Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Along with the photo of the drum major that was featured in yesterday’s blog, I also came across another Alfred Eisenstadt photo. Shown above, it is of one of my painting heroes, Thomas Hart Benton, standing in front of a self-portrait. It’s a face that definitely belongs in one of his paintings. It reminded me of the post I’ve included below from a few years back that contains a video about the making of one of his famed murals. If you have ten or eleven minutes and are interested in the painstaking efforts that went into the making of this masterpiece, give it a look. 


Thomas_Hart_Benton_-_Achelous_and_Hercules_-_SmithsonianBack in June, I wrote about going to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum to see the painting shown above,  Achelous and Hercules, a wondrous mural from the great American painter Thomas Hart Benton.  It was commissioned to hang in a now-defunct Kansas City department store in 1947 and after the store closed in 1984 this masterpiece was given to the Smithsonian.

The photo of this mural doesn’t do it justice. Its size and scale, 5′ high and 22′ on a wide wooden panel that Benton painted in egg tempera, is lost in fitting its image on a small screen.  Take my word, it’s imposing and grand, a piece I could stand in front of for hours, losing myself in the rhythms and colors.

That being said, I came across a video taken from an old film that shows the incredibly elaborate process that Benton used in the making of this mural, which took about eight months.  It is fascinating and unusual to see a known masterpiece all the way through the process and coming together in all its stages.  It makes me appreciate this painting even more.

Here is that video.  It’s about 11 minutes long and worth the time spent.


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Rockwell Kent- The Trapper


Force against reason: reason, because it has the power

of enlisting force to fight for it, will win.

From the recognition of that truth has come democracy.


-Rockwell Kent


There are a lot of things that could be said this morning, especially with a governmental shutdown taking effect overnight. This shutdown is the symbolic culmination of the political attitudes of the past twenty years that have led us away from compromise and reason as a means of governance.

I am not going to go into my own grievances here. I’ve done that enough. But I will say that for all the anxiety this government produces as it tries to force itself closer and closer to some form of autocratic authoritarianism, I am somewhat optimistic. And that may be because I agree with the premise of the quote above from one of my favorite artists, Rockwell Kent.

I do feel that we are in struggle right now between force and reason, that the direction in which we are being directed via deception and fear-mongering– the force here–goes against the ideals and virtues that we have long professed as the basis for our democracy– reason.  The idea that reason is enduring because it has the ability to enlist those who will fight for the truth of it is reassuring to me and seems to be backed by history.

What we are experiencing is reminiscent of the way other empires have ended, when the beliefs that grew these empires are set aside by rulers who see themselves as being above those ideals and virtues. But I believe we are still a nation with enough reasonable people to resist the forces of greed and nativism that have descended upon us.

And that gives me hope, even on these days that seem so dark. So, thanks for reminding me of that, Mr. Kent.

Here’s a video of some of Kent’s landscape work, primarily of the Adirondacks, Vermont and Greenland. The format of the video is a little cutesy for my taste but it shows a lot of great work from Kent and features the music of Edgar Meyer and Joshua Bell. Have a good day and stay reasonable.

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I wanted to play a Christmas song for this week’s Sunday music and thought I’d replay a song that first ran here back in 2009. It’s Must Be Santa from Bob Dylan. It’s a great song, a polka with a klezmer feel and in the the entertaining video you get the bonus of seeing Dylan dance. Good fun for the day before Christmas.

While looking for an photo or two to accompany this post, I browsed through masses of images of Santas from the past and was amazed how many of them crossed that line into outright creepiness. It made me believe that Santa is just about on par with clowns in creep factor. You might see a rogue clown in the woods but Santa is, simply put, a bearded home intruder ( and flamboyant dresser) who slides down your chimney in the dark of night. He knows when you are sleeping, for god’s sake!

I picked a few that are pretty strange. I left out some that actually made me cringe and feel a little queasy. I have a feeling that many of their photos are also in some sort of registry somewhere.

Anyway, enjoy the song and have a good holiday evening. And don’t worry about the weird old man hovering around your home tonight…

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“Split the Darkness” -Part of the Kada Gallery Show

Well, the show is in place at the Kada Gallery and I can take a deep breath. Sensing the Unseen opens December 1, this coming Friday evening with a reception that runs from 6-9 PM.

I haven’t done a count but I’ve done a number of solo shows with Kathy and Joe DeAngelo at the Kada Gallery in the almost 22 years I have been showing my work with them. They were only the second gallery to take on my work those many years back and have always been strong advocates for my work so I try to go a bit extra for them. And I believe this show lives up to my wishes.

Here’s a simple slideshow of the show. Take a look and if you can, come out to the gallery this Friday. I look forward to talking with you.

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There’s a lot going on in the next few days, with Thanksgiving stacked on top of a couple of other things including getting work ready for my show at the Kada Gallery that opens next Friday, December 1. Everything seems to racing at a frantic pace around here.

But even so, I took a little time in the darkness of this early morning to stop and savor some work from the great Japanese artist Hiroshige, who lived from 1797 until 1858. Every time I look at his work it feels new and wondrous, with a quality of absolute calm that always soothes. The color is always gorgeous and harmonious while the compositions have an orderliness, even in his treatment of something like the chaos of sea waves, that has a way of setting the viewer’s own internal mechanisms in their proper place and order.

At least that is what it does for me.

Take a few minutes to watch this video of his beautiful work and allow yourself to slow down just a bit this morning.

Everything will find its proper place.

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Dragged out and looked over this older painting this morning. It’s from 1995 and is called Sky and Submission. It was a favorite when I did it and it still rings very true for me. The composition is sparse and it’s color is very delicate in nature– I had to adjust it a bit to make it show properly on the screen– but there is something powerful in it as a whole.

It reminds me of  the feeling of looking out at the ocean. Maybe for us who live and were raised inland, away from the seas, seeking the far horizon in our landscapes is the equivalent. Watching the roll of the land and how it comes up to meet the sky raises many of those same feelings, creating a sense of awe in us of the great power and vastness of the world and our own smallness in relation to it.

Funny the things a small bit of paint on a piece of paper can make one think. Worse things to think on a Sunday morning, I suppose.

This piece reminded me for some reason of a song I played last year about this time, Reign O’er Me, from The Who’s Quadrophenia, which has been performed several times in the last month as the rock opera it was intended to be, with full orchestration. Last month it was at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.

I spent the better part of the last hour watching videos shot by audience members from this show with tenor Alfie Boe singing the lead. Even with a handheld smartphone’s recording limitations, they really show the power of the music and the performers. I am showing Reign O’er Me and a personal favorite 5:15 from that show back in October. Take a look and have yourself a good Sunday.

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“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.”

George Eliot


November 2 is Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, in Mexico. Actually, it’s a multi-day holiday that spans from October 31 to November 2. It’s a holiday that has ancient roots dating back some 3000 years and was originally celebrated earlier in the year until the Spaniards conquered Mexico in the 16th century. They moved the date to fall in line with the Christian Allhallowtide.

Most of see the imagery that is associated with the Day of the Dead, such as the painted skulls like the one at the top, and automatically equate it with our Halloween. Spooky and scary. But it is a much more benign and pleasant holiday, a celebration of the memory and spirit of our deceased relatives, a day to travel to cemeteries to eat and drink at their graves. The ancient belief was that that on that day each year the spirits would come back to visit their worldly ancestors.

Being a person who loves to stroll through cemeteries  among the stones and monuments, it’s my kind of holiday, more so than our Halloween. I find the calm and quiet of cemeteries to be comforting and not spooky at all.

The names and words written about them on their stones give each the feel of a voice waiting to be engaged and I am often more than willing to stop to speak their name, especially the older stones where it is obvious that they are no longer visited by family members, if any remain at all. I get a feeling that simply speaking their name aloud once more brings them back to life in some small way, like a feint trace of mist appearing in the vast sky of our collected memory.

That may seem crazy but that doesn’t matter. Nobody gets hurt and it creates a little peace for myself. And I think that’s what the Day of the Dead is about.

That being said, here’s a video that might seem a little more Halloween than Dia de Muertos. But it is a song about love and attraction and that makes it more about this day. It’s Shakin’ All Over. I was going to play the original by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates or the great live version from The Who but settled on this version from The Guess Who, mainly because of it’s cartoon video with dancing skeletons.  Feels like a fitting song for Dia de Muertos.

Enjoy yours and remember the dead.



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