Archive for August, 2009

 Led By GraceBAZONKA

Say Bazonka every day
That’s what my grandma used to say
It keeps at bay the Asian Flu’
And both your elbows free from glue.
So say Bazonka every day
(That’s what my grandma used to say)
Don’t say it if your socks are dry!
Or when the sun is in your eye!
Never say it in the dark
(The word you see emits a spark)
Only say it in the day
(That’s what my grandma used to say)
Young Tiny Tim took her advice
He said it once, he said it twice
he said it till the day he died
And even after that he tried
To say Bazonka! every day
Just like my grandma used to say.
Now folks around declare it’s true
That every night at half past two
If you’ll stand upon your head
And shout Bazonka! from your bed
You’ll hear the word as clear as day
Just like my grandma used to say!

—–Spike Milligan

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● 62.1% of all bankruptcies have a medical
● Most medical debtors were well educated
and middle class; three quarters
had health insurance.
● The share of bankruptcies attributable
to medical problems rose by 50% between
2001 and 2007.

 Just the Other Side of Blue This is a new piece I’m working on that I’m calling Just the Other Side of Blue.  It’s on canvas and is 18″ high by 36″ wide.  This is not the final photography so I apologize for some glare spots and a little darkness in some areas.

This is painted in my obsessionist or additive style where paint is built up rather than taken away as I do in much if not most  of my work.  It has an overall darker feel than most of my work, probably due to the lack of transparency as well as the black underpaint.

DSC_0003 smallI start a piece with a blank canvas and add layers of gesso to create a distinct texture.  If I were  going to paint in my fluid, transparent style I would begin painting at this point but since I am planning to paint in the additive style I add a layer of black paint.

DSC_0004 smallI next start blocking in with red oxide paint, a color that I choose because I like the warmth it adds underneath.  I usually start in one of the bottom corners and just start building, letting my eye guide me.  In this case, I started at the bottom left and  reached a point where I felt there needed to be a change  and began to realize that I wanted a canal or river cutting across the entire width of the painting.  I wanted that slash of color separating the two sides of the town.  The little piece of ground with no buildings was left and I began to think on how I would later incorporate that into the composition.

GC MyersI finish blocking in the rest of the village then start to shade the buildings, starting with shades of yellow building up to the whites.  The roofs are done in reds with some left in red oxide, just deepened a bit in shade.  There’s a lot of time spent stepping away from the easel and just looking, trying to see where the focus of the piece should fall and how the colors of the buildings and roofs should play off that.

GC Myers 2009After this preliminary blocking in is done, I decide to add color to the canal.  I choose a bright, vibrant blue.  I don’t really care if there is any basis in reality for the color choice.  I’m going with this color because of its visual impact in the piece while still maintaining a certain harmony within it.  The painting begins to take on a life for me at this point and I realize that there is need for a central figure here.  I’ve left a hole that needs to be addressed, namely the park-like blank piece of ground.

 Just the Other Side of BlueI decide to go with the Red Tree and paint it into place.  But there is something else needed to balance it as it sits.  I decide that it needs a shadow, to give it depth and weight, atmosphere.  Like matching colors to reality, I normally don’t concern myself with naturalistic shadowing unless it adds to the impact of a composition, which I think it does in this case.  For me , the entire piece is transformed with the simple addition of a shadow beneath the tree.

So, this is where it sits for the time being.  I will study it more, probably add color here and there, enhance certain parts in small ways until it feels fully alive.  But it feels close now and I find myself sneaking peeks at it quite often.  I will post a final photo of it when I feel it has reached its endpoint.

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Chinese Translation

M-Ward-Chinese-TranslationSaturday morning and it’s gray and damp here in my part of the world.  Still August but the fingers of autumn are insinuating themselves in more and more each day, which is fine with me.  I like the damp and cool.

Like being in the cool cover of a forest in the mountains, maybe a bamboo forest in China.  A light chilly breeze rushes over the skin and shakes the leaves gently, making a quiet whirr of sound then it calms and there is silence.

Cool, precious silence.

On this cool, precious Saturday here is a song/video from M. Ward, an artist that my nephew pointed out to me a few years back.  It’s called Chinese Translation and has a pretty nice video to accompany the song.  Enjoy…

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DSC_0007 smI finished this piece the other day.  It’s an 8″ by 24″ canvas and is painted in what I have previously termed my obsessionist style.

Probably the thing that stands out most is the absence of a tree of any sort, particularly the Red Tree.  It still is there as a possibility as the painting sits in my view in the studio but I feel there is an equilibrium in the piece as it stands, as though there is a clear message and feeling already.  The focus is on the moon (or sun, depending on how you see it) and the sky and the atmosphere they cast over the landscape so the addition of the tree might alter the entire feel of the piece.  And I’m not sure I want to do that.

I like this piece.  There’s a calm and contemplative nature in it that really appeals to me.  A real sense of harmony.  I think of pieces with this feel as being in the moment between rest and motion, almost suspended in time.  Free from anxiety.  Focused on the light.

So for now, the painting is as it appears and will most likely stay that way.  I will live with it for a while.  Maybe a title will rise from it.

Any suggestions?

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hundertwasser-friedensreich-strassenkreuzung-2000-2631956I ran into the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser , a contemporary (1928-2000) Austrian artist,  several years ago at a gallery in Boston and was immediately drawn to his work.

It was probably not a surprise as his work focused primarily on color and organic forms with few straight lines and had a strong individualized vocabulary.  His work was his work and that spoke to me.  Creating something that was my own individual expression was always my highest priority.

I was also interested into his forays into architecture and urban environmentalism, both of which are often reflected in his work.  But it was primarily his colors and forms that drew me in.  Whenever I come across his work I have to stop and look for a few moments, taking in the whole image at first , letting it register as a single form. Then moving in closer to look at individual elements, seeing how each shape and color plays off the next.  It’s the way I hope people look at my own work.

hundertwasser_shop_fridge_magnet_setThe piece shown here is not one piece but a group of refrigerator magnets massed together but would make an interesting piece.  I was also attracted to his use of black in his edges and underneath his work, something that I have somewhat adapted for my own work.

There is a total commitment to vision in his work that I admire.  And while I don’t feel raw emotion in the work I do find it compelling.

And that is saying something…hundertwasser_fax

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Let Us Now Praise...Strange confluences.

I was going through some old work and came across this piece just as a random track came up on my iPod.  It was a Levon Helm song, the sort of title track from his latest CD, Dirt Farmer.

It really went together beautifully and the rhythm of Levon’s music kind of captured how I saw this fellow looking at his land, the beauty and sorrow of it.

I may have displayed this piece before.  It’s called Let Us Now Praise Famous Men… and was part of my first solo exhibit some 13 years ago, a show called Exiles that was hung at a lovely art center, the Gmeiner, in Wellsboro, PA.  This piece has always resonated with me, having sorts of indicators that I only see.  Little cues that remind me of the time in which this piece was done, giving me a sense of how I felt at the time and how I was viewing the world.  Things that only make the piece special for me.

That’s a pretty common thing.  Cheri has a piece of mine in our home that I painter several years back.  A nice piece but not a great one.  But when I see it I remember all that went into this particular piece and the struggle to pull something from what appeared to be a mess at the time.  I see the effort and determination that recovered the painting from the scrap heap and made it work.  I see it as a turning point in my confidence in my own abilities.

But those are only for  my eyes, probably not evident to the outside world.  Kind of like the dirt farmer above.  Who knows what his eyes behold?

Here’s Poor Old Dirt Farmer from Levon Helm:

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Just a Thought

 Mystic Voice The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings…

As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become.

  • From the Dhammapada
    Sayings of the Buddha

This immediately brought to mind the current state of public dialogue in this country.  There are those whose thoughts are full of fear and anger that soon manifests as angry words which in turn become angry deeds.  Soon these deeds have become the norm and thereafter becomes who we are.

We need to be careful about how we feed our thoughts, about who we allow to influence us. As we think, so we become.

This was brought to mind by a column this past weekend in the New York Times from Frank Rich, warning of the rising, once more, of domestic terrorism here in the USA.  Irresponsible words  feed other angry, fearful minds.  Long repressed angry deeds are triggered.

Those who shake the trees should be careful- they don’t know what may fall from the branches.

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On the Canal

On the CanalThis is a new piece, temporarily titled On the Canal, that I completed this weekend.  This painting is kind of an extension of my Red Roof series that I have been working on for a number of years.  This piece and a few others like it from earlier in the year are different than earlier Red Roof pieces in that the earlier pieces were more about the landscape in which  the red roofed houses appeared.  These newer paintings are more about color and form, the arrangement of both into an almost abstract form.

This is a smaller canvas, 8″ high by 24″ long, but has a bigger feel.  From it I get the sense that I will probably do a larger piece in this manner.  I think a large piece would have great visual impact and may start one soon.  I will post any progress.

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3 Party System?

the-three-stooges-footballYou hear people, somewhere under the din of all the screaming that passes for political discourse, that we are still hampered by our two-party political system, that we need a third choice.

And there have been times when that seems logical but looking at the current political diorama, I can only conclude that we are in a sort of three party system right now.

The Republican Party is in a low ebb right now with only about 28- 34% of the population reporting themselves as being Republicans, according to national polls such as Gallup and others.  The Democrats pull in about 10 % more voters on average, which, as the past presidential election revealed, is a significant difference.  The remainder are independents with “leanings” that are split pretty much equally between the two parties.

So one would think that with this clear difference in political power, the majority party would have the last word in governing.

Alas, we have the Democratic Party which has chosen to become a two party system of its own.  Instead of bonding together behind the issues that the electorate chose to support they have splintered and have given us, for all intent and purpose, a three party system.  Republicans, Democrats and  Blue Dogs, who have decided that the mandate of the electorate was ill-advised and that they, with some advice (and a little cash) from their amiable lobbyist pals, have better answers.

The result seems evident.  Little will be accomplished.  Because of the splintering of the Dems, the weakened Republicans are strengthened and emboldened and become even more of a barricade to any sort of legislative progress.  It’s like a Three Stooges episode, where Moe is nailing up a board and while  he turns to get the next, Curly pulls down the one Moe  has nailed up and hands it to Larry who hands it to Moe, who turns and nails it up.  On and on, with nothing getting done until Moe catches on and bangs Curly and Larry’s heads together.

Well, I’m watching and waiting for Moe to catch on…

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Durer Self PORTRAITWhenever I stumble on anything from Albrecht Durer, the 16th century German artist, I am immediately humbled by the magnificence of his works.  His paintings are beautiful, combining delicacy and strength to create a naturalism that was unusual in its time.  This self-portrait is one of my favorite pieces of portraiture.  His engravings are masterpieces of the art, dense with detail and hidden meaning. Many are allegorical and some are just plain interesting such as this engraving of a rhinoceros, shown below, done only from the descriptions of others, without ever having seen such a creature himself.

Interesting stuff, indeed.

durer rhinoSo if being in awe of his artistic talents weren’t enough, I happened to come across a bit of information that Durer, among other mathematical recognitions,  was also the first to recognize the pentaflake, a mathematical construct that describes the formation of snowflakes.

It goes something like this:

pentaflake 1pentaflake 2pentaflake

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