I'm taking a little break from painting until January so I can play around with a bit of collage work. These are all mounted on thick ply and clear-coated in epoxy for a glossy, hard surface. They are all different sizes, but are approximately in the 7" x 8" range. They are selling for $150 each.
One of my favorite paintings finds a home after 22 years. A few weeks ago I received an email from a woman named Naomi, asking if I was the same Denny Holland who painted the work above. Seems she remembered it hanging in the law firm she worked in back in the 90's. (At the time this painting was being rented out through the SFMOMA Rental Galley- it was one of my most popular paintings, having been rented out for a solid ten years until I got it back about five years ago.) She was just starting out her law career and didn't have the money to buy the painting. It hung outside her office and it left after three months.
At a recent event at the Rental Gallery (now called the Artists' Gallery), Naomi asked the staff if they knew of the painting and who the artist was. The painting was still on her mind after all these years. Fortunately, she spoke with someone who's worked at the gallery long enough to remember the painting based on Naomi's description. It was the tree branch notched into the corner that sparked memories and brought things into light. After an internet search, a few emails, and a lovely two hour studio visit, I'm happy to say this work has a new home.
A lot of my work that is sold is gone forever, there are pieces that I will never see again. However, I'm glad that this one- a very special painting to me for various reasons- has found a home in San Francisco with a wonderful young family who will enjoy it. There's just something comforting in knowing that this painting is only about six miles from here and close by.
"The cities are still down there, of course- the buildings,
streets, grocery stores, schools, all of that.
We glide silently overhead with our big ships the way airplanes would
pass over us, before all of this. Now we
leave wakes instead of contrails and rake long shadows across the submerged
topography. The skies were replaced with
water- slowly at first, then with maddening speed- as the relentless rains
purged and the oceans’ surfaces rose to new, unbelievable heights. Sometimes
I dream of the people who didn’t make it to the ships, still in their houses,
deep below the light’s reach. I can feel it in my sleep, when we’re above them,
the whole cities, countless suburban clusters, and rural farms, which now exist
nearly a mile below. I live my life on the surface, floating over an invisible
landscape that is now home to several million ghosts."
As the finishing sections are attached to the hull, the ship takes on a more architectural presence, adding a whole new dimension and changing the way I want to finish and present this sculpture. April and I had a great discussion this afternoon on the beauty of allowing light to penetrate the skin and illuminate the bulkheads and becoming an integral part of this piece. My original plan called for a hull that was to be opaque in finish, something like an antique steel or bronze finish. The cityscape on deck was to be covered in dark, oily blacks and charcoal which would fade, dripping into the hull's finish. April's brilliant plan of keeping everything white and light (like a ghost ship) totally turned my thinking around on this. At this point, the plan now is to white-wash the hull so it's still transparent enough to see the hints of the substructure and allow for light to travel through. Also, the color of brass rivets will still read and won't be covered by multiple layers of paint. The ship will then be displayed on some sort of light table that will illuminate the hull and its skeleton- something that I will enjoy designing and building as an extension of the ark. The ship will "float" an inch or so above the lighted surface (with clear plexi supports), hopefully giving it the appearance of levitation. The big job still lays ahead, building my metropolis and finishing the whole thing by October's show.Oh, and having ten water paintings done as well.
Well, it has been too long since I've posted here on my blog, I'm afraid my studio page on facebook has been getting all my attention. Emily has been bugging me (rightfully so) to get back to updating these posts. She's in town on her spring break, so I thought I'd self-impose a Take Your Daughter To Work Day and bring her along with me on a little trip down the coast from our town for an afternoon of sketching and watercolors. We're between storms now, so the sky is ripe with voluminous clouds that are marching overhead from the west. Makes for exciting fodder for future paintings.
Here's Emily filling a page in her sketchbook. Yeah, she's that good.
Beach bum taking notes on the surrounding colors. One of my favorite ways to use a sketchbook is to draw first, add watercolor, then fill the margins with notes for future reference in the studio. Until next time- cheers! D
Well after a year of not working on this sculpture I'm back on it again and actually moving along on it fairly quickly. I've spent so much of my art-making time this past year focused on painting that this has fallen to the back burner. (Oh well, I'm not really a sculptor, so I don't feel too bad!) Anyway, I'm having fun again with this piece and I'm even starting to create a little story about it in my mind. The brain does tend to take you to strange places when spending quiet hours on building something like this. I might write a short story or create a series of paintings to go along with it, who knows. That's one of the side benefits of making art, I find, the mental excursions that can be experienced and how one idea can cross over multiple disciplines.
The hull is ready to be clad. The cardboard mock-up of the skyline helps me figure out shapes and mass. The finished city will be a lot more refined, I promise!
My Stair Railing Design: From Paper to Steel and Wood
Every now and then a fun design project lands in my lap. This one dropped by about a year ago from a colleague whose daughter and son-in-law were in the throes of building a custom home outside Las Vegas. They wanted a custom rail designed for their staircase and were unhappy with the designs submitted by the railing companies, so they decided to try it from an artist's perspective and asked me to come up with a plan. I remember spending the better part of one weekend working this out on trace paper "old school style" with French curves, a T-square, triangle, and a lot of eraser work. (A couple of glasses of cab helped the creative flow too, I must confess.) Along with the railing, I also designed the newel posts at the ends of the runs.
I have to admit it is pretty exciting to see an idea on paper materialize this way in real life. When someone likes your idea enough to bring it into the design of their home is pretty amazing. Design and art are tough gigs most of the time with a lot of rejection attached to ideas that are personal and close to the soul, but at times like this, it certainly is worth it all.
From time to time I like to post some of Emily's artwork. She painted this little gem over the Christmas holiday in just a few hours. She's very interested in insects and science (in addition to art and music) and she's seriously thinking about entering the 50/50 exhibit this year. It will be a lot of fun if we get into it together. At age 20, she's way farther along with her painting skills than I was at her age, so it will be exciting to see how far she'll develop over the next 10, 20, 30 years.