I just got back from a visit to San Francisco where I went to the De Young museum to see the  Girl with a Pearl Earring show, along with Etching from Rembrandt and his contemporaries.  I found it very inspiring, especially all the etchings, they are so intricate and invite you to spend several minutes with each piece, I was surprised to find them even more engaging than many paintings.  The etching pieces varied in technical ability, some being astonishing in their technical prowess and some (the Rembrandts) were stunning in their communication of humanity and emotion.  There were goofy ones, ones that glorified the state, religious scenes that were moving (Rembrandt), religious scenes that were like crazy pageants, simple home scenes, landscapes and on and on.  Then came the paintings – wonderful banquet tables with meats and lemons and cloth, the flowers that I so love and the stunning Vermeer.  That Vermeer is absolutely wonderful.  (Side note:  Like the Mona Lisa, she has no eyebrows.!? Curious.)



cornelis visscher the large cat

Dutch Fools Etching

Smithfields Project Inspirations

So, I have been doing construction on my studio for the past several months, we put in a wall and window in place of one garage door, (better insulated and better light), we put in the best light set up ever – I can see what I’m doing when I want to and can totally control it.  Yay!  Anyway, I haven’t been painting since September – except for a couple small landscapes.  Anyway – I have my studio in near-working order and I have a job and my batch of canvases have been stretched.  My brother in law owns a great restaurant in Ashland, OR called Smithfields.  He’s a Brit and Smithfields was an ancient meat-market in the London, making it a great name for his meat-centric menu.  He uses local produce and meats – utilizing as much of the animal as possible.  Pig Cheeks were actually a popular and tasty (if somewhat fatty) item for a while.  Anyway.  so I’m painting a group of canvases for the restaurant – subject matter is big raw hunks of meat.   The themes will be the reality of meat – which means something dies for us to eat is, which reminds us that we also die.  I’m going to include traditional Vanitas items like clocks, flowers, skulls, snuffed candles to parallel that theme.  The back ground elements will be very tonal – kind of black, grey, umber, little bits of other smokey hues and the meat will be spotlit in full fleshy gut wrenching color.  If I can pull this off, people will take notice, but won’t lose their appetites.  Kind of a delicate balance.  Below are some of the artists and pieces I will be inspired by/ripping off…

Francis Bacon John Deakin Vogue 1962 - Isn't this a fun one? Obviously the famous painting is the story here, but we've all seen it and it's burned into our memories.
Pieter Claesz - Vanitas - Dutch Still Life Paintings are awesome - I caught a great show last summer in SF, mucho inspirations.
Skinned Rabbit by Michael Grimaldi - This man is a contemporary rock star painter - my favorite teacher ever.
Edwin Dickinson - Cello Player - This piece is exactly the kind of cluttered tonal feel I want for the background elements.
Antonio Lopez Garcia - My favorite painter alive today. I can't even put into words the things I love about this piece.
New Refridgerator by Anonio Lopez Garcia - Modern and Timeless.

So, we shall see, I’ll keep you posted…