Still Life

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Moving Along

This is how the work progressed this past week. Still trying to juggle this with my other life. All the underpainting has been completed and I have reworked the sky, adding the clouds, and the final gradation of the blue. I do plan to modify those clouds a bit more...


Around Me

...I have all these extremely talented, hardworking, down-to-earth artists, artisans, craftsmen... Hopefully some of what they have will rub off.  Osmosis. I guess I am glad because I found dinosaurs like me. We are still around. Quietly doing our thing.

The liturgical arts.
Centuries´old profession.
In spite of all the high-tech aid there is now available, at the end of the day, it still all boils down to the
hand and the craft.

The photos speak for themselves. Perhaps on another occasion I will speak more at length about the process, materials and other details.

Food for thought

Been thinking about food....up on the scaffold, in my car while on the road, pretty much everywhere...
Basic food one can to warm the heart.
I´ve stopped trying to analyze why the penchant for homemade food. Needed a hobby. The best ones are the ones you can eat. So there. Of course it´s easier to just buy. Infinitely. But it tastes better when you make it. Infinitely.
Homemade pasta... spinach tagliatelle...easier than you think. YouTube can be a good school for simple stuff. And the tomato sauce that went with it was easy as well. No, not San Marazano. Our tomatoes here are just as good. Hope my Italian friends will not scoff at this last comment.

The cheese was sheep´s milk. My first attempt at a rennet-set cheese. I let it age in the fridge about 2 weeks. I have a long way to go with  the cheese-making thing. So it´s now in the back burner...or somewhere...

Aside from the obvious correlation between this and painting, you know, sensual appeal--the eyes, the smells, touch, etc... there is the more basic, primordial instinct that usually is the link that joins art and gastronomy. 
And how much heart is put into the making of each is immediately evident in the result.

A very interesting book on the two subjects. I believe there is a recipe for ali-oli in this book that uses 7 or 8 cloves of garlic, if I´m not mistaken.... Like I said, "...the smells..."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Continuing the Twin

It was quite a task trying to level off the ridges created by the edges of the fiber glass strips in such a way that the strips would not be visible from a distance. Using an orbital sander, I sanded down the edges pretty much all the way down to the board-- tiny, nano particles of fiber glass flying all over the place and getting on my skin...this was before the first layer of primer and then again after the first layer had dried. Anyway, I think it did the job -- several layers of primer later and from a decent distance of about 8 meters off, the strips are no longer visible.

That´s M in front of the panel, one of the workers in the plant. I asked him to pose for the photo to give the thing some scale.
And yesterday, the initial outline in a wash of burnt umber...
...and the underpainted sky (clouds will come in later, in the painting, at least...seems like real clouds have been avoiding the Madrid area all "winter" long)...

...feel quite privileged to have this view from my work station...

A few more notes from the quiet moments...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Twin

This is what greeted me today as I walked in the hangar-like structure where I am dealing with these monsters.
The panels are medium-density fiber boards and are joined horizontally in three different places, as is evident in the three seams running across the panel. These seams are fiber glass strips that I have applied onto the panels with rabbit-skin glue (my apologies to vegans and the like-minded) to help reinforce the joins.

I then proceeded to apply the first coat of primer which always takes a while since it is the layer that gets most absorbed by the naked surface of the panel. Then it gets kinda obvious at what point I started to run out of primer...(last 40cms or so at the bottom!)

Here are some detail shots of the first painting:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Patience Pill

...if there was a pill for impatience, this would be it. It´s all about timing.
...2 years into it and only a handful of decent results.
...handmade, no electric mixers...completely "manu"-factured
Yesterday´s bread:

...sourdough boules. Natural leavening, from a sourdough culture I started last summer and have been able to keep alive till now. This is what another loaf turned out like a few weeks ago:´s therapy...also gratifying to know that what you´re eating wasn´t bought from a store...
The Fresh Loaf is a good forum for amateur bread makers...and so is Madrid Tiene Miga

From the Cradle the title of the blues album Clapton came up with in 1994...about going back to his roots as a blues guitarist, etc.,´s also what I think of sketching -- a sort of return to a primordial, essential means of expression....just as valid as a finished, varnished, framed piece... it serves to de-brief from the more stressful things in life...and it´s one of the most fun things to do...

...notes from subway rides, bus stations, waiting rooms...

...once in a while, brush and colors, with more time, of course....
...from over the years...

Urban Sketchers is a fine blog if you like looking at this type of spontaneous expression.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Tall Order

...8 meters tall. Seven point nine meters, actually, but tall enough. I´ve been working on this monster for the past 5 weeks now. Alternating this activity with my other life. Sometime before last summer I was asked to submit compositional studies in oil for two possible paintings that were to go to a church up in northwest Spain. The studies were approved and after a long wait I finally began work on the giant panel last January 30th. This is the first of two, both panels measure 8 meters high and about 3+ meters wide. Both will depict Biblical scenes with multiple figures. I´ve been given a ridiculous deadline, so we´ll see how this all turns out. These are some progress shots from the priming of the panel to the finished (?) painting...just a quick run-through. I´ll try and post some close-ups and details on another day.

...the design and composition were basically mine, with some modifications suggested by the client. This was my original oil study:

...I´ll spare the reader and skip the other WIP shots. These are the essential ones:

...and the "finished" work....not really sure how I pulled this off in just 5 weeks ...seems unreal, but they are cracking the whip:

Next week I´m starting work on the second panel.........

The Limited Palette, I´ve decided to launch a blog, not really sure why, but I figure I may have something to say from time to time...something to say about art, my own or others´, professional or for the love of... two cents´worth of sharing about bread-making and other kitchen mishaps, my own or others´...
...I may not be able to post every single day or even every single week...infinitely more interesting to listen than to speak, to read than to write, to look at than to show...
...hopefully I can connect with the reader, somehow, or they can find some link with what I do or say...or at least hopefully they like the way the bread looks....

My work can be viewed here, and, as you will immediately notice, I am a realist painter...have been for what seems to be a hundred and fifty years now, but really low profile.

So, since this is supposed to be a record of recent or on-going work, among others, here goes...