Cityscapes

Some new things I'm working on

I've been enamored with cemeteries, ruins and reliquaries lately. Here is an homage to the Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich:

I wanted to evoke the mood of his painting "The Abbey in the Oakwood", but with a different kind of language, using a lot more watercolor-y transparency and impasto. While most of this is painted in oils, I made use of a lot of ink washes, and the linen, primed with a transparent gesso, is apparent in many places.

Here is a painting that I have almost completed called Baltimore Castle.

As for the reliquaries, here is a painting I'm doing of my roommate as a patina-ed bronze statue.

Quick Landscape Studies

I promised I would post some landscape studies that I have been doing during the sporadically nice-weather days. Here is one that I did in Baltimore County, in Moncton where there is a lot of rural farmland.  I spent about 2.5-3 hours on this, and it is very low-chroma (meaning the colors are low in saturation, because it was quite foggy that morning).

This next study I busted out in about 30 or 40 minutes so it is obviously not very finished, but you get a sense of what I was going for.  I had started another painting earlier in the afternoon but from a different vantage point where the sun was flat on the abandoned rail car and it was difficult to get a sense of form. So I decided to move and try again, but then there was only about 45 minutes before the sun set.  This is on Falls Road, near the Hampden area of Baltimore.

There were a lot of drug dealers on this road, who asked me if I wanted to buy some "candy," which, I guess, is code for drugs.

New Painting Group...in Baltimore?!

Six months in Baltimore sounds like a long time, but it feels like a short few weeks to me.  Many have told me that one doesn't get used to a new city or place until about the six-month mark, and for me, that has been true: things are getting better. However, the improvement in my spirits might also be due to a confluence of recent events: the weather getting better, the help of new (and old) friends, and, probably most significantly, the congregation of a new painting group under the aegis of my friend Palden Hamilton.  He recently moved into a house with a studio graced with north light, and his powerfully cool personality is enough to bring people from all around the Baltimore-area to paint with him several times a week. Now that the weather is getting better some of us from this group have gone out painting, in surrounding areas such as Moncton, or Hampden in Baltimore City. Here is a 3-hour portrait I did of Jenny, a student of Palden's.

Tomorrow I'll post some of the landscape studies I've done. The titanium white is still pretty wet (had to slather that stuff on because it just snowed the other day!).

Stabbing on W45th Street!!!

We just got back from Crown Heights in Brooklyn where we were test-driving a Volvo. I'd never been out there before, and when I told the owner how nice her block was, she said that it looks nicer than it is: apparently, there have been some shootings outside her place.  I nodded knowingly.  I understand about shootings (at least in theory)-- I just spent the last week in Baltimore. Skipping over a lot of emotionally-excruciating details that may not be prima facie relevant to an "art blog", I will say that the Baltimore police department has a very skewed perception of New York City.  To them, New York is the gritty big city (as Lily Tomlin said of the city in Big Business: "crack whores, rapists, fiends, and white slavers- it's a pistol") and little ol' Baltimore is WAY better off in terms of crime than NYC.  Perhaps that's true in real numbers, but not in percentage terms, given that Baltimore's population is a fraction of New York's.  Toby and I discussed how safe we've always felt in New York, even in Hell's Kitchen, which if you've read my previous post, you know to be quite, um, "colorful."  However! The Gothamist just reported a THREE-PERSON STABBING on my street- like two doors down- that happened last night!