Monday, December 10, 2012

6x6 Machinery

"Machinery 2"
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

Here are two of my seven paintings I submitted to the recent 6x6 show that weren't accepted. I had four in the show.

I bring this up because I did all seven as a group with an overall theme of light. Not a new idea, artists have been doing it for centuries, but in each of the seven I really made a point to capture different qualities of light. I worked on the group simultaneously, working up each without really finishing any one until I was about 75% done.  Other than these two, the seven (actually ten) were not officially a series together so the simarlarities end there. No attempt was made to using the same palette, design etc. So they do not look like a series other than a common theme of light.

I like machinery and sometimes its function preempts design. Its look or design born out of its function instead of a design based on aesthetics.
In this one, a really bright day, the sun bouncing off the ground or any light surface is blinding, without sun glasses you end up squinting all day. The colors are true to the site, industry subjects like this often lack color beyond silvers, rusty and metal grays, the small blue color note of sky serves as reminder of that.

I loved the composition of this the moment I saw it... the variety of shapes and their arrangement. It's that variety I see in industrial subjects, their size and texture differences, the scale of them that I respond to initially, that's what first gets my attention... here there are the ellipse', cylinders, flat and angled planes, linear pipes and wire conduit... all neatly arranged within the picture plane. After that I look for what it says to me, what is present beyond the artistic and design observations. That is part of seeing. Seeing really is observing and asking yourself questions and it's not always obvious.

I saw industrial might or brawn, this is industry flexing its muscle but on a small scale, a microcosm of industry. All the rust and dust seemed to add to its tough physique instead of conveying degradation. It is a weight lifter sweating in a gym or a cowboy roping doggies on a ranch.

I love the work of precisionist artists, like Charles Sheeler, and while that influence crept into the treatment of this painting I still remained faithful to my own artistic vision. I don't want my work to look like it belongs to a particular school of painting. Instead I am constantly striving to allow these influences without simply rehashing them.

"Machinery 1"    SOLD
oil on panel, 2012
6" x 6" (15.24cm x 15.24cm)

This painting is in direct opposition to Machinery 2 as far as its anthropomorphic character. The configuration of these two is not as muscular. That was my impression so as an artist it is my job to communicate that idea. In Machinery 1 I chose a broader view while in Machinery 2 a zoomed-in one. Those compositional choices helped support each impression.

It is also part of the old retired Sunkist packing plant in Orange County California, so it is no longer operational.
It is rich winter light when the sun is low, closer to the horizon, in the afternoon, softer light diffused by the glass, a rich cool shadow with warmer edges. It is not the showy light of Machinery 2. It is the end of an era. It is the final flicker of a candles flame.200,201

See previous four posts for the other 6x6's


  1. David!
    I always feel honored to be the first to comment on one of your treasures!
    Your style and choice of subjects to paint always make it a wonderful experience for me to visit your blog!
    Thanks for so much wonderful art!
    Michael From The East!

    1. Again... thank you!
      I am always happy to hear when others enjoy the same subjects that inspire me.
      I have had comments like... why would you want to paint THAT?, its not pretty...

      why WOULDN'T I, I always say?
      Not everybody gets it, but you do.
      David From The West!

      Keep painting...

  2. i love taking my time and ingesting each and every stroke, these are incredible. michael is so right, visiting your blog is always a wonderful experience.

    and thank you so much for your kind words. pinot is a greyhound rescue. please forgive me for taking so long to tell you how much i appreciate your comments. have a wonderful holiday season.

  3. Hi Suzanne,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I always appreciate hearing from my fellow artists.
    Greyhound rescue... cool

    One tip (if her owner does not know) Keep the gate closed! I let another grey hound rescue out by mistake one time... it was 3 blocks away before I could even finish saying "Oh Damn!"

    You too have a wonderful holiday season.
    Keep painting...