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Archive for June, 2018

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Every good picture leaves the painter eager to start again, unsatisfied, inspired by the rich mine in which he is working, hoping for more energy, more vitality, more time – condemned to painting for life.

John French Sloan (1871-1951)
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As I get ready for the upcoming West End Gallery show, I am nearing the point that artist John French Sloan describes above. In the weeks just before an exhibit there always seems to be a point where that rich mine of inspiration is finally reached. The work flows easily and before one work is off the easel, another is forming in the mind. It’s a time that is invigorating, brimming with the energy and vitality that Sloan mentions.
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Intoxicating.
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And like anyone with an addiction, taking away the intoxicant induces a form of withdrawal. That’s where I am now. The brushes must be put down and other parts of the process– framing and such– demand attention. I do it but all the time I am wistfully looking at the empty canvasses and the tubes of paint.
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That deep mine still has a lot to yield and I want to go back in before I forget exactly where it was and have to start digging all over again. Yeah, I am that condemned painter. And I am thankful for it every day.
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I am in the midst of a crazy busy week as I put the finishing touches on work for my yearly show at the West End Gallery in Corning, NY. This year’s show is called The Rising and opens a mere two weeks from today, FridayJuly 13.

I primarily chose the title because the focus of many of these pieces in this show rested on the rising of the ball-like suns and moons in them. Add to that the posture of the Red Tree in a number of these paintings where it has seemingly climbed to the top the nearest mound and appears to be attempting to rise up to merge itself with the sky.

To transform itself from the worldly to the ethereal.

Ultimately, that is what I want my work to accomplish.

That’s a big jump, I know. And maybe I am foolhardy in thinking I can find it in my work. Certainly, to rise up above the baseness of the earthly and move into a spiritual realm comprised of higher ideals and virtues seems a far reach for any artist. But shouldn’t we attempt to reach beyond our grasp?

Shouldn’t we always aspire to be better?

It’s that quality of aspiring to be better that I hope comes through in this show. The painting at the top shares its title with the show, The Rising, and I hope lives up to it.

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Again, my new show, The Rising, opens Friday, July 1, at the West End Gallery with a reception that runs from 5-7:30 PM.

Plus, pencil in the date for my annual Gallery Talk at the West End takes place Saturday, August 4, beginning at 1 PM. There are more details on that to come but I can promise I will do my best to make it a good one. Like I said, shouldn’t we aspire to be better?

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Leger/ Color

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Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.

Fernand Leger

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Braque/ Ideas

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Painting is a nail to which I fasten my ideas.

Georges Braque

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Gauguin/ Color

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Color! What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams.

Paul Gauguin
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“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.” 

― Hermann HesseSiddhartha

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The painting at the top, The Questioning, is part of Haven, my solo show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The show is nearing the end of its run there so if you would like to see the work please stop in.

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Mama may have
And your papa may have
But God bless’ the child
That’s got his own…

–Billie Holiday, God Bless the Child

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I have a painting on the easel that I really want and need to get at this morning so I am going to make this short and get right to this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s gray and rainy outside here and my first instinct was to choose Gloomy Sunday from Billie Holiday.

It’s a tremendous song but I thought it was just a little too gloomy and grim for this morning so I opted for another favorite of mine from Billie Holiday, God Bless the Child, written by her in 1939. This is a wonderful version from 1956, just a few years before her death in 1959.

I will let the song speak for itself this morning and refrain from editorializing. You read what you want into it. But give a listen and have a good Sunday.

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