28 February 2009

Lost in Translation

I am accompanying the maestro to Japan, where he will be attending the Tokyo Performing Arts Market this week.
I just love this brochure designed to present Erling's work to the Japanese. "Libertine" is here translated as "freethinker."

10 February 2009

Joy Prevails Over Apathy

Every year some team of experts decides what the "color of the year" is going to be, and for 2009, it's a certain color of yellow. I had already been working on this panel of chinoiserie using a bright Imperial Yellow field when I heard this "news."
Interesting how these "fashions" in wallpaper, trends in paint, styles and colors, come and go, and come back again. The myth here is that anything is ever really all that new.

My painting above has a trompe l'oeil illusion, of brightly colored chinoiserie paper being torn up from its predecessor, the monochromatic neoclassical stencil pattern. Don't get me wrong, I love neoclassical design, but these days I feel a need for color. I find myself attracted not to just one color, but the combination of them, and I come back to this bright yellow every so often because it makes me happy. I felt, every moment I worked on this painting, basking in yellow, the sensation of pure joy!

So to me this painting is about the triumph of joy. The joy of color dominating the innocuous, monochromatic style; the joy of vision over nostalgia; of radiating rather than retreating.

Arts and Crafts Flowering Frieze

Some months ago I completed work in this unique project for the Malibu home of the illustrious Ms. Barbra Streisand. The design of the library was inspired by the "Ultimate Bungalows" built by notable Arts and Crafts architects, Greene and Greene.
I was commissioned to paint a frieze for the new library, recreated after the famous Thorsen House in Berkeley, California.

original Thorsen House rose branch frieze, painted by Charles Greene
The rose branches were originally painted by Charles Greene in 1910, on sailcloth, in a somewhat oriental style. These have, over time, discolored from smoke and aging varnish.

Ms. Streisand endeavored to include historically accurate detail in creating this room, and the library has much of the same style of joinery that make up the signature Greene and Greene woodwork. I custom-painted the Thorsen-style frieze using the same style and materials as the original,, and meticulously trimmed the the canvas panels to fit into these mouldings. Some additional painting was done on site to finesse the composition.

The addition of the floral border in the room strikes just the right balance. It's hard to describe, but the effect is stunning.

* While I was allowed to photograph my work, I was asked not to show pictures of this spectacular room itself, as it is to be published in a book the Ms. Streisand is writing.

The Thorsen House is owned and maintained by the fraternity Sigma Phi, whose members take the best possible care of their home and give spontaneous tours whenever asked. They are trying to raise the estimated $10 million needed to restore this landmark.
Please visit their website and make a donation!
frieze is in the glossary!