Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Embrace the unknown . . .

As it sometimes happens, just the other day a man insulted my abstract paintings on the gallery wall, suggesting I was, to be brief, delusional.

Here it is--a stranger recoils and dismisses your work--feeling the revulsion so strongly he or she simply has to spit out a cruel commentary. What is that?

We, humans, fear what we do not know or understand. And what is fear but a threat? It can feel like an assault. The potential assault here is on one's beliefs--the belief that only paintings of "real" things have value or demonstrate skill. The artist, me, was effectively threatening this man at his core--ergo his preemptive assault.

What we believe is simply indisputable, sacrosanct. Isn't that right? Think about your own beliefs. Now, consider, if everybody's belief that the-world-is-flat continued to this day as indisputable? We might live in a curious world today. Beliefs vary widely on every imaginable topic. Can both sides be right? Really? What if both sides are wrong? What if there is no right and wrong--and only just what is--both.

Before I drift too far off topic . . .

I paint landscapes, and I paint still lifes, and I paint abstract stories with abstract characters. I believe there is room in the world for all of it--all of mine and all of yours.

Don't let anyone convince you that what you are creating somehow lacks value. The fact that you even try takes immense courage. And by the way, I'm pretty sure the world is not flat.

Here's my latest BIG painting . . .

"There's a hare in my eye."
36" x 36" acrylic on birch board

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Have a great day in the jungle!

I want to talk a little bit about something that fascinates me--looking or seeing.

As it applies to abstract painting . . . Why do you see a cat when I don't? Why do I see a bird when you don't? If you subscribe to the notion that there is only one thing being looked at, why don't you and I see the exact same thing?

How about this -- a Rorschach test. . . What do you see?

I see birds, winged lions with centipedes under their bellies, and maybe even a drone . . . Oh, wait! I see Jesus there too.

Or how about this one,

First, I see a duck, and then I see a bunny, and a duck, then a bunny again--How about you? What we can't see is both at the same without naming either. We don't say, "I see a black and white detailed form having no name." This is very curious. That inability to see just what is there without naming is uniquely human. See if you can do it. Try it. Try it again and again.

Also, I have this thing called "Pareidolia". You have it too--we all do. In a nutshell, we see faces and other creature features in non-creature images. 

Here's a favorite . . .

I have A LOT of this Pareidolia, and you might identify a few of these abstract creatures in my latest series of paintings. I used to avoid allowing them in my work, but now? Finally, I'm letting my goony creatures fly, as it were. They say Pareidolia is in our DNA, and because I have an extra dose of this trait, I'm the one you want to follow through the jungle. I will spot the characteristics of a predator long before others will. This ability is not quite as valuable in the 21st Century on, let's say, a city street, although maybe we shouldn't discount it as a potential benefit. 

Enough said about "seeing" for now. Have a great day in the jungle!

And while I've got your attention, here are two new art pieces hot off the easel. What can you see in them? Here's a clue . . . read the titles.

10" x 10" acrylic on w/c paper

Super Sunday
10" x 10" acrylic on w/c paper

Friday, February 1, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Progress made in field-painting development . . .

(1) Abstracted iconography developing nicely
(2) Color-field process improving
(3) High marks in the confidence department


Congregation 12"x12"
acrylic on birch board

Flying 12'x12"
acrylic on birch board

Running Goat 12"x12"
acrylic on birch board

The Egg Story 12"x12"
acrylic on birch board

Persona 12"x12"
acrylic on birch board

Tether 24"x24"
acrylic on birch board

Holiday Minis

Every year at Co-Art Gallery in Staunton we tempt our customers with smaller, less expensive canvases. They make wonderful gifts for friends and family, and everyone loves to look at them.

I went full-speed-ahead this year with a "fantasy floral" theme.

Fantasy Florals
8" x 8" and 5" x 5" panels

Detail of a few 5" x 5" 
mixed media on dimensional canvases 

"Whimsy Blue" 8" x 8" 
mixed media on Yupo paper mounted to board SOLD 

Detail of a few 5" x 5" 
mixed media on dimensional canvases 

Bigger is BIGGER

It's not that I have never painted large formats before--back in California, I painted a few 5' square canvases-- circa 1995. When you paint big, you come face to face with two truths--you use much more paint and BIG takes up a lot of storage space.

While I learned some valuable "process" lessons, all that color, using an unlimited palette, was, well, a little scary. And,

(1)  I wasn't yet brave enough to let my freaky character icons fly (as it were),
(2)  I didn't yet know how to paint the "field" I wanted them to live in, and
(3)  I wasn't ready to just let go.

So, the remainder of 2018 consisted of smaller learning studies, with a plan to eventually go big with confidence. Add to the mix, a December holiday project which I'll show you in another post.

14"x12" water media on w/c paper

Space and Time
10"x11" mixed media on w/c paper

12"x12" acrylic on birch board

20"x22" acrylic on w/c paper

Bigger is better

Mid-year 2018

The advice I got and still get from teachers and colleagues as I move more into color field painting with personal iconography is, "This kind of work is best suited to a large, or rather, a very large format." In other words, make it BIG!  So, I gave it a go. Uncomfortable limiting my color palette, I decided to include every color--woohoo!

Blackberry  36"x36"
acrylic on birch board 

Living Color #1 36" x 36"
acrylic on birch board

Living Color #2
acrylic on birch board

Back to the future - 2018

Life did continue for this artist during the entire year--just not on this blog. I painted, printed, went to art openings, entered juried exhibitions, won awards, went on plein air paint outs, visited museums and art galleries, and generally lived a life full of what other lives are full of--everything and not much of anything significant. But, I'm back for updates and sharing. With much gratitude and humility, I can say "Life is still good."

JUNE 2018

At the 2018 Annual Artists' Weekend in Monterey, VA two small acrylics were exhibited in the Wet Paint Sale--June 24, 2018.

 Wimer Road--Bluegrass, VA 
Small acrylic on w/c paper

Heading West--Hightown, VA
small acrylic on w/c paper