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Posts Tagged ‘Quote’

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When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.

― Ralph EllisonInvisible Man

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I think of many of the paintings that I do with the Red Tree situated very much front and center as being a portrait of sorts. I see a face and head and shoulders set against the background. Sometimes I see the familiar faces of others in them and sometimes they feel like self-portraits.

I definitely this painting, a 36″ by 36″ painting on canvas that is titled Find Your Light, see as a self-portrait. If someone asked for my picture I would prefer giving this image rather than an actual photo of myself. Maybe I am being vain in thinking that it resembles any part of me but I can at least hope it represents the better part of me because there is a lot that l like in this painting.

I like the field of colors that acts as a garment shrouding the chest and neck of this portrait. I like the burst of brightness that comes from the center set against the multitude of deeper colors that surround it. And I like the bands of blue-green hills that seem like a coat loosely draped on the shoulders of the portrait’s subject. And the layers of color within the clouds and the soft glow of blue that surrounds them.

All these things combined with the impact of the painting’s size give it a quality that appeals to me, one that feels like a sense of self being clearly and confidently stated. That’s a quality that I hope for myself and for my work. I guess that is why I see it in some way as a self-portrait.

Maybe you see yourself in it? That would equally please me.

This painting, Find Your Light, is now hanging at the West End Gallery as part of my solo show, The Rising, which opens Friday, July 13.

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The tragedy of life is in what dies inside a man while he lives – the death of genuine feeling, the death of inspired response, the awareness that makes it possible to feel the pain or the glory of other men in yourself.

Norman Cousins

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This is a new 18″ by 18″ painting that I call A Rising Awareness which is included in my show, The Rising, that is now hanging and opens Friday at the West End Gallery.

I think the words above from the late journalist Norman Cousins capture what I feel the representative Red Roof house is rising above in this painting. It is a constant battle for us humans to hold on to those things– genuine feeling,inspired response and an empathy with the pain or glory of others– as we live our lives on this planet. We sometimes become self-centered and guarded in our response to many things and emotionally distant in our dealings with others. Instead of feeling their pain or glory, we sometimes experience envy at their successes and a pang of relief that their failures are not ours.

Our humanity dulls and much joy is lost to us.

But the idea that we can recognize this dulling in ourselves and somehow fight against and rise above it intrigues me. I have come to believe that we can make conscious decisions to raise our awareness, to feel and respond in more positive ways, that we are enriched by maintaining a spirit of generosity and empathy towards others.

I like to think that the Red Roof here represents one who has taken this higher road and has made the decision to listen to its better angels. There’s a feeling of a letting go of angry and mean-spirited thoughts and an acknowledgment of a unity of sorts with the universal human spirit.

Warmth and tranquility. Maybe that is what I am seeing. You judge for yourself.

 

 

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Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different.

― Albert Szent-Györgyi 

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My annual show at the West End Gallery opens a week from today, on Friday, July 13. This show is called The Rising based very much on the number of rising moons and suns along with trees that rise boldly into the sky. It also refers to a rising awareness of the worlds in which we live and our relationship with these worlds.

I use the plural worlds because I believe there are layers in this world, some physical and some extending into the realm of the metaphysical, the psychological and the spiritual. I also believe we have the ability to live in multiple layers. I can’t say that many of us do or if I do myself. Most days I feel like I am barely existing in the surface layer we all know.

But I think the gateway for discovering comes as Albert Szent-Györgi, the Hungarian biochemist who discovered Vitamin C, states in the quote at the top. We all see the same things on a daily basis but it is only when we think of those common things in other terms that we make discoveries.

That willingness to see the commonplace in another light is the basis for science, for mythology and for art. I think the art that remains vital and continues to speak through time has the ability to illuminate the extraordinary that exists in the commonplace.

I know that this is what I hope occurs in my own work. My hopes and words mean nothing because only time will tell if it was a successful effort.

The painting at the top, a new 18″ by 24″ canvas from the show that is titled Gems Revealed, is an illustration of this thought. It is a simple scene, a group of fields under a night sky lit by a rising moon. But the light brings out colors and forms in the fields as well in the sky an don the clouds that have an otherworldly quality, one that seems to be teeming with life and color and motion. The path that winds through the field takes on the quality of a snake or a stream and the clouds appear to be swimming through the ether of the night sky.

Perhaps a new layer of being is revealed in this light?

I cannot say myself. Only time will tell.

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The work for this show has been delivered and will be hung today and tomorrow so you can get a preview if you’re in the Corning area. The opening reception for the show is next Friday, July 13, from 5-7:30 PM.

 

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Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.

 

Edgar Degas
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I have always loved this quote from the great Edgar Degas. It has meaning on a couple of different levels for me. First, it speak to the sheer difficulty of the process of creating a painting. If you look at it as a purely mechanical process– step 1, step 2, step 3 and you’re done— it does seem exceedingly simple.
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But art is not purely craft. There is an intangible element that gives it meaning for both the maker and those who take it in after it is made. Tapping into that intangible is the difficult part. Some days it is near impossible and makes what is seen as a pretty easy job most difficult.
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Been there, done that.
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The second meaning I get from Degas’ quote is how others view this job. I know folks who can only view art as a hobby and if you’re working as an artist, you’re just fooling around with doodles and such. They often don’t see it as work at all. They don’t understand the effort that is required to have a career as an artist.
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The long hours alone. The sacrifices you make to be able to have enough time. The often sheer frustration that comes in creating work. The many hours spent doing unseen and boring things like framing and varnishing that are required to make the work presentable. The agony of having to constantly self-promote in order to keep your name out in the public eye. The pain of having your work– your creation and your voice— ignored, outright rejected or under-valued, not to mention the self-doubt that comes along with these things. I am sure there are a bunch of other crappy things that are just slipping my mind at the moment.
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This isn’t a whine fest. Every business has its own challenges and I am sure anyone who is self-employed can see their own situation in many of these things. I understand and accept these pitfalls. They don’t detract from my view of this career at all. I just want people to understand that an artist’s life is not unlike their own with most of the same challenges and problems. It may seem easy, even romantic, but that is just the view from far outside.
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That being said, I wouldn’t trade this job for any other. Thanks for allowing me to think that.

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I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.

― Richard Feynman

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I have been greatly intrigued by this new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas, for several weeks in the studio, regularly stopping in front of it. Maybe it’s the color or the texture or the simplicity of the way it’s put together but something compels me to stop and try to find an answer.

Looking at it made me believe that it was about asking for guidance in some way. Perhaps a prayer, a plea sent out into the darkness, by someone who is uncertain of their own faith and wisdom in this world but stands in wonder of the sky and the vast universe beyond.

This world is ruled by those with absolute certainty, however unfounded that certainty might be, and can be a troubling and puzzling place for those who possess much less.

That I can say with certainty.

Asking for guidance and clarity from outside the miasma of this world seems appropriate. That the only answer received might be the silence and calmness of the scene might be appropriate as well.

I call this painting Please… which I chose over a A Prayer of Uncertainty.

It is part of my solo show The Rising which opens next Friday, July 13 at the West End Gallery.

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What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

Henri Rousseau

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I still have a lot to do before I can deliver my new show, The Rising, to the West End Gallery at the end of this week so I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the blog today. But taking a few minutes to look at the work of Henri Rousseau always does me a world of good. It both settles my mind and sets off sparks in it, making me want to grab the nearest brush and just go at it. I don’t need that inspiration this morning but I will gladly embrace the calming effect found in Rousseau’s colors and forms.

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“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.” 

― Hermann HesseSiddhartha

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The painting at the top, The Questioning, is part of Haven, my solo show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. The show is nearing the end of its run there so if you would like to see the work please stop in.

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