Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reading? Reading??

I think I'm supposed to be reading.

I am waiting. Waiting. You'd think I have dedicated myself entirely to the task, to waiting on next weekend when I can read my manuscript.

Hmm-mmm, no. I think I'm supposed to be reading other novels, various things. I can't bring myself to do it. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I still can't shake LPT out of my head. And I don't want to, really, because I love the characters and the story so much I really do want to sit around and think of it all day.

I completed the first draft of LPT on March 13... I will be reading the manuscript next Saturday, April 10 so that's roughly a month. Not a lot of time, exactly, but I knew I wasn't willing to wait too long before I went back to work. (Really, I can't wait any longer.) So if there's not that much separation in literal time, should I be more detached psychologically? I think maybe. But then again, I don't know. And I'm not necessarily looking for the best answer, either.

There exists, in my apartment, a stack of soon-to-be-read art magazines that I will most likely entertain. But... Should I read other novels?

Perhaps it would be good for me to read other stories and detach. Making too big of a deal about this, maybe.

Desoto Strut II

Join us in Starland on Saturday night, 5-10 for the second Desoto Strut. There will be exhibit openings, live screen printing, music, open studios, etc. No excuses.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Happy 25th Birthday!

The most important thing I did at the age of 24 was write my second novel. LPT. I wrote a novel about a painter. Still, I am in awe over the topic. There's simply nothing more I love than writing novels and learning about art... The two together leave little to be desired.

Age 25 means time to revise.

But I still need to let it rest. I was going to read the manuscript this weekend (too soon? I can't stand it, I can't wait) but with an influx of friends to town, I'll have to postpone. Next weekend, same story. So-oo... mid April? God, that seems like so long...

There have been no blog updates because my mind is on repeat. I can't wait to read my own novel, that's all I can think.

The deadline was met. The word.doc awaits.... Everything is going according to plan.

I did have a great birthday. The E's and I--Elizabeth, Emily, Erin and I gathered in my loft for a surprise bottle of birthday bubbly (thank you Michael!) before dinner at Garibaldi.

Emily, me, Erin & Elizabeth
Elizabeth saw this and asked, "What were we double fisting?"
"Um, Honey and Yellow Label..."
And Erin says, "Honey + Veuve = bad, bad news..."

Apparently these guys sang me Happy Birthday at the table. I don't remember this, per se, but they're some group in town for the Savannah Music Festival.

And, again.

"Blurry," pretty much sums up our experience at Bacchus. Note the switch to Blue Moon.

Congress, on the way to my loft/Mercury/the boys.

Birthday surprise from my neighbor. Plan on sharing that this weekend!

Thanks to my friends for making this night so great! This was so much fun. And I haven't even mentioned the cupcakes! My best friend and my mom made cupcakes. I literally received three dozen cupcakes on my birthday--chocolate with vanilla frosting (a la Liz) and lemon poppy seed with lemon icing + chocolate with peanut butter filling and chocolate mousse frosting from Mom. Delicious. It should really be my birthday more often.

Or maybe, for each complete draft of LPT that I render, we should celebrate this way. Dozens of cupcakes included.

*Thank you EMILY PIKE for taking pictures. Xo.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What to do?

I don't know what to do, I'm at a loss.

Whenever someone suggests doing something, or asks if I have plans, I say "yes" or "no" and then "but I have to work on my novel." My mind goes immediately to the task-- the novel. The first draft. But now I'm finished. I have to wait.

I don't want to wait. It hasn't been 24 hours and already I miss LPT terribly. There is this entire list of books, novels, on art and artists that I've composed. I've wanted to see where my own work fits in. Probably, I could begin reading novels from this list, but the only novel I want to read is my own. I whined and wished to read and do other things while I was writing, but now that the first draft is finished... I want... to write it again.

God, I don't know what to do.

I suppose I'll straighten my hair for Emily's party tonight... Now that I have an extra 55 or so minutes for the task... Uhhhh

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Draft 1 is Finished

When I woke up today, I thought, I'm going to finish the first draft of my novel.

Fuck, yes.

348 pages / 75,198 words. Draft 1 of LPT is complete.

Wait, What I Love Most Is Writing

I can't wait to wait a week. I can't wait to print it. I can't wait to put it in a pendaflex folder and wait a little while (a very little while, I can't wait) and take it out. I can't wait to tape it to the wall, mull it over, slice and arrow and scribble every which way in the margins. I can't wait to make this manuscript fucking perfect.

But I can wait to complete the first draft. Shifty copy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Inside the Painter's Studio" by Joe Fig

If only I had more time for original research. If only. Hanging around in the studio while an artist works is something I absolutely love. It's so intimate and intrusive. No matter who I visit, I know, I'm most likely getting in their way. Naturally curious, I ask lots of questions. If you've ever had a casual conversation with me, you might notice the word I repeat most is "Why?" Because I like explanations, I like to hear it in your words. I want quotes and when you're around me, do know, anything you say or do is subject to my note taking and this unstoppable passion.

A couple of Sundays ago, I stumbled upon this book, Inside the Painter's Studio by Joe Fig. The book is a compilation of 24 artist interviews and detailed photographs of their studios. Originally intended to serve as research material for Fig's personal artwork, the author realized the information for the gem it is and transformed it into a book.

It's just the sort of thing I've been looking for. With interviews of such artists as Chuck Close, Eric Fischl and Joan Snyder, among others, Inside the Painter's Studio portrays artists that are already in art history texts or on the brink of the renown.

Preceding the interviews, Fig published his template of questions that he asked each artist. Some of the questions include:
- When did you consider yourself a professional artist, and when were you able to dedicate yourself full-time to that pursuit?
-Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?
-Please describe a typical day, being as specific as possible. For example: What time do you get up? When do you come to the studio? Do you have specific clothing you change into?
-What advice would you give a young artist that is just starting out?

I will absolutely be stealing some of these questions--they're so very good. A lot of this is the sort of stuff I bother artists with already. But... I mean... I don't know what it is these people do with their paints and their little jars of fumes and liquids.

I find myself imaging answers for Cameron. I think I'll take the template of questions and answer them all in her voice as an exercise in character development. Although, at this point in the game, I know her fairly well--how long she's been in that studio, the situation of her painting table, that she works off of a slab of glass for her palate and will paint in whatever she happens to be wearing, be it pajamas or the rare cocktail dress.

My one complaint is that Fig offers no insight or specific example of the artwork. While it's great to have a book solely focused on the painter's studio, I'd like some general context on the actual paintings. However, I am surprised to read about how many artists do not use, or have just started using, an easel. Who prefers to mix their paints in kitchen mixing bowls and who likes a disposable cup or paper plate as a palate. The central focus is really the painting table which, I'll admit, I am usually most taken with when visiting a studio. The best part about this book is that it gives me the chance to snoop around in the studios of famous painters during dull moments in the Garibaldi dining room.

It's True

I was standing downstairs in the dining room at work, talking to Emily. "You should have called me," I said, "I was up until 2 a.m. writing."
"On your novel?" She asked.
"No. On something about the mural."
"I don't know how you can stay up until two a.m. just writing. I'd have to be drunk or... I don't know, I'd fall asleep."
"Writing is the love of my life," I said, and it's true.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meddin Mural

Tucked away on Savannah's west side, down Louisville Road, is Meddin Studios, a former slaughter house turned digital media production atelier. The brick and cinderblock building is pretty basic, nondescript. Unless you're focused on the western facade, marked now with the large scale art of Hebermehl and DrZ.

In case you don't know, artists Matt Hebermehl and "DrZ" James Zdaniewski are a pair of former SCADies who often collaborate on large scale works. Locally recognized for their on-street projections (animations which they spontaneously depict on the sides of Savannah buildings), these two have put on exhibits together, ventured to the Art Basel fair in Miami and often join forces with the other young and happening artists in Savannah. Though Zdaniewski relocated to Charlotte, NC, Hebermehl keeps a studio on Desoto Row, in Starland.

They work close together. Each artists' style is distinct but complimentary; Hebermehl's art is often pattern-influenced and organically drawn, focused on shapes, line and color. Zdaniewski, art director of Whack Media Design, takes a more graphic approach to his work. Their design for the mural is easily broken down: Zdaniewski drew up the clusters of steer head while Hebermehl, drawing upon his looping patterns, designed the "SAV" at the center of the mural. They sketched separately. Hebermehl took Zdaniewski's design and photoshopped a couple of options until they were satisfied with the image.

Though they've assisted famed artist David Ellis on other murals (in Savannah, in Miami), the Meddin Wall is the first official DrZ/Hebermehl collaborative mural. It took them three long days to do it, working 10+ hours each day on the last weekend in February.

On Sunday, February 28, I had the chance to stop by and write while the boys painted. Wind whipped around on the cool, sun-struck lot. The day was pretty and crisp, perfect for painting. I sat on the gravel lawn while Zdaniewski balanced on scaffolding and Hebermehl danced on ground, wielding his paint brush back and forth, face close to the wall. He sang one lyric ahead of whatever music played from a stereo nearby.

For a pair of artists who seem to have so much in common, they executed their designs in a completely different fashion. Zdaniewski rapidly blocked the image, sweeping a section of outlines before moving back to compare the mural with his study. "I'm use to work being vectorized and perfect," he said, stepping back several feet from the wall. Hebermehl, on the other hand, was right up on the mural, concentrating on brushstrokes, his visual reference tucked away in his sketchbook, out of reach.

Mostly, they were reticent. When they spoke, it was playful and encouraging banter. "Well, that looks a lot better," Hebermehl said, finally leaning back against the chain link fence that outlined the lawn, several feet away from the wall. It was mid afternoon on the second day.
Zdaniewski continued painting.
"Lookin' good buddy."
Zdaniewski nodded. "Gettin' there."
"Tight," said Hebermehl.
Zdaniewski painted, Hebermehl watched. They decided not to rush, to extend their work one more day. Hebermehl glanced at me from his post at the fence. He said, "It's a big boy mural," and resumed his brush.

Such a nice and inspiring circumstance, to be out-of-doors observing while these artists carried on. What happens in a studio can be so intimate. It's often important that artists shut out others, shut out themselves and the world while they work. But the requirements of a mural are different--it's larger than the artists themselves and by scale, also physical, the necessity to climb the wall, up and down, all over... The action attracts attention. Hebermehl and Zdaniewski seemed encouraged by the attention of onlookers. I certainly wasn't the only one who hung out while they worked, though I suspect I was the only nerd there with a notebook. I spent about an hour with them, taking copious notes and interrupting with questions.

I won't show you the finished piece. You'll have to venture down Louisville Road and find it. 2233 Louisville Road in Savannah, GA.