Friday, January 30, 2009

More paintings on cardboard...

Two more January paintings on cut cardboard... these in silver acrylic. I'm really having a good time with the cardboard!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Works on Corrugated Cardboard

As I mentioned in my last blog entry, local artist Tony Renner proposed an “outsider” art show when we met for a bite at Blueberry Hill a couple weeks ago, restrictions for works in this show being that all the art be made with or on cardboard, and that no artist involved possess “too much art education”. This got me really excited! Cardboard is a roundly venerated and reviled substrate, praised for it’s strength, versatility and availability, damned for it’s acidic content and reputation as trash to be used and recycled. Artists have worked on cardboard for a long time though, before we all realized the ph balance of the paper we were working on could affect the longevity of our finished art, but as I told Tony, a few years back I stood at the art museum looking at a pastel drawing Georges Rouault created on cardboard around the turn of the century, so…

“January No.6” and “January No.7” are my first two on cardboard, and I have two more in silver drying on my board right now. I’ve really enjoyed cutting designs through the top layer to reveal the corrugated innards. Cardboard IS really tough, and my imagination is alight with all the possibilities- more to come…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Writing to Tony

Went out with Tony Renner, local artist and musician, this past Thursday night- probably the coldest damn night of the year! I found Tony on The Circuit, a St. Louis online community for the local hipsters- I was instantly taken by him and his artwork. He had balls of brass, having recently completing his Master’s Thesis in American Culture Studies at Washington University, and then deciding to become a painter! Now if that’s not American Spirit, then I don’t know what is- Ha! And he’s good, too… We soon hooked up on, and I began to learn from watching this fellow outsider. His ability to let go and paint because he enjoyed it was refreshing.

At some point we agreed to exchange artwork and conversation at Blueberry Hill on the Loop, and I brought two custom drawings as a gift for him, “Writing to Tony No.1 & No.2”, inspired by my recent attempt at total abstraction, a product of my witness to the “Action/Abstraction” show at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The bar was packed with kids, and Tony and I were the two old guys trying to hustle through to get a bite to eat, a couple beers to drink, a quiet place to sit and talk. Tony was lovely company:  softly spoken, zero on bullshit, and a wealth of enthusiasm.
Tony gets a lot more painting done than some MFA candidates I’ve met. Like it or not, a constantly evolving and productive body of work is hard to deny, nor can anyone restrain the unflappable strength of the outsider bent on doing and learning. Academia can make you a better artist, but it can’t make you a true artist at heart- those people would do it out of real need- recognition academically, locally, socially, or any other way having little to do with their ambition. I’m an art school dropout, dirty rock-and-roller, and under-the-radar painter of course, so I can say that. Check out Tony’s work:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More January Paintings

More winter/bird paintings found their way onto my drawing table- I’m enjoying painting these on paper in black and white, two here with charcoal and acrylic on paper, one acrylic with a little colored pencil. I am especially pleased with the black/icicle one, “January No.5”- it seems as cold as the end of this past week! Brrrrrrr!

A friend asked if I was feeling ok after seeing these! She observed that my color is usually so vibrant, and my sudden turn to stark black and white seemed unsettling. While, it’s true that some of my recent winter paintings look chilly, I am writing this in my cozy little apartment, with food in my refrigerator and the heat on. In truth, I have been having the best time trying to break these drawings/paintings down to their most simple and singular essence.

I’m very lucky/blessed to be loving what I do, painting, making the new record with my band, enjoying warm shelter and good food. A lot of people across this country, across the world are really having a hard time, and the recent cold weather felt like an official stamp on our collective conscience. The Winter of Our Discontent. My buddy DJ told me that when it warmed up on Saturday he felt a deep comfort in that, knowing it will again be warm not so long from now... in time the weather will change. I hope you are staying warm- this shall all soon pass.

CM Shaw
January 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009


Two new paintings: "January No.1" & "January No.2". Nothing much to say, just painting away as furiously as I can... have been enjoying the black and white, drawing with charcoal and painting on top, getting messy.

More with the birds, of course- the winter treatment this time... have you heard the Fleet Foxes record? That song "Winter Hymnal"? Love it! Thanx to DJD for turning me on.