Thursday, September 30, 2010

Belmont Harbor I

This is the first in a series of paintings of a lovely stretch of the lakefront in Chicago.  It is a quiet section of running path between Montrose Harbor and Belmont Harbor.  A bit of hidden corner of the city, it is a great place to sit quietly, run, see the sun rise, bask in the dusk light reflecting off the water, and paint.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

North Avenue Beach

There are few things as wonderful about Chicago as Lake Michigan.  Chicago has 26 miles of lakefront accessible to the public, including 18 miles of path for running/walking/biking, many beaches, and beautiful parks.  I'm feeling nostalgic as summer draws to a close for the many hours I've spent on the lakefront these last months.  I have ridden my bike many dozens of times south to downtown.  I've found the route to be a delightful option when one needs to transport oneself downtown, a good time to reflect on life, and an effective form of exercise (particularly when the wind is strong, which is common along the lake).
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Raven

This year the Ravenswod Artwalk is featuring The Raven Project. Artists can submit one piece of art that represents the Raven, which will be displayed during the ArtWalk.

As a former resident of Baltimore, I feel a certain loyalty to Edgar Allen Poe.  When asked about his origins, Poe was fond of saying that he was a Virginian gentleman, but it was in Baltimore that Poe sought refuge when he had feuded with his foster father. It was in Baltimore that Poe found his future wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm, and in Baltimore that he began  his career.  His remains remain in Baltimore’s Westminster Burying Ground at Fayette and Greene Streets.

I always associate the Raven with Poe and so shall submit this image of the poet to the Raven Project.
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Love Hand Silhouette Invitation

In Chicago, there is something called the puppet bike. It is a puppet theater large enough to contain one puppeteer, but small enough to be pulled by a single bike. I nearly always stop when I see the puppet bike in action. It is the memory of the pleasure of puppets and the shadows we create with our hands that inspired the design for this invitation, which depicts hand silhouettes spelling love.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

St. Gertrude's Tower

This painting will be donated the Edgewater Gralley, a fundraiser for St. Gertrude's Parish.  It will be for sale in their silent auction.  The Gralley is an official venue for Chicago's World Music Festival, which features over 50 musicians at 20 different venues.  

While riding my bike north on Broadway this morning, I noticed the beautiful tower at St. Ita's. This made me think that perhaps this painting should be the first in a series of paintings documenting the towers of Chicago. 
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finkel Steel Factory

I have often quoted Nelson Algren, who said that loving Chicago, is "like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real."

This quote so aptly summarizes the delight of Chicago for me. I was mindful of that quotation as I made this painting of an uncelebrated spot on West Cortland Street, in Chicago. From this vantage point on an old truss bridge, one can see the old Finkel Steel Factory, the north branch of the Chicago River and the Chicago skyline. This scene is on the surface "broken": the factory which no longer functions a reminder of the decay of Chicago's industrial past, the river likely fouled by pollution, the vegetation un-manicured. The image is simultaneously so lovely in its "real-ness." The vibrance of the color of the rusting metal panels, the freedom in the wildness of the trees and vines, the reflected light of the river, and the grandeur of Chicago's skyline. I am often drawn to images which embody history as this image does. In a country where we often encounter the newness of strip malls, condo buildings, and arenas named for corporations, there is great appeal in the places which tell a story of an earlier time.
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Doves, Three Ways

As an architect I am constantly engaging with the idea of design. How do we take a fixed palette of building materials and technologies and reinvent them the best possible ways? Often, I find that the application of constraint to design makes for the most engaging design challenges, so to, it seems in graphic design. In designing these three invitations, I engaged with the constraint of working with a single simple form: the dove. It was an exploration of how the repetition of that simple form in different patterns can change the character of the composition.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Portrait at the American Visionary Arts Museum

This portrait is a commissioned piece for a couple recently married at the American Visionary Arts Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore. During my time living in Baltimore, I was quite taken with the AVAM, as a museum of folk art, it offers a delightful collection of work by untrained artists contained within a wonderfully playful architectural package. It was a delight to make the painting with the wonderfully interesting mosaic of the exterior wall of the AVAM as the background. As I painted the composition of tiles, glass, and broken plates, the symbolic nature of mosaics was swimming about in my head--the beautiful and mysterious way that our lives are composed of different experiences, the people that come in and out of our lives. I was also struck by the challenge and the pleasure of capturing a moment in two lives. I am entirely engaged by photographs. It is fascinating to, with the slowness of painting, attempt to illustrate a single moment.
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Friday, September 3, 2010

My Work on Yes and Yes

As a sponsor of the Yes and Yes Blog, my work was featured today on the blog. I continue to thoroughly enjoy Yes and Yes, including this delightful silly video of Marcel the Shell and this great listing of recommended podcasts.
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