Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Favorite Things’ Category

Edible Sendak

***********************

Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

–Maurice Sendak

**********************

He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

I love this little episode from Maurice Sendak. Reinforces my own faith in the judgement of children when it comes to art. Their reactions are pure and unadulterated– with the emphasis on the adult portion of that word. Kids look at things without pretensions and preconceived notions of what art is or is not. I am happiest when a kid reacts strongly to my work.

If only I could paint something that some kid would love enough to eat…

 

Read Full Post »

************************

It seems at times I should be a composer of sounds, not only of rhythms and colors. Walking under the trees, I felt as if the color made sound.

Charles E. Burchfield

************************

I have featured the work of one of my favorite painters, Charles Burchfield, here a number of times. He is one of those artists whose work attracts me in a very big way yet I never feel that I am able to pull anything from it that will end up in my own work. It’s that distinct in its voice.

My affinity for his work also extends to his thoughts on his work, including the words above. Like Burchfield, I often equate color and form with sound and vice versa. What I might consider my best work has, for me, the quality of music. I don’t know if it’s apparent to anyone but me but I often see some of my paintings as songs with rhythm and lines of melody. I am pretty sure Burchfield felt the same.

Much to do this morning getting work ready for my Principle Gallery show so I am cutting this short. But please take a stroll though some of Burchfield’s work. Listen well because there is music to be heard.

 

Read Full Post »

******************

The mantra becomes one’s staff of life, and carries one through every ordeal. It is no empty repetition. For each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

*****************

I wanted part of my upcoming June show at the Principle Gallery to feature not only new growth, as the show’s title implies, but a few nods of acknowledgement back to my older work. The new painting above, one that I finished just yesterday and am calling Mantra, is such a nod.

I have periodically used multiple images in my work through the years. Some were quite large back in my earlier days, some having as many as 60+ images making up the piece. I am attracted by the look of these piece but also by the mindset required when painting them, one with a blank concentration, one that produces a repetition of thought and form.

This repetition of thought and form produces small incremental changes in each cell. Each is the same but slightly different.

That could be the mantra for my work.

Over the past twenty years of these shows, the work has always changed in small increments. Changes in colors and tones. Changes in strokes and textures. Additions and subtractions in elements and forms. Each is the same but slightly different.

Again, the mantra.

I guess that is why I chose that word mantra for the title. As Gandhi points out above, it is no empty repetition.

Each repetition is new and has its own meaning even though it is seemingly the same. Each is its own moment in time, its own coordinate on the grid of time and space.

Whether this repetition takes one closer to god, as Gandhi adds, I cannot say. I don’t know what that even means. But if it means that it brings one closer to understanding and a sense of unity with this world, then I agree heartily and this painting, this mantra, says everything I need to know.

***********************

My new solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery , my 20th annual show there, is titled Red Tree: New Growth and opens June 7, 2019 at their Alexandria, VA gallery.  The painting above, Mantra, will be included in this show.

Read Full Post »

***************

I pursue no objectives, no systems, no tendency; I have no program, no style, no direction. I have no time for specialized concerns, working themes, or variations that lead to mastery. I steer clear of definitions. I don’t know what I want. I am inconsistent, non-committal, passive; I like the indefinite, the boundless; I like continual uncertainty.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

Gerhard Richter, the contemporary German artist born in 1932, is one of those artists whose thoughts about his work have made me appreciate to his work much more fully. He has a way of putting things in terms that are accessible, not just balloons filled with pompous artspeak that says very little.  More than that, much of what he says aligns with how I see art and the purpose of art, even though our work manifests itself in very different ways. I often come something he has said or written that very much echoes my own thoughts, often in a a very similar way. For example, he speaks about the rightness of art, something I to which I also often refer.

His work has moved around through the years through his iconic abstractions to photography and photorealism painting. I tend to gravitate and think of his work in terms of his abstract work, the Abstraktes Bild series from the 1980’s and the 2010’s. I thought I’d share a few of those pieces along with some his thoughts.

At the very bottom is a piece of music from guitarist Bill Frisell. It is from a project that combined Richter’s work, specifically a large book of his art, along with an album from Frisell titled Richter 858. Each track on the album correlates to a piece of Richter’s art. The piece of music below corresponds to the painting directly above it, Abstrakte Bild 858-3. Interesting concept.

 

***************

I believe that art has a kind of rightness, as in music, when we hear whether or not a note is false.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

My paintings are wiser than I am.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

****************

I would like to try to understand what is. We know very little, and I am trying to do it by creating analogies. Almost every work of art is an analogy.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

I believe that the quintessential task of every painter in any time has been to concentrate on the essential.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

The desire to please is maligned, unfairly. There are many sides to it. First of all, pictures have to arouse interest before people will even look at them, and then they have to show something that holds that interest – and naturally they have to be presentable, just as a song has to be sung well, otherwise people run away. One mustn’t underrate this quality, and I have always been delighted when my pieces have also appealed to the museum guards, the laymen.

-Gerhard Richter

***************

Gerhard Richter- Abstraktes Bild 858-3

Read Full Post »

Jack Shadbolt- Presence After Fire – 1950

***********************

An artist is no bigger than the size of his mind.

–Jack Shadbolt (1909-1998)

***********************

I have to admit that I knew little of the Canadian painter Jack Shadbolt before this morning. But I was immediately taken by his use of bold colors and forms along with an interesting use of symbolism depicted in a blend of representation and abstraction. I was also impressed with the scale of his many triptychs, their size giving the work greater weight. Just interesting work to put it simply.

There is a good short bio of Jack Shadbolt that you can read by clicking on this link. It gives you an idea of the forces, such as his World War II experiences, and people–his friendship with iconic Canadian painter Emily Carr, for example– that shaped his work. It also makes clear the influence his work has in his homeland.

One thing I discovered was that as Shadbolt was suffering at the age of 89 from congestive heart failure, his wife brought him home from the hospital. She set up a hospital bed in the center of his studio in British Columbia so that he might be surrounded by his paintings and be in that place where he had spent most of his time at his life’s work. He died there in his studio several days later.

I thought to myself that would not be a bad way to go. That is, if for some reason I decide to die someday.

But the focus today is on the short quote above, one with which I heartily agree. Whenever speaking to students I try to stress the need to grow their mind, to become an interesting person with something to say. To read more. To watch and listen more. To simply think and continue to learn.

Technique without an active mind behind it bears lifeless work.

At least, that’s my opinion. And Shadbolt said that beautifully and succinctly.

Now, take a look at some of the work of Jack Shadbolt.

Read Full Post »

I wasn’t going to make Mother’s Day the subject of today’s blog but walking over to the studio in the gray,cool drizzle put me in a slightly sad and wistful mood, one that made me think of my own mother on this day. I’ve posted the bit of writing below a couple of times over the years and thought it was worth doing so again this morning.  I ran this post before with an old Eddy Arnold song that I knew Mom liked very much but today I am running it with one she most likely never heard, Helpless, from Neil Young. It’s one of my favorites and one that certainly aligns with the tone of this morning here. Have a good day.

*****************

GC Myers- A Hard PastIt’s Mother’s Day again. You might think the image I am showing today is an odd selection for this day. It’s a small painting called A Hard Past that is from my 2008 Outlaws series. It’s one of a few pieces that I deeply regret ever letting go as it holds great personal meaning for me. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

I know that this may not seem like a flattering thing to say but every time I look at this image I see my Mom’s face. At least, a certain look she had when she was sitting by herself in silence at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of tea and smoking her ever-present Camel cigarettes, those unfiltered beauties that no doubt contributed to the lung cancer that took her life at age 63.

She would sit in stillness for a long period time at that table with a distant and hardened gaze on her face. I always wondered what she was thinking or where she was in that moment. But when you’re a kid you just move through the kitchen without a word or a question.

Oh, the things we leave unsaid and the questions that go unasked.

More’s the pity…

The title, A Hard Past, came from this memory of her. She had a pretty hard life- her mother died when she was three, no school beyond ninth grade, years of toiling in a factory and a long, turbulent and angry marriage to my father. It gave her a hard edge, a toughness that several people commented on after her death back in 1995.

But they also commented on her humor, generosity and willingness to help others who might need a hand– those qualities that I also saw in her. Those qualities that I so miss.

So while this painting may not seem like a flattering tribute, just seeing my Mom in this piece means so much to me, reminding me of all she was to me.

Have a pleasant Mother’s Day…

*************
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7rQvJgTQ9U

Read Full Post »

Just a few paintings and a simple quote today from the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991). I love his use of color, something for which he was celebrated. He was very prolific through a long career and while his work is easily understood by everybody, everywhere, as he said above, it was often built with the colors and imagery of his homeland.

I am showing just the tiniest sampling of his body of work which, simply put, is good stuff.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: