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Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

Yesterday, I delivered the work for my Icons & Exiles show to the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield, NY. I have to admit that the gallery isn’t anything like the image of it I imagined when I was approached a couple of years ago to do this exhibit. But seeing the space and the library again put any doubts I had to rest. What a great gallery space! And the library is such a beautiful building! Both the gallery and the library are gems.

I am actually excited to see this group of work in this space.

The work for this show primarily consists of work from my early Exiles series along with my more recent Icons series. There is also a smaller group from my 2006 Outlaws series along with a variety of pieces that don’t fit into any series. They are just favorites of mine, personal paintings that I think are pretty interesting.

There are also two pieces from my Archaeology series including the painting shown at the top, Archaeology: A New History. This painting hasn’t been shown in many years and is, at 36″ by 48″, the largest painting of this series. It is one of my favorites from this series so I am pleased to have it back out in public view as part of this show.

I think this will be an interesting show, one that has a more narrative feel than my typical shows. There are many stories being told in these paintings.

I know that Westfield is a bit out of the way for many folks. For my friends in Erie, where my work has shown at the Kada Gallery there for the past 24 years, it is a 30 mile trek and for those in my home area it’s a few hours drive. But it takes you by lovely Lake Chautauqua and its famous institute and Westfield itself is a peach of a town. Hopefully, this show will make the trip worthwhile.

So, if you find yourself out around Lake Chautauqua or,over a short distance, closer to Lake Erie this Friday, August 23, between 7 and 9 PM, please stop in and take a look at the Icons & Exiles show at the Octagon Library at the historic Patterson Library.

I’ll be glad to tell you some stories.

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“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

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The painting shown above is Light and Wisdom, part of my show, Moments and Color, that is currently on the walls of the West End Gallery. It’s a personal favorite of mine and one that I think sometimes get overlooked by other work that is larger or brighter. Maybe it’s just that I see a lot of personal symbolism in it. The background of the sky resembles a maze which symbolizes the search for something, for example. And it has my recurring symbols of the Red Roofs, the path that runs toward a distant point, the guide trees that frame the scene, the far horizon and, of course, the Red Tree arriving at a moment of realization in the form of the light from the rising sun.

It’s a meaningful piece for me and my hope is that others will see that in it as well.

I love the lines below it from T.S. Eliot, feeling that they express so well what I see in this painting. Life often feels like a constant search for some vaguely defined object– knowledge, wisdom, love, experience, etc.– that will make us somehow whole. Yet, as is often the case, we only reach wholeness within ourselves, in that place where the journey began. Maybe that is why I chose this painting for this bit of verse from Eliot– it has a sense of wholeness that has been ultimately fulfilled by realizing that the answer was in itself.

The answer, the light that illuminates our meaning, is always near, always just waiting for us to really see it for what it is.

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You can see Light and Wisdom at the West End Gallery where I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk this coming Saturday, August 17, beginning at 1 PM. As mentioned here before, the Gallery Talks always features some great conversation, some laughs, occasional tears and the pièce de résistance, a drawing for an original painting — or maybe two?–along with some other pretty neat prizes. Hope you can make it there!

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Busy this morning getting ready for two events–this coming Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery followed quickly in the next week by the opening of my Icons & Exiles exhibit at the Octagon Art Gallery at the historic Patterson Library.

There’s actually a lot to do for both events, even the Gallery Talk where you might think that I just show up and talk. Sometimes it sure seems that way. But I do try to organize my thoughts, to establish some sort of theme that kicks off the thing in a positive way. And for me, that is work.

So, today I am showing a piece, The Attuning, that has only been shown once. It had been in a gallery’s flat files for many years and I do not think and I do not think was ever shown fully presented in mat and frame. It probably only came out of the file a few times over the years. It appeared on their website and its colors appeared a little severe to my eye. That was how I judged the piece for all those years. It became a lesser piece for me.

But when I saw the actual piece again for the first time in six years, I realized how wrong my judgement had been. Yes, they were strong colors. But my original photo editing had skewed it away from its reality. The actual painting felt so much different than the image I had seen online. It was, in fact, much more nuanced and subtle than I had been seeing it in my mind through the years.

I saw it in the way I no doubt saw it when it was created.

I have reedited the image and it feels closer now to the reality of the painting. Glad it was able to change my mind.

That brings us to the music for this Sunday morning. It is When Your Mind’s Made Up from Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard. This is from Once, the 2007 film that Hansard starred in and for which he won an Oscar for his songwriting. It was later turned into a hit Broadway musical. This song was my favorite from the film, where it was performed with a backing band in a recording studio. There, the song built and built with the band coming to a large crescendo. I came across this live performance with just Glen Hansard and thought that it couldn’t possibly match the version with the band.

I was very wrong. Glad it was able to change my mind.

Give a listen and have a good day. Hope to see you next Saturday at the West End Gallery for the Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM. Check out yesterday’s blog entry to see the painting you could win there. Plus, a few other things that I’m not going to discuss here.

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My annual Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery is a week away. It takes place next Saturday, August 17, beginning at 1 PM. It’s an hour of conversation about art and often much more that comes to an end with what has become a tradition– the drawing for an original painting to awarded to someone in attendance.

I have written in the past about how I sweat over the selection of the paintings for these drawings. I really want these paintings to be meaningful for myself so that it feels like I am actually making a sacrifice in letting go of the piece. To be honest, I have given away paintings in the past that I kind of regret having done so now and wish I had held on to them.

But I know that by giving those paintings away that I cherish, they most likely will have more meaning to those who receive them. And that is important to me.

Take for example the choice I have made to give away next Saturday, shown at the top. It is a painting called Night Oath from 2007. It was shown only once for a short time in a gallery before coming home to me. Never showed it again.

It always felt special to me but I knew that in its original form it was much too dark. It had great color but it didn’t pop off the surface. Over the years I have always planned to rework the painting but something always came up and the painting shuffled from spot to spot in my studio, patiently awaiting its time.

Recently, that time came. I added a lot of light and highlights to the surfaces and was smitten with the finished piece. It was the painting I always thought it should be, so much more vibrant and alive than it was for all those years in waiting.

It deserved to be seen, deserved to be part of someone’s life.

Maybe part of your life.

Next Saturday I will part with it and it will begin a new life somewhere outside my studio. I am excited by the thought that this painting might take on new meaning for someone else. I make my living  and get great gratification in selling my work but the simple act of transferring a meaningful painting in these events is a special moment for me. There’s a certain freedom that comes in letting things go. That may be what defines the spirit of generosity. I don’t know.

Whatever the case, please come on out to the West End Gallery next Saturday, August 17 for the Gallery Talk and a chance to make Night Oath part of your life. Plus, there are some other little surprises so definitely try to make it.The Talk begins at 1 PM and, as I’ve noted before here, try to get there a bit early to get a seat– it fills up pretty quickly! Maybe we can have a pre-Talk chat.

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Bazonka

Hard to believe I’ve been doing this blog for nearly eleven years now. It’s just part of what I do now so I don’t really think about it much. I was going over some stats from the site and found that the entry below from ten years back, in late August of 2009, has the most views of any single post, well over a hundred thousand hits. It’s a silly bit of verse from the late British-Irish comedian Spike Milligan called Bazonka.

In a world where everyone is trying to tell you what you should do, saying Bazonka might not be the worst advice you’ll get today. So, let me be the first to say it. Bazonka!

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BAZONKA

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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Revolver

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Each day just goes so fast

I turn around, it’s past

You don’t get time to hang a sign on me

 

Love me while you can

Before I’m a dead old man

 

Beatles, Love You To

 

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Running late but wanted to share this little bit. On this date, August 5, back in 1966, a favorite album of mine, the groundbreaking Revolver from the Beatles, was released. With its daring technical innovations, it set the tone for pop and rock music then, bringing the psychedelic era to the wider audience of pop music. It was like they kicked their machine into a higher gear that challenged every other musician to follow them.

It’s good stuff.

I have quite a few favorites on this album but the two that jump out at me are Tomorrow Never Knows and Love You To, both heavily influenced by George Harrison‘s affinity for the music and rhythms of India. I’ve never played Love You To here and thought today would be appropriate.

Give a listen and have a decent day.

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and i had a cold one at the dragon
with some filipino floor show
and talked baseball with a lieutenant
over a singapore sling
and i wondered how the same moon outside
over this chinatown fair
could look down on illinois
and find you there

–Tom Waits, Shore Leave

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I have things to do today so I will keep this short. I just wanted to share the painting above, Navigator, that is part of my show, Moments and Color, that is hanging at the West End Gallery, along with an old favorite of mine, Shore Leave, from Tom Waits. They seem to go together well. I think the moon in the painting could very well be the same moon in the song. Okay, I know that it obviously would be the same moon since we only know our one moon. But I am talking metaphorically here, about it being in a particular moment in time and space.

Oh, forget it. I am off to work and wish you a good day.

 

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