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I read a quote about inspiration and how you can't sit around waiting for it to happen. That's always been true personally speaking, I've always felt fortunate to have work flow whenever I am in front of paint. Lately I've had more focus and vision, feeling at the top of my potential as a painter which sounds crazy but there it is. Of course thinking about today, as that is all I have.
Someone once said to me, "Paintings Come From Painting". Inside I knew this to be true and with age it really resonates. The understanding that not all work will be good, but if I keep going good things will happen. And who knows, it might all be good! ...wide eyed emoji.....Signed, desperate artist.
With the close of summer and all the activity more concentrated time for work is happening. Cleaning, organizing the studio, putting away work out since deinstalling my show 'The Nature Of' at The Quogue Library Gallery, in early August. Organizing and archiving work is half the job.
I've had some brief but clear visions in my head of where I wish to take the work going forward. In those moments of clarity I should sit and write my thoughts, really describe what I'm envisioning. I have a built-in way of making paintings that takes over so I really have to think when working not to approach the canvas the same way. I started a 24"x40" diptych today as a way of breaking ground into this new approach. It still looks like my old work but its a good 'old' one.
Soon I will drive to Connecticut to collect the remaining six paintings from my show 'Real Abstract' which came down in early April. It will be good to have the work, one is sold going to Boston in early September. From April to present there has been no action at Lillian August so it's time. They are a great Interior Design company and hopefully going forward they will sell my work again.
I've been away from this blog for a while. Currently I am reworking my site and hopefully not screwing it up. Of course it's me so going the cheap route and doing it myself. Anyway, don't wish to belabor the point so I will move on. I've been reading blogposts about search words and where and when to use so I have more of an understanding. Also the labeling of images with search words before even uploading to the site. Prior to this I would label my images the same as if I were sending them to a gallery or Rep....Dumb ass. Anyway knowledge is power, I feel I have a more of a handle on things.
More importantly, White Kitty has been hanging around the house and today he/she walked into the kitchen. I am very excited to have a kitty that I don't have to take care of but can feed a little, hopefully love and he/she will eat my voles/moles/chipmonks. Of which there is no shortage.
Real Abstract - Mark Perry at The Gallery at Lillian August in Nowalk Ct. March, 2017.
There are two large works in the show with slightly different width dimensions and when installing I accidentally switched the planned locations. As I was under time constraints I went with the change. It quickly became apparent that the paintings were better served in the new layout. The first image below shows one of the large works that I am referring to in the center.
The left side from 2012 in the studio with Pacific Coast. The right side, Pacific Coast installed in show.
The image below, shows a small painting titled Field, 2009. I varnished this painting at the recommended one year after dry time and the surface is quite satisfying. When hung in this location the light hitting it made it literally sparkle. A Lillian August Designer noticed it as well, we were both pleased.
The image below on the far left shows Rolling Stream from 2016 on its own wall fulfilling all of my expectations for this painting.
As I have an early morning and a full day I planned to retire early. Suddenly the phone rings, my eighty-seven year old mother wishing me good luck with my install and telling me to drive safely. Stay in the right lane. Thanks mom.
Life can be grand, I wish I could bottle the warm loving feelings for that cold day...tomorrow. It's all good and coffee makes it that much better.
Two from the archive that I will be installing at The Gallery at Lillian August in Norwalk Ct. tomorrow.
A very good friend has been assisting with marketing and one great result is that I am preparing a large installation for January 18th. Things moved quickly with the Interior Design Firm, Lillian August and their gallery in Norwalk, Ct. fittingly called, 'The Gallery at Lillian August' https://www.lillianaugust.com/pages/the-gallery-at-lillian-august My installation titled, MARK PERRY real abstract, consists of a dozen paintings, two large works and scaling down to 14x11. In addition, potentially twenty works installed in showroom vignettes.
About Lillian August. In the early 1980's Lillian August, Interior Designer and mother of three, started a crafts and quilting line. With this success, Imperial Wallcoverings hired her to design a wallpaper line with an American Country look. Then under her namesake and later assisted by her two sons, Dan and John Weiss, the business has grown to be a leading resource for designers in NY and Ct. They also have a 100,000 sq.ft. Showroom in Norwalk that opened in 2003 and a location in Stamford Ct.
Four works seen below, past and present, to be included.
As an Atheist, I rally and experience some joy this time of year. Let's hear it for religion. But in this Season of Joy there is sadness all around. Usually I can walk around feeling like I am the only one with issues. This time of year I know I am not special, sadness abounds. People desiring to make the best holiday ever and going into debt. The regret of not being able to buy the perfect gift for the one you love. We can't blame it totally but Thank you Madison Ave.
So what's the answer? Hopefully we have the clarity to ask ourselves that question. For me the answer is trying to remember what is real. WE only have ourselves and each other. Things are just things. This from someone who places a lot of hope in people buying things that nobody needs never.
My circle is small but I feel expansive love. I wish inner peace for all the sad people out there. I wish food and a pair of shoes for all the poor children in the world sifting through garbage for their next meal. I wish companionship for the elderly person who feels alone. I wish young people could look in the mirror and love what they see. I wish kids who are bullied get help and that bullies see the err of their ways. I wish that men would let women control their bodies and that the government would continue to do its job which in my view is to keep peace, help the needy and make sure our bridges don't crumble. I wish we could respect animals not for our amusement but as living creatures and the planet not as 'ours' but something we are fortunate to inhabit. I wish to remember that I am not the only one and to look lovingly into the eyes of my man and kindly into the eyes of strangers, look up at the sky and the trees and marvel at the gorgeousness of it all. For me that's what's real.
P.S. Selfishly, because I am an artist after all, I wish to make my galleries, which have stood by me in spite of nil sales, I wish to make them rich. Is that so wrong? And most importantly I wish you Joy and Peace, All the days ahead.
A person commented, "My child could do this." on an Instagram post yesterday. We are not connected on social and have since blocked her, after responding, "How nice." Her profile pic consisted of huge, barely covered, breasts, no face. Sex workers moonlighting as art critics? SHE HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD.
I try to channel my inner child every time I enter the studio. So, Success! However simple things appear usually the process is anything but. Few think of process while surfing the Internet but process is what drives artists. Would I want someone to see all my messy moments in the studio? No!
All my creative life I've been told it's not about the finished product, it's about the process. When I am trying to make a painting I walk the fine line of staying in the moment, my process, till I get there.
Good or bad, History is what separates this work from that of a child.
Some commit to one way of working, some even one idea over the span of a life. That laser focus has always been impressive to me. Finding fascination within a seemingly small scope. On the other spectrum, straddling representational and abstract ideas is where I've been. Over the years the voices in my head telling me, Do one thing well, pick a lane. Instead of the reality that many have had long careers having varied visions. Today for the most part I have accepted that I love to draw And that I find color and their relationships to each other very satisfying. The connection to my abstract and representational work feels closer today than in the past, maybe just maturity? Better late than never.
Part of my anxiety in the studio is the chaos. Piles of work, supplies and things everywhere. I've been productive and busy in all aspects of life, things get neglected. Yesterday after spending most of the day at the computer I wanted to get to the studio but felt depleted. Bingo! Do what you do well, Clean! I began by clearing my work table, immediately a weight was lifted. Not the first time, won't be the last. When you make shit, Shit piles up. So now entering my favorite place is not a nervous moment but something to anticipate.
One consideration and reason to keep things in order is that I go back and forth from waterbased to solventbased mediums. Keeping materials separate, even with separate workstations is important. I've been lucky so far but I have pushed the boundaries of my attention span. I recall standing with brush in hand asking myself, Is this oil or acrylic? Not life threatening but for someone craving order, okay a control freak...an issue.
A new, unfinished group that was made horizontally. You get to view vertically.
This series is one of a few groups of five that I've made recently. The others are finished this one will get more attention but the feeling is there. Thanks for scrolling.
The desire to incorporate imagery has returned. With many influences I have begun some explorations, close-ups of indoor plants. The workshop I recently attended played a part in speeding up this process but my history shows that I always return to nature. Each time I am reminded of how difficult drawing is, pushing my boundaries and limitations. Which is where the fun is for sure, maybe not in the moment but certainly later.
One observation is the need to accept that the two kinds of work, abstract and representational need different approaches. A more studied result requires me to slow down, even if just for the preparatory work or drawings, to increase my vocabulary. The goal is not botanicals but solid, interesting compositions with contrast.
My mark can feel limited but I am what I am, so I need trickery.
I am currently making a series of small paintings, 11"x14" and 9"x12" some of which have been solid color. Nothing is written in stone which I like but right now some groups are coming together, supporting each other and saying, Make that diptych.
It's easy to feel immobilized, something anything can stop me in my tracks. A new focus often resolves the problem, realizing there are always options.
In regards to painting, stepping away, and returning fresh may reveal what was not previously obvious.
Try other things, If you normally use thin paint and a small brush, squeeze out the whole tube and use a big brush. If you use reference material, try putting the reference down and use your imagination. If you work sitting down, stand up and use your whole body. Cut something up, add a collage element. Copy something you love, even your own.
There are many things one can do to get out of a rut, the best is something.
This group of four canvases were made during the second part of a recent workshop with Eric Dever at Madoo Conservancy. Working in the home of painter Robert Dash, Eric Dever suggested different ways of looking, steps that can assist the artist in moving forward.
This past July I gave a painting workshop to a group of forty plus 10-12 year old local school kids. They were motivated, across the board wonderful, there to paint and it was great. I may do it again but I see that I am a painter and take my hat off to good teachers.
More recently I began a brief, intensive workshop with a local painter. Putting aside decision making while someone offers ideas, helping to look at things fresh. In a brief experience like this, my goal is to stay in the moment and absorb all.
Painting is usually a solitary act, something done alone in the studio. This workshop opportunity and my desire to interact with others creatively, coincided. Someone who for most of their life questioned their abilities reaches a point where they trust what they know and want more...my universe is expanding.
Of the three works below the bottom painting titled Diptych was made in the workshop, 'Madoo Paints' taught by Eric Dever. The top two abstracts were made in the studio.
With an ever-growing group of work on paper, cataloging is critical. For social media and other forms of marketing and most of us do it ourselves. Organization is key for a smooth photo shoot. The following guidelines work well for me.
Full charge, camera or phone.
Paper and pencil for notes, tape, ruler.
Clearing a large table or workspace is advisable for groups of work. Water bottles w/ lids good, Coffee cups separate table.
Setting up location and lighting to shoot work preparing for different scales and orientations, horizontal, vertical format.
I try to shoot three good images of each work editing as I go, deleting bad shots. This approach makes editing at a later date simpler as I've already deleted the bad.
Keeping the workspace organized avoiding confusion is key to a smooth photo shoot. I am always tweaking the process trying things that make sense and save time.
If anyone has any advice I'm all 👂s.
Having had Studio Visits that I have felt, shall we say less than prepared for, after the fact I try to be as ready as possible.
If a Rep, Interior Designer or Gallerist is bringing someone by there is no discussion of money. My responsibility is to clear the deck and show what they came to see, keeping it simple.
If I am showing work independent of a Dealer, I need to be super organized. With all the work in my studio it is easy to be distracted so organization is key. The following are my prep guidelines.
1. Water or some refreshment if desired.
2. Have a select group to view, clearing away clutter. You can always show more if they desire.
3. Image List with pricing and info.
4. Bio, cards and Info printed.
5. Guest Book. Request that they sign in with email.
Put yourself in the shoes of a person visiting a new place imagine how they feel. The idea is to be welcoming and make the visitor comfortable. They already like your work presumably or they wouldn't be there.
This weekend September 17 & 18th I am participating in the Artist Alliance of East Hampton (AAEH) 2016 Open Studio Tour. Most of what I am offering will be affordable small works on paper. With a large selection to choose from, each work in a cellophane sleeve. The different sizes: 4x5, 5x7, 7x10 and 11x14 will be displayed/priced in a manner easy to view, flip through.
Also available will be a selection of mid-size work on canvas, stretched + un-stretched to peruse and large format work, all reduced from gallery pricing.
Creatively speaking, there are times when I stare into nothingness wondering what next. Luckily they are few and far in between. For me it seems there are always things going on in the studio, work to continue. Leaving on a positive note makes for an inviting place to resume work.
When there is a struggle small work on paper is a great ice breaker. Moving color around can immediately free me and bring a smile. The origins of Inspiration may vary but one constant as simplistic as it may seem is Color.
After a friend recalled bullying experiences He has endured through the years I neglected to remember until hours later insidents in my life.
In my late teens studying electro-mechanical drafting a classmate routinely, quietly verbally assaulted me and one day waited till just the right moment to slam a door in my face. That completely shocked and hurt me so much so that I finally reported him. The Instructor sympathized but made me feel that I was on my own to deal with it, telling me to be strong. Soon the bully wanted to be my friend. I accepted his apology but did not encourage the fiendship.
Amazed that I'd forgotten that period. Growing up in liberal Rhode Island I had an easy time of being gay, for the most part. The first in my family to go to a public high school where I was voted Most Popular....I saw myself as someone on the outside looking in. Not much has changed.