Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Recent Paintings’ Category

SOWING LIGHTNING

Seize
Bolts of lightning from the sky
And plant them in fields of life.

They will grow like tender sprouts of fire.
Charge somber thoughts
With unexpected flash,
You, my lightning in the soil! 

― Visar Zhiti, The Condemned Apple: Selected Poetry

+++++++++++++++++++++

This is a newer painting that I’ve been looking at for a while now here in the studio. With its many lightning bolts, it’s obviously different from most of my work even though most of it falls in line with the body of my work.

Most of my considerations have to do with whether I feel there is more to be done on this piece. That’s not uncommon when a new element is added. It takes time for me to accept this new thing being interjected into my quiet little world.

I guess that can be said for most new things.

I can see where a lot of people who know my work might have mixed feelings about this piece that seems so much like an anomaly. It has a feeling of an electrical shock in it, shiny and sharp and harsh. If you’ve ever been zapped by a strong jolt of electricity, you know what I mean.

I know that feeling.

But for now, I continue to consider this painting. It may change in some way before it ever sees the outer world again.

Or may be not. For now, I am calling it Sowing Lightning after the poem at the top from the Albanian poet Visar Zhiti. The idea of lightning planting itself in the earth with each strike is an intriguing one.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

++++++++++++++++++

It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are, if indeed you cannot get it above them, than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.

–Henry David Thoreau

++++++++++++++++++

This is a new painting, titled Aurae, that is part of my upcoming June show at the Principle Gallery. It has a real presence in a space, mainly to its strong colors and its sheer size, 36″ by 36″. I know that it’s a piece that my eyes keep coming back to during the day as I am working in the studio and with each look comes a deep and satisfying pang.

Pang.

I don’t know what that even means except that it feels good.

I guess it also means that it feels right and true.

Core. Essential.

I just feel a pang inside, in that area between my head and my heart, when I look at it.

Aurae is the plural of aura and it refers to the pale blue aurae that runs around each cloud. These blue aurae were actually never meant to be so visible. They were meant to be a step to another upcoming layer (or layers) that would have undoubtedly altered the final painting from what you are seeing. But once they were in place, they suddenly made the piece jump to life. The whole piece seemed to speak at that point and I knew I couldn’t cover these aurae with more paint.

But aurae also refers to the general atmosphere that surrounds the central Red Tree here. It’s an atmosphere of completeness, of self-knowledge.  Or as Thoreau said in the words at the top, of knowing where you truly are as a human.

I am going to stop talking about it. The more I write, the less I seem to be saying.

Let’s just go with pang.

 

Read Full Post »

While searching for a piece of music to feature here this morning, I found myself looking over at this new painting shown here as I listened to the music. As usual, the search had me running down rabbit holes that sent me in all different directions, none that satisfied me enough to want to share it.

Then I somehow ended up on this modern classical piano piece from composer Phillip Glass, Etude No. 14, played by pianist Vikingur Olafsson. There’s a part in it, starting at about 1:15, that the sound and this painting just seemed to mesh for me, filling out the feeling that I was experiencing as I was taking it in.

It is a painting that is still on the easel, near completion or so I think. I am in that part of the process where I am still examining it, absorbing it to see what it has for me, what it’s trying to say to and for me. And here, the music created a narrative line that pulled me and the image together.

It’s hard to explain. Everybody sees art differently, having different expectations of what they hope to extract from it, if anything. I think a lot of folks don’t even think about those expectations and just react to what is before them. I do that as well and it is generally gives a true response.

But more often I see art as an existential puzzle with pieces that provide clues as to our meaning and purpose. There are works that attract me and I search them for these clues, trying to figure out if there are answers or where it will send me next in my search. In this painting, the Glass music helped me see what I had only sensed before.

As I said, it’s hard to explain.

Anyway, give a listen and have yourself a good Sunday. By the way, I am calling this painting Etude No. 14.

Read Full Post »

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.

–Stephen Hawking

++++++++++++++

I’ve been working on a series of paintings recently for my June show at the Principle Gallery that feature fragmented skies with stars appearing at their junctures. Some are very geometric and angular while some– like the one, In the Stars, shown here–have more organic shapes with more randomness in their arrangement.

Both satisfy some part in me, in their creation and in the appreciation for them I feel once they reach a point of completion. Maybe it’s that there is a meditative stillness in both aspects. Painting them definitely creates a deep sense of quietude for me that I also find in studying them after they are done.

It is the kind of stillness that spurs wonder and curiosity, the kind that makes one look into the night sky with hopes that extend beyond our present time and place. Are we alone in this vast universe or are we the end-product– the flowers, perhaps — of one of those shining stars?

I don’t know and most likely will never know. But I will always have the need to wonder…

 

 

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

+++++++++++

By three methods we may learn
wisdom: First, by reflection,
which is the noblest; Second, by
imitation, which is easiest;
and Third, by experience,
which is the bitterest.

Confucius

+++++++++++

This is another new painting, a 10″ by 20″ canvas that I am calling A Time to Reflect.  This is also going to be part of my show, Haven, that opens June 1 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria.

I had my first show at the Principle in 2000 with the Redtree show that turned out to be the formal beginning point for the image of that tree that has come to populate and define much of my work. Each subsequent year has seen some change, an addition of a new element or shade of color, that pushes the work in a slightly new direction.

For this, my 19th show at the Principle, I have made a conscious decision to have many pieces of this exhibit revert to more simplified forms, cutting away a lot of excess detail and focusing on pulling as much as I can from a sparse set of elements. To allow the color, the texture, the shapes and lines of the forms to speak clearly. Even on the recent geometric, broken sky pieces, the compositions are simply constructed which creates an abundance of space that allows the shapes and colors of the sky’s forms to carry the emotion of the painting.

This particular painting very much feels like it may have come from those earliest shows at the Principle Gallery with the addition of nearly twenty years of reflection. Hopefully, it displays the nobility of wisdom gained through reflection, as Confucius states in his words at the top.

I think you must experience all three methods to truly gain wisdom. You first learn through imitation. Then you learn even more from the failures that come with your first attempts to use this acquired knowledge. But after a time filled with many failures and a few triumphs, you come to a sort of peace with the world and are able to stop to look back with a new respect and gratitude for it all.

And in that moment of reflection, when you have shed the bitterness, recognized your shortcomings and gave thanks for your few positive attributes, maybe there is a certain nobility. And maybe then there is real wisdom.

I’m hoping to find out someday.

Read Full Post »

I Am Not Alone

The night, it is deserted
from the mountains to the sea.
But I, the one who rocks you,
I am not alone!

The sky, it is deserted
for the moon falls to the sea.
But I, the one who holds you,
I am not alone !

The world, it is deserted.
All flesh is sad you see.
But I, the one who hugs you,
I am not alone!

Gabriela Mistral

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Another new piece that just came off the easel, this one a 24″ by 24″ canvas. I think I am going to call this painting Never Alone.

I’ve written about the focused, almost mesmerized, feeling that comes over me when I have been at work on this recent work and this painting was no different. It just pulled me in from the beginning and held me captive. Even when I would stop working on it, I was constantly looking back at it, trying to absorb it as though it were some sort of balm.

And maybe that is just what it is for myself. A soothing balm.

I came across the poem above a number of years ago from the great Chilean poetess and Nobel Prize winner, Gabriela Mistral, and shared it on the blog back in 2010. I wrote then that I felt this poem perfectly paired with a painting I had done at that time. I think the same holds true here.

As I wrote in 2010:  The sense of being alone yet not lonely is an important element in the way I look at my work and one that I sometimes struggle with for fear that it may alienate some who see being alone as only loneliness and not solitude. An important distinction and one that is often misunderstood. 

But we who relish our solitary time understand.

Well, I have some solitary time right now to further absorb my balm.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: