Sunday, September 27, 2009



Six pieces I did in August. I somewhat humorously find myself in the position of certain musicians who release, almost, their every thought, a stance I really don't have so many problems with on the one hand. On the other, as I start painting (and drawing--those perhaps to come) more often there's necessarily a rise in the number of pieces that fail for one reason or another. If they're bad enough, they go straight to the trash but I keep others around because, to my eye, there are one or two good aspects to them. But for now, especially since I am happy with a small bunch from August, I'll just present those.

The above is a good example of a piece that was seriously drifting toward the trash--I was trying for a very fine, precise rendition and failing utterly, so I just tore into it. And, I think, it worked.

I'd previously done a set of four 4x4 inch paintings of a red t-shirt or details thereof. I always had it in my head to do three sets, red, indigo and gray, four each, all the same size. Here are the indigos:








Cutting square sheets out of a larger block inevitably leaves one with oddly proportioned rectangles of paper and I've been using them as is. When oriented vertically, you're almost automatically drawn to a kind of Japanese compositional area. I did a few, this is the one I thought worked decently:



As always, enormous thanks to Betsy for her help, inspiration and judgment.

10 comments:

Massimo Magee said...

wow, they're all lovely, Brian, but the third of the 'indigo set' is fantastic, really captivating

it'll be good to see the whole of the 't-shirt series' together at some point!

Michael Pisaro said...

really glad you didn't throw the first one away - it's wonderful!

BW Diederich said...

As much as I love reading your thoughts on music, these posts really are my favorites. After every one I end up pulling my watercolors out again.

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

Doug Holbrook said...

Absolutly beautiful stuff..



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Richard Pinnell said...

Beautiful as ever Brian, I like the last, rectangular one a lot.

You do know though, that I am now picturing your house as one big pile of differently coloured, discarded and scrunched up T-shirts don't you?

Jesse said...

Nicely imagined and realized, Brian.

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks, Doug, Richard & Jesse. Anyone who knows me knows I tend to be in t-shirts (when my pink flannel is unavailable, anyway). They do find their way to the backs of chairs and the like. But they're also a kind of meaningful subject matter to me so I do enjoy that along with the abstract nature of the material, the subtleties of the single color, etc.

Anonymous said...

The first rock is something of a breakthrough;among all your work posted;including the drawings,it lacks the amateurish "flatness"...

The drawings,like the paintings are nice,and a few almost work,but there's not enough attention or feel to the weight of your lines..

Bill

Brian Olewnick said...

Thanks, Bill.

One thing--the "breakthrough" was really nothing of the sort. Though I think this one works particularly well, it's not dissimilar from a kind of thing I've done for at least 35 years. That is, when a watercolor is beginning to "go under", typically from being overworked, and there's no way I can save it by staying on the same path, I'll just lay into it very freely and see what happens. Often, it continues to spiral its way downward, getting worse and worse. A decent percentage of the time, though, I manage to wrest something out of it, often enough likely better than what may have eventuated had I stayed on the original tack.

But, as I said, I've been doing that forever.