Thursday, December 29, 2005

Approaching the cliff.........

It is now 2 pm on thursday. I had an episode today just like I do every time I start a new painting. The whole wave of doubt, fear and questioning that comes without fail. I was able to manage it somehow enough to move on. I am ready to get going and still waiting for my reference photos from the printer. I did play around with some line drawing, scratching out and reworking a few places, and I did prepare a canvas, but I feel dissatisfied with it all today. I really want to approach this with respect and gentleness, yet with power. It takes me awhile to prepare before I actually start. Thinking through what I want to convey, the best way to present it, chewing on it, getting the references together (and there aren’t photos of Jeff Buckley in the short span of his seven year career) just takes a lot of energy and time. It has always been this way for me. I am preparing to experience the same pain and tension I did on the Vincent piece, I know it, but every time, for some reason, I still do it.

Craig and I watched this documentary called "Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art". It is about the transformations that took place in 20th-century America, told through the words and work of artists like O’Keeffe, Pollock, de Kooning…..folks from that era.
These documentaries are almost always replete with over philosophized interpretation by a number of art historians, who I can tell you are some of the weirdest people ever to live. To them every artwork has a deep, psycological meaning, or more often a deep Freudian context. When I was at ACA, my art history professor had a penile allusion for EVERY piece of art we looked at.

In these films there is always the old footage of the big ten sitting around smoking and drinking in their ‘boys club’ contemplating how great they all are and how they have ‘it’ and everyone else is crap. None of what they say makes any sense….unless you are CRAZY. Pollock wasn’t a verbal guy, so they didn’t have much audio of him, but some of the other guys……made no sense at all. It just sounds like nonsense. Bunch of pot smokers, or something…..

I remember getting a very rude awakening as a art student when I went to the High Museum in Atlanta, which was next to ACA. We got in for free as students. There was an grouping on pieces by some forgotten artist in contemporary section. These were ten or so pieces of plywood with the knotholes painted various colors. Depressing enough, right? Well, along with the ‘art’ was a huge artist’s statement ‘explaining’ the work and the philosophy of the work. Maybe most artists are so stupid that they have to make up some junk noone can understand to sound brilliant. It was my first eye openner to how low, low, low the world of fine art has sunk.
I like most of the artists in the documentary. It took me some time to appreciate their work, though. It would have been a much better film without the wacky art historians.

once again.....

I have more ammo today for that James Dobson guy. They are airing a three day series from Shaunti Feldhahn who wrote a book about what men really think. She wrote a book on the pending doom of Y2K in 1999, by the way. The show portrays men as weak, insecure and unable to control themselves as well as having the sexual and emotional maturity of fourteen year old boys. (This one is often true, but it is because of the failure of the older men in a boy’s life, not a genetic condition.) I loathe the stereotyping of anyone. And I think it is a disservice to men to air a program like this one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So the slow, process of beginning again…..begins again ("Allow myself to introduce….myself.) While looking for reference photos I came across an amazingly brave painting of Jeff Buckley amongst the sea of standard pencil drawings by various teenage girls.

Ken Meyer does mostly comic work but has done a lot of great portrait work of numerous music icons. This particular painting of Jeff I really found powerful and heartbreaking. I love it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Fugazi has a great documentary called ‘Instrument’ released in 1999 that I haven’t seen before last night. I have always loved the band and had the opportunity to see them several times in Atlanta in the early 90’s. They are an amazing live band and they really stick out as one of the most original bands EVER. I haven’t thought about them or listened to them in awhile, but today I have pulled out all my cds. Wow. Rent it if you want a lesson on making an impact with your art.

photo Pat Graham
I am walking around this new painting…around and around. At least I have the canvas prepared and up on the easel. The approach is what’s hanging me up.
(By the way, if you happen to listen christian radio on Focus on the Family today you can hear a program about what a REAL SWELL guy James Dobson is. It’s the ‘let’s kiss his rear’ day on the show. Very unbecomming. I am sure the show was his idea. I think I am going to be ill……..) Sorry, I just feel he is the big cause for a lot of the anti-christian sentiment in the world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

the thorn in my flesh

I have been paid a visit by my old friend ‘back pain’ these last few days. Yeh-haw. This particular friend causes everything to come to a halt. Demanding attention, it keeps me from being able to paint and makes me extremely cautious about the way and manner that I move. It’s strange when it comes around, because I can never quite figure out what brings it about on occasion between long stretches of no visitation at all. So here I am propped up with a pillow behind my back on a gray and really cold December day waiting for my chiropractic appointment to roll around.

My car has returned to the shop from whence it came. We picked it up on Saturday and the crappy replacement transmission failed that night. Ah, yes, you can bet I was pissed, having been almost rear ended on a busy road. It will have a brand new transmission put on later in the week. No additional charge. I had a gut feeling…….

The Jeff Buckley painting is still floating around in my mind…..waiting for the right time to be birthed. My hands are tied today….I can’t work. Just envision and chew.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Craig and I have Netflix and watch a fair amount of movies and documentaries. The other night we watched ‘Another State of Mind: Social Distortion, Youth Brigade and Minor Threat.’ It is a documentary made in 1984 about the aforementioned bands traveling across the country in a junky schoolbus in an attempt to play in 30 cities in 35 days. Very punk. Needless to say it begins to fall apart when they aren’t making enough money to eat and any money they do make has to go on bus repairs. Then they want to go home. Not very punk.

For me, the movie brought back so many memories. I was 16 at the time and really immersed in the punk underground, and believe me, it was underground then. Looking at the kids in the movie I was struck by the clothes. Then, everyone just went to the thrift store and made the clothes their own by writing on them or shredding them, whatever you like. There wasn’t any Hot Topic or the myriad of clothing stores where you can get pre-made alternative covering. Someone figured out that they could make a lot of money in a business like this. The entire movement was about doing it yourself. By the time the record companies and clothing stores caught on punk was already on its way out. The idea was to be an individual. To be creative.
Even the bands all had their own sound. But when everyone began to look the same and sound the same and even act the same the movement was over. Johnny Rotten would say that the end happend in the late 70’s. I think it was more like in the mid 80’s.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

out of the flames.....into more flames

Out of the flames…..into more flames.
Filed under:
Everything— Tracey @ 10:56 pm on
Well, ‘Vincent’ is finished…… I will post it on the website in the next day or so so you all can see what the source of my season of agony is….what the big fuss is all about.

I have been looking at reference materials all evening and sketching for the next work which will be a painting about Jeff Buckley. I had a dream and it will be based on that dream. A daunting task, no lie.

"The only goal is the process. The process is the thing, with little flashes of light here and there….It’s the life in between, that’s all I’ve got." - Jeff Buckley

Monday, December 05, 2005

double A.....M,C, O

This was our day today in northern Virginia. The first snow storm of the season and it is still coming down. Things don’t really stop around here when it snows. The county is expert at being prepared and getting the roads sanded and salted. Other thanĂ‚ maybe schools closing for one day, most people go to work. I remember being in awe of that our first winter here having come from Atlanta where thirty minutes of flurries shuts the city down and people act like they have a natural disaster happening.

Cars are great, love my car, feel blessed to be a two car family and really a car is a luxury. Having two is like really a luxury. Mine died yesterday on Cardinal Drive. The transmission. I knew it. So, the bother of the inevitable event and the unavoidable expenditure of a lot of cash has put a little damper on the day. Weather hasn’t really helped the general sentiment around the house either.

Still have not finished ‘Vincent’……what a shocker.