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Posts Tagged ‘Quote’

Paul Gauguin- The Painter of Sunflowers 1888

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What still concerns me the most is: am I on the right track, am I making progress, am I making mistakes in art?

-Paul Gauguin

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I am in the last day of prep before I deliver my show to the West End Gallery. I am in my 25th year at this gallery where I first started publicly showing my work and this is what I believe to be my 18th solo exhibit. But even with all that experience there is always an element of doubt present when I am getting ready to deliver paintings to a gallery.

It’s just a natural state of being. At least, for me.

I used to worry that my own judgement of the work was flawed and that this would be obvious once it was hung on a wall outside my studio. My inadequacy would be on public display for all to see.

That feeling never fully goes away and on these last days of prep, this insidious doubt always creeps back in.

But time has made me adhere to the words above from Paul Gauguin, under his 1888 painting of Vincent Van Gogh.

You do what you can do. You try to do a bit better each time. You discard those things that don’t work and grow the things that do.

And you live with that.

Okay, got lots to do this morning so I am out of here. And I think I am leaving my doubts right where they are. Don’t need them today.

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“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.”

― Jean Genet

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I came across this quote and it made me stop. When he said that dreaming is nursed in darkness, was Genet saying that we must sleep more in order to be able to dream more? That didn’t sound right to me.

More likely he saying that we must stumble through much darkness, not sure of where we are or where we are headed, in order to achieve our dreams. Maybe it is this time spent maneuvering in darkness that gives us the courage to act on our dreams.

That makes more sense. Following that dream for a long time, never seeing it fully in the darkness, makes that elusive dream more precious and gives one a sense of urgency in achieving it. When the possibility of the dream coming to fruition is finally upon them they are not afraid to take action. They can then act with grandeur, as Genet put it.

That sounds better but what do I know? It’s 6 AM, I am tired to the point I can feel the dark rings under my eyes, and I am thinking about Jean Genet and dreams. Even the tiniest act of grandeur doesn’t seem too probable at this point.

But I think I understand this struggle to follow our dreams, to become what we truly want to be. It’s easy to lose sight of our dreams when we are stumbling in the inky darkness. Once they move away from us, they often are lost forever.

That’s sort of what I am sensing in the new piece above that is included in my upcoming West End Gallery show. It’s a smaller painting, 6″ by 10″ on paper, that I am calling Dream in Sight. It’s one of the pieces from this show that are a nod back to my earlier work. Perhaps the moon represents the dream here, rising and falling through the darkness. Sometimes it doesn’t show at all. Other times, it only shows a smaller part of itself.

And it always seems so distant yet so near.

Hmm, I have to think on this. Or take a nap and dream a bit more.

Have a great day.

 

 

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Leger/ Loving Art

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Above all, it is a matter of loving art, not understanding it.

–Fernand Leger
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Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.

-Voltaire

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[I watched a few minutes of interviews with some backers of our president* at his rally last night. I was struck by their absolute confidence even as they spoke words that were far removed from reality. This certitude worries me. How do you establish a working relationship with someone who simply denies all tangible proof that is contrary to their beliefs? It reminded me of this post from five years ago. My uncertainty now is much as it was then.]

Much of my work seemingly has a journey or a quest as its central theme. But the odd thing is that I don’t have a solid idea of what the object is that I am seeking in this work. I have thought it was many things over the years, things like wisdom and knowledge and inner peace and so on. But it comes down to a more fundamental level or at least I think so this morning. It may change by this afternoon.

I think I am looking for an end to doubt or at least coming to an acceptance of my own lack of answers for the questions that have often hung over us all.

I would say the search is for certainty but as Voltaire points out above, certainty is an absurd condition. That has been my view for some time as well. Whenever I feel certainty coming on in me in anything I am filled with an overriding anxiety.

I do not trust certainty.

I look at it as fool’s gold and when I see someone speak of anything with absolute certainty–particularly politicians and televangelists– I react with a certain degree of mistrust, probably because I see this absolutism leading to an extremism that has been the basis for many of the worst misdeeds throughout history. Wars and holocausts, slavery and genocide–they all arose from some the beliefs held by one party in absolute certainty.

So maybe the real quest is for a time and place where uncertainty is the order of the day, where certainty is vanquished. A place where no person can say with any authority that they are above anyone else, that anyone else can be subjugated to their certainty.

To say that we might be better off in a time with no certainty sounds absurd but perhaps to live in a time filled with absolute certainty is even more so.

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Beauty should be shared for it enhances our joys.
To explore its mystery is to venture towards the sublime.

-Joseph Cornell
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Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) was a self taught assemblage artist known for his shadowbox pieces. I have always found his work fascinating. There’s a feeling of ultimate mystery in many of the pieces, one that makes me feel as though I am looking at something that is both familiar and alien. Like seeing a sentence in a foreign language where you can pick out a word or two but can’t grasp the meaning of the whole.
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“I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.”

Charles BukowskiFactotum

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A bit of beauty from Ella on a cool gray morning as I bask in the solitude that serves as my sunlight. Have a great day.

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Edible Sendak

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Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

–Maurice Sendak

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He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

I love this little episode from Maurice Sendak. Reinforces my own faith in the judgement of children when it comes to art. Their reactions are pure and unadulterated– with the emphasis on the adult portion of that word. Kids look at things without pretensions and preconceived notions of what art is or is not. I am happiest when a kid reacts strongly to my work.

If only I could paint something that some kid would love enough to eat…

 

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