Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cleaning up the studio, a painting in progress, and some art books in the works

The year 2011 arrived with blinding speed. In fact, I have a little trouble wrapping my head around the idea of 2011. It is a year past epic milestones of science fiction. No flying cars, no glittering Nehru jackets to wear. For that I am grateful. I am one of those people fascinated by artist's studios so I am sharing some recent pictures of the studio Valerie and I share together. As always, click on the image to enlarge.

The above view is looking towards both my easel and Valerie's writing desk. Thanks to Fairbanks Antiques I was lucky enough to get a decent music stand to put my gramophone on and stash some of my 78's inside. Makes the studio feel larger. In the corner are paintings of Charlotte including my latest one from last October. Below that are some of Valerie's Victorian fashion illustrations. I can't remember if they're from Godey's or Harper's.

 This is a view from my easel looking over towards my drafting table where I work on the collages. The painting on the easel I had started at least a couple of months ago and was going fairly well. It's based on a photograph I took of Valerie.  The painting is on cold press watercolour paper and like much of my other work is a combination of coloured pencil and acrylic. The mood of the painting was originally more wistful, but took on the more melancholy aspect after the death of my cousin Amanda whose future career in the arts ended before it even truly began due to a automobile accident. I have been thinking of doing a commemorative painting of Amanda but right now it is too painful to contemplate. In the corner over the drafting table are more paintings of Charlotte and some images that I find inspiring including my little reproduction of the Gainsborough painting I wrote about previously.

This is the studio looking towards the fireplace from the edge of the drafting table over to the French doors. My favourite painting of Valerie hangs over the mantel along with some of my early photographs of her. Piled on the mantle are my James Lane Allen books and along with some of my other treasured Victorian era books. The lovely Christmas tree is Valerie's handiwork. In the corner, Barnabas Collins maintains a melancholy watch over a renaissance lady on top of the bookcase.
As we come around full circle, more books, a music corner with my Edison Amberola 30 cylinder player, a steampunk AM/FM cassette deck in the form of a Edison Home Phonograph courtesy of the Thomas Radio Corporation. The closet stores paintings, art supplies belonging to both Valerie and myself. My favourite painting of Charlotte hangs on the door.

Upcoming paintings:

At the moment, there are two paintings in the pipeline. The lady listening to the gramophone and a small painting of an embracing couple. The latter painting is feeling a bit stuck but other painting is going well. I'm reviewing recent sketches with a view towards picking out my next several paintings. I've also been giving thoughts to my next set of collages but want to get at least two or three paintings finished before I shift the focus back to collage.

Art books I am working on:

It's been in the thought process for a long time, but I'm finally making some progress towards doing a couple of books featuring my paintings and collages. The first book will be an overview of what I hope are the best of my paintings and collages as well as including some of the sketches. I'm contemplating perhaps having a section on how I, as a colour blind artist work in colour. A lot of the photographs I've taken of my paintings over the years will have to be rescanned to improve the quality for print. Many of the web images do not enlarge well.

The second book will feature only my paintings of Charlotte over the last thirty years.  Unhappily, this project will require my rephotographing much of that work. About four years ago, I had photographed nearly everything to use in a future project. I had made a slideshow movie with the images and had hoped to use them in a book later only to lose them when my computer died. The back up CD I made has yet to be found.

The first phase of this project will be to purchase and install the software I've identified as an affordable page maker.  I intend to publish the books through when they're ready. I tried using their "portfolio" maker but found it too limiting. Bear with me as I have multiple irons in the fire.

Here's hoping that 2011 will be a very productive year!