Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
There is a tricky balance to being an artist. We have a contradictory need for both contact with others and for solitude in the studio or out painting in the field. I often think about this on my many days where I'm alone painting for hours on end. It can be lonely sometimes, but I'm convinced that's one of the prices we have to pay to really get any momentum going in our painting. Really good ideas don't usually come in and announce themselves with trumpets blaring. Rather they start out giving you little hints and the briefest glimpse out of the corner of your eye about what might be possible. When you work alone without distraction your ear gets attuned to the subtle whisperings that come to you from your inner creative side. Our "muse" is shy and fickle, but she will sooner or later come and visit us in our studio and give us great ideas. When she does, we better give her our full attention. She hates to have to repeat herself.
On Thursday I took a break from my final portfolio reviews for my Life Drawing Class at MICA and went to the end of semester show/reception the school has for its upper class General Fine Arts majors. Each student had about 10' of space to display their latest creations. Everyone went around and checked everyone else's work out. Probably 25% was really good, another 25% needed a lot more time and development, and the rest fell somewhere in the middle. While it partly resembled a madhouse, it was a chance for everyone to see and learn and most of all make up their own minds about what is the right path for them.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
This is a short talk I gave at the University of Maryland University College at the opening reception dinner for their 2004 exhibition of my paintings A Vision of Nature.
Artists and art collectors have something in common- it is that search for that special painting. While there are far easier ways to decorate, art collectors sense on a gut level that there is a special quality they want more of in their lives.
Experience, living, is more unexpected than we adults let on. Sometimes it is even strange. The message of painting, and of my paintings, is that this is ok, and beyond that, that allowing ourselves to embrace this awkward side of our experience makes us stronger, gives us bigger lives, makes us more potent, and best of all, happier.
When someone brings a painting home and puts it up on their wall ultimately they are doing it for only one reason- they somehow sense it will make them an artist of their own lives.
A painter knows a secret recipe. I put down on a big canvas several thousand colors, shapes, layers, brushstrokes. Each of them resonate from a part of our experience- a memory of a place, or a person, or a delight, or a fear.
We put in way more than we need, for it is like a giant casting call. Everyone, each brushstroke, is allowed and even encouraged to be themselves. I accept and I value every color, every drip, every smear from the most beautiful to the most inelegant.
It starts going in a dozen different directions, and this is good for in its early stages you want a painting to be at cross purposes, to be a little insane.
My studio is really a kitchen where on any given painting I stir these ingredients at a low simmer for sometimes several months on end, sometimes longer.
I am finding out who can learn to dance with who, who must be painted out of the painting, and who needs to be given a starring role.
Finally the painting is done and taken out of the kettle to cool. And only if you listen closely, the painting whispers its secret message to you: "Yes, life can be ridiculous, sometimes crazy, yet it is often so beautiful. I was born with some of that chaos and confusion, but I made some sense of it. Spend time with me, look at me whenever you can. I am your tool to make you an artist of your own life."