Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

You can see "Mardi Gras", more of my mosaics and a lot of other art at the
Jingletown Open Studios in Oakland California, June 2008.
Go to the Jingletown website for all the information.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Mardi Gras"

This is my latest mosaic.
It's called Mardi Gras, for now anyway, because of the colors.
I may change it to "Carried Away" or something else might come to me....time will tell.
I plan to show this in the upcoming East Bay Open Studios in the Jingletown Arts District of Oakland, California.I'm showing you three different shots of this because I am finding that it is really
hard to photograph my mosaics because of the glass reflections.

I hope you can see this one's beauty. It is really good in real life! "Mardi Gras"
Mirrored glass and stained glass
29" x 33"

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Art Story - The Birth of the Dots

Okay - to understand this post you have to read the two previous ones. At least. Hopefully you have read every single post I have ever written and are hanging on every word! But I digress....
As you have read, my art theory had evolved over a few months. I had gone through the phase of mixing colors on my palette and simply applying them to the experimenting with keeping the colors separate but layered and juxtaposed in such a way as to force the color mixing to occur in the viewer's eyes not on the canvas.
It worked in a rough way but I wanted more. I wanted the effect to be more rigidly controlled. I wanted the canvas to vibrate as the colors co-mingled but didn't mix.
I had been using a crosshatch stroke which I synthesized down to it's very essence - the dot.
I started by painting the canvas with one layer of color. Then covering the entire canvas with one color of dots in a grid pattern - not randomly.
Again I will use "orange" as my example. To achieve the color "orange" in this "dot" method, I would first paint a layer of red then cover the entire canvas with a layer of small yellow dots in a grid pattern. The effect was exactly what I was looking for - the two colors mingled to create orange! And not just orange but a vibrating field of orange. Vibrating and alive and moving! And yet both colors remained separate too.Here is a first try: This is called "Wallpaper" because that was what I was trying to make it look like. It even has a fly on it.The background color was pink, then I added a layer of red dots, then yellow....Then painted the flower "design" in different blues and finally I added the fly and his shadow! Ultimately what I was doing was taking the color down to it's component parts. I don't know if you can see the effect here but in person they are very cool!

This next picture is a nude done in dots. The background color is yellow and each succeeding layer of dots was meant to coax the shape out of the background. Like sculpting with color. It's rough looking but it's all done by hand - and that started to be a problem!
This was turning out to be a time consuming art form! I needed to work... and eat and sleep! Sometimes each piece seemed to take forever, depending on it's size. So I figured I could automate it somewhat by learning screenprinting. This next example - also a nude - was done as a screenprint. What this screenprint technique loses from the immediate, frantic look when it is hand done, it gains in being able to create many prints from one design. However, I still needed to make each screen of dots by hand! But in this example below, I had discovered that you can buy pages of machine-made dots, I think made by Letraset. So I used them to make the screens. And while the perfection that resulted has it's own beauty, there was charm in the pieces using handmade dots. And so that was my exploration of dots. This all happened from 1977 through about 1988 or so. Life moved on and I had to get jobs, pay the bills, get out and meet people, etc. But I was happy with my discovery. I hadn't been influenced by anyone or any other art philosophy, even though they may be out there. Thanks for reading this!!

My Art Story Continues - The Color Sandwich

To continue from my previous post....In the years I was painting in oils from 1977 through 1979 I had begun to notice that my experience and understanding of color was becoming complicated.
I was finding that a color did not need to be mixed on my palette and then painted onto the canvas. I started to experiment with how to apply several colors onto the canvas at once in such a way that they would keep their own identity yet blend in the viewer's eyes to create the color I intended.
In effect - there is no such thing as one
individual color, even the primary colors can be different hues and shades.
For example: if you want to create the color "orange", traditionally you mix red and yellow on the palette and apply it to your canvas. And you maybe mix in some white to lighten it. The particular orange you get depends on how much red and how much yellow you put into the mix. But to test my new theory I decided to see what would happen if I applied first a layer of red to the canvas and then another layer of yellow on top of that. Would that make "orange" or just make a mess? It sort of made a mess but I knew I was on to something.This painting is one of my first attempts at my new color theory.
I started to experiment with the way I applied the different layers of color. Each color needs to be viewable through the layer of color on top of it. For example, if I was painting this field of dried grass I not only needed to show the orangey color of the grass but I wanted the viewer to be able to see the yellows, greens, pinks and blues that also go into seeing the full range of color in that grass.
I settled on a strict "crosshatching" method of applying the paint. As you can see in this closeup , I broke up the scene into color "areas", painted in the background color of each one and then applied crosshatches of the other colors that would blend in the viewers' eyes to create my final intended color. I also noticed that this crosshatching gives the scene a subtle vibration and life.Here is another example. It is a blue couch, indoors, lit by a reading lamp. If I had simply painted it in the traditional method, I would have used a blue color for the couch and a yellow color for the wall behind it. That was just not going to express the scene for me though! So first I divided the scene into its color areas - a narrow field of yellow at the top and a wider field of blue across the lower part of the canvas. Then I laid in all the other attendant colors in a crosshatched pattern . This creates a 3-dimensional effect where the viewer's eyes have to put the colors is like a color sandwich where each ingredient is separate but blends to one taste. Or it can be compared to a musical chord where each note is separate yet is heard altogether in the listener's ears.
There's more to come...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Art Story 2 - Color Theory Develops

Welcome to the latest installment of my art history and theory! Back in February I wrote that I had dropped out of college in 1977 and spent a year painting outdoors in my native Western New York.
I worked in oil paints and used only the three primary colors and white.Here is an example of a "typical" painting. As I painted, though, I struggled to get the colors to look like the scene.
Now, that is what all artists do, right?
We try to capture the scene: paint the sky blue and the grass green.
Well I started to see that the sky isn't "blue" and the grass
isn't "green".
found that I couldn't mix the colors together well enough on my palette to capture what I was seeing.
I was no longer content to mix paints on my palette and apply them to the canvas.
I realized that the colors I was seeing were swirling...there was no one color happening in that sky, there were many.
And the trees and grass weren't one color either.

The colors I was painting up to then were too "fixed" and
had no movement or life to them.

So I decided to experiment one day and just swirl the colors around as best I could -
not on my palette but on the actual canvas.

Here is the outcome. It isn't "pretty" but it was a breakthrough for me.
The colors I was seeing were moving and were mixing together in my eyes and mind. I realized in that moment how the viewer must bring him/herself to the thing being viewed.
If you notice in this close-up, each color is separate and yet in relation to every other color around it. The colors blend together as you look at them - and this is especially true the farther back you get from the painting.
At the same time I was uncovering my own art within me, I was entranced by Vincent Van Gogh's work. My color theories were evolving and I was finding that within each color lies it's opposite.
We are all aware of the experiment where you stare at a blue dot for a while and then when you look at a white wall, you will see an orange dot - blue's opposite color.

As I painted this scene shown here, I was staring into the bright morning sun coming up over a hill.
I took that position on purpose to force myself to see - experience - a full range of colors from darkest shadows to brightest sunshine, and to barely be able to see at all!! I was no Van Gogh but I was on to something!

Here is Van Gogh's "The Sower". Notice how he creates the hot feel of that morning sun by painting it using not only the typical oranges and yellows we associate with "sun" but with the opposite colors: blues and purples. He captured the full range of the color "experience" of a bright sunrise.
To be continued...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lesbian art - Just A Little Something

for a Tuesday afternoon in April...

Two Women

circa 1984

36" x 24" approximately


Full Fish Moon

April's Full Moon has three names:
Full Fish Moon, Full Sprouting Grass Moon and Full Egg Moon.
So as part of my ongoing series of Full Moon drawings, I incorporated all three images into this piece.

Full Fish Moon


18" x 24"

Colored pencil and acrylic wash

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fernando Reyes, Jingletown Artist

Fernando Reyes began his art career as a self-taught artist.
However, after he spent 17 years in banking in San Francisco,
he decided to seek formal art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He has lived in Oakland for the past eight years and his studio is at the Ford Street Studios in the Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland.Fernando has produced a large and diverse portfolio of artwork. His work is primarily representational and includes oil paintings, charcoal/conte drawings, and printmaking. His primary interest is in depicting the human figure. To me, he captures the "presence" of the figure; not only the weight and volume of the body, but the personality of the model as well. And with his paintings and prints - as with the Japanese erotic art I wrote about in a previous post - the viewer has to become involved with the work, unravelling the lines and colors to actually see the figures and movement of each piece. This is not art that just sits on the wall matching the decor!These works have captured the attention of collectors throughout the region, nationally and internationally.

Over the last decade Fernando has had several solo exhibitions and has been in many group exhibitions featuring his figure drawings and/or print works.

Fernando is one of many Jingletown artists who will be opening their studios as part of the East Bay Open Studios, June 7, 8, 14, 15, 2008.To see more of his work, visit his website Fernando Reyes
For more about Jingletown and it's artists visit this website Jingletown
Also check out more here : JTown blog

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

David Lance Goines

David Lance Goines is a graphic artist and printer in Berkeley, California.
In the early 1960s he was a Classics major at UC Berkeley but was expelled because of his role as an instigator of the Free Speech Movement there. In 1968 he opened his own print shop - Saint Heironymous Press in Berkeley - to design and print his own work.Goines' specialty is advertising posters. Classical themes and Art Deco styles abound in his work.
His illustrations are a mix of sophistication and simplicity - straightforward yet always the perfect expression of whatever the subject matter is.
Goines' illustrations are so good, in fact, that the viewer almost doesn't need to have the verbiage that accompanies them. Yet sometimes the relationship between Goines' subject matter and his choice of how to illustrate it create in the viewer new ways to understand the subject.
Goines is probably most well-known to the public for his Ravenswood Wine Logo and his advertising posters for Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley.
To see more go to his website

Monday, April 7, 2008

"Hippie Chick Serenades the Moon"

"Hippie Chick Serenades the Moon" 2008 Colored pencil and acrylic wash 24" x 18"

Saturday, April 5, 2008


This is a new mosaic that I finished yesterday.

I chose the name because it has two meanings.One is the commonly-known meaning: "alluring beauty and charm." The second meaning is less well known: "to cast a spell or put a hex on someone."

I think of glamour as also meaning "illusion." After all, the glamour we associate with actors and models IS an illusion - it's all makeup and airbrushing, smoke and mirrors.

I was recently in a situation where I believed an illusion. And so the idea for this mosaic came into my mind - a woman enamored with something that is only showing her what she wants to see.

"Glamour" 2008 Stained glass and mirror on plywood 35" x 16" approx

Friday, April 4, 2008


One of my favorite subjects to draw is the American cabaret singer...this one with the piano accompanist and a lonely, crying saxophone too...


18" x 24"


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shunga - Japanese Erotic Art

I like erotic art.
By "erotic art" I mean art! Not porn. Never porn.

To me erotic art - as with all art - is clever, surprising, executed with skill,
respectful of the particip
ants, and has a mature attitude toward sex itself.
Porn is 2-dimensional, poorly or violently rendered, disrespectful toward the participants,and has a teenager's giggly attitude toward sexuality.

Shunga is the generic name of Japanese erotic art. Ukiyo-e was the name of the movement which flourished from 1660 to 1860 and which produced the most famous wood-block prints of this genre.
I'm continually fascinated by the different attitudes toward sexuality in
world cultures - past and present.
Especially past.
Erotic art and free sexual expression is respected and prized in many cultures yet met with moral outrage and condemnation in others. And sometimes these responses exist side by side in the same culture.

In China and India, for example, sex was raised to a level of mystical significance.
The Japanese approach during this time considered sex a
natural and enjoyable event.

There was no moral corruption associated with it. Their art showed heterosexual and homosexual sex, group sex, anal intercourse, etc, without judgment.
The judgment would come later when Japan was opened to the West.
This art became simply "embarrassing" to the Western art establishment by the turn of the 20th century and fell out of view.
I like optical illusions.
What I love about this art is that it's design is the first thing you see. Your eyes notice the intermingled colors first, then follow the folded cloth and become aware of the tangled limbs. Only then does the viewer start to see what is really taking place in the scene! And what is really taking place is usually depicted pretty graphically! This art definitely challenges our Western sensibilities. But by then the art has taken you on a little journey to it's center. And you can look at these prints over and over again and see the unmistakable artistry and beauty of them. They are sexual art for adults. Back in their day they were considered not only fine art, but were used as teaching tools. There were even books called sleeve books made expressly for women to carry in their kimono sleeves.

Learn more about this art form.
There are many books and websites where you can learn and
see more about this art.

I own a copy of "Shunga - the Art of Love in Japan" by Tom and Mary Anne Evans, published by Paddington Press.
And here are a couple of websites among many:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Beer At Ballparks

April Fool's Day

The history of April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day is uncertain, but the current thinking is that it began around 1582 in France with the reform of the calendar under Charles IX. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved from March 25 - April 1 (new year's week) to January 1.

Communication traveled slowly in those days and some people were only informed of the change several years later. Still others, who were more rebellious refused to acknowledge the change and continued to celebrate on the last day of the former celebration, April 1. These people were labeled "fools" by the general populace, were subject to ridicule and sent on "fool errands," sent invitations to nonexistent parties and had other practical jokes played upon them.