Skip to main content


New Year, New Work

 It's the end of week 1 of 2023, and this painting is an example of the new work I've been making since the summer of 2022. Six months ago, I was doing an "at-home residency" as I experimented with finding new material for my art practice. The result was that I went back to my many sketchbooks, which are full of gestural semi-abstract marks, mostly drawn from observing landscape or at least the external world. This canvas is combined from several drawings, supplemented by photos that I use for colour reference. It measures 5 feet x 4 feet, using alizarin crimson and white.
Recent posts

New Paintings

  Beginning in June, I went back to my sketchbooks in search for inspiration for a new path for my painting. I've always carried a sketchbook with me, particularly on my frequent travels (I still have a few pages from sketchbooks from the 1980s!). So the new paintings were derived from drawings that have one foot in something observed. Landscape, even. But my drawing style has always been very fluid and quick, consisting of lots of looping strokes of the crayon and overlaid colours. That's what I've tried to carry over into oil paintings: a sense of energetic movement as the eye looks around and the hand tracks what the eye sees. Here is one of the videos of work in progress that I've posted on my YouTube channel:

Monica Aissa Martinez: Nothing in Stasis

  Body Female - A Self Portrait, 2012 The Tucson Museum of Art is currently displaying works by Monica Aissa Martinez in an exhibition titled Nothing in Stasis. The description of the exhibition states Martinez uses line, shape, space, and color to represent the complex connections between body, mind, and spirit. She is drawn to the language of myth and symbol, feminine and masculine, emotion and logic, circle and line, horizontal (heavens and spirit) and vertical (earth and body), finding beauty in the systems and organization of living things. Which seems to cover every possible way of making art. The things that are most immediately applicable from the museum-speak are the technical means of making the pieces - huge banners of paper covered with intricate spiraling and crossing lines, and washes of pigment - and the systems of living things. The central figure in each piece echoes the anatomical cross-sections of medical textbooks. But the internal structures are overlaid with patte

Six of the Best 46: Printmaker Saeedeh Golriz

  Empty Dreams, etching, aquatint, softground, experimental technique, 15 cm x 10 cm, 2018 Part 46 of an interview series in which artists reply to the same six questions. Saeedeh Golriz is an Iranian printmaker, living in Iran. She mentions that she once wanted to be a chef --- appropriate to the art of printmaking, which is a similar process of combining different elements in often long recipes to produce the finished piece. Both are a form of alchemy, and as you can see by Saeedeh's work, she is an expert printmaking alchemist who makes haunting and accomplished prints. You can see more of her work here . PH: What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why? SG : Printmaking, more specifically etching and aquatint, I enjoy the creative parts of it, both when I am in control of the process and also the unexpected surprises that come along the way. I can plan the whole design, but there will be unpredicted elements to it, which is perfect for my taste. PH: What piece are you current

Six of the Best 45: Stella Untalan

  Allsorts , marker, ink, flashe on 6-inch-square birch panels Part 45 of an interview series in which artists reply to the same six questions. Stella Untalan, an artist from Philadelphia, is someone who epitomizes the possibilities of abstract art: rigorous formal repetitions of elements, the grid as a basis for the exploration of two-dimensional space, and the beauty of color , line, and texture. You can see more of her work here . Philip Hartigan : What medium do you chiefly use, and why? Stella Untalan : Paper is my favorite surface. It is sexy in every way. The surface responds to everything you offer it  — at each touch it reacts and I react back. My work for the past few years falls into two categories: Small works on paper, and drawings on painted panels or MDF. I’m currently using various graffiti-based markers by POSCA, Montana, and Krink. I mix some custom colors for the refillable Montana markers. The work is on paper, museum quality board, or synthetic papers like Yupo. Wo

At-Home Residency

My wife, Patty, left Tucson for the Midwest in May to spend the whole month directing and teaching at writing retreats in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. Seeing as I was alone at home for all that time, I decided to use the four weeks as an at-home artist's residency. A real residency, of course, means you go to a location where you are given the use of a studio for a period of time to spend almost all of your time working. The advantage of such a retreat is that you leave the routines of your daily life behind and concentrate on making your art. The at-home residency, while I still had to do some freelance work and do the shopping and chores each week, is an opportunity to tune in to the same state of mind, if not from the same state of semi-isolation. My goal was to see if I could find a new path forward from the Crow and Hands series I've worked on for the past three years. The image at the head of this blog post is one of the first results: using the same imagery and mar

Barcelona: Then and Now

  During my recent trip to Barcelona in Spain, I took the opportunity to revisit some places associated with the year that I lived there (1993 to 1994). Back then, I did a postgraduate degree in painting there, through a UK art school that ran a satellite "study abroad" program in the 1990s. The school rented two buildings for the twenty or so artists: one in the heart of the Gothic Quarter, steps away from the Museo Picasso; and one in Poble Nou, a working class district on the eastern edge of the city. The first photo above shows me in 2022 in front of the building in the Barra De Ferro, a narrow side street between Carrer de la Princesa and Carrer Montcada in the Gothic Quarter. The building accommodated an office for the course leader, a printmaking studio with press for the printmakers, and small partitioned studio spaces for artists. In common with most of the buildings in these narrow medieval streets, it was constructed with thick stone walls, a heavy wooden door, and