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Posts Tagged ‘Red Tree’

Four Front -2003

Yeah, you read that right, I’m willing to sell off some orphans.

Don’t worry, I’m not really a heartless bastard. I’m talking about a handful of my paintings that have shuffled around the country over the years and somehow found their way back to the studio. I consider these paintings my orphans.

A Time For Reflection-2002

There is a special small group of paintings that are accompanying me tomorrow when I head down to Alexandria for my Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery. They are primarily older pieces that, while I like having them around here in the studio, I would like to have a home where they can get the attention that I feel they deserve from fresh and appreciative eyes that look at them on a regular basis.

A home where they can do the job they were meant to do, to fulfill their purpose

Some of these paintings in their first trips through the galleries were saddled by framing that didn’t suit the work. Tow had thick, heavy frames and extra wide mats that created a distraction from the actual work and overwhelmed the images.

A couple are favorites of mine that just never caught the right person’s eye.

And a couple have been with me for so long that I can’t figure out why they’re still here. For instance, the painting at the top of this page, Four Front from back in 2003, falls into this category.

These paintings are only going to be there for my time in the gallery on Saturday and are specially priced. If they don’t find a new home, they come back to the orphanage–er, studio.

Look at these little guys and tell me that they don’t deserve a home to call their own.

You Can Win This Painting!

So, try to get into the Principle Gallery tomorrow, Saturday, September 16. The orphans will be on display along with new work from the studio. The Gallery Talk begins at 1 PM and concludes with a free drawing for those in attendance for the painting shown here, The Warmth of Breath. Plus, there are a few more surprises that I don’t want to divulge here.

I am anticipating a good time with good questions and a lively conversation so I am hoping you can take part tomorrow. I suggest getting there early for a good seat. Plus, you can take a look at my orphans. Look forward to seeing you there!

In the Window: The Vigil 2005

In the Eye of Grace- 2006

No Mail- 2010

Call to Waking- 2011

The Journey- 2006

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“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” 

― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness

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This gets harder and harder all the time.

I can’t describe the knot I get in my gut when trying to pick a painting that is given away at the end of my Gallery Talks. I really agonize over this choice, wanting to make sure that the selection is truly substantial, really representing my work and having enough meaning for myself that it hurts a bit to give it away. This choice hit all those points dead on for me.

The painting for this Saturday’s Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery is The Warmth of Breath, coming in at 16″ by 20″ on canvas.

I am not sure my photography on this painting does it justice, especially in capturing the depth of color. I consider this a very representative piece for my body of work. It is simply constructed with deep colors and texture as the  signature Red Tree casts itself across the face of the Sun/Moon. It’s a painting that seems to draw my attention, the warmth of it always making me stop to consider it if only for a short moment. The title refers to the thought of being self aware, of recognizing the breath of life that flows through you and bonds you with all living things.

There is, for me, a real meditative feel in this painting, one that calms me greatly. I am hoping that it does the same for someone else after this Saturday.

So, to recap, this Saturday, September 16, I will be giving a Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. The talk starts at 1 PM and if you are in attendance you will have a chance to win this painting. Plus, there are a few twists I have planned that I can’t disclose here but I think will please those at the talk.

It could involve card tricks, juggling, mind reading, interpretative dance, yodeling or a combination of all of these things.

Or not.

You will have to come to the Principle Gallery on Saturday to discover what I mean.

Hope to see you there.

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“As he was about to climb yet another dune, his heart whispered, “Be aware of the place where you are brought to tears. That’s where I am, and that’s where your treasure is.” 

― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

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This is another new painting, 4″ by 18″ on paper, that is part of the new group of paintings that will be coming with me to the Principle Gallery on Saturday, where I will giving my annual Gallery Talk beginning at 1 PM.

I call this piece All the Treasure of the World. It’s a continuation of the theme that I featured here a few weeks back in an entry about Acres of Diamonds, the story of an African farmer who sold his land to seek wealth far and wide without realizing that the actual treasure was in his original land.

The difference here is that the definition of treasure is altered from wealth in the form of diamonds and gems to the real treasure that is contained in personal contentment and a deep emotional bond with one’s life and the surrounding world.

Instead of mining for diamonds and gold, one sees the wealth found in being able to watch a cloud lazily meander across the sky.

In the beauty of a field filled with flowers or the gentle curve of a path that takes you home.

In the tears that come with memories of joy or sadness. The tears that come from the recognition of one’s own humanity.

Maybe that’s a lot to ask for in a simple painting but I see these things in this piece. And I feel better for it, understanding in a way where the real treasure lies.

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GALLERY TALK

at the

PRINCIPLE GALLERY

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 AT 1 PM

GOOD TALK, PAINTINGS, PRIZES AND MORE!

WIN A PAINTING!

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The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.

Wendell Berry

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I finished this 40″ by 16″ canvas just the other day, readying it to take with me to the Principle Gallery for my Gallery Talk on Saturday. It was one of those times where the painting itself felt good and invigorating, to the point that I wished there was more to do when I was done with the painting.

Everything came easily and every stroke seemed to add something evident and valuable to the piece. There was no struggle to try to determine what path to follow- it all was there waiting for me to simply take action.

That’s a rare and wonderful moment, at least in my experience.

That ease of process normally shows in the final product. It doesn’t seem worked over and has a freshness in its color and line rhythms. I think that holds for this painting, at least to my eyes which I admit may be somewhat biased.

The meaning that I have attached to this painting adds to to my pleasure in it. A lot of what I see can be gleaned from the words at the top from poet Wendell Berry. I see this as about how one rises above their environment, their past, their failures, their shortcomings and the examples set by those around them.

Betterment.

Trying to be better at whatever they choose, be it their jobs or relationships or their knowledge of the world around them.

Just being a better person, allowing yourself to rise to new heights where you can see beyond the encroachment of the past and the obstacles of the present.

I call this painting Above and Beyond.

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Sat here this morning trying to figure out what song I would play for this Sunday and found myself going down a deep rabbit hole on YouTube, bouncing from genre to genre with songs that dealt with the weather, given the focus in recent times with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and little brother Jose, tagging along for the ride. There was Stormy Monday, Gloomy Monday, Stormy Weather, Blowin’ in the Wind, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Who’ll Stop the Rain, Have You Ever Seen the Rain and on and on. It was dizzying, so much that it made me shuck the whole idea of weather when I was listening to Like a Hurricane from Neil Young.

The version was from his 1979 Live Rust album, one that I love but haven’t heard in some time. Just hearing that song made me want to hear his Hey Hey, My My which has the line: rust never sleeps.

There’s just something about that simple line.

I thought it fit well with this new smaller painting shown here, enough that I am now calling it Rust Never Sleeps. Headed with me to the Principle Gallery for next Saturday’s Gallery Talk, it reminds me of an old photo that is always aging, losing its color as it fades away, the subtle tones turning to a sepia-like color. Tucked away in some place out of sight, it is always breaking down and only comes to life when you come across it at some distant point in the future. And even then it may only be as faded a memory as the photo itself.

So I’ll watch the hurricanes rage and think about old photos and fading memories.  Hey hey, my my…

I’m playing both versions of Hey Hey, My My from the Live Rust LP. The first is the straighter version, closer to the original released song with an acoustic guitar. The second is the heavier electric version. God, I forgot how much I liked this song!

Weather aside, try to have a good Sunday.

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The painting shown here is new and will be accompanying me next Saturday, September 16, to the Principle Gallery for my annual Gallery Talk there. It’s 11″ by 15″ on paper and is called The Understanding.

It’s a piece that that has really appealed to me in the studio over the past few weeks as I have been able to take it in. It has a sense of what I think is understanding in it. Not knowledge or wisdom but simple understanding. Just a moment of self-realization of knowing that you are a part of this world, a piece of the puzzle. There are no answers attached but there is solace in knowing that you have a place in this world in which to stand just as you are. A sense of belonging without answers or wisdom or any knowledge of the world beyond that which immediately surrounds you.

I was trying to find a piece of writing that fit this thought and came across the following from the classical Greek philosopher Socrates. It very much summed up what I was thinking as a result of this painting. Plus, as an artist, I have sometimes been given the benefit of attributes that I haven’t earned simply because people see my own desire for those things in my work. I want wisdom, I want inner peace and goodness but, to be honest, I don’t know how to get to that point and may not even know those things when I come across them.

As Socrates says:  I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.

That’s understanding.

__________

“I examined the poets, and I look on them as people whose talent overawes both themselves and others, people who present themselves as wise men and are taken as such, when they are nothing of the sort.

From poets, I moved to artists. No one was more ignorant about the arts than I; no one was more convinced that artists possessed really beautiful secrets. However, I noticed that their condition was no better than that of the poets and that both of them have the same misconceptions. Because the most skillful among them excel in their specialty, they look upon themselves as the wisest of men. In my eyes, this presumption completely tarnished their knowledge. As a result, putting myself in the place of the oracle and asking myself what I would prefer to be — what I was or what they were, to know what they have learned or to know that I know nothing — I replied to myself and to the god: I wish to remain who I am.

We do not know — neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor I— what the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although these people know nothing, they all believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubts about it. As a result, all this superiority in wisdom which the oracle has attributed to me reduces itself to the single point that I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.”

Socrates

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Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.

Thomas Merton
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I am doing my annual Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery next Saturday, September 16.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this will be fifteenth year for this talk at the Principle.  One of the challenges in doing a talk like this year after year is keeping it fresh and interesting so that every version has something new to offer. A new story. A new idea about the work. A new thought on perception and art. Just something new.

It’s sometimes difficult and I have found that some years are more successful than others in accomplishing this goal. It seems that the ones where I am at my most open and honest are the ones that flow and resonate best. And those ones seem to come when I am most at peace with myself, comfortable in my life of solitude.

At the moment, I feel pretty good and expect that to show in the upcoming talk but time has taught me that this inner peace can evaporate in mere moments. But for now, all signs indicate a good talk.

As with all of my talks, there is some conversation,hopefully some laughs and a few prizes at the end. Plus, I generally try to bring a small group of new work and a few hand-picked pieces from the studio that are available only on the day of the talk. Many of these are pieces that I feel have been overlooked and have meaning for me. having them at the talk allows me to talk a bit about them and give a little insight into how I view them. Context, I guess.

One of the new paintings is the small piece at the top, 4″ by 7″ on paper, with a title, Deepen the Present, that is taken from the Thomas Merton quote above. I like the thought behind his words, that solitude is not something that you can plan for in the future, that it must be taken hold of in this present moment.

And why wouldn’t you? The future is a perilous voyage away, with no guarantees. The present is at hand with all you need. Find your solitude now.

Hoping you can get into the Principle Gallery for the talk…

 

 

 

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