I probably don't need to state that some paintings go more smoothly than others. many times, an idea about composition or additional elements in a painting totally work out, and there's a clear "and it's done" point. I love it when this happens... it feels like things are working properly, my brain and my hands are working in tandem and the final product is just that, a final product. I don't think about whether its done or not, what could maybe be added to make it better,'s just done. that said, this is pretty rare for me. I did have a few consecutive paintings a few months back that finished easily, meaning that I didn't second guess them and knit pick them into completion (don't get me wrong, the second guessing works for me too, generally I'm happy with the outcome eventually...but it's certainly a lot less stressful the other way). these days however, as I work on the last 3 for the "Marks" show, not so much. One is going smoothly and is 95% done, the other two however, are a lot more challenging. they both are a lot more stark in composition, with more of a plain dark background to draw the viewer into the figure...or so I hope. the thing is, because I spend so much time with these things, I can never tell if the lack of activity around a figure does what I want it do, or just looks empty. I stick to stark backgrounds for a reason and for the most part, it works for me. I do however have a long history of the following: 1) plan painting with plain-ish background, 2) almost finish painting, then decide the background is too plain, 3) spend hours debating on what to add to complete the piece, 4) add said element, 5) spend additional hours debating on whether said element works, 6) decide said element wasn't necessary in the first place and paint over it. This can get a little frustrating, but I'm never as horrified as I expect to be when I realize how long I sometimes spend painting things that will eventually be covered. (for a good example of this, check out the "swan among ducks" progress shots from back in April here...those birds took me almost a week to paint).

So tonight, I spent at least 2 hours, probably more, just staring at these two new pieces. one is even signed in a half-ass attempt to convince myself that it's done...and it really might be, in fact right now, as I write this, it is. but I thought that yesterday too, and the day before. (I have some good ideas for it, but I'm really getting the feeling that I'll probably erase whatever I add in the end). the other one is coming along, but much further from's giving me a hard time but I think I'm happy with it so far.*

*I realize it's not super fun to read about paintings and not see full on images of them...but I'm trying to keep the second half of the paintings for this show under wraps until the opening...more exiting for me (and hopefully you) that way. I'll continue with sneak peeks in the coming weeks though, and I'll certainly be posting a lot about the setup as we get closer to the show.

I hit up a bunch of art shows last weekend in an attempt to both get more involved in the art scene, and to venture out of my apartment for the night. I saw some good stuff and I'll try and write a bit about that this check back, if you please.