Sunday, August 30, 2015

MAR - Manifest Drawing Center | Shane Wolf Workshop

hour long "shadow shape" study, graphite on strathmore 

This week I had the pleasure of participating in a three day intensive drawing workshop with the great Shane Wolf. Shane is not only a tremendous painter, but also a wonderful teacher. In this workshop, he emphasized gesture, anatomical structure, and various additive modeling techniques. It was incredibly inspiring to watch him draw and to learn from his vast figurative expertise. I'm looking forward to integrating these methods into my own studio practice!

hour and a half study, graphite on canson mi-teintes 

two hour modeling study, white chalk and graphite on canson mi-teintes

two and a half hour figure study, graphite on canson mi-teintes

The Manifest Drawing Center is an incredible resource and, incidentally, one of the main reasons why I was interested in this particular residency program. The Drawing Center is the educational and outreach aspect of Manifest's four programs (the other three being the gallery, the publications, and the residency). Twice a week the Drawing Center offers open figure drawing sessions, which are augmented with monthly "Quick Draw" gesture sessions as well as quarterly Cast Drawing sessions. The Drawing Center also brings in visiting artists like Shane Wolf for various workshops and public demonstrations. All these programs help bridge the gaps between students, professionals, emerging artists, amateurs, and enthusiasts to create a positive learning environment that keeps everyone coming back for more. I was originally excited about the drawing center because of the opportunities to develop my skills in the hopes of eventually incorporating the figure into my studio work. While that is still a long-term goal, I had no idea that I would also find such a wonderfully supportive community here. The people here have already made this residency experience so much more than I had hoped it would be. It has been a fabulous two months, and I have no doubt that the rest of the year will be as inspiring and productive.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

MAR - "at the borders of nothingness"

Lately I've been reading Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. It is an incredibly thoughtful book - beautifully crafted and highly relevant. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that refers to the beauty of the imperfect, the incomplete, and the intimate. There is a marvelous section in the middle of the book:

"Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness. As dusk approaches in the hinterlands, a traveler ponders shelter for the night. He notices tall rushes growing everywhere, so he bunches an armful together as they stand in the field, and knots them at the top. Presto, a living grass hut. The next morning, before embarking on another day's journey, he unknots the rushes and presto, the hut de-constructs, disappears, and becomes a virtually indistinguishable part of the larger field of rushes once again. The original wilderness seems to be restored, but minute traces of the shelter remain. A slight twist or bend in a reed here and there. There is also the memory of the hut in the mind of the traveler - and in the mind of the reader reading this description. Wabi-sabi, in its purest, most idealized form, is precisely about these delicate traces, this faint evidence, at the borders of nothingness." (Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, page 42)

I am fascinated by that notion of "delicate the borders of nothingness." Especially in a shared studio space, the walls and floor are inscribed with this "faint evidence"; it's an inscription of existence, a capturing of something ephemeral and long-gone, yet still remembered. The inherent impermanence of all things is directly related to the wabi-sabi aesthetic; I find a strange sort of comfort in the knowledge that change is inevitable, that nothing lasts forever, and that in these fleeting moments we have the ability to truly be present, both within ourselves and with each other. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MAR - color studies

Above: a few recent color studies, all oil on paper 

Limiting myself to only using a palette knife on these has been a great way to loosen up and experiment with color, without laboring over form. I'm becoming more and more interested in the imperfections that occur as a result - the scrapes, the gouges, the rough edges - and I'm curious to see how that will translate to the finished paintings.

Lots of exciting things are happening in the studio! Don't miss this Friday's opening reception for the NUDE and EXPATRIATES exhibitions at Manifest Gallery. And while you're there, stop by the MAR studios to see our progress from the past month. You can see these studies in person as well as a few brand new finished paintings!

If you're not in the area, you can check out my new MAR page on the Manifest website! And of course keep coming back here every Sunday for studio updates, process work, and random painting thoughts of the week.