FaceBook Memories

My FaceBook page memories says I painted “No Hat #90” on this day’s date last year. It’s one of many I’ve done from a photo of transgender model Andreja Pejic, who I first painted in May of 2016 with “No Hat #21”.

No Hat #90 800

“No Hat #90” (acrylic on canvas board 11 x 14”) September 6, 2016.
$100 USD plus shipping.

AP crop
Andreja Pejic

No Hat #21 800“No Hat #21″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) May 12, 2016. SOLD

I return periodically to work from the photo of Andreja for various reasons. It’s soothing and stabilizing to paint the familiar — and it’s a barometer of my technical evolution in the ongoing series. I may consciously apply newly honed skills to it, aware of higher levels of brain-eye-hand activity that doesn’t always mean a better painting in the end. It’s still mostly about knowing when to stop. Each painting has thousands of micro-expressions (in the mouth and eyes in particular) that are in constant motion until I find a point where they hold a pronounced amount of personhood and attitude. It seems to be about inventing a fully fledged character that has obligations to me (and to you) — and possibly beyond that in terms of social philosophies and a history yet to unfurl.

Andreja Pejic is not just a well-lit face with lovely bone structure. Her story of personal and public evolution — and her professional understanding of what her face reveals — inform how I paint. I’m not overly-interested in making paintings that look like her. Obviously, as a very vocal feminist, I’m not using sex to sell art. I’m not subjugating women, but I think about these things. I worry about these things. What if I wasn’t a known feminist? Would my paintings of women be suspect?

Because I’m not beholden to the subject, I am free to change eye and hair color which are often based on other colours in the work, but I admit I am wary of painting too many blue-eyed blondes and what people will think when I paint African Americans. It was a truly strange week in my mind when I painted “The Party” without yet knowing of the uproar surrounding Dana Schutz’s painting “Open Casket” at the Whitney Biennial. Internally, I evaluated my motives and felt uneasy about how my painting might be interpreted, but it also gave me cause to realize nobody actually cares what I’m doing in any big way because I’m not in the “Art World” — I’m just some random painter who perhaps thinks her work is more important than it actually is. Having a history of being regarded as important in music has not translated to importance in writing and painting (yet).

People who see my work more or less know (and hopefully trust) my intentions, but is that good? I don’t essentially want to rely on that understanding. Anyway, it was a weird week.

The Party 800

“The Party” (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14″) March 20, 2017.
$100 USD plus shipping.

While I’m painting, I’m physically advocating for a strong personality to evolve in spite of — and because of — how things are (in my life, in your life, in the world at large). Yet, there are paintings with unmasked vulnerability, sadness, pain too. And paintings that are all mask — whether its paint, make-up, a lack figurative clarity or part of a traditional costume (the Kabuki series… which are men wearing white make-up portraying women).

Kabuki #1 by Jean Smith

“Kabuki #1″ (acrylic on canvas board, 11 x 14”) March 1, 2016.
$100 USD at John Doe Records Hudson, NY.

In many ways painting is like playing music or writing for me. I allow myself to be influenced by excellence, to connect my work to history without being thwarted by all that can be known, I infuse work with idiosyncratic stances — some of which have been in place from the beginning, other facets of which are just turning up now.

That Mecca Normal and my great creative partnership with David Lester are running concurrently makes this a nearly collaborative endeavour. Dave’s encouragement and understanding of me as both an artist and a human fuel my resolve to work, building my confidence and tenacity. I admire his discipline (work on a graphic novel about Emma Goldman), motivation and generosity. When his book is published, we’ll likely do some Mecca Normal-based events that will also include what I’m doing with the painting project. As with much of or work, there will be over-lapping themes and exciting ways to collaborate.

from FB

Drawing by David Lester – Graphic Novelist for his graphic novel about Emma Goldman.

I must admit, it suits my personality to be able to show people my paintings as soon as their finished. It’s integral, of course, the overall project. Books and records, tours and events all take so much time to complete and set in motion. It’s a great luxury to have an audience for my work here on FaceBook.

Thank-you for paying attention and for buying my paintings. This is the most exciting time of my life, but it would not be so without all the other incredibly exciting things that have happened (that I thought were the most exciting times).

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Late July into August

It’s typical for me to switch things up near the end of the month when sales slow due to rent and bills. During this time I break away from painting faces and gravitate towards animals, land or seascapes, and now city streets.

This post is linked to Vol. 443 of Normal History (September 16, 2017) in Magnet Magazine.
Amidst the Waves 800
Amidst the Waves″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 30, 2017. SOLD

sandhill cranes 800
Sandhill Cranes″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) July 31, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #2 800
Amidst the Waves #2″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #3 800
Amidst the Waves #3″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #4 800

Amidst the Waves #4″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 2, 2017. SOLD

Amidst the Waves #5 800
Amidst the Waves #5″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #6 800
Amidst the Waves #6″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #7 800
Amidst the Waves #7″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Amidst the Waves #8 800
Amidst the Waves #8″ (after Ivan Aivazovsky) (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 6, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

Rain 800
“Rain” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) August 7, 2017. $100 USD plus shipping.

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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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