Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 111: last chance!

Just a quick note, it is your last chance to buy one of those 12 for Mali paintings. I'm going to take the widget off the blog tomorrow. There are some really good paintings left (view post day 101). Be ready for some more paintings later today and happy new years eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 110: oh yeah.

Buying new art supplies is an exquisite and painful thing. All the new colors and textures and mediums are exhilarating, but man is that stuff expensive. I'm still in Miami, and will be until the 20th, so I had to stock up on paints and canvases and pastels and papers and, well, all things glorious and good.

The goal for today had been 3 new paintings. But by the time I was home with my bounty, it was already 4. I spent a good while priming these "hardboards" I got which are much like masonite, but supposedly more archival. By the time they were done, setting up my oil paints was out of the question. So, I gladly pulled out the markers, acrylics, pastels, and paper and here's what I got.

The first is expanded from a sketch I made last night. My dad thinks it is creepy, but I think it's sweet, so there you have it. The second is a further exploration of a theme from the last 12 in 12 hours.

Other highlights of the day, I spilled gesso everywhere!

Man but it's nice to be making a mess again!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 109: Welcome Back

I took a nice break for christmas, and then a few sick days, but now I'm back and excited to make some art. New years is a really beautiful opportunity for a struggling artist with many resolutions to make.

Oddly enough, for someone so enthralled with rituals, I don't have a set new years ritual. For this reason, I think, I often find it to be a disappointing holiday. So I'm making an early new years resolution: to do something special and memorable to bring in a new year. I'm thinking an awesome art project. Ideas to come.

Also, it is tuesday. Which means I get to write all about some cool artist I've just researched. Yesterday there was a biography of Alice Neel on television, and I was completely awe struck by her work. She handles paint absolutely beautifully, but that becomes secondary to the emotional potency of her work. She was a true portrait painter, capturing the essence and spirit of a person along with their physicality. Her work resonates with me in so many ways.

I always appreciate a good self portrait, and the painting above is magnificent! Alice Neel was, without hesitation or apology a figurative painter in a time when abstract expressionism predominated. After photography, the figure had become irrelevant to the painting world. The fact that she continued to make meaningful and exquisite figurative paintings is inspiring.She demonstrated that figurative work, including portraits can always be made relevant and powerful. Thank you for that Alice Neel.

The biography really helped capture her force as an artist, but it also often showed a grim and harsh portrait of the artist herself. Reminiscence of her was a struggle between admiration and abhorrence. She was a woman denying any imposed role or formula, painting because she had to, struggling, and often failing to find the balance between motherhood and art .

Though she mainly painted portraits of people, she wasn't bound by a certain look or formula. No two paintings are quite alike, she adopted the appropriate style and line and texture for each one. Capturing the instant was more important than following of a formula. And I admire how she explored and expanded her techniques and styles right until the day she died.

I identify so much with the way that she saw. How she sought out the poignancy and symbolism in every action and gesture and object. She once was so moved by a fish tank she began sobbing. For all your contributions to art, again I'd like to say, thank you Alice Neel.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day 101:

I have just arrived back in Miami for the holidays. Surprisingly cold weather (60 degrees) awaited me, made me think of the warmth of providence I had just left under 14 inches of snow. Well, I'm planing to take it easy until christmas, a hard earned break, but I wanted to make it easy for you last minute shoppers to know which paintings are still up for grabs. There are 14 of them left.

Geddes Hour 3 --------------------------------Annie Hour 8

Geddes Hour 4 --------------------------------Annie Hour 4

Geddes Hour 6 --------------------------------Annie Hour 6

Geddes Hour 7 --------------------------------Annie Hour 7

Geddes Hour 9 --------------------------------Annie Hour 9

Geddes Hour 10 --------------------------------Annie Hour 10

Geddes Hour 11 --------------------------------Annie Hour 11

Saturday, December 19, 2009


We're done!! It's snowing! I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as we did. We'll be shipping them out tomorrow; the remaining ones will be available until the new year.

Geddes Levenson

Annie Blazejack

Happy winter days!


Only one left! This has been a really exciting time...we saved the best for last. And it just started snowing, too!

Annie Blazejack

Geddes Levenson


Just two left! Buy one to support MHOP! Thanks for all the kind comments, we appreciate all of your support and encouragement. We've been making these out of paper, paint and pastels on approximately 22"x30" size paper.

Geddes Levenson:

Annie Blazejack:


Hurrah for beets! Yay for turtles with their feathers!

Annie Blazejack:

Geddes Levenson:


Two thirds of the way there! Thanks to Maggie's delicious chili, our fervor is renewed! Keep watching, only four left!

Geddes Levenson

Annie Blazejack



Halfway there! See anything you like?

Geddes Levenson

Annie Blazejack


The moment of realization: we are both painting Christmas trees. Could it really be coincidence?

Geddes Levenson

"Christmas Tree with Roots"
Annie Blazejack


Don't forget these lovely works that you see are for sale to benefit the Mali Health Organizing Project. Here is what we made in hour number 4.

Geddes LevensonAnnie Blazejack


We're a fourth of the way there! Maggie posed for us.

Geddes Levenson
Annie Blazejack


Hour number 2, as promised, contains glow in the dark paint (it's the bright yellow).

Geddes Levenson:

"Forage for Mulberries / Making Money Is Poetic"
Annie Blazejack

On Our Way

Apologies for the delay, it takes a little bit of time to color balance these photos.

As dictated by Geddes Levenson in a mild state of confusion to Eli Moss:

These are works from hour #1. They have already been sold to a wonderful and wise person. Check out works from hour #2 coming to you soon! In an hour! If you would like to publicize this event in your facebook or twitter, that would rock! Also messages of encouragement would be appreciated.

Annie Blazejack:

Geddes Levenson:Sneak preview: hour 2 will glow in the dark!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 97: gearing up

Just over a day left till december's 12 paintings in 12 hours (saturday the 19th). This time is extra exciting, not just because dear friend and frequent collaborator Annie Blazejack will be joining me in the effort, but because we are selling our creations to help out MHOP (Mali Health Organizing Project).

It is super exciting, we've pre-sold 9 works so far, but there are still 15 left. If you're debating weather or not you want one, you should know that Annie and I are so excited about this, and we are going to make some really really good art this saturday. If you're still worried about putting the money down before you've seen the work, check this blog every hour, we'll be posting them as we go, and you can buy them then too.

These paintings/ drawings/ collages would make great holiday gifts, and if pre-purchased, can arrive by christmas if you celebrate it. They are selling for $200 each, half of the proceeds going to MHOP and half covering overhead and shipping. They can be purchased at the upper right hand portion of this page.

In other news, I've been watching videos of butterflies coming out of their cocoons. A really breathtaking sight, and something I'd like to witness in person someday. I'm doing some drawings of them too. The rows of cocoons are really beautiful.
They look something like ornaments, and sometimes they even seem to glow. As the caterpillar becomes more and more butterfly, you can see the shapes of it wings through the membrane of the cocoon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 94: other things too

In support of a friend during her finals, a new kind of life drawing over video chat. Maggie does math.

Cinnamon rolls made by my housemate and I!

Done on the cardboard after I used up all the pages in my drawing pad. The image my look familiar (today's earlier post). I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

Day 94: Of Rituals And Traditions

Much of my art includes the idea of rituals and traditions. I don't know if the love of them stems from their capacity for transformation, or the way that they become the mythologies of your life. Yesterday was the performance of a 5th annual tradition, the finding, cutting down, and decorationg of the Carmody's tree. My friend Brenna is a Rhode Island native, and for five years now she has had myself and Annie and Angela and assorted friends over to contribute to her family's christmas tradition.

For now I only have one picture of this years event stolen from friend Maggie's math blog

My recounting of the tradition is as follows:

It is cold. We're all wearing our coats and scarves crunching through needles and old snow. This tree is too sparse on one side, the other too lean, the other too crooked. We search and search. When we find a seemingly befitting one, we present it for Brenna's examination. She is an expert. Finally one meets satisfaction. We have found the perfect tree, full and fat and tall and glorious.

We gleefully take a saw to it, taking turns cutting through its bark, our faces buried in it's sweet smelling spines. A creak, a sound of weakening, a swift kick and the tree tumbles. We heft it with our awkward grips and carry it to be wrapped and priced. It is an awkward thing, strapping a christmas tree to the roof of a car. Thankfully it is only a short trip from the tree farm to Brenna's parent's house. All of us crammed in, the dog sits on Brenna's lap.

Once we get the tree inside, I proceed to eat all the clementines in sight to the surprise, and perhaps amazement, of the Carmody parents. Annie is selecting Christmas music to play.

We put the tree in its stand and proceed to straighten it, people on all sides commenting . Then we tether the tree. This was a hard learned lesson as we watched it crashing down in slow motion one year, ornaments scattered, and thankfully very few broken.

We decorate. There is an art to the draping of lights. It is a sacred art. Next come the boxes and boxes of ornaments. Each ornament is wrapped in tissue paper. Each ornament is loved. We have recited its history, its origin, its significance.

As the last few ornaments go on, we must hunt for a place to put them. The tree is full and glorious. Perhaps a few branches bend with the weight of the fruit we have given it. Still, we regret that there are no more ornaments. Brenna's mom instead provides us with cookies, they are plain and white and sweet.

She lays out in neat rows on the dinner table bowls of colored frosting, sprinkles, gumdrops, colored sugar. Everything in neat rows, everything ready. We smother the cookies until they drip frosting, we stack them with sprinkles and gumdrops until they become unwieldily towers of sugar. We show each one to her parents. "yes very beautiful Annie!" "Geddes that cookie is collapsing!". Angela's are always the most edible. The cookies are laid out on plates. Now we don't want to eat them. Well maybe a little.

The table is cleared. The bowls of frosting and sugar removed, and replaced with bowls of delicious steaming good smelling food. All elegant and mouthwatering. There are always mashed potatoes. We eat and laugh and smile. By the time we are done, and we must return home, we must roll out of our chairs and down the hall, balancing our plates of cookies.

With smiles and hugs and warmth we load into Brenna's car and return to the city.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 91: This is how it should be

This is nice, this is how it should be. Vine charcoal is fantastic and exquisite. Good thing they keys on my computer are already black.There isn't quite a continuity between the images, they contradict each other slightly. A myth of itself.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 90: Can't Stop Me Now

All this work on applications and setting up the MHOP (Mali Health Organizing Program) stuff has been important, but I hereby reserve tomorrow for art making. That is, after all, why I decided to become an artist.

For updates on the MHOP fundraiser, you may notice the new side bar cart, you can buy Any of my and Annie's 12 paintings in 12 hours there, and half the proceeds will be donated to MHOP. If you want to read their publication of the event, click here.

Here are some drawings of what i've been thinking about. They feature my niece's first real christmas (last time she was too young to know what, if anything, was going on). They come from this idea that the sensation and thought of christmas can often be more powerful than the experience. The mythology of christmas. I do love mythology.
To art!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 89: Pretending it is tuesday

With all this graduate school researching and artist statement writing, I've been looking at a lot of new and exciting artists. Hard to pick one for the week, but as I suppose I'll be doing this for all of my foreseeable future, no pressure.

Amy Sillman! I chose you!
As I've been reading about different programs and getting exited about the idea of interdisciplinary ones that don't label the artist as a painter or sculptor or what have you, I've also become interested in artists that are labeled thusly.

Amy Sillman is clearly a painter, and a magnificent one at that. Her abstracted forms are descriptions of paint, the laying down of paint the mixing of paint, the textures and colors. All exquisitely contrasted.

I say abstracted forms because I wouldn't quite call her an abstract artist. You can't quite help picking out structures and objects in her work, like coded text. Weather or not you can identify them truly doesn't matter, the paint is what is important.

Another exciting thing about this Sillman character, the one I introduced as "clearly a painter" is the number of different careers she had before arriving at art, including a Japanese translator at the UN!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day 88: Some Very Exciting News

The dynamic duo returns! I will be collaborating with magnificent artist Annie Blazejack to raise money for MHOP (Mali Health Organizing Project)! Click for link.

(Image from previous collaboration with Annie Blazejack)

Annie Blazejack and I will be teaming up for this months 12 paintings in 12 hours project. On December 19th, from 10am - 10pm, we will each make a painting an hour. Each time slot will be pre-sold, and the person buying that hour will get the painting made in that hour. Half of the money raised will be sent to MHOP to help kids stay healthy and malaria free (among other important things). These paintings will be shipped for free within the US, and should arrive before christmas for those who celebrate it. They will make great gifts for any loved ones plus it will be a big help to MHOP.

I'll keep posting details on my blog as they arise.

In other news, New Artist Tuesday is postponed until tomorrow due to applications and artist statements. Thank you for your understanding.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 87: Artist Statements

I spent yesterday researching graduate schools and I have found some really exciting ones! I've still got to do a bit more research, but no matter where I apply, I am going to need an artist statement.

An artist statement is like a statement of purpose, it is somewhere between a thesis and a manifesto, but generally only a page long. It is both the most informative/ elucidating/ inspiring and frustrating/ overwhelming/ difficult thing an artist has to do. Putting words to every thought and idea and purpose that goes into your art making process.

That is what I am currently tasked with/ struggling to accomplish. It is one of those things much like cleaning your room or buying airplane tickets. It needs to be done, and you know good things will come of it, but you dread getting started on the task.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 84: Time for Reflection

I'm packing up, getting ready to head back to providence tomorrow morning, and I've got to say there are quite a few things I am going to miss. Aside from warm weather, Miami has been abundant in art. During Art Basel, lots of other art shows sprout up taking advantage of the scene. Today we visited Art Asia and Pulse. The take home message (aside from seeing some really really amazing art) is that I think I'm going to start playing with gold leaf. It is really exquisite.

I also got a crit from family friend and amazing artist Biff Elrod (click on his name to see his work). He gave me a lot of insight, and things to think about. It's always wonderful to get some feedback, and he's pretty insightful.

The final excitement of the night was attending my father's opening (his second this week). YesRandal Levenson's photographs are back in a big way. If you click on his name, make sure to check out his recent work!

Well, that is the plug for the night. I'm looking forward to getting back to providence and sorting out all these new ideas. In other exciting news, I'm looking at grad school applications!