Robert Stanley

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More work on "Scanner," adding some glazes and first opacities to eggs and branch. Like the branch's rich color metaphors; hate the eggs's lousy plate distortion and complementary-yet-blah color.

I did do some sketching, and like the angles and spirit of light falling through a curtained window into a grey room. I saw it at my daughter's house, and had a moment of peace while grandkids were getting a bath from their grandma. As I suspected, drawing was a purifying experience.

Also did a piece for the Laporte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, called "Deer Magic Information." I combined a shot of a deer and a drawing. I wanted to speak the vernacular without blabbing like an idiot. Maybe I did.

Now that the holidays and the three articles I had to write in December and early January are behind me, there should be more time to work on art.

Deer Magic Information Archival Ink Computer Print

Light in Darkened Room pencil 12 x 9 in.
Plate and eggs on Scanner are in their nth revision. Should the eggs look so lonely? Started glazing on Some Chaos. Impastoed oils scrapped back in parts to this yellow-orange should add a dimension both esthetically and in terms of meaning. Did a 10x14 in. pastel, Lemon, Orange, and Apple, in an open studio near my studio. Not much thinking; just doing. It might mean something, but I have to look at it for a while. It has the "suspension" of some of my work, but the gesture-energy is now in the objects rather than in the ground. Is there something else I'm trying to tell myself? The next open studio, I think I'll use this pastel as a starting point and see where it takes me.
Lemon Orange Apple pastel 10x14 in.
Finished Scanner, which is good, since I didn't get to the open studio to work on seeing what comes of the still life pastel. (I am getting rather interested in mindlessly imporvising on that still life, to see what might come up. In my mind, I'm putting a dangerous-looking cat in the lemon's position, removing the orange, and seeing what pops up in the apple position. The scribble-strokes are also attracting me.) Anyhow, Scanner got more painting on the stick, a fixing of the eggs (more naturlistic while also painterly) and a color blow back from the ground. I am interested in what the folks at the crit say, especially about the eggs, which seem strange. This strange aloneness might be okay. Anyhow, it's committed.
Scanner acrylic 36x48 in.
Started a new piece, Various Aspects. (I'm not sure that it is a good idea to name the pieces right after I start them, but it is one way of keeping track of their development. I don't think the process is radically different from the old way of naming them after I'd finished them. In both cases of naming, I look at the piece and see what it suggests, then toy with the "poetry" of the title. Various Aspects has the same banana slice in three different rotations, each with an apparently different emotion. These came from my sketchbook, and "emerged" after I'd decided to do a square piece with a part of a previous study that suggested an horizon and a brushstroke/swash of sky above it. I do not know why all these things fit together.

In an open studio, I used the pastel, Lemon, Orange, and Apple as a starting point. I thought I'd use the expressionist strokes, but I soon felt like erasing these, mushing a background and then adding two objects: the menacing cat mentioned above and a piece of luggage I'd sketched while waiting in an airport. I do not know why these fit together. Towards the end I gestured in a rectangle, but soon scumbled that, too, leaving just a hint of the warm energy that counterpoints the dark imagery.
Black Cat oil 10x14 in.
It's been so hectic living life and going to openings and jurying, that not a lot of work has been done. Work on right is
Man, World, Image

The banana slices painting sits on one easel and Man, World, Image on the other, both in early stages. Did another small oil study based on the still life, this one a Drip, Orange, Apple, although the real interest was the high-placed shadows.

Drip, Orange, Apple oil 10x14 in.
Worked on computer print, Primavera. Switched Boticelli-faced girl up, shell down (to where one can speculate whether it's about Boticelli or some more sensual reference). The "spied" couple were moved to the more hidden upper left, with the woman's hair changed to the color of the girl. "Venus" got moved to the upper right, and a pic of animal tracks was inserted as ground. Need to get some of my drawing in to clarify and make richer/mysterious.

2/14 (no pics)
Worked on Primavera some more, to get the grid to glow, dissolve, and be there just right. Also got all of Man, World, Image painted. Grey/blue/violet/green modulations of ground set off the blurred red-sweatered observer, view from space, and black color field rectangle. Blacks in observer and space view tie together. Many re-do's of face, to get opposites (clear-vague, happy-querlous) to work. Feels at least good. May be finished. Will see next time I go to studio.

Primavera computer print 10x13 in.


Touched up a few areas of Man, World, Image, getting the blur to be just the right amount, and taking out a few hues that didn't work in the ground. I like the serious yet amused look on the face. Got the Buddha belly, might as well have the Buddha spirit!
Sorting through folder of studies and other inspirations. One of the studies I'd sketched out at 18x24. Chairs upper left, nude woman center right, "leaning" in chairs' direction. May work on this. Also excited by some of the fragmented, pieced-together photos of planets. Some are even more interesting than the one I used in Man, World, Image, having strange blanks and weird piecings. There are precursor quakes going on in my painting volcano.
Man, World, Image
acrylic 24x30 in.
Click on the image to see the 10 stages of its development 2/28
Did a 9x13 study called Three Horizons. Done the usual way, picking an image, adding other images, putting them together in spatial/compositional/color/technique ways that express something personal. The objects were: a shot of a moon with some info dropped out, followed by a sketch of a woman that I reversed to get the right feeling, and some dead flowers in a vase that I first changed to a cut stem, then to a vibrant flower. Shot 10 pics of this study as I developed it.

Moved Various Aspects along, but it went in somewhat surprising directions. What was to be a warrn underglaze for an eventual cooler ground looked like a good idea when I cleaned a palette and salvaged a piece of orange that I saw as a landscape form. Still have to put brilliant, small moon in the blue stroke, check to see if the "landscape" needs more work, and paint the banana slice/faces.
Three Horizons
acrylic & gouache 9x13 in.
Various Aspects
Stage 3 acrylic 24x24 in.
Three more things underway, one drawing finished. More subterranean rumblings. The drawing was done realistically, but highly selectively; contrasts of shape, spaces, and volumes.

Two Boxes Three Fruit charcoal 24x18" Study pastel 18x24"

Two of the three studies I'm fairly certain of continuing as paintings: Chairs and Woman, and Skyscape.

Chairs and Woman Skyscape is a companion piece to Landscape, with the same expression of reality's opacity. The reality this time is sky; and I decided to develop this piece because I saw an artist friend's painting of sky, and thought I'd try it, in my way.

3/15 Vacation!
Was looking for a computer print to go with two paintings to enter an art competition. Saw similarities of shape and composition in Yellow Tape Man, but the color field was too subtle a gray. In working on this, several other areas also got radical color changes. I call the piece Man and Dances, because the guy seems to be staring-thinking, while things real and unreal dance around him.

Lying in bed, thinking about what I might do for the Area Artists exhibit at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, there came to mind making a "tall" piece based on the "Three Horizons" study I did at he end of Feb. Have made the canvas, and created a study for this piece, adding a color change and a bit more subtlety to the ground, and substituting the earth for the moon at the bottom.
Man and Dances, computer print, 12 x 12 in.
Study: Three Horizons ver. 2
Three Horizons changed under the brush. Not knowing what color or value I wanted the ground to be, I laid out all my colors, and started painting. It turned out to be much more lively in color, value, and technique than the original study. This has changed my idea about the figure and earth. I now don't know if the figure will have the original "philosopher's" look, the more "used by life" look of the figure in the pastel of 3/7, or the expectant look of the model's face of 3/23.
Also started a new computer piece, jumping up after listening to about 30 minutes of Jason Moran's "Same Mother" because that group was blowing about chaos and rhythm in a way that inspired me, a kind of layering. Took about 7 of previious works, and went about layering them for several hours. Still unsettled.
face for Three Horizons Life Jazz start
Three Horizons, early stage, acrylic, 70 by 14 in.
To shake things up, I started Chairs and Woman (cf. 3/7) with a yellow-green, glazed blue-green, then burnt siena, then ultra and cerulean. The idea came from the acid-colored chairs in Man and Dances (3/17). Doing some lifting out also. A few interesting areas. This woman I will leave in a sitting pose, without any support. Chairs might be "royal" maroon.
Sketch from coffee house:

Godlike, I added a moon to Various Aspects (1/31). Then I added depth to the landscape/paint scrap. Then I ghosted a landscape behind the first (a sun/moon reference). When I saw that it was good, I put on the first coat of the final varnish, and will wait to see if it is good.
Added several more glazes to Woman and Chairs. The ground had been interesting, but only occasionally rich. Layering some pthalo and hansa has helped, but there seems to be a way to go, perhaps a few more intermixed glazes.

Various Aspects (acrylic, 24 x24 in.) is finished. I think I need to look to it, to see why I like it more than the other four pieces I'm working on. My lack of excitement over the others might be just a temporary, physiological state, or it could be something sinisterly aesthetic.

Also worked on Life Jazz The main wrestles were to find the right images, to get the drawing and images to separate from and yet be part of the main field in the most appropriate w ay, and to make a meaningful composition. Not sure if any of these works out really well. May try to vary size of the images, since I think the piece looks a bit too much like a collage. There's SOMETHING about the unity of the thing that bothers me.

| Life Jazz
Various Aspects
acrylic, 24 x 24 in.
Meditated, unexpectedly, on a rock. Picked up on the shore, it had the stratification of eons I like. When I got home, I rubbed one side against my skin, to intensify the colors/stratification. As I turned it round and round, I realized I was projecting; stratification, my perceptions, my beliefs are not so clear. The intrusions came into the rock in a very un-lovely way. There was a hole, caused by an exploding bubble or a boring creature. I realized that I needed to back off from understanding things too much.

Later, at the studio, my rock meditation came in handy. I was about to repaint the nude in Woman and Chairs for the third time. (The ground had taken about 12 glazings, the chairs had just the right emotional and visual presence.) The woman just wouldn't come. Gazing at the chairs, gazing off into space--nothing looked right. Also, the flesh tones and shading were lifeless. I was going through my sketch books for other figure drawings I had made, when I decided to look in an instructional figure book I had. None of the poses looked good there either, when suddenly it all came together: Botticelli! The author had done a rendering of a Botticelli face, and it was so right in terms of naivete/understanding, sensuality/spirituality, that I went to my painting and just started making a similar face. Of course, the light direction was completely different, but I had already decided to change that. The face led to the rest of the figure, even to the re-placement of an arm, a shoulder, two breasts, and a thigh. Like a novelist whose character "writes itself," I had worked so hard on this figure that I knew her well enough that once her "motivation" became clear, she "painted herself."

Removed hanging wires and returned artworks to their stacks from the Spring Show. Although I had some sensitive comments about the work, none were wanted. I feel as I have, when, having reomoved makeup after the last performance, I walked onto the set for the last time. No, actually I feel angry also.
I framed a piece for the Regional 2005 exhibit at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.
I am going to draw a cookie plate.

Woman and Chairs, acrylic on canvas paper on board, 16.5 x 20.5 in.
Finished Life Jazz (4/12). Various subtleties now click.


A drawing

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Life Jazz, computer print 10x13 in.