Friday, January 29, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010





Rainy Day Painters Club. Craft Island, Skagit flats.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Drawing out a new painting from photos I took on San Juan Island.
The first seascape I've painted in two years. Painted at the Sea Level Studio in Edison, amongst a flurry of activity.
This painting sold for double its value at he Poncho Art Auction and also won me a "Merit of Excellence" award.
This is the painting that by accident started the whole line of work these past two years.
This is one of four paintings at the Seattle Art Museum Gallery.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bear Skull, Fox Skull and Numbskull
"The Secret Life of Night" series is one of two current series of paintings I've been working on since November. Based on photos I took while camping on San Juan Island. The paintings are of animals in the night but not in the night?!?
"Down Town Beaver" from the recent show, "Ten Beavers".
Finished "The Secret Life Of Night" series.
Finished "The Secret Life Of Night" series.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

from a whole series of visual haikus. I keep thinking of going back to this idea, taking it to the next level.
my mythology
in progress
glass
in progress
View out of my studio window.
Interviewer --- At the opening reception for this exhibition, you plan to paint a large-scale work on site. Is this a work already in process, or will you be starting from scratch? Will this work be an extension of your exhibition themes? Will this work be displayed for the entirety of the exhibition?


Todd --- No, in fact I have no idea what I’ll end up painting, perhaps I’ll decide a week before the opening. I do know it will be large scale with an animal or two painted primarily with a windshield squeegee. And yes, it’ll hang right where it was painted for the entire show.

Actually, I’m kind of regretting suggesting this idea due to all that can potentially go wrong. The idea came from painting live in my studio on the past several gallery walks here in Bellingham which gave me a real “performance buzz”. Typically painting is such a solitary introspective act. I wouldn’t mind having a couple assistants in all black handing me my knives and paint colors as I bark out what I need like an operating room to pump up the “performance”.
Art should be about seeing our everyday lives as an adventure of the awakening our senses to our surroundings. It is looking at the world, but looking with full awareness. Art is not about introducing theories into our lives.
Interviewer ---Can you describe your unique process of painting with a palette knife and squeegee? How did you develop this process? Did your earlier interest in sculpture lead you to this process?

Todd --- I really started using the palette knife at the very beginning of painting, probably due working in clay sculpture for many years. Working in the round had always been my natural artistic talent Sculpture came easier to me while drawing and painting was harder and more like work at the beginning. I remember the first time I scraped a painting with a palette knife because three hours later I was in jail. I guess since then I’ve always associated scraping my paintings with an element of chaos, of things not entirely within my control.

Just this past year I was considering a more efficient way of scraping and blurring the paint, I first thought of the garden hoe. Then one day at a gas station while filling up my car and washing the windshield it hit me. I tossed the squeegee in the back and drove to my studio. I still want to try the hoe, perhaps do a whole series using only garden tools to paint with.

In this show I use two different ways of painting. One is applying heavy amounts of paint direct from the tube with a palette knife letting the colors mix on the canvas. The second method is taking it a further step by scraping off the paint with a squeegee. I start with a strong line drawing, this is what will hold the finished painting together after scraping and distorting the image. The "blur"—sometimes a softening by the light touch of a soft brush, but usually a hard violent smear by an aggressive pull with a squeegee—has two effects: 1. It offers the image an emotional appearance; and 2. It testifies to the painter's actions, both skilled and coarse, and the plastic nature of the paint itself. This is what I really like in paintings, big weird globs of paint, fingerprints, messy clues on the edges of the canvas, I want to see the artists hand in it, especially now days with so much computer generated art.
Motion is motion and action is action.
Never mistake one for the other.

From the "The Secret Life of Night" series
Artist Statement



My most recent paintings are about rediscovering the hidden kinship between things, the scattered resemblances. To place us in the world and in the moment while revealing glimpses of the shadows in the realms of love, chaos and death. And finally focusing on the importance of the experience of seeing because the interpretation is always open.
The blurring produced by the squeegee across the oil paint and the erasing of the pencil drawings both set into motion and suspend in time. Also at the same time there is tension and tranquility. The paintings seem to be dealing with a certain open view of the world as if to say, “Look, this too is how it is”. Opening our eyes to this reality.
I want to end up with a painting that I haven’t entirely planned. This method of chance, inspiration, and destruction may produce a specific type of picture, but it never produces a totally predetermined one. Each painting has to evolve out of a painterly or visual logic: it has to emerge as if inevitable. And in allowing an unplanned outcome, I hope to achieve the same coherence and objectivity that a random slice of nature always possesses.
What really interests me and has absorbed me for years is the unfolding mystery of what I have created. When the paintings have something that I no longer completely understand, that’s the indicator of a successful painting for me. So long as I can grasp them “theoretically,” it’s boring. It’s like the difference between reading poetry and a text book. Art theory for me is as zoology is for deer. Seeing is the decisive act, and ultimately it places the maker and the viewer on the same level.


Todd Horton
Oct. 2009

Possible new direction outside of oil painting.

first in a new series.