Here a few preview shots of the first sculptures of Don Quixote, in a Cubist way.
It’s good to be back to the blog. Perhaps this signals more blogging to ocme, which would be great but I can’t promise. Herewith, then:
A few quick thoughts and analysis of a couple of the DQ paintings I did about a year ago: DQ B&W #1 and Rosinante Running. Both are paintings I have come to like much more than I did when I first painted them.
“Rosinante Running,” 2012, was painted predominantly with palette knives, with a very little bit of brushwork. Knife painting is like carving with color; blues and blacks seem to have been chiseled out, while the reds, whites and yellows act is if they were laid on top and pinched and pulled into place to create a high relief surface. Particularly where the point of the knife or pencil cuts grooves into the paint, the variegated surface catches and reflects light so as to make it shimmer when the light is at the perfect angle.
The application of paint, the high color contrasts, the hard angularity of the shapes (as opposed to soft, curving shapes), all contribute to the sense of agitated movement.
“DQ B&W #1” developed as a bit of a dare from Shelley Reed to paint some Don Quixotes in black & white. (If you look at Shelley’s terrific work you can see why she might say that.)
In this one it’s the face and upper body. I really love how the face is framed with that crazy almost-upside-down L-shaped angle, with the eye casually hanging on like a barnacle without the eyelid there to secure it.
The face is actually constructed of a series of triangles, from the chin whiskers to the nose, to the forehead. This little tower supports the see-saw of shapes that is his hat. Which itself is topped by a sideways triangle.
The shadow that is cast across the nose sets up the dark outline of the mustache within a compelling negative space that points us down the neck to a roll of a chest (not quite a barrel-chest), upheld by the triangular wedge below it. The hand holding the lance my be my favorite part. I know, it’s upside down, simplified and distorted, yet it rests so gently upon the hilt it seems as pious as a Byzantine portrait, in opposition to hardness of his left hand, balled into a fist, determined and ready for action.
The different hands help tell the story of a guy who in today’s parlance could certainly be considered bipolar: alternately brave, empathetic and wise, yet also delusion, quick to anger and prone to violence.
“Don Quixote, The 91 Paintings in 91 Days Exhibit”: March 23 – April 20*.
* location map is below
The time has come for The Exhibit to commemorate the success of “91 Paintings in 91 Days” and to thank you who supported the project. I hope you can all attend to see the work, meet the artist (for those who haven’t yet), see the studio where it all happens, and enjoy some wine and light refreshments. Bring a friend.
There are several backers who have yet to claim their rewards, so this show gives you all in that category a chance to make their pick.
Don Quixote, The “91 Paintings in 91 Days” Exhibit will be up March 23 – April 20.
Opening Reception Party: Saturday, March 23, 2013 4 – 7 pm
For those who can’t make it to the opening reception but would like to see the show, please note the gallery hours: Monday – Friday 10 am – 7 pm, by appointment. Call or email to schedule a convenient time for you to come visit, generally allowing 24 hours notice. Saturdays & Sundays from 11am – 5 pm I will be here to host visitors, though a 30 minutes notice is requested.
The Common Space Gallery is located within Artists West Association, on the second floor of Building #4, 144 Moody Street, Waltham, MA. *https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=ml
The 91st Day: 33 paintings, 13 watercolors, and 50+ drawings since November 9th. And I’m not done yet. Although I reached the goal 91 drawings and paintings I didn’t get to anything larger than one at 30″ x 20″ (Knight of the Long Face), and most no larger than 24″ x 28″.
Plus I haven’t yet exhausted the image of the gallant knight-errant Don Quixote, and I haven’t yet reached the point of abstraction I am aiming for. I have been getting closer recently; at least I’m beginning to get the hang of Cubism …
A few quotes from The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha …
“Be quiet, Sancho, have patience, and one day you will see, with your own eyes, how honorable thing it is to exercise this profession.”
“A man who seeks the impossible may justly be denied the possible.”
“Therein lies the virtue and the excellence of my enterprise – for a knight-errant deserves neither glory nor thanks if he goes mad for a reason. A greater achievement is to lose to lose his reason for no reason.”
“Mad I am and mad I shall remain.”
Be sure to check for new paintings at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbw-new-art/
It’s been a hell of a year. I still don’t like writing, but it’s my job, so here goes.
First, the good news: Those who read my Kickstarter campaign or watched the video,* read or heard that the project began when I didn’t receive a grant that I submitted. Well, this year they gave me the grant, re-written for funds to do what I set as my goals for the 91 Paintings Kickstarter. Hooray!
As for the 91 Paintings, it’s going great. A slowdown over the holidays, but Christmas isn’t about ourselves. It’s about showing the people you love and care about that you do indeed love and care about them. So the painting temporarily dropped on the priority scale but was hardly removed from that list altogether, as you can see at the newest postings on: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbw-new-art/
I haven’t counted exactly how many pieces I’ve completed, or rather, I keep losing track of how many are finished, but it is somewhere around 15 paintings, including a floor rug as a Christmas gift, and roughly 35 drawings and watercolors.
If you want to be a Cubist, you gotta deal with the big guy. That’s right, PABLO PICASSO. He co-invented the language, and as VP in charge of all things new, ie. product development, he got to make the rules. I can think of very few other Cubists who did much to advance the language of Cubism, particularly the portrait. Many traveled the trails he blazed, but during his lifetime anyway, they mostly stayed on or near those trails.
So I too have begun with Picasso. Starting from a known point and advancing into the unfamiliar is the recipe for abstraction, as it is for all inventions, I suppose.
These 91 Paintings and drawings may begin as emulations of Picasso (since he is the only one of the originals to emulate), but like like a teenager still living at home, I can’t wait to get out of the known world of Cubism and into something that I don’t know.
The language of cubism began pretty narrow, and was dominated by Picasso.
deChirico joined modestly and briefly;
Chagall borrowed from cubism in his youth,
but soon developed his own lexicon, which he never really left;
And Juan Gris just ran out of time…
So, to learn the language in order to advance the vocabulary?
Perhaps, but Cubism strikes me as a language that is a pure strain, incapable of reproducing itself, that lives and evolves only as a hybrid.