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No Idiots Today

I couldn’t write a post yesterday and to be quite honest, I don’t want to write one today.

I am tired. Tired of so many things but mainly of one thing in particular.


The sheer unabashed idiocy of those who cling to the idea of some fantasy land of racial and ethnic purity, who wave the flag of a failed and misguided revolt as a symbol of their stupidity. Idiots who have enjoyed a life of relative entitlement and opportunity simply due to the color of their skin then whine and cry and lash out when others seek a level playing field.

And even more than that, I am tired of the idiocy of those who seek to rationalize and sanction their words and actions, who seek to find some sort of equivalency in the actions of those who stand against these purveyors of hatred. It’s an idiocy that blinds them to their own lack of moral and ethical decency, leading them to believe that this pouting weakness is somehow a strength or is right in some way.

It’s the same idiocy that failed to see the events of this past weekend ( and most likely many more similar events to come) was an inevitability when they voted for a man lacking any moral or ethical compass, a creature who would exploit anything in order to achieve his desired selfish ends, to act as the de facto leader of this nation. The same idiocy that sees his fake tough guy act as strength when it has been glaringly apparent for decades that he is an absolute weakling in so many ways, someone who constantly portrays himself as a victim, who whines incessantly and can’t tolerate criticism of any kind.

I am sick and tired to death of the idiocy of those fools that thought a man-baby who refuses to accept any responsibility for any action could somehow bring this country together or solve anyone’s problems. He will discard people and step over any number of bodies to keep his head above water.

Unfortunately, he is the perfect leader for the white supremacists– spoiled, intellectually weak cry babies who shun responsibility for anything they do or say and whine that are entitled to any and all built in advantages.

I am tired of dealing with the idiocy of young white men who somehow feel they are victims, that they are being shortchanged in some way, that others are responsible for their shortcomings, that others have in some way taken away a birthright to which they alone are entitled.

I am tired. Jesus, I am exhausted from witnessing these idiots. But even so, I know that can’t keep me from maintaining a vigilance and standing actively opposed to these hate-filled idiots.

That is a responsibility we all must take upon ourselves.

After the election, I saw several people, including some I know personally, write that they supported the person who won the election but was appalled that anyone would think that their endorsement in any way meant that they endorsed racism, homophobia or xenophobia in any way. They claimed that they would stand opposed to any of these things if they arose during his presidency.

It is time for these people to step up the plate. This is not a time to remain quiet, to shrug it off and pretend it isn’t part of your world. Silence sanctions more of the same and soon, whether they like it or not, it will soon be at their door. And then it will be much too late.

I know this doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t change a thing with so many words being written, spoken and screamed. No, this was just written for me. So if you’re one of those idiots and you think I am not being fair to you, keep it to yourself.  If you can’t see the lack of morality, decency and humanity in the actions of the white supremacist morons or this so-called president who readily endorses them with his actions and words — or lack of words– then it’s not my responsibility to convince you.

You are responsible for who you are.


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Loving Vincent

There is a film coming out in September that deals with the death of Vincent van Gogh. Called Loving Vincent, the film has been in the works for several years and features several high profile actors–Chris O’Dowd, Saoirse Ronan and Aidan Turner  as van Gogh.  It tells the story of the artist’s sudden death as a sort of mystery/detective tale with one of van Gogh’s portrait subjects as the narrator. The characters move through scenes and locales easily recognizable to fans of van Gogh.

But what makes this project truly interesting is the manner in which the story is told on film. It is supposedly the first completely hand-painted feature film. I guess they somehow distinguish between this and the drawing/painting of features such as Disney’s Snow White.

Maybe it’s in the manner of painting. They used a team of 125 artists specifically trained to emulate the thick, vibrant strokes of van Gogh, which seem well suited to film with their rhythmic, vibratory qualities. Even as paintings there is a sense of movement.

I thought I would share the trailer to give you an idea of how this looks.


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Gallery Talk Today…

Just a reminder. 

Hope you can make it to the West End Gallery today —  and maybe win a painting.

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Unsurprisingly, one of the more popular features of my Gallery Talks is the drawing that is held at the end where one of my paintings is given away to one of the the folks in attendance. Who doesn’t want to win something?

But it’s also one of my favorite parts of the talks. It’s an opportunity to express my gratitude in a small but tangible way for this path as an artist that many of the people at these talks have allowed me to pursue. I never felt any sort of entitlement to walk this path, that I ever possessed any sort of extraordinary talent, training or knowledge that dictated that I follow this path. I knew that my only attribute was a desire to be heard, to stand as an individual voice. I knew that I was going to have to work hard and have a lot of good luck and help along the way if I were ever to move along it.

I believe that I have worked hard and I know that I have had more than my share of good fortune and help along the way, much of it given by those who have come to my shows and talks over the years. With their support and the encouragement that they and so many others like them have given, I continue down the path that I have enjoyed travelling for so long now.

So showing a little gratitude is not something I take lightly. It is a responsibility, a mandate.

As I have pointed out, I try to choose paintings to give away at the talks that have meaning for me, that give me a little twinge of regret in letting them go. And I think the piece I have chose for Saturday’s talk fills that bill very well.

It is titled Through Time and has been a personal favorite for a while now.  It’s a simple composition with some of my recognizable elements– the Red Tree , the Red Roofs and the winding path- set against clouds that travel diagonally across the sky. I think the thing about this piece that attaches it so strongly to me is that I see it as representing art’s ability to travel through time, to be always in the present regardless of when it is experienced. I know that my days on this planet are limited but my hope is that my work will somehow outlive me and connect the emotions and sensations I have felt in this life to someone in the future who sees those same things in their own life when they look upon the work.

While I will be gone and unaware of it, this lets me see my work as a time traveler of sorts. And that’s what I see in this painting and why I hold it in my own high esteem. I want someone else to have it so that it might start it’s own journey.

Maybe you could help it on its way.

The Gallery Talk takes place at the West End Gallery on beautiful Market Street in Corning this coming Saturday, August 5. It starts at 1 PM and runs about an hour with the drawing for Through Time taking place at the end.  Along with the drawing, there will be refreshments, some stories and what is usually a very good conversation.

Plus, this year we have the services of an American Sign Language interpreter for our deaf friends. Please RSVP the gallery at 607-936-2011 for seating near the interpreter.

So, try to come out Saturday to the West End Gallery. I will do my best to make it worth your while.


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Martin Lewis - Late Traveler 1949I saw a Martin Lewis etching years ago and was transfixed by the crisp contrast of its darks and lights and the easy moodiness it gave off.  I knew nothing of the artist but it was obvious that he was masterful in his etching and in his artistic eye.  I had largely forgotten this artist until I came across a group of his etchings that are coming up for auction.  Seeing them rekindled that same feeling I felt years ago.  Mainly images from New York in the 20’s and 30’s, they often capture a feeling of urban anonymity and isolation, mining the same vein of emotion in which Edward Hopper worked in his paintings.  This is probably not a coincidence since Lewis and Hopper were friends, Lewis having taught Hopper the art of etching around 1915. Those people in the late-night diner of Hopper’s Nighthawks also inhabit Lewis’ world of dark streets and shadows.

Martin Lewis was born in Australia in 1881 and ran away from home at age 15, working rough jobs for a few years as he travelled and sketched his way through Australia and New Zealand.  He ended up in Sydney where he studied and did illustrations for a local newspaper.  He migrated to the US around 1900, arriving in San Francisco where he painted backdrops for the presidential campaign of William McKinley before finding his way to New York City.

Martin Lewis- Relics (Speakeasy Corner) 1928Inspired by the dynamism of the city at that time, Lewis worked as an illustrator and painter.  It was a 1910 trip to England, where he was introduced to the printwork of English artists such as James MacNeil Whistler, that inspired him to take up etching.  However, it was an 18 month stay in Japan in 1920 that set the groundwork for his signature work which captures light and air and mood so well.  He was active and increasingly successful from 1925 until about 1935.  However, the Great Depression brought a downturn to his popularity and by the 1940’s his work was out of favor.  His work never really took hold after that and he died in 1961,  largely unknown.  In fact, just finding some of the details on his life for this short blog post took some doing.

I think his work is wonderful and evocative and  find it amazing that his work ever fell out of favor.  But such is the nature of art.  But the etchings of Martin Lewis will persevere through the fickle cycles because they capture something elemental and personal.  And that is what real art does.

Martin Lewis- Shadow Dance 1930Martin Lewis-Tree ManhattanMartin Lewis- Little PenthouseMartin Lewis- Glow of the City 1928Martin Lewis - Which Way 1932Martin Lewis New York Nocturne

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A Lindner Replay

Busy this morning but feeling like a pop of color. Maybe in the form of of one of the artists who were in the vanguard of the Pop Art movement, Richard Lindner. Here’s post from several years back along with a video slideshow of his work. It’s oddly set to the music of Brahms. I would have thought some 60’s pop would have been better suited but, hey, I didn’t make the video. Take a look for yourself and have a good day.

Richard lindner Double PortraitI’ve been going through some books on my shelves that I haven’t looked at for some time and came across a smallish book on the work of Richard Lindner, who was  a German born  (1901)  painter who moved to New York during World War II.  He taught at the Pratt Institute then later at Yale before his death in 1978.

His work was obviously a big influence on the Pop Art movement of the 60’s.  If you remember the artwork for the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film,  you can easily see how Lindner’s work Richard Lindner The Coupleguided the hand of the film’s  artist who most people think was Peter Max.  However, the artist was Heinz Edelman .  This misconception probably shows Lindner’s influence on Max as well.   I also can see Lindner in some of Terry Gilliam‘s animations for Monty Python.  The Beatles  paid tribute to Lindner  by inserting his image  in the group of figures on the cover of their classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  He’s  between Laurel and Hardy in the second row.

I am really attracted to Lindner’s colors and use of forms.  His colors have gradations and complexities that give his work added dimension.  His shapes and lines are strong and sure.  It’ demands an immediate response, even if it’s negative, and I really respect that.

Richard Lindner  FBI On East 69th StreetOne of my favorites is shown to the left here,  FBI On East 69th Street.  I have no idea whether he was influenced by Lindner’s work (although I wouldn’t be surprised), but when I look at this painting I can only think of  David Bowie, especially in the early 70’s in the Glam era.  Again, the strength of the color and shape,s as well as how his figures fill the picture frame, excite me.  How I might take this excitement and make it work within my own work is something that remains to be seen.  It may not be discernible but seeing work that makes your own internal wheels spin will show up in some manner.  We’ll have to see if this comes through in the near future.

Richard Lindner The Meeting

Richard Lindner Rock-RockRichard Lindner Telephone

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Just want to take a quick moment to extend a hearty Thank You to everyone who took time from a busy summer (with its rainstorms and heat) Friday evening to come out to the West End Gallery for the opening of my Self Determination show. It was great seeing old friends as well as meeting some new ones and some who I have been acquainted with but had never had a chance to meet.

And special thanks to Jesse and Linda Gardner for so graciously hosting the event. They always do a great job and their attention to details make every show feel special. Their efforts are most appreciated.

The show hangs in the West End Gallery in Corning until August 31 so please stop in and take a look. Also, consider coming to the Gallery Talk there on Saturday, August 5, starting at 1 PM. More details on that event are coming…

Have a great day!

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