Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hanging the Show

Yesterday I hung my show over at Gale's Restaurant in Pasadena. I have to admit it feels really good to have it done and not hanging over my head anymore. Now I can relax and enjoy it. I ended up with 40 pieces in the show. Yeah. 40.

A few lessons learned/ observations about this whole process just in case you ever need to hang a show. Especially if you need to finish in two hours:

  • If a friend calls to ask if you need help framing before a show... do not say "no". Do not try to talk her out of it.
  • Its really good to have friends who know you better than you know yourself. That way, if you do say "no, I think it will be fine" they know to say "yeah well, I don't have anything to do on Thursday, how about I just come over and hang out anyway?"*
  • While I worked at Disney, a colleague or two (O.K. fine, more like 10 or 20) opined that I can be"detail oriented" or "thorough", I think is the polite way to say it**. I am much much worse when it comes to my own work. Occasionally this is a good thing.
  • Be "thorough": swing by the place to photograph the rooms and each wall. Those photos will really come in handy later.
  • Embrace your "detail oriented" nature: Lay out all of your paintings on the floor-- arrange and rearrange them to your hearts delight.
  • Laugh at the fact that you've been stressing about not having enough paintings and now have to cut 10 or so out.
  • Since you've already embraced your "detail oriented-ness", go the extra mile and use your favorite software program to draw a map of each wall, where each painting goes and label it.
  • Put post- it notes on the outside of each carefully wrapped painting with numbers corresponding to your map (you have SO embraced that detail-oriented nature!).
  • Box up the paintings according to each wall.
  • Day before the hanging: Call the place to confirm when you can start hanging and when you need to finish. If the finish time is much less than you expected, call friend #2 and ask for help.
  • When friend #3 comes by to help the night before the show, do not get cocky and think that you are almost done (after all, you only have to make the labels) so lets sit on the front porch with a bottle of wine and gab for two (maybe three) hours.
  • Do not leave the naming of the paintings to the night before you have to hang the show. This is a really dumb idea. This makes the whole labeling process take much longer.
  • Triple check that all your paintings are, in fact, signed and that the signature still shows after you have framed it.
  • That careful wrapping and boxing of your paintings? Do it after you have named and checked the paintings for signatures.....
  • Be grateful that friend #3 had such a stressful week at work doing strategic planning and all sorts of left brain activities that staying up until 5:30AM with you getting an art show together is actually fun to her†.
  • Be grateful that friend #2 is a morning person and is always on time, as she will be the only coherent person at the hanging. ††
  • When all is said and done, take your friends' advice, step back and be proud of what you've accomplished.

* Thank you Kelly!

**After researching the answer to a technical problem and then calling the developer to report my findings, the developer exclaimed "Jesus, Joseph and Mary!! You are so... thorough!!!" Aside from the incongruity of hearing that from a Buddhist, I had never heard anyone use the term "Jesus Joseph and Mary" in real life; so whatever she was trying to tell me was completely drowned out by my subsequent laughter. Anyway, she was right.

†This is where I would say thank you Natalia, if I hadn't already promised to stop thanking her. So I am NOT using this opportunity to thank Natalia.

†† Thanks Jeannie!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I've been having a lot of fun with my landscape painting lately: using a lot more paint and much bigger brushes. I've been trying to lay a brushstroke down and leave it; to loosen up & resist the temptation to go back in and "fix" stuff.

I really like the way this one turned out:

(click images to enlarge)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dwight Harmon

Strange how random things will trigger a memory & make you think about someone.

I just framed the piece below for a show I'm hanging on Saturday. As I was pulling off the plastic that protects the plexiglass, I remembered that Dwight loved that stuff. I couldn't remember exactly why but I remember him being absolutely giddy about it. It was a long time ago.

Dwight was one of my teachers at Art Center. He was one of my favorite instructors and had the best sense of humor by far. In a nutshell, Dwight's thing was getting students to experiment, have fun and hopefully make some really cool art (that's a very simplistic summary). He was killed a few years after I graduated (murdered, actually, but I won't talk about that or the rat bastards who did it). I just haven't thought about him in a while so it was a strange sensation to be ripping plastic off a sheet of plexiglass, thinking about all the things I need to finish when suddenly Dwight pops into my head.

Just about every available surface in my house is covered with paintings in various states of "almost" ready to be framed. While I waited for the varnish to dry on a few of them, I decided to do some surface prep in case I have time to knock out a few more before Saturday. I grabbed the plastic out of the trash to protect my kitchen table, then slathered on a few good coats of acrylic medium onto my painting surface. After it dried, I picked up the piece. Thats when I remembered why Dwight loved that stuff so much. Acrylic wont stick to it. It just slides right off .

Dwight used to pour acrylic over the plastic, swirl it around, draw in it with the back end of a paintbrush, his fingers, or whatever else was lying around. After it was dry, he'd throw another layer on and play around with different pigments adjusting the opacity with gloss medium. When he was finished, and it had dried, he would peel it off and have a painting without a "surface". With a huge smile, he would hold it up for everyone to see. "LOOK AT THIS! This stuff is amazing!"

Just the thought of that cherubic face and his gleeful smile made me laugh.

So Dwight, wherever you are, we still think about you, we still love you, we still miss you...and you still make me laugh.

1/20: a new painting...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nude Study

I've been going through my paintings & found this one. I did it a few months ago (October?) and had forgotten about it. I was working fast that day; I did a few portraits and then decided to do a quick full figure before I had to leave. This was two sittings, so probably about 40 minutes.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A few more paintings:

2 from Utah and another from Bariloche