Marine Layer: A Year Later.

It's been a year since I finished the little Marine Layer paintings. Time does not wait for anyone, now does it? A lot of things have happened since. And while I have not figured out a way to paint these on bigger formats that I am 100% satisfied with, I can say I am glad to see the evolution.

The search continues. In a way, it is as exciting as the ending result. It can also be very frustrating. But I am on a mission to go beyond the traditional application of these materials. Creativity comes not just from the concept but from its execution. And that's what I am set out to do!

My "crash test dummy" painting has proven to be a step in the right direction... Maybe that's the one I should be replicating on a large scale!

Getaway I and II

The paintings are done. As always, there is more than meets the eye on these. I have included some close up shots to evidence the watercolor-esque quality I was going for.

Getaway I and II, shown together

Getaway I, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30 in. 2013

Getaway II, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30 in. 2013

This turned out better than I expected. The challenges of painting this series at a larger scale have actually sent me in a different direction, not so much of a tangent. It's more like a parallel pathway. I am excited to see this through!

I love (to) paint!

I like to paint, sure. But I also like paint. You know, the actual pigments bound with all kinds of wondrous polymers and compounds? Yeah, I can't get enough of it, I love paint! Those wonderful, vibrant colors. Sometimes they even look like food!

I am the kind of person that can stare at the same painting for hours. No joke. It's like listening to your favorite song over and over. You want to take it all in, every nuance of every second. You are experiencing a piece of art that moves you, that gets you, that inspires thoughts and triggers memories. It goes beyond the professional instinct to try to figure out how it was made. Like watching the sun set, you just want to be there.

A little preview! Stay tuned for more!

So today, I was there. I am digging the way these new paintings look. Like I said in my previous post, the road is wide open!

Silver Linings...

I have been out of commission lately. I was diagnosed with tendinitis in one of my hands at the end of last year and, as an artist, you can imagine that was a significant blow. Never mind the obvious physical limitations this condition implies, the feeling of your body not responding to you is heartbreaking, to say the least. 

I have tried to stay positive and even tried to work. Sometimes it worked, but most times it didn't. Trying to push the boundaries of the materials I commonly use for art making is a tedious and frustrating task on its own. When you add physical problems to that equation, the results can be pretty brutal. 

The good news is that I can paint. I may have to wait a little longer to paint larger pieces, but I will keep experimenting and developing my technique. In the meantime, and after one month of drying, the two pieces I had been working on are "evolving". They actually look different than what they looked like a month ago, when their look did not convince me. The different mediums seemed to have dried up and settled. I have now a different kind of blank canvas to work on and many different courses of action. While these do not look like the small Marine Layer paintings, they certainly look great.

Blurry and foamy. I like it!

Maybe they look the same and I am the one who's different. Maybe being forced to take a break was a good thing. While still pretty much in the early stages of recovery, I do feel energized and ready to keep pushing!

It's time to go back and paint. And to find an apartment, and pack and go to physical therapy, too. But paint, yes! Let's do some of that. God knows it's been a while and that's what I need to do!

Despair... What's going on?

Art is a commodity. There is no denying that. We know it, we choose to make art nonetheless and hope for the best. We take a leap of faith and create works of art with the hope that there will be people out there who will love them, love them enough to take them home and keep them forever!

But times are tough, and there's no denying that, either. When it's time to tighten the belt, the non-essentials are the first to be cut. Again, we know that. But there is a difference between being aware of it and seeing it with your own eyes.

For those of us who are still trying to get out there, the thought of being represented alone brings a little peace of mind. We think that once we are in, we are somewhat safe. You get local, regional and national representation and you are on your way. But what happens when your gallery drops you, or even worse, when it closes its doors? What do you do? This is a different kind of failure I am ashamed to admit I have never considered before.

Trying to make sense of things.

When I first moved to LA, I had the daunting task of scouting for prospective galleries where I could show my work. I don't like to waste my time or the time of others so, to improve my chances of being accepted, I had to keep in mind I should only contact galleries that represent emerging artists with a body of work somewhat similar to mine. Unfortunately, this list took a seriously long time to prepare. I looked at, literally, hundreds of places; each of which with its own sets of parameters. "Accepting submissions". "Check back for submissions". "We DO NOT accept unsolicited submissions". By the time I was done organizing this, I had no energy left to actually start submitting!

So I kept the list on file and decided to develop my body of work. Then Marine Layer happened. And Laguna Beach happened. And as much as I hate to admit it, I got complacent and a little lazy. I stopped pushing.

The new year came and it was time to keep things in check. I pulled out my list of galleries (now with a more considerable body of work to show) and, to my surprise, I started witnessing how so many of them are now closed. To make it even more tragic, some of the websites are still up, posing as painful digital gravestones that point us to the fallen and left behind. Further inspection led me to find out galleries that once accepted occasional submissions are now not accepting them, under any circumstances.

So, what now?

I honestly don't know. I want to keep working and creating even stronger pieces, as hard and, well, pointless as that may sound. As of now,  I am still trying to paint my new series in bigger formats, which as I've said before, it's proving to be very difficult. I guess I will be doing that and take it from there. As for now, I guess I'll just be bummed, thinking about all those poor artists and gallery owners.

Art is a cruel profession indeed.