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.

 

 

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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!

Summer in San Francisco

"Carrier Wave", 16" x 20" Acrylic on Canvas

“Carrier Wave”, 16″ x 20″ Acrylic on Canvas

Ah, summer. What once was a welcome break in the gray is now a game of Death Race 2000, in which the sun attempts to murder everything in its wake. (Those of you who also live in Sacramento can attest to this fact.) Summer in San Francisco, however, is a thing of beauty. That typically cold wind transforms to a pleasant breeze, patio dining suddenly returns, hipsters play Neutral Milk Hotel songs on the steps of townhouses, rooftop parties with organic Sangria break out spontaneously. It’s a fantastic place to be.  I may not be in San Francisco at this very moment, but odds are you aren’t either. In lieu of experiencing the glory that is a warm day by the bay first-hand, let these recent paintings featuring a sunny day in SF transport you to memories of urban relaxation.

"Retrofit", 16" x 20" acrylic on canvas

“Retrofit”, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas

I suppose this could be any city, but the cable car steel atop a hillside kind of gives it away. What was great about this image was that the Bel Air was a surprise. I was taking a photo of the dusk light on the skyscraper, when a beautiful pink classic car snuck into the shot. Happy accidents make for great compositions! What surprises me is how people often comment that my paintings look like photos, when I feel like they’re awfully loose up-close. I’ve been starting to create some looser images that I look forward to sharing soon. For now, here’s another summer-y snapshot:

"I Heart Parking", 16" x 20" acrylic on canvas

“I Heart Parking”, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas

Betwixt the palm shadows on pink patios sits a Vespa, a symbol of beauty and freedom in its own right, underscored by the satisfaction that is finding a parking spot in San Francisco. Those brave and brilliant souls motoring around this town on 2 wheels must never experience the excitement-disappointment-panic rollercoaster that is spot-searching with a regular car. What I LOVE about this piece is the natural heart shape created by the tree leaves and their shadow, framing this moment.

You may not know this about my work, but I don’t manufacture compositions. I hunt them down, taking photos myself, then using these images later as references for paintings. I described this process to a collector once as collecting, selecting and recreating moments from real life. My intention is to imbue those moments with some of the added glamour, drama, mystique or glory that they have on their own if we just notice it.

All of the above paintings are currently available for only $400 each directly on my website at MarianneBland.com. Thanks for reading!

Find your art in San Francisco

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Now that your Halloween festivities have drawn to a close, the next party starts in 7 hours! Join me and 9 other great artists at community workshop space SHARED at 739 Bryant San Francisco tonight from 7-9 pm for our reception to kick off weekend 3 of Open Studios!

Some of my favorite local artists are also showing this weekend at other locations throughout the city including John Kraft, Hilary Williams, Mike Kimball, Johnny Botts and Stephen Wagner. Some of my other favorites participated in weekends prior (hope you had a great time, Trish Tunney, DK Haas and Hadley Northrop!) Be sure to check out the virtual guide at ArtSpan to plan your studio visits this weekend.

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Warning: ART may cause feelings of inspiration, introspection, despair and longing, amongst others. A common side effect of viewing art, known as “non-buyer’s remorse” may be avoided by remembering to bring your wallet and using the coupon code: BLANDFAN for 30% off paintings by Marianne Bland. 😉

11 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday, Nov 2 – 3
739 Bryant St San Francisco, street parking available

New paintings

"Strapped", 10" x 10" acrylic painting on canvas featuring an afternoon pedestrian commuter moment from the Mission District

“Strapped”, 10″ x 10″ acrylic painting on canvas featuring an afternoon pedestrian commuter moment from the Mission District

Ask and ye shall receive, Margret. And anyone else who was mentally asking for new images. 😉 Chances are there are always new-and-as-of-yet-unposted works at any given moment. Chances are also good that I am too lazy/busy (take your pick) to have posted them immediately.

"DOMA" Day, 10" x 10" acrylic on canvas featuring a Dolores Park scene on the day of the DOMA Supreme Court decision

“DOMA” Day, 10″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas featuring a Dolores Park scene on the day of the DOMA Supreme Court decision

I’ve been working in a bit of a reduced palette lately and incorporating more day scenery. I think I dig it but as always, I really need time to sit and stare at things for awhile before they soak in, even when they’re finished.

"Tourist Trap", 10" x 30" acrylic on canvas featuring a novelty/t-shirt shop on Embarcadero at night

“Tourist Trap”, 10″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas featuring a novelty/t-shirt shop on Embarcadero at night

Other times, I know right away I love (or will love) a piece, and sometimes I love an image defiantly- in that I couldn’t care less if anyone else likes it or not, because I definitely do. “Tourist Trap” is one of those. It’s not something you’d see on a postcard of San Francisco… even though it’s an image of a place filled to the brim with trinkety crap such as said postcards. Which is kind of ironic? Or possibly I’m thinking of this ala Alanis Morrisette irony (which is to say the wrong usage of this word)… I’ll let the English teachers among you decide (I know you’re out there).

And then there are these little cuties, that have already been claimed. Sorry everyone else who isn’t my Aunt Kasey, friend Jill and collector Beth. 😀

This was hard to make. But it came out pretty awesome for a tiny city painting.

This was hard to make. But it came out pretty awesome for a tiny city painting.

You can almost feel the ocean air. :)

You can almost feel the ocean air. 🙂

Took a few glazes to get the morning fog right, but it feels cozy now. (Fog is cozy to me, don't judge.)

Took a few glazes to get the morning fog right, but it feels cozy now. (Fog is cozy to me, don’t judge.)

That’s it for the itty bitty painting parade! Enjoy your long weekend. I’ll be sipping Sangria and- you guessed it- spending lots of time in the studio. 🙂

 

Alphabetastic

"J is for...", mixed media abstract painting on 8" x 10" canvas

As my fellow artists/occasional procrastinators know, nothing motivates like a deadline. I met with a volunteer at Roseville Library last week to check out the space, and she agreed that my mixed media abstracts- colorful and upcycled from old book materials, after all- would be a good fit.

"F is for...", mixed media abstract painting on 8" x 10" canvas

We settled on the alphabet pieces and a few others that are currently on display in Sacramento, but I realized it would look a lot better if I grew the group. So I made 5 more alphabet paintings between yesterday and today, which I’m now posting for your viewing pleasure before I scuttle them off to be displayed.

"Y is for...", mixed media abstract painting on 8" x 10" canvas

It may seem like a last minute thing, but I’ve got a whole day to make labels and wire these babies. That ain’t bad! The edges are even painted. Woohoo! It’s the little things.

"A is for...", mixed media abstract painting on 8" x 10" canvas

It was an interesting experience working on these as my brain reached back into my maker memories from last year. I began to remember more about what worked and what didn’t with the first group as I got into them. I couldn’t find my vintage atlas (odds are it’s buried under a pile of other crap/potential art supplies somewhere in my studio), but I used my vintage sewing patterns and bits from dictionaries, a thesaurus, a children’s book and my trusty old physics book for the neat little diagrams like before.

"P is for...", mixed media abstract painting on 8" x 10" canvas

I am pleased with the color combinations, but I can’t decide if these are cheery and kids’ room-appropriate or if they have a creepy feel because of the black lettering. *Shrug* I think that bit reading “peanuts are not nuts and other surprising facts” is my favorite, because it’s just kind of odd. [The book says they’re beans, by the way, but I call shenanigans on that one. I can accept “legume” but are all legumes also beans? Any agriculturists in the audience?]

If I remember to bring my camera, I’ll update this post with a photo of the display from Roseville Library on Saturday. And if you’re local, swing by the library at 225 Taylor St. between June 4th and July 30th to check these out in person!

Environmental Hazards

"Redline", 12" x 12" acrylic on canvas

Although we don’t have children, it sometimes feels like we’re living with them- based on the state of our lawn, that is. We live across from an elementary school, and are smack in the prime parking zone, which means all assortment of sundries make it on to our struggling grass. From candy wrappers to book reports and diapers to empty cigarette packs, it’s obvious that both parents and munchkins find our home to be an irresistible trash lot. So I’ll admit that I snickered gleefully from my studio today when these minions of mess were trapped in torrential downpours- which mother nature perfectly timed just for my viewing enjoyment at both drop-off and pick-up slots.

Detail shot; texture achieved by pressing yarn into thick wet gesso, which I later sanded and applied watercolor and paint to.

At the same time, with the wacky weather pummeling the entire country, I can’t help but be concerned about the unseen environmental hazards mixed in with the tornado warnings. Who knows how much radiation is present in our rainwater or is making its way over in the Pacific Ocean, thanks to the convenient shutdown of EPA testing. Of course, actual testing of the rainwater, soil or our own blood would reveal unnaturally high levels of heavy metals like aluminum, strontium and barium thanks to chemtrail spraying.

"Roil", 12" x 12" acrylic on canvas

Meanwhile, the oil companies are broadcasting touchy-feely commercials about how great they are making our lives by harvesting natural gas (of course, little emphasis is put on the pollution of groundwater and soil from the fracking process). Monsanto continues to hide GMO failures and contaminate organic farming plots while pushing their aluminum-resistant seeds (see a trend here?), and it makes me imagine our lands as future barren dust fields. It was these apocalyptic contemplations that inspired these landscapes.

Detail shot; hard to see, but there's a glowy green yellow color on the horizon

The good news is that more and more people are informing themselves, and you can too. If you think these risks are worth doing something about, take action! There are oodles of terrific documentaries available through Netflix and the internet on all of these issues. Want to get started? Check out this documentary on fracking (Gasland by Josh Fox), these websites about Chemtrails (this one focuses on how to take action in Northern California), sign this petition to reinstate EPA testing of Fukushima radiation or add The World According to Monsanto to your Netflix queue.

Please note that I don’t aim to push an agenda on to anyone, and respect everyone’s right to their own opinion about the state of things. From time to time, I do like to share how I feel and what I’m researching as both context for my artmaking at that time and for the sake of communicating things I think are important. Thank you for reading!