I hope all us are well during this interesting time in our history. As we are encouraged to “Stay Safer at Home” we are finding ourselves burdened with adjusting to many things. Some of my friends tell me they are adjusting to a lack of structure. Some were used to waking up and going to work every day, and with that came their routine of “getting out the door”, and that is no longer necessary in the same way it was a few weeks ago.
Couple that with the extra management of home-schooling children, providing your own daily meals, struggling with hectic grocery store runs, and managing dwindling finances, how do we cope with so many new considerations suddenly thrust into our lives as never before?
As I write this, many of us are having concerns about our health due to the Corona Virus pandemic. In connection with that are concerns about our leadership, election campaigns, and the economy. I recently attended a panel discussion about civility in partisan times. One of the major points was that throughout human history there has been conflict and worry, however our similarities often unify us more than our differences.
People often say to me that they could never be an artist. It is not for lack of skill or desire, they say, but because they don’t have the patience to do it. I rarely understand what they mean by that. My work typically deals with the immediate response and interpretation to what I see in front of me. I work with big brushes and make broad strokes, and the process is energetic. So that is possibly why I get confused when people tell me that they don’t have the patience to paint. Well, what about the patience to look at something?
I was rummaging through my studio, sorting and clearing out a few things. Stacks of old canvases and sketches, basically untouched, began to reveal a story. The story was the progress of my work over the last decade. Going back and looking at the old canvases was like going through a lost photo album. I could remember the thoughts I was having, the difficulties or successes of the moment. It was astonishing to see where my work was at ten years ago. Of course, I had to consider and ask myself, where will it go from here?
At one point during my time as an art student, we learned how to describe a work of art. This was an excellent exercise for all of us young eager and emotional students ready to pour out our guts to anyone who would listen. Our professor had us put our work up on the wall. There, we were to stand before everyone else and start divulging our own descriptions of our pieces. This was opposite of a critique. A critique included our work on the wall for sure, but now others would talk about what they saw and thought about it. This time the artists would speak for themselves. Oh boy! Continue reading “The Opposite of a Critique”
As the holiday season approaches, I started thinking about artists as grateful gift givers. Artists can be thought of as gracious and giving or snobby and pretentious or maybe a mix of all of these. As my thoughts were coming together, I remembered a funny routine by comedian George Carlin about his views on the game of golf. The bit explained his unique perspective about the game. He joked that golf was a snobby, elitist, pretentious endeavor played for the sake of chasing a tiny ball around for hours on end. Perhaps art can be viewed with similar terms. Continue reading “Thinking of Artists as Grateful Gift Givers”
I read a lot of articles about the art world. I subscribe to current articles that often relate what happened at certain events or shows. They offer news from small galleries to big museums, auctions and art fairs around the world. These articles are shared and reposted over several platforms. They sometimes read like a red carpet review of “who wore what, where and when” but they also contain serious information like auction trends and percentages per genre. Topics may be about a particular artist, who has somehow busted an all time record for the sale of a single piece. This industry reading is part of what one does, when one does, what I do, make art. I wonder, is there a scenario of the Art Collector vs. the Art Collector? Continue reading “The Art Collector vs. The Art Collector”
When painting and sketching in the field, I am taking notes from nature. These little sketches are meant to be fast. Though the response is quick, observation should take time. Some meditations usually occur before the rapid action of painting begins. This morning I read a short passage in a book that refers to Psalm 104:24 which reads,
“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creation.”
I can meditate on that and be reminded of a concept introduced to me as a painter several years ago. When painting nature in the field, one must take notes from her lessons directly from the source. The study of the landscape, the situation of the landscape, the little compositions that are happening here and there; her secrets reveal themselves and inform your future work, either in the studio or out in the open air. So many times the point of the work is the essence of the thing, not the thing itself. Continue reading “Painting Notes from Nature”
Painting in the straight up overhead sun is arguably one of the most difficult times to paint outdoors. Sometimes, even a friendly invasion of space makes painting a little difficult. I went to the gardens and I was intending to go for a shady spot under a tree to get this view of the trellis there. A family, walking next to me had their eyes on the same spot. Continue reading “A Friendly Invasion of Space”