Indy Cartography

A few months ago I set about planning and mentally laying out a new show for the City Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts. I knew almost right away that it would revolve around maps. I would tie these maps to important places in Indianapolis, my home.

And, the work would be big - the first piece I started for this show was 4 x 3 feet. I had been itching to do larger paintings for a while. 

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Sketchbook layout of the City Gallery  

Three weeks ago, several paintings were in progress, some more than others, but nothing was finished. Also three weeks ago, a disc in my lower back herniated. Great timing, right? 

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Spine model from my doctor's office, showing the offending disc  

Many things became uncertain. For a time after I couldn't go to work, drive, walk up stairs, and certainly couldn't get to the studio to continue these big pieces. But, with everything I couldn't do, I needed a goal (besides all the things listed above) and that was to commit to this show, even if I wasn't sure I could make it to my own opening.

What you will see at tonight's opening and throughout January was created, in large part, in the last two and a half weeks. And I love it all. 

'North Split' in progress  

'North Split' in progress  

The work is much smaller, and all on paper, things I could work on from home. And I'm really proud of it. It's not what I originally planned. It's better.

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

'Herron Morton Place' in progress, from the couch. 

While I wish I could have avoided injury, it pushed me to re-examine my approach and the results are on view this month. 

Deadlines drive us.  

Starting Over

Today I started over on three paintings. They have been in progress for weeks and today all progress stopped... or did it?  

They've been painted white again, back to the beginning, but they now have a little more texture, there are shadows of the previous layers, and will be the base for something new... one day.

 

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For now, they are sitting in a corner of the studio. Things like this make me wonder if I'll ever finish a painting again. I hate this feeling. 

Revisiting the Past

I'm in process of decluttering both at home and in the studio in an effort to own less stuff and have what I do own mean more or at least hold a regular, useful purpose. 

This has resulted in quite a bit of rediscovery of art that was abandoned mid-creation. Rather than tossing out bits and pieces of my starts and stops, I'm throwing them in one place with a goal to finish them out, even if it doesn't follow the original plan (because I'm not in that place anymore anyway).  

Here's the first of this blast from the past clean out project - I came across a short stack of small (5 x 7 inch and smaller) bits of paper from a time when I was experimenting with more saturated layers of watercolor. This was before my obsession with gel inks that can easily by applied over dark backgrounds. I combo'd another recent subject matter - hands - with a nod to a client's illustration project by circling the wrist with ranunculus.  

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I love the result and joining the past with present. Look for more to come here, on Facebook, and Instagram.

Monster Drawing Rally & First Friday

Among my holiday orders and deliveries, I have two important events coming up and I hope to see you at either or BOTH!

MONSTER DRAWING RALLY

Johnny McKee drawing away at MDR; Susie McKenna and her daughter buying one of my paintings.

Johnny McKee drawing away at MDR; Susie McKenna and her daughter buying one of my paintings.

First up this Thursday, December 3 is the second Monster Drawing Rally at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 100+ local artists will be drawing in one-hour shifts, working on as many pieces as they can. Each completed piece goes to a wall where it is instantly available for sale for $35. Better grab your favorite piece, it could go fast! 

I'll be drawing from 8-9 pm but I recommend being there from the start. Some of my favorite artists are drawing early. The Monster Drawing Rally starts at 6 pm.

FIRST FRIDAY AT THE HARRISON CENTER

On Friday, you can find me at the Harrison Center. I'll be everywhere. The Harrison Center's annual color-themed group show centers around the color black. I have two pieces in this show. 'Black Tie' will be in the Harrison Gallery.

A retrospective of artwork created by artists who have taken part in the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar through Butler University will be in Gallery No. 2 at the Harrison Center. I created a larger blue and white watercolor and ink drawing for my seminar's final exhibition. If you missed it back in June, here's a chance to catch it.

Finally, you'll most likely find me in my studio. It's OPEN STUDIO NIGHT after all. I have lots of gift-able items including fine art prints, original art necklaces, postcards and of course original art everywhere. Support your local artists this holiday season!

See you this week!