22 August 2012

Arts District Weeks

My friend and artist Alex Schaefer invited me to paint for a show in the District Art Gallery in downtown L.A. The director of the gallery , Johnathan Jerald has been a pioneer and a prophet in the renaissance this area of the city has been experiencing. I didn't know much about the place  so I set to work in a few pieces that I thought would reflect the  mixture of old and new taking place in the district. Initially I did three pieces and then kept on working as more and more subject matter became apparent.

"6th avenue. Golden hour" 11"x14" sold
The opening of the show was quite successful as I sold my three pieces and got lots of good feedback .... what are the odds?  I needed something like this after my dismal sales at Newport Beach. You just never know I guess, different crowd and different sensibilities.  The show is still up through August till Sept 30th and the other artists made some amazing pieces as well. They are Alex Schaefer , Catherine Kaleel, Christian Hernandez, John Kilduff, Jennifer Korsen,  Arpi Krikorian, Rikki Niehaus, Teod Tomlison  and photographer Alan Reyes.

"Moped speed" 9"x12" Painted at 6th and Mateo. sold
"6th ave. Viaduct" 10"x8" sold
  Johnathan asked me to keep painting away and even negotiated a couple of commissions. I did as told because the neighborhood lends itself to it. Plus there are some nice cafes and coffee shops popping up everywhere so it's not like I was in an industrial wasteland.  It was hot however so I had to pace myself. 

"Boarded up" Citizen's Warehouse bldng back. 9"x12" sold

"Skater's alley" Citizen's Warehouse Bldng. 9"x12" avail.

The first commission  was very free flowing in that I could choose the vantage point within a particular area of the Barker Lofts. The client is a photographer so she insisted on maximum freedom. I chose a view from the terrace looking down because the glint of the old railroad tracks was just to juicy to resist. Roofs and roads really "sing" in the evening.  The Urth cafe turns out is a brand new building.

"Old rails"  9"x12" from Barker Lofts looking down on Urth Cafe.

The second commission was to paint my interpretation of the Factory Lofts. This building consists of two very distinct structures. So the challenge was to find the time of day and vantage point that would portray them better. The painting is going to the owner of this development so I felt  it was important to give an overall view and include as much as possible,  a painting that the owner of a property can look at and say, " that's mine and it's pretty."  Because it was a difficult assignment I ended up doing four pieces at different times and pov's for the client to choose  one. Probably not the way I would go in the future but  who knows, may be they choose to buy them as a cuadriptych for a bit more ? 

Here are the different views from the Factory lofts  in a row. 

"Smoker's Alley" 12"x9"

"Delivery Man" 12"x9" morning
"From the electrician's ladder" 12"x9"
"AC hum" 12"x9" sunset

01 August 2012

Just Plein Fun. My week in Balboa Island

I was very excited to be invited as a participant in this event organized by the Debra Huse gallery in Newport Beach. Specially because this year I had cancelled all plein air events in order to focus on my solo show at Segil Gallery in Monrovia. April 2013 everyone! . A week painting in Balboa Island sounded too wonderful to pass. The subject matter is so plentiful I had to take hydrating and nap breaks. Children playing in the sand, boats and quaint-till-you-faint gardens and cottages. True, it is all a bit "prettified" and very very one percent and mostly blond but you can't argue with children playing in the beach, just can't.

While on the beach walkway one of the older kids offered me 2$ for a painting. He had a know-it-all sneer. I didn't budge, I said 400$. He retorted "good luck finding somebody that pays you that." ha ha. Funny smartalec. Good luck is right (sigh). I wonder how much his dad makes...anyway... sailboats, can't deny their beauty either.

Here are most, not all, of the paintings I did  during the week. I did an average of two a day. I tried to capture every subject and mood. Not sure if that was a  good thing but I am not going to argue with my impulse.

"Garden Island" 11"x14"

"Molten Hour" 8"x10"
   "Molten hour" was a tonal experiment. It turned out pretty nice and I might try pushing the tones more in the future.
"Dredging the bay" 11"x14"
Once an urban painter, always attracted to industrial stuff. The dredging machine was a wonder to observe and always in contrasts to the peaceful beach. What first appealed to me was the smoke coming out of the exhaust. A very impressionist theme.
"Closing time" watercolor sketch
"Window Sailing" 10"x8"
"Closing time" is a nocturnal watercolor sketch I did on the "Fun Zone" by the ferry docks. It wasn't added to the show but I dig it enough to make it part of the collection. The painting. "Window sailing" is completely hinging on that model boat I way in the window in the morning sun.

"The collaborators" 11"x14

 "The collaborators" is an attempt at taking mental snapshots of kids playing. I scrubbed as many figures as ended up on the canvas. I am extremely happy with the immediacy of the  result.  I was a bit influenced by a Hinkle show at the Laguna art Museum. I took a small trip to visit it during the week.

 "Sand Serpent" was an attempt at capturing kids building a sand castle in the shape of a serpent during a competition. I didn't finish it more on purpose. I liked leaving it suggested.

"Caffeinated" is a quick morning study of the main street Starbucks' (on Marine) in Balboa Island. I like its energy.

"Beauty is where you find it" The construction workers on the Grand canal were painted from exactly the same point where I painted "Lucky enough(to live here)" I just turned around and started a new painting. It's one of my favorites in this looser, more figure oriented style that took over me. 

"Sand Serpent. 8"x10"
"Caffeinated" 10"x8"
"Beauty is where you find it" 9"x12"

"Lucky enough" 12"x9"