Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
what's new: Looking Back 5"x7" oil
Friday, November 20, 2009
The ones I love at the end of the day I create them are often looking terrible when I come into work the next morning. What changes?
Monday, November 9, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
This piece was inspired by a trip to Western NC last Thanksgiving week. It was cold and rainy and cabin fever set in. We decided to take a ride on some back roads. I took some photos and thought this scene looked like a good atmospheric painting. I did one a few weeks later but it was muddy in color and not very interesting. The photos I used for reference sat around for until recently when I took another try. I feel like I got what I was after with this one. For me this scene just says wet.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Our new Orange County Medical Examiners building is currently being completed. It replaces the cramped and obsolete facility near my downtown neighborhood. Artwork was budgeted for the building and an artist was chosen from 150 that applied for the commission. More background on this is in my most previous post.
Since last week the art expenditure was omitted from the budget in hopes that donated art or loaned art could be found. One commissioner termed the money set aside to be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I find that insulting since as a gallery represented painter, I don't consider what I create "waste". And I doubt the chosen artist feels that way either. I wanted to know why, if an artist or collector is asked to donate for the building, why isn't the carpet contractor or the landscaper.
This has really struck a nerve with me since throughout my career I have listened to the argument that donating work for publicity or public exposure will bring later sales. I donate if it's a cause I believe in or it is for someone who needs the benefits of that art worse than I.
It's time professional artists are treated with the same regard as any other professional when it comes to compensation. Sometimes you have to say "show me the money".
Monday, September 21, 2009
Dear Mayor Crotty and Commissioners:
My name is Stephen Bach and I am a free lance artist working from the McRae Art Studios in Winter Park. I have been a resident of Orange Co for 50 years this month.
I am writing in regard to the art acquisition budget for the Orange County Medical Examiners Building. I am asking that the money be retained for the project as planned and the county not pursue loaned, donated or student work.
As an artist, we are asked to donate work and time to numerous charities every year. Winter Park Library, Maitland Art Center, Cancer fundraising, school benefits, we contribute frequently though tax code allows no deductions for those donations. While it is satisfying to give back we also have to sell our work to survive. My monthly income is solely based on what I have sold. No one else pays my health insurance, my studio costs or travel bills
The discussion of funding for the Medical Examiners building was brought up at the Sept 15th County Commission meeting where it was suggested by Commissioners Fernandez and Boyd that the money could be better spent in the taxpayers name by reverting to general funds. It was further suggested that the possibility of donated or loaned work be looked into or young emerging artists work be featured. County figures say the building is nearly 1.5 million dollars under budget and the expenditure is 1/3rd of 1% total funding.
When this art project was put out for competition, the notice was clear that this was a sensitive assignment and in reading the letter sent to the applying artists, the goal was to secure artwork to fit a public structure that “will embrace grieving families in a calming and soothing atmosphere as they come to deal with the passing of a family member”.
Based on this description, I would suggest this is not a job that can allow found art that can be adapted. In fact my opinion is if there was only one job that public art should be specifically commissioned, this would be it.
I am not complaining that an out of state artist won the contract for the project. I am saying it is inappropriate first to withdraw the award and secondly, a fool’s task to look for a cheap way of fulfilling the goals of a sensitive project such as this. I also think it made a disappointing statement on the perceived value of those in this community, your constituents, who work in the art profession. If there was a need to save $55,000, perhaps that amount could have been cut from the overall building budget when the job was put out to bid. For the artist to bear the whole cut or a huge percentage of the money seems unfair especially in light of the job being so far under budget.
I hope the Commission will take these points to heart and leave in place the funding for art acquisition - to this project and future ones. I also look forward to clarification and release of information regarding county ordinance as it pertains to funding for public art.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I flew to NY to look at the space in its raw form, with only the structural components in place. The street entry faces south at the north end of Times Square at 46th St. You entered a cafe at street level then funneled to an escalator that took you past an open mezzanine where a bar was being constructed. The ride ended when you stepped off at the main dining lobby on the third level. The wall to the right of the escalator was where the mural would be located - first floor to (gulp) third level ceiling. A couple of problems presented themselves. How do you paint above an escalator and how do you design a cohesive mural that will only be partially seen from different floors. There were 6 or 7 subordinate paintings to be completed, so remembering wisdom for me is a gradual gift, I left this big one with the greatest challenges, for last.
When the day came to start the big painting, I placed a serrated pattern I had made on the wall. This was made of several smaller segments drawn back at my Orlando studio that were taped together and placed on the wall. Then I pounced a chalk bag over it to leave the drawing on the plaster.
A narrow escalator doesn’t lend itself to staging scaffolding or even standing up a ladder. The carpenters took pity on me and built a box that fit over the steps and that gave me a small platform to work from. About 8 days later the painting was finished.
The Times Square job was the most challenging and rewarding of all my mural assignments. The project took ten or eleven weeks total with s evenweeks on site. Being there was fun but it was like living on the Strip in Vegas. On weekends home, it felt good to sit outside in bare feet, and listen to the birds sing.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Because of several looming deadlines, I missed about a week of posting for this space so there is a little catching up to do.
Last Friday noon, after a week of finishing up numerous paintings, I headed north in the van with a load of artwork from myself and three other artists at Mc Rae http://www.mcraeartstudios.com/ First stop was Bennett Gallery in Knoxville TN. http://www.bennettgalleries.com/ I was unloaded and checked in with Ginger by noon Sat. At 5pm I pulled up to Miller Gallery in Cincinnati and left work with Katherine and Rosemary for a show I'm participating in beginning May 6th. http://www.millergallery.com/ Then back to Bennett by Sunday morning to pick up a few pieces of mixed media work that was being returned to an artist in Gainesville FL. Sunday night at midnight, I pulled up to my house in downtown Orlando. 1,800 miles in 60 hours.
While in Cincinnati I took a little personal time to track down my old house. This was the one I lived in at the time of my birth. I haven’t lived in Cincinnati since I was 7 years old but it still holds an attraction for me after all this time. The house is in a section of town called Norwood. It was largely settled by Appalachian migrants who came to work in the factories. My grandparents were part of that migration in the early 1930s. I have happy memories of the house at 2316 Madison Avenue even though those memories are vague.
I was taking a photo of the front of the house when the owners pulled into the driveway and greeted me. I told them I was a past resident and just wanted to reflect on those years when me and my tricycle owned the sidewalk out front. We chatted awhile and they asked if I would like my picture made in front of the house. I remembered a photo somewhere of me on the front steps with my mother. It was taken when I was three years old. I asked if I could have the picture taken there on those steps.
When I got home I found that old photo. I was reminded that though I could reach down and touch those very same old steps by simply moving my hand, so much was forever unreachable. Maybe you can't go home again. But you can carry the memories.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This week has been a trying time for painting inspiration. I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I am working on five or six paintings simultaneously since one at a time usually puts me into a creative ditch. I get stuck, or worse, I start thinking I have just created the best painting of my life in a mere two hours only to come back the next morning having to wipe it with a turpentine rag and set it on fire. Falling in love with your brand new quickie creation is to painting what going home with the girl from the bar after nickel beer night - is to drinking. That painting may be a nine or ten at quitting time but in the morning it could be a number one. At any rate, I find it better to suffer interminably over multiple pieces at once. There is less guilt about doing something I love.
But here is the darndest thing. Somehow my mind seems to subconsciously time work to finish just as scheduled deadlines arrive. I usually zone out and become mediocre and unproductive in the week or two preceding the exact day that only a herculean push can be executed to turn in a respectable showing. I guess this is to protect the body mind and spirit from total meltdown. You can’t be anxious and industrious continually. The body isn’t capable. I also can’t look too closely at approaching deadlines on a calendar anymore. I have learned to regard this as heart-healthy, allowing me more red meat at dinner.
I marvel at this innate sense we have of knowing when the afterburners must be lit. In my case, not just because I know when to get serious, but that work gets better and flows more easily. It comes together because it has to. Still, I would love to just once take two or three days off before delivering new work to a show. Maybe down deep, I know I couldn’t handle the guilt.
New work pictured above: Pastel Sky, 12"x16", o/c