Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Metamorphosis, Part II

Going Home, 20 x 20 inches, oil on linen
This painting will be available at the Crocker Art Museum's annual auction in May.

First, I just want to mention that the California Art Club's Gold Medal show was awesome! I am glad I went down for the opening reception. The paintings in the show are very high quality and many were nothing short of amazing. Ray Roberts got the top honors this year for his stunning seascape and it was very well deserved. 

I met up with a lot of friends whom I only get to see once in a long while, and got a chance to meet some of the painters whose work I've admired for years (decades!) but have never before met. 

My own painting in this show, unfortunately didn't stand out. People just walked right by it without noticing hahaha~. I mentioned this to my friend who is a veteran of museum shows, and he said that it was because my painting was too quiet. In a big show like this (a "showy show", he called it) a quiet painting, no matter how good, tends to get lost in the mix, unless it's given a really prominent placement and lit perfectly. It's hard to compete with spectacular paintings who are designed to grab attention. 

I think this makes perfect sense. There is strategy involved in shows of this type, and while I would never alter my style or subject matter for a specific show, I might have chosen a painting with a little more oomph. Well there ya go. live and learn. Next year I will apply this lesson to my entry.

On the following day I watched Steve Huston do his demo, which was a huge treat. He makes it look so easy!

OK, so on to the next canvas. The painting above is a recently finished piece that is going to the annual auction at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. I posted about its evolution before; you might find it interesting. You can read it here.

I've only changed a little bit since; pretty much just straightening crooked lines and stuff. Little things, but important. 

I started this thing three years ago and it went through major changes, (countless hours) so when it does sell, I'll probably have made less than minimum wage! 

No matter, I'm happy with how it ended up looking. I'm happy that I was able to take an old painting and successfully apply what I learned in the past year to it. The abstraction, the expression of identity, intent, and conviction are all visible in this piece, as well as evidences of struggle.  That's priceless. 

Two-dimensional geometric abstractions based on building facades is a favorite motif of mine, so you'll see a lot more it from me. I hope it keeps going in this direction. We'll see...


  1. Wow! What a wonderful painting! I like the light and the shadows in this painting! They give it a very special atmosphere! Also composition is wonderful!

  2. I learned quite a bit by reading your post about your process. You are articulate and very good at explaining your decisions and what you want to achieve in your painting (which I really like). Thanks for sharing!!

  3. This one really stands out, I think it's great.

    I just visited your show in San Francisco, and was struck by the very grey palette. Personally, I get more from a painting bathed in warm light, which is why I connect with this one.

    But you can paint anything, so go for it!

  4. I love this painting and found reading about your process very helpful as I am at a similar stage with one of my paintings. I find it a little difficult to paint over the dried paint but I'm pushing forward! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and insight!

  5. Reviewing the the paintings that sold, i would suggest that a formula to sell at this show would be. seascapes, small format (lower prices?) and dramatic lighting not that selling is the main focus of participation but given the investment many of us make in a painting, it is a consideration.
    The current painting has the advantage of more dramatic lighting which makes it stronger than it's earlier iterations. It's interesting that the landscape photographers "golden hours" have this force in oil painting also or is it just me.

  6. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments!

    Sorry for my late and short response - this week I'm beaten down with the flu. Hopefully I'll be back in full force next week.

  7. Oops forgot; Ed, thanks so much for taking the time to visit my show in SF!

    Re grey palette; yes you're right. for this series I was exploring different ways of interpreting abstraction, and I deliberately avoided color in my pursuit of simplicity and abstraction. The problems I was trying to solve was difficult enough without the added complexity of color.

    Interestingly, the warmer paintings sold. Hmmmm...