Feb 012018

Midtown Miami has four distinct neighborhoods.  Two of these are very different creative destinations:  Wynwood and the Design District.

We headed to the Miami Design District, en route to the Institute of Contemporary Art.  It was a surprise.  We had intended to stroll through the district en route to Big Art.  We ended up spending the morning.

It’s a work in progress, and it’s fresh and exciting.

The focus is art, luxury fashion, and architecture.  There’s also many fine restaurants and cafes, furniture galleries and relaxing outdoor spaces.

The Miami Design District figures large in the annual Art Basel event.  With over 70 art galleries (and that’s expected to double) there’s plenty to see.  And not just in the galleries, but on the streets and courtyards.  Art is everywhere.

Craig Robbins is the creative force behind this redevelopment.  He and his company, Dacra Development, were also instrumental in the South Beach Art Deco rehabilitation in the 1980’s.  He’s a visionary developer, philanthropist, and art collector.

So how did a born and bred Miami kid become a visually literate powerhouse? While a student in Barcelona he grew to appreciate art and architecture.  Moreover, he understands that these two things can define and enrich a city.

He bought his first piece of art, a Dali, while studying there.  He has since accumulated a large contemporary fine art collection.

He studied law, and learned the business side working with his fathers development company.  He also formed some important design partnerships along the way.

I tried opening the yellow door but no luck.

Plenty of reflective materials, both glass and mirrors.

Luxury fashion is everywhere.  The buildings they inhabit also reflect strong design elements, high quality construction and materials.  Here’s a sweet window dressing in Dior.

Intriguing textures everywhere the eye travels.  I like the fake bark concrete treatment juxtaposed with the water spigot.  Not an intentional art installation.

Intimate courtyards with sculptural conversation seating.  All so brand new the trees need supports.

Bold orange with an Americano at the Ella Cafe.

More finishing work in wonderful discrete passageways.  These cool and shady spaces are important in the often hot Miami climate.

A Buckminster Fuller dome provides an emblematic entrance to an under ground car park through a cool blue courtyard.

One of a kind stuffed robotic animals, and a sculpture gallery.

My old Volkswagen, but better.

Love is indeed the answer! Plenty more where this came from.  I always say, just collage in a photo of Einstein, and your good to go.

I was surprised by this inert security guard.  SF MOMA has one as well.  There’s lots of real security in the Design District.

Loads of colour everywhere.  Perfect in the intense Florida light.

Did you know the latest thing in architecture is parking garages?  The facade of this garage, and still adding finishing touches, sits across from the Art Museum.

Skeletal installation piece with water dripping slowly from a small hole above.

I alight on one of the many spots to sit, relax, and enjoy that warm Miami vibe.

Jan 092018

New Smyrna Beach Florida

This mornings tide line walk was a treat.

There was a big storm our first night and the king tide made for an interesting trek along the beach in the early morning light.

New Smyrna Beach seems to go on forever.  It’s just under 20 km.

Hard packed sand makes it perfect for long walks or cycling with a fat tired bike.

It also has some of the best surfing on the east coast.

Continue reading »

Dec 212017

The winter solstice reminds me of the beauty and striking simplicity of black and white. Not that there’s much snow here.  Our west coast winter is green and moist.

However!  In a few days I’m flying into the Okanagan Valley.  We’ll drop down above hills and valleys, farms and ranches, orchards, vineyards, and the vast frozen white lake.

It’s really wintertime there, and the approach to the Kelowna airport is fantastic:  a monochromatic dream rich in pattern and texture.

I’ve been using a monochromatic palette throughout my studio life.  It’s a contemporary idiom for many artists,  and I’m drawn to it as well.  It’s been an enduring part of my studio work, especially in printmaking.

The pieces that follow were done over the years using different materials and methods.  I work with value and texture, especially in painting.

Let’s take a walk through these monochromatic pieces.

Continue reading »

Dec 052017

Exploring Scale in Painting

Here’s a series of acrylic paintings on canvas where I work with scale and proportion.

I like playing around with big space in a small area.

These are abstracted landscape, rich in texture and colour.

Size:  Small – the largest is 10″ x 12″.

Proportion:   The compositions in these pieces have large open areas juxtaposed with areas of detail.

Surface:  Each have areas of texture and areas of flat colour.

Materials:  My favorite paint products are made by Golden.  They’re constantly updating their line.  There’s always new products to explore and their pigments are high quality and reliable.

Pumice and molding pastes create great texture.  I develop small mark making areas using one of my favorite materials, graphite.  I’ll sometimes gouge into the surface as it dries, or rub graphite into the drying paint.

These small pieces stand alone quite well.  And I can also use them as maquettes for much larger works.

It can be daunting to take on a large canvas.  It’s a big investment of materials and time.  So painting small, then taking it big, is a straight forward way to approach a larger work.

Nov 282017

Net Lace:  A Companion Edition

I often use the triptych form in my paintings and prints.  I follow this traditional form I first saw in the cathedrals and art museums in Europe. Powerful and exquisite devotional triptych paintings and sculptures.

The triptych format has beem used by artists since early Christian times in altar paintings and sculptures.  The form is also echoed in magnificent stained glass windows.  It’s the symbolic manifestation of the Holy Trinity.

Outside that context the triptych has long been used by many prominent contemporary artists.

One of my favorites is by the celebrated  British painter, Francis Bacon, titled Three Studies of Lucian Freud.  He painted the triptych, below, in 1969.  It sold at auction in 2012 for $142.4 million.

I’m most interested in the triptych form as a way of developing a theme.  It’s an opportunity to play around with form, structure, and perspective.

The trilogy is an intuitive way to work.  And I think many artist would agree with me, including writers.

Here’s my recent edition of mono print triptychs titled Net Lace.

Carborundum. etching, mono print, and chine colle.

Net Lace is in part maritime themed.

Shipyard cranes appear in some of the prints. I used fish net material for the mono print.

Metaphorical threads that connect craft based work, like lace making, with the pragmatic necessities of net mending, were on my mind.

These triptych prints are a small companion edition to the larger Net Lace edition project that I continue to develop.