Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sparrows and Brochures

I have finished the Morpheus painting (I think) and I feel it is a strong piece. I am a bit overwhelmed at the number of works I have that need framing. I have to consider other supports, I think, that do not require the huge (and ridiculous) expense of a framing job. On a student/artist budget the prospect of framing all this work in daunting. It can be rather depressing.

My friend Pam has graciously and enthusiastically offered her assistance and support in my efforts to address the business (yuck) aspect of being an artist. We have our Thursday morning bible study and then plan to work on the business. We went over to a few copy places to get quotes on brochures today. I have a beautiful brochure on a pdf file we put together, but when the printer printed a hardcopy, I wasn’t happy at all with the quality of some of the photos of my work. So, they have to be reshot and the whole thing has to be reworked. Needless to say I was irritated, but Pam has this wonderful way of speaking the truth to me not only in serious issues but in this one as well. I really need that. Her take was that, well, now we know what we need to do, we’ll get a better camera, shoot this day, print this day, get the mailing done this day…it’ll be great! I don’t need any more empathy or niceties from well meaning folks. I need someone to give me the proper perspective. I have grown lazy in disciplining my mind with the truth and naturally lean towards a negative bent on things. And now as I am moving toward 37 years old (that’s right folks) I don’t want to continue that behavior.

I heard an eighty year old woman on the radio today being interviewed about her positive perspective on life and aging and she said "Romans 8:28-30….believe it now. Don’t wait. Either it’s true or not. Choose it and live like that." To her it was that simple. Anything that happens God works together for the good of those who believe. Not a sparrow falls to the ground….not a brochure glitch, as simple and seemingly unimportant as it is, goes unnoticed.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Happy Birthday, my friend. Thinking of you today. I always thought I’d see you again… are missed.

Monday, June 20, 2005

you made the joy poop out of me

I was asked to judge an art show at a local school a few months ago. They had about 30 artworks and it took me and a staff member a few hours to do the judging. Some of the work had that beautiful, childlike quality that comes from just ‘being’. It doesn’t last into adulthood because it comes from a sense of ‘not knowing’. By the time students get into art classes in high school every last drop of that lovely childlike quality is squeezed out. Things have to start looking like something….there has to be a product. I was fortunate enough to have a pretty good high school art teacher who, for the most part, understood this tragedy. But by the time I got to college the professors made it their personal business to wring it out of me.

Anyway, I got a card in the mail the other day from the students who had work in the show.It has a bunch of comments like "good job", and "thanks" and "you were great", then underneath that bold red comment some kid decided to add an extra ‘o’ above the word ‘pop’ making it ‘you made the joy poop out of me’……love that. See. It’s that wonderful quality of ‘being’….

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

There's Sandorfi...and then there's me.

I have been revisiting some websites of favorite artists for a little encouragement and inspiration. I had forgotten how powerful Istvan Sandorfi’s work is. Every time I retrun to it, I am again struck and struck hard. It is always just like the first time I saw his paintings all over again. Although I have heard him criticized for some of his techniques (big deal art snobs) I still swear his work to be the most powerful and compelling work of our lifetime. He is weird, too. I like a stereotypical weird artist. And his philosphy makes no sense at all. Amazing work. Looking at other artist’s work usually makes me feel pretty good about mine but Sandorfi’s is the kind of work you see and immediately feel deflated, like a sorry little balloon let go into the wind……

So, I am dug in deep working on "Morpheus" (or "Morpheus Appears as Ceyx to Halcyne"). There is a turning point with a painting when things start to come together as you envisioned them. With each work I learn something new. I aways take the long way, the hard way in a work as I rarely use any references and every element comes exclusively from my mind. I have noticed these elements in my mind to even be improving with each work. I thrive on working that way (though I might have an ulcer to show for it….).
Have a look at some others…..It will be worth your time….


Great, but I love his earlier work. He does mostly portraits now:

Narazyzn is a foremost artist from the Non-conformist movement of the late Soviet Union:

Monday, June 06, 2005

Van person

Craig and I went to the National Gallery of Art on Saturday. We have figured out that we can park for free over by the tidal basin close to the Jefferson Memorial and walk to wherever we want to go. I guess we put in about seven walking miles in the heat and amongst the tourists.
The initial plan was to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit over in the east building. The west building has a Gilbert Stewart exhibit. He is the guy that painted the numerous famous portraits of George Washington including the one on the dollar bill. Right up Craig’s historical alley. He just finished a whole class exclusively about George.

The National Gallery has an impressive permanent collection, though including one too many classical paintings of the Madonna and Child….one can only take so many. I was losing interest among the numerous paintings of naked, full figured ladies and the blank stares of the people passing from one painting to another. Suddenly there through the doorway across the hall I caught a glimpse of what I knew was a Van Gogh. Right up my artistic alley.
I made my way down the wall taking in the magic and noticed a crowd of folks in front of a painting taking photos (I think that’s wierd, by the way). It turned out to be a Van Gogh self portrait, my favorite of all his work. Vincent created more than 2,000 works of art in his short lifetime and the gallery has 19 of those works. I cannot believe they have one of his self portraits. So, I waited my turn slowy moving closer as the snapshooters line got shorter until I was there… a few inches from the painting. I could see the brushstrokes made by the hand of Vincent Van Gogh.

I have always felt that his work had a sense of lonliness and tragedy… a sort of lostness and longing. Even before I ever knew anything about how tragic his life was I could sense it. Those are elements that I don’t see in the works of other impressionists from that so important time in history. Though there were plenty of artists with tragic lives in that era, the evidence just doesn’t come through like it does in a Van Gogh work. Its like bleeding on the canvas. I haven’t experienced this sort of thing often in art.

I stood and sure enough the tears started to seep out of the corners of my eyes. Happened at the High in Atlanta last year, too, at an exhibit passing through that had a Van Gogh self portrait. It’s ridiculous, I know, but the affinity I feel with Vincent Van Gogh is poignant. I wonder if the quickly moving viewers and photographers know anything about this man’s life and the kind of person he was. I wonder if they see more than quaint paintings of sunflowers or hard working people in the fields. I do. The painter Ben Shahn once said, “It may be a point of great pride to have a Van Gogh on the livingroom wall, but the prospect of having Van Gogh himself IN the livingroom would put a great many devoted art lovers to rout.”
My legs felt like cement standing there making that connection. He was looking at me, I was looking at him. Amazing. It was hard to move on but I move on blessed…..time for Lautrec and dancing ladies……