Right Around the Corner!
I am very excited that my solo show at the Blue Wing Gallery is right around the corner. This is a show of completely new works that have been created this year, most have been created in the last 2-3 months. Please come down to the Gallery on October 2nd between 6:00pm and 9:00pm for the artist reception. I am also available to meet with anyone at the gallery throughout the month if you can't make this Friday and would still like to see the works and discuss them with me.
Here is a link to the Blue Wing write-up: http://bluewinggallery.com/inspired/
Framing the Conversation
I am preparing for my October show at the Blue Wing Gallery, I continue to paint, think and observe the world around me. My initial conversation with Al Eby contained 15 pieces, of which I was very proud. My process is fairly rigorous, I try to paint at least one hour every single day and since that initial conversation I added two more pieces that I am proud of (not to mention the 5-10 studies and failed explorations). These two pieces represent a number of studies and thinking, going back to mid 2014. Often, I have ideas that roll around in my head for weeks, months.....they may disappear for a little while, but I always come back to them. My thought process when creating art always starts with a fairly serendipitous moment, sometimes it is in the shower, sometimes it is while I am driving home from work over the causeway, watching the sun fall over the coastal mountains. I enjoy creating art that can play a role as a simple aesthetic mechanism, and at the same time a metaphorical, thought provoking piece. I explore encoded social commentary, simplicity, big brush type paintings; I've been told my style is 'loose', but I just think it is 'me'.
This evening I delivered my 17 pieces of art to Blue Wing Gallery for archival scanning and framing, I am very content with the body of work I have built over the last 6 months. These works represent all of my subject interests, still life, abstract, and Urban Architecture. Please come out to the opening on October 2nd, from 6:00pm-9:00pm. I will be at the gallery the whole time, I have many stories about the pieces, the circumstances that they came from and my process for exploring art; This is a good opportunity to see an artist as an open book, and I hope to see you there.
I have been very fortunate as I emerge as an artist, in addition to my friends and family and fellow artists, a few individuals deserve a lot of credit for what I have to say tonight, I would be remiss if I didn't recognize them here. Thanks go out to Tom Stallard, Ron and Beth Caceres, Christy Hayes, Mark Glickman, and Ken Hiatt.
With all of that said: I have a couple of big announcements to make tonight. I have booked TWO shows at local galleries that I am very excited about!
First, My work will be shown at the Blue Wing Gallery in Woodland Ca from October 1st - October 31st.
Al Eby and his wife have been among my many supporters as I work to establish myself as a 'showing artist'. Al has given me a lot of advice and help getting my work ready for show.
Please come and see me at the First Friday opening on October 2nd from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. I am also available to meet you down at the gallery if you would like to see my work and discuss the pieces with me.
If that isn't enough awesomeness! I am so thankful to get to return to the Sparrow Gallery for a show with two other artists that I am utterly in awe of. My work will be featured next to Steve Bradford (http://stevebradford.me/) throughout the month of January with an opening during the Second Saturday festivities on January 9th. Cinthia and her husband have been so supportive, after the ArtxArchitects show last year they have helped me get into the correct frame of mind to show my work and have helped me start to plan a show schedule.
Please stop by the Second Saturday opening on January 9th, I will be there from 5:00pm-9:00pm, come check it out! I am also available to meet you down at the gallery if you would like to see my work and discuss the pieces with me.
A Personal Exploration of Coffee Craft and Consumption
I have been painting now for roughly 3 years, and sketching since some time in 2010. In my experience, I have found that the best way to progress in my artwork is to set goals and then push myself to meet them. Continuous practice has become a tool that I employ to try and reach the goals I have set. This can cause a few challenges when you get so saturated with painting that you just don't feel like there is anything 'new' out there, which is precisely where I found myself early one morning while getting my 'usual' coffee at the Temple on 9th Street in Downtown Sacramento.
I am not sure if it was out of sheer desperation, or some kind of super inspiration, I snapped a photo of my Latte for that morning and started contemplating the piece for the day.
Something in that foam art grabbed me. I found the purity of the heart and the multitude of bubbles to be visually interesting, I wondered if I could pull it off. I started sketching in ernest, and before I left that morning I put down my initial wash. Over the next day or two I continued to contemplate the piece, laying in wash after wash trying to capture that perfect foam color. (it was very elusive, I thought about giving up a couple of times.)
Here is the 3rd day of work:
I returned to the photo over and over again, just hoping I could get some of that beautiful depth and richness found in the foam. As I layered in complimentary colors, trying to tease out the essense of the photo, I found a certain peace with the process. I think it ended up taking me 5 days of solid (1 hour) painting sessions, but I finally arrived at a piece that I was very proud of.
Shortly after I completed the Latte piece I was having coffee with close friend of mine. She had an iced coffee and the light was hitting it in such a way it really stood out. I decided, why not! I snapped a photo and got to work on a sketch.
I return to a few very comfortable mechanisms when I compose a painting, this was no different. I decided it would be boring to just paint exactly what I saw in the photo, I wanted to push it a little bit.
This piece turned out very nice:
As I worked through this painting and discussed the new found 'peace' I had in painting these coffee drinks with my friend, we came to the subject of the expanding craft coffee industry. In fact, Sacramento has at least 5 boutique coffee roasting houses in the downtown area that all have their own fiercely loyal clientele. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit and had ordered a Latte every single morning for the last 1.5 years! I decided it was necessary for me to branch out, to experience as many of the different coffee preparations that I could; and so, the Coffee Series was born.
I don't think this was my favorite preparation, honestly...the sludge at the bottom of my cup kind of weirded me out. It wasn't terrible coffee, but it definitely wasn't my favorite!
(I love the painting though!)
I have returned to this preparation a few times, there is just something about the ritual of slowly pouring hot water over the prepared grind of coffee that is just sublime. I have found though....I don't like 'stone fruit' in the description of my coffee, I avoid those now!
I consider this drink the father of our modern coffee culture, this was the first piece that I did some background research on before approaching. I have gained such a deep respect for this ancient drink, one that crosses culture, language, time, and locale.....Coffee is everywhere, and I've just begun to explore.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!!! It's not over!
As I was working on the espresso piece, I had a conversation with a few of my co-workers.... I overlooked one of the most ubiquitous coffee drinks EVER: The Cup Of Joe (Diner style). Not just any cup of joe, but a CUP of joe, (the classic mug is very important).
I spent a few days researching on Yelp......
(looking at every diner I could find, I didn't care what their food looked like, just the mugs!)
I finally found the perfect diner, it's called the Lucky Cafe (fitting) just inside the midtown area of Sacramento. If you haven't been there, the food is excellent, and the staff is really great. They gave me a slightly odd look when I requested a very specific white mug....but I would have done the same!
Cup of Joe
The final piece is quite representative, I think this process helped me find a methodology to create interesting art, that conveys a story. I like the way this piece finished up.
This series represents a concerted effort, I greatly enjoyed the process and plan on putting together more like it. Who knows there are a few drinks I definitely missed (Gibraltar, Americano, Cappuccino, etc)
I am very interested to hear your input on this series, let me know which ones you like, don't like.....and hopefully what it makes you feel.
2015 has been a major growth year personally, professionally, and in my art. I started out the year by Joining Laura Wood at the helm of the AIACV (American Institute of Architects - Central Valley Chapter) Emerging Professionals group. Our responsibilities include planning tours and events that appeal to young professionals. Through my involvement I entered the ArtxArchitects group show which brought together artist/architects from the whole AIACV chapter. This show was also my first exposure to showing my work in Sacramento. The Sparrow Gallery hosted a handful of architects and kept our work up for the entire month of April.
Also at this time, a project I worked on for 4 of the last 5 years, the Sutter General Hospital project was starting to wrap up. The team was out on the project job site, away from the main office for much of the time, we worked hand in hand with the contractor and owner to complete the complex project. The end of a project is always an exciting time, you start to look around and think about what the next project will be; However, this time I felt different. Something wasn't right. I had felt this way for a while and discussed this feeling with my mentor and then my direct supervisor, but it wasn't enough, the discontent kept growing until it felt unbearable. I needed a change.
The process of changing firms is a little foreign to me, I've only changed once, and that was over ten years ago. As I began looking around, I knew I wanted to interview at one particular firm that I had heard great things about. I had come to realize, one of the most important elements of a firm is their culture. Being an architect is best when you feel passionate about everything you do, it is what drives you to come to work, even when you're facing the most unreasonable deadline or redesign. Drefuss & Blackford Architects embodies a lot of the same traits that drive me as a creative individual. I knew within 10 minutes of starting my interview that I wanted to go to work for John Webre/Kris Barkley/Gus Fischer and their team. I accepted the job, and started on May 1st, I couldn't have anticipated the amount of joy this change would give me.
June brought about the biggest change of all, my wife and I welcomed Lydia Ann Holt into our lives. She has been a constant example of all of the things that are magical about our existence. My life and outlook has forever changed, it has become the biggest and most prominent thought in my mind every day.
The rest of 2015 has some great things to look forward to:
I continue to create artwork (see my latest watercolor pieces posted on my page), I have found a rhythm that allows me to paint every day and maintain work/life balance.
I will be announcing a couple of shows for 2016, with the first show happening in January! I continue to look for additional show opportunities around the area, and will let you know as soon as I get word.
I have been working on a series of watercolor paintings that I am very excited about, I will be posting about those pieces within the week, I hope you will find them as compelling as I do.
The Mural, Complete Post
As I stated a few weeks ago, I recently decided it would be a good idea to paint a mural in the nursery for my baby that will be here by June 27th!
I can happily report, the mural is complete. The nursery is complete (thank you MIKELYNN!), now it is time to wait for the B-A-B-Y!
I have to admit, painting a mural is harder than I thought it would be. It is 6 to 8 times bigger than anything I've ever painted, but who is counting right?
Here is a photo of the Nursery before we started.
Here is a photo of the reference (very loosely used) that I referred to throughout the piece.
Three Photos showing the progress, first photo is pencil only, second photo is after the first night and third photo is after my second painting session.
By this point (5 painting hours in), it was becoming obvious that I had taken on a monster of a job. I didn't think it was going to be this hard to get that much paint up on the wall. While the painting was the rough size I wanted, nothing seemed to be going right. I wasn't finding any joy in the process and I was starting to doubt I could complete the project.
Thankfully, my very patient and supportive wife continued to give me support, (and gentle prodding) so I pushed forward, into the third painting session.....
I still felt something was missing. I was really at the bottom of the project at this point. I knew there was something I needed to do, but it wasn't really presenting itself. I knew the petals had to go/change.
Ahhh, there it is.
I had a very hard time making this step, but I think the piece is better because of it. I compiled a nice timelapse of the whole painting development if you would like to watch for 3:00 minutes.
Additionally, here are a few more photos of the final piece. I have come to peace with the process, I think it turned out ok. Of course there are always things you would do differently if you had it to do all over again, but for this one. I'm good.
Please leave comments on my facebook post, or below! They're always greatly appreciated.
As some of you may know, Mikelynn (my wife) and I are expecting our first child any day now. (well it feels like any day now, but it's about 3 weeks away.)
I decided, since I am a painter, that I would go ahead and paint a nice mural on the wall above where her crib will be. Of course, like every architect before me, I have procrastinated until there is just no time left! What better time, than now? About three months ago, I saw a flower while eating lunch with a few co-workers, a Purple Gerbera (or Daisy, I don't know). Here is a photo I took of the last bloom on the plant about a week ago.
While this flower appears to be pretty simple, I remind you, I have NEVER painted flowers. I started sketching a few in the recent past (I think if you look at book 16 there are a few). As I always do, I jumped in with both feet! Here is a quick video of my progress thus far. I used my GoPro to get this footage tonight (05/29/2015), I am fairly please with the progress, I think it will be a nice piece when I can put another 2-3 hours into it.
I am also compiling a complete time lapse video for those who would like to follow the complete process of this painting.
Thank you all again, as usual...Please leave your comments below, or on my facebook page. I appreciate your willingness to review my work and give me great critique!
A few weeks ago I got word that the three works I used for ArtXArchitects will be held over at the Sparrow Gallery for the Month of June! I will be a supporting artist for the solo show of a very talented photographer/artist Dianne Poinski (Portfolio and bio)
Take a look at that original post here for photos of the 3 works that will on display.
To see my works in person you can visit the gallery located at 2418 K Street, during their normal hours. I will probably be there for the second Saturday reception on June 13th.
Second Saturday: 11-3 and 6-9
Another developing story: I will be displaying at the Sparrow Gallery during 2016, in a significantly expanded show (hopefully 8-12 new works) I will provide an update on time and date as it becomes available.
Keep an eye on my blog and website over the next few weeks, I have a LOT of work that I will be posting from the last six months and a very special project I'm working on.
It can be hard to explain artistic process. Sometimes when I am out in public, I notice people watching me work. Many ask what I'm going to paint, and when I tell them I have no idea, they seem puzzled. This isn't me trying to be coy, a lot of times when I am sketching at a bar or restaurant, I have no idea what I want to paint. I am typically looking around for the right subject, or scene.. then I try to figure out how I will depict that as a painting. When I go back and review sketch books, or paintings I've completed over the last month or two, I am often surprised at the similarities I notice from one painting to the next. Sometimes, I find a particularly good color for shadows, or I find a couple of colors that really work together. Sometimes I get stuck on a subject (hot sauce, condiments, the Citizen Hotel), sometimes it is a compositional or stylistic similarity.
My sketch books represent my search for works, they act as a journal, or as a means for me to test out ideas. I have been revisiting some of them as I develop pieces for my show at Kitchen 428 and Mojo's Lounge in the month of May. I have two pieces in process and I have yet to start my third piece. I wanted to share some of the 'process' I use when painting in acrylic, so I've used my GoPro to take some timelapse video. I think it is very important to share process, the final manifestation of our efforts (physical artwork) is really just the tip of what we experience when creating a piece. I'd like to share a little more of what goes into my art with you. Please enjoy.
Here is the first and second layers of paint on my first piece for the show, it is entitled Makers II
The GoPro ran out of batteries before as I was working through my third session of the painting, however here is a photo of what it looks like right now. I'm not sure if it's done. I am going to take a look at it tomorrow and make a decision.
I also started the second painting last night, Here is a timelapse. The piece is named 'Vice II', it carries a pretty deep and personal meaning for me. I hope you like it.
Here is a photo after the first layer of paint.
One of our unique skills as a species is to record the environment around us via 'mark-making'. This can be through paint, ink, stick, charcoal, or any other number of media. this skillset is inherent in each and every person, from birth. It has been a part of humanity for countless years, since we were taking burned sticks and writing on the walls of our caves. More recently, as children we all drew pictures, we all scratched images into the dirt with sticks. At some point, we're told we 'aren't that artistic' or we just don't have that 'gift'; I believe this is a lie. Every one of us still possesses the ability to express ourselves visually, in a way that spoken words or writing cannot accommodate.
As a point of inquiry: How many of you draw/sketch/doodle on a regular basis?
I'd guess it is less than a quarter.
We all have it in us, it's natural. we've just been told/taught to suppress it.
This evening, while enjoying a weekly ritual with my cousin I decided to test my theory. I challenged her (she is such a good sport) to draw an object that was right in front of us; this time it happened to be a salt shaker.
Here are her results:
This exercise was completely unexpected for her. It just came to me as we sat, enjoying a pint or two. Her results are quite good, both sketches have their qualities. It is remarkable that given method and time differences, the subject remains recognizable and quite similar.
I also took a shot at the salt shaker:
In my opinion this just goes to show, we have an amazing capacity to express ourselves; my question is: why do we continue to limit ourselves to those methods that we feel most 'comfortable' with?
Get a pad of paper and a pen...draw everything you see, you may surprise yourself.
Chris Holt is an Architect and Artist. His art work centers around cityscapes, still life, and abstract work.