Tuesday, November 19, 2019

#100 - 40th & Pleasant S.

#100 - 40th & Pleasant S. -8x10 oil on panel

Here it is, #100!
This last one is the same location as the first. Here's #1 for reference: https://100alleys.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-first-one.html
Knowing that I was going to finish this project up this year, this last one was done from a photo earlier in the year when we were getting hit with one snowstorm after another. I wanted it to share the same winter evening setting as number one. In the years between, the owner of the blue garage tore down the old one and built this big new one.
   Many things have changed in the time it took to do all 100. As I've said to many who asked, this took MUCH longer than I thought it would. When I set out to do this, I thought it would maybe take a year or so. Here I am 7 years later. As I settled into these, I realized I wanted to do something more than mostly sketches. I started trying out different mediums, experimenting with mono-type prints, digital paintings, and started doing small acrylic and gouache paintings, but over time they got bigger as I switched over to oil paint. This whole project turned out to be a big education to me. I literally re-learned how to paint. I took a deep dive into landscape, plein air, and still life painting. I obsessively dug into oil painting techniques. I spent most of my time searching out books and videos, endlessly reading blogs of painters I admired, and practicing, practicing, practicing all the time. It was a bit like a self study graduate course. All that effort completely changed how I look at and approach all the work I do now. And after all of it, I feel like I've only scratched the surface.
   I'd really like to thank everyone that followed along and supported this! I had hoped to do something interesting and maybe sell a painting or three along the way. I didn't think it would have a whole life of it's own. About one third of these were small sketches that I've kept. There were a handful of prints (monotype, block cut, and digital) that are all gone now, but the rest were paintings. Of the nearly 70 of those, there are only a handful left currently hanging at The Coffee Shop NE through Dec. 15th 2019. I had some vague plan of doing a show with all the paintings, but I didn't expect it to take so long, or for them to be so popular along the way, so it was nice that The Coffee Shop NE was able to get me on their schedule to hang the last of these. It was the second place I ever hung the alleys (the first place is long gone).
   It's really nice that so many folks connected with these. I enjoyed talking to everyone about them. Often, I'd post one here and on FB, etc. and almost instantly get an offer to purchase it. I've even shipped a number of them out around the country to Minnesotans living elsewhere. A few nice people have more than one. I just met with a someone this weekend who bought #99 - he has five alley paintings!  (and a still life - thanks Tom!). Over the course of it, the project was featured in the local paper, I was asked to sit on an alley themed discussion panel a couple years ago, and I was invited to a local podcast. I still haven't done the podcast - too shy I guess. And as much as I've learned about Minneapolis' alleys, I don't feel like I have any deeper insight. In the end, I still feel like I did at the beginning,they still catch my attention, and I can't help but to slow and check them out. From the post for alley #1, " I've always liked the alleys in the Twin Cities.  They're far more interesting than the streets out in front of the houses." It's still as simple as that, I guess.

Thanks again everyone!!!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

#99 - Lowry & Central NE

#99 - Lowry & Central NE
11x14 - oil on panel

Well, it's been a while, but here's number 99! ....almost done.
This alley caught my eye when we were up in NE Mpls. one late fall evening. I'm not sure
which business this is the back of, but the light was great. It was that time of evening
just past sunset and not fully dark.
This one will be hanging and available at The Coffee Shop NE Nov. 14th through Dec. 15th.
Number 100 will also be there, but you have to visit to see it before the everyone else....I'll share that one here in a couple weeks. The Coffee Shop NE will be featuring the alleys in what may likely be the last full grouping of the remaining alley paintings. Get yourself over there and check them out!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

#98 - NE 12th Ave. & Lincoln St. NE

#98 - NE 12th Ave. & Lincoln St. NE - 11x14 - oil on panel

Another one of those somewhat rare gravel alleys that I found and
also another that has been on the to-do list for a long time.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

#97 - S. 10th St. & Park Ave. Fr. Rd.

#97 - S. 10th St. & Park Ave. Fr. Rd.
18x36 oil on canvas
This is an alley that I've had on the list for a while, but I waited until all the construction in the background was finished. The buildings in the background have all changed in the past couple years and for a while the sky was filled with construction cranes.
I'm glad I waited.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

#96 - 38th & Chicago Ave. S.

#96 - 38th & Chicago Ave. S. 24"x36" oil on canvas
I cut loose with the thick and juicy paint this time.

We had quite a winter here in the Twin Cities.
This alley seemed like a good representative.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

#95 - 3rd & Marquette

#95 - 3rd & Marquette
24x30 oil on canvas
A new alley!!

I love how the buildings downtown can sometimes overlap, cross, or intersect and what seem like unnatural angles. As I have been doing recently, I was shooting for simplicity with this. I blocked most of the buildings in with a brayer, a 3" drywall knife, and an 8" squeegee. To finish, I stuck with the largest brushes I could use (a number 4 flat was the smallest). I pushed all the color saturation of the grays and browns toward blue and orange. It was nice to do another alley.
Sorry these are so few and far between. On the plus side there have been new opportunities that have been exciting.