"If you lose your sense of humor, you're kind of screwed."

Tuesday Night Painting #36

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Hello painters,

It's been a busy couple of weeks for everyone so I want to recap the two weeks of interviews we had for the newsletter, in case you didn't get a chance to spend any time with them. You can scroll down to see some snippets from those and also check out a couple of other links and recommendations from the painting world.

New stuff to look at this week include an artist from Houston that draws from his cartooning past to make big, bold abstractions, and a monograph on a Korean painter I think is worth exploring in greater detail in the future.

My interview with... Stella Alesi

"If a piece just doesn’t work out at least I know I’m expanding and learning." 
Alesi is definitely the artist who knows how to strike a carefully considered balance with each composition. It results in work that is very striking visually because of that know-how, and that restraint.

Alesi works out her compositions by doing studies and sketches on a pad with pencil, until she gets an impression that one or two just "feel right." She says, "I kind of work an idea to death; just over and over again until the composition stops asking for change."
Stella Alesi
"My painting practice emphasizes the importance of failure as a way of
moving forward"
As always, I'm curious what criteria artists set for themselves and for their own success. Alesi, however, doesn't think of her work in terms of success. She thinks of it in terms of work: it's there to be done. "Sometimes success is failure, and failure success," Alesi says. "If a piece just doesn’t work out at least I know I’m expanding and learning." 

With her accumulated years of experience, making a "successful" painting is something Alesi feels she could do day in day out at the studio, but to her that would not be enough. "I like to try new approaches, so there is always a period of failure."
Click here to read more from my interview with Stella Alesi

My interview with... Rachel Comminos

Comminos makes studio time a regular part of her daily ritual, along with her partner and their three year old son. The trio reside in an old, defunct hotel in Harlingen, a town located at the southern tip of Texas, population 65,000. Their hotel habitation has been reconfigured into a multi-purpose space that includes a gallery, studios for both artists, and a living area.

Comminos finds it easy to work with her son in the studio, as he is also "obsessed with making." Comminos also mentions that she normally focuses in on one piece "pretty obsessively from start to finish" before starting off on another project. Although, if the feeling isn't there, Comminos isn't afraid of shelving it for a while and turning her attention to another project.
"I make plans... but I prefer to see where my days and energy take me"
I asked Comminos what led her to select certain colors for her work, and how she planned out her color palettes. She told me that her color selection is more intuitive than rigorously planned out. One specific color is chosen, and then the palette is built up around that selection. Comminos gathers up her colors at the beginning of a piece and just sits with them for a while, considering her options. Then when the first "mark" is made, the other color selections flow from that initial choice.

Comminos keeps her yarn organized in bins, bags, and a now-defunct refrigerator. I love the image of getting hungry for a certain color and having to root around in the fridge to satisfy that artistic craving.

Click here for more from my interview with Rachel Cominos

Other news and links

I'm enjoying these more "sculptural" painting pieces by the Houston area artist, Howard Sherman. The artist uses painted paper scrap collages to supplement his artistic vocabulary. He draws from a wide range of sources from different eras to inspire his paintings.

(I'm thinking we might discuss Sherman's work in a future installment of my most recent series of classes about the intersection of collage and painting, the first of which was held just last night.)
From the article:

Sherman's work has now become more sculptural in nature, but one resonant trait remains constant — a sense of humor.

"There's this indirect humor, cartoony playfulness going on in the work," Sherman said. "The figures are more muscular and aggressive, but that's part of who I am. If you lose your sense of humor, you're kind of screwed."

Can a painting have a sense of humor, dear reader? Click through to the article to see some more works, and also visit the artist's website here.

Then you can write me back and let me know if these paintings, whose creator used to work on a daily comic strip when in school, made you chuckle at all.
And here is your weekly reminder that this newsletter is free but not cheapI've been spending more and more hours each week researching and writing about new artists for me and you to lovingly gaze at.
Chip in a few $$
If you appreciate this newsletter, send me a few dollars by clicking on the button above. 
I'm very interested in finding out more about the work of this artist, Yoo Young-Kuk, who is the subject of a new monograph by the publisher Rizzoli. 

From the Korea Times: "Dubbed as a "magician of colors," Yoo is one of the pioneers of modern Korean abstract art, best known for his vibrant vocabulary that distilled Korean naturalism into basic formal elements of point, line, plane and color.
The artist is quoted saying, "Whenever I hit a dead end in my creative work, I think that there must be a way to get through it. So each work is nothing more than a process for the next work, which serves as the foundation for me to continue."

There are many other similar gems inside this book. These quotes will sit alongside the artist's simple geometric based landscapes that served as bountiful opportunities for the artist to explore his inventive color schemes.

Discover more about this artist via Google Arts & Culture
"It’s often during the rest phases that we make the most progress."
Finally, I want to recommend another newsletter, called Subtle Maneuvers. In this week's edition, the writer responds to a question on the topic of ambition, talent, and balancing a busy schedule. There are a lot of valuable pieces of advice in this column for the anxious artist who feels they aren't doing enough or don't have enough time.

Please read and subscribe. The author of this newsletter, Mason Currey, is doing good work.
One last Howard Sherman work, on paper: Nighttime Passenger
That's all for this week, painters. Remember, if you can't find time to paint or create during the busy times, you're just recharging the batteries and filling up the tank (in this metaphor, you are a hybrid gas/electric vehicle).

It's good to take some time away to do that. And now, as always, I'm leaving you with a few tunes:

Blue Material - Personal
Slowdiving - Duñe, Crayon, Lossapardo
SALTA - Mitu, Ela Minus
Paradis - Parfait Tirage

See you next time, and happy painting.
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
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