This the the invitation to the "Bad Dreams !??! show at 57 Underground. It was a combination of some friends from the studio drawaing group. Andrew, Maria, and Mike, as well as Doug's friend from his old art studio days: Mike Mollet, and Jason LaMotte, new assistant at the "da Center for the Arts" in Pomona, where 57 Underground just moved (into the basement area naturally).
Mike Mollet is an interesting figure in himself: he formed the "LA MudPeople": one of several performance art troops he joined or created. The LA MudPeople showed up at civic events and public places stripped down to loincloths (and sashes for the females), smeared with mud, wearing prehistoric mask-like headgear. They just mixed into the crowds, examining objects, blades of grass, ties, anything they ran into carefully, as if those things were the most mind boggling things they'd ever seen. Always wordless.
The purpose of the show was for everyone to bring out the most distrubing of their artworks. It was a great opening. I contruted pictures of President Donald Trump and another of my son: both spooky.
Here's the painting of my son, peering out from one of the cardboard box forts he made in the livingroom -studio. The photo is slightly unfocused, which makes it even wierder. The Trump image was shown earlier.
Speaking of wierd. This is the most puzzling and wierdest of my flower paintings. I tried to keep it naturalistic, and to paint what was actually before my eyes, but the pespective I used caused this deep black aperature in the Morning Glory to dominate the painting. It makes everything else, all the details around, fade into background leaving this strange red flower to threaten the viewer.
While we're still on the subject, here is an incomprehensible drawing of a model in front of what looks like an apartment house, but could be a set of paintings on Mike's studio walls, or even a blanket hung as backdrop. Also completly out of place: a couple flowers, probably also from the model's clothing handing over a chair. But no chair.
To complete the vertigo, the model's head appears looking down over the scene, almost unattached to her body. We have no idea if this is a keeper or not. It certainly creates the effect of a "bad dream".
Here's another Parker piece. Whether this is a return to normalcy is open to question. She's pictured in a kind of sleek 1930's manner, but the image lacks the detail to put that over. One version is smaller and at some distance in the background. But the background is not cohesive in itself.
Not a very good piece, I'm afraid, but it has a mood, and a certain style. It's just that we can't describe the style very well.
Here's another Simone Gad piece. She's totally at home in her body. You get that attitude in this piece. She's also shrewd and self possessed. These are all good traits to have when working in Hollywood or arts communities elsewhere. Of all the pieces I have done, this is probably the closest to how she is, as a person..
Folder 26, even though composed of random images from my whole set, seems to have a consistance. The message it seems to give is dislocation. THis last image is perhaps the least ambiguous, stylistically, but again reveals nothing inside that makes sense. It is perhaps female, but could be male. It is both sensual, and sexless. It is beautifully rendered.
The model leans back in utter relaxation in a kind of reddish haze. The body tells the viewer that, but not the face. There really isn't a face, but the hint of it gives nothing away.
End of folder 26 out of 32. onwards.
Folder 27 of 32. Here's our latin American model from Ballet Folklorico again. She is lovinly painted here in blues and oranges. She has an earthy affect. The colors reinforce that, refecting her ethnicity and her health. This is another piece where I think I caught the actual presence of the model, and her attitude. Here she is slightly skeptical of the line of artists and their easels.
There is nothing realistic about her head and neck, especially considering the treatment of the rest of her body, but without that different style on top, the piece would not be as powerful.
Here's another model I caught with a naturalness and attitude. Again it is a study in blues, with no real attention to being naturalistic. But something in her combination of insouciance on the left, and a kind of eagerness on the right, defines her.
Again, out of the corner of the eye, she lives and breathes. Close up, she breaks down into color planes, and also give pleasure.
This is one of those tryptic like pieces that combines different areas of concentration on the model to give a total person. The lefthand figure is the clumsiest, with no hint of attitude and no face. The middle figure comes to life and defines her body thickness and hairstyle, and gives her part of an expression. The third completes the facial attitude with the body attitude. It is almost faceless also, but the body is relaxed finally, and has lost its tension.
So the model is happy, relaxes and enjoys her experienc at the end. This could also be reversed in time: the model becoming progressively stiffer and more tired, but I think not. Artists relax also, and that would appear match my mood.
Here's another that captures the model's attitude. In this case, it captures a younger model, full of anxiety and hope. Something about the hurried patches of color and the lack of definition in the shadows of her body below the neck point to youth. The head gets darker, and the colors coelesce, and are no longer patchy. I spent longer on the head, and two waves of feeling go through it. The dark cast and shaded eyelids point to worry, but the twist in the pursed lips suggests a kind of awe of her situation, and the steady gaze suggests a certain delight.
Here's what could be the same model in her 40's (but isn't). The same color scheme. The point is that its the same person, and the same hopeful personality tansformed by age and knowlege of life.
This is a complex piece, especially when seen with the other. She's thicker in body now, and sadder, and still self concious, but still hopeful. She's still the same wonderfully beautiful person, and the artist paints her so. The head is no longer sketchy. The body is now shaded and complete. She is now a complete person and the artist paints her so.
A change of pace. A briefly drawn triplet of Parker again. No depth. No attempt to understand, but merely the enjoyment of the pose. The third try on the right is not successful. I elongated her body, put an extra fold in her stomach, and made her look stunted.
I was probably involved in conversaton with the others, and just decided to "phone it in".
Duckles / Ward exhibition at 57 Underground, with a second set of dancer studies. Karen Duckles does think impastos of oil. It must take months for them to dry. She suggests flowers, people and common things, but they are usually abstracted beyond recognizance.
Simoe Gad again. Without her glasses. Again it brings out the basic sensuality of large bodies. She looks particularly relaxed in this pose. Must have been a good week for her.
We should try to do a whole exhibition of Simone Gad floating...
This is the last image in folder 27: a well thought out depiction of Faye, the nurse. Here she is cool and reflective. (Especially refletive around the face).
Onto folder 28 out of 32. Getting there....
Here's a piece that must have been painted sometime near the dancer's series'. It is stark, and repetitive, and striking. But experimental.
I don't think I fully understand these figures yet.
Here's some more of them. They seem to behave more completly as geometric figures, than ballooned out as the painting above this one.
Here's some more of them. These are shown as individual pieces elswhere in this blog. This is the later phase, when I'd completed the dancers and was still in the same graphic (but not dancing) state of mind.
OK, change of pace. This is back closer to the colorfields. The model has lost all personity, and is just forms in space, as are flowers. But flowers don't conjoin hand to hand, so I guess not. There are still an abundance of human traits left in these two figures. One looks dominant, and the other (right hand) figure looks like he/she is drifting in the wake and trustful.
There is a lot here, actually. All this in a haze of colors, like a rainbow quilt, there is the tilt of a couple of necks and the greatly human interaction between the two figures' postures. In a way it is a dancer's series forerunner.
OK, another change of page. Back to landscape. This piece is way out there, places my husband like to paint or draw or just camp around in. This was also near the large hot springs in Northern Yellowstone. Off that road.
As usual, he painted a peaceful and awe infused space, while I painted a dark, forboding landscape, with trees like scarecrows and blurry monster faces hidden in the rocks.
Here's another. This time we are on Catalina Island. Now I am more relaxed. People are all around, walking by us and our easels. Andrew is painting nearby and Maria, with her notebooks, sketching: trying to nail the passing figures.
I picture a greatly fantisized kind of fairy land. Wtih slight forboding, but mostly hastily sketched features of the place, jumbled together without depth. It is the best I can do. It reflects the place reflected through my mind, and my apprehensions.
My husband thinks its a great piece.
So, here we are back at life drawing. Parker again, I think. Older and slightly thicker. This one has gently modeling. Some of it barely different than the background orange hue. A slightly ligher orange marks the light across her arms, which also defines the lighter direction in the background. He auburn hair is just a few strokes of brownish shadow, with the background peeking through. Greater attention to the muffler she has draped over the chair at her back. A semblance of fringes and hint of blanket stripe.
The rear is a set of turquoise shadows. She is offcenter and closer to the light. Lot of things are suggested, including her state of mine. Lit, pensive, and wiser maybe.
I think its a graceful piece, and a lot is going on underneath the placid surface.
Here's a strange fusion of cubism and reality. The face sticks out. It is a combination of attitude and symbol: like a new moon. It constasts with the rest of the figure which is rounded and well studied. The colors are compimentary, and uniform throughout. Blues reds greens and oranges and yellows. Nothing too dark.
There must be something here from chinese calligraphy. I studied calligraphy in Taiwan. We entered contests, and the most beautiful figures were rewarded prizes. This whole piece is like a piece of calligrapy, to me, I guess. The head had to be that way, because it is the beginning of the stroke.
This is a blurry photo of a good piece. The model is sitting on an area higher than the background, and not centered at all. She starts in the middle of the piece and flows off the edge. That's so her arm can be drawn. The unbalanced pose is reflected in her face, which appears to be troubled about something. The entire body we see, however, is relaxed enough.
There are blankets under her arm and draped agains the wall over he shoulder. There appears to be a blue scrim behind it all. The background is also discordent, and matches the pose. Her eyes are discordent. One pupil does not align.
Out of the corner of the viewers' eyes, the model struggles to stay in her frame.
Same problem. Somethings wrong. I wish we had a better picture.
Here's a better, more centered figure. She looks like the same model as the image above. She is sitting in a slightly alien landscape however. The colors clash. A lot of my attention went into the umbrella behind her.
Again she appears relaxed. There is a Japanese woodblock feel to this painting. I couldn't help it, with the umbrella leading. Again something discordent, and I don't know what it is, or why it happened. Usually my colors are faultless. This time they run crazily, including the almost montone reddish hues inside the outlines of her body.
End of random image folder 28 out of 32. Onward.
If you walk into a wall full of paintings, like we have on the walls, this small painting stands out from all the others. Something about the darkness and the strange undulation of the body with the background draws immediate attention.
We are always facinated about things that happen before we are concious of them: like the things we percieve at the edge of our vision. This is a remnant of being hunted by other animals. We learn to detect what is important both for gathering food, and for percieving what is discordant around us before being attacked. This stange painting evokes that in my husband.
To me, it looks like a halloween painting. The model is knowing, and plays around with what is evil.
This is maybe the best of my paintings. Several people have been attracted to it over the years, most recently my rheumatologist, Dr. Hahn. There is a story about that earlier in the blog. Anyway, the figure is so abstracted away and architecturalized that it disappears until you look long enough. You see the curves of a blanket, but in the place where the model would be, it becomes a cubist nightmare.
You get a sense the model's folded into her background somehow. Lost in the draperies.
This is another piece I still have and didn't paint over from my first show at Mount Saint Mary's College in Brentwood, California.
Now, since this is a folder of random images, here comes a set of fast-pose charcoal drawings. This is the most solid and easiest to understand of the three.
And this is the hardest. It looks like the model has made herself into a human pretzel. It is actually what was there, but with the lack of shading and background, it really looks odd.
This is the third. Not bad, with a tension involving the model's gesture. She looks like a soldier or an observer.
This is also a piece I have exhibited a few times. It has an interior glow, and an uncertain model, with dark thoughts, perhaps. The coloring is tremendous: serene, but resonant.
Back we go to the dancer's series. One of the pieces colored, but before completion, perhaps. I really should put these in order, but we decided on random, to not slight anything, and not glorify either.
The orange phase again. This is an impressively large piece, and a great graphic. We were thinking of putting it on t-shirts. It may not have the subtilty of many of my colorfields, or the complexity of multiple figure paintings with interactions and spatial complexities and "ghosting" of the model. But, it's beautiful in many ways. In low light, the orange turns almost to gold, and the figures look like zodiac constellations over starfields.
This is actually a different color scheme than the pink to red to blue schemas I have used more than once. This is lighter, and relies on whites contrasting with lighter pinks, reds, and blues, to indicate shadow. She is also a little unnerving about the face. Not sure what I was thinking (not that I ever have complete thoughts in the process of drawing or painting. I was just in a color trance, like usual. Slapping it on. Adding water. Making instant choices from 8-10 loose lidded acrylic jars. Switching brushes. Swirling them around in a big bucket of clear water to get them ready.
Another model sleeping piece. This one is especially nice. Her eyes are closed, but she is also body aware (as almost all models are that have to hold a pose). Just that she doesn't look exhausted or absent from the session. This is someone who feels the luxury of human eyes on her, and busy brushes and all the accompanying life drawing rituals. Many models have articulated that it my presence: that it is a special feeling, even a non verbal form of communication with the artists that sometimes makes modeling sessions desireable and special.
This is perhaps, one of those sessions.
End of random folder 29 of 32. Time for a page 12. This is probably last page in the blog, at least until I can return from Covid exile to paint and draw once again...