sketchbook

September ’21 Studio Update

After months of a bored, uninspired ennui, I finally found a gear to start to get some work done in studio. Lots of sketching, plotting and writing are leading up to a big year end finish.

Like much of the past few months, my sketchbook has been the most fertile ground for my creativity. Lately I’ve been working on some sketches for some new paintings. Some are politically styled and others take off on a more fantastic mannerist tangent. I’ve worked on a bunch of different sketches with dark clouds hanging over the Supreme Court. The Highest Court in the land feels like the biggest miscarriage of justice in the country right now. Between  outlandish decisions, a legislature willing to bend and break every rule to politically pack the court, everything about the laws of the country seems destined to fail.

Sketching and Plotting

In addition to seeing a wealth of ideas prosper and reshuffle priorities in the studio, I painted a mural outside my studio in Northeast Kansas City. I hadn’t painting anything. let alone anything that large, in a long time. It felt good to take on a large task. It went smoothly, wasn’t too physically taxing, and become one big check mark in the finished column. The accomplishment felt very rewarding. 

While I continued to hone in and develop new painting ideas I also started plotting out the rest of my year.  By the time September rolls around, the year is basically over. This year is no exception. Classes ramp up as people’s schedules return to normal as summer fades away. The holidays start to loom large as well, and time becomes even more of a premium.

I always try to consider making some extra work for the holidays. With Missouri still stuck in the Middle Ages in terms of vaccination rates, I’m still a bit hesitant to host some big studio event. I do eventually need to try to show off and sell some new work. First I need to get past the sketching and finish more work. Planning an event can still come together later, but for now I decided to take on making some new multi color silkscreen prints. 

Making Prints, Making Money

As a painter, I have always felt envious of printmakers, who can work on a print and sell multiple multiples of each print. Painters get one go to get things right and hope to find a buyer. I’ve dabbled with various prints over the years, and always am proud/foolish enough to think I can just crank out prints on a whim on a semi regular basis throughout the year. The fact remains printmaking is an artform in itself. Despite a lot of overlap in skill sets, printmaking is a wildly different beast from painting. 

With all of that said, I started to flesh out a series of prints. Ideally, these would be quick to make and easy to sell. Of course, instead of focusing my attention on drawing things that actually would sell – drawings of the Nelson, parks, buildings and landmarks around town –  my mind immediately snapped to the work that was flooding my sketchbook. The Supreme Court. Police Violence. Covid. Super uppers that would appeal to everybody’s tastes around the holidays! I’m sure the Germans have some long 16 letter word for the act of unknowingly self sabotaging one’s efforts by appealing to their one piece of mind.

So I’ll probably end up loosening up my deadlines. I’ll produce the work I want to produce. I’ll also go without some extra money by selling drawings of shuttlecocks, and keep moving ahead. So it goes. I always agree with the sentiment that at some point, art is a business, but goddamn if the diseased mind of an artist won’t just sabotage things for a whim! 

Looking Ahead

That’s not all the work I’m doing these days. In addition to all the sketching, prints and paintings I’ll be working on this month, I’ve been really excited about this website. I’ve put together a large amount of work into this .litt le project. Since I started this endeavor in the spring of 2003, I’ve always thought of this as just a vital a piece of my artwork as painting and drawing. I’ve got a long list of stories and stuff to write about, and if I can keep the momentum going, things should be popping up here on a  regular basis over the next few weeks. 

So here’s to 2022, it’ll be here quicker than any of us think!