How the Painter Sets the Stage

How the Painter Sets the Stage

When a painter, whether abstract or figurative, begins a painting there is nearly always an awareness of where color will go. How a painter creates an explosion of color on the canvas depends on the working methods of the painter and, to a large extent, the time frame within which the painter paints. In earlier centuries, for the most part, a painting was built up in series of layers using glazes and repeated layers of paint to prepare for the drama that was to unfold whether The subject was Jesus about to be crucified or a Dutch merchant ship sailing into the harbor. In more recent times, as the immediacy of painting became more implicit and the setting up of the ground (or background as most call it), it became a process that was not buried under layers of Paint but rather asserted itself with and against the ‘subject of the painting’ whatever that subject might have been. When Henri Matisse, the grand master of painting in the 20th Century, painted a simple still life of pink and red tulips on a grey green table against a blue grey wall, he would begin Not with the painting of the flowers but the painting of the space around the flowers. A preliminary drawing would be made most often in charcoal and Matisse would begin to fill in the space around things, the space around the flowers. His brush would move quietly, then Pick up speed and drama it would ‘ dance ‘ around the drawing of the flowers. The brushstrokes begin to collide and swim and toss and turn a...
Questions From The Studio – A Conversation with DJ Carey

Questions From The Studio – A Conversation with DJ Carey

DJ Carey and I connected last November for The Art Issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. She was gracious enough to give me some insight into the ups and downs of being the editorial director of a top design magazine.    Gary Komarin: How did you arrive at Connecticut Cottages & Gardens? DJ Carey: In 2004 I was a field scout for Meredith and a stylist working in Connecticut and knew many CT architects who recommended me to Newel Turner, Editorial Director at Cottages & Gardens, for the position of Editor in chief for the soon to be launched Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. Gary Komarin: Were you born with an editorial state of mind? In other words, do you have the organizational gene? Do you need that as editorial director? DJ Carey: I didn’t ever dream or think about being in publishing I literally fell into it! After college, with a degree in anthropology and geography and looking for a job, there was nothing in my field. So my mother, a college professor, suggested I go to Katherine Gibbs and learn how to type and get my foot in the door. After a two-month course at Katherine Gibbs I was sent on an interview at Condé Nast for an entry-level job and the rest is history! I am very organized, which comes in handy when I am putting together an issue or a photo shoot, but I do have to thank both of my parents who gave me skills that I use every day in my position – my mother being the anthropologist taught me to pull back and observe and...
Chaos and Control in Contemporary Abstract Painting

Chaos and Control in Contemporary Abstract Painting

Few people, including collectors and aficionados of contemporary abstraction, fully realize how much a painting veers between levels of Chaos and Control. Picasso and his peers opened the door to the idea that a painting could be built up, torn down, and built up again. This swinging Arc between Building and Destroying is part of the Process for Many Abstract Painters And while there are some who proceed with carefully worked out plans, for many painters including me the process is far more chaotic and uncontrolled. You have to make a big mess on the canvas before you can come in and clean up that mess. The well planned canvas may work for some but for painters with my disposition, based on largely intuitive choice and based on moment by moment reaction to what is in front me on the canvas, the experience of painting for me, is more Like jazz. Unlike the process of constructing an office tower in a big city where every single decision is guided by a prior decision and all is controlled so that a cantilevered platform does not collapse on eager visitors to that building, a freely brushed and painterly abstract painting is free from the burdens of responsibility. It can be anything, and while it has an internal order upon completion, that sense of order can be far more oblique than obvious.   The Act of Destruction in painting can be as enjoyable and cathartic as the Act of Building up forms in space. Control and Chaos sit on the same tight bench. The Painter moves from one set of circumstances to the other. Not unlike a...
Questions from the Studio: A Conversation with Young Huh

Questions from the Studio: A Conversation with Young Huh

I was lucky enough to get some time to speak with the very busy designer Young Huh, recently named one of Vogue’s Young Interior Designers on the Rise in 2015, about the design process, seeing decor through the eyes of her clients and her dream of a getaway cabin in the woods.   Gary Komarin: What got you interested in design? Was it always in your blood? Young Huh: I suppose the love was always there. When I was a small child, all play involved house and home whether it was building little dioramas in shoeboxes or building “log cabins” with sticks in the woods. It wasn’t until after I had completed law school that I realized that I needed to have a creative career and then changed direction. Gary Komarin: If you had a perfect client, how would you describe that client? Young Huh: The perfect client knows what she wants and then lets me do it. Gary Komarin: As you do design projects on television, as well as books, how would you compare the two experiences? Does one feed or ‘speak’ to the other, or is it in apples and grapes comparison? Young Huh: On television, you see space and you move through space whereas in print, you only see the two dimensional image. This affects how you style something to look good on television versus print. For print, you really have to move everything for particular camera angles, whereas I think you can relax more for TV because you aren’t confined to one shot. Gary Komarin: What do you do with a client who likes your...
On Being on the Cover of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine

On Being on the Cover of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine

In November of last year I was invited to be on the cover of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine for The Art Issue. They were doing a special issue on Artists in Connecticut and one fall morning I got a call from the Editor in Chief. They asked me if they could come to do a photo shoot at my studio in Roxbury. I replied: Delighted! When the ‘crew’ arrived they began to snap photo after photo seconds after getting out of their vehicles. As an Artist who is often in motion – I move around the Painting quite a bit while working (as the canvas typically begins on the floor of the studio, laying flat so I can freely swing the brush, liberated from ideas about up and down, left and right) – it was appropriate that the photographer took pictures while i was walking the property and moving around the studio. The final shots selected showed me lifting a large red painting from the floor and a second shot, which became the cover shot, was intriguing as well. The cover shot showed me using a special long handled brush, pushing paint across the surface of large dirty white painting. Some thought it was a broom I was using to sweep up, but in fact it was a long handled brush designed to have greater reach across the surface of a larger painting. Plus, its length allows for the kind of playful and unexpected ‘accidents’ that occur when liquid paint (mixed to the consistency of melted Ice Cream) swishes and sloshes on the new weave of fresh cotton duck canvas. When the cover appeared,...