Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Silhouette Caught in the Studio

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 'Office'

I put office in quotations because although we refer to this room as the office we never use it as one. It functions as run-over for everything; Alex's closet, a laundry room, a guest bed and a place for my collections.

A few favorite things from left: student made ceramic, picture of grandmom in snow, pods including chestnut and cotton, bee hive, coral from Jamaica, antique deer figurines

Painting of my great uncle Clyde by my mom

Closet spilling over and desk area including a vintage wall clock and an old travel case from Alex's grandmom which functions as storage.

Our daybed!

My parents built this daybed! I really don't know how they did it...one day Alex said we should get a nice daybed for in here and all the sudden they had made this! It is so sleek and perfect for the space and great for when people visit. I want to get a few more accent type pillows but I think it looks pretty good for now. The only problem is they had to bring it up in pieces because of our windy stairs so when we move we'll have to break it down again...there is no way I'm leaving this behind!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Susan Fenton

While doing some holiday shopping, I finally stumbled by Schmidt Dean when it was open. I've been trying to see Susan Fenton's new photographs for a while but always seem to be walking by before or after hours on my way from PAFA.
The subtle color photographs were my favorite. They were incredibly formally considered and reminded me of some of my favorite paintings, most notably Morandi. The color relationships were beautiful and intensified the more time I spent with each. Also, the way the forms touched or just missed one another was really wonderful. I could feel the careful delicacy with which she observed and felt each piece. Here are a few of my favorites along with the image above all courtesy of her website:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lucky Find

Last week on my walk to school I found this frame with the note above inside, taped to a brick wall with about 5 identical others. Turns out to be a project where participants need to take a photograph of the frame in their home or life and send it to the email provided. I want to just hang the empty frame on my brick wall with my other artwork but I'm not sure this is what they want. I'll try it and see what happens...I'm hoping to get a website where everyone has posted but we'll see...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Not Going Above 30 Degrees This Week...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Katie Pomerantz's Blog

Beet and Banana Peel, 5 x 3.5 ft, oil on canvas, 2010

Wayne Art Center, Feast the Eyes Exhibition

My friend and classmate from last year, Katie Pomerantz has a relatively new blog. It's called A Lonely Hunter. Good name right? It's also a really nice blog that shows some of her recent work, events and life. The photo at the top is an example of her work. Usually large still lifes of fragile pieces of the natural world -- banana peels, leaves, vines. They are very sensitively rendered and exude a quiet mood, the objects many times looking shy of the spotlight. I always admired her work and we seemed to have similar interests in the feeling portrayed...quiet, felt, almost awkward yet elegant. Needless to say I miss having her around school this year.
She also posted this funny picture of us at the Feast the Eyes show we both participated in. (Our other friend and classmate, Mike Branca, not pictured was also in the show for a nice little yam painting. Check it out on her blog.) I like looking at the photo and remembering how good the feeling is when all the hard work and anxiety amounts to a show and experience to share.

Print Show at PAFA

Emily Diehl

Danielle Deangelo
You're going to be jealous. I got these two prints at the holiday sale at PAFA for....$10. Total. I couldn't believe the whole thing. The prints were beautiful, there was a ton of work and it was all priced so inexpensively. I'm going to make it an annual thing and bring more cash next year because I could have done some serious holiday shopping.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Praise of Shadows

Good little book--easy read. Only thing I don't understand after finishing is why this cover art would be chosen for a book on aesthetics that values subtlety, tradition and shadows.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wolf Kahn by Justin Spring

Glimpse of a House by the Beach, 1965

I recently went out to my parent's house and as I was leaving my mom pushed this book into my hands. She got it at a talk of his in 1996 and it is signed which is pretty cool. I really like Wolf Kahn's work but I guess because I grew up with the book on our coffee table I never thought about reinvestigating it. That's the unfortunate thing about growing up with a mom with great taste in art...takes me longer to admit I agree with her.
Anyway, I read the first two pages of the book and am totally engrossed. The first essay is by Justin Spring and basically outlines Kahn's development. The second is by Louis Finkelstein and gets more into formal aspects of the work. I really like seeing the work he made when he was around my age just getting out of school. Its like seeing someone's baby pictures. You can see how they grew into the person they are now but when you see a baby you have no idea what they will look like as an adult. The work has the same threads of questions and interests but it manifests itself in really varied ways until he has been working consistently for about 10 years.

Portrait of Frank O'Hara, 1953-54

That's when the nuances get really interesting and he seems to pull away from being influenced by other artists and seems on a path all his own. Finkelstein notes the painting at the top of this post as a really important development. Kahn is able to establish space with color. The house in the distance only seems distant due to the diagonal of purply gray yet it is completely flat. How poetic. The book has been helpful in pointing directly to things like that. I know that particular painting is strong and different from previous works but still have a hard time verbalizing how it has been constructed to do that. It seems like so much of my education has been looking and absorbing that it feels really good to see words that confirm the why. So anyway, note to self, read the text in your books and listen to your mom.

Near the Potomac, Near the Canal 1987

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Poem and a Painting

In honor of the first flakes of winter spotted today, here is a nice little painting by David Fertig

And here is a beautiful poem that reminds me of the simple things I am thankful for this year.

Kay Ryan is a contemporary poet whose work I really love...

Things Shouldn't Be So Hard

A life should leave
deep tracks:
ruts where she
went out and back
to get the mail
or move the hose
around the yard;
where she used to
stand before the sink,
a worn out place;
beneath her hand
the china knobs
rubbed down to
white pastilles;
the switch she
used to feel for
in the dark
almost erased.
Her things should
keep her marks.
The passage
of a life should show;
it should abrade.
And when life stops,
a certain space-
however small-
should be left scarred
by the grand and
damaging parade.
Things shouldn't
be so hard.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Yesterday I went to Tibor de Nagy and saw one painting that made my entire trip to NYC more than worthwhile. It was by the artist Biala in a little side gallery with about six other pieces some by Jane Freilicher and others by Nell Blaine. I passed over Blaine pretty quickly, the Freilichers were pretty nice and then this painting above hit me in the stomach. The richness in the subtlety found in person is something rare and stunning. It was a perfect painting.

"Biala's paintings seem touched by a tough ingenuousness — never sentimental or na├»ve, but slightly nostalgic in their playful intimacy. Suffusing them is the outlook of a painter who has found what she needs and knows what she wants to do. The results glow with a wondrous candor." John Goodrich NY Sun

I really hope there is a solo show of her again soon. They had one in 2007 and I didn't know of her until pretty recently. There is very little online and these have to be seen in person. Her palette, subject matter, touch, restrain all create a really magical work and again I see what I want to do and just how much work it will take.

Monday, November 8, 2010

First Friday Fun

This past friday I was in a show with 9 other PAFA MFAs in Old City. It was a good time and the show looked really nice. I ended up putting in two smaller works rather than the one in the postcard. It's at Margot and Camille and open on the weekends all month at 142 N 2nd St.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brenda Goodman

Loss, 2009
Self Portrait 2, 1994

Here are two excerpts from a great interview of Brenda Goodman by David Brody on artcritical. Her view of the world communicated through her work is different than mine but her work is so felt that it makes me realize 1. not to be so fearful and 2. how incredibly far I have to go...maybe in the next 46 years...

"I guess for me why my work doesn't ever seem current is that I try and stay with the intensity and the emotion, the feeling, without making it ironic...I don't know if I have but I do everything I can not to distance myself in the work. Otherwise I wouldn't do it. Where we are now in the art world is that artists go out of their way to distance themselves. I try to do just the opposite."
"What I've learned most about painting in 46 years is the act of surrender: to look at something and to know that you can keep stubbornly working on it to make it look like the way you think it should, or you can let go of that preciousness - that precious area that's keeping the painting from being finished. You can just wipe it out and trust something bigger than yourself to let it resolve....To me this is one of the most spiritual aspects of painting."

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Little Rothenberg

Goat Eye, 1991

"My first goat. (My only goat.) Framing the yellow eye which I loved to look at."

Tender and simple; an effectively perfect painting by Susan Rothenberg.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A little Neel

Gray Still Life, 1959, Oil on Canvas

Such a gem from Alice Neel. I love a lot of her work. Beautiful, honest line quality. I love this especially because its more of a caught moment than a conscious, set-up portrait which is more my interest. Plus the light coming in, varied grays and ambiguous, tender objects create such a mood. So good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

George Segal

These are from one of the best kept secrets of the PAFA library...a small blue book which holds about 30 color reproductions of George Segal pastels and an interview. Both have been important to me. I find these much more compelling than the sculptures he is so well known for.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A few new things

Here is a finished piece I posted earlier in progress, a little painting of objects in the studio and a detail and drawing of the same. I am currently trying to figure out a way to make paintings that merge the sensibilities in drawing from life with the freer inventiveness I feel in working from a photo...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thomas Chimes

photo courtesy Locks Gallery

I love these two Chimes that recall the Bay Area, done around the same time. I think I was supposed to live in the 60s.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A little Bonnard

This is one of my favorite paintings. It took me a while to come across a color representation so I thought I'd share. I love the composition and relate more to the cool light in this piece than most of his warm southern Francy light. Plus a painting that incorporates a woman, a wicker chair, a window and a table scape is pretty much perfect (Diebenkorn has done it, George Segal in his pastels too...but that's for another post...)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I was getting some recipes from my Mommom recently and came across this amazing Jello book. I love the photos and they have seduced me into wanting to make a Jello mold. There must be something to it if they were all the rage for such a long time. I think I'm going to start with crown jewel mold (seen in the last pic) and stay away from the savory 'cheese vegetable salad mold' for a while, seems more for the devoted Jello eater not a novice like myself.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gross McCleaf: Places, Everyone

About a week ago, I stopped by Gross McCleaf gallery and saw the Places, Everyone show. I thought it had some interesting pieces, especially for this gallery which seems to be more traditional usually. I thought Sarah Gamble's work most embodied what they all seemed after: something of whimsical childhood turned on its ominous head.

Mt. Mansfield, oil on panel, 24x24, Gross McCleaf Gallery

I also thought a lot about how the show was curated as I walked through. I felt little strings that brought them together but also the distinct visions of each artist. Later I found out the show was curated by artist Mark Brosseau, who recently showed at Bridgette Mayer. I liked reading his statement on the show and generally like seeing painters curate painters. I wish there was a blog about contemporary painting in Philly, or maybe I just haven't found it yet. I read the artblog faithfully but it is most concerned with performance, video and DIY type shows. Getting local, contemporary painters' opinions is always so useful and interesting to me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

PMA First Sunday

Today I went to the PMA for the Pay What you Wish first Sunday. It was pretty crowded but good to stroll through with friends plus I haven't been since about April. I sort of miss certain paintings there when I don't see them for a little while. These old favorites include:

Vuillard's prints

Monet's Morning Haze

Van Gogh's Portrait of Mme Roulin and Baby

Soutine's Girl in Green
The pieces that were my best new discovery for the day were Eakins' sketches. I've always known he was a very good painter but never had much of a reaction to the work until today. I liked these pieces because they are unassuming, I can feel the casualness of his brush and the subtlety in his color is beautiful.