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Posts Tagged ‘Quote’

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One third, more or less, of all the sorrow that the person I think I am must endure is unavoidable. It is the sorrow inherent in the human condition, the price we must pay for being sentient and self-conscious organisms, aspirants to liberation, but subject to the laws of nature and under orders to keep on marching, through irreversible time, through a world wholly indifferent to our well-being, toward decrepitude and the certainty of death. The remaining two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.

Aldous Huxley

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The painting at the top is yet another new piece, a 10″ x 30″ canvas that is titled Let It Go. It is part of he group of new work that I am bringing with me on Saturday when I head to the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk there, which begins at 1 PM.  More details on that later in this post.

The words above from Aldous Huxley are from his book, fittingly titled Island. Little known, it was his final book, written in 1962, and presented a utopian alternative to his Brave New World.

I really don’t know the book myself so I can’t honestly depict what it has to say but the small bit above aligns with my own observations on our lives here. We are all subject to the sorrow of simply being alive. We experience pain and loss of abilities as we age and suffer the loss of others along the way before our own life comes to an end. That is simply part of the deal and is to be expected, unpleasant as that may seem.

But much of what makes life sometimes miserable is, for the most part, avoidable. It is our reaction to the vagaries, missteps, mistreatment and insults that life has in store for us that is the culprit here. We have a choice in how we react to these things. We can choose to hold on to these things, to allow them to make us angry or anxious or fearful, or we can see that they are, in the greater scheme of things, inconsequential.

We don’t have to hold on to these things. They can be let go.

That’s what I see in this painting. I know it sounds funny coming from a guy who regularly displays his own anger, anxiety and fears here on this page. I guess even though you sometimes know what the problem is, it takes practice to overcome it.

And I am trying to release those things that I can’t control. Or let go of those things that only do me harm in my holding on to them. Anger and hatred, regret and fear. Just let it go.

I’m trying.

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Speaking of fear and anxiety, my annual Gallery Talk is this Saturday, September 21, beginning at 1 PM at the Principle Gallery in beautiful Old Town Alexandria. This is my 17th annual Gallery Talk there and I think this could be a good one. There’s a lot to talk about and I have some interesting giveaways including at least one original painting! Plus I may even demonstrate my ability to read minds! Or maybe guess your weight. Who knows?

One thing is guaranteed, as I have pointed out in the past:  It will not be the worst hour of your life.

Good conversation, some prizes and a no pain guarantee. How can you resist an offer like that?

Get there early to grab a seat and maybe we can chat a bit beforehand.

See ya’ there Saturday!

 

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True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.

Mahatma Gandhi

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This is another small painting on paper that will be accompanying me to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria this coming Saturday, September 21. I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk there beginning at 1 PM and I always bring a small group of new work with me– along with the painting(s?) that I will be giving away at the end of the Talk.

Some of the new pieces that will be coming feature small distant solo figures in generally large open landscapes. It’s a theme that has been a favorite of mine for some time now but one that I don’t visit all that often. Maybe I have to be in a certain mindset for them to come. Don’t really know.

I call this painting Off the Beaten Track. I like this piece for many reasons, including the obvious messaging of it. It just feels right which is something I can’t explain at all.

I can explain the message of this piece, at least as I see it and as it relates to my own experience. The Gandhi quote at the top partially explains it, that true morality can’t be dictated by the crowd that travels the beaten path. Without getting into the details, I think the current populist movements taking place around the world, including here in the US, are sufficient evidence of that.

What they claim for morality is certainly not the same as mine.

But beyond morality, life comes down to knowing when to veer from the beaten track, when to forge your own path and find your own way. That is absolutely true in making a life for yourself in the arts. There are few guides to show you the way  so many stick with the path, which is, as a result, crowded to the point that everything seems squeezed into a bland sameness. And it’s often headed in directions that don’t seem appealing or to make sense for what you’re hoping for your work.

Sometimes you have to break away from that crowded path and climb to higher ground, to look for something that draws you forward, that keeps you moving.

A muse. An inspiration. An opportunity.

To higher ground, where your voice can be heard above the drone coming from the path, where you can be clearly seen.

Fresh air and good views, both of where you’ve been and where you want to go.

This is what I am seeing in this little piece. It might be smallish in size but it speaks volumes for me.

Hope to see you at the Gallery Talk on Saturday. I have some neat things to share…

 

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To all my friends without distinction I am ready to display my opulence: come one, come all; and whosoever likes to take a share is welcome to the wealth that lies within my soul.

–Antisthenes
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This new painting is headed to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria with me this coming Saturday, September 21, for my annual Gallery Talk there, which begins at 1 PM.  This is my 17th Gallery Talk at the Principle and it has turned into a neat little event, one that has me engaging in a usually lively talk, giving away some gifts ( including at least one painting–see yesterday’s blog!) and unveiling a smaller group of new paintings.

This is one of those new paintings, a 20″ by 40″ canvas called True Opulence.

I hesitated in using the word opulence for this piece because I don’t see it as celebrating those things we most often associate with wealth and luxury. Not money or gold or diamonds or fancy car and clothes. No, it is more in the vein of the words at the top from the Greek philosopher Antisthenes.

It is a celebration of our ability to feel opulence in the world around us and within ourselves.

In the lushness of a field. In the richness in the colors of the flowers. In the clarity of a clean bright sky. In the graceful roll of a distant hill. In the beauty of a tree reaching outward. In our ability to experience these things and feel ourselves connected to the whole of it all.

That is the real opulence in this world.

True Opulence.

Funny how adding the word true changes the meaning of opulence. But it does. It makes the other opulence seem almost false, as though it is a mere replication of that which is available to all.

I hope you can come out this Saturday to the Principle Gallery to see True Opulence and the other new pieces. You might even win a painting or take home some swag. Your odds are pretty good! It starts at 1 PM so get there a bit early to grab a seat.

 

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Truth is the daughter of time.

Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights

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This is a new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, that will be going with me when I give my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria next Saturday, September 21. There will be more details on the Gallery Talk, including the revealing of the painting that will be given away at the talk, in the coming days. However, this painting will not be the prize for the Talk.

I call this piece, Daughter of Time. It is taken from the old proverb Truth is the daughter of time. It first appeared in a commonplace book, a collection of general knowledge and literature, put together in the late 2nd century AD by Aulus Gellius. It basically means that Truth will at some point give birth to truth, that time reveals all eventually.

Sir Francis Bacon, sometime around the late 16th/ early 17th century, added an anti-1984 twist to the phrase: Time is the daughter of time, not of authority. Bacon’s slightly amended version certainly has relevance in these times and should be a warning to those who think they can bury Truth or make her bend to their will.

Eventually, Time will always find and release its daughter, Truth.

Always.

This is a painting that has captured my attention here in the studio over the past couple of weeks. The rhythmic nature of the sky and the eye-like feel of the moon make it seem like a living being to me. Or at least, bands of surging energies. The female figure in the boat has a posture of strength and undeniability which is in line with what imagines– or hopes– for Truth.

It feels like a strong piece to me with a quality that appeals to me, that being that it works both on abstract and realistic levels.

Hope you come out to see it. As I said, more details on the Gallery Talk next Saturday will be coming n the next day or two. It should be a good one.

Finally, thanks to the folks who came out to the Art Talk at the Octagon Gallery this past Thursday. It was small group which made for a more intimate conversation, one that lasted quite a bit longer than my normal Gallery Talks. Thanks to all for the great questions and for taking the time. It was most appreciated.

Have a good Saturday.

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Arthur Dove- Fire at the Sauerkraut Factory

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We cannot express the light in nature because we have not the sun. We can only express the light we have in ourselves.

-Arthur Dove

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I liked this quote from the Modernist painter Arthur Dove (1880-1946) and while searching for an image of one of his paintings to accompany it, came across this painting. I liked the painting itself but it was the title that really caught my attention. It’s called Fire at the Sauerkraut Factory and was painted around 1936.

It made me wonder where this sauerkraut factory was and when it burned. Dove was born in Canandaigua, NY,  and raised in Geneva, NY, at the north end of Seneca Lake, whose south end is just a short drive from this studio. In those areas around Canandaigua and Geneva are large fields where cabbage is grown. There are, as a result, several factories in the area for the production of sauerkraut. I am not sure if it still applies but at one time this area and one village in particular, Phelps, was the sauerkraut capital of the world.

Just makes me wonder if Dove was basing this painting on a fire from the home of his youth. I was able to find an account of a large sauerkraut factory fire in that area in November of 1917. This story of the fire mentioned that the fire was fought solely with chemicals which might account for the multiple colors of the flames in Dove’s painting.

It also mentioned railroads tracks next to the factory which encumbered the firefighters. I believe the fence-like structures at the lower part  of the painting are actually railroad tracks.

Perhaps Dove, who was living in NYC at the time was visiting either his or his wife’s parents and witnessed the fire or was told about it, with the person telling the story mentioning the wild colors of the fire as the chemicals mixed with the flames.

It’s one of those tiny questions in small stories that may never have an answer. But I like to think that this might have been the story behind this painting that I like and chose to accompany a quote that I also like from the artist.

 

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Lawren Harris- From the North Shore, Lake Superior ca 1927

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Art is not an amusement, nor a distraction, nor is it, as many men maintain, an escape from life. On the contrary, it is a high training of the soul, essential to the soul’s growth, to its unfoldment.

–Lawren Harris

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Whenever I need a lift or a reminder that what I am doing is a mere triviality, it’s always good to revisit the work and words of the late painter Lawren Harris.

Harris, who died in 1970 in his native Canada at the age of 85, had a way of capturing of grand spaces and forms and imbuing in them a sense of absolute stillness. It’s a created atmosphere that is conducive to the unfolding and growth of one’s soul.

Some might say that this in itself is an escape from life and, in the simplest terms, they would be correct. But art transcends the mere act of escape in that while doing so, it provides the space and nourishment for the growth of the soul.

I know that I have often looked to art as a safe haven, an escape from the cruelty and often illogical nature of the outside world.

But it was never just that single thing. This separation between the outer and inner world created an environment, a time and place, where lessons could be learned and insights could be formed. These lessons and insights become part of who we are and then undoubtedly travel with us back into that outer world.

No, art is not an amusement or an escape. It changes us in fundamental ways and by that, we are always made better.

I needed to write that this morning, if only for myself. Thanks, Mr. Harris, I feel a little better now.

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The Loner

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I was a loner, am a loner, good Lord, it’s the only way I can imagine working.

–Dorothea Tanning

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I have things to do this morning and really just wanted to show the Dorothea Tanning painting, La Truite au Bleu, at the top, mainly because it pleases me very much. But I find I have to at least make a comment on the quote attached to this post.

I’ve have always worked alone as a painter and, like Tanning, can’t imagine it any other way. With only a few exceptions, when someone is in my studio, I am a bit on edge and even a little defensive. To have someone in the studio on a regular basis, say like studio assistant, would have me nervous and jerky. It would keep me from drifting off in thought when I felt like doing so or screaming in anger or crying in sad happiness.

And to do what I do, I need to do those things.

But more than that, I would have a hard time painting. At least, painting anything meaningful. There would always be something missing, as though I couldn’t commit everything because I would be distracted in maintaining a facade for the other person in my space. I would always be keenly aware of their presence.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad or if it matters in the least. I do know that Tanning lived to be 101 years old, dying in 2012. And until the end of her life, she painted and wrote , always working alone. So, maybe being a loner has it’s advantages.

I guess I will find out, one way or the other.

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