Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Friends and collectors visit the 510 Gallery

Last week the 510 Gallery played host to friends and collectors and sold more Jay Batista Originals. Here is a photo of Kellie with my work as she and her husband visited the gallery on a trip from California. Great shot on a big night for the Oregon District!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The move west...

Blog Entry

Many months later, it's time to reboot the blog. 2010 ended with 7 paintings sold mostly due to the help of the 510 Gallery. We moved to Milwaukee, found a new place near Lake Michigan and set up a new workshop in the basement. In late March I submitted three paintings to the League of Milwaukee Artist's Jury for consideration for membership and was accepted. The group has been established since 1944 and I am proud to be associated with the organization. By April 2011 I picked up my brushes again and began new work, most of it now posted to this updated site in the new work gallery. In July I took a group of 10 new works to the 510 Gallery and donated a painting to the Red Wagon Charity in Dayton, Ohio. Returning to the workshop, I have begun work on some commissioned diptychs which I will post in the gallery as soon as they are complete.

Milwaukee is a fabulous place for the uninitiated, with a world class Art Museum, many excellent galleries, and a thriving artistic community with a number of organizations. We live near Cedarburg which hosts an annual Plain Air invitational event and has an active artist guild and a supportive community. Now that I have settled in, I will keep these notes updated more regularly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New work for April

Someone mentioned that a blog is for "works in progress," so I have decided to post some evolving works in this journal. Over the last few months I have focused on a large format painting which rounds out the hedgerow series, a 4 foot by 3 foot painting already up to 6 layers deep with collage. Here is a shot of the work in progress:

This work incorporates all my naturally colored Asian papers and is only partially complete, as I am working on the dead black trees in the foreground. Once I am satisfied with the design I will cover the canvas with some layers of matte varnish and prepare it for hanging. The collage texture commands attention--here is a close up:

I have decided to title the work "Harsh Winter" since the dead tree shapes are the most commanding portion of the design, and I will add more shapes to the image to take away the "split canvas, black lightning" look that the current image portrays.

I have also started a new piece based on a photograph taken from the bow of Jeff Cifka's sailboat in the waters north of Seattle and Camano Island, WA. This work is just on its second layer, still taking shape but you can see the photographic reference for the work on the table behind the canvas. This work needs 4 or 5 more layers of paint and collage to hone the image and bring the textures to the level that I prefer. Overall I want it to be a happy sunny work, with "fluffy bunny" couds and interesting rocks and trees, and very few negative shapes such as in my hedgerow series. The mood should reflect my memories of sailing near the San Juans. I am using Arabic language newspapers for the cloud collage shapes, which supplies an interesting set of calligraphic marks for the underpainting. When I finish it I will post it to the gallery.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Natural Inspiration

Where we live in Western Massachusetts our property butts up to conservancy land with oak and pine and scrub brush providing a wonderful habitat for the local wildlife. In particular, a huge old pine tree houses a hawk’s nest about 8 feet wide. We can sit in our living room and watch the hawk preen on its perch in the higher branches, and it has done wonders in keeping the chipmunk and squirrel population under control. It is a magnificent animal and I have been sketching it and planning new works. Now that the spring is bringing the buds out on the trees, the privacy is increasing and the deer are getting harder to see among the boles and brush. The red tailed fox still cross the yard as if she owns it all, looking well fed and glossy, crossing the ridge line over the stream. It is a wonderful calm space, perfect for contemplation. Natural Inspiration.

Mortality is weighing on me this week: A friend of 27 years died this past weekend. He was my age, a fellow musician and was on hand to celebrate my daughter’s birth and my first published article. When we were young he was a “fun friend,” quick to laugh and joke, and always ready for a good time. Once he took an old lion’s claw table that my Father-in-law had given us and refinished it into a beautiful cherry piece we still have in our living room today. Somehow life led him from fun times to daily drinking to a reliance on the bottle for solace, and over the years he faded into an unhappy shell of his former self. His marriage went sour and he lost the will for steady work, constantly nursing a back he injured as a young man. Over the last few years he grew into the quiet drunk who sat in the corner at the annual New Year’s celebration, and always seemed incoherently inebriated whenever one called. Friends who were able to visit him in the hospital near the end tell me he looked ancient, like a 90 year old man, badly shaved, starved and shriveled and pained from bleeding stomach ulcers. The social network has been buzzing about him the past few days, people remembering, finding old pictures of a happier time, praising his good qualities, mourning the loss. How can we measure the life? He has left only memories, an estranged ex-wife, a sister struggling to make sense of the loss and a deeply wounded Mother who has seen both her sons die early deaths.

Inevitably at times like these, one dwells on our own mortality. What will I leave behind? What is my legacy? What are my accomplishments?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thoughts for March 18th

The following thoughts were passed to me by a facebook friend and summarize a class given by the Real Estate Motivational Trainer, Linda McKissak:

1) The purpose of a life is to truly live it before we die 2) The purpose of our business is to fund that truly perfect life 3) Don't ever compare your insides to others' outsides 4) For us to live personally and professionally at the highest levels, it has to be done with others.

Great thoughts for today!

Career counciling via personal color selection

OK, I took the color chart test on line and these were my results (no fooling!):

Best Occupational Category
You're a CREATOR
Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional
These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great need for self-expression. They enjoy working independently, being creative, using their imagination, and constantly learning something new. Fields of interest are art, drama, music, and writing or places where they can express, assemble, or implement creative ideas.
CREATOR OCCUPATIONSSuggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.
CREATOR WORKPLACESConsider workplaces where you can create and improve beauty and aesthetic qualities. Unstructured, flexible organizations that allow self-expression work best with your free-spirited nature.
Suggested Creator workplaces are advertising, public relations, and interior decorating firms; artistic studios, theaters and concert halls; institutions that teach crafts, universities, music, and dance schools. Other workplaces to consider are art institutes, museums, libraries, and galleries.

2nd Best Occupational Category
Witty, Competitive, Sociable, Talkative, Ambitious, Argumentative, and Aggressive
These enterprising types sell, persuade, and lead others. Positions of leadership, power, and status are usually their ultimate goal. Persuasive people like to take financial and interpersonal risks and to participate in competitive activities. They enjoy working with others inside organizations to accomplish goals and achieve economic success.

How fun is that!?!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No grumpy oldster for me!

Listening to an interview on KCRW last week, I was not surprised to learn that there is a direct correlation between the perception of achievement of one’s personal life goals and satisfaction with the aging process. It seems there is scientific proof now that, as we age, if we don’t believe we have achieved our goals in life the frustration that results influences our degeneration into grumpy old men and women, and this pickling process accelerates as we move from late middle age to old age. Additionally it has been found that the drop in our sex hormones, precipitous in women at the point of menopause and over a steady decline in men, increases our tendencies toward becoming a member of the cantankerous elderly. This evolution into grumpy old people is so common that it has almost considered to be the rule.
Now, the doctor in the interview had also gathered supporting documentation that proved that satisfied individuals who heartily believed they had accomplished their life goals were often happy in their twilight years, the jolly old folks who we all aspire to become, despite the inevitable drop in hormones and the creeping decrepitude of the aging process.So what does this have to do with us, as artists, as people? Happy elderly never stop growing, never stop having goals, never stop trying new things. I am reminded of a management tool I have used for years with personnel where, recognizing that we cannot motivate people unless they motivate themselves, we ask people to make a list of the 50 things they would like to do before they die (and then we tie their personal goals to company goals). This is usually a very difficult project for many people! Most of us never think about our mortality or try to list accomplishments or goals, but I can attest this is a fascinating process and well worth doing—the physical act of writing down your desires and plans makes them a covenant, a commitment to oneself and to the others who read the list, and it is amazing after 5 years if you review your list you will find how many of the goals you have set have been accomplished. This is also one of the fundamental self change processes employed by professionals helping individuals overcome afflictions and stagnation. It is time for me to rewrite my list as I have achieved most of the list I wrote down 7 years ago—and if you have a spouse or significant other, compare lists as it is often illuminating and sometime life changing! And if you are having trouble finding items for your list, start dreaming. Artists dream and artists create—we can make our world and never become grumpy old people!