Thursday, February 27, 2020

who are you

Early in the gospel of John a question is asked by one man to another.  
Who are you?


Not, what is your first name or your title?  Not, what do you do for a living?  Not, where are you from?


Two men in a landscape whose paths have crossed want to know the essence of the other.  


Words are there, and the sentences can be stitched.  But they might break if spoken too loud.  They are the thoughts you have your whole lifetime to whisper to your truest of friends.


Friday, January 24, 2020

anchor

Out the backseat window of the minivan my son could not make out the horizon because of the fog.  He threw up for 5 hours well into Arkansas.  


Motion sickness.  Sick of moving.  Stricken by inner unease.  
It's a miserable state that obliterates the joy of travel and overtakes the victim.  


It becomes a search for visual anchoring.  

Years of traveling and learning how to roll with the unpredictable shaped my vision and expectations of parenthood.  I was going to steer my family like a migratory caravan.  


 But it's as if my son has opened a new horizon to me, an exotic one that is closer to home.


A good friend commissioned this painting with a snapshot of his two boys from 20 years ago.  It's now above their fireplace.

What's above your fireplace?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

scraps

A large Pecan tree fell over in a wind storm and nearly crushed my rotting fence.  Its trunk is on my neighbor's property and is therefore his problem.  Some would act quickly to remove the hazard, the intrusion, the unsightliness.  It leans and browns with decay dominating my view against the vertical living trees that surround it.


My wife and I go for walks together in the evenings.  I remind Andi to slow down, that I would rather walk for leisure and not so much for power exercise.  But I speed up.  We pass a field that was once used by the old high school for football games.  Brown weeds and grass with a rusty goalpost, the space is not quite a park as much as it is emptiness.


We scan the neighborhood as we walk.  A house has been painted.  A woman rakes leaves in a front yard where neither of us have ever seen any sign of life.  Silhouettes of buzzards or hawks perch along bare pecan branches.   We walk in the road because there are no sidewalks and keep an eye open for oncoming headlights.






Wednesday, October 16, 2019

four by five feet


Large canvases.  They feel comfortable to me.  I apply paint and I step back, but step back to where?  Oh right, to that place where one stands when they look at a painting, between 5 and 10 feet.  Step in and step out.


While I paint I recall the small abstract watercolors that I painted 4 years ago.  My muscle memory is activated.  This is as close to a flowing experience as I might possibly know. 


Scanning photographs for dreams, disconnecting the source material and its context, stealing the sense of imagery that breathes in its life.


Friday November 1, "first friday", opens our next show at Commerce Gallery in downtown Lockhart.  Guest artist will be Susan Sage from Portland and music by Emily Gimble.

Image may contain: 3 people, text

Friday, August 23, 2019

me against the sun

The sun has been a galactic god to civilizations, male to some and female, I'm sure, to others.  What is my relationship with the sun?


Icarus had one.  My own seems similar.  If you think of the sun as an enormous power source that you confront or fight.


What I find most embarrassing as an artist is the never ending exertion in striving to be what I'm not.  It is solar in scale.  



Monday, July 15, 2019

dark ages

As an oil painter I find myself scanning my environment for material differently than I do as a watercolorist.


I think of James Turrell, as I pause and take note of sky-ground contrasts.  I want to see his crater someday.  Tell me how.


I am going to give an art talk on July 24th at 6 or 6:30 at Commerce Gallery here in Lockhart.  It will not be about the Dark Ages.  Because I know my audience and I don't think they want to here my dark thoughts.  But oil painting has been a chance to explore the darker values, compared to the pure white paper days of watercolor.  


Thursday, June 13, 2019

nusrat

Priorities.  First, announcement for upcoming show.  Stella Alesi will have her work here in Lockhart with us at Commerce Gallery.  I've known Stella for several years, and I've witnessed the evolution of her work through painting and color field and most recently geometric abstraction.  She is an artist who is devoted to creating work in waves of exploration.  Stella, while spontaneous, also sees her work through and through to a mature conclusion.  I look forward to hanging with Stella and Leon on Friday, July 5.


I continue to work in oil on panel, layering thin to thick layers with palette knives, all with the speed of watercolor to an effect that feels natural and on par with previous years' efforts in water media on paper.  I choose my locale of Lockhart where I spend an ever increasing maximum of my time (all of it).  By painting the mass and void, the small urbanity of Lockhart, I feel ever more connected to it, which is integral in a time when work and family push pull me in discordant directions.  


I run/jog/walk in the mornings, earlier and earlier as summer heat approaches.  On a day when I'm halfway through I realize I'm wearing my regular non-athletic spectacles which fog up in the humidity, I remove them and run blindly.  Ok, I am not entirely blind and can make out an approaching car, but mostly I run beside clouds of undefined light and dark color.  Strangely, this feels like rest.  Without my vision I am aware of my heavy dependence on my sense of sight.


As I run on a morning like this after traveling with my family for two weeks in the fastidiously organized Netherlands my thoughts are dancing.  I listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a Qawwali master who died about 20 years ago.  His music is clearly devotional, this much I have always appreciated.  It stirs my imagination and echoes the swirling - blind - joy of 3 mile freedom.


In Brussels with Rene Magritte, at his museum, more of his work than I'd ever imagined.  I normally view a painting first and follow by leaning in to the accompanying label.  With each and every one of his paintings, his incongruous titles cause a small hiccup or chuckle in my mind to the flow of work.  His paintings are crafted so beautifully, especially for one whose basis for painting was Idea over paint.


Ok, Netherlands is bicycle heaven.  Small roads specifically for bicycles.  Fietspad.  Love it.


Lucian at Teylers MuseumHaarlem.  Art and Science in one museum.  Who knew?  Now one of my favorite museums of all time.