Wednesday, August 2, 2017

tinted

There were a few parts missing from the order, so I had to drive into north Austin with orders to return promptly.  This allowed me no time for experiencing any of the fun of the vibrant metropolis.  There was no time for doing lunch with friends.  No time for Peter Pan mini golf.  I was able only to veer off of the highway, and to slowly circle a round-about beside my wife's office.  By doing this I could wave toward the second level corner office.  My kids were inside that office today with their mommy, and they waved back, reportedly.  I couldn't see them through the office building's tinted glass.  They saw me.  They told me over the phone.  


Summer's end approaches.  As a nonTejano I scan the horizon for this season change every year.  The light changes always, but this one change I detected last week.  It is autumn.  And though it's still months away from fully landing, I know it's coming and I feel hope once again.


My strategies for entertaining the kids with an unforgettable summer have run out.  By strategies I mean that I mostly expect them to entertain themselves.  But this has devolved into tv binging, or as in today's case, adventuring with mommy to mommy's office.  Today they were able to see my white van circle below, to see me smiling and waving.  I told them they looked like they were having a blast.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

my dawn


It's that time of day when I've completed all phonecalls, balanced all emails, jogged around my town, changed out of sweaty clothes and into work rags.  I've also eaten my early lunch or late breakfast, often to satisfy hunger but also to stave it off for the next few hours.  It's a summer day and the sun has already been so strong in the texas sky for hours, yet it's my dawn.  What I do now feels like a procrastination before i head out to the stuffy, wooden barn-studio for the afternoon.  Because it's been a long weekend with the kids I might tidy up some sneaky skittles wrappers or relocate several pairs of shoes.  


Painting is not work, not in the sense that it depletes me, but I like to treat it like work, hang my hat on it, cook on it.  As a youngster I held numerous jobs that required a repetitive physical exertion.  In fact, the earliest job I took that did not require my brawn was as a clerk, and those hours I spent standing, in idle daydreams, felt criminal by comparison.  I was filling space, and I found such amusement in how comfortable it was to be left alone, in peace, for wages.


I've not much complicated my definition of work over these years.  I still value contemplative work, both physical/manual as well thought/craft.  Productivity, and the time and space it fills, feels similarly criminal, like a reward unto itself.  Make something.  


The next hours are my time for concentration.  It's my time to give up worry and knowledge.  My kids are taken care of (I just received a text of them eating lunch with extra ketchup), so my world is as stable as I can make it.  I'm off.




Monday, June 12, 2017

deuteronomy

The journey to and through New York city was full of whispers.  I felt deep in thought while I steered a group of 12 from here to there.  I unplugged while I looked both ways at each intersection and held the hands of my children.  


The installation of my work at George Billis is perfect.  He has two rooms.  The first room is visible.  The second room has to be found.  My work is in the second room.  
(The above is in July's "American Art Collector" magazine.)


I tried to convince my daughter that the broadway "cats" might be enjoyed just as well in another american city...that since we had so many options why not see something, anything else?  


But thanks to the sure footedness of my daughter it remains the highlight of my trip.   Old Deuteronomy comforted me, reminded me in-between his lines of the journey's purpose: to wait in line for discounted tkts, to visit the oracle at the met, and to say wow to the empire state building.


To have my sister there in attendance was the best.


And to visit my father's upper east side childhood memories, to meet Alec Purves, a fantastic watercolor artist.  More importantly, a friend my dad hasn't seen in 50 years.  A great trip.





Monday, May 15, 2017

custom

Build to suit.  What suits is difficult to say.  Just give me the regular.


I've heard the term "custom" uttered around the job site.  Something about having no attic space to run junk.  


Custom-er.  Custom-ary.


American Art Collector called me to ask a few questions for a review in their upcoming June issue.  George Billis is often featured by this handsome magazine.  The interviewer is twenty five years old, I learned (by asking her).  


Said goodbye to the old falcon couple weeks ago.  Took such good care of us.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

tavasz

tavasz means spring in hungarian.  I don't know its etymology, but I know it's in there.  Just as I know in my bones that the spring deity is upon me here.


My family sat in the concert hall to watch the magic flute.  At intermission I hear magyar from the couple in front of me.  I ask them if they are hungarian.  It's an encounter I seek out nearly everywhere.


It's a touching.  Just enough said that quickens my step.


A flurry of creativity, in the wild mind as well as the loins, the center of being.  


Savor this, I say to myself, it won't last.  No doom in this.  Simply, I know heavier clouds and dust, and they return.


Shipping work off to NYC momentarily.  Show opens June 1 at George Billis.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

what if

My workspace is currently tight.  So, I have chosen to work smaller.  Interesting things happen to me when I challenge myself to seek out the effects in less, in set limitations.










I'm visiting Santa Fe again soon.  A trip I've made a couple other times, skiing and visiting galleries.  I'm older, yet still interested in showing my work there someday.  As a solitary artist, I feel I've absolutely no connections to its scene.  Share your suggestions with me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

settled

In a Q&A I am often asked about the places I paint.  I describe them as places I visit frequently, places that are already there on my path that I'd be traveling along anyway, regardless of my watercolor ambitions.  I try to be honest at the risk of sounding uncolorful, undescriptive, unimpassioned.  I know painters who choose to not even show up at Q&A's, out of protest perhaps, and I understand this decision.  


Is painting the only way I know how to express myself?  Do words not come easily?  Are colors my only voice?  No, quite the opposite:  I strive to make colors a mode of expression. I wasn't born as I am now, stubborn and mute.  It's a protesting of my own easy way out, of resorting to explanations.


Is this a watercolor or a painted photograph?  How do I see this?  Why paint this image, this photograph, in watercolor or oil at all?  What does watercolor lend to the photograph?  Why was the photograph not better left alone?  Why don't I paint more people, people with ice cream cones?


If there has been a theme over the past year it is NYC.  But from that point on I disintegrate.  The paintings are based on photos from NYC's various parts, not just Manhattan or midtown or any one thing that is collectively agreed upon as NYC.  

I ask myself what I'd want on my wall.  Do I want to collect images of antlered animals?  Do I have a preference for paintings that only describe aspects of my hometown, as I currently am or am not in my hometown yet want to be reminded of it for sake of my own identity?  

Or, what's my relation to sadness and do I wish to stomp it out or do I wish to know it? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lebensraum

Living room, as in space for living.  Surprised I was not familiar with the concept.  Read about this in a book gifted to me by my wife, not this year, last year.  A book that is dark history and that I read and discuss really only with myself, or those whom I know won't judge me.


Germans needed more space, like, you know, for an empire.  They at least thought they did.  In fact, Germans prefer intimate spaces.  Low ceilings, breakfast nooks, tight pants. If you're German and you do not, then you are rebelling, which is ok.


I've been crouched behind my computer for three days straight.  Writing.  In a hallway within a small house.  It's a cave for my withdrawal.  And I feel a need for such a hiding place.  But I feel it's served its purpose as I near this assignment's end.


Last weekend in Houston's Hooks Epstein was wonderful.  My kids are old enough to want to attend my openings, if only for the last 30 minutes.  They are hoping to join me in NY for June 1 opening at George Billis.  We'll see.