Similarities Unify Us More than our Differences

My Brushes on a Table

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.

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The Patience to Do It

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? 

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Hindsight is Nineteen-Twenty

     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?

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The Opposite of a Critique

Photo by Chris Barbalis

Article By Curtis Green, Photo by Chris Barbalis

     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”

Thinking of Artists as Grateful Gift Givers

Painting of A Sentiment for Fall by Curtis Green

By Curtis Green

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”

The Art Collector vs. The Art Collector

Photo by Aaina Sharma

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”

“The Breakfast”, by William Paxton

The Breakfast, c. 1911
William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941)

With encouragement, I write these posts to invite appreciation of the visual arts. Each painting has a reason into how it came to be. Likewise, we as viewers can have many reasons for how we respond to it. Thus it begins, each time we go to a museum, to look at paintings, take them in and enjoy them for a while. This type of looking is not based so much on whether we prefer certain styles or colors, but a deeper kind of looking that guides our responses and shapes them into our own ideas or considerations. Continue reading ““The Breakfast”, by William Paxton”

Painting in Mendocino MOPO 2018 – Sonata No.1

Sonata - Curtis Green
Sonata No. 1

Some evening, I think on the second or third day, I went to the headlands on the west end of Mendoncino.   It is a popular point, especially during a sunset.  I drove down to have a look and found this view looking southward down the coastline.   The thing I found fascinating was the sparseness of the cliffsides.   My usual environs have many homes crammed side by side without much space to really even see a coastline for what it is.  I often think, when I stand at a place where the land meets the sea, about it being the edge of the continent on which I live.  There might be only ten or twenty feet left of the land for me to travel before I can walk no further.  Yet, I could walk three thousand miles in the opposite direction and experience all the life and sights the United States has to offer.  Conversely, the rest of the world is out over the horizon somewhere should I be able to fly or sail across the open water.

The sun was setting on my right side as I turned my attention to the land capturing the last of the days light.  Only a few indications of human tracks were noticeable.  A pathway leading to a cliffside look out, or a structure, barely visible on the distant shore across the bay.  I was virtually alone, able to tune into the sound and strength of the ocean the wind past my face, I could even hear the sound of the bristles across the course surface of my canvas.

The cliffside basks in the last light of the setting sun, the shadows indicate the waning of the day, wrapping itself into the promise of a new day only after the nights journey. The scene was an encompassing experience of the environment.  Looking at it was like listening to a beautiful piece of music, even the gestures in the act of painting was an attenuation of focus and meditation.  It was the word that came with the thought of visual music; Sonata.