Saturday, October 27, 2012

Scraping away the edges

layer on layer
nothing ever lost
a shift occurs
this or that
alive or not
fluid or static
breathe it in
sweat it out
I will grow oak trees in my time
and you will come to live

and marvel at the emptiness
at the end of all things

the air will weep upon us
and we will flow through all the edges
into infinity
between, around
and, probably,
we will meet at some edge or other
in some time

Evening Walk at the Shore

The Edge of the Woods

Evening Walk at the Water Line

Friday, October 26, 2012

Finding outlets for the stacks of paintings!

Well, as I am a prolific painter, you can imagine what my studio space looks like. Even when I determine that I must and will be more demanding of the paintings I allow to continue in their existence (and in the available storage space which is severely limited!) the floor space in which I can move around gets smaller and tighter.

Finding outlets for these paintings is a daunting exercise.

Do you know how many good artists there are around the DC area?

Huge quantities!

Although I have galleries carrying my work, all of them are outside the DC area. I would love to find more local galleries that would work for me.

Thank you Frame Factory in Vienna and Alexandria, and The Art League at The Torpedo Factory!

The Path by the Stream 36 x 48

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Still rolling, just a bit more slowly

Again, it's been some time since I wrote here. Not that I haven't been painting - and successfully, too - but life intervenes and other activities/responsibilities take precedence sometimes.

So, still working on everyday scenes in exciting styles. Turns out it's a lot harder to introduce non-realistic colors in painting than a first, exuberant, unplanned success might suggest (that pesky beginner's luck coming back into play!).

Anyway, here they are:

Good Fences 36 x 48

Pine Spring Park in the Evening 30 x 40

Thursday, October 18, 2012

On a Roll!

OK. That new style is paying off.

Simplify, simplify, that seems to be the key. The landscape doesn't have to be a special scene or even interesting in itself. Considering that every day we see sights that can inspire and exalt us, and that on our daily rounds, finding the inspiration in those everyday scenes is what I am trying to do now.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Results

OK. The new technique (or philosophy) is giving some good results so far.
I'm working on pedestrian landscapes, sometimes the same scene multiple paintings, using exciting not-necessarily-found-in-nature colors and any utensil I find at hand.
Pretty happy with the production to date.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reinventing the Wheel

I've probably mentioned before that I am wary of having too much knowledge about art. Rules can stifle creativity (in my opinion only, I add).

So, in keeping with this idea, I am working of my own technique and trying to be true to my very own vision.

One of the difficulties of being prolific as an artist is that it gets hard to come up with new scenes to paint that have not already been done to death - by me no less!

So. Here's the problem:

How to paint every day (as I do) and produce fresh paintings that meet my own exacting standards of quality, without having to find new and exciting scenes daily or weekly that will inspire me to this level of creativity?

Now, one of the curious things I have noticed is that many of the photos I take and download every day turn out to have little if anything to recommend them to me once I see them on the screen. So why did I bother taking that shot? Something there interested me - something caught my attention.

So this observation leads to my newest pursuit.

I am going to try painting the most ordinary of scenes - such as my backyard or the walk to the park, or the drive to the studio - in interesting ways and colors. I will try to use the years in which I have been learning technique to communicate the beauty and interest in the most everyday landscapes.

All right. And we're off...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Truths and passions...

Second half: truths.


During political season, that seems to get lost in the media coverage (which is horrendous, by the way, but a different subject altogether).

It is, however, true.

Today, those wild cats are almost as wary of me as they have been since the beginning of this saga. But they are right to be wary, aren't they? The little ones are prey for other cats, for crows, for owls, for hawks, for death from the sky, for death from raccoons and perhaps foxes and certainly coyotes.

But most of all, these creatures are all prey to humans.

In a huge, complex world of food chains and natural selection, where life is tightly linked to predation, these little size predators are far from being safe. I watch the mother cat (herself in danger from a slew of predators larger and more vicious than she) teach her kittens to hunt for themselves. She does this by play. But once they are more adept and get the taste of blood in their mouths, they will be on the way to being able to care for themselves, and my chance at them may be lost.

Truth is often unpalatable.

These cats, and my campaign to tame them, have cost me my beloved mornings on the patio, feeding and watching the squirrels and cardinals, the bluejays and crows, coming to drink, to pick up peanuts. Now, I have to ignore them, and hope the wild cats are not around.

This world is not a soft, fluffy  place, where our actions have no consequences, or those consequences have little negative impact on the world. We are all a part of a vast construct that interacts in every cell.

We humans are inexorably changing the world.

The truth is we are doing this for the most stupid of reasons: just because.

Even as children we knew the stupidity of that excuse. Now that we are grown (and we are grown because we are capable of being destructive on a global scale) what excuse do we use? Cheap energy. Freedom of the individual to do whatever he or she wishes. Refusal to count costs and consequences. Chosen ignorance.

Worst of all: fear of acknowledging responsibility.

Truth has value.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Passions and truths

Does the object of passion determine the quality of the passion?

Does a passionate appreciation of a moment in time:

The other morning I was sitting on my patio having coffee when, with the quality of a distant rainstorm sweeping in, a huge flock of grackles flooded into, around and through my yard. I heard them coming for long seconds before they arrived, like a tide coming in, first a few, then more, than the full on-rushing of the flock. Then, bit by bit, they moved on, and I heard the tide moving out, away, and finally gone.

have the same value as a passion for getting a painting right?

When the light floods across the canvas and the shadows are dark and dense, and the colors cry out to the eye, when the painting breaks on me like the feeling that swept into me with those grackles, that's when the painting is right.

Not all paintings can move me that way, but each painting I complete must have some of that feeling to it, or it will not survive the next few days or months. Sometimes, even paintings that have satisfied for years will finally succumb to change and be reworked into something new.

So, this is 'passions'. Next time: 'truths'.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Once again, a reminder...

Yesterday, talking to my artist friend Kate, I was downcast about (once again) being rejected from The Art League show at the Torpedo Factory.

Strangely enough - and this seems somehow the reverse of what it should be - I am never too upset about being rejected when the show is really good. And this one is. This October show, focusing on color, is very, very good. Only a very few pieces in it that I would not have chosen myself.

However! There were very few large paintings (meaning oil and acrylic). And of the works chosen, not a one demonstrated an extravagance of gesture, a certain wildness of expression. Even the abstracts were polished, refined. Very good, but very controlled and finished looking.

Well, if you've followed any of my work, you know not one of those adjectives could be applied to my paintings. My work is spontaneous, unplanned, wild and as crazy as I can make it (okay, I admit that's not so very crazy, but I do what I can!).

So, talking to Kate, whose work is well-planned and usually very precisely painted, we noted that our respective styles of painting reflected our respective personalities.

This doesn't mean that we don't appreciate other styles, just that they do not speak for us.

And that links back to my insistence that a painter or artist must like her work. That is the measure that must count the most!

Herewith, 'River' and 'Riverbank':

Monday, October 1, 2012

Working on a philosophy for painting

Start with what I like:

1) I like to have some level of representation in my paintings. Something recognizable.
2) It's always about the light for me - light and color.
3) I like to be surprised by the painting.
4) I want my paintings to be powerful. I am not much interested in pretty or soft, although many of my ocean view paintings are serene. Serene is not to be confused with soft, but may contain gentle.

What I don't like:

1) Rigidity of structure.
2) Life that is static.
3) Muted, dirty colors - unless they act as contrast to something else.
4) Paintings that fade into the background. My paintings have to stand alone. Let the background adjust to them!

Well, this is something to start with, I hope.