Thursday, December 15, 2016

weightless on the inside

Bank statement from Hungary yesterday.  Once a month.  On the outside of the envelope is something in hungarian about making the best decisions blah blah.  Nothing at all that one reflects on too deeply before reviewing the unthrilling numbers inside, if the envelope is even opened at all.  But I glance again.  This wisdom is a quote from the Buddha.

My bank quoted the Buddha.  

I'm trying to imagine a financial institution in the US quoting a master of the immaterial.  Hard going.  But it occurs to me, now as I'm moving my belongings in boxes and reflecting with a great deal of melancholy over my material possessions, that maintaining any sense of mobility while dragging the weighing burden of my belongings requires time and effort and stress.

Immaterialism is the new luxury car.  I want it.

Solo show of new work at Hooks Epstein Gallery opens January 14th in Houston.
Still waiting to hear about George Billis date.

Monday, November 28, 2016


"We value certain buildings for their ability to rebalance our misshapen natures and encourage emotions which our predominant commitments force us to sacrifice."  page 121 The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton

We are moving this month.  Out of a home my wife and I developed from thin air.  

I drew up this one in 2006 on paper, modeled it in foam core.  

Now, onto the next but with auto cad.  Concrete in January.  So excited to put the above concept to the test, to observe how different spaces really can affect us.  Such a busy month.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

open studio

This Saturday, October 22nd, I'm hosting an open studio.  You are welcome to visit Sunday if you cannot make it on Saturday.  All day.  I wish to let go of old paintings and will offer discounted prices in order to free up needed space.  

What is my studio?  What makes this room a studio?  

I need a room that is not for entertaining.  It is for working and for me alone to work.  It is a control room.  A recent visitor commented on its Tetris feel, in regards I imagine to the maximized use of space.  I have shelves that are full of boxes, jars, and books.  I know where everything is.  The paints are arranged in a way that I can reach for cobalt behind my back while blindfolded.  

This need for control has one purpose:  to lose control.  Personally, I need great stability before I can lose myself in the project before me.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Palette of 5 colors, maybe 6 or 7.  But not many.  The river is green, like my swimming pool.

A truck's rear window covered with a blanket of fine silt, except for the area the wiper has functioned to clean in its arching shape.  "Please wash me" is sometimes written into this dust to the owner.

How do these pigments express themselves beyond the tube and canvas, in the raw.  Can I paint in this manner?  Can I create a storm with these pigment particles and hurl them?  Can I please?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

damn yankee

Some think that it's one's duty to paint only what surrounds them, where it is that they find themselves.  

I've seen this county more than I ever dreamed I would, mostly due to my wife's campaign for district judge.  Caldwell as home as fodder.  Leaves of grass emptiness.

Wood milled down to manageable planks, resinous longleaf pine, stumps as footers. 

Black gumbo clay beneath.  Two tomato seasons.  Been nearly two years since a freeze.  Yankee vs damn yankee:  there's a difference.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Avec l’autorisation de Diverti Éditions

Friday, July 29, 2016

what does i stand for?

It stands for interstate.  But it's the question, or the nature of such a question that I've been witness to for the past month as my children have been home from school.  One child asks questions more.

My other child observes more of what I do, as in what my body is language-ing.  Or how I might nag him (or her) to please put down the screen while I proceed to sit there and type email responses.  Or how I lose my temper while baking low-carb meatloaf.  

To describe my state while painting as speechless is inadequate.  I've had conversations, supposedly, with my wife on my cell phone while painting that I barely remember.  I mean, I do make noises, words even.  But mostly, I experience painting as an ungrammatical stretch of grunts.  This is what those who observe me have reported, I don't remember.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Paint realistically.  But paint what realistically.  

38x38" canvases that I stretched at once to avoid a break between sessions.

From photos that I'd put aside months or years ago.  The time lapse seems to have eroded the memory I had of the place down to the photo's composition.  

My only painting from the city of Szentgotthard (St.Gotthard).  A Hungarian border town that was once isolated due to its geographic proximity to the iron curtain.  Not quite a Juarez, perhaps more forgettable.  Why I like it.

Monday, May 30, 2016


To demystify is to risk boredom.

To talk at length about structure.

To explain away the momentary experiences of ecstasy.

To work a painting from cadmium to grey.

I too wish to expose the mystery...

and call it work.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I've been contacted recently by the freelance journalist Simon Thurston of Pratique des Arts, a magazine in France for art enthusiasts.   Pasted below are answers to some of his questions that will be translated (not by me) into French for an upcoming issue.  A tangible copy can be purchased at a Parisian newsstand soon.

How do you choose your subjects?  

Watercolor is a medium designed for travelers.  And for me, this history and tradition of it taken along on adventures into new and exotic worlds, i.e. Sargent/Klee in Egypt or Homer in North America’s wilderness, attaches a transportive aesthetic to the medium itself.  And I’m only now realizing this, after 15-20 years of working with watercolor and after recently expanding into acrylic inks and more recently oils, that when I pour a layer of cobalt blue onto paper I’m participating in a tradition of expression that speaks of the longing for the new, for wanderlust-ed horizons of adventure.  It is a delicate and ethereal medium used historically to depict the ancient, sublime, monuments of empires of man or nature.  A fantastic combination.  And so what I look for is somewhere near to this: an angle of our city or civilization that is similarly tired, worn, and marked by millions, because this to me is what watercolor wants to paint.  

Do you work from photos?

The deliberate part of my work is photography: examining the photograph, editing the photograph, and prepping the paper and sizing it, etc.  There is quite a bit of this work that I consider less “creative”.  Much of the painting is a production that I could probably hire out to an assistant if I were more ambitious, but I do everything myself and quite enjoy it.  The mechanical aspect of stretching paper, much like a canvas minus the stretcher bars, and enlarging a photograph and taping it, these are steps that I find to be important.  They lead up to the creative, ecstatic phase of applying paint.  In fact, the more time I feel I invest in building a surface, i.e. panel, canvas, etc., the more precious that surface becomes, and therefore the more sacrosanct the process of painting upon it.  It is a rush to spill paint or ink, and I’ve often found this loose application whether with a mop brush or literally tipping the jar to be the most creative thing I do, and yet it only lasts a small portion of the total time.  It is when time seems to flow.  In the end what you see is a building up of layers that shows a process of working, of developing.

Monday, April 4, 2016

architect as father

Windows are the eyes.  

The great Zaha Hadid passed away last week.  Her eyes were magical.

Windows opened me up to the idea of studying architecture.   

My latest work, shaped by my sweet family, will be for sale by the end of today.  

Architect as father.  The ultimate joy.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Our culture is an automotive one.  Machine based, rage guzzling.  Still I’m interested in its experiential benefits, if indeed they objectively exist.

 While day-to-day linear movement measures our drive and promotes our wellbeing, inside, the passenger is passive and reflective, unburdened from decisions.  

Painting for me is simulating this experience of a passenger.  I am contained.  From my containment I gaze upon an arena marked by exhaust, haste, and turbulence.  I see others, but mostly I see their containers.  We are aligned and in accordance.  

This is an automotive pastoral.  A sensory deprivation vessel.  A joyride of attention on the visual. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

slow swirl

Snow falling.  Not here at all.  But it is in other parts, like in my memory of a winter when I spent the evenings reading James Breslin's biography of Mark Rothko.  I needed that snow to fall, for the sky to darken, so that I'd come to a better understanding at that time of how Abstract Expressionism happened.    

Rothko and DeKooning and their pals were my heroes due probably to a childhood visiting the Art Institute of Chicago.  You see, the gallery space devoted to the avant garde at that time was still loyal to Abstract Expressionism.  The earlier abstract work was mostly European, more formal, and down the hall.  These Europeans felt small to me.  They felt grey under the influence of world wars.  The A E by contrast felt angry and free.  And by the time I'd begun creating my own abstract paintings that winter of 1997 I'd realized how little I knew about the artists beyond what was described in Art History books.  And well, I loathed then like I loathe now all Art History books.

To learn about Rothko was for me to learn about them all.  Rothko chose to be a painter.  Others thought he was wasting his talents.  He painted whenever he could, with whomever he could.  He tried mimicking what his master, Max Weber, instructed aspiring painters to do.  This took him far, as can be seen in the image at the top.  But it was during a middle life year after many attempts in varying directions that he paid closer attention to what and how children paint (he taught a children's art class).  Painting became a question of how orange would look next to red.  Painting for Rothko no longer aspired for complexity and instead led him thru a discovery of much simpler, more authentic questions of play.

I'm pleased to announce that Gallery Shoal Creek of Austin will be hosting a solo show of my newest work in oil.  Yes, it will include some recent watercolors.  The show's opening will take place on Friday, April 22nd.  

Monday, January 4, 2016

the empire

When my grandparents' families emigrated to the US over one hundred years ago, they arrived from Poland and Croatia.  

Leaving what was at that time Silesia (southern Poland) and Croatia (Hungary) my relatives were citizens of the Crown lands of Austria.  They were disgruntled.

Simon Winder's Danubia and a book series entitled A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor together paint an interesting picture of central Europe before World War I.  My fascination with this part of Europe is a natural, almost effortless extension from my family.  This is one level.  

I  am interested in other things effortless.  The way an empire lays out a city over time.  The way we navigate them.  The manner in which I construct my work (the concept that, on a good day, economizes time and effort).  The way work can no longer seem like work.

This entry is dedicated to my mother's parents, Louis and Kay, who took such good care of me and who demonstrated the contentment found in simple living.