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Posts Tagged ‘Principle Gallery’

My annual show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, opens on Friday, June 7th. This year is my 20th solo show there, something that seemed out of the realm of possibility when this run began with the first Redtree show back in 2000.

Nothing seemed guaranteed at that time.

I was still a fairly new artist at that point, showing my work publicly for barely five years with the last two years as a full-time artist. Still had that new artist smell. I understood that the Principle Gallery was taking a chance on me and that this show was a great opportunity for me as an artist. Solo shows in great galleries don’t just come to artists on an everyday basis and the success or failure of such a show could dictate how my career moved on from that point. I knew that all too well.

I remember my trepidation in the months before that first show as I prepared for it. I was operating in abject fear of my own failure was having trouble visualizing what success this show would even resemble. My final goal for the show ended up being that I simply hoped to not be embarrassed.

Fortunately, it turned out to be very successful. That led to the next year and the next and so forth. There have been varying degrees of success with the shows along the way but one thing that seldom changes is the absolute fear of failure that comes with each show. So, here I am, twenty years in, and still feeling that same ball of anxiety in my gut. If anything, it might even be worse because I see this as a personal landmark of sorts. I want it to be a show worthy of twenty years invested by the gallery.

I’ve been looking at some of he work from those earliest Principle Gallery shows, trying to see similarities and differences between the work then and now. To see how it has changed, to see what has been gained and lost. One that struck me this morning was the piece above from 2001 called Symphony to Joy. It’s a piece with what I would term great organic appeal. I mean that it in the sense given by the linework within the piece and the way the colors and forms play off one another. It just seems very natural.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to explain such things.

But what I am looking at is how I can regain that natural feel, that organic sense present in the painting. Twenty years of painting have straightened some lines, taken some spontaneity out of some color choices, and softened some rough edges. Experience and knowledge has taken the place of the urgency of the pure emotion found in these early pieces.

I sit here this morning anxiously wondering how to find a way to merge the experience with that emotional urgency. Hope I can figure it out before June 7th.

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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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Creative scientists and saints expect revelation and do not fear it. Neither do children. But as we grow up and we are hurt, we learned not to trust.

― Madeleine L’Engle

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This new painting is called Found Truth. It is a larger piece, 36″ by 36″ on canvas, and is part of the group of new work that will be traveling with me on Saturday down to the Principle Gallery for my Gallery Talk there.

This is a painting that very much speaks to me personally. Its scale and the initial impression it makes whenever my eyes look its way give it a sense of strength, of bold statement. And I think that is exactly what it is for me– a statement piece.

Maybe that is why I see it having a title that deals with the idea of the revelation of truth. It could the revelation of one’s inner truth or any number of other truths that make up our reality. Or maybe it is all of them because perhaps all truths are part of one larger truth.

I don’t really know. I’m still waiting for that moment of revelation.

I’m no saint so maybe I am a creative scientist, as Madeleine L’Engle writes above, because I do not fear it and do expect it. Oh, there are days when I revert to a more closed off stance, stepping back from that mound where the Red Tree stands, that spot where I have been completely exposed and vulnerable. The problem is that in order to receive revelation you have to make yourself vulnerable. In this open state you are susceptible to being hurt but, more importantly, you are in position to recognize and accept revelation.

That place of vulnerability is a spot many of us avoid, certainly as L’Engle points out, because of being hurt once or maybe many times before and the distrust this has fostered in us. None of us wants to be hurt and exposing yourself to the world creates that possibility.

So we harden our attitudes and our hearts, closing ourselves off. But in the process we also pull back from the light that nurtures us, that feeds our growth. The light that reveals the truth that we once sought and expected.

That’s how I see this painting, the Red Tree being exposed and vulnerable atop that mound. The clouds represent the perils of being there but beyond them is the light of self revelation– the reward of persevering one’s own vulnerability.

This all somehow makes sense in the small space of my mind. Hope you see it somewhat the same way in your own.

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Reminder:

Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA this Saturday, September 22 at 1 PM.

Painting(s?) Giveaway, Prizes, Good Conversation, Some Stories and Some Laughs.

 

 

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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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I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.

–eden ahbez

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The painting shown above is a new piece, a smallish 6″ by 12″ canvas, that will be going to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for my Gallery Talk there. Its title is And the Sky Cracked and is part of a small recent series that features my interpretations of lightning strikes. How accurate they are in a realistic or scientific way, I can’t say. That doesn’t really hold much sway for me, at least not as much as capturing how the lightning feels to me.

Lightning is an amazing thing, a natural wonder that inspires awe and fear like it was some sort of god. No wonder so many religions give their main gods the power to wield lightning. It can destroy yet can also illuminate, bringing clarity to a course of action. Being struck by lightning is how we often describe moments of the revelation of great truths, of moments of self-discovery that alter the lives of those who experience these moments.

Like the finger of a god pointing the way and giving light to the path forward.

Powerful stuff.

Walking through my woods I often see the traces of past lightning strikes etched in the bark of the trees. Some have splits that run from their tops all the way to the way to the ground, blackened by the heat of the electricity that surged through them. In the case of some recent strikes, the ground at the base of the tree is burnt where the cracked bark of the trunk runs into the soil.

We had one strike several years back that was like a multitude of shotgun blasts going off outside our door, so close there was not thunder to give us warning. The next morning I saw that an old, large white pine down our driveway had been hit by the lightning. A deep crack ran down one of its thick upper branches down into the main trunk.

About forty feet away I noticed a chunk of pine the size of a large brick laying in the grass. Looking back at the trunk I immediately saw the spot where it had been blown away from the tree, no doubt the boiling sap of the pine finding a weak spot there in which to explode.

About a year later, that large branch, the size of a mature tree in itself, came down in another storm. The power to destroy.

Here is another in this lightning series that will also be with me on Saturday. It is called Real Power and is an 18″ by 18″ canvas.

The quote at the top is from eden ahbez, perhaps one of the earliest hippies back in the 1940’s and the man who wrote the song Nature Boy, most famously recorded by Nat King Cole. I wrote about ahbez here back in 2009 and Nature Boy remains a favorite of mine. Below is the Nat King Cole version.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Saturday. It starts at 1 PM and there is at least one painting to be given away along with some other goodies. Oh, and some good conversation. See you there!

 

 

 

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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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