kyriakos with broom by Philip Tarlow

this is one of many drawings and paintings i made, exhibited & sold in the mid-70's. some of you will be familiar with this particular one or others in the series. it has deep meaning for me for a number of reasons. kyriakos was a street cleaner in the plaka neighborhood of athens, deemed by most people to be retarded. 

i drew & painted him more than any of the construction workers who posed for me during that period. i never considered him to be retarded. we spoke little, but one day, just a few days before students barricaded themselves in the polytechnic building and were attacked with tanks & foot solldiers, and many killed, he spoke quietly to me while gazing out my studio window at he tower of the winds.

mr. philip, he asked softly, "what does it mean to see blood in your dreams. a lot of blood?"

after the polytechnic incident, i realized he had experienced the event in a dream. he was, i decided, a kind of seer.

out on a limn by Philip Tarlow

                                        motion 29, 38x38" at it looked at 3:20 pm today; the end of my painting day

2:18 PM: a welcome thunderstorm moved in, it got very dark and i'm stopping here for the day.

i worked some more on motion 29, taking, as i promised, risks & going out on a limn.

BELOW you see 3 stages of motion 29. the first is how it looked yesterday at the end of my painting day. and the two on the right are stages of the painting today, the far right being the final stage.

i will definitely return to it once we're back from steamboat springs, so look for a continuation of these posts thursday morning, unless i decide to post form the road.

BELOW: 3 details of motion 29

                                              motion 29, 38x38" as it looked at about noon

12:45 PM: do i really want to mess with such a delicate balance? i asked myself, knowing that, yes, i do and, yes i would. so as usual i dove right in with little clue as to where i was going, other than having certainty that the fortuitous accidents would happen, right under my nose, while my controlling mind was on a short break. i'm not there yet, and it's a little disorienting knowing we'll be out of town till wednesday, but i'm still in the thick of it. going out on a limn i mean.

LIMN: synonyms:highlight, adorn, embellish, paint, illuminate, suffuse

more later my dearest friends, new & old!

where to go next by Philip Tarlow

                                                                                         motion 29 at 2pm today


1:54 PM: so i decided to continue work on motion 29, despite the fact that i don't feel in top form today, as i said in my 11 am post. by listening to what the painting wanted, i think i was able to make good, albeit slow progress. there's such a deep divide between the the fist 16 or so paintings in this suite, that i may make changes to my motion page, and divide the series into two distinct groupings. basically, what used to serve as an under-drawing, which was then mostly painted & scraped over with a bolder image, is now the main event. as a result, the paintings now have far more subtlety and ambiguity. when i bring them over to the house for the acid test of hanging in our expansive, light, open top floor, they have more staying power; we find something new every time we look at them.

11:02 AM: i ate way too much fresh fruit last night & woke up weird. mikela said "if you're not feeling well, DON'T work on the new painting! " i'd have trouble working on it even if i was feeling well! it's so delicately beautiful. what if i can't get back into the same vibe? which obviously i can't. that would be impossible. i did bring over a couple of canvasses to un-stretch & re-stretch with fresh linen canvas. they are a few that are not on my A list, and since the new work is piling up and i'm running out of storage, it makes sense to un-stretch less successful paintings & roll them up. but that's a rather boring way to spend my day. so lets see what i end up doing.

yesterday's session with K. / starting motion 29 by Philip Tarlow

                                                                                          motion 29 at 1:45 PM

1:45 PM: i's stopping here for the day. unfortunately, i'm going to have to un-stretch & re-stretch this canvas. i neglected to check if it was squared up after putting the stretcher bars together. as a result, it's impossible to avoid the wrinkles you see, and eventually it will be a problem when it's ready for framing as well. a big pain in the ass that will take a little over an hour. so i'm going to run some errends in town first, then come back & do it. i definitely don't want to wait till morning & waste my morning energy on this.



10:15 AM: the student i'm mentoring, k., came over to the house yesterday afternoon at 6:20 and we sat on our deck & made gouache landscape paintings. it was a short session due to approaching storms & k's inability to do his favorite thing: layering, with the gouache colors i provided. he prefers acrylics or oils, so next time we'll use oils & see how it goes. nonetheless, i think what he did is quite beautiful &, as it turns out, very kaelen-esque! i confirmed yet again that there's nothing quite like plein air painting. can't be beat!

                                                               k's landscape 6x15.75"

                                                          philip's landscape  6x15.75"

today i plan on starting a new motion series painting, motion 29, which will be 48x48", on linen. once i begin the drawing, i'll post pics.

minor revisions to motion 28, or, mikela was right! by Philip Tarlow

                                          motion 28, 36x38" after this mornings revisions

11:26 AM: following our 6am morning walk, we stopped by the studio on the way back to the house so that mikela could give me some feedback on motion 28, which she hadn't seen since i worked on it yesterday. she loved the painting, and especially the rocks in the foreground, but some marks from the under-drawing were bothering her. can you take those out, she asked? but of course i responded. BELOW: before (left) and after the revisions. she was right again!

continuing work on motion 28 by Philip Tarlow

2pm:  refreshed & rejuvenated after our highly productive actionlab team meetings sunday & monday, i resumed work on motion 28. the rocks in the forground were bothering me, so most of the work i did has consisted, thus far, of working into those rocks, scrubbing the canvas down to it's white surface, going back that. 

i can't plan for what it is i'm after, but i know it when i see it. usually, the richest passages come about while trying to resolve some other problem in the composition. often, the painting starts to sing following the introduction of a particular form or color that serves as an accent...maybe the equivalent in music would be a staccato, unexpected high note, allowing the rest of the piece to flow like water. to move. thus the title of this series: movement.

as a result, i want to be able to discover the painting anew every time i look at it.


drawings made on our recent 2 week trip to france & switzerland by Philip Tarlow

8:13 PM: during our 2 week trip to paris, evion and switzerland  last week, i made a number of colored pencil drawings here are some of them.

more work on motion 28 and renewed efoorts on motion 27-a by Philip Tarlow

7:41 PM: today as i contemplated next moves on motion 28, i turned motion 27-a, which had been facing the wall, around &, feeling, that freedom which comes from a WTF attitude, launched into it with a large round brush. which in turn spilled over into my freedom to work on motion 28

BELOW: left-motion 28  right-motion 27-a

starting work on the drawing: motion 28 by Philip Tarlow

                                                                                           motion 28 at 4 pm

4 pm: motion 28 at the end of my painting day. feedback to myself: has interesting passages, but doesn't yet hang together.

1:10 PM: i stretched a new 36x38" canvas this morning & started work on the new motion 28. it's in that early stage i love so much, with lots of white space. i'm working in colored pencil & crayon, and have introduced oil paint at an earlier stage than usual.

i'll post more pics as work progresses.