Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Over and Over

Repose in Red, 18 x 14, oil on linen

Do you ever paint over old paintings? or do you always use fresh canvas? I get asked this question from time to time, and my answer is most of the time I like fresh canvas (oil primed linen) but sometimes I do paint over old paintings. 

When a surface gets built up, it tends to get in my way if I'm trying to do an alla prima sort of thing. I want to have complete control over the calligraphic marks I make, and I rely on the canvas texture a lot to do that. 

I also have a hard time if the surface has too much color / value activity because I can't judge my new strokes against irrelevant notes. They're just distracting. 

Paint it all out first and make a uniform toned surface? Sure, I can do that, but if I'm going to do that, it's much easier and faster to just use new canvas. And new canvas has the predictable texture that I like.

Having said all that, I still do use old painted surfaces for new paintings, if I know the painting isn't going to be a traditional (in a general sense of the word) painting. If abstraction is what I'm after, I don't mind all the existing color and texture. The unpredictability and irrelevance of the context often spurs new ideas and I make decisions which wouldn't have even occurred to me otherwise. 

The painting, Repose in Red is something I did a few weeks ago, and it's painted over an older painting. Actually, there're three paintings underneath this one. I think four is my limit - the texture become too pronounced after a while and I can't do what I need to do, even if I 'am doing this abstraction/process thang.  I guess I can sand it down, but again, too much trouble. 

Anyway, I like this one so I won't be painting it over.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

San Francisco Bay Blues

San Francisco Bay Blues, 36 x 36, oil on linen

Hey everyone! Sorry for the decreased frequency in posting on this here blog. The holidays are getting in the way. No, actually they're not. I've just been in a bit of a creative rut. 

Not a technical one this time around, but I'm feelin' a lack of inspiration. You know how it is. I just grimly work through it, usually, just painting whatever and however I feel like. And when I'm away from the studio, I'm looking at books and surfing the net, searching for great works by other artists. 

Lately I've been looking at Arthur Streeton, Edward Seago and Charles Warren Eaton - not obscure names in landscape painting circles, but perhaps less well known to general audiences. I certainly didn't know about them in art school, but discovered them only after I started painting landscapes seriously. 

There are SO many great painters out there both alive and dead, it's like Christmas when I "discover" one. And it happens often, too, just because my knowledge is so limited. I guess that's a good thing about being ignorant? Haha~

Anyway, books on Streeton, Seago, and Eaton are on my nightstand right now. I look through them nightly, and marvel at their work.  I'm inspired by them, although they haven't cracked my rut. In due time... in due time.

The painting above is a larger (36 x 36) version of a previous version, and it was done a few months ago, before I hit my slump. There is a lot of experimentation and surface work going on - more abstract than many of my previous cityscapes. The drippy stuff just happens as a part of the working process, and I usually take them off but on this one I felt compelled to just leave them. It signifies my transitioning toward pushing the process forward, and placing less weight on "correctness" of representation. 

Drips are nothing new for contemporary artists, of course. But it's new for me, and if they feel like an honest part of the process, and not a gimmicky decoration, I'm OK with it. I guess the size of the canvas has something to do with it. On a smaller painting, drips didn't look like they belonged. On a painting of this size, they just happen because I'm using big 2 inch brushes loaded with paint and solvent and medium, moving my arm in big motions. Paint flies everywhere.

Kind of a rambling post, huh? Streeton, Seago, and Eaton don't have much to do with drippy abstractions, but hey, it all adds up. 

What's on your nightstand?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


 Inclinations, 6 x 6 inches, oil on linen

What's up next!?  Well, I have these little stocking stuffers  miniature nudes in Randy Higbee's 6 x 6 show down in Southern California. This is a neat exhibition with lots of treasures, all 6 x 6 inches.

 Mysterious Ways, 6 x 6 inches, oil on linen

This year I decided to put in nudes for the first time. These were all painted using 5 minute charcoal studies as references, as is my current m.o. 

I thought they'd be easy to do, but turns out, painting figures at this scale –and not background or supporting roles but solitary figures featured– was more difficult than I expected. Fun to do, but each took as long as a larger painting might.

Not In So Many Words, 6 x 6 inches, oil on linen

As you can see, I used a fairly limited palette, focusing on the gesture and the mood. There's some interesting surface work happening too, but I had to restrain myself from getting carried away with that because at this scale, a little bit of abstraction goes a long way and it tends to blow up in your (my) face.

Each painting is floated in a 6 inch wide contemporary frame, and priced at $500.  Three together would make a great grouping on that wall you've been wanting to hang a painting on. What, you're not afraid of hanging nudes on your wall, are you? 

The show opens Saturday, December 8th. The reception (5 - 9pm) is sure to be a fun party, so don't miss it! 

If you'd like to add these paintings to your collection, please contact the gallery directly. If you wait till the show opens, you might be too late - don't say I didn't warn ya!

6 inch squared
Randy Higbee Gallery

December 8th - 21st
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 8th, 5 - 9pm

Randy Higbee Gallery is located at 102 Kalmus, Costa Mesa, CA  phone: (800) 506-7624

Monday, December 3, 2012


Terry Miura and Erik Tiemens: New California Landscapes exhibition opened this weekend. The opening was very well attended, despite the stormy weather - thanks to everyone who came out to the show!

Seeing all the paintings framed, hung, and lit, I have to say it is a very satisfying show. The contrast between Erik's work and mine are distinct, yet the artful framing and presentation ties it all together beautifully. I am very pleased with how it all came together.

The show will be up for a month or so, so if you find yourself in the East Bay, please stop by and check it out.

Thanks Erik and Tim for making this a beautiful, successful exhibition!