Posts Tagged ‘HG Wells’


“You know that great pause that comes upon things before the dusk, even the breeze stops in the trees. To me there is always an air of expectation about that evening stillness.”

H.G. Wells , The Time Machine


The painting shown here, about 15″ x 24″ on paper, is titled Working to Stillness. It is included in my upcoming solo exhibit, From a Distance, that opens next Friday, July 17, at the West End Gallery.

I debated quite a bit over the title. I had read a letter of advice from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke that spoke of the great movements of activity that take place within us when we are still, sometimes resulting in great works at a later time. That made me think of making the title this painting Working From Stillness rather than To.

But I thought of the stillness that comes at the end of those days of great activity, of toil both physical and mental. When the tasks have been completed and set aside for the day, there is a sense of relief and satisfaction that sets upon the body and mind. Stillness arrives.

It’s a good feeling for me and one that I look forward to most days. I often think of my days as working to this stillness.

This piece captures that feeling for me. It has great warmth and an abundance of strength. I think I used the term muscularity when I was talking about it when I delivered the show to the gallery yesterday. It has that kind of physicality to it. I don’t know how to really describe what I mean by that but it sounds right. Maybe it comes from what I see as the strength of the colors and forms in this piece.

Whatever the case, it’s a piece that has great and undeniable presence in its setting. Maybe that’s the part that speaks most to me in these times where we all feel a need to have our voices heard. This one demands that its voice be heard.

Even in its stillness.


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There is so much stuff out there that one can’t possibly keep up with it all.  I saw a short segment yesterday morning on television about a sort-0f aesthetic movement that I had completely missed in my regular sweeps through popular culture.  It’s steampunk,  based loosely on the early science fiction of the Victorian Era of the 19th and early 20th century.  Think Jules Verne and HG Wells.  It basically reimagines history, melding the technology of that era with that of our own time.  For example, one of the steampunkers had a computer keyboard that was constructed of brass with beautiful round typewriter keys.  It was a spectacular piece of work that he described as being right on place in the Nautilus sunmarine of Captain Nemo.

When I first saw this, I immediately thought of the movie The Time Machine with Rod Taylor as the Time Traveller.  I had saw this again recently and had marvelled at the techno-beauty of the actual Time Machine in the movie, with its decorative curves and beautiful brass surfaces.  It is just the sort of thing that these steampunk followers grabbed onto and made the basis for their movement.  They have translated this look into many items such as the guitar ,shown above, and the motorcycle and laptop, both shown below.

This movement has been the basis for the recent Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, Jr and it certainly looks like something that could easily fall out of any Terry Gilliam film.  Another cited influence on the steampunk movement was the 1960’s TV series The Wild, Wild West , a favorite of mine when I was a kid, which had this same look and use of technology.

I think it’s interesting, especially from a visual perspective.  I love the surfaces, the sweeping design lines and the busy overuse of levers and gauges.  I ‘m just not sure about the folks who follow it in the same way as the Trekkies or Star Wars people.  I’m more surprised that steampunk has been around for about twenty or thirty years and hadn’t come to my attention in some way.  As I said, it’s a big world out there and you can’t keep up with it all.  I’m looking over at a cheap electric guitar in the corner of my studio and am thinking it might look pretty cool with a few brass gears and a vintage steam pressure gauge or two.  Hmmm…….


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