way, it's the gallery director Lauren Ellis who makes all the difference. She is friendly and approachable and I am pleased to know that people looking at my fine art will feel comfortable and engaged in a bright welcoming space.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 work.

At work is meant to be the title of this series and also describe my time in the art studio. Nose to the grindstone, making hay while the sun shines and burning the midnight oil. Just as in the painting, I like to peel as much away as much as possible and get at the essence of what's there. What's there is work. This series is painted on plywood I found outside a store in the Sunset district that went out of business. In some oblique way I feel as if I'm honoring the legacy of that lost enterprise.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 the window box.

These two paintings have been in and out of the window box alternating with the jumbo flaming marshmallow. Apparently I can't help myself. Baseballs and donuts seem to always find there way on to a canvas or panel in my studio.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

...a summer icon.

One of my favorite enduring summer icon treats is the toasted marshmallow on a stick. So yesterday I painted one. It is a symbol for the youthful simplicity of the season. It's still on fire and hanging proudly in my west window. It measures 28" x 52" and is acrylic/oil on canvas. In fact my studio still has the aroma of flaming sugar.

Friday, July 5, 2013

...some things are simply must see!

After seeng the current Richard Diebenkorn exhibit at the de Young Museum I've come to the conclusion that I need more paint! He painted big and reworked the canvas endlessly it seems until he found what he wanted. The resulting creations are rich compositions born from exhaustive workouts with paint and brush. They feel honest and authentic and true because they are exactly that to me. Like a music conductor using a baton his brush must have been a living thing filled with electricity. I stood in front of each masterwork with busy eyes letting his brushwork blaze a trail and take me on a journey of discovery. It's the kind of exhibit that will make you want to paint if you don't paint. And if you do paint, it'll make you want to paint more!
The exhibit will be up until September 29:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

...a poem without words.

This marble sculpture is only a fragment of its glorious former self and yet it now has more power to move than it probably ever did. Unexpected events over time have removed arms, legs and a head. Is this its essence? Can anything else be removed? Created long ago as part of a bigger story she now exists as poetry to me. Accidental poetry. I wish I could see this sculpture as it was originally intended so I could compare. Even the chipped base seems by design. It's title the Venus Medici and is at the Prado in Madrid.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

...snapshots near home.

I know this corner of the city so well that it is often completely unknown to me. Growing up in the outer Sunset and now living in the outer Richmond is a short distance to travel over a long period of time. My grade school and high school are surreal icons visible from my kitchen window. The windmills are windmills again. After what seemed like so many years in Los Angeles I've been continuing to rediscover this town with the eyes of an artist. LA is so long ago now but remains vital in my evolution of looking at the overlooked. And now I am here. I'm somewhere familiar yet always finding fresh perspectives.

Monday, June 10, 2013

...the great circle.

I paint at least one baseball painting every year. This artwork is 24"X 24" acrylic on canvas. It's just a baseball, or is it?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

...94109 fun.

The zip code 94109 is where Studio Gallery resides on Polk Street. This week they're hosting an exhibit of artists who have created artwork inspired by anything within that number. So I made these two acrylic sketches based upon my explorations throughout that area. It's a very cool and diverse zip code!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

...chocolate raised robustus.

A species thought to be extinct has been discovered hanging in my west window at 10th and California. A 48" x 48" chocolate raised donut robustus!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

...pillow 3

The three members of the first pillow triptych hanging out together. There's more painting to be done but after I begin the next three.