Stitches in Time

The painting below (30 x 30 cm) is one of the last I started (and not yet finished) in Israel, while in the middle of taking the house apart, dismantling paintings, contemplating the mess, shipping out boxes, and running out of milk in the process. While I was busy packing up, I developed a rather serious addiction to knitting, which has been keeping me very busy and more quiet than usual. I have happily spent many many many hours completing stitches, one after the other, teaching myself how to do it, and it has been a very therapeutic process. Just what I needed in order to face the stress of moving. I just need to sort out some particular cables and finish up a sweater, and then maybe another, and then I will get back to the paints…

Self portrait with Milk and Mug, 30 x 30 cm, oil on panel, 2011

I also recently delivered 16 paintings to Bernard Gallery in Tel Aviv, a bright ground-floor gallery space on Ben Yehuda Street, run by an elegant and savvy couple from France with enthusiasm for figurative art. Introduced by an enthusiastic art curator I met in Israel, Bernard selected several of my “messy bedroom” paintings and self-portraits from Israel, and I will post details of upcoming exhibition details as soon as I have them. If you are interested in the purchase of any of the following pieces, feel free to contact Bernard Gallery directly.

Twilight violet and lime, 35 x 40 cm, 2010
Stage 2-4, Oil on paper, 2010, 50 x 70 cm
Self-portrait Study, 2010, oil on linen
Self-Portrait in Studio, Oil on paper on wood, 2009, 50 x 65 cm
Self portrait in floral blouse, 2010, oil on panel, 25 x 30 cm
Self portrait as Housewife with Cat, 2009, oil on linen, 70 x 50 cm
Salmon Lover, 2010. Oil on panel, 35 x 40 cm
Red Pareo, 2011. Oil on panel, 30 x 30 cm
Pink Sheets, 2010. Oil on panel, 35 x 40 cm
Pink Sheets Study, 2010. Oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm
Pink Pillow Study, 2010. Oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm
Memory Window, 2011. Oil on panel, 25 x 25 cm
Memory Painting with Cat, 2011. Oil on panel, 25 x 25 cm
Implosion, 2011. Oil on linen, 70 x 70 cm
Gabriele's Trumpet, 2009. Oil on linen, 40 x 60 cm
Bathroom Laundry, 2010, oil on paper, 50 x 70 cm

On the Easel

My time in Israel is winding down quickly, and with it also my painting time. I have much to look forward to, including the city of Naples, a new home, further academic studies, getting married, seeing my family, as well as all the Italian food and etiquette I have been missing like crazy. Sometimes it can be hard to concentrate on the painting with all the things that need attention right now. I thought I would show a couple of my works in progress in their various stages of starts and restarts before I may find it necessary to pack them away and resume them again later after moving.

The sink study above was a quick one, maybe about an hour at most. I plan on doing another one, but much more “finished,” because I like both quick/sketchy paintings and more defined ones for so many reasons. They have different things to see about the experience of perceiving the space and subject.

The square bedroom ones below instead already involve many days and hours overlapping. I don’t share these because I am happy with them now as they are as a whole, but rather to share the process of what I am thinking about as I paint them and look at them. They have parts or aspects that perhaps I am pleased with or make me think of new directions to take. In the square painting below, for example, I am happy with the back left corner of the room, particularly with the cat cage and Christmas tree sticking out of it. But in order for the painting to be more representative of reality, in my opinion, the painting needs numerous other “days” inside of it, and in particular I need to work on the colors. I may prefer to make this painting more black and white.

This second bedroom start has a bit more room in the approach to the bed, and I like that. I also like the cooler and softer colors, and I am wondering if I don’t want to make the painting a bit more blurry-eyed in general. Below this top surface are, I think, at least 6 or 7 other paintings I had started, though I am not sure I can remember what they were.

This last square painting had originally been an interior one, depicting my kitchen, at least until the washing machine/sidewalk scene outside my front door distracted me so much to the point that I needed to grab the closest, least precious, most suitably sized surface available. Hence, no more kitchen painting. The photo below shows the first half hour of frenzied changes, and it has been an absolute joy to be outdoors painting again. I do this a lot, painting over older paintings, and not because I am convinced that the new painting will be better, but because the new motif interests me more. Painting is a passionate enterprise, involving impulsive actions which can ultimately lead to a failure. But you must take a breath and jump all the same.