a blog of painting, abstraction, and contemporary art
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Another crayon drawing

drawing 20110907

Crayola on arches
30″ x 22″

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September 6, 2011   No Comments

Just playing around

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Crayola crayons and arches

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September 4, 2011   No Comments

The laboratory

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The studio is a laboratory, I like to be in here conducting my experiments. I remember being fascinated going to Thomas Edison’s laboratory when I was in elementary school. I wanted to have a big place like that filled with bunson burners and beakers. It looked like a lot of fun to be able to invent things.

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September 4, 2011   No Comments

Drawing 20110823

gordon fraser drawing 20110823

graphite and crayon

gordon fraser drawing 20110823

graphite and crayon

gordon fraser drawing 20110823

graphite and crayon

gordon fraser drawing 20110823

graphite and crayon (detail)

After struggling and struggling to get down to the studio. I’ve been forcing myself to get into the studio the past few days, if only to sit there and read, stare at the wall, listen to music, or pick my nose. Monday, I found myself pulling out some small sheets of paper and sketching and yesterday I started drawing on this large sheet (48″x51″) I had tacked up a month ago for a watercolour I was going to work on. I guess the watercolour is on hold because I had fun drawing, and a stream of ideas started flowing through my head.

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August 24, 2011   No Comments

Monday night

I’ve been playing around a bit just drawing and painting on news paper. Mostly just making a mess, having fin and not taking myself or the work too seriously.

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May 11, 2011   No Comments

Drawing in the studio

Here’s some pics of drawings I did yesterday.

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May 9, 2011   No Comments

01/12/2011 – Day 4

Stopping a little earlier than I wanted to but I can really feel my concentration wandering as I am getting more tired. Finished the yellow gradient and started the black. Can see my pace and comfort with the tones is picking up beginning to know wha the tone is based on the fill of the square. Not that there is dot gain with the coloured pencil but the subtle texture/grain of the drawing paper picks up the pigment of the prismacolor. For 100% I make sure no grains of paper show through. As the tone lightens more paper shows through and I can recognize almost the percent of paper for the corresponding tone. I imagine this will be more important as I increase in size. It’s different than stepping back, observing the colour and adjusting the tone based on the relation of one pixel to the next. Note quite sure ho to put it into words yet.

Again the mechanical/disciplined process worked for me. Not sure where it is headed. Which is an emotional challenge to be ok with and not get anxious or force something. Started thinking about working on a full piece while simultaneously doing the colour studies. Idea was to warm-up. Jump around, combat bordem. Though I may just be getting ahead of myself and wanting to have a “finished” piece. A real “work-in-progress” as opposed to just surrendering to the process and focusing on one piece at a time. For now I’m not going to change anything.

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January 19, 2011   No Comments

Arthur Danto Hates Art Loves Penises

Yesterday morning, because the figs and the air biscuits awoke your editor before the dawn, and because he had to stop stealing from THAT BOOK on colour, your editor was scanning the bookshelves looking for something good on colour. Anyway I came across a that Arthur Danto guy, who wants to kill art and go to its funeral because he writes books like The Wake of Art. So, I picked up his book, Philosophizing Art, which I figured must be some kind of fancy instruction manual for euthanizing art, and I was totally shocked. ARTHUR DANTO IS TOTALLY GAY FOR ROBERT MOTHERWELL also, which must make Andy’s whig flip around in the grave. I  mean just look at the title for the opening essay of the book, “The Original Creative Principle,” come on why not just call it YHWH’s penis and be done with it. Also, we find out that  Motherwell is such a cock tease, just listen to Danto wax about how he wished Motherwell would just whip out his philosophy and play a little, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, but that Motherwell would hold out and string poor Arthur along.

The circumstance of having had advanced training in philosophy before going on to become a painter, and indeed a great painter, is almost certainly unique to Robert Motherwell. But he carried his philosophical knowledge so casually that other than in the autobiographical mode that came easily to him in later years….In our numerous conversations, from 1985, when we met [he was totally cheating on Andy for 2 years], until the year of his death, philosophy rarely came up in a way that made me feel that he brought with him from his graduate years any special grasp o the world that an exposure to philosophical disipline might explain.

Now that’s just gross. Here I am looking for some colour and all I find is gay porn erotica, I could have accomplished that just as easily on this internet. And I would have gotten pictures, video, and live webcam too!

But I digress, you are not here [that's right you idiot no one is here reading this garbage] to listen to me name drop and tell you about how big my philosophy is because I’m like super insecure about being one of those reactionary painter types who clings to a dead art form that uses oil instead of just walking into the Whitney Museum, taking a dump in the corner and wanking on the walls and ceiling to electronica in front of a digital video cam every couple of years, like all the real artists from Yale and Columbia. You are here because I talk with dead people, which is what psychic automatism, i.e. automatic drawing, seance, ouiga, masturbation, whatever you want to call it, is all about, as told to us by Mr. Danto tells us in this essay.

I bring all this up because on Sunday, I was talking with a couple of painter friends of mine, one of whom is really stuggling because life sucks and her partner just up and died like that and shit this past year and she is really struggling draw and to paint, as we were walking through the Miro at MoMA.  Anyway, I am a big proponent of scribble drawing, especially when stuck, and do it all the time, for example, when I wake up, or before I go to sleep, or when I am bored and nothing is on the teevee. I find it to be a really good practice and tool. I would tell you why but this post is already way to long and I haven’t even given you any pictures, which means you haven’t even read this far, and besides I have to go see my therapist and then go to work for the man. Anyway, if you don’t believe me, and especially if you do, you should read this Danto essay because there is some really good stuff in it, and I’m not talking about the gay porn erotica, though that is good too!

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December 23, 2008   No Comments

Charmed by Colour

I recently picked up Colours by David Batchelor and this morning I was reading a piece by Charles Blanc written in 1867. He comes from a 19th century background that favours drawing/draughtsman/form over colour/colourists. What’s funny is that while the overall implication of his writting is that pure chiaroscuro drawing is the pinnacle of art, he says some things that are right on about colour, and, in my opinion undermine his assumptions . Here are a few excerpts:

…colour is mobile, vague, intangible element, while form, on the contrary, is precise, limited, palpable and constant…

Thus colourists can charm us by means that science has discovered. But the taste for colour, when it predominates absolutely, costs many sacrifices; often it turns the mind from its course, changes the sentiment, swallows up the thought. The impassioned colourist invents his [her] form for his colour, everything is subordinated to the brilliancy of his [her] tints. Not onlythe drawing bends to it, but the composition is dominated, restrained, forced by the colour.

 The predominance of colour at the expense of drawing is a usurpation of the relative over the absolute, of fleeting appearance over permanent form…

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December 18, 2008   No Comments

Morandi takes a ride on the Yellow Submarine

morandi

This morning I was thinking about the recent Giorgio Morandi show at the Met, mainly about how lame it is, especially as a painter, that I couldn’t get my ass above 57th Street to get up to the Met. As Peter Schjeldahl tells us in his review of the show in the New Yorker,

He is a painter’s painter, because to look at his work is to re-create it, feeling in your wrist and fingers the sequence of strokes, each a stab of decision which discovers a new problem.

Oh well…Anyway, there are a couple of things I think about when I think of Morandi. First, and I don’t know how to say this other than when I think Morandi I feel New York. Maybe it’s the greys? Maybe it’s the way all the objects in his paintings are jostling each other and competing for space on the surface? Maybe it was something a drawing teacher in NY said to me once? I don’t know, but his work feels like New York to me, some kind of deep psychological association I guess.

Next I find that whenever I think about Morandi, I almost immediately think about Milton Glaser, who studied with Morandi back in the 1950′s, and whose work had a profound influence on the late 20th century visual culture of my youth.
Milton Glaser / I Love NY

Milton Glaser / Dylan Poster

Of course thinking about Milton Glaser includes thinking about Seymour Chwast and Edward Sorel, who together with Milton Glaser formed the Push Pin Studio and published the Push Pin Graphic. While too young to enjoy the graphic, I did grow up oogling over their illustrations in the New Yorker and various childrens books.

seymour chwast / mack truck

Edward Sorel

Going further, because of stylistic affinities, thinking about Seymour Chwast always leads me to think about the Yellow Submarine.

yellow submarine

I sort of lost where I was going with this and I’ll leave it here. But, looking over the examples I have pulled together here, I see a visual connection, and I think the influence of Morandi runs deep in both mine and the collective psyche.

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December 16, 2008   No Comments