Self Portrait

Squinty-eyed in the summer sun on my back porch. There were moments when I was truly thankful to not be an ant or a little plastic army man melting in the insane light and heat reflecting back at me from the mirror I used.

Self Portrait (detail), charcoal and graphite on paper, 2011



Both boys are actually in this drawing, but I've cropped it to detail only Bram in the foreground. I'm doing a tiny series of four drawings of Edison and Bram lounging together and when I've completed them all, I may go back and do a color wash over them to make them a bit more interesting. Or then again, maybe not.

Edison and Bram (detail), charcoal and graphite on watercolor paper, 2011


Chihuly Show

Is it possible to be both impressed and unimpressed with something at the same time because I finally dragged my lazy ass to the Dale Chihuly show at the MFA and I have to say I found it to be less than spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, the glass itself was beautiful (I’ve always wanted to blow glass myself but seeing as I hate being hot and sweaty and I get easily winded, it's never going to happen) and there were some surprisingly lovely bits like the little crystal cherub tucked amongst a ceiling full of endless anemones, starfish, tubes, bowls and balls, but mostly it was really pretty dull.

One thing that annoys the hell out of me is artists who, once they’ve gotten too big for their fancy little britches, rely too much on their minions (or studio monkeys as I like to call them) to do the bulk of the work and it’s pretty obvious that Chihuly is one of those artists because there’s no way he blew all that glass himself. I know that apprentices and assistants have been around as long as there have been artists churning out the goods in their workshops and studios, but it still pisses me off. An artist’s work should be an artist’s work from their own hand, not that of someone working anonymously under said Big Name Artist, no matter their medium. The bowls available in the show’s gift shop that one is required to pass through in order to leave the exhibit, made by “an artist in the Dale Chihuly Studio” (who is of course nameless and faceless), bore an average price tag of $5000 apiece.

Okay, so maybe I’m too damn persnickety about the semantics of art, but I was sad that I felt so let down by this show. After all, it had been built up in the local media as being something truly extraordinary. I kept my thoughts to myself and after pondering all that glass for a couple of days, was just beginning to think there was something wrong with me for not being ecstatic over every last detail when Griffin quietly (and out of the blue while we sat lazing in the summer sun a few afternoons later) admitted to me that he thought the show was “shit” and hoped his confession wouldn't take anything away from my experience. I laughed out loud. Never believe the hype till you see it with your own eyes.

And the ironic thing is, I have to go see this show a second time with David. Do you think there's any chance it will magically improve by then?

Photo courtesy of Derek Mau.



Portrait of David, graphite on paper, 2011


Georgia O'Keeffe

I've never made any bones about the fact that I can't stand Georgia O'Keeffe; not the woman, per se, but rather her work. And I've always had a fairly detailed outline in my head of her life and who she was as a human being, despite my dislike of her paintings, so I thought I knew her pretty well. But recently I saw a biographical film of her that was incredibly well-written and beautifully shot, itself a piece of art and not your typical run-of-the-mill, movie of the week type fare. It left me more impressed with the woman than I've ever been before. I thought, 'What the hell, maybe now that I have a deeper perspective on her personality, maybe -just maybe- if I give her art another go, I might find I like it.' Nope. Not a chance! I still despise every last one of those steer skulls, New Mexico pieces and all those hideous labial flowers (though I don't mind some of her earliest drawings). Hell, I tried. I really did.

I liken this to Stephen King's book "The Shining" vs Stanley Kubrick's film version of the same. So many people have such strong opinions on this subject (King included) and feel that the book and this movie cannot ever be reconciled with one another. I have no problem with this whatsoever: for me the two are completely separate entities and both can and do stand equally on their own. I can love and admire both. Likewise, Georgia O'Keeffe and her art, can for me be two entirely separate realities fully independent of one another: one I love and admire and the other I utterly loathe.

Blue Flower, 1918


Self Portrait With Hat

I've grown tired of drawing myself with short hair, in a mirror, over and over again so to mix things up a bit I dug out a photo of myself from a couple of years ago when I still had (very) long hair. Man, do I miss that hair!

Self Portrait With Hat, graphite on paper, 2011 (full view and detail)


Young Griffin

A portrait of Griffin as a child (see "Griffin," December 30, 2010 for a portrait of him as an adult). His eyes were really odd in the photo I used for this drawing and I just couldn't seem to get them right. He had, and still has, amazingly thick and lustrous eyelashes that any girl would kill to have, thus his looking as though he was wearing mascara and eyeliner. And I think he might have had a sinus thing on that particular picture day, which would account for the terrible puffiness around his eyes. Regardless, I draws 'em as I sees 'em.

Portrait of Griffin as a Child, graphite on champagne colored paper, 2011 (full view and detail)


Portrait of a Cat, Again

Another portrait of Maia Louise, this time in nearly three-quarter profile and again, much larger than life. Oddly, I'm seldom asked to do drawings of cats. I have no idea why this is. Maybe because people love their dogs more. Who knows?

Portrait of Maia Louise, graphite on paper, 2011 (detail)


Baby Self Portrait

I found (after not knowing for some time where all those baby photos from that photo shoot were) a version of the old photo of me used in the Big Lippie Brand collage in the right sidebar and decided to do a smallish portrait of myself from it. Oddly, I found it tough to get the big lippie right. Go figure.

Portrait of Victoria as a Baby, graphite on paper, 2011, (full view and detail)