Posts Tagged ‘Linda Leinen’

I am traveling down to Alexandria, VA today to deliver the paintings for my annual solo show at the Principle Gallery. This year’s show is my twentieth there and the title, Red Tree 20: New Growth, reflects the voyage from that first show, Redtree, back in 2000. There are a lot of things in this show that make feel this a special show so I am especially eager to see how the work looks in the gallery space.

Because I don’t have any time to write a post this morning, I am sharing a link from yesterday’s blog post from Linda Leinen, my friend from the gulf coast of Texas and a long time reader of my blog. Linda’s blog, The Task at Hand, is always thoughtful and beautifully written so I was thrilled when she devoted some of her wonderful talents to some of my work, rolling it seamlessly into a post about her own experiences coming across chairs– and the red bench above– in her travels.

So, please click here and go to Linda’s site for an enjoyable read and while you’re there check out her page, Lagniappe, where she shares her photos of the wildlife, wild flowers and other aspects of her Texas home along with great short essays and poetry. It’s one of my favorite sites.

And if you’re in Alexandria, stop into to see the work. Hope you’ll enjoy what you see.

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The Starry Night ~ September 2015

I have a good friend, Linda Leinen, who lives down on the Gulf Coast of Texas and writes two wonderful blogs, The Task at Hand and Lagniappe. In today’s post on her Lagniappe site she write of finding a loving tribute to Vincent Van Gogh tucked beneath a bridge at the Medina River crossing on Texas State Highway 16, just a few feet above the river in a spot where only a handful of folks- swimmers, kayakers and perhaps a fisherman or two– might ever see it.

She documents it’s surprising endurance from September of 2015 until November of 2017, as it has went through a number of flood events that would have seen fast running waters and all sorts of debris brushing by the painting.

I love the idea of this little hidden treasure that is meant to give small dose of unexpected pleasure to unknown folks, people that the person who put it there will most likely never know.

Linda also included a great video that explains the real scientific forces behind Van Gogh’s Starry Night. I ran this video several years  back and enjoyed seeing it again. Take a look at Linda’s post today and see for yourself.  And while you’re at it, take a good look at her site and follow her if you like what you see. I know that I always enjoy reading her work. She writes beautifully and always does a masterful job.

The Task at Hand


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There’s a lot going on so I am a little short on time.  I thought I would rerun a post from this day four years ago that jibes well with a thought that has been going through my mind lately.  A while back, my friend Linda Leinen (you might recognize her as Shoreacres in the comments section) referred to a Robert Frost line– No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.  I have long contended that one of the most difficult parts of my job is maintaining that sense of excitement for myself in the studio, finding that thing that brings me wonder and surprise.  For me, that normally comes from varying the ways in which I work with the materials that I use in my work.  The materials always seem to hold the key to new surprises, new breakthroughs.  Which brings me to the post below.


Helen Frankenthaler- Savage Breeze

Helen Frankenthaler- Savage Breeze

There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.

–Helen Frankenthaler


I’m using this quote from Helen Frankenthaler, the famed Abstract Expressionist, as a sort of follow-up or addenda to yesterday’s post about change.  I remember reading about Frankenthaler when I was first beginning to really paint with purpose.  In an article that I read but can’t locate now, she spoke of how she came to her trademark stain paintings where very thinned oil paint is applied to unprimed canvas.  She said it was almost by accident that she first experienced the absorbing of the paint by the raw cotton canvas and how that it caused a reaction, a breakthrough, in her thinking about how she wanted to express herself within her work. 

She felt that all artistic breakthroughs were the result of a change in the way one saw and used their materials.  It could entail changing the type of material used or using them in a more unconventional manner, as her above quote stating there are no rules infers.

This immediately clicked with me at the time I read it.  I had been trying to shape my way of thinking to fit the materials I was using at the time.  Unsuccessfully.  What I needed to do was change the materials to fit the way I was thinking.  Allow my thought process more free rein and not cater to the restraints of materials.

That may sound kind of abstract but it allowed me to start working with my paints and grounds in a much different way, forming my own process that worked well for my way of thinking and has become entrenched in my thought process.  Even though it may be outside more traditional forms of using these same materials,this process has over time become as rigid in my use as the techniques used by the most steadfast adherent of the most traditional school of painting.  This is sort of what I was referring to when I mentioned the end of the cycle, as far as art is concerned.  You reach a certain point, a mastery of your materials, where there are few accidents, few surprises in the materials’ reactions and, as a result, fewer surprises in your own reactions. 

For most, this is the goal.  But I want that surprise, that not knowing exactly how the materials will react and that need to solve the problem presented by the need to express with the limitations of the materials used.  So I try to continually tweak, create a little tension in how the materials react to my use of them, to create a sense of surprise.  Breakthrough.

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I am a bit busy  and wasn’t planning on writing this morning but wanted to pass on a link to a blogpost from Linda Leinen, who recently submitted the winning title, Shedding Daylight,  for this year’s Name That Painting! contest.  In her blog, The Task At Hand, Linda talks at first about my work then segues into how she came to the title, weaving a wonderful essay on how the symbolism of the painting fit so well with her mother’s attitude as her life neared its end .  It’s a beautifully written post that gives both the title and the painting an added layer of depth that I never anticipated.

Thank you again for the wonderful title, Linda, and for this lovely essay.  It is most appreciated.

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