20 January 2014

Looking back--old work

I had to boot up my old Mac OS 9.2 tonight to find a speech I had written a few years back, to update it for a speaking engagement I have this week, and I took the opportunity to look around. I found a few scans of old work of mine that I did waaaay pre-blog, and decided to post a few of them here. One reason is just because I never have; but another is that it reminded me that I am capable of working larger, longer, and more intricately, and also that experimentation always pays off.

This first picture is one of a series I painted for a class I took at Los Angeles Valley College back in the early 2000s. Our assignment was to pick one object (I selected my blue teapot) and paint it every week from a different perspective. We were to look at the work of one particular artist and incorporate something from his or her work into ours--not to copy slavishly, but simply to try to work from that artist's perspective or sensibility. This was one of my earlier attempts, and now I have forgotten who the artist was after whom I patterned it--but I do like the excess of pattern! This was my first use of "resist," which is how I reserved all the whites in the tablecloth (some of which were then overpainted with turquoise).

This second picture was something ambitious I attempted for the birthday of my second cousin, Harley Maxfield Lavitt. Can't remember what birthday it was for, but since he's 18 now, he couldn't have been more than 11 or 12. He loved to fish, the catfish was his favorite fish, and he had (has) an orange tabby-striped cat named Gus, so the conflation seemed like a natural one. Some people have told me it looks like the fish is EATING the cat. This painting is pretty big--18x24, I think--and I haven't worked that large in quite awhile. When I was taking watercolor from Carol Bishop at LAVC, she always encouraged us to work large, and we were required to turn out one or two paintings per week, so they took awhile to paint. I haven't worked that big in a long while, and I think it's time to revisit that ambition.

And this last one I'm putting up simply because I like it, and because it reminds me of bygone years and cats. This was Alberta, who was so hyper that it's a miracle she sat still for this pose. I sketched her swiftly in charcoal, and then went back in with watercolor later. This one reminds me to be spontaneous and fast sometimes, instead of meticulous and slow.