Friday, March 23, 2012

A tough week...

So this is where keeping a blog gets difficult. My mind is a blank!
Spring has cleaned house in my head. I've been running around moving paintings, depositing applications, trying to keep up with paperwork. Almost one whole week since my last post and I've got nothin'.


These are for you, Bruce...

Geraniums 2012, V & VI.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

OBX March 2012

In the 80s yesterday, same today. An early wake-up for the Outer Banks. I'm sitting on my balcony overlooking the ocean at 8 am. Not many people out yet. The waves are small. Birds taking advantage of the morning.

Reading Billy Collins' Horoscopes for the Dead

Before me, calamare,
red wine in a goblet,
water with a lemon wedge and thin black straw.

The light is fading behind me, to the east,
and dinner service sounds surround me here.

I am alone this evening,
this night,
with unseasonable weather bringing people to this shore,
the quiet ocean on the other side of the slender dune
unheard amongst the gentle chiming of the silver
and the china
(give them their lofty names).

A sip.

The book is open to the poem "Simple Arithmetic"
which fits quite well tonight
when I am here alone,
surrounded by the sounds of others, dining,
and the unheard ocean
beating on the unseen shore.

Just before sunrise (see the waning moon in the sky).

Here comes the sun...

Monday, March 12, 2012

About the process...

This is a really hard part - doing the fix-it-up work to make the painting ready for transport. Since I move all my own paintings in my trusty little mini-van, I can't blame anyone else for damage. So, when I was working with oils, I started stapling a foam core backing onto the stretcher bars, to ensure nothing would hit them from the back. Oils in particular, when dry, are vulnerable to bumps on the back of the canvas.

When I moved to acrylics, I continued doing the backing, because I find it provides a sense of security and adds a bit of weight (physical and mental) to the finished product.

So, today, painting around the gallery wrapped edges, stapling on the foam core, and putting on hangers and wire.

Hard work, and not much fun. But necessary.

And I still did get a bit of painting in:

Comes the Flood, 40 x 40

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tai Chi and Beginner's Luck

Learning Tai Chi helps understand some of the difficulty people face when they take up an activity and perform it beautifully at the very beginning.

I just jumped into Tai Chi a year ago by entering a class and copying what the teacher was doing. This method was great for me. I am observant, and a natural mimic, and was able to begin to memorize the forms relatively quickly. But then come the refinements: heel down first, shifting weight after the motion, hand position, and more.

Now, a year later, I'm beginning to incorporate these elements.
And I'm thinking about painting.

When I began trying out this new style of painting late last year, the first results were beyond anything I could have expected. They were truly inspiring for me. Two and some months later, I'm having to work much, much harder to achieve results I like.

It's the difference that intent brings. Intentional results require knowledge firstly of how that result can be achieved. When the desired result came about through experimentation and perhaps sheer luck, finding that result again is very difficult.

So, that's where the hard work comes in.

High Tide, 36" x 36"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not all sweetness and light...

If you've read my last post, you might wonder why I bothered to leave it up. Isn't this supposed to be about Art?

Well, yes. I guess so. But Art (art) is life looked at closely, in stop-motion. Sometimes life doesn't look so good. Is art required to show all?

Writing is also art. And in writing I find it easier to approach the hardships of living.

In painting, mostly I eliminate people. Sometimes I incorporate the things of people - roads, buildings, telephone poles. This is all just my personal take. Other painters deal with life differently. I find that serenity is my goal most often.

Of course, nothing is 100% here. If you look at my storm pictures, you will see that nature's fury invaded my paintings for some time this spring.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Back to the Animals

The night before last, I woke to the sound of an animal being killed.

Killing is not quick and painless. It is long, and drawn-out, and filled with despair.

Nature is not nice. Nature doesn't care for feelings or pain or empathy. So that's why I get so angry with anyone who tries to explain cruelty or the abuse of power by pointing out that people are just being true to their animal nature.

Well, isn't that what being human is all about? Rising above our animal nature?

That's the definition of greatness, to me. Not the willingness to kill, which is easy. But the willingness to talk and negotiate and see the humanity in our fellow humans, and even in our fellow Earthlings. To deal with others with respect. The same respect we require from them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

OK, Geraniumed Out!

So this is what it comes to: for me, painting must be an only partially controlled chaos of paint on canvas. Control is the enemy. But no control doesn't interest me, either. So just enough is key.

Geraniums IV is OK (herewith). Geraniums V may or may not see daylight. Right now it's sitting on the easel, awaiting finishing touches and/or judgment.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


It's harder than I thought to get something together that's worth writing down.

Here's a newish thing: painting the same scene once again, separated by lots of time - or not much time at all. Each successive successful painting is harder to come by. See below: Geraniums 2012, and Geraniums 2012 II.

Geraniums, my favorite flowers. And I like the orange red ones too. Can't grow them outside from year to year, so I bring some of them inside over the winter. By the time they are ready to go out again, they have performed all kinds of maneuvers in trying to keep alive. Some limbs are stretched out, reaching for the light that is hard-to-come-by in my house. Some limbs have stopped growing entirely, with just the light green color of the stem to show it's still alive.

Then, when they go outside again, and produce flowers, they are interesting in shape and the flowers stick out all over the place.

I like these much better than the well-behaved geraniums I have to start with each year from the nursery.