Below are a few digital sketches that represent a snapshot of what has been going on in my painting studio lately. Working digitally like this has the huge benefit of offering infinite flexibility when working with colors. I also love to dig for intuitive geometric compositions in my paintings, and Adobe Illustrator is well suited to this kind of sketching. This sketch should be a finished painting by now, but I keep revisiting it, tweaking the colors to try to achieve the balance of light/dark and intensity that it needs. I ended up going with the top design with the chain of small rectangles running across the diagonal. Continuing to play with the red/pink/white/blue palette and simple—bordering on obvious!—geometry. I am currently making the painting that is depicted in this digital concept photo. I created the palette after spending some time at the collectors’ land in west Texas, home of big skies, cedar, mesquite, and earth. When finished, this painting will be an important piece of the collectors’ newly remodeled home! This sketch did not make the cut for the above commission, but it has found a place in my painting queue. It uses the west Texas palette, and does some of the things with simple color, light and space that keep my eyeballs coming back to look again.
I worked on this painting off and on for a long time. In fact, after my attentions progressively made it worse, I was driven into a brief retirement from painting altogether. “Who needs paint anyways!” I shouted silently to myself. “It’s just stupid goo!” But I pulled through and finished it, thanks mostly to my wife for her encouragement and a little bit to myself for remembering that I actually do like paint.
Last Saturday, now that it’s already getting dark here in Dallas by 6pm, it was time at last to figure out how to make a self-contained lighting system for the gallery. One portable power device (designed to jump start your car) and two 12.5 watt LED lights later, plus some wood, screws, spray paint, and work light fixtures, I had my solution! Henceforth the gallery will be a bright jewel lighting up those nights that I hit the road to show some artwork. It was a chilly evening and more sparsely attended than spring and autumn gallery nights in the Design District. Standing out there in the cold and peaceful darkness under the new lights, I felt a particular surge of good feeling that I usually get only when I’m out in our front yard in December, enjoying the quiet glow of our Christmas lights at home. After Dragon Street I drove to the Fair Park area to Ash Studios, where Fred Villenueva had invited me to a Bring Your Own Art party he was hosting. It was a fun time. I enjoyed the rare chance to bring my work with me, by way of illustrating quite directly what I do when getting acquainted with people at the party. When asked what I did, the questioner and I walked around the gate and there it was, the thing I do.
I took the truck gallery down to Oak Cliff last Saturday and enjoyed a beautiful day. Some friends showed up mid-afternoon and we decided to drive the exhibition of my large canvas Bump around the Bishop Arts District, in search of food, drink, and, eventually, pie. Up until Saturday I had not driven while displaying artwork, but the coziness of the Oak Cliff community and the security of having a friend in the bed of the truck keeping an eye on things were enough to get the gallery past that milestone. Currently I am designing a new wall that will be easier to assemble and strike and that will also give me options for displaying artwork while driving. Always, Jim Public’s Truck is about fun and accessibility. So the mission continues…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JIM PUBLIC’S TRUCK PRESENTS BUMP The art gallery drives its largest canvas to Fort Worth’s ArtsGoggle 2012 Opening reception: Saturday, October 13, 4–10pm, parked on Daggett Ave at Bryan St in Fort Worth, TX FORT WORTH, TX – Jim Public’s Truck, Dallas’s Chevrolet-mounted gallery of contemporary art, is proud to announce the exhibition of Bump, a large, non-objective painting by the artist/gallerist. The canvas comes out of Public’s ongoing practice of building up layers of acrylic paint and then sanding the dry paint back down again, repeated until the result looks good. This additive and subtractive process has opened up broad expressive territory for the artist. “What I’m doing in the studio isn’t that different from what I’m doing the rest of the time: constantly adding and discarding ideas, adjusting my perceptions of things, trying to achieve a point of view that roughly corresponds to the actual world,” says Public. “The back and forth between using brush and sandpaper gets these paintings to a place where they start to embody my experience of life as endlessly complex, amorphous, intricate, and baffling.” He adds, “I make messy, non-objective art because it is the best way I’ve found to talk about what it feels like to be a person. I think that makes me like a 12th generation abstract expressionist. Existential dread included.” The painting’s title recalls a moment of panic for the artist and his family when the unfinished, 6’ x 8’ wood-backed canvas fell onto his then 3-year-old son. “When I leaned the painting against my closed garage and walked across the alley to see it from a distance and a gust of wind pushed the panel upright and then forward, bearing down on my son who was on his hands and knees coloring the driveway with chalk, I was too far away to intervene. I just watched it knock his head onto the pavement. Fortunately, my son’s encounter with the painting left him only with a huge, temporary goose-egg, and he recovered as kids almost always do. But my initial feelings of fear, powerlessness and failed responsibility are still with me.” Please join the artist at a reception on Saturday, October 13, from 4–10pm, at Jim Public’s Truck, parked at Daggett Ave and Bryan St in Fort Worth, TX. Jim Public’s Truck is a contemporary art gallery committed to presenting artwork in unusual, spontaneous, and neighborly ways.