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Good day yesterday. My Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery went really well, with a great group of folks that made the task much easier for me. Lots of familiar faces of friends that I have seen many times before and plenty of new ones as well. They all made me feel comfortable and had lots of interesting and well thought out questions. The hour flew by and I only stumbled once or twice. We had some laughs and I hope everyone walked away thinking that it was time well spent.

I know that I enjoyed myself. That’s not something I have always said after some of these talks. I often anguish over things I have and have not said, over those folks I didn’t get to say more to, over the flop sweat that I can feel seeping out of my pores when I suddenly go blank. Things like that. But yesterday didn’t hold a lot of regrets for me.

I felt very free to be open and honest with these folks.

Thank you to everyone who was there for giving me that freedom. I can’t fully express my appreciation for the sustenance that it will provide me over the long days ahead in the studio.

And a very warm thank you to Michele and the gang at the Principle Gallery for the continuing support you offer me after the 21+ years we’ve worked together. I appreciate all you do for me but more than that, I value the friendship and trust you have shown me over this time.  Thank you, as potent as those words are, seems insufficient. But you know what I mean, right?

Hope we can do it even better next year!

For this Sunday morning music here’s something from a favorite of mine, the great Rhiannon Giddens. It’s called Hey Bébé and it has a nice, jaunty feel to kick off the first Sunday of autumn. Have a great day.

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Last month’s Gallery Talk at the West End Gallery went so well that I thought I would follow the same format for tomorrow’s 1 PM Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. This is what I promised for that talk–

  • Margarita Fountain and Omelet Bar.
  • Psychic Readings.
  • Bagpipers.
  • Guest Appearance from Jimmy Osmond.
  • The June Taylor Dancers. Or the Golddiggers from the Dean Martin Show. We are still in negotiations with both.
  • Rap Battles.
  • Ziplines.
  • Fireworks Display.
  • A Fly-Over by the Thundercats. Couldn’t get the Thunderbirds but I have been assured these guys are nearly as good.
  • Acrobats. Kind of a Cirque du Soleil vibe but without all the apparatus. Or movement or music.

Of course, I wasn’t able to deliver on any of these things.

Zoning prohibited both fireworks and ziplines inside the gallery. Even my sparkler was a no-go.

Most of the June Taylor Dancers are deceased or long retired and the Golddiggers just wouldn’t return my calls.

Jimmy Osmond would only appear via Skype from Branson, Missouri and I couldn’t get Skype to work properly. I could have got Wayne Osmond but there wasn’t much enthusiasm for that..

The bagpiper had bronchitis which created another problem as he was the caterer/bartender.

I did try a thing where I rapped while doing psychic readings but that didn’t seem to get much traction with the folks there. They looked very confused. The idea of their grandmother rapping at them from the great beyond was just a step too far for them, I guess.

Turns out that the Thundercats are just cartoon characters. Who knew?

And the only acrobatics that day were verbal although I did walk a bit to my left at one point.

Okay, maybe my imagination is running wild. Or there’s a gas leak here in the studio.

Actually, like the West End talk, the talk tomorrow will just be a middle-aged guy talking about art and telling some stories and sharing some laughs. But there is a free drawing for one (or more) of my paintings. And there are, of course, more prizes and some light refreshments. And lively conversation which makes for a good time.

And here’s the same promise: It won’t be the worst hour you ever spent

I think I held up my end on that one. Hope you can make it tomorrow.

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Art has no other purpose than to brush aside… the conventional and accepted generalities, in short everything that veils reality from us, in order to bring us face to face with reality itself.

–Henri Bergson

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This is another new painting, 16″ by 20″ on canvas, that is part of the group of work going with me to Alexandria on Saturday for my Gallery Talk (begins at 1 PM!) at the Principle Gallery. I call it The Moon’s Revelation and I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks looking at it, both taking pleasure in it and questioning what I was seeing in it.

What purpose, if any, does it hold?

The question of purpose is a big theme for me lately. My own purpose and that of my work. The purpose of truth. Of institutions and laws. I can’t say if I have found answers any of these questions. But I still believe that there are clues leading to my own purpose somewhere in this piece and others.

They just have to be revealed, in the way the moon brings the colors of the fields to light in this painting.

Time , as always, shall be the revelator.

 

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Here’s a short video preview of most of the new work that will be coming with me for my Gallery Talk this coming Saturday, September 22, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It begins at 1 PM.

This is my 16th year doing this Talk which began with the first King Street Arts Festival in Alexandria, which has grown into a pretty large outdoor art show. I view these talks as a chance to get to really talk with folks who are interested in art and what I might be doing with my own work. It allows me to go into a little more depth about some things, giving background details and telling some stories.

The feedback that comes from these talks is invaluable to me. Outside of this blog, my shows and talks are my only chance to get out of the secure bubble of my studio and really see how people interact with my work. It is normally very motivating for me when I get back in the studio.

Plus, these talks give me a chance to express my gratitude to the people who have followed and supported my work over the years. Part of that comes for me in giving away a painting (or two— you’ll have to come to see what the actual number is) such as the painting shown here, Deep Focus. And there are some other goodies that will be given away that I think are pretty neat.

So, if you’re interested, come for the Gallery Talk on Saturday. There will be new paintings, a drawing for a painting, some giveaways, some refreshments, good conversation, a few stories and generally some good laughs.

Hope you can make it.

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Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

–Carl Sandburg

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I like this line from poet Carl Sandburg. I think any artform acts in that way, as an echo of the person who formed it trying to bring that created remembrance forever to life. I often write about trying to see that sense of life in my work, that quality where the work has a feeling of movement–life— and seems to speak with its own voice.

What it is saying is an echo of what I was feeling in the moment it was created. And if I have done my job well, it sets these echos, these shadows, dancing. A reverberation from the past, the creators own echo sent into the future. A voice that will continue to speak, to echo, long after its creator has gone.

Or as Victor Hugo similarly stated: What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.

Maybe it’s too early on a Sunday morning to try to work on logic that is somewhat circular. I think I’ve said what I want to say here but the better part of it might still be in my head. Alas, that’s the way it will have to stay.

For this Sunday morning music here’s a fittingly titled song, Echo, from the celebrated British folk trio, Talisk. It has a building intensity that I very much like. Give a listen.

The painting at the top is a new piece  whose title is A World of Mystery, an 18″ by 24″ on canvas. It is headed to Alexandria with me next Saturday, September 22 for my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. The talk, which starts at 1 PM, features a drawing for a painting of mine as well as several other goodies. Hope to see you there.

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This is a new painting that I am calling Culmination. It is 36″ by 12″ on canvas and is headed to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria next Saturday, September 22, where I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk.

This painting satisfies me on many levels. First, there is a density in its color and composition that I find very appealing. Now, density is not always a quality I seek. Sometimes, I am looking for a lightness or an airiness. But here there is a denseness and weight that gives the piece its presence. I believe this comes from the deep red color ( that perhaps symbolizes the blood that has flowed through us since time immemorial?) and the compacted composition that dominates most of the picture plane.

I also am drawn to the meandering path that wends its way to the top to the top of the hill. The  shorter paths that branch off on either side give it the feeling of a tree making its way toward the sky or an artery going up through one’s body.

The tree analogy is important for me. I see this painting as being about how each of us is a culmination, an end result of all our ancestors who have come before us. I often think about that when I am looking over genealogy charts that show the generations spreading out behind the present generation. It makes me think how amazing each of our lives really is when you consider how many obstacles had to be overcome for us to be here in this moment.

Looking at those charts, I think about treacherous childhoods of earlier times when families often lost multiple children to illness. My own grandmother had three siblings who died before she was born. Or the many long and treacherous trips and voyages, over land and sea, that it took to place us in our present locales. Or I think about the many great-grandfathers and great-uncles in my line who fought in the many wars of this country or in those of their original homelands many generations before, many who died far from their native soil. Or the many who worked in dangerous conditions. Doing my wife’s and my own genealogy, I am struck by how many relatives were killed by logging accidents.

These are just a few examples but the fact that a life force somehow wound its way through the pitfalls of life through hundreds of generations to create us is, in many ways, a miracle. Each of us is the result, the culmination, of a journey from the beginning of time. I think we sometimes take this life for granted– both our own and the lives of others– and don’t see the sheer beauty in the miracle of our mere existence.

And that is what I see in this painting. The Red Tree at the top is at the terminus of its journey, standing at the convergence of the past, present and future. It owes a great debt to those who persevered to bring this miracle, a debt that will be hopefully paid through living a life of honor and respect.

I could go on but I think you get the point.

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As I said, this will be at my Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery next Saturday, September 22. The Talk begins at 1 PM and there will a painting, Deep Focus, given away along with some other neat things. It has all the earmarks of being a good time. Hope you can make it!

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I have finally chose the painting that will be given away at this coming Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. It is called Deep Focus and is 18″ by 18″ on canvas. It has been around for several years now and each time it returns from a gallery I am surprised because it is a real favorite of mine, hitting the mark for me on so many points. I think you can see my feelings for this painting in the post below that I wrote when it was first painted.

So, if you would like to have a chance ( decent odds, too!) at taking this favorite of mine home with you, come on out to the Principle Gallery  in historic and beautiful Alexandria, VA this coming Saturday, September 15, for my annual Gallery Talk that begins at 1 PM. There will be some other surprises as well.

Hope to see you there!

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.

–Buddha

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This new piece, 18″ by 18″ on canvas, is titled Deep Focus. This was one of those pieces that just seemed to fall out with very little inner wrangling or consternation. Once I started, it was off and running with what seemed very little assistance from me.

It was immediately clear that this painting was going to be about focus, about looking deeper and deeper into the canvas. Built from the bottom, each layer pushed the eye further inward. About halfway into this I began to think of the title for this as being AutoFocus, just for the ease with which it was emerging. But I finally opted for Deep Focus because of the depth I was seeing in the picture and the way everything seemed to gravitate toward the central point of the sun that is peeking over the distant hill.

This piece seems to have a very meditative quality, a placid feeling that goes well with the ease of the piece. Or at least, the ease that I felt in its creation. Sitting here now, taking it in, its construction seems simple, almost naive. Yet there is a feeling of opulence that I think comes from the colors and curves of the landscape that sheds this naivete and gives it a feeling of deeper knowledge. Or a way to deeper knowledge. Far from naive.

Years ago, I had a hard time trusting the validity of pieces that fell so easily from my hand, believing that  struggle must be part of making a painting come alive. I was almost embarrassed by the ease with which some pieces came. But over time, I have come to believe that it is this effortless work that is the goal, the work that is true and has the authenticity that I seek. This piece is a testament to the trust in my intuition that has come with time.

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