Saturday, May 7, 2011

Larger Works

"Summer City"
36" X 38"

I've been working on some larger-scale pieces. The words at the top of this drawing read "I See Beauty Every Day." The artwork consists of 9 drawings sewn together with thread-- like a quilt of drawings on paper. I scanned each piece individually, so the image above is a bit of a fabrication-- the artwork has some clumsy stitching around the separate pieces, and has buckled a bit from a lot of drawing, painting, collaging, editing, adding, removing, re-working, etc. This piece has been marinating on my dining room wall for over 2 years, and has gone through a lot of changes. An expedient artist I am not. I end a piece when I'm sick of working on it.

As the title implies, I make a valiant attempt to find beauty somewhere, someplace every day. It's easy when you're biking by the lake, or walking past a gorgeous tree, or admiring the lovely flowers that Mayor Daley planted all over the place. But beauty often lurks in some ugly, smelly, dank, dark, anxious environments-- subtle expressions of dignity-- and that is the kind of beauty you have to search for... and that makes me feel okay with the world sometimes...

If you haven't figured out yet from reading my other blogs, humans drive me nuts. And I'm not exempt from my own scorn, in case you were wondering. But still... still we humans are terribly interesting creatures with both ugly and beautiful tendencies, and I never get tired of looking at and drawing people.

"Song for Autumn"
34" X 37"

This piece is called "Song for Autumn" and was made before the first one-- about 4 years ago. I guess that I would describe it as a meditation on death. While the first piece was inspired by summertime-- a joyful and festive time in Chicago-- this artwork is an ode to the colder months. I had moved back to Chicago from Los Angeles, and there had been a few deaths and sicknesses in the family. I had forgotten how melancholy Chicago is in autumn and how utterly austere and dour winter is... I lived near a cemetery with a park nearby where people walked their dogs. I am amazed by how much dog owners start to resemble their dogs, and vice versa. It was a lonely time-- I didn't know too many people here, so I found solace in long walks around the neighborhoods to get reaquainted with the city I left 11 years before.

I have since done a little more doodling on this piece on a few panels-- the image above is an older scan, so the latest version looks a little different. I will attempt to take a successful photograph of this piece eventually.