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Sundays in the studio

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Happy end of the weekend! (I know, it’s not really as happy as Friday or Saturday) As the workweek approaches, I invite you to enjoy the apropos scene featured in this painting I finished five minutes ago, titled “The Gray Race”, 24″ x 36″.

This is an image I experienced while leaving Chicago at dawn. Commuters walked, biked and drove their way to offices on a Monday morning.

Fun facts about this painting- 1. I did not use any black or pre-mixed grays while creating it 2. The title is shared with an album from one of my favorite bands. Do you know who? :) Thanks for reading.

Artist Admiration: Hadley Northrop

 

 

 

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“Foreign Cinema”, Oil on canvas by HADLEY NORTHROP

Hello everyone! I’ve decided to start a new blog segment called “Artist Admiration” to highlight artists whose work I adore, and that I think you should see / know about / obsess over / purchase. :) The inaugural artist I’m highlighting today is Hadley Northrop, based in San Francisco. Her paintings are warm, soft, dreamy, evocative and memorable. If you like my work, you’ll probably also like Hadley’s. We are both obsessed with light and color. She participates in Open Studios at least once/year, has pieces in shows in various locations in the Pacific Northwest, and is an overall awesome person. See more of her kick-ass work here. Love an artist you think should get more exposure? Post their website in the comments. Thanks!

 

 

 

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“Travellers”, oil on canvas by HADLEY NORTHROP

 

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“Polar Bear”, oil on canvas by HADLEY NORTHROP

 

 

Invitation to disconnect

"Out of Order", 16" x 20" acrylic on canvas

“Out of Order”, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas

It’s Friday, and tomorrow is the first day of summer. It’s also my late father-in-law’s birthday, which makes it bittersweet. We miss my husband’s father, as we miss my Grandpa and others we’ve lost. But rather than focus on the day they left this world, I prefer to cherish our memories of them on their birthdays.

Today I’d like to invite you to reflect on what moments are important to you. Were they the most-liked Facebook status updates? The most epic vine videos? The best blog posts? I know they’re not, but these things consume so much of us. I’m not saying to burn your devices and smash your TV with a baseball bat, but on what is likely to be a beautiful weekend no matter where you live, disconnect for a bit. Don’t just put the phone down, turn it off (unless of course you’re calling someone to tell them you love them).

Go to the beach, visit a garden, check out your local art museum, make sun tea on your patio, take that friend you never see anymore out for a pitcher of sangria.

Chalk art from my hotel door at Portland's Jupiter Hotel

Chalk art from my hotel door at Portland’s Jupiter Hotel

I was recently in Portland and met a random person who turned out to be my sister from another mister. Instead of retreating into my hotel room for a few hours of internet crap, we hung out and had cider at a nearby brewery, and it was awesome. So in case you need it, here is your official invitation to disconnect from all this stuff this weekend and go make some real-world memories. :)

Knowledge is Powell’s

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Portland natives may recognize the book beacon that is Powell’s, the subject of the above triptych painting “Bastian”, 36″ x 54″, seen here on proud display in my home.

For my fellow logophiles, please note that the title is not a misspelling, but a dual reference to the homonym and to a film. There’s one other hint that this bookstore is located in Portland- can you see what it is? Unravel the mysteries in comments! :)

Night shift

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Here are 3 new paintings from a series I just started called “Night Shift”, exploring nocturnal city activities, roles and perspectives. All are 30″ x 40″ acrylic on canvas.

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The above is titled Stranger because of its voyeuristic quality and because the intro to Billy Joel’s song by the same name kept playing in my brain while I painted it.

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No title yet for this and the top piece. Suggestions? Thanks for reading!

"Greyhound", 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

Signs of the times

Catching you up on recent paintings featuring vintage signage. All currently available at MarianneBland.com.

"Status Quo", 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

“Status Quo”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

Now playing: Nothing, Forever at the State Theatre in historic Marysville, CA. If any horror flick directors out there need a scary place to shoot, this spot is boarded up and undoubtedly haunted.  I also like the reference to “the state of things” (literal translation of status quo) as a blank, faded marquee. It’s kind of the equivalent of a shrug, or “meh”; very appropriate for my generation.

"Nitehawks", 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

“Nitehawks”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

A wink and nod to Hopper in title, I was very pleased with the peeling pink paint result (it’s easier to see in person. You know, sublety) in this painting.

"God Bless Dinners", 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

“God Bless Dinners”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

This restaurant is also located in Sacramento’s Del Paso Heights neighborhood and is a good example of how I prefer not to name locations with their actual titles most of the time. This one offered all kinds of amusing alternatives and is still a functioning greasy spoon if you are intrigued by the concept of beef from the other coast blessed by God (or ham and eggs, apparently).

Ice Box, 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

“Ice Box”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

Iceland completely defies physics by remaining in existence in Sacramento, CA (aka the surface of the sun). I particularly enjoy how the “come skate” paint is all creepy and dripping, as if it should be followed with “at your own risk” or “if you dare!” like a scene in a Goosebumps book.

"Greyhound", 18" x 24" acrylic on canvas

“Greyhound”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

The above is an ode to Hopper, featuring blocky colors and devoid of reflections. This old Greyhound depot has been replaced with a cool modern location in Sacramento, as is often the case- places change before I get the chance to paint them pretty frequently.

"Dough Conditioner", 10" x 30" acrylic on canvas

“Dough Conditioner”, 10″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas

What once smelled of yeast and sorrow is now a vacant building, haunted by the spirits of nutritionally-devoid pastries. I intentionally cut off the title as a play on the word “under” since, you know- it went under.

Signs are stoic markers of events ingrained in the collective conscience. And they are also hard to paint. Here’s hoping you enjoyed checking them out. The 18″ x 24″ canvases above are all framed in flat black and available for $700 at MarianneBland.com. Happy Friday, folks! Thanks for reading.

 

 

Memory formats

"Vinyl", 30" x 40" Acrylic on Canvas

“Vinyl”, 30″ x 40″ Acrylic on Canvas

All the record stores I worked at are gone. Fun story, I once started a friendship by flashing my recently-pierced nips at my place of employment. Which is NOT why it closed, thankfyouverymuch. :) I do occasionally stop and reflect on how extremely pivotal music is for me. Most people have strong relationships with it, but in this case I refer to artmaking. I listen to music each and every time I paint. I can’t even imagine what would happen if I had to start making work without it. I’ve even considered posting which bands/songs I was listening to while I worked on something, but I have no idea if that would mean anything to anyone besides me. It was fun to consider while I worked on the above, “Vinyl”, featuring an evening window shot of a record store in Portland.

"Tall, Dark and Haberdashery", 30" x 40", acrylic on canvas

“Tall, Dark and Haberdashery”, 30″ x 40″, acrylic on canvas

Another strong memory for me is that of the hat shop. I enjoyed hats a lot growing up (for awhile I had an impressive collection of thrift-store-sourced vintage cranium-toppers), but the memory I refer to is that of visiting a “chapeauterie” during my study-abroad semester in Marseille. I tried hard not to geek out at the fact that a HAT STORE still existed somewhere in the world, and it was an absolutely delightful 30 minutes spent trying on and pretending like I was going to buy hundred-dollar hats. I did buy ONE but I’m still waiting on the right occasion to don my fantastic French hat. (It’s kind of ridiculous and I haven’t been to the Kentucky Derby yet). I had a flash of that joy while witnessing the above Haberdashery in Portland, OR. This piece was a bit of a departure in that the palette is muted, but I couldn’t resist the whimsy and delight of the floating hats with umbrellas. I kind of felt like the display was going to break into Singin in the Rain at any moment. :)

"Drugs and Stationery", 30" x 40" acrylic on canvas

“Drugs and Stationery”, 30″ x 40″ acrylic on canvas

This piece has been on my “to paint” list for quite awhile. It’s a shop in Redwood City, CA that I snapped for reference during a great evening out with my mom. I’ve already painted 3 other scenes from that night, and this one was very exciting for me. By day, it’s kind of a cheesy ice cream store. By night, however, it’s a remarkable reminiscence of times I never experienced personally. I can imagine the soda jerk, the circle skirts, the giddy dates in the post-war era that inspired this shop, and that is the crux of why I paint city scenes. They are imbued with a presence of lives lived in these spaces that is palpable for me, that I can’t shake. (Pun-tastic! I’m a super nerd.)

All of the above original paintings are currently available for $1600 each on MarianneBland.com. Thanks for reading!