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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Real busy this morning but wanted to share some paintings and a short video/slideshow of the work of the great American Modernist painter John Marin, who was born in 1870 and died in 1953. He was a pioneer in the medium of watercolor as well as the merging of abstraction and realism in his paintings.

His transparent and translucent colors and the freedom with which he painted, along with the ever freshness of his work,  really inspired me early on. Each painting seemed to be an improvised performance, like a visual jazz riff. Though my style has diverged greatly from his, I still find myself wanting the looseness and immediacy of expression that his work so often displayed.

Take a look and a listen. The music behind this slideshow is Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose played by James P. Johnson who was a great pianist and composer, a pioneer in the stride style of jazz playing. Good stuff.

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Quiet morning and I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out what I want to play today for this Sunday morning music break. Spent a lot of time listening to a lot of different things. I would say it was too much time spent but it’s been enjoyable just taking the time and focusing on the music rather than having it as a background sound while I work.

And I think there are benefits in just really zoning in on the music without distraction, hearing the edge of the notes and the path of the rhythm. The individual elements become clearer and stronger, something that is often lost when there are a thousand other thoughts and sensations running through the mind. When I’m in the studio sometimes the sounds in the background become a drone that becomes a thread that interweaves with whatever thoughts are guiding the task at hand.

And that’s a shame because I know that I often miss the crucial part of the music in this miasma of thought, the part that inspires, that takes you to another place and time. The transcendent part.

This morning I’ve chosen the jazz standard ‘Round Midnight performed by its composer, the legendary Theloni0us Monk. I’m no jazz aficionado. Can’t tell you a lot about the history of the genre or the importance of different tracks or performances or even who ranks highest among those who do know. But I do know that Thelonious Monk has iconic standing in jazz, as does this song. This is a performance by Monk and his quartet from 1966.

I can only say that I like what I like. It’s my main criteria for judging most everything. Sometimes it goes along with the consensus of the experts and sometimes it just suits my own tastes. Here, I think it’s just plain good stuff that I can listen to with pure focus. Have a listen and hopefully you will have great day afterward.

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My Buddy Chase in front of the work

Back in the studio after Friday’s opening of Truth and Belief at the Principle Gallery. Without hyperbole, I am saying it was a good show and a good trip. As smooth and easy and satisfying as any of the previous 17 shows there. Just plain good. Good crowd. Good conversations with good people. Good feelings about the work.

So when we left yesterday, I can honestly say I felt pretty good about the whole thing. Still do, which is new territory for me. Usually by this morning I am filled with second thoughts about things I could have done differently, words I could have said differently and so on. But for now, I am standing pat with the whole of what happened.

It was good.

I have to send out heartfelt thank yous to everyone at the Principle Gallery. They are a very special group of people. Affectionate thanks to Michele, Clint, Pam, Pierre and Haley for their friendship and encouragement. There’s so much I could say but I think they know how we feel about them.

Plus super thanks to my canine friends, Ash and Chase, who always brighten my visits with their high energy.

I think this show was as honest and transparent an expression of what I hope to be as an artist and a person as I could have mustered. I don’t feel like I am masked behind the work, that I am presenting a facade that misrepresents me. I am hoping that means I am closing in on some elusive and unconscious goal. Can’t say I will ever truly reach it. Might not even know if I do. But for now, the mask feels like its off.

For this week’s music, I have chose a song that sort of fits with that last sentiment.  It’s This Masquerade written and performed by the late great Leon Russell. It is probably best known for the George Benson version that was a huge hit across all of the charts. But I like this version from Leon alone with his piano.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

 

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Well, the work for the Truth and Belief show is delivered to the Principle Gallery and I can try to let out a big sigh of relief. I say try because I still have to endure the week until the show opens this coming Friday.

I’ve documented these feelings before on this blog from past shows, about how any confidence that may have grown as I was finishing the work for the show suddenly disappears once it is delivered.

It’s no different this for this year’s show. I walked in the studio early this morning and, without the reassurance from the show’s paintings that were now out of my sight, felt absolutely lousy. The big ball of anxiety was sitting directly on my gut.

I began to wonder if it was too late to become a backhoe operator. Or when the next person asks what I do and I tell them I’m a painter and they ask how much it would cost to get their bedrooms painted, I should give them a price.

But I know the routine, know it’s just part of the pattern. I’ve been experienced these same thoughts many times before and there is something in me that recognizes that I have put in the effort and been true to myself with this work.  It is a real thing.

It will work out in the long run.

Besides, I can’t really do anything else. Don’t want to do anything else. Actually, I don’t even look at what I do anymore as having been a choice. It’s just what I am now and there’s no changing that.

And that thought will carry me through the week. Oh, I’ll still feel like crap and lose every ounce of confidence I have ever known. But that’s okay because I know I will soon be back to work, being who I am meant to be.

Okay, enough of that and on to this week’s Sunday morning music. I hear that it’s Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to feature a combination of image and song that kind of fit the spirit of the holiday.  Not picnics and fireworks but the remembering part.  So many brave people have given their lives with the belief that they were defending our common values.  In these fractured times I think it’s important that we use the memory of their sacrifice as an opportunity to examine what those true values might be and how we can find common ground within them.

The painting above is from the show and is a 9″ by 12″ canvas titled So Well Remembered. The music is a short piece from trumpeter Richard Boulger titled For Souls Past. It’s a stark and lovely tune. Both have the feeling of memory that the day requires.

Have a great day…

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Race the LightSunday morning. It’s quiet which I like immensely. Early mornings are my favorite time, when there are fewer people stirring, fewer yahoos who feel it is their right and profound duty to create as much sound as they can in order that the universe might know they are alive. Those rare times when traveling, I like to get up early and prowl the streets of wherever we might be, taking in the landscape and buildings in a much quieter setting. The few people who are there are either early morning folks like myself who gladly soak in the quiet or they have somewhere to go and are still quietly dazed from being dragged from their bed.

Either way, they don’t make much noise.

I wish I had more time to prattle on endlessly but even though it’s Sunday, it’s still a work day for me.  And a very busy one at that as I continue my prep work for my show that opens in less than two weeks. Still so much to do but I am enjoying seeing it come together. I find it exciting to revisit each piece as I frame them, seeing things that may have slipped my mind since I put the touch of paint to them and set them aside.

Take the painting above, a simple 6″ by 12″ piece that employs a boat motif I have revisited a number of times over the years. My challenge when doing that is to find something new within a narrow compositional parameter with but a couple of elements and little space to add more. The new has to come in the form of color and strokes and texture. And I think this piece, Race the Light, feels new and different than its predecessors. It has its own oomph, its own life and it draws me in anew.

So, in keeping with the boat theme for this week’s Sunday morning music I am going back to some 1980’s music and a song from World Party called Ship of Fools. The song was used in a much different form, much darker and menacing, near the end of the most recent episode of the great TV series Fargo. But the original is a good tune, a great bit of 80’s music. Plus the video is really of the time which sometimes might inspire a chuckle.  The lyrics may pertain to today and tomorrow as much as they did 30 years ago.

You be the judge. Enjoy and have a good day.

 

 

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Really busy this morning as I try to wrap up everything for my Truth and Belief show that opens June 2 at the Principle Gallery. As it always is at this point, a week from delivering the show, there is still a lot to do including what seems like a million little, nit-picky details, those small touches that I find make a big difference.

So this morning I am just throwing out a lovely short video of the paintings of pointillist painter Georges Seurat set to the music of Vivaldi.  Both always strike me as rock solid so I figure that you can’t go wrong either way. It’s a good and relaxing way to kick off an overly active Saturday.

So take just a few minutes and relax in the relaxing colors of Seurat and music of Vivaldi.

Have a great day.

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Well, it’s Mother’s Day.  I am not going to wax sentimental here today except to say that I will think of my Mom today, just like I have nearly every day since she passed away nearly 22 years ago. I miss her in so many ways.

The painting at the top is called Days Like This and is a little 6″ by 12″ canvas that will be in my Principle Gallery show in June.  The hanging Red Chair here represents, as it often does for me, a deceased ancestor. Maybe my Mom on this day.

The title is taken from the Van Morrison song of the same name that fits right in with the day and is my selection for this week’s Sunday morning music. Instead of the warnings of bad days and lost loves ahead that The Shirelles offered in the early 60’s hit Mama Said, Morrison’s mother in his song let him know that there would be good days ahead as well.

Hope you have a good day. Be nice to your Mom and if she’s no longer around, remember some good times with her.

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