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.


Monday, May 13, 2019

hallmark

"Are you a millenial, Chris?"  
I looked around the small weight room where I lift heavier than normal things twice each week.  Who is asking me this?  


I paused the podcast on my phone.  An elderly gym mate was peddling so quietly on the stationary cycle that I'd not really noticed her.  I think of myself as more generation x and shared this with her.  She was intrigued.


She shared some recent observations, maybe complaints, about how dependent her children seem on their devices.  I admitted my own dependence and delicately shortened my answers to her questions so as to end the conversation and exit the gym.  


On the phone later this morning my mother asked me if I'd posted any new pictures on my dot com or my blog.  A perfectly sweet-hearted long-distance question.  I explained that I only blog once each month and that nobody looks at websites anymore.  But that I do post things regularly on facebook and instagram.  


She explained how she doesn't like facebook because of how she gets sucked into it.  Old friends reach out to her, and it's a bit overwhelming for her at her desk.  I had no argument for her and only wished I'd sent her a sappy hallmark card for mother's day.   Doggone it.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

blake

William Blake's art and poetry was spiritual.   When I encounter him I see a prophet in the wilderness.  I see an artist, but mostly I see a zealot with a vision of fire and glory.  I enjoy reading about his career as much as his own words, to get a picture of the visionary consumed by the eternal in a context of fellow bodies competing for a publisher's contract.


Formations and assemblies, teams, congregations, affiliations.  I just spent two consecutive nights at the Commerce Gallery entertaining guests for a themed weekend in the downtown square.  Community here is not abstract.  


I picked through old snapshots at a local pawn shop of families on beachside vacations, graduations, picnics.  I drove with a friend out to a primitive baptist hall to experience a Sacred Harp.  This republic as a broth, boiled down to shared experiences, not so much the lightning bolt of Blake's inner world.


One month so far at the new studio in downtown Lockhart.  Adding a sign here, a website there (in a couple weeks).  Matt Kaplinsky of Dallas will show his work next, party night Friday May 3rd.  Patrick Puckett, whose work is currently hanging through end of April, will have a show in Austin at Wally Workman in June.  He and his wife are expecting their first baby this month...a great time to support this fellow artist.