Go Down, Izzup, and Lead Your Children

12″ x 16″

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(aka: “Six-Fingered Goose Plucker”, aka: “The Pecos Butcher”)

Voice of the painter provides an oblique angle, not some authority, spurious and unhelpful as any other perhaps more so, when it comes to enjoying an image.

Maybe like voice of a cook might make you more attuned to the tastes in the soup. But doesn’t make the soup taste any better to hear how it was cooked. Or what the turnips represent. Or how the soup relates to current discourses on soup.

Barnett Newman said something like “Aesthetics is to artists as ornithology is to birds.” But the desire to create a diptych experience – drawings in the margins of notes, or notes in the margins of drawings – I can see the point in that.

Robins

6″ x 8″

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Robins have been gathering in our yard, dozens at a time, freaked by the ice, picking around frantic for food (not unlike everybody emptying the shelves at Kroger). At the top and side of this painting, I was going for the in-between light that works so well in the snow; the twilight that presses lavender in for shadows.

The idiomatic French phrase “entre chien et loup” captures it – when the light is such that you can’t tell a dog from a wolf – when the senses flicker and fail and things get unsettling.

Ice Zebra

11″ x 14″

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Our yard zebra in ice, after sitting in hot gravel for years. My father is allergic to horses and, by extension, zebras. We decided next time someone asks him if he has any allergies, he’s just going to say: Zebras.

President’s Day

9″ x 12″
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It’s President’s Day, so I made a little drawing of the Constitutional Convention. That was a long time ago, so I did everyone as ghosts, which they all surely are.

Taconic

11″ x 14″
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From a ride up the Taconic Parkway, New York City to the Hudson area to see our friends Deb and Karl, and also Elwood, if that’s his real name.

Tugboat

11″ x 14″

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At first I saw this painting as a picture of a sinking tugboat in an oval frame hanging on a wall. But then started to wonder if I’m not looking through a porthole at the doomed vessel. I hope whatever sunk that boat doesn’t sink the boat I’m in. Or maybe my boat is a gunboat that sank that boat.

Tiger

11″ x 14″
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I just opened my paints and things in my new studio and decided to do some paintings of some of the objects, like this little plastic tiger, I can’t seem to throw out, no matter how many yard sales I have. Boxes of this kind of thing. Maybe I’ll paint them, then immediately give them away.

Vivian, age 1

11″ x 14″

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This has the feel of “the cowboy” from one of those How to Draw People books.

Cutters

11″ x 14″
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More cutters from the NYPL photo archive.

I am running a studio sale for a few weeks, selling drawings and paintings from the Work-a-Day page on my new Saterstrom Studio site, and from now until Wednesday, I’m taking 30% off the listed price of all pieces included in the sale. If you have a wall, or know someone with walls, have a look and let me know if anything grabs you!

www.saterstromstudio.com/holiday2014

The Poet’s Novel

Poet Laynie Browne just gave a talk at the Poet’s House in NYC on the subject of “The Poet’s Novel” and asked me to make some images to illustrate her lecture. This is a excerpts of the twenty-something images I made for it. A little unhinged perhaps, but one can dream. Must, rather, dream. I’m sure it made for a curious Powerpoint presentation.

CDV_11.18.14_02

7″ x 10″

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This one has several cartes de visites painted on top of one another. The props and backgrounds from different photographs mingling. Not that it matters, because at the end it’s still just a painting.

Carte de Visite #5 (Horned Owl)

30″ x 40″
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I’m delighted that the New York Public Library put up a post on their Tumblr about my “Carte de Visite” paintings. Here is THE LINK a few thoughts about the ongoing series. Did you know Daguerre also invented the diorama? News to me. There’s a guy to have lunch with when the time machine comes together.

The uniformity of the carte de visite photos is intriguing to me. Often one figure is surrounded by studio props – rocks, birds hanging from the ceiling – in front of a painted backdrop of a landscape. It can actually be hard to tell where the room ends, and what is real, like one of those great dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History. Dioramas were also invented by Daguerre, so there’s that connection to photography as well. There is the sense that the subject is enclosed in a glass case. It has been fabulous to have access to the NYPL archive, to study images in detail, including the marginalia, and occasional edits by the photographer. As a painter, I find those fugitive marks captivating.

CDV 11.14.14_02

11″ x 14″

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The blobby dinosaurs wading in the bog on the left side are from a bit of a wall painting above a door at the Museum of Natural History. They show up again in a large oil.

Carte de Visite #4

30″ x 40″

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A continuation of a loosey goosey study of cartes de visite at the New York Public Library and the history of first communion photographs. In this one, the sitter (or stander) is visited by lavender orbs and a playful flower arrangement. Tucked in the lower right a very tenuous canvas of this painting, a print of which was a fixture in my grandparents’ dining room.

Hutch

11″ x 14″
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Going south from Rye to NYC.

Walk #3

18″ x 24″

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Something happened in the translation of this image into oils; I wanted to be able to wander more freely through the forms. Things got more amoebic, self-contained shapes. I’d like to do a very large version of this, but sadly I don’t think I could keep my attention on it. Still, it has a fun atmosphere.

Apple Cart

11″ x 14″

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Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Philip Guston:

“I’m not so involved with what the other guy does. You’ve got to upset your own applecart.”

Carte de Visite #3

24″ x 30″

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From an ongoing series of oils based on a tentative study of ‘carte de visite’ photographs at the NYPL photo archive – the single figures, simple props and painted backdrops. The first communions portraits are a peculiar sub-genre, complete with fountaining head wear.