Saturday, November 23, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
We are 4 week from the end of the Fall semester and our final reviews begin on the 6th. They are trying a new format with multiple reviews happening at the same time in multiple rooms and splitting the faculty up into smaller groups. The hope is this will facilitate a better review process for everyone, the drawback is that not all the faculty will review everyone's work as in the past.
I've kept up with the smaller paintings as my time is still compromised but I did get out and get some plein air in last weekend. You can read about that over on my Philadelphia Plein Air blog
I wish I had more time to get out but that' just the way it is till I'm done in the spring with school.
Lots to do this coming week with the Thesis draft due, and two more paper/presentations coming up, but my regular gigs. Right now Friday nights have been painting nights at school for me, since its the only time something is not due somewhere for someone. I might start the crunch on the final big painting I started over a month back.
This week we had two assignmnets due in my seminar with Mike Gallagher, one was "The Everyday" and the other was a " mediated image".
The everyday was a drawing of my cats and the mediated image was a digital image I made from a photo I shot of a figure. Now we have our final assignments which is to do a presentation on a subject for the whole class. I think I have one that might be interesting---or not. Someone always says what you do is boring.
There was a lot happening this week at PAFA as well with he final Gallery 128 student show of the year and an Allumni show in the Historic landmark Building and museum.
I was honestly surprised my painting "The End of Play" was accepted into the show, its the one painting with the most love it or hate it feedback.
There was a lot of good work in the 128 show, my fave being this cool dino head sculpture, the second being this chair.
I talked the talk with several fellow students before I scooted next door to the alumni show and saw old buddies like Rob Stack who graduated almost 2 years ago.
Then it was back into the studio for some painting into the wee hours. I also got my spring schedule and it looks good, got the critics I wanted and I have only one seminar class, so I hope I'll have more painting time.
Saturday, November 09, 2013
The could wet wind swept in this week lifting the Falls beauty from the trees as we entered the final real month of school.
The Post Halloween Blues leaves many a rotting pumpkin head
At Uarts the students were also feeling the same, a few even missing class this week. The class is scrambling now to finish up the last assignment which is a commercial storyboard and then finish their animatic for their Junior Film. This will be my last semester as both student and teacher, the dual roles will finish in May when I graduate, so next year I will not have to juggle as much, which should make teaching maybe even more enjoyable.
There seems to be a tagging war going on as the first tags up on the women's shelter across the street have now been tagged over.
So this little slide down the power bar is the The Deep Semester Drag---that's what I've come to call it. So now, like a character in an old cartoon, everybody will grab their collective stomachs, lift and and stuff it up in their chests, pull the belt tight with a snort, and prepare to tackle the last crazy month of school--or maybe it won't be crazy, just busy, I don't feel crazed yet because in the end it's gonna be what it's gonna be, no matter what.
Crits/final reviews start in basically four more weeks and our thesis rough draft is due on the 20th. This time last year I think I was more concerned than I am this year about the fall review. I have a bunch of smaller landscape paintings I am doing and that may be all I show. I might have a figurative painting or two if I can get some model coordination going...which due to me being so busy with commercial work might be hard. Everyone seems to be reacting so well to this new round of smaller landscapes and that makes me feel I am onto something here. I don't know why. maybe using the acrylics instead of oils gives me a bolder approach. I think oil painting can have a preacious quality to it at times. So much prep time, expense, etc., and the acrylics are cheaper and less prep. basically no prep, I just sketch it out and blast.
Kurt Knoblesdorf came to talk in the Visiting Artists Program this week. Kurt graduated from the Academy in 2005, the same year the people like Rachel Constantine did. Kurt and a funny sort of weird talk about his work. I think the audience in a way didn't get it in spots. I didn't either so much. But I had a studio crit with him later and we really connected well. he's also from Detroit, went back and spent time and we both love the urban painting as a scene as a subject.
We talked about strategies or approaches. He what I call and instinctual painter and he talked about not having a real intellectual approach to his work. He tries to basically get out of his own way when painting. I know i am more of a technician in a way. But I do try and get deep in the trance so I also get out of my own way--but I also realize that the technical is what is important to me in my process and I cannot deny that craftsmanship is vitally important to me. Craftsmanship in service of a vision. Sometimes talking to a painter who tackles similar themes or subjects but from a very unfamiliar angle helps focus back on your own approach. I know Scott Noel really wanted me to talk to him. Kurt said he was glasd to get out of school and all the voices in your head--something I so feel right now. It's not that the door is totally closed, but it's like pushing the door almost closed to stop the noisy hallway bleeding into the studio.
Kurt was a funny guy and very nice and I think we will stay in contact, he was very positive about the work, especially the "bride series". So I guess staying out of your own way is a way to think about approaching a painting-- a new way of feeling your painting or process.
Draw! 26 also dropped this week and so far the feedback seems to be great. Its available as a dead tree addition or as a PDF from Twomorrows. I am trying to finish up issue 27 and plan 28-30 now. On the Judge Woody is finally bringing the cruise part of the wedding storyline to a finish as the cast disembarks the ship to head into the jungle to see April's father. Woody told me that their is a new paper picking up the strip which is great! In today's world having a paper actually pick up a strip instead of dropping it is very rare, especially a old continuity strip like Judge Parker.
Saturday, November 02, 2013
Halloween week has come and gone like a mere waft of spookiness this year. I partook in none of the merry horror with all of the horrific deadlines I had this year. I had to turn down the party offers and sat ignoring any trick-or-treaters running up and down the rain slick streets of my neighborhood. I gave out no candy or comics this year as I just didn't have the time to sort through comics to find the appropriate ones to give out--if kids would even want them. Of all fall semesters since being in school this, my final has certainly been the busiest one, and maybe that is fitting as a big sendoff and countdown begins in full to leaving the world of academia behind as a student. I also registered for my final classes a critcs for my last semester in the MFA--and boy was I happy to do this. It's like watching one of those hoses on the Apollo that caries some kind of power or fluid detach in the count down. I'm so happy to never have to go through registration again, or the FAFSA, etc. I am very excited to leave Planet PAFA as a student and see where the art rocket will take me.
here on youtube.
Here is my wall on week 9 after an evening of painting. I have really be getting into using acrylics and falling in love with them in a way that surprises me. Oh, I know, many of you out there probably are saying ,"of course, Mike, why not acrylics you Oil Snob". It's true, I was pretty much an oil snob, but I think it also had a lot to do with not quite having my painting cops up yet. Now that I do have some chops it seems I can use acrylics in a way I was not able to before. I like the faster drying, I can drag and blend with a drybrush feel, or wash like watercolors--or both.
So the idea of painting that would not be of any interest to me but it made me thing of how people react the idea of gender, to the beauty of mother nature in my work and how we almost always think of "Mother Earth" or Mother Nature" and refer to the Earth or nature in feminine terms and nobody ever seems to bring up a negative feeling about that. I'm sure out there somewhere there might be a feminist who actually does object. A feminist with leg hair as thick as the densest pine forest who objects to the objectification of nature. But it got me thinking about how often I feel in school you are defending things, your tastes, your choices in subjects, mediums, topics, the politics of your art which might be the politics of gender or seen through the modernist or post, post, modernist lens of sexual orientation. I feel I am a defender of skill, tradition, beauty, history and the connections they all have from the past to now--to me. I really kind'a hate the word contemporary now. Like the word Genius, I think its should be struck from usage for a long time. Its I feel like the N word for art. It's loaded. It can be a term of admiration, support, an insult, a put down. It seems certain people use it too much and its a way to segregate artists and the validity of their work.