Varshtat, gouache on illustration board, 10″ x 17,” 2009
Whew. That took long enough. Here’s a new one… a departure from exclusively figurative work, working up paintings from my own photographs. Early yet in this mode, but already deeply rewarding personally – circling around specific details indulges the miniaturist / Nicholson Baker fan in me, while testing the balance between impressionism and verisimilitude is endlessly absorbing. Nice to know a ramshackle workshop can be as compelling a subject as a young Shirley Maclaine. More upcoming.
A word on the title… Varshtat is what my father buy vicodin on the street called our workshop in Ukrainian. While this particular one was discovered during a road trip in rural New Jersey, it evokes our own perfectly. Growing up, in terms of utilitarian spaces the workshop was second in importance only to the kitchen. Now that I think about it, the satisfaction I get from realist painting, both in practice and as an observer, probably began there, with my father, losing ourselves in the underlying mechanics of everyday things. [larger image]