544. July 5th…Just because you can think it….doesn’t mean you know anything about it…and other Non-Objective Painting thoughts

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Seeing Back” ©2011 Robert Redus

“What do you do with what you’re given, and how do you transform it into something worthwhile?” – Donald Fagen

the transformation…like the cracks in the sidewalk…I remember walking those early morning streets…the sun would just peek up over the top of the liquor store across the street…high up where the pigeons would dance …back and forth…up and down…or just sit calm…depending on the time of year…and they’d be cleaning the street with straw brooms…pushing all the nighttime world…back where they thought it came from…the outdoor chairs were empty…all of the conversations quieted…it smelled like everything you never wanted to know about…sort of little black and white photographs with bent corners…and pencil writing on the back…dated …names…places they called home for a few years…or maybe they became the woodwork…the clacking noise close to the wall…when the roaches would scurry underfoot…and the street lights haloed with swarms…while the night was so thick…it was called the “lush life”…pink skin sort of thick…kind of dreamers was how the men by their taxis seemed…maybe sordid…maybe saints…rimmed gold teeth…funny little hats…”I’ll be your best friend…I sure will”…he held a dollar bill up high in the air…the broom tucked under his arm…”mira mira”….I puked on the sidewalk”….from The Black Eye Project

I’ve always loved watching water swirl down a drain; it seems to me there is a dialogue there that to this day I’ve not been able to get entirely. Yet I still work at it every time I see it happen

Painting is an interesting journey, much like water swirling down a drain, there is a conversation that if left unnoticed or addressed becomes just another day at the easel. I paint every day and like to look at each day as what it isn’t compared to what I might think it is. Each day is different and by no means a continuation of the previous day’s events while painting. There may be similarities and more often than not there are major ones, but each event has a life-time of it’s own and sort of dies a slow death right before my eyes. Once the piece is done, the conversation ends maybe to be addressed later or never again.

Sure there has to be some connective quality to painting, but for me it’s not the finished product; it’s more or almost all of the process of getting to the finished product. I feel the process of painting is the connective device that allows the painting to exist. Otherwise it’s just all practice strokes, or ideas that have a beginning and a rather hazy end.

The one thing I’ve truly found out about painting is the importance of a plan. Now the plan can be very vague and nebulous, but for me something has to be there in front of me to make the process begin. I don’t literally mean a drawing or a photograph there to my left that I can look at but the idea has to have a greater presence that not. I paint non-objective work; the dictionary defines Non Objective as:

1. Not representing objects known in physical nature; nonrepresentational:  2. Emotional; based on inner experience rather than fact.

So the question arises, how does one develop a plan for something that doesn’t really exist? Perhaps the answer is translation. Translation means: “change or conversion to another form, appearance.” So taking say an idea and translating that into a feeling that in-turn can be shown perhaps as a color or combination of colors, throw In a few directions and objects/shapes that represent what that idea may look like in your mind. Add some marks that accentuate the important parts of the idea, maybe different colors. Try an emotional approach like getting angry or sad or happy and get the physical equivalent of that to appear as paint on canvas. Maybe take off all of your clothes, cover yourself with paint and roll around on the canvas, for personal effect of course. Then see what you have for that day. End the paintings life for that day and continue this process for a few days a week for a few weeks and see what happens. Three things may very well emerge. 1. The entire canvas is brown, 2. There is a painting with a bunch of great possibilities, or 3. What you feel or think is much harder to express than you thought it would be.

Often No-Objective paintings are confused with “Abstract” paintings. “Abstraction” is taking an object as a source and manipulating it into something that no longer appears to be that object but is referenced to that original object and source. It is nothing uncommon to hear even gallery owners make reference to anything that is not landscape or figurative as “Abstract”, sort of like any tissue is “Kleenex”, or any Soda Pop is “Coke

My brother is mathematician, he knows a great deal about the math behind water swirling down a drain. The connection between the math and the art describing the water and the drain and the swirling is really not that different, is my guess. Translating those combinations of math, water, drain, swirling, and paint, just might make a really interesting painting project. I can say, I always laugh a little bit when I see water go down the drain, because as a child I would picture myself on a small canoe made from a piece of Wrigley’s spearmint gum navigating my way down the swirl….so I guess it really would be an “Abstract” painting….at least it feels that way….

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde

422. September 29th…Doing that Voodoo….that we do…..

Art and my thoughts about being an artist

“No More ‘Thank you Come Again’.” 2010

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” – Viktor E. Frankl

I am setting out in some wonderful new directions lately…adventures I have been interested in….and finally we have opted to meet and make it all work….or at least see how it works…..

as a painter….there is a trap of definability of work….something that has a presence that oozes the artists style….that after a few views of a few paintings…everything is pretty much going to look similar or have a signature that is clearly that of the artist….from the side of sales and representation…that is perfect…yet from the position of the painter….the work becomes a continual exploration of the same work with…little variations that are small vacations but it’s…..always the same hotel….

by definition repeating similar processes will give similar results…..and even changing that process….will often give a personal “Chop” that no mater what…it is the handwriting of the artist…something that may venture into figurative and landscape paintings as well as explorations into abstraction and non-objective work….from the same artist…..and there might not be a thing that can be done to change that…..or if changing that is even necessary….

I feel like everyone…..artists find what works and tend to stay where the things that work well….do…perfect their abilities over a life time…come up with a flawless example of themselves…represented by a few hundred/thousand paintings…drawings…sketch books…and the like….things that show them over a period of time in every way they have been……in every situation they have experienced….one of my instructors feels if you are a painter…you paint…..nothing else…I don’t agree with that….and feel that if the exploration sends me into carving Oreo cookies into giant 300 foot sculpture as part of some process of discovery….then that’s fine…and a necessary part of the way it all gets to where it gets….

as far as painting….I feel for me….the ability to have slept with a particular style of painting until I know it so well it is difficult to separate me from the work is my ultimate desire…yet along that route…i want to experiment with other ways of thinking….producing work that takes me seriously out of the box…that is comfortable…carpeted…and full of everything I know….place me in the desolate….. where the wind blows hard and it’s very dry…..and I am forced to respond and respond quickly…..learn a new way to…breath differntly….see through my eyes in an alternative way….paint what I know nothing about…in essence….start…..

as an artist…I am constantly looking at works I’ve never seen before…..that is my obligation to me…it takes me out of my box….on….small field trips…gives me the opportunity to see what I’m NOT doing…..and what I would like to try….or not try….it makes me question how things are done….how processes are developed and refined….

one of the greatest things about this is….all of the new tools…..you know…..that stuff you just have to have….and it’s all the Holy Grail……

“The buttocks are the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body because they are non-functional.  Although they conceal an essential orifice, these pointless globes are as near as the human form can ever come to abstract art. ” ~Kenneth Tynan