Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Painting’

When you think of painting as painting it is rather absurd. The real world is before us – glorious sunlight and activity and fresh air, and high speed motor cars and television, all the animation – a world apart from a little square of canvas that you smear paint on.

–Wayne Thiebaud

+++++++++++++++++++

These words from the great contemporary painter Wayne Thiebaud ring completely true for me. I have talked and written many times before about those moments in the studio when I suddenly find the whole idea of painting, of smearing paint on some surface, completely absurd. The whole idea of making these two-dimensional things that represent inner feelings about the outer world seems suddenly abstract and, to be honest, a little ridiculous.

It’s a little like waking up one day to find yourself standing in your yard with a forked stick in your hand. You began by thinking it was a divining rod that would mysteriously lead you to something valuable but in that moment you realize you’re just a fool standing in your yard with a stick.

Believe me, there are days when I feel like a fool standing in a room with a stick in my hands. Of course, my stick has bristles with paint on them but it might as well just be a stick in those moments.

But somehow that feeling passes and I find myself immersed back in my own little world and that stick returns to being a divining rod.

Wayne Thiebaud has long been a favorite of mine.  Most people associate his name with his paintings of  cakes, ice cream and confections with their bold colors and beautiful thick brushstrokes. They are wonderful but for me, his most striking work are his landscapes, often set from a high perspective.  They have such great color and their compositions feel as much like abstraction as they do realism.

Just plain good stuff.

I always feel inspired by this work, moving me to try to find that same balance in my own work.

Here’s a video of his confectionery works, which is, as I said, his more popular work. I haven’t found video with his landscapes but this is still a good intro to his best known work.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

******************

I see the words of James Stephens, an Irish poet who lived from 1882 until 1950, in the painting above, Native Voice.

The sun and sky represents the first condition, Chaos.

The fields represent the first law, Order.

The direct line that runs from the sun and ends at the Red Tree represents the first reflection, Continuity.

The still reflection of the Red Tree is the first happiness, Quietude.

Something to shoot for…

 

 

Read Full Post »

I have been living with this painting, Introspection, for several months now in the studio. It’s been in a spot where my eye regularly falls on it and it never fails to make me pause for a second or two to give it some consideration. It fulfills its title very well for me, reminding me to look inward on a regular basis while trying to shut out the noise of the world of man.

It’s leaving the studio today, heading out to California to hang at the Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo. I think I am going to truly miss its gentle reminder.

Read Full Post »

In the Revealing

The painting shown here is from about eight years back, a 30″ by 40″ canvas that is titled In the Revealing. It’s a favorite of mine and hangs in the studio where I can see it from my desk. It has never hung in a gallery and most likely never will.

It’s in its home.

For me, it very much relates to the thought in the words of Rumi shown above. When all is said and done, our true nature is a constant.  It endures the worst of this world and keeps us grounded when things look bad because it tells us that those things which were once important, remain so even when the chaos of this world seems have wholly obscured them.

In times like this, this painting reminds me that true nature endures. And that is an important thing to remember.

Read Full Post »

Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order to eventually become that path himself.

Henry Miller, Reflections on Writing

********************************

This is one of my favorite passages from an essay in the Henry Miller book, The Wisdom of the Heart. I think you can easily insert any creative endeavor in place of the word writer and still be correct. The idea that the path of art concerns itself with acquiring a total view of the universe rings like absolute truth to my ears.

It’s a good thing to keep in mind on those days when you question the path you’re on and can’t recognize your purpose. Knowing that you are your own path somehow eases that anxiety.

Read Full Post »

I was recently going through some old work and came across some paintings from 2002 that had slipped my mind. There were several done in the same style as the piece shown here, Night Blossom, with chunky, mosaic-like skies in deep blues and greens.  They had a dark, moody tone and a sense of weight in them that really drew me to them when I pulled them up on my screen.

It made me wonder why it was a path that I didn’t follow a bit further at that time. Maybe I felt it was too reminiscent of stained-glass. It does have that feel in the way it goes together.

Or maybe I just was headed in another direction that had a little more pull on me at the time. I was in the midst of my Dark Work in the aftermath of 9/11 which took me directly into my Red Roof series so perhaps that is the main reason for not doing more in this vein.

So, it may be as simple as it turning out to be that there is not enough time in the day to follow up on all the flares that are sent off in one’s head sometimes. Who knew?

But seeing this again and examining it closely re-ignites that flare and I see this as a new possibility in a larger scale done with skills that have evolved in the past 16 years.

And that is exciting for me.

Whether it turns outs to be what I see in my head is another thing. Sometimes those things I envision turn out much different in reality and not always in a positive manner.

We shall see…

Read Full Post »

There can be no failure to a man who has not lost his courage, his character, his self respect, or his self-confidence. He is still a King.

Orison Swett Marden
***********************

It’s fitting that one of the only things I’ve actually finished in this new year should be a painting that I see as a personal motivator. This new piece is a 30″ by 20″ canvas that I am calling Still a King for the time being.

The title is taken from the quote at the top from Orison Swett Marden, who was a writer in the late 19th and early 20th century who focused on inspiring people to make the most of their lives in business. This was the time of Horatio Alger and many rags-to-riches stories, with the world exploding with invention and innovations. Marden was an early self-help writer, trying to motivate would-be entrepreneurs to make the most of their opportunities.

I periodically go through crises of confidence, some shallow and short-lived while others are deeper and a bit more difficult from which to escape. I have observed that when I feel my self-confidence is nowhere to be found, my courage and self-respect are also missing in action. In these deeper ruts, I can only hope my character is strong enough to carry me up and out, at least to a point where those other attributes decide to rejoin the struggle.

When they all come back together I know I will be okay.

And it is that moment that I see in this painting. The Red Tree in this piece represents the coming together of those four qualities: courage, character, self-respect and self-confidence. The path to this point winds through a landscape that goes up and down until it comes to a higher point and the realization that it is still a king , even if its realm is only its own little landscape.

Anyone with those attributes can– and should– walk as a king.

Or a queen.

There was definitely male dominance in the time of Marden and he probably gave little thought to the idea that these concepts, simple and universal as they may seem, would apply to a woman. But times have changed and are still changing, thankfully. There is still male dominance in most fields but if women can hold on to and display their  courage, character, self-respect and self-confidence, they will be queens.

I’ve been an artist long enough to see this evolution take footing in the art world. In recent years, there are more and more women artists coming to the forefront. For me, much of the most interesting work I see is created by women and, more often than not, it is the result of seeing themselves as courageous rulers of their own realm.

And that is a very good thing.

Which leads me to one last epigram from Orison Swett Marden that I think also applies to this painting and what I written here:

Nothing else so destroys the power to stand alone as the habit of leaning upon others. If you lean, you will never be strong or original. Stand alone or bury your ambition to be somebody in the world. 

Now, I only have to put these words into action. Wish me luck…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: