Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 51: Oh Holy Night

Halloween is my most sacred holiday. Public art that engages all. What could be a better combination, after all, than costumes and candy? This year, I decided to be something that terrifies children and dogs around the globe... A thunder storm! It may have been the best costume ever. Especially because I got to play with cymbals (a la thunder).


Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 50: The Analysis

I'm inspired and excited. Finally and Yes! Some persistent even-handed cyclone, these million half formed ideas. This is the most exciting and promising and terrifying part of being an artist. Having lots of ideas and vague plans, but not quite yet understanding them or knowing how to go about composing them. I get to be excited by the rush of infinite ideas, and daunted by the realization of infinite ideas.

This is the thinking, the analyzing, the trying, the waiting. Soon comes the mess the production the struggling and the creating. But first. But now. The waiting. Oh man, get ready for it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 49: The Great Experiment

I had an epiphany today. I was reading something Andrew Bird said about his song writing process, and how he likes to juxtapose dark lyrics with a lighter melody. It got me thinking about how we use varied sentence structure, contradictions, etc. in writing to emphasize something, to create a sensation.

Then it occurred to me the same methods can be applied to visual art, to painting. My painting teachers have always emphasized a need for a variety of different brushstrokes, paint applications and marks within a work of art, but never said why. A seemingly simple epiphany, that they are used for emphasis, for repetition, for contradiction, but it has changed everything. I feel like I finally understand something. It is daunting too though, to suddenly realize I have all these tools, and don't yet know when and in what way to use them, no idea how to fit them together in a work of art.

So my new project is to learn. I began today by making a list of literary devices and tools. Then I decided to reproduce my favorite E.E. Cummings poem in a work of art. I wrote it out and dissected it. I spent the rest of the night like a detective picking through a crime scene, trying to identify all the metaphors and contradictions.


It was wonderful. Thrilling. Exciting. I'm shivering with delight. Or perhaps that is winter encroaching.

Day 48: In the Presence of Greatness: Andrew Bird

Last night I went to an Andrew Bird concert. Oh wow. Wow. So wow.

I was humbled. That man is a musical genius, maybe even a straight up genius. The opening act floored me. I mean you know a song is good when it makes you want to paint. During the first song (a haunting rendition of Why) I had the strange urge to push thick piles of blue paint around a canvas with my bare hands.

There was a physicality and presence to his performance that was so powerful and humbling it blurred the boundaries of my own physicality until I felt that I spilled out of myself like a shining light. The energy in his music is something I have never seen in a painting, even in the great masters. Paintings are much more passive, you have to approach them, look at them, put yourself into them. But music is not physically constrained to a canvas or a wall. It reaches out and grabs a hold of you.

Perhaps that then answers my earlier question of the power of shimmering. Light can reach out and grab you. It is a visual stimulus that is not constrained or confined to a two dimensional surface, bound by a body, held to it's flesh. It surrounds you. It reaches out and touches your skin. Light is transforming.

Art is transforming. I will create and create and create. I will practice and practice and practice. I will aspire to that kind of mastery.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 47: Story time

In the time of Ancient Greece there was a queen named Penelope. She and her Husband Odysseus lived together in their castle. They had many happy days together, but all of them were easily topped by the day their son was born. Unfortunately the saddest day came soon thereafter when Odysseus was summoned to fight in the Trojan war. He had no choice but to load ships full of soldiers and sail off. Penelope stood on the shore of the sea, her baby in her arms as she watched his ship until it faded from the horizon. Little did she know it would be over 20 years before her husband would return to her.

Every day that went by, she thought of him. And every day that went by she would walk to the beach and pray to Poseidon the sea god for his safe return. The expanse of water gave her some solace, it's vast blue, a mirror to the sky. Hypnotic waves.

And then years went by. And more years. And more, until it began to seem that he would never return. Many suitors came and sought Penelope's hand in marriage, but she loved her husband so much she would not mary another man.

Day after day, year after year, she went to that same spot on the shore where her husband's ship had sailed from to pray for his return. By now their son was a grown man, 20 years of age. And Penelope? Even after 20 years, she waited for her husbands return, faithful as ever.

One day as she prayed, her eyes closed in deep concentration, a lock of her hair fell into the water, and the shimmering ripples crept up it until all her hair was a deep blue. When she opened her eyes and saw the ends of her blue hair tossed about by the wind, she knew her prayers would be answered. And she smiled to herself as she saw sails on the horizon. As she stood, to better see the ship that sailed in, she felt 20 years had been lifted off her body, and she was as young as the day her husband had left.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 46: A voayaging

New York is a wonderful wonderful place. Even on a rainy saturday, there are endless things to do. Mainly walk around the Met until your feet are so sore and your baby niece begins to fuss. Then head to the union square market. Then make a triple layer carrot cake and watch a hilarious Irish movie. All these are important and essential parts of the life of an artist. Especially singing the itsy-bitsy spider over and over on the subway.

Truthfully, I saw some very very very inspiring works of art, an was particularly impressed by Robert Franks contact sheets and some American artists (I seldom make it all the way over to the American wing).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 44: A very very contented mouse

So, here's a picture of the cookie I ate.

And here's a picture of the painting I finished.


I am very very content. It looks so much better in person, so anyone in or around providence, feel free to stop by.

There is a story to go along with this painting, an invented mythology. I'll share it, but I first want reactions to the painting without knowledge of the backstory as it is only supplemental.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 43: If you give a mouse a cookie

In providence, a favorite place for delicious dining is the Meeting Street Cafe. Their large portions can easily feed two, except for the cookies. While the cookies (which come in many varieties) are the size of your face, they're hard to share. My favorite is the "garbage" or "everything" cookie. Chocolate chunks the size of, well basically the cookie, but with raisins and walnuts and other great delicious things somehow packed in there too.

How can this possibly connect to my art? Well, my housemate Joey is trying to get a paper finished, and I've been working on this Penelope painting for a while now, and we've both definitely been working overtime. So this morning over breakfast, we decided to give ourselves some incentive. If by tomorrow at 10pm (roughly 24 hours from now) I've finished my painting and she has gotten a certain number of pages done, we are going to walk over to the meeting street cafe and get ourselves a cookie each.

At the beginning of today, it seemed an impossible task, but I've actually made a good bit of head way. Check it.

Day 42: Slow Progress

Nothing like woking on a painting and a little google image searching to get me yearning for france. I've been struggling with the horizon line on this painting moving it up and down like a yo-yo, and I've finally figured out it needs to be considerably lower. Which leaves the problem of all the sky above it, and the compositional wrongness of having yet another bisecting line. And then I remembered a beautiful town called Cassise. It is in france, and known for it's calanques, which are like caves coming out of the water.

What a beautiful setting and a perfect solution to all my compositional and horizon related woes. Now to implement it!... Well, how about tomorrow.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 41: For Real This Time

My apologies to those who tried to check out my updated website yesterday and found faulty links. A final many hours today has it finally updated and working. I even added some new things to the painting section. Still I Had to put some paint on canvas, or rather masonite today. Here is my progress on the Penelope 3 painting. It's slow going, but I'm close to done and I want to finish it up just right. So far I'm working on the water, I'm going to put a touch more detail in the sand too.


Feedback at this stage is much appreciated, what needs work, what do you like what does or doesn't make sense what do you want from this painting etc...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 40: Updated-ish

I don't really know what an FTP server is, but it was all about the errors today. Still, I finally got a major update up in the photography section of my website. Please visit www.geddeslevenson.com if you'd like to see. I'm going to add some of my 12 in one day drawing/painting/ collages too, so I'll post when those are up too.

All this boring website stuff, not very exciting to read about? Stay tuned, tomorrow I'm going to hopefully finish that giant Penelope painting!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 39: Busy work

My website (www.geddeslevenson.com) is greatly in need of an update. Nothing that I have worked on since becoming officially an artist is included. So I've spent most of today photoshopping and building the site. I should have the updated version up and running tomorrow, so stay posted. Enough of this busy work, I want to get back to painting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 37: Alright, it is COLD!

New England winter is beginning to seep into our house. I spent a large portion of my studio time today huddling under a blanket shivering, I've got to figure out our thermostat. And a word to the wise, if you are cold and huddled trying to draw on the floor of your studio, don't play Batman and Robin in the background. Somehow watching Dr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) spray his ice gun all over the place (no that isn't euphemistic) doesn't exactly warm the bones, or the heart. Actually, better yet, just don't watch Batman and Robin, it is a terrible terrible movie.

Here's what I got done today. If any of the lines look a little wobbly, it is because I was shivering.
This one was quite a time sink, but worth it I think. Favorite comment/ crit? My housemate Roger said "Wait, I don't get it, she has wings, why is she in a car?" You know that hadn't occurred to me, I mean I knew the idea seamed absurd, but couldn't put my finger on why, thank you Roger!

I know I posted a before and after shot of this yesterday, but here is the after after shot. It is a fun life when things just keep getting better and better. Now about this winter thing...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 36

Here is my day's work. I may have taken it easy, but I'm just processing yesterday's progress. Below are the changes (sometimes subtle) I made to some of the pieces, sadly not always for the better. I'd love to hear which ones you think are improved and which are worse.

Before ________________________ After

Before ________________________ After

Before ________________________ After

Before ________________________ After

All 12

Here they are, all 12 together, doesn't look like so much when they are all on one wall like that. They're in order, so you can see my progression. Can you tell when I got tired? I'm going to give them a little more work today. Stay posted for before and after shots.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

12/12


And we're done!

11/12

10/12

9/12

8/12

It sounds like an ocean outside the window. There almost certainly isn't, but I'd be willing to bet there is a storm brewing.

7/12 (simplest form)

6/12 or 1/2

And we're half way there! Yes!

5/12

For friends.

4/12

Wow, I'm starved! I'm gonna have to try and do this one quickly so I get a chance to grab some lunch. I was a lot faster last time I did this, and it was for 24 hours. I'm really excited about what I'm making though

3/12


Note the gils body says Harry and David on it.

2/12

1/12

Here's the first one, didn't get a chance to finish it, but I've got to get started on the next. I wanted to emphasize how her wings keep her from fitting in the car and force her into this awkward pose, a favorite of pinup girls.

Day 35: Here We Go

It's 10am. I'm tired. Im about to paint for 12 hours. I'll post each new work each hour. 10-10. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 34: Probably Perceptible Progress

Before:

After:

I feel like this is one of those "can you spot the difference" games they have in some magazines. Two very similar images, but with some changes. These two might not seem drastically different at first glance, but this painting has had a LOT of work done in the past 24 hours. Now I've got to let the paint dry a bit before I finish fixing it up, but I'm feeling pretty good about it. Why? Well, check out these closeups.








Day 33: Plans, Investigations, and Taking Sides

In Providence Columbus day is kind of a big deal. In fact, it is a bit controversial. On one side you have the Brown students, who gladly take the three day weekend, but protest the celebration of a man who stumbled upon a pre-discovered America and massacred all the indigenous people. Walk a few miles to federal hill and it is a different story. The Italians celebrate in fine form, all flags and pride (and I'd thought Christopher Columbus was Spanish... Not so!). They cheer on their Italian brother and protest the protesters.

Now, as my own boss, I had to decide what to do about this 3 day weekend predicament. Everyone likes a 3-day weekend after all, but, well, I would inevitably be taking sides. For this reason, I took friday and saturday off, worked a little on sunday, and am working monday. In other words, it is a two and a half day weekend.

My half day yesterday saw some interesting playing in my sketch book (still on the sirens theme). I've got some ideas for big drawings on their way, but first things first.

Some of yesterday's work:


Not quite more of the same, but more investigating anyhow.

Today's work:

I started out today with similar sketching, but my big ambition is to get some work done on this giant oil painting of penelope I started a while back. It is going to be a quality painting if I finish it properly, so I've been procrastinating a bit, out of intimidation. Today is the day. At midnight or so I'll post a before and after picture to show my accomplishments of the day.

Tomorrow's work:

Yes, I've planed that far ahead. Once upon a time, my friend and frequent collaborator Annie Blazejack painted for 24 hours straight, a painting an hour. I'm not sure if I've still got that in me, but I know I can do 12 hours, so tomorrow, every hour for 12 hours I will post a new drawing/ painting/ collage/ work of art. Bring it on!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 32: Kicking myself

I went to see my cousins dance in the Woonsocket autumn festival today. Being from Miami, I've never before seen an autumn festival. There wasn't anything particularly autumnal about it really, but it was quite fun. Mostly I spent my time there kicking myself for not bringing a camera. I started a photographic project about Woonsocket two years ago, and would have had some really nice additions today. Alas. Folly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 30: Development

More thoughts on sirens and pin up girls have led to many half formulated revelations. Here are some new drawings.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 29: The Improving

Oh the miracles of google image search, like staring off into space until you have arrived at an epiphany. You can start out searching for pictures of parrots, and end up on a wikipedia article about Schrodinger's cat or old drawings of pin-up girls. Yep, my google image search for parrot turned up a picture of a pinup girl playing with a parrot. I got really interested in the stylized women, so "sexy" and absurd. There were images of them ironing in lingerie. Wow, just wow. So here is my siren #2, a much better, if more racy exploration of those original pin up girls.


While I was at improving things, I was inspired to take a second look at that collage I made of my run with Brenna and made it a little more dynamic. I like it better now, still not quite right, but closer.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 28: Officiating the Official













Yesterday's mini mystery? The latest and greatest from my studio?
I have a new wall, a studio wall that I can get paint on, that I can nail things to, that has wheels! My uncle came over around 11 yesterday, and 5 hours, a trip trip to home depot, a lumber yard, and a little being lost in providence later... voila!

In other news, the wait is over. I hereby present you with my dresses painting.

Of course it isn't really done yet, now comes the fun part. Wearing the dresses and documenting their wearing with tally marks. My rendition of Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle (Unless you like lots of confusing equations, don't bother clicking on the link.). It turns out this uncertainty principle is much more complicated than 9th grade biology led me to believe, but my basic understanding seems to conflate it with the observer effect in which the act of observing something changes what is being observed. That is to say that if you try to measure/ record/ see something, you alter it. And, seemingly the harder and more precisely you try to examine it, the more you alter it.

In a way, this is as much a basic and fundamental principle of art as of physics. If the act of seeing or recording something transforms it, then art transforms everything.

Art also then becomes this beautiful struggle towards the impossible. It becomes a never ending spiral where in trying to document or replicate or communicate something the artist is constantly altering what it is he or she is trying to document replicate or communicate.

For example in trying to document my relationship with these dresses I own, I am making a chart of sorts to tally when I wear them. However, this process of tallying-off dress wearage alters how often I wear the dresses and how I respond to wearing them, thus altering my original relationship with them, changing what I am trying to record, ad so on. Seem complicated? Let's take it a step further. This observer effect must apply to the viewers of the work of art too. Is a work of art equally transformed by being observed?


Day 27: The art of suspense

The trick to the proper building of suspense, is the delayed gratification. The putting off of a promise, the pushing back of the inevitable.

The trick to art is the element of surprise, the unexpected extra step, the side step, the backwards step, the jitterbug.

The truth to this post... The painting is not yet finished. It is however, very very close. I brought it to the level of completeness that I expected to be finished only to discover, it needed more. So for the hightening of suspense, the furthering of art, and the joy of discovery, I offer up the almost finished dresses painting.


An unexpected creation today, the perfect addition to an official artists official studio made possible in part by my uncle's carpentry skills and my parents funding. What could it be? I'll tell you in the morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 26: The Suspense

Tomorrow I promise you all the finished dresses painting. It has been a process. Tomorrow marks the day when I will finish it, and post a picture of how it looks, and move onto my next project. Tomorrow is going to be a big day. Oh the suspense.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 23: I finally finished sanding my canvas!






I finally finished sanding my canvas! It is glorious. I love it. It will work perfectly. I have also drawn more parrots. This, my friends, is the good life.






Here is a closeup of the surface. It is smooth as a baby's bottom. Smooth as a good pick up line. Smooth as, well, you get the idea.