orange lips and fingertips, acrylic and oil on canvas, 56"x62", 2012
On Sunday orange lips and fingertips (pictured above) made its debut at The Chapel, a gallery that operates in association with Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. I’m showing four recent paintings alongside folded paper works by Marguerite Corey and photographs by Sylvester Jacobs. If you missed the public reception, you can catch the show again on November 11 or by appointment (email@example.com). Each of these paintings addresses concerns of gain and loss by way of memory, consumption, and death, reflecting upon what we take and what we leave behind.
smoke-shaped forest, ink, shellac, and oil on paper, 22"x30", 2012
I thought that I had finished smoke-shaped forest back in May (see the post from May 8, below), but ended up reworking the painting in early October. The rising embers seemed to resonate with the blowing/falling cheese puffs, and as a result this piece edged out the competition for inclusion in the exhibition. It’s another meditation on gains and losses, a depiction of cleared land with irregular trees and stumps scraped into a burn pile while the city throws its own light up over the horizon. I’ll need to post a future image including the frame, which I made out of reclaimed quarter-sawn red oak. The distinctive medullary rays provide a contrast to the starkness of the image, and its reclaimed nature (made evident by a few nail holes) is intended as an argument on behalf of both use and preservation.
hairband bouquet on the new table, watercolor, gouache, shellac, and oil on paper laid on panel, 2011
This Friday, September 23, you’re invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Old Orchard church with an exhibition of art work at the Milligan House from 6-9 p.m. I’m showing my most recent painting, pictured above, along with another painting from 2008. This most recent painting features a piece from my collection of “interesting objects” made by my daughter Florence. The almost-frontal view is familiar in my work, a circumstance where the illusion and reality of the painting threaten to snap together into the monotony of the painting as an object in the room. I try to preserve, instead, a shallow space like a pool of pictorial space in which depiction can both sink and float.
This weekend I put the finishing touches on the table, and with the help of my friend Jeff I was able to get it installed in the dining room on Sunday. It was an exquisite moment, securing the top and seeing things in their final form for the first time. This table had existed only in my imagination for years. Even as the pieces took shape during the past two months, the final synthesis retained its sense of mystery. It is one of the wonders of making objects in the world, that not all things can be anticipated. In this case the surprises were pleasant. I used water-based stain (my home-made walnut stain) and water-borne polyurethane for the finish, allowing me to work safely and effectively indoors during the cold weather. Although the manufacturer warned against the use of steel wool between coats (to avoid rust spots from the dust, I assume), I went ahead and rubbed out the final coat with good results. I’ll let the finish shrink back for a while before I decide whether or not to use paste wax for a final coat.
Applying the home-made walnut stain, fast and furious-- I've now added an HVLP gun to my "need" list.
Table base assembly, which breaks down into six component parts (not including the pins for the through-tenons).
The curve on the bottom of the central stretcher becomes evident when juxtaposed with the edge of the table top.
The quarter-sawn oak has a rich assortment of rays, and the wide boards simultaneously harmonize with and distance themselves from the floor.
The upper edge of the top has a slight chamfer, and the lower edge is undercut at a 15 degree angle to take away some of the visual weight. The actual weight is another matter-- it takes two people to move the top, which is about 7/8" thick.
I’ve managed to make some progress on our new dining room table, so here are a few images of the table top. It’s a big one– nine feet two inches long, fifty inches wide, designed to compliment the architecture and woodwork in our dining room. I’m currently working on the table base and finish samples. I hope to be able to make use of the black walnut stain that I made this fall. The long boards were a bit tricky to deal with, especially since three of them are about eleven inches wide. As a result, one board had a slight edge flaw that prevented a clean glue-up on the last four inches or so. I used a repair technique that I learned from a book by Tage Frid. Simple and effective, although it is important to get the filler strip into place quickly– before the glue causes the wood to expand.
Final glue-up of the top, which is composed of seven quarter-sawn white oak boards.
Curves cut on short ends, just one inch of deflection across the width.
I used a Japanese saw to re-cut the imperfect part of this joint, and used a sliver of the same board to make the filler strip.