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Well, the work for the Truth and Belief show is delivered to the Principle Gallery and I can try to let out a big sigh of relief. I say try because I still have to endure the week until the show opens this coming Friday.

I’ve documented these feelings before on this blog from past shows, about how any confidence that may have grown as I was finishing the work for the show suddenly disappears once it is delivered.

It’s no different this for this year’s show. I walked in the studio early this morning and, without the reassurance from the show’s paintings that were now out of my sight, felt absolutely lousy. The big ball of anxiety was sitting directly on my gut.

I began to wonder if it was too late to become a backhoe operator. Or when the next person asks what I do and I tell them I’m a painter and they ask how much it would cost to get their bedrooms painted, I should give them a price.

But I know the routine, know it’s just part of the pattern. I’ve been experienced these same thoughts many times before and there is something in me that recognizes that I have put in the effort and been true to myself with this work.  It is a real thing.

It will work out in the long run.

Besides, I can’t really do anything else. Don’t want to do anything else. Actually, I don’t even look at what I do anymore as having been a choice. It’s just what I am now and there’s no changing that.

And that thought will carry me through the week. Oh, I’ll still feel like crap and lose every ounce of confidence I have ever known. But that’s okay because I know I will soon be back to work, being who I am meant to be.

Okay, enough of that and on to this week’s Sunday morning music. I hear that it’s Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to feature a combination of image and song that kind of fit the spirit of the holiday.  Not picnics and fireworks but the remembering part.  So many brave people have given their lives with the belief that they were defending our common values.  In these fractured times I think it’s important that we use the memory of their sacrifice as an opportunity to examine what those true values might be and how we can find common ground within them.

The painting above is from the show and is a 9″ by 12″ canvas titled So Well Remembered. The music is a short piece from trumpeter Richard Boulger titled For Souls Past. It’s a stark and lovely tune. Both have the feeling of memory that the day requires.

Have a great day…

There are colors that really trigger reactions within me. Most people would no doubt think that the color red would be the main one and perhaps they are right. The Red Tree is certainly the thing that would come to mind for those who know my work. And Red Roofs and Red Chairs.

Or maybe one might think that it’s the Indian yellow, a warm color that was the basis for much of my early work. It creates a most satisfying peaceful feeling in me still, after all these years. It would n’t be a bad guess.

But for me, I always come back to the blues along with the purples that spin off of them. They excite, mesmerize, tranquilize, intoxicate and pacify me. They take the melancholy and anxiety of existence and mix it with the sheer joy of living and feeling to create an aura that surrounds our life. I don’t even know if that sentence makes any sense but it sure feels like the color blue to me.

An example of this might be found in this new painting that is part of my show at the Principle Gallery that opens a week from today, June 2. This 12″ by 12″ painting on canvas is titled Passing the Blues.

It’s a piece that I have been coming back to in the past few weeks, just hovering over it as I take it in.  There’s a feeling in it for me that I would describe as sweet sorrow. Kind of like the appreciation you might have for the melancholy that sometimes comes with this life. It’s not joy but it lets you know that you are are a living and feeling person.

And that, in itself, is a wonderful thing.

And that is how I see the blue colors.

Here’s a song that has that same feeling of sweet sorrow for me.  It’s a great song originally written and performed by Dolly Parton. It’s Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind and is performed here by a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens.

 

Truth and Belief

The last few details are getting done and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am talking about the final preparations for my show that opens next Friday, June 2, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. These last days before I deliver the show are always hectic but also exciting in that the whole of the show becomes apparent in its finished state. Seeing how the different pieces play off each other, enhancing and reinforcing their individual strengths, is invigorating for me especially when the show reaches that level of satisfaction I am seeking.

And I feel this show reaches that level easily.

The name selected for this show is Truth and Belief.  It is also the title of the painting at the top of the page, which is 16″ by 20″ on panel. I have written a number of times here about how the chasm that has been widened in recent times between what is true and what is believed by so many people has preyed on my mind. It seems that while the truth may set you free, unfounded belief is a bear trap that holds you in place, unable to move or see anything beyond your current viewpoint. Even though you’re told information that would free you from that trap, you refuse to place any belief in it because those who set your current trap have instilled a sense of fear in you that there is a bigger trap waiting just beyond what you can see.

So you stay in your bear trap and, despite the pain, you continue to hold onto what you believe. And hope that it is true so that one day you might be free.

I don’t know if this analogy works. It’s early.

But I do think this painting works. I see the Red Tree on the hill in the distance as being Truth and the nearer one being Belief. Truth stands on higher ground overlooking everything, including Belief. It can see all. Belief has a more limited point of view but it feels like it can see everything it needs. It feels like Truth, in its own way.

But there is distance between Truth and Belief. You have a ways to go from Belief until you reach Truth.

But it’s a journey that must be made.

A Little Press

The other day I received the new Summer issue of Acrylic Artist magazine that hits the newsstands and bookstores on June 6.  It contains an article featuring my work and how I arrived at my “signature style.”

I have to say that I am pleased at the way it came out. Writer Zack Hatfield did a great job transforming our interview into a well written article covering ten pages along with numerous images. Many thanks to Zack and the editors at Acrylic Artist for being such pros and for a job well done.

The magazine is available at newsstands on June 6 but if you would like a copy you can order a print or downloaded copy by clicking on the magazine cover shown here on the right.

Reboot

Truth and Belief, opening June 2 at the Principle Gallery, will be my 18th solo exhibit at the gallery. That’s a long enough time span to see the differences and changes in the work. Some of these come about because of technical changes and some come from conscious decisions. Some are evolutionary and I can see how a concept grows when I compare the shows from the different years.

But throughout the entire time I can honestly say that the work always reflects my emotional state at the time. I definitely believe that is the case for group of work in this show.

The changes of the past nine months or so, personally and in our political scene, have had an effect. I find myself needing to withdraw into the work, need the colors and shapes that I find in them.  Need to find a source of light that I can head toward.

Need to have something to believe in that I know is true.

If nothing else, my work represents that sense of truth for me. And that is how I am viewing the work in this show. It feels earnest, real and true.

Now, I remind you, that this is my opinion, my view of what I am seeing. You may not see those things at all and that’s fine and good. To tell the truth, I don’t care. I think that’s why I like this group of work–it was done specifically for me, to comfort me, to ease my anxieties.

It satisfies my very real needs.

If someone else sees something of value in it, great. If not, at least I have been true to myself. And that, at this point in time, is most important to me.

I call the painting above, a 12″ by 6″ canvas, Reboot. For me, it represents the upheavals that take place in our world and in our lives and how we ultimately deal with them, how we reset our course.

Ship of Fools

Race the LightSunday morning. It’s quiet which I like immensely. Early mornings are my favorite time, when there are fewer people stirring, fewer yahoos who feel it is their right and profound duty to create as much sound as they can in order that the universe might know they are alive. Those rare times when traveling, I like to get up early and prowl the streets of wherever we might be, taking in the landscape and buildings in a much quieter setting. The few people who are there are either early morning folks like myself who gladly soak in the quiet or they have somewhere to go and are still quietly dazed from being dragged from their bed.

Either way, they don’t make much noise.

I wish I had more time to prattle on endlessly but even though it’s Sunday, it’s still a work day for me.  And a very busy one at that as I continue my prep work for my show that opens in less than two weeks. Still so much to do but I am enjoying seeing it come together. I find it exciting to revisit each piece as I frame them, seeing things that may have slipped my mind since I put the touch of paint to them and set them aside.

Take the painting above, a simple 6″ by 12″ piece that employs a boat motif I have revisited a number of times over the years. My challenge when doing that is to find something new within a narrow compositional parameter with but a couple of elements and little space to add more. The new has to come in the form of color and strokes and texture. And I think this piece, Race the Light, feels new and different than its predecessors. It has its own oomph, its own life and it draws me in anew.

So, in keeping with the boat theme for this week’s Sunday morning music I am going back to some 1980’s music and a song from World Party called Ship of Fools. The song was used in a much different form, much darker and menacing, near the end of the most recent episode of the great TV series Fargo. But the original is a good tune, a great bit of 80’s music. Plus the video is really of the time which sometimes might inspire a chuckle.  The lyrics may pertain to today and tomorrow as much as they did 30 years ago.

You be the judge. Enjoy and have a good day.

 

 

Really busy this morning as I try to wrap up everything for my Truth and Belief show that opens June 2 at the Principle Gallery. As it always is at this point, a week from delivering the show, there is still a lot to do including what seems like a million little, nit-picky details, those small touches that I find make a big difference.

So this morning I am just throwing out a lovely short video of the paintings of pointillist painter Georges Seurat set to the music of Vivaldi.  Both always strike me as rock solid so I figure that you can’t go wrong either way. It’s a good and relaxing way to kick off an overly active Saturday.

So take just a few minutes and relax in the relaxing colors of Seurat and music of Vivaldi.

Have a great day.

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