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Posts Tagged ‘Red Chairs’

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“All there is, is fragments, because a man, even the loneliest of the species, is divided among several persons, animals, worlds. To know a man more than slightly it would be necessary to gather him together from all those quarters, each last scrap of him, and this done after he is safely dead.”

Coleman Dowell, Island People



[Been running some older posts this week — and maybe next week, as well– as I attempt to recalibrate. Or better yet, as the post below says, gather the fragments and try to reassemble them in some workable form. This post features a favorite painting here in the studio as well as a favorite song.]



It’s been hard finding footing lately in the studio. It’s been hard to just get started on most days. There are plenty of factors that play in to this, some external and some internal, some that I can control and some I cannot. But the end result is the same: left feeling fragmented, broken into shards that don’t want to reassemble easily in the form of my work.

I am not worried however. This is not the first time I’ve felt so fragmented nor will it be the last. I know that I come apart at times and have to bide my time, just continuing to try to put myself back together so that I may uncover what I know is waiting there for me.

It’s there. It may seem an awfully long way away but I can see it and I know that while it may take time and much effort, I shall be together with it again.

The painting above is a piece that has been with me for a while now. One of the orphans that come home to reside for a bit.  I wrote about it last year when I thought I might change its name to Dimming of the Day but it still remains under its original title, Fragments, in my mind. And I suspect it will stay that way.

This painting is based very much on this feeling that I am experiencing at this moment and when this feeling emerges, I often think of this painting.  There is darkness and distance here. The space between the Red Chair and the house has a certain weight that makes me feel as though there is something more than physical distance at play here. The sky, a confetti-like blend of thousands of little fragments of brushstrokes that gave the painting its title originally, represents, for me at least in this piece, the world falling out of harmony.

Dark, distant and coming apart.

Yet despite that I find this painting very comforting. I think that goes back to what I said above, that I know this place well from past experience. I know how to navigate it and know that the distance is not so great nor the darkness too deep. And I know that the parts are still in place to come together again in the future if I simply exercise patience and don’t give in.

It’s funny how that works. I walk by this painting several times a day in the studio and it’s often without a thought as my mind is preoccupied with something else. But every so often I stop before it and suddenly all of these feelings flood back on me when I look closer. I’m glad it works that way, actually.

Here’s the song, Dimming of the Day, which made me think about renaming this painting. It’s from one of my favorites, Richard Thompson. This is a great acoustic version. Have a good day…



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“I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong. If we will only allow that, as we progress, we remain unsure, we will leave opportunities for alternatives. We will not become enthusiastic for the fact, the knowledge, the absolute truth of the day, but remain always uncertain … In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar.”

― Richard P. Feynman



The post below is from several years back and deals with my constant uncertainty, a theme that has ran through my life. I added the Feynman quote above because I like the idea of uncertainty opening the doors to new possibilities and futures that would not even be imagined if we held too tightly to our beliefs and saw them as absolute. Here’s that post:



I don’t know…

I would guess that I’ve said that phrase a couple of hundred thousand times in my life. Or maybe even a million times.

But then again, I don’t know.

As years pass, I am constantly fascinated by how little I know despite consciously trying to obtain more knowledge. It turns out that there are an awful lot of things out there that I will never know.

That doesn’t make me happy but I have learned to live with it and take some comfort in knowing that I am not alone. I don’t think any of us really knows as much as we let on. Oh, some speak with absolute certainty and and an air of confidence but that’s just bravado or a simple failure to recognize their lack of knowledge.

I do know that.

From personal experience, unfortunately.

So I cringe a bit now when I spot that arrogant certainty in the declarations coming from myself or others. Then I cast a doubtful eye towards these claims, my own included.

What does this have to do with the price of a gallon of milk in Kokomo?

I don’t know. I’m just blabbing in order to set up a song from the Irish singer Lisa Hannigan and is titled, fittingly, I Don’t Know. I particularly like this version shot in a Dingle pub. Lovely.

Have a good day and be wary of those who seem a bit too certain. Or not.

I don’t know.



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All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

― Edgar Allan Poe

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Last night I had a kind of odd dream. In it, I found myself remembering many previous dreams, some from many years gone by, in great detail. I should say that it was the details of places, of houses and landscapes, that existed in previous dreams that I remembered.  With each dream place there was also a clear memory of the emotion contained in the dream in which it originally existed.

I knew that I was dreaming and that these places I was remembering in this dream were from my dreams and that they didn’t exist in the real waking world. At least in the waking world that I know. In a way it was like I was inventorying these places, trying to put them in order in way in which they would make sense to me when I woke up.

I don’t think that worked. At least, not yet.

The memory of each of these prior places came with such clarity. It was as though they somehow had some meaning, some importance, that made them deserving of remaining stored deep in the recesses of my brain and not washed away as so many dreams seem to be upon waking.

It was puzzling but there was also a sense of reassurance in the recall of these dream memories. I wondered in the dream if it was somehow connected to my work, to the sense of place that I believe is vital to my painting, one that I often connect with some deeper emotion or memory. The dream made me feel that there was a connection.

I don’t know if I am conveying anything here. I am still processing that odd dream, that strange feeling of clear memory of dreamed places within another hazy dream.

If nothing else, it gave me something to think about on my walk to the studio.

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