Yesterday, while running errands, I noticed the train was stopped at the 6th street bridge downtown. It's not often you get to walk right up on a running train and snap pictures. Having a good day in the studio today as a result. Hope you're having a great one too.
Sitting in the backyard yesterday after pulling weeds and deciding what we needed to do to get our garden in shape for spring Noelle asked me what was wrong. I guess I was looking down or something. I dunno. She asked me what I had done that day. I told her. It was a great day productivity wise but something was nagging on me. I had taken a rendering to it's final stages and it looked good, weeded the front yard and done some work in the back, and checked a ton of stuff off of my to do list.
"well what else did you do"
"I wrote in my blog"
"oh good, what about?"
"how happy I was"
We both laughed our asses off. It just struck me as funny. Yesterday I gushed about my utter joy et all and then proceeded to have one of those blech days. Maybe I put my day's allotted happiness into the writing and that left me dried out. I don't know. Either way, it was a great laugh.
Here's a little duck for Thursday.He seems happy enough.
I was talking to Paul Jackson recently about trying to meet up again. I attended his workshop in Pensacola last January. I became aware of his work, specifically his piece Floating Palace via another friend Tom's comments on Facebook, and thought "what the hell, I'm going to go meet this guy." I just couldn't believe how Paul captured the sheen and transparency of the reflection so naturally in that painting and I wanted to talk to him about how he works. Until that point I had always been somewhat of a reclusive painter and wanted to give myself a kick in the ass about getting out there and doing something that would push me to start painting with some new energy. I emailed Paul's wife Marla, plonked down my deposit, and began to plan a trip south. I never expected that the 4 hour drive to Pensacola would be the first leg on a much longer journey that continues to this day with no end in sight.
I've been painting and drawing with relish since I was a kid. I've been a successful and comfortable architectural illustrator for the last 14 years. In all that time I had continued to do side paintings with some idea of having a show and starting a career as a gallery artist. Things got in the way; I had a son, Noah, (a wonder and a gem), I got married (one of the great joys of my life), we took on a renovation of a 1905 Alabama home (nice now, but see how you like washing dishes in a bath tub), all this took money and dedication so I churned out the illustrations and worked like hell on the weekends. At some points I was producing 2 or 3 images a week every week for months on end. This continued right up until New Years Eve of 2008. I finished a rendering, scanned it, sent it off to the client, and then the roof fell in. The architectural industry came apart in the recession but unknowingly I had already switched careers.
Back to Paul, Marla, and a bunch of oysters. I drove down to Pensacola ready and fired up to paint. This was early January 2009. The workshop was in a small framing gallery and there were about 11 of us. I met everyone, put my stuff together and looked on expectantly. For anyone that has taken a workshop (I've taught a few myself) you'll know what I mean when I say we had a mixed group. The skill levels were all over the place. Unknowingly I had signed up for the beginners course, which wasn't a big deal at all. I just wanted to see the guy paint and see how someone else does it. Paul teaches with a refreshingly laid back style. No ego, no pressure, no worries. I did two paintings of the same subject; a reproduction of one of Paul's pieces that I wanted to explore. I chomped some of the sweetest oysters. I drank Budweiser. I met Paul and Marla, Steve, Jan, Evin, and Jonathan. I talked about painting with someone who's work I admired and I came away with something hard to define. I was back in love with painting and my old mistress was alive and beautiful. After years of painting for a small and specific group of clients within a very strict set of rules I was free to explore wherever I wanted.
I have worked like a mad scientist ever since. I've screwed up countless paintings. I had some successes. I started teaching drawing, painting, and composition at the University level. I had two shows last year. I have more planned this year. I've sold a few and I've had a lot of commissions. My studio is brimming with new work and my head with new ideas. I am happy, I mean really damn smiling to yourself making strangers feel weird happy, with what I do. The architectural work is back and that's great. Just don't expect me to paint em like I used to.
As always. A couple of new ones and thanks to all of you.
Got the mail yesterday and found a letter addressed to myself from me and knew I had gotten notice of the status of my submission to the National Watercolor Society All Members Exhibit. Just before heading out to New York for a week or so of painting and exploring (more on that later) I hurriedly put together a submission for the juried show.
Well, my painting Tracks #2 Opelika, Alabama was selected by juror Mary Addison Hackett to be included in the show. Very pleased here.
I'll post some pics and a bit of info on the New York trip in the next few days. I've been sifting through pictures, sketches, and a few on site watercolors, as well as doing some studio pieces of the trip.