I have been fortunate enough in my life to land on an amazing new home in the Catskills. My art studio is on some of the same lands my predecessors worked, lived and hunted for images. I have given myself over to the plight of the naturalist. I still have a studio in Brooklyn, but my heart is in the woods, with the clouds, the ever-changing riparian water shed zone, the birds and rock – the candy colored clouds in the morning and lighting a fire to stay warm. My love for nature compels me strongly, so strong I have no need to please people – no need to figure others out. I work out my thoughts through the sublimation of light.
I have been focused mainly on portraiture and drawing objects. It is too cold to work outdoors and my work is mostly from life…
DARK version of a drawing created on the last day of Dec. 2013. I am excited to begin this year with the encouragement of light! Dictate my outcome, life. I am in no need of concept, as the light and air around me are enough to keep me busy a lifetime.
I have been working on this self portrait a while – pushing the tones and edges to where I feel they need to be. My illustration is starting to diminish, augmented by a naturalism. I am starting to see punchy colors as garish and amateur again. I don’t enjoy laziness in my work – and in the past fallen short of immaculate outcome due to a gallery demand, and a system. At this stage, I have no gallery, no agent or a collective, no system. I work in a void – with very little influence or communication from others. My extended family does not see what I do as a lifestyle, but more as a hobby that warrants a certain talent or patience. This is not a given. As some are born with it, others have to work daily to maintain an edge. I am the later, as I was not born with a gift. I was born sensitive, and restless. I was born into chaos and have been since trying to find order and a system to make sense of this life. My father sold cars for a living. My mother is in health care. I have never had a 9-5. The people who use to influence me are competitive and narcissistic in their communication. I do not like to talk about my work with novices, unless I am getting paid. This is a dilemma – as I have no ‘art friends’ to bounce off of. I do not ‘talk shop’ with other painters. I reach out, but cannot seem to get the invite to the big game, the social get together or other acts of camaraderie. If you are reading this and want to talk about my work – please email me – I would be glad to discuss. Gavinart@aol.com
I am alone with my art and feel the need to reach out and find others of a like mind – and not through Facebook or social networking.
I feel a bit like Van Gogh this day – as he too was hard to communicate with, had very strong opinions and was a loner, like myself. Dedication to this field, with my mind filled with psychobabble from youth, EST, mediums, self help and the like – all added to this doubt in my chosen craft and insight into trod ding on blindly. Blind faith is what I have, and seems to work – for I do sell work, teach and have a wonderful home life. My social life is lacking, and I wind up the lead singer in the band, hated by all. I am not a wallflower, so please ask me questions I can answer – and I will tell you more than needed.
Been drawing a lot more lately – inspired by some new pastels I purchased. It pays to get the good stuff.
I am inspired by many things, least of which includes technology and modern media overload. I find myself looking at portraiture for guidance, not as means of expression – but to guide my work to higher ideals and pursuits. I like realist painters, but stop short of realism in my figurative work due to my obsessive compulsive need to create a ‘mystical’ landscape or a nod to the folk element of my self taught nature.
I was trained as an illustrator, so my concept of high contrast with value is omnipresent. I try to escape this through color and true value, softer brushwork and strong composition. All of this I think about before I work, yet I let most of it go as I proceed – banking on my love and skill set to guide.
Education and technique beguile me. At the height of my artistic process, when I created a process for to drive the work – I found it disheartening, and pulled from my galleries. I became obsessed with underpainting and drawing, not convinced I understood anything I teach or imply, which lets in demons. I meditate on process now, and see process as the most important aspect – or you fly into a storm and inevitably crash.
It occurs to me that photo realism is based solely on technique, and finds little delineation between being commercially oriented, and a purpose saturated in impressing. I have achieved realism in my work, through drawing and playing with tones – but never tried to achieve a hyper sense of space on canvas – primarily due to my interest in photography. I feel photographs are invaluable tools for composition – but replication should be interpreted in a sentient way, in my opinion.
I have seen few realistic painters who can deliver a sense of ethereal – though they exist. I am not sure why I paint with the colors I do – it is part automated, as my approach is steeped in abstract expressionism and the Barbizon school of art. It’s a strange mix, and I find myself drawing closer to artists of a more realistic merit – though not yet fully engaged with the technical fine line of depicting values on that level.
This painting was nice to work on, with all the warm and cool tones interlaced throughout. The ground is still giving me some fight, and I am working it to be a little less dark so the uprights pop. The reproduction here is a little darker than the original, but it will do.
‘Birch Trees in Fall’
Oil on Canvas
©2013 Gavin Spielman