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Posts Tagged ‘Quote’

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful. I am no longer sure of myself, and the paintings appear as in a dream.

Vincent Van Gogh

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This painting, Resplendent,  which is now at the West End Gallery, reminds me very much of one of my favorite quotes from Vincent Van Gogh, shown above. Sometimes the beauty of nature sets everything right and wipes away the obscuring webs brought on by things we cannot control, creating a path for an expression of the effect from witnessing that beauty.

In my experience, these moments of clarity are accompanied by that uncertainty to which Van Gogh refers. It is not doubt, however. It is more like the recognition of losing conscious control to an outer (or inner) entity, one where all decisions have been made beyond your waking mind.

As in a dream.

The work at that point just comes seemingly on its own, as though it was meant to be or had a need to exist.

I know this a strained explanation. It’s such a nebulous thing, this act of creating something from what often appears to be nothing, that explanations and definitions often confuse more than clarify.

And maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe the very purpose of art is to make us aware of the mystery and uncertainty of this life. Maybe it shouldn’t be easily explained.

That being said, I will stop now. Have a good day– enjoy the mystery and beauty around you.

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Just a Little Degas

Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.

Edgar Degas
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There are so many days when I feel like I no longer know that I am doing which means, according to Degas, that I am on the right track. Right?

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Sensing the Unseen

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” 

― John SteinbeckTravels with Charley

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Omega Tree

Friday is the opening for my show, Sensing the Unseen, at the Kada Gallery. In my opinion, it’s a strong show with some interesting groupings within it. For instance there are several snow scenes, something I normally have done only once in a great while in the past. There was something different in painting these scenes this time however, something I can’t really identify except to say that these seemed more expressive right as the paint left the brush.

I really just enjoyed painting these. Finding the subtle colors in the white of the snow and sky was fascinating and rewarding. It just felt good as I definitely was immersed during the process.

Time is short today as I am delivering the show at the Kada Gallery, but I thought I would show the group of snow paintings together here. Come out to the gallery to see them in person. They always look better up close, in front of you, rather than on a screen.

Mystery of the Unseen

Through the Valley of Quiet

Cool Wonder

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But I believe above all that I wanted to build the palace of my memory, because my memory is my only homeland.

Anselm Kiefer

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I came across this quote from artist Anselm Kiefer and it immediately struck a chord with me.

There is always a nagging question running through my mind about the purpose of my painting, at least for myself. The why behind the what. And this brief quote seemed to capture some of what I have been thinking about that.

While I am attached to the area in which I live, a place that my family has been in for about two hundred years now, I have come to feel that the landscape in my paintings is my real homeland. It is a construct built from memories and imaginings, a place that feels real but allows for exaggeration and embellishment.

When I visit real places from my childhood, I only see them briefly as they really are in the present. Then they revert to the image drawn in my memory–my real and only homeland. The body of my work is in a way a palace of that memory, a residence for what I am, was or will ever be.

I call the painting shown here, The Palace of My Memory, of course. It is 12″ by 6″ on panel and is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen, that opens in Erie’s Kada Gallery next Friday, December 1. I am excited by this show and am looking forward to seeing it all together on the walls of the gallery. Hope you can make it.

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GC Myers- A Small SerenityWe are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing? 

― Swami SatchidanandaThe Yoga Sutras

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I call this new painting, A Small Serenity. It is a tidy 6″ by 12″ canvas that is part of my show, Sensing the Unseen, at the Kada Gallery which opens next Friday, December 1.

It’s a small and simple piece but it has a lovely feeling of tranquility in it, one that far exceeds its humble size. If anything, its dimensions enhance its sense of serene quietness.

And perhaps that is how a contagion of serenity begins, as a small seed within ourselves. A tiny feeling of peaceful tranquility that grows then bursts from us, radiating outward to infect those around us and hopefully through them to others.

And on and on and on.

The cynical part of me knows that such a plague of joy is improbable but looking at this little painting for a moment gives me the serenity to hope and ask,“Why not?” What harm could be done in being kind and calm or in wearing a smile? As the late Swami Satchidananda says above, a smile costs nothing.

So, let’s start this plague today. Shouldn’t we all feel free as birds?

 

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“No one lights a lamp in order to hide it behind the door: the purpose of light is to create more light, to open people’s eyes, to reveal the marvels around.”

-Paolo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

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This is a new painting that is headed to the Kada Gallery in a couple of weeks for my show there, opening December 1. I call it The Lantern Is Lit and it is an 18″ by 24″ canvas.

Light is a big part of being a visual artist. You deal with the nature of light, using light and dark to create images. Color itself is light. There is also the symbology of light with the contrast of light and dark representing many things– good and evil, beginnings and  endings, life and death, etc.

Light in this painting is very much a symbol, one of a revealing of wonders. It symbolizes an awakening from a darkness in which we have spent much of our time sleepwalking, just following others and bumping along without much consideration of our own will and desire. We simply take what is directly in front of us in the darkness.

The lantern here is a rising sun that reveals an expanding world beyond our own closed-off one that exists in shadow. Those field rows we have mindlessly worked for so long finally move out to a far horizon with distant hills and fields that have yet to be worked, have yet to be shaped. To a place that allows for expansive thinking, a place to remake ourselves, a place to see the wonders of the world in a bright and direct light.

That’s what I see in this painting– a revealing of light that pulls us from out of shadow.

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Color Vibration

Color which vibrates just like music, is able to attain what is most general and yet most elusive in nature.

– Paul Gauguin

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I came across this line that Gauguin had written in a letter to the poet Andre Fontainas and it reminded me of how I often compare painting to music, how I try to find that  rhythm, maybe the vibration to which Gauguin alludes, in my work that has the same effect on the viewer’s unconscious mind as does music. That thing that would make my work, like music, communicable across all boundaries. Something that would easily be absorbed as an emotional response without first having to dissect it intellectually, like music that you hear for the first time and react to without thinking, often finding it still vibrating in your mind for days and weeks afterward.

It’s a grand aspiration and I am never sure if I ever reach that goal. But I do keep hoping and trying.

I chose the painting above to illustrate this post because I like the simplicity and harmony of it. Titled Ever, it’s a 15″ by 18 ” piece on paper that is as much an abstraction, with its spare forms and lines, as it is a depiction of reality. My hope is that the color and harmony of this piece creates a vibration or rhythm that overcomes the unnaturalness of it, allowing it to make an emotional  contact before the mind finds some intellectual objection.

Again, a grand aspiration.

Reading back over this, I have to say that I don’t sit before my easel or table and ponder these concerns before I start to work. I often only think about these matters when I come across a quote or a line like the one above from Gauguin. These words often make me wonder about my own aspirations for my work, what they are and how they compare to the painters of the past whose work I admire. I guess I am looking for a commonality in our views that connects us somehow, even though our work may not reflect this bond.

Another grand aspiration.

The entry above was first posted here back in 2011. I chose to run it again today because as I prepare for my show that opens in a bit over two weeks I find myself seeing the importance of  color in my work, even more than form and subject. It has it’s own feeling, its own rhythm and harmony– the vibration described above. It propels the work and makes certain pieces resonate like visual music.

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