preparing for the may 30th space gallery opening by Philip Tarlow

7:03 PM: today was devoted to the selection of candidates to be sent this saturday to space gallery in denver. this will likely continue into tomorrow, as i gradually narrow down the number of paintings to be sent, with the final selection being made by the gallery director. here are pages one, two & three of the 8 page document:

feygele reconfigured / purple rock II: yet another transformation by Philip Tarlow

purple rock II as it looked at the end of my painting day this afternoon.

detail of purple rock II

3:22 PM: since august 26, 2018, purple rock II has undergone a total of 23 transformations. today may be the boldest. it has definitely been influenced by the previous two paintings, one of which, feygele, can be seen below, in this mornings post. the juxtposition of siena, tan & white, so that these 3 colors sometimes form shapes separate from and enhanced by the drawing marks, and in other instances are defining that very drawing as a rock, was begun following the breakthrough moment in the creation of pink creek on may 17th. scroll down to my blog post of 5/17 to view that painting.

12:44 PM: this morning i reconfigured the 4 16x20” canvasses that make up this new painting titled feygele. they are now placed end to end, making a 16x80” painting. my feeling is that it’s more appealing compositionally, and that the shapes have become more evocative, reminding me somewhat of what matisse did in his dance series. i’ll have to sit with it for a while, but the more i look at it, the more i’m attracted to it. on the RIGHT is ho wit looked yesterday. do you agree it’s far more interesting as a long, narrow?

feygele refined by Philip Tarlow

12:39 PM: some delicate changes have happened. BELOW left:yesterdays version and on the right, as feygele appeared moments ago. the first thing you may notice are the changes to the central image of the branch, which is lighter & therefore less dominant. more subtle are the changes to the dotted areas of siena, which have lost their edges for the most part, to some expansion of the beige ground, (see the image on the right) and now move with the snaking curves of the rest of the composition. some texture has been added to the rock forms on the upper & lower left.

as i sit here about 20 feet from the painting, i’m seeing more possible improvements to the overall composition; lets see how it goes…i need to stop in about an hour for a phone conversation followed by a meeting mikela & i need to attend.

feygele by Philip Tarlow

2:25 PM: today is mikela’s birthday. when i wished her a happy birthday, she reminded me of the story about why she doesn’t like to observe her birthday, or more accurately, why birthdays have no meaning for her.

her grandmother’s yiddish name was feygele., which means “little bird.” this is pronounced “FAY-gela” she was born in russia, where, at the time birthdays weren’t a thing, and few jews actually knew the exact date of their birth. so, carrying on the tradition, mikela prefers not to make her birthday a big deal. or any deal. mikela was crazy about her grandmother, who was a political activist and, amongst other things, invented the first time share, as a way for people, especially women, who couldn’t afford a vacation home to have all the benefits of one without the prohibitive cost.

so anyway, i had these 4 equal sized 16x20” canvases stretched & primed & sitting around waiting their turn. i decided to put them together & make one large painting, riffing on some of the discoveries i made in the durango painting a few days ago. it’s titled feygele.

it definitely need more work, but not a lot. but it’s gotten very dark this afternoon, and there’s not really enough natural light to paint. so i think i’ll take it slow & wait till the morning to work some more on it. let feygele be till the morning.

i was reviewing my story page this morning. it’s not bad if you’re interested in how i got to this point in my life & career:

more work on: pink creek, durango & purple rock II by Philip Tarlow

3:33 PM: to day i worked on 3 paintings, moving from one to the other so as not to get stuck. i think they all show improvement, even though some of the changes, such as the addition of textured dots in durango, were relatively minor. i’ll say more about these interventions later; right now we’re going for a creek walk on this very windy, chilly day.

BELOW: left to right: pink creek, purple rock II & durango.

pink creek adjustments/ durango comes to life by Philip Tarlow

my studio at 3:30 pm, with the latest version of durango 2nd from the right

3:23 PM: after the adjustments i made to pink creek, i grabbed the durango painting, which had been painted over with a tan ground & was sitting in the studio begging to be painted over. i used a discovery i had made earlier in the day and applied some white oil paint with one of my favorite spatulas. then whatever it is that takes over took over, and half an hour later….or more like 20 minutes, what you see BELOW emerged like a baby from the womb, still dripping, quivering, cord intact, taking its first breath of air.

1:12 PM: today is a windy, stormy day, with temperatures dropping by the minute. tonight it will likely drop below freezing, which is not unheard of for mid to late may at our altitude.

while i liked how the changes i made yesterday to pink creek just popped out in moments, i did feel the need to refine them somewhat today. too many of those parallel scrape lines created with a few of the hardware store tools i have start, as mikela, remarked, to look too gimmicky. so i made some changes, particulalrly to the upper right portion of the composition.

i may continue to work on it….stay tuned….

BELOW: yesterdays version of the left, todays on the right

more work on pink creek, purple rock II & spring creek by Philip Tarlow

pink creek, 32x32”/ purple rock II, 36x38” & spring creek, 48x20” were all worked on today

pink creek at the end of my painting day today

2:26 PM: i started out thinking i’d go out to the creek to paint plein air, since this is likely the last warmish day for a while, with a cold front moving in tomorrow. but it clouded up & the wind picked up, so conditions were not ideal by the time i had my materials ready.

so i continued work on purple rock II, spring creek & pink creek, which i hadn’t worked on for a few years. the latter was part of a series of collaged abstractions i was working on in had a lot of white canvas, which i took advantage of, introducing siena in the upper right & the branch which has become a familiar presence in many of the recent abstracted creek-scapes. the blue on the lower left is a fragment of a map of greece; one of the many maps i was collaging into my paintings at the time.

in purple rock II, on the LEFT, mainly the right side of the composition was worked on, whereas in spring creek, the hole in the central portion of the composition was, i think, resolved. they are all candidates for my show, opening may 30th, and should be dry enough to transport to the gallery a week from this saturday, which is currently the plan.

9 am: after completely painting over purple rock II, then scraping & rubbing it all out, i was left with a kind of ghost image. it was interesting, but too faint. so yesterday i worked into it, adding some white water around the large central rock image , so that now it pops more. i’ll be heading over to the studio in an hour or so, and see how it strikes me. i realized yesterday i had made a mistake in my calculations and i do have a few more days to work on paintings destined for the show opening may 30th, since they won’t be leaving my studio for another 9 days. so i may start something new today, but it’s more likely i’ll use what i learned yesterday on some of the recent pieces that need a bit more pop.

BELOW: left: the painting yesterday post-rub & scrape, right: how it looked at the end of my painting day yesterday.

letting go by Philip Tarlow

1:35 PM: the window has closed on any new work i might make starting today, that will be dry enough on saturday when my friends kindly offered to drive the selected paintings to space gallery in denver for the show, which opens may 30th.

so today i’m letting go of any pictures i might have had as to what the new pieces need to look like in order to make a coherent whole. i’m letting go.

3:35 PM: an odd day indeed. freed from the pressure of creating new work for my show, which will be picked up and delivered to the gallery in just 4 days, i felt like an uncorked frizbee, adrift in infinite possibilities. i began going the opposite direction than i have been in recent past months, like a rebellious teen. oh yeah, well what if i don’t feel like leaving lots of negative space & making every mark magically right?

i’m feeling extremely tired. perhaps it’s a result of giving myself permission to just fool around. i’m not sure….y

so after all that, i went back into it & scraped & rubbed out everything i did today. what remains is more or less how it looked yesterday, but a bit more ghost-like. actually i kind of like it better. so purple rock II has gone through perhaps more changes than any of the others. i’ll see tomorrow if perhaps i need to put more accents in. that will be a birthday decision.

so now, assuming i don’t do musch more tomorrow, this one may actually be dry enough by saturday to be taken to the gallery along with the others.

yesterdays mistakes, todays lessons by Philip Tarlow

2:18 PM: yesterday i worked most of the day on revising purple rock II. that was not a good idea. the painting had reached an interesting state of resolutiopn, which included marks inspired by japanese poetry & the work of the 18th century master, taiga. what i did was way too busy, although obviously i didn’t see it that way. and yes, i do regret painting over what was a very beautiful painting. today i painted over most of it and, after three or four aborted attempts, it reached a state of resolution, san japanese poetry. BELOW are three stages of purple rock II, with todays below and yesterdays on the upper right. on the left: how it looked before i messed with it yesterday!

i also revised spring creek, which suffered from the same business as purple creek II. it’s simpler now, allowing the eye to roam freely up & down the composition. in case you were wondering about the central image in the composition, you’re right.

BELOW left, yesterdays congested version and on the right, how the painting looks at the end of my painting day.

purple rock II revisions by Philip Tarlow


ABOVE: 3 details of purple rock II following todays revisions. notice how some of the japanese poetry remains intact

SITE-5-12-19 purple rock II.jpg

2:37 PM: i had considered this painting resolved. but the work i did yesterday revising spring creek made me look again at purple rock II. an interesting evolution is occuring from, say the relatively recent pink rocks, below left, to the previous version of purple rock II (middle) to todays version of that same painting, on the right. i would characterize this evolution as going from discreet areas of activity to an all-over activity which still, however, works as a composition. verging on cluttered, yes, but to me it feels like the picture plane is now fully engaged. it walks that thin line between chaos and energetic, full engagement. are other paintings in this series to follow suit?