Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Every space is a blank canvas

Summer is here! And with it comes the wanting to get outdoors.

I am an inner city dweller, and as such incredibly lucky as I have two great outdoors spaces to develop container gardens, a small lower level terrace and a roof top deck.

San Francisco being located between the bay and ocean creates this incredible wind tunnel with heat and fog making it quite challenging to figure out what plants will survive.

With the help of the staff at Flora Grubb we have found some great solutions to both wind and drought tolerant plants. Many of our choices are either from the European Mediterranean or African zones and they seem to be (after much experimentation) surviving. They also helped us pick planters made of lightweight composite materials.

We are so proud of our little olive tree, she is doing great (we won't be producing olio di oliva anytime soon though). We special ordered the tree, wanting a small, double trunk and slow growing variety; we waited for about 6 months for delivery. The olive tree was a perfect choice, being able to take the heat and winds of the Mediterranean climate.

For our roof we went to TAP Plastics and for under $500.00 put up a small plexiglass windbreak. The key was leaving spaces for the wind to pass-through, taking into consideration force and weight and keeping it under "legal" height. We also hired a plumber to bring water up.

Our next project is to get some decking for the roof. Again, weight, money and portability (in case of repairs) are important considerations.

What fun this is to plan. Like a painting, it is a work in progress.

After doing the drawing of the Terrace Chair I got inspired to paint the actual chairs. Everything is on the "cheap" these days. We bought the wood chairs from IKEA about 3 years ago for about $6.00 each and with the help of the bees (who chewed off the varnish for me) the sanding and prep was easy. Painting color is always rewarding. It's so fun to look out and see the bright color on our terrace.

The painting Bi-Rite Market is finally finished!

And this Friday I drop off three paintings, Trailer, Motel Pool and Beach Motel for a July show, Escape into Summer at Artist-Xchange Gallery. Opening reception is Friday evening July 9.

And more on works in progress... walked by the Zoltron stencils at 580 Valencia St. I think it is now safe to say that "our boy" won (see my posting on May 27). The stencils on plywood have been preserved and moved behind the newly installed glass storefront. Very cool!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time out to get back to drawing

O.K., admittedly, this is not my most exciting post to date.

Miss Taxie Cab-ernet and I went to the studio early this morning, having finished the latest painting (well, more on that) I was free to draw.

With shows and deadlines I have not felt this freedom in quite some time. I have so wanted to catch-up on my sketch book and just do what I love the most... chalks and pencil... for me this is that direct connection to art.

I did a pastel "chalk" drawing of my balcony... simple, no statement, just a very satisfying day.

What is it about drawing? I guess it is that direct hand to paper thing. I love pushing around chalks and getting that little kid feeling of making a mess. It's primal, your hands, your fingers pushing around color. I don't get this from painting with acrylic, it by nature has to be more precise, and by nature my work is "loose". Perhaps it is time to go back to oils? But, I do worry about that cute little studio pup and the toxics of oil painting.

As has been pointed out to me by friends and colleagues my paintings are so different than my drawings. The common statement is that there is such a difference in my expression. I agree. How to pull the two together, or do I want to?

As many of my friends are aware, much of my drawing portfolio was lost (a long story, so never mind) and it's been hard for me to go back to what I love. I have wanted to push forward in experimenting with painting and color... I so love color.

All of this said, my next experiment is to blend the two together... is this possible? We will see, time to start painting from the heart.

And as a final note... been wanting to take a photo of this for awhile, so here it is. I just can't help myself to always watch the streets and the art that is right there, if you look.

And back to the Bi-Rite painting. My partner Anne said; "Why don't you put more shopping carts in?". I said; "Cuz I don't thing the painting needs them.". Today fellow artist Kirsten said, well, kind of the same thing. So, I guess it's not done, more shopping carts on the way. Darn! Everyone's a critic!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Following the streets... Europe

The more I become interested in the urban street art, the more I come across some very talented and accomplished artists.

I have been looking at what is going on in Europe; Milano, Berlin, Warsaw, etc. There certainly are some amazing images.

As I look at these images, what seems to strike me the most is unlike in the U.S. much of the work is not based in violence. Political? Yes. But not so much of the “blood and guts” that seems to be the trend here. A great deal of this work is truly done from a basis in painting, how refreshing to see beautiful pieces in an urban setting.

I guess this really is no surprise as the great cities have always embraced public art and expression.

Check out the open-air project Absolut (Yes, the Swedish Vodka) is sponsoring. The project is called wallpaper redesign and reinvent your city and is currently giving space to American artist Ron English, who has been dubbed the father of Agit-pop (famous for his mural on the Berlin Wall’s Checkpoint Charlie in 1989). This one is from the Absolut web page: www.absolutwallpaper.com/who.html

I have also connected with Urban Painting in Milano and have permission to post up a couple of photos from their page (Thank you!): www.URBANPAINTING.INFO/

How amazing is this?! (I think it originates from this web page: www.orticanoodles.com - shamefully, although having lived in Italy, I still do not read it completely… but I can order up a great bottle of vino!)

And another, from the Urban Painting’s summer show; “Italian Street Artist Neve - just 3 hours to do this spray on canvas”.

And, well, WOW! (Again from Urban Painting’s page)

Me… after looking at these what can I say? I am just plug’n along. Finished or almost finished with the Bi-Rite painting and took a diversion for fun… chalk drawing of “Sock Monkey gone bad”.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beautifying the city one telephone pole at a time...

(on 19th between Castro & Collingwood)

Gallery hoping in the Lower Haight

The energy was great last night with four art openings in Lower Haight galleries.

The first stop was at Bean There Café to see friend Mehgan Rand’s eye photos series. The show is of photos all taken with her iphone and they are truly amazing, worth checking out www.meghanrand.com

Photo: Chris, Meghan and Anne at Bean There Cafe

Next stop was the Lower Haters Gallery to see the Ube’s Icecream Shop Lunch Party show. Ube Urban is an Inner Sunset artist and the show featured some of his custom-painted bicycles also showing were custom skateboard designs from CALAB. www.lowerhater.com

Then up the block to the new gallery at Fify24F’s / Upper Playground for Porous Walker’s show (the humor in his work is outstanding). www.upperplayground.com

Wrapping it up at D-Structure for a group show “Vices”. www.d-structuresf.com

Wow… all of this in a two-block radius from our loft, no car, no bike, no MUNI… how easy was that!