Monday, November 2, 2009

Continental Drift and coffee bars.

Wow. It's been five months since my last post. I meant to write, really I did but the the tectonic plate of economic upheaval collided with the quiet but unstable plate of marital politics to force me first off the unproductive and certainly nonprofitable farm/garden and then push me out of the studio and back into the world of American health care. When the tremors stopped and all was quiet I realized what was painfully obvious. I had to go back to work.
And since as I said in my job interview, It was just 8 years since I was working in the emergency room but almost 30 since I last waited tables it was probably better that I go back to sewing up lacerations and saving lives instead of bartending or serving food again. So I'm no longer an "ex-ER physician" but a part-time physician in a local, busy urgent care. It's been stressful going back and I've spent much of the last five months reviewing books, journals, current antibiotic usage and resistance patterns, ECG reviews, etc., etc. so that I'm current and up to speed at work. So, I'm back from Italy; the kids are in school again in Santa Cruz, I'm working again 2-3 shifts a week; reading and studying in my free time and just now beginning to drift back to the studio and to some printmaking. But as I started planning my next print, a narrow long format of 3 X 9 inches, my ambivalence about going back to work was pretty clear.
Here's the first idea:
I've been spattered with all sorts of body fluids during my past life as an ER physician and putting on the shirt and tie again after so many years brought that back. I figured the long format would be perfect for the necktie and that the colorful tie would be fun to print over the white shirt. The working title was "stain". But Alexander, looking over my shoulder was very clear, "Dad, that's the most boring thing you've ever done....why don't you do something interesting! No one would ever buy that!" So, I kept on sketching. (although I still think it was a good idea).
And lots of these kept popping up...

There were all sorts of bound and wrapped bundles in different shapes and sizes. Just looking at them all made me depressed.

So I went back to the sketchbook and while at Coffeetopia, a local coffee/espresso bar I doodled this:

And then this....and this:

Keep an eye out for the little gremlin in the bottom as he's about to become the main attraction.
I liked where this was going and tomorrow I'll post the final preliminary sketch and the keyblock.


  1. Are you at the Westside Urgent care? I do like the little gremlin who looks like he is breaking out of the picture.

  2. Hmmmm, be wary of the editor in your head and in your child that blurts out "No one will ever buy that!" It's okay to listen but the notion will eventually stamp out some really good ideas that really DO NEED to see the light of day! For the record, the ER shirt and tie was my favorite. I'm just in clerical for an ICU with virtually no medical back ground....need a day job because the art don't sell. The bodily fluids thing, I get it.

  3. Andrew:

    Sorry to hear you had to sidetrack your stay in Italy for the sake of economics, but hopefully you will get to return and enjoy la dolce vita. I often count on my girlfriend, who possesses a keen eye and even sharper tongue, for comments and criticism about my work. Often her views are not necessarily in line with mine and I need to remind myself that it is only one opinion. Remember to balance feedback with your own intuition. And agreed, the shirt and tie caught my eye for its simplicity and striking use of color. Best of luck to you!


  4. Yes, the tie/stain will also be making its way onto a wooden board soon. I still like the idea and like the idea of carving a separate plate for the stain so I can do some blood, some urine, some coffee.
    I quoted my son's comments but rest assured I'm pretty immune to financial pressures in my art (easy when no one buys any). They may keep me out of the studio but once I'm there I've been pretty relentlessly been doing what interests me ever since I was in school.

    I am perhaps at times sensitive about producing "ugly" art as a fair amount of what I do can reasonably be called "ugly" but I am equally intrigued by and drawn towards the decorative arts--I like vintage wallpapers and fabrics and love the interior landscapes and still lives of Pierre Bonnard and Matisse.
    My kids so far have proven to be very helpful critics and like Chris' girlfriend often help me sharpen my own ideas of what's working and what's not.