Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alterations in the Studio

It is very uncomfortable in my studio these days.  It is hot and very humid in New York.  I spent 7 hours working in there yesterday, and the thermometer in my studio began the day at 93F and ended at 82F at about 10PM.

On top of that, when I returned from my trip to San Francisco, I discovered that the pigeons love to visit my studio and fly around and poop on everything.  Fortunately, they pooped on paintings facing the wall, but one picture suffered some significant damage.  It was a picture that I planned to repaint anyway, but the pigeon damage was very irritating and a bitch to clean.

I now have screens on the windows to keep out my feathered detractors, and I've been busy in there for the past few days despite the heat.  I'm taking a day to cool off in the AC of my apartment.  I'll do the long work of starting and blocking in a new painting tomorrow.  I need a break after yesterday.

Yesterday, I finished the repainting of the picture damaged by pigeon poop, and that I was going to repaint anyway.  It's a picture from the Wojnarowicz series, Krazy Kat Landscape.

Here is my photo of the work I completed yesterday:

And here is Steve Bates' photo of the painting in its former state:

The painting is about David Wojnarowicz's love for the American west, and his frequent travels through there.  It is also about his admiration for the cartoonist George Herriman whose Krazy Kat cartoons are set in a quasi-surreal desert recalling Herriman's frequent travels to Arizona, particularly to Monument Valley.  Wojnarowicz described the deserts of the Southwest as "Krazy Kat landscapes."

The former version of the painting recalled Herriman's work very directly.  I kept the colors bright and relatively flat.

In the current version, I decided to incorporate my own recent experiences out west, and to make the Herriman references more oblique.  Traveling through the basin and range regions of the west by car or by train is a hypnotic experience.  I sat glued to my window for the whole trip through Colorado and Utah.  The immense forces of geology on display, the colors, and the expansiveness of the whole landscape is mesmerizing.

I did some work for the next painting which I hope to start tomorrow.  I made a second life drawing from a model for the painting Hustled.

For once, the model was more comfortable that I was.  I'm amazed I didn't drip sweat on the drawing.  I spent 2.5 to 3 hours working on this.  Even with fans going full throttle, it was still hot in there.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Doug, I prefer the newer version of the painting, and the drawing is very good indeed.

JCF said...

Forgive my ignorance in such matters (hard to believe I was married to a man once!): that's flaccid from the heat, right? [Though it's the position of his back and arms that really looks uncomfortable]


The re-painting makes it look less generic, less commercial (in an advertising sense). However, I'm not certain about the moonrise (it is moonrise?). When the painting wasn't naturalistic, it didn't matter as much (it was just Krazy Kat, after all!). But now, it looks a little out of place (JMO, of course).


Is there a specific reason your studio isn't AC'd? [Like it would mess w/ the paints or some such]

Always enjoy not only seeing your work, Doug, but learning of the processes which go into creating them. :-)

Counterlight said...

Thanks Grandmere and JCF.

That is indeed the moon. Yes, I agree, it needs a little work now to make it look more like the moon.

As for the flaccidity, see Cole Porter's song "Too Darned Hot."

The reason that there is no AC in my studio is that when Thomas Edison personally installed the wiring in this 1892 building, he only put in one outlet per room that I'm not sure could stand the strain.

Grandmère Mimi said...

The painting is one of my favorites of your works, though, as I scroll through your sidebar, I see other favorites.

Kittredge Cherry said...

I’m really glad to see your latest work! My home office also gets in the 90s during on the hottest summer afternoons, thanks to old wiring and a commitment to reduce our carbon footprint. And yet you are creating beautiful art in this crucible.

I will be working next week on a piece about Wojnarowicz (with some of your art) to post on the anniversary of his death, July 22.

Thanks, Grandmere Mimi and JCF, I enjoyed reading your comments here.

Christi Broersma said...

I agree with Grandmere - I love the newer version, Doug!