Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Two pieces sold!

Christmas isn't just for retailers. It helps us artists sometimes too. These two paintings were just purchased from Attic Gallery by a woman for her husband. Sort of a strange combo but what the heck. Thank you anonymous buyer!
"L.A. Story (Brady House)"

"Into the Woods"

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Surprise in the Mail

This arrived in the mail yesterday from the State Department's Art In Embassies program. I either did not know or did not remember that were producing a catalog. A pleasant surprise. The catalog represents works currently on loan to the US Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. The current ambassador is from Oregon and the works are all by artists from the Northwest. The catalog also includes these artists:
Steven Hudson
Joellyn Loehr
Michael Schlicting




Monday, October 22, 2012

2 more paintings

oil on canvas  50"w x 34"h

"The Playhouse"  34"w x 50"h  oil on canvas

It's been difficult lately to get a lot of work done but just stretched these 2 and am fairly happy with the results.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dead Crow

This has nothing to do with my art but wanted to make a note of it somewhere, so here's as good a place as any.

This morning as I left my house to go to my day job (about 6:30am) I immediately noticed the local crows raising quite a racket. Not all that unusual, but they were swarming right around my house circling around and cawing while others sat silently perched on telephone lines and the branches of trees. I've always liked crows. They're exceptionally intelligent birds. So I stopped and watched them for a bit out of curiosity. Was there a hawk? A bunch of food? Had they roosted in a tree closer than usual and were just starting their morning routine?

Then I noticed the dead crow in the middle of the street.

It was clearly the center of all this strange attention. I saw no obvious marks on the crow nor any blood, but its eyes were gray (presumably the nictitating membrane had closed in death). It was fascinating. Crows are social creatures and the death of this one crow was creating quite a scene. I couldn't linger too long but even as I did the activity was lessening. Was it grief? Too anthropomorphic an emotion probably. But was it some intense reaction to a death of one of their own? Another more morbid possibility occurred to me... Had it been an execution?

Surprisingly little is known about crows. This is changing of course. Their intelligence has drawn a great deal of interest in the last couple of decades. Many have now heard of the tool using crows of New Caledonia. Interestingly their intelligence stems from an evolved portion of their brains that is completely different from the frontal cortex in mammals. So theirs is a truly alien intelligence. But there are a lot of other problems studying crows. Without capturing and examining each one it is impossible to identify the age, sex or the relationships of various individuals, making their social behavior pretty opaque.

But my notion of an execution is not without precedent. I have a copy of John Marzluff's book "In the Company of Crows and Ravens" where he discusses reports of "crow courts" in crows form large griups and essentially take turns pecking one individual to death. The individual is often reported showing little or no sign of resistance. The rarity of these occurences of course makes them impossible to study or verify scientifically and often dismissed as folktales, but anecdotal eye witness accounts are plentiful and consistent enough to warrant more serious consideration. Who knows. But I'll continue to pay attention and watch what these fascinating and intelligent birds do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blue Moon & Star Trek!

The good folks over at Blue Moon Camera and Machine will have a little spot ad in the program guide for "Trek in the Park" when they do their thing in here in St. Johns. Check them both out! Here's my little tweak on their logo for the occasion (Blue Moon is totally Class M by the way).



In case you haven't heard, "Trek in the Park" is live reenactments of classic Star Trek episodes put on by Atomic Arts. They'll be doing "Return to Babel" (remember the blue skinned white-haired antennaed guys?) in Cathedral Park in St. Johns, Saturdays and Sundays, August 4-26.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Awesome author photo

I'm currently working my way through Ian Tattersall's new book, "Master's of the Planet" about human origins and paleoanthropology. The author photo is one of my all time favorites. The glass of red wine is the real flourish here. But really, the whole thing: I mean the museum storage room setting, the skeleton in the background, tiny fossil in hand, pen poised to take notes and the oh so serious gaze over the bifocals. Wish I could have found a larger version.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

artist statements

One of the fascinating things about trying to write an artist statement is how the art almost immediately tries to slip the confines of your words. Creativity is an act of living, of changing, of growing and evolving. It is not difficult to describe where it's been, what it has accomplished in the past, but you can never guess where it will go next, in the same way that a biography can never be complete about someone still alive.

If I say my paintings are about the night, daylight is sure to creep in. If I say my work is always about narrative, I find myself depicting form and stillness. What exactly are the idiosyncratic elements that make my work recognizable? Is it my palette? I'm bound to try a new pigment. Is it my brush strokes? I Grab a new brush and try a different technique. If I did not do these things my would work would quickly become dull and rote. And yet there is a commonality, some spark of me is in them that others can recognize even many years apart. What is it? If I could tap into that, describe it, sum up my soul as it were, I'd have a fine artist statement.

my latest effort is now up on my website if anyone is curious: davidcarmacklewis.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3 post-it doodles

A way to make use of my time while exporting giant PDF files at work. Yawn.

Happy Sasquatch!

Container with Big Dipper and fire

Obligatory UFO abduction scene

Thursday, May 17, 2012

a Painting in Nigeria

I just got an email from an aide to the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley, of him standing in front of my painting at his residence in Abuja. I have three paintings there as part of the State Departments "Art in Embassies" program. Sort of a strange arrangement but kind of cool too. You submit your work to the program and ambassadors get to look through the submissions for things they'd like to display during their tenure. Apparently Mr. McCulley is from Oregon.

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley with "Commute"

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The show looked nice

At least I thought so. There was a nice turn out as well. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures. Dumb. Oh well. If you want to see how it all looks hanging on the walls I guess you'll just have to go down there. Or not. I do realize not everyone lives in Portland. Maybe I'll go down and take a few pictures before the month is over. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Opening on Thursday

The paintings are ready. Not sure if I am.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Last of the new work

This piece was started at Playa but only finished last week. Up over a small rise across the Highway 31 from the Playa facilities was a couple of cargo containers and a field of various construction materials left over from their remodel a few years ago. I would go up there pretty regularly. It was a nice view and I found the semi-industrial feel of it, isolated amidst the vast landscape, oddly comforting.
I haven't quite decided on the title yet.
42" x 42"  oil on canvas

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Northbound

This a "pre-playa-residency" painting that kind of prefigures what I did there. It's based on a snapshot I took while driving up to Seattle late last fall and painted sometime in January I think.

"Northbound"  oil on canvas  26"h x 51"w


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Brady House


"LA Story" (the Brady House)  oil on canvas  48"w x 36"h

This has been hanging from my rafters for a while. I don't even remember when exactly it was finished but it germinated after my trip to LA last summer in a fruitless effort to talk to galleries.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hovel

This is not actually a hovel as you can probably tell but rather a root cellar on the property at Playa (where I had my 4 week residency). This is the first painting I did there. I wasn't quite ready to deal with all of the open space, so I surrounded the structure with my more familiar trees. While it was just a root cellar I thought it seemed sort of an inviting metaphor for my retreat. I wanted to isolate and bury myself in my work. I later learned an amusing anecdote. The original owner of the property built the root cellar and used it to cook the first meth in Oregon. Go figure.
"Hovel"  oil on canvas  34" x 50"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two more oil paintings

"En Route"  49"w x 36"h  oil on canvas

"Witness"  36"w x 50"h  oil on canvas
Two more pieces stretched and photographed thanks to my sister-in-lay Beth who kept the kids all day last Friday. Thanks Beth! Both of these were done at Playa.

"En Route" is kind of a portrait of route 31 which runs right by the residency program. I used to walk out there most nights and wait for cars to go by. Everything would be silent... then in the distance you hear a slight hum. A new light begins to flood the hillside and suddenly the car roars past. In no time the red glow of the tail lights was fades into the night and the silence returns. When they fly past at 70mph it felt a little like seeing into the future from some distant past.

"Witness" is simply a document of one of the thousands of dead trees left over from a fire that raged across Winter Ridge in 2002. They were eerily beautiful.

Watercolors

While I was waiting for my oil paintings to dry at Playa (I had to roll them up and drive them home) I tried my hand at some watercolors, something I haven't done in over 20 years. My main goal was just to reacquaint myself with how they feel. Also when I used them in college my work was very tight. I wanted to keep things as loose as possible. I did not exactly impress myself and my use of color is completely uninspiring here, but they were more fun to do than I thought would be. I will definitely have to try some more down the road. Anyway here's a few of my very very modest efforts...

woodpile 9" x 12"

dirt road  12" x 9"

Winter Ridge  12" x 9"

"Summer Lake"  12" x 9"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Roof

36"w x 49"h  oil on canvas
One more stretched and photographed. Getting there slowly but surely. I have to have them all done for the show in May so it WILL get done.

Getting them stretched and seeing them in their final form is bringing back the experiences of being at Playa, conceiving and executing the paintings. It was an amazing time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Constellation"

I managed to get one of the paintings from my residency at Playa framed yesterday. Hopefully I'll get more done this week.

oil on canvas  33" x 60"  2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rock Pallette

 
While I was at Playa I would constantly stoop down to pick up pebbles from the gravel drive. Although the drive looks gray at first glance the individual rocks were of extraordinary variety. I gradually laid them out on the boardwalk in front of my cabin (ala Andrew Goldsworthy - although my little pet rock project is not worthy of that association). I'll also post it on my Flickr page so you can view it larger and scroll back and forth.
-hmmm. That didn't work either. I'll figure it out later.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Some Photographs


Here's a few photographs from my stay at the Playa Summer Lake residency program

Looking down at the north end of Summer Lake basin

Abert Rim

Summer Lake Hot Springs (the spring feeds a pool in the old barn)

Remnants of a fire on Winter Ridge

More dead trees

My cabin at Playa (on right)

Cattle drive on route 31 with Playa commons building in background

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm back

I returned yesterday from my residency at Playa. It was a fantastic productive experience. I'll be posting photographs and artwork over the coming days and weeks.
Here's a  couple of pictures of the grounds from a spur up on Winter Ridge.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm off

Well, the time is finally here. I head out tomorrow a.m. for Summer Lake Playa to spend 4 weeks working on art, thinking about art, and occasionally just soaking up the isolation. No cell phone reception. And very limited dial-up interent access on a community computer. I hope to barely use it at all.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview at Triggerfish

(Wow. First post since November over here. It's been a hectic couple of months.)
Anyway I did an interview for an online poetry magazine called "Triggerfish critical review".
It is completely unedited including asides that I had not intended to be used, but I guess that makes it all the more honest. I apologize for the typos which are entirely my own as the interview was conducted via email.
You can go directly to the interview here.

(thanks to David Mehler for his interest  in my work - I swear we'll actually sit down and meet sometime!)