Set of 4

1

 

2My paintings featured at Nick and Gayle’s place in Brooklyn! These four represent the members of their family. What a thrill to see them featured in their living room. I love the way the light on “Nick’s” nose works with the light in the room! And with the light in the photo (?) above! Nick says, “They are like tattoos: now I want more.”

NOTE: Gayle as in New York Times-bestselling novelist Gayle Forman (straight up name drop).

The Hat #30 800

The Hat #30

No Hat #126 800
No Hat #126
The Hat #2
No Hat #119

 

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Bodies

From my recent email to David Lester about my new series “Bodies”

“The women seem empowered. The source material (an illustration by a woman — Jacqui Morgan) is from burlesque, which seems to me more powerful than stripping. The two images might be the same person – one is acting (performing in costume), the other is less defined, in motion, nebulous. Two very different roles and degrees of vulnerability.

The performer in stripes could easily be holding a microphone – giving a semi-naked woman, a burlesque dancer, a voice. My voice, really. Plus, those striped stockings and long, fingerless gloves give it a sense of old-timey classic circus. Or, to me, a very Picasso sense. Growing up, we had a book in which he was wearing a lot of striped clothing. It also harks back to Lautrec’s paintings of women and night life.

Interesting too that the stockings and gloves cover parts of the body that are actually acceptable to show in public, so there’s a kind of reversal going on. The stripes – yes//no – good//bad – light//dark – lines that bend around the arms and legs, giving them their shape.

And, of course, when I titled the series it also refers to the Sex Pistols’ song “Bodies” – and our version of it in Atlanta which isn’t as much about the lyrics as it is about being on stage with a voice (being alive with choices).”

Bodies 800

“Bodies” (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14″) May 28, 2017. SOLD

Bodies #2 800

“Bodies #2″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 28, 2017. SOLD

Bodies #3 800“Bodies #3″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 29, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Bodies #4 800“Bodies #4″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 29, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

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More Foxes!

Fox #6 800 FB version

“Fox #6″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) April 15, 2017. SOLD

Fox #7 800“Fox #7″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) April 15, 2017. SOLD

Fox #8 800

“Fox #8″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) April 15, 2017. SOLD

Fox #9 800

“Fox #9″ (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas panel) April 15, 2017. SOLD

Review & Summary

Horse 800“Horse in Field” by Jean Smith (11 x 14″ acrylic on paper) SOLD

A fairly in depth summary of my work on Women in Art History (Instagram) by art history instructor and creative writing professor Lucretia Tye Jasmine who recently bought my painting “Horse in Field”. Women in Art History is also on FaceBook

“Jean Smith, a Canadian, is an artist as well as a musician and writer. She was born on August 1, 1959, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her portraits are smooth and rich, with a velvety brush that emphasizes subjectivity through inward, contemplative, or direct gazes. Critters, musicians, women in front of the word “hotel,” men in white underwear, and women washing their hair are intriguing subjects with serious attentions. Singers whose lipsticked mouths open at a microphone are affirmed by painting titles that identify them as angry women in rock.

She paints, makes films and music, writes, and lectures. YouTube videos showcase her art and music along with her process. She also orchestrates tours: musical, literary, and educational. Smith’s longtime collaboration with bandmate David Lester, whom she met in 1981 while they were working at a newspaper, encompasses visual art, and art as activism. Anti-authoritarianism is announced in D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) productivity.

She and Lester formed The Black Wedge in 1986, an international music and poetry tour comprised of anti-authoritarian musicians. Feminism is practiced in a life’s work that promotes self-generated creativity and collaboration. The art and lecture series, How Art & Music Can Change The World, is their 2002 presentation which continues to tour classrooms (high schools and universities), art galleries, and book stores. Smith and Lester’s band, Mecca Normal, is considered a pioneering riot grrrl band. riot grrrl is a Third Wave feminist arts and music revolution.

Smith’s film about her online dating experiences examine female independence and a recent series of paintings concern 9/11. Some of Smith’s art is about Pussy Riot, the Fourth Wave feminist punk rock group from Russia jailed for musical protest in a church.

A two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts awards recognizing Smith’s work as a writer, Smith’s paintings are sought after by a variety of luminaries and scholars, spanning the established and the underground, indicating Smith’s subversive success and influence.” – Lucretia Tye Jasmine

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“Cherry Flowers” in “Spring”

I made a video for the Mecca Normal song “Cherry Flowers” (Dovetail, K Records, 1992) fairly spontaneously. It’s a pretty song about springtime and I did a cherry blossom painting recently, so it occurred to me to connect them. But, as I was putting the elements together, I recalled more about the song’s meaning, which I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about or expressed.

That got me to thinking about all Mecca Normal’s songs and the various meanings tucked up into them, so I listed all the songs, created a song meaning legend and assigned codes to most of the songs with a note saying that some of the songs need to be reviewed due to their nature, which might be psychological, poetic or complex.

As for “Cherry Flowers” (1992), it is about the geography of borders, clandestine crossings in vehicles (row boats heading for the united caves of america) laden with cherry flowers. Feel free to interpret what the cherry flowers are (maybe art and music?), but, in the song, “seven men in white shirts watch the needle on the gauge, rise and fall, swing and dive, on the border” using specialized equipment to assess the validity of those attempting to cross.

Spring 800

“Spring” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.

$100 USD Paintings Currently Available

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Videos of $100 USD Portraits

All Jean Smith’s $100 USD portrait paintings from the beginning of the project (January 7, 2016) to March 14, 2017. Music by Mecca Normal.

Currently Available: Slide Show

Jean Smith’s $100 USD currently available portrait paintings from the beginning of the project (January 7, 2016) to March 14, 2017. Music by Mecca Normal.

Currently Available: Slide Show

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Washing Hair

Shower 800

“Washing Hair” sold to the person (now an official collector) who bought “Y-Front #4” back in the summer.

It’s funny; “Washing Hair” looks so simple and confident, but behind the scenes, man, there was a lot of swearing, and I chucked a tube of paint (Caucasian) across the room… an open tube. Never done that before. Had to clean splatters off the cupboards etc. It must have been finished at least a dozen times, but then I had to go and try to make some part of it better (sound familar, women? …and why does the word ‘women’ not work there? Why do gals, ladies, girls sound OK and women doesn’t?)

I wanted the figure to accomplish so much in the big picture – in the history of how women are portrayed, how we are in private, how we feel about ourselves. Painting over and over, wiping and washing sections away. It took a couple of hours, but in another way, it took a lifetime.

To me, this grappling activity is painting. Not filling in areas with pre-determined colours, like you see in YouTube how to paint videos.

Y Front #4 800 a

Y-Front #4

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Gloria Steinem, CIA

“No Hat #138 B aka Gloria Steinem, CIA” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14″) January 21, 2017 (not posted until today, February 25, 2017). SOLD

I referred to this painting in a post earlier today, in which I was writing about “No Hat #133”. I mentioned that one of the big skills I possess (in painting) is knowing when to stop and both #133 and #138 B are excellent examples of that.

 

No Hat 133 800

#138 B (at top) was one of the rare times that I set a painting aside because it felt finished well in advance of what I was intending to do, but I wasn’t entirely sure. With #133 there was no question that it was totally finished. In this case of #138 B, I still wanted to think about it. So it’s been sitting here since mid January and I haven’t had any inclination to add anything to it. Selling “No Hat #133” earlier today (to a radio journalist in Stockholm) has inspired me to call “No Hat #138 B aka Gloria Steinem, CIA” finished as well.

I started painting from a screengrab of Gloria Steinem speaking at the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, but… I stopped here because, as I say, I liked it at this point. This is a good example of how I use photos of actual people to whatever degree I need them as a starting point.

After I set the painting aside I ended up doing some research on Steinem, just to refresh my memory on her history. I’m pretty sure I never knew she worked for the CIA. This kinda killed my interest in doing a portrait of her, not that it would necessarily be representattional to the degree that she’d be recognizable, but the CIA connection fortified my interest in halting my involvement with her.

Additionally, a novel I wrote a few years back (The Black Dot Museum of Political Art) has a segment in it about the CIA’s involvement in the abstract art movement in NYC in the 1950s and 60s, so this issue of cultural icons being willing and/or unwittingly participants in CIA activities was unexpectedly back in front of me.

So, while the is painting (#138 B) is at face value a solid composition made up of fairly similar tones with the suggestion of what might have followed (the shape of the head) for those that know my work, the backstory provides intellectual content that can be factored in.

The Hat 53 800

I painted Michael Moore the same day, so it’s conceivable that Gloria would have been similarly obscured had I continued and, as I type this, I realize that it was obscured – even more aggressively, but in a completely different way.
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