Saturday, November 2, 2013

The demo

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
oil on canvas board
8" x 10", 2013
Hello again, it's been awhile since a brand new painting was posted here. I've been quit busy with my 7 class assignment this semester. It's not that I haven't been painting, but the paintings I did were all demos for the studio classes. Lots of landscapes (that surely will turn into top 100 paintings), lots of portraits (that I gave to the respective sitters), and also lots of dirty palettes (that will also turn into paintings). This portrait of Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolonnikova was the first to go on top of a palette. I painted it the very day the news came out that she disappeared, moved by Russian authorities to an unknown location. I sure hope all of us will hear her story when she gets out of jail, if she ever gets out alive. Putin Light Up the Fires was Riot's last single before their infamous Orthodox Church performance that was the cause of a jail sentence for two members of the Pussy Riot group. It was in last year's 100, and will be in this year's again. The music is simply where it's at in term of punk rock. Ms. Tolokonnikova, a political activist, and conceptual artist, is the voice of Pussy Riot. She wrote the manifesto to protect the integrity of the group, and was described as "the evil genius behind the group." I suspect she also wrote most of the lyrics for the group. 

Demo painting is an art in itself; you're not supposed to screw up being the instructor. But I also need to keep up the integrity of my own painting practice. Practice what I preach. I preach that creativity is more important than technique, that the unconscious knows more than the conscious mind does, and that a successful painting requires the letting go of that consciousness so that the other part can take over. The trouble is with those demos that you're expected to talk your way through, that while you let your unconsciousness make the decisions on the canvas, your voice immediately translates it to the conscious side of the brain. That, and the need for a good result, creates a lot of pressure, and it requires the utmost form of focus and concentration. Sometimes I mess up. 

The M.I.A. portrait of the stencil print below was done in the context of my art appreciation class to non-art majors. As a homework assignment I had (all 53) students make a stencil in an edition of 10. They would keep one to submit with their portfolio for review, and trade eight with class members and the last one with me. The M.I.A. below was their reward. Not every student did the work so I still have about 10 prints left. Let me know if you want one. You can have one for $50. I've already painted M.I.A. for this year's 100, as her Born Free song makes the list for the fifth(!) time, and now this print then is dedicated to her second best song (in my opinion) Paper Planes. Even for Paper Planes it's already the third time in the list. (No other song of hers ever made the list.)

stencil print on paper, 45/53
6.5" x 6", 2013

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