It has been over a year since I last posted on my blog and it seems that every time I would try to paint something, it never satisfied me enough to keep working at it. For at least a week I have been playing around with colors, markings, surfaces and just about everything I can find in my studio. My idea was to abstract one of the favorite references I have taken on our ranch and it was supposed to be and abstract painting, but I've never been able to abstract a real image, I have always had to start off on a blank canvas with no image in my mind, and keep working with the process. Nevertheless, I had fun with this one because I'm not a landscape artist and I had only worked abstracts with oil and palette knife, very seldom with anything figurative.
This workshop I have been writing about is a workshop I took several months ago, but since the teacher would come from Mexico City for one week, during a three month period, it has taken me some time to organize the work and photograph it. On the Friday the teacher left after the first week, it was announced to us that we had to do some homework that consisted of four oils using a very limited palette, plus colors and combinations we did not frequently use. He gave us the titles of the paintings, and that would be the theme. The first one was "In the middle of the Jungle", followed by a title I had forgotten but had to do with the elements of nature. The third was " A Rock in my Path" and the fourth was "A Pelican eating a Fish at Sea" They could be abstract or realistic and mostly from imagination.
Again these exercises had to be done fast and there was no time to correct or try to make the coloring of paper smoother. These were interesting but very confusing when you tried to take advantage of the creases and design made by marking lines at random. This exercise consisted of making folds in the paper and drawing a line or curve from the crease line to whatever point we wished. As the paper was folded the previous line was covered making it imposible to know what kind of design was being created. The paper could not be unfolded until all the paper had been used up. Once it was unfolded we were supposed to color portions we found interesting, and try to create an interesting piece. Another challenge in these exercises was the fact that we were supposed to use colors and combinations that we had seldom used or that for some reason we disliked.
As the time for the second exercise started, I tried to be more careful with my choice of creases and lines but time was up, before I could finish it.
This looks like a childs drawing but the only thing that mattered was to be able to use the creases, lines and color in an expressive way without altering any of those creases or lines. The truth is I had no idea what I was going to do when I had no control over the exercise. This was the first that to me was a little bit of a nightmare and I think it was expressed in the result.
It has been such a long time since I last posted anything but I had been very busy taking three different workshops and my usual gesture, figure drawing. About two months ago, I finished my charcoal, Pitcher and Peach, which I enjoyed doing very much and it is now showing at the Newberry Gallery in Santa Monica CA. http://newberrygallery.com/.
The following images are exercises done in these workshops I mentioned above, and am only posting as what they are; work done in class with different approaches to spark creativity.
The first workshop I took at the Art Center was taught by Artist Saul Kaminer from Mexico City, who masters both painting and sculpture. Here is a link of his latest exhibit. http://www.conaculta.gob.mx/fotogaleria.php?id=3402. During the first week of the workshop he asked us to take just plain kraft paper and draw objects as he called out the names of them. We would close our eyes and draw anywhere on the paper trying to reach the edges of the paper and overlapping the objects over the next object called out. Here are some examples of those exercises. I have used colored paper underneath the exercise to bring out the design and colors used. In the first exercise we were allowed to use only two color, then three and ending with four in the last exercise. The paper underneath doesn't count. We were asked to use crayons and there was no time to improve or think of what the end result would look like. To finish the exercise we had to cut the paper in an asymmetrical design and cut out portions in some. The workshop consisted of four weeks everyday, from 10:00AM to 2:00PM, spaced in between by three weeks of homework.
There is more work to show, and I will in the following days hoping to keep up with my blog and start working on some Alla Prima still lifes after I close the chapter on this experience with figurative expressionism and Latin American Art.
I worked on these Saturday afternoon but I now see that I have to go back and work on more contrast. I also made the mistake of spraying fixative over them to transport back home and it seems that quite a bit of the pastel blew away.
I have been taking a figure drawing class at our new art center, here in town. The class consists of three hours, three times a week, with live model on two days. I have taken three weeks so far, and find it very challenging but worthwhile. We are working with line drawing and fast gesture drawings without looking at the paper, in either case. My main interest in this class is to loosen up a bit and in this way help me in whatever medium I work in. While at my computer today, I got a call from a close friends that loves to talk, fortunately I had my newsprint pad and pen close to me. Before I knew it I had it on my lap and was trying to sketch the sofa in front of me, but quickly found that not thinking of what I was doing and just scribbling, was a much better way to disconnect and just enjoy gesture drawing. I'm sure this could use a lot more work but it is just and exercise, so I will leave it as it is.
Alberto Martinez 1942-2009. Almost 20 years ago I decided to enroll in a drawing class at the Instituto Potosino de Bellas Artes. I was welcomed by an interesting individual with a mustache like that of Dali and a resemblance to him, quite tall with the elegance and the dignity of a Mexican folklore ballet dancer. This was Alberto, a very talented dancer and a prize winning, superb artist. After two weeks of drawing class he told me, that if I was interested in taking his experimental workshop at the Institute, I could draw well enough for his class. ( I realize Experimental Art and Mixed Media Art, can be executed without great skills in drawing.) He was a teacher that taught me how to lose the fear of ruining what I was working on, and to have the courage to experiment and create with the heart and soul. He also taught me to use a great array of different materials you would usually not use together, and maybe some of his teachings could be called a little unorthodox, but they brought great satisfaction when something would cause a unique effect, that would work artwise. At times I would get frustrated and he would say "turn the painting to the wall and look at it in two weeks, if you don't like it then, you cover it with gesso and start all over again." Every Wednesday morning I would still get together with him, and my friend and classmate Vivi, at her house. We would work a little, or just usually chat over a cup of coffee. One of the last things he said to me was that he would like to see and exhibition of mine, consisting of many more of the charcoal pieces I have done under the mentorship of Michael Newberry. This Wednesday Alberto didn't show up, and unfortuantely, news came today that he had passed away yesterday.
Alberto didn't have a website, like niether do many of the well known local artists here do, they sell their work by having solo exhibitions several time a year, and I don't have any work of his to show either.
I made this photo collage of some very old work I did in his class as a tribute to him today, and unfortuantely they are not of the best of many pieces I did have. Those that I don't have, all belong to someone else, and I don't even have photographs of them. Most of these pictures were taken with a 35mm camera and I scanned them today, so I apologize for the unorganized and quick work, but I didn't want this day to go by without my sharing the loss of this dear friend.
I live in Mexico and dedicate myself to my family, art and life. This blog is about my artistic passions, satisfactions and frustrations, from the moment I started in this search to where I believe I am today.