Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Painting’ Category

“How fathomless the mystery of the Unseen is! We cannot plumb its depths with our feeble senses – with eyes which cannot see the infinitely small or the infinitely great, nor anything too close or too distant, such as the beings who live on a star or the creatures which live in a drop of water… with ears that deceive us by converting vibrations of the air into tones that we can hear, for they are sprites which miraculously change movement into sound, a metamorphosis which gives birth to harmonies which turn the silent agitation of nature into song… with our sense of smell, which is poorer than any dog’s… with our sense of taste, which is barely capable of detecting the age of a wine!

Ah! If we had other senses which would work other miracles for us, how many more things would we not discover around us!”

Guy de Maupassant, The Horla

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

Yesterday I finished the painting above, a 12″ square canvas that is scheduled to head to the Kada Gallery in Erie for my show, Sensing the Unseen, that opens there on December 1. It’s a piece that feels faithful to the theme of the Kada show– that there are energies and forces swirling around us that are imperceptible to our senses. I’ve often felt that one of the purposes of art is to give these forces shape and form.

To make the unseen visible.

And I think this painting is a good example of that thought. Its simple forms, lack of detail and sparse narrative elements might seem an unlikely setting for the unveiling of  hidden forces.

Or maybe these things make it the perfect setting for doing such a thing. Distraction is stripped away. The whiteness of the moon at the horizon becomes a central point of focus. The lightness of the landscape (is that snow?) and the path push the eye further inward, past the windowless houses that seem to act as boundary markers between the known and the unknown. There is a created sense of depth and space that belies the tight dimensions of the picture plane. It all makes you feel as though there is something ponderous, something that begs to be known in that space.

Even the color creates a mysterious paradox. It feels cold with the whiteness of the snow and the moon (or is it a sun?) yet the underlying magenta makes it feel warm. It seems perilous and cold yet still feels warm and inviting. It pushes away and pulls in.

Or it’s just a simple little snowy landscape.

I chose its title, Mystery of the Unseen, from the paragraph at the top taken from a short story, The Horla, from the French master of the short story, Guy de Maupassant. It’s a horror story describing how an unseen alien force– an extraterrestrial– inhabits a man, controlling his mind with the intent of conquering humanity. It was the last story he wrote before being committed to a sanitarium, where he died.

I guess that’s the dark side of the unseen.

Hardly the feeling I experience in this painting.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Mesmerized

I was looking for an image to pair with the music I want to share today  and thought this old piece might work since I’ve been showing a lot of older unseen work lately. It’s a watercolor piece from 1995 or 1996 that I never felt secure enough about to show, one with a guitar dominating the front of the picture plane and a dark character propped in the doorway.

There are a few things wrong with this piece, most notably the way the fretboard  just ends at the body of the guitar. And the dark character is just, well… a little strange. He’s either smoking a cigarette or has been recently on fire–which might explain his charred appearance– and is still smoldering.

But even with these obvious flaws, for some reason I still find myself looking fondly at this piece and liking it. Still not sure about showing it to anybody but liking it, nonetheless.

The music I wanted this to accompany is from Australian fingerstyle guitarist Alan Gogoll who is being hailed for his technique that creates bell-like harmonic tones. I came across a couple of his videos and was drawn in by the way the filming focused on his hands. I am fascinated by watching the hands of musicians when they play and his technique has a grace and poetry in the movement of his hands.

He also has a series of short Instagram videos and one very long Youtube video in which the camera is inside the guitar facing out through the sound hole. You see his fingers picking and the vibration patterns of the strings as each string is plucked. Called Stringscapes, they are pretty mesmerizing.

I am showing a short song called Mulberry Mouse first, followed by the Stringscapes video. As I said, this video is long, coming in at 28 minutes. But it is worth at least taking a look for a minute or two. Or longer. Actually, while I was writing this I took a look and about four minutes passed. I said they were mesmerizing.

You can see more on Alan Gogoll’s website by clicking here.


Read Full Post »

It’s kind of last minute, but I will be doing one more solo exhibit this year.  It will be called Sensing the Unseen and will open Friday, December 1, hosted once more by my friends at the Kada Gallery. The show will run through the end of the year.

I said that it’s kind of last minute because even though I had been tentatively planning on an event at the Kada Gallery, we weren’t sure it would come about due to  health concerns on the part of the owners of the gallery, Kathy and Joe DeAngelo, which limited many gallery activities for much of the past year. As much as I wanted to have another show there, I really didn’t want it if it created an overly stressful workload for either of them.

The Kada Gallery was the first gallery outside my home area to represent my work, back in the first months of 1996. Over the past nearly 22 years, Kathy has been a fervent advocate for my work and has created an inviting landing spot for my work in an area that is probably off the radar of many artists. She takes the work very seriously and her earnest excitement for the work comes through loud and clear when she speaks about it. She has hosted a number of extremely successful shows for me and some of my most avid collectors have started their collections in this gallery.

But more than that, Kathy and Joe treat me like family there which makes me want to do even more for them in my work and my shows for them. So, I view this show as an important thing for my friends there and myself, one that gets my full attention. I am excited for this show and think it will live up, and hopefully exceed, past shows. I have a few things up my sleeve that I think will do just that.

So, pencil it in on your calendar: Sensing the Unseen opening December 1 at the Kada Gallery. Hope you can make it!

Read Full Post »

I am at work on a large commissioned piece. As a rule, I don’t like doing commissions because I sometimes fear the client’s aims and expectations will somehow cloud my creative process and ultimately make the painting less than it might otherwise be. And for me, trying to please someone else’s eye rather than my own is not usually conducive to good work.

And at the beginning of this particular painting, that definitely seemed the case.

I had several reference photos that were provided by the client to give me context and as general guidelines for the kind of landscape they hoped for in the painting. I don’t normally– actually, I never– work from reference photos. I don’t know why but in this case I tried to remain absolutely faithful to them.

It wasn’t good.

I spent a few frustrating days repeatedly laying out the piece then painting it over to restart again. It just didn’t move, didn’t feel alive. It made me tense and a little angry to where I finally came to a place where I determined that I was being too fixated on accuracy and was setting aside the things that I felt were important to me in my work– rhythm, line and pattern.

This was my painting so it had to excite and please me first. I made the decision to have it do just that and began making big changes that would imbue it with the things I needed to see and feel in it. I began to move things around, cutting away elements in the composition and changing the flow of the landscape.

It began to grow in a more organic and less thought out way. Each step got me more engaged and more excited, each subsequent layer of color bringing it a bit more vibrant and alive. I worked last night on it, leaving as it came to a point where it is has all its momentum steaming forward. All of it’s potential seems now evident to me and it feels like it is a balloon filled to the absolute limit, ready to burst at any instant into a mass of color and movement.

For me, this is the most exciting point of a painting. It’s there and I just have to tear away the shell that is keeping it restrained. I feel a palpable excitement looking at it this morning.

I feel good.

I can’t show you any in progress shots because I believe this is meant to be a surprise gift. So I will instead show a very old watercolor from around 1994 which acts as a segue to a little music from the venerable John Lee Hooker and a song whose title and feeling absolutely hit the mark this morning.  It’s his boogie classic I Feel Good.  I call the painting Leroi’s Yellow Guitar.

I could paint to this all day long…

Read Full Post »

The Studio Barn at Sunny Point

As had been mentioned here in the recent past, I will be leading a workshop next week at Sunny Point on the shores of beautiful Keuka Lake here in the Finger Lakes of New York. Sponsored by the Arts Center of Yates County, this is a two day workshop that runs from about 9 AM until 4 PM on September 28 and 29, Thursday and Friday of next week.

This is my third workshop here and in the first two years we focused on my watercolor based method which is what I call a reductive process. You put paint on then take much of it off, creating the edges and transparency that define this style. It was a lot of fun and a little messy.

This year we are going to be working on what I call an additive process which starts with a dark surface, in this case a textured canvas with a layer of black paint. Layers of paint are added, each layer defining form and creating light. The piece at the bottom is an example of the kind of work we’ll be doing. It’s typically a bit slower process with a little more control, more meditative in approach. But we are going to be moving along at a pretty good pace which should make for some interesting work.

It should be a good couple of days in a great environment with the lake just paces away and the glorious fall foliage ablaze on the surrounding hills. All that with some hard work, good fun and a few surprises along the way. I don’t know how many more times I will be doing this type of event so if you would like to share some time painting with me, come on up.

More info can be had by clicking here.

Read Full Post »

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” 

― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness

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

This gets harder and harder all the time.

I can’t describe the knot I get in my gut when trying to pick a painting that is given away at the end of my Gallery Talks. I really agonize over this choice, wanting to make sure that the selection is truly substantial, really representing my work and having enough meaning for myself that it hurts a bit to give it away. This choice hit all those points dead on for me.

The painting for this Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery is The Warmth of Breath, coming in at 16″ by 20″ on canvas.

I am not sure my photography on this painting does it justice, especially in capturing the depth of color. I consider this a very representative piece for my body of work. It is simply constructed with deep colors and texture as the  signature Red Tree casts itself across the face of the Sun/Moon. It’s a painting that seems to draw my attention, the warmth of it always making me stop to consider it if only for a short moment. The title refers to the thought of being self aware, of recognizing the breath of life that flows through you and bonds you with all living things.

There is, for me, a real meditative feel in this painting, one that calms me greatly. I am hoping that it does the same for someone else after this Saturday.

So, to recap, this Saturday, September 16, I will be giving a Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. The talk starts at 1 PM and if you are in attendance you will have a chance to win this painting. Plus, there are a few twists I have planned that I can’t disclose here but I think will please those at the talk.

It could involve card tricks, juggling, mind reading, interpretative dance, yodeling or a combination of all of these things.

Or not.

You will have to come to the Principle Gallery on Saturday to discover what I mean.

Hope to see you there.

Read Full Post »

“As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.” 

― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

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

This is another new painting, 4″ by 18″ on paper, that is part of the new group of paintings that will be coming with me to the Principle Gallery on Saturday, where I will giving my annual Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM.

I call this piece All the Treasure of the World. It’s a continuation of the theme that I featured here a few weeks back in an entry about Acres of Diamonds, the story of an African farmer who sold his land to seek wealth far and wide without realizing that the actual treasure was in his original land.

The difference here is that the definition of treasure is altered from wealth in the form of diamonds and gems to the real treasure that is contained in personal contentment and a deep emotional bond with one’s life and the surrounding world.

Instead of mining for diamonds and gold, one sees the wealth found in being able to watch a cloud lazily meander across the sky.

In the beauty of a field filled with flowers or the gentle curve of a path that takes you home.

In the tears that come with memories of joy or sadness. The tears that come from the recognition of one’s own humanity.

Maybe that’s a lot to ask for in a simple painting but I see these things in this piece. And I feel better for it, understanding in a way where the real treasure lies.

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

GALLERY TALK

at the

PRINCIPLE GALLERY

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 1 PM

GOOD TALK, PAINTINGS, PRIZES AND MORE!

WIN A PAINTING!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: