Prognostication

21st-century Ecosystem

If you’ve read some of my earlier blog posts, then you may know that I decided to take 52 of these postcard-size collages and turn them into a deck of fortunetelling cards. It seemed the logical thing to do, since the number of people really interested in looking at artwork seemed infinitessimely smaller than the number of people interested in my providing them with some kind of insight into their worlds. The Art Fortunetelling was my way of saying “ok”.

As I may have mentioned earlier, it was way easier for me to find some meaning in the cards than to try and put some meaning in them intentionally. Again, seems logical, if we get talking about art as a subconscious rather than a conscious carrier of meaning. In fact, it seemed to make so much sense that I decided it was time to make a second deck.

And considering that we are in a sort of transition stage – Will we be moving to Foça in September? Or will I just be going up to teach a couple of classes, and coming back down to Bodrum until we can get our act together and finally head (a bit) north? Will I even have students sign up for the classes? Will I get involved in something else even more new and interesting? How will our garden grow?

As soon as I finish up here I will probably go ‘throw the I Ching’ (or as the web site says, ‘toss coin virtually’), but in the meantime, I could go for some interpretation.

Let us say (for sake of argument, and so I can show off my newest collages) that I picked (without looking) the card “Lust”as my first card, my present subconscious, Lust

and then I chose (this time looking at all my choices of cards) the card “Mom” Mom

to go with it.

I might interpret that as consciously trying to step back and look at a situation with multiple aspects/possibilities in a cooly detached way, seeing the beauty of all the possibilities, while beneath this was a seething mess of desire and fear of the unknown.

How lucky I might (or might not) feel when this turned up as my card of the future, Burning Down the House

“Burning Down the House” –

As I like to remind people who turn up “The Death Card”,

in the metaphorical world of fortunetelling, this is not necessarily a bad thing…

 

What’s going on?

water  pastels 2605 gibi

This is the latest of my ‘water oil pastels’ – water scenes, done in oil pastels.

The scenes are imaginary, a combination of photographs I’ve taken to use as ‘sketches’ and imagin-A-tion.

In the case of these drawings/paintings, this means that you are not the only one who doesn’t know exactly what’s going on.

Neither do I.

And, interestingly, neither do they.

 

 

Oleanders

The oleanders by the side of our house/apt have just started to bloom! It’s late, I know, but we don’ get so much sun on us (a Good Thing for an Aegean summer), and our oleanders are probably not looked after as well as they should be. We only have a few – just enough for some color and shade.

We’ve got the kind with ‘single’ flowers – in white

Zakkumda Kus Detayi 2 (Bird in Oleander Detail 2)

and then we’ve got the kind with ‘double’ flowers – in pink.

Bird with pink oleander

I’ve been waiting for them to come out to do some more painting – but the Princesses are still taking up space in my ‘outdoor studio’ and the so-called ‘construction ban’ apparently hasn’t started (at least no one’s told the builders next door – and they’re almost done, so let them finish – please, lord…)

This means I should be in the ‘indoor studio’ working on some more ‘water drawings’.

For more paintings of oleanders, have a look at these mixed-media pieces from my exhibit at the now-defunct Ayna Gallery from a few years back.

Indolence…

water pastels boat trip 070516

It’s the lazy season around our house these days.
Next door there’s banging – lots of loud, house-building banging – which is unfortunate, because it’s just the time of year when my ‘outside studio’ is at its most pleasant.

The banging (and the occasional excruciating whine of metal slicing through metal) has been a good excuse for not carting the princesses up to the roof and buying a new piece of plywood to replace the studio table-top that rotted away in the winter rains – the two things that would need to happen to get the ‘outdoor studio’ functioning. But I’ll get it together before the summer heat makes the ‘indoor studio’ the less pleasant of the two workplace options. Right now I’m very happy inside – especially since my discovery of a few pieces of Canson in a lovely shade of blue at my local stationery store, just after I managed to rescue a new order of Sennelier pastels from the Customs…

So I’m enjoying – thoroughly enjoying – making more ‘water drawings’.

And I’m very pleased to say that the two most recent drawings are of ‘swimmers’ rather than ‘drowners’. (Although I am slightly worried that there might be an imminent shark attack below…)

water pastel 070516 swimming lesson shark

“Shoot the Artist at the Right Moment”

There’s some saying I heard once somewhere about how to create a masterpiece:
“Shoot the artist at the right moment.”

Basically, what that’s saying is that artists tend to overwork, never know when to quit, and in the process of going after perfection, end up fucking things up.

I was in the studio yesterday for the first time in what seems like ages (drawing table having been taken over by sewing materials, as it were), and after a couple of minutes, I stopped working, and this is what I saw:

water pastel 300416a

And  I had to work hard – really hard – to stop there.

I actually felt guilty that I could have finished a drawing so quickly. I felt like I was cheating if I didn’t keep going. A mix of Jewish guilt and Protestant work ethic and the sense that I was somehow getting away with something.

Luckily, I managed to overcome all this. Because this is one of my favorite water pastels of all the ones I’ve done so far (series – A4 paper – check out earlier posts if you like).

I’m not sure if I managed to maintain the same sense of spontaneity in this one:

 

water pastel 300416b

Luckily, I had to go cook dinner….

 

 

 

 

Heads Above Water

I think that’s going to be the title for my most recent oil pastel drawing in my series of water drawings.

Water Pastel 010416

When I was finishing this drawing, part of me wanted to paint out the white ‘waves’ so that the drawing would be just 2 disembodied heads in a field of blue.
But I kind of like that there is some consistency in how I’ve drawn water over the years.
Consider this drawing of a Bodrum landscape from a few years ago…

Pembe Sis

And then again, I thought of how the video that was part of my ‘Homesickness’ installation was also basically an image of somewhat disembodied people in the water…

inst13

Maybe it’s time to make some more videos…

 

 

Take me to the river, drop me in the water

Water Pastel 040316

Well, not the river but the sea, and I am feeling immersed in it, even though I am presently sitting well above the high-water mark inside a cafe overlooking the sea and Kos. The waves appear to be coming from the west – a reverse-migration? You might not believe me, but the lit-up waves are looking to me just as they do in this picture.

I believe this is a picture of a father and son, son inside a little plastic blow-up tube, probably hasn’t quite learned how to swim yet. The swimming lesson may have been interrupted by something they’ve seen…

Water Pastel 050316

The drawing above started out as two girls talking to each other as they crouched down in the shallow water. Somehow it morphed into two men holding onto a sinking rubber boat, waiting to be rescued…

I was getting a little depressed finding that all my swimmers were morping into drowners; so, I decided to draw a kayaker. She appears to be doing okay, although heading towards a rocky shore…

Water Pastel 090316

I got a message the other day that there the Citizens’ Advisory Council (“Kent Konseyi”) is organizing an exhibit of Bodrum artists; we all get to have 2 pieces in the show. That makes me happy, because I won’t have to choose between swimmers and drowners. I can have both. Bodrum. Just like I pictured it.

Valentine’s Day Open Studio

little wc books 3 f

So, a friend of mine mentioned an artist she read about who was trying to survive on donations she was soliciting as a means of support for her art-making. I’m guessing that if she’s doing this through a crowdfunding web site, she’s “giving away” pieces of artwork as “gifts” to the folks making these donations. I suppose that was what I was doing when I put the Ottoman Princess fundraising campaing on Indiegogo. It allowed me basically to pay the costs of making an installation piece that is not “saleable” by getting support from people who were ostensibly “buying in” to the concept/aim of the Princess Piece.

For Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d just go the route of crash commercialism – in the spirit of the holiday – and open up my studio for people who might want to browse… and shop.
And maybe get a glass of pink wine as well. (In Marxian terms, I suppose a glass of pink wine and a little notebook could be considered equal in exchange value.

little wc books 1 f

Or is it use value? I never was a very good Marxist.

On the other hand, I’m pretty good at telling fortunes, which I found to be a very good way to get people to look carefully at art.

dur

And so I’ll be doing that at the Open Studio this Saturday as well. No charge.

I suppose I could take a line from one of those fake gypsys in their below-the-sidewalk lairs and announce, “I see a beautiful work of art entering your house to make you very happy…”

And then invite someone to look at this marvelous wardrobe, handpainted with an image from one of our favorite beach retreats, and announce that I do commissioned furniture pieces as well…

DEBORAH_DOLAP_2

But mainly, the Valentine’s Day Open Studio is just a way to catch up with old friends

Deborah 2a

and get better acquainted with some new ones

Water Pastel 090216

Happy Valentine’s Day!

(For directions to the studio, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you.)

Swimming in the Same Waters

Swimming in the Same Waters

I was taking a break from whatever it is I was taking a break from by having a look at one of my few ‘favorite’ web sites, hyperallergic.com, when what to my surprise should appear before my eyes but a paintng by Katherine Bradford, Surfer, from 2015:

Katherine-Bradford-Surfer-2015-Acrylic-on-canvas-72-x-55-inches-182.88-x-139.70-cm

“Hey,” I thought, I coulda done that!” It reminded me a lot of the lastest series of oil pastels I have been working on, the latest of the latest being:

Water Pastel 220116_a

As I discussed in my recent blog post, I was just titling these for convenience as “Water Pastel date“,  which would make this one “Water Pastel 220116_a”, until I started experimenting with alternative titles for the same pieces. For example, maybe this could be “3 Bathers’, or “Not to be parted from cell phone”, or something else that might lead viewers in various different directions… (Feel free to share your own title suggestion as a “comment”)

When I discovered Katherine Bradford’s paintings on hyperallergic.com, I jokingly mentioned to a friend that apparently I was too late, and that the “little-swimmers-in-a-big-pool niche” had already been take. My friend kindly reminded me that there was room in the pool for everyone.

Katherine-Bradford-Blue-Swimmers-2015-Acrylic-on-canvas-60-x-48-inches-152.40-x-121.92-cm

Interestingly, the review of Bradford’s most recent exhibition in NYC mentioned how she had been compared to David Parks, a California painter who once-upon-a-time had a huge influence on me.

David-park-swimmers

Specifically, way back during my first year of graduate school at the Maryland Institute, I went to a show at the Whitney Museum of Art with a friend from San Francisco (at the time, and in fact still today, Parks, who died way to young, was/is not very well-known outside of California). I stood for about 30 minutes in front of the first painting in the exhibition. From the moment I laid eyes on that painting, I understood that I was not going to keep doing what I had been doing any more, because whatever it was I had been trying to do was something someone else (Parks) had already figured out how to do – and to do way better than I ever imagined it could have been done.

In the intervening 25 years, I swam around the world, only to end up in the same water where I started. But of course, as every philosopher knows, now the water itself is different.

 

 

The Sea in January

Last summer I managed to fit in one boat trip, but that’s all. While the primary goal was to chill out in some  very clean blue water in the company of some very fine women, the secondary goal was to take photos that I could use as sketches for some more water paintings.

Boat Trip

Which I did.
Take the photographs, that is.

But then time passed, and, well, you know how it goes…
By the time I actually got around to feeling up to some more water paintings the solstice had flipped, the proverbial mercury had dropped, and the studio was no longer an advisable location for this flu-prone puppy…

So, instead, as part of the creative process – or the procrastination process, if you prefer – I decided to do a little computer sketching, since that’s something I can do in the warmth of the living room.

Then the weather warmed up a bit, the flu-genies appeared to be cutting me some slack, and I figured out that I could tack up a big turquoise fake fur in front of the studio door like a curtain wall to keep out some of the cold. So I went from these digital sketches

Sketch Just Water 1

Sketch Just Water 2

to some oil pastel drawings

Water Pastel 130116_a

Water Pastel 130116_b

Water Pastel 130116_c

Water Pastel 130116_d

and I think I’ll keep going until I’m all out of blue Sennelier’s.

It’s a challenge to keep my head clear this January…