Archive for July 18th, 2022

If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.

― Ted Williams

The words above may or may not have much to do with baseball– or art– but the fact that they were spoken by Ted Williams, long considered perhaps the greatest pure hitter in baseball history and the holder of one of my favorite nicknames, the Splendid Splinter, made it worthy of inclusion here today. That and the fact that it’s good advice for anyone– baseball players, fans, artists, or anyone else.

I thought since Major League Baseball is on break for its annual All-Star festivities, I would take this opportunity to show off a couple of new baseball paintings that are part of my exhibit of new work that opens Friday at the West End Gallery.

The two pieces shown at the top are Big Time and Homefield. Both are 12″ by 16″ on aluminum panel.

I enjoy painting these baseball pieces. Part of it undoubtedly comes from some innate attraction to the geometry of the baseball diamond, something I’ve felt since I was a small child. Another part is just the simple process of composing these particular paintings. They always start with the diamond at some point on the surface and then the rest of the composition spreads out organically.

Painting that spreading part is a constant process of problem solving, weighing and balancing each element while trying to predict what one mark on the surface will dictate for the next. These pieces, while enjoyable to paint, are also very taxing. They require long periods of tight concentration with little time to let the mind wander or go into a state of stillness.

I generally feel a little wiped out after working on these pieces. Maybe that can be attributed to the advice from Ted Williams. Perhaps too much thinking for my limited capacity.

But so long as the result pleases me, I can deal with that. And the baseball pieces generally please me very much. I can’t put a finger on any one aspect that triggers this reaction. They simply please some inner part of me. Sometimes it feels like I have an unspecified personal need to paint these pieces and these two have fulfilled that need.

Here’s a little Baseball Boogie from Mabel Scott to kick off the All Star break. Now, play ball!

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