509. March 29th…it’s hard to image one single day without Painting…and…Frankenstein…of course

Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Passing the light” 2011

“Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

after a day of intense conversation about art…painting and being artists…when I returned home…I found much of what I had talked/debated/listened was like….frayed string…my lips moved…I heard everything…the ideas came forward but what was really missing was the element of concreteness…you know…having the bags packed and ready to go…it all sounded like a strategy for battle…yet with no war to fight…great ideas with applications that had to have commitments…before they could be installed…really see the nails driven in…the steel shiny from the hits…

so naturally it got my squirrel cage mind moving in the direction I tend to call “forward”…stuffed with far to many thoughts…alternatives…new ideas…emerging like fins from the water….were they friend…foe or floating debris…that was the initial question…one that needed to be sorted…filed into the personal triage folder…dealt with accordingly…as it is not only easy to over think…but almost a requirement…to clutter…with synapse that seem no part of the current dialogue…

Occam’s razor…has finally begun to make more sense to me than not…“it is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer” not William’s exact words but a close paraphrase…

so I guess what transpired above all via a day long conversation and a dip into every color Golden makes….was the idea that in order to be in the game…one simply has to be in the game…sounds reasonable yet there are a few…small nuances…that work like buttons with button holes…meaning better than…“well”…the life simply put must either be a focus of minimal or no distraction…and entirely on the prize…or the life then becomes compromised…amiss…otherwise the question arises “is what I am doing…what I should be doing”…no where does one achieve by being…partially there…it is the immersion…or it is not…and as I told my boy today…there is a price to pay for either choice…being deep in the water or on the surface…each has advantages…each hindrances…and what effects one does not necessarily effect the other…the ideal…work in both locations…familiarize oneself with the depths as well as the light of the surface…as with anything something of importance can be gleaned from a stop anywhere…

when Dr. Frankenstein was working on his creation…he had a plan…one that even though most of my friends cringed with fear…I have to admit…I thought it a good one…something I actually believed there were jobs in this field and creating life from a few electrodes…well predicted lightning strikes…associating with hunchbacks… and developing a loud sinister laugh just seemed like a very doable prospect…and I have to admit the “It’s alive” part just had me quivering with anticipation…but without a doubt the good doctors plan was well intended…just lacking a bit of due diligence…but still really good…how was he to know Frank would have the potential for disaster…after all a brain is a brain…

so the conclusion…whether it’s bringing life back to the dead…or painting pretty pictures…business is not just waiting for lightening and plugging plugs in or hoping for miracles…and as my father would say…. “waiting for the paintings to just walk themselves right on out the door to where they need to be”…except he never used the words paintings…but you get my point…doesn’t really matter what we do…it matters what we do with it….

“I fear my enthusiasm flags when real work is demanded of me.” – H. P. Lovecraft

505. March 20th…A fire of Obscurity or an Iceberg of Perspicuity…hmmm….

Art and my thoughts about being an artist, Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“The New Sea of Tranquility” 2011

“What a man calls his “conscience” is merely the mental action that follows a sentimental reaction after too much wine or love.” – Helen Rowland

seppuku is the ritual of suicide…

there is an enormous protocol that goes along with the getting to that place…firstly a dishonorable act had to have been comitted…once that was established…confirmed and decided honor would be regained by suicide…the person responsible had a significant lifestyle change…what they knew was certainly not what they were going to be living up to the day they took their life…they could only wear certain clothes of certain colors…eat with designated utensils…they were free…to do what they wanted…because they were considered an…”honorable man” they were not considered a prisoner….the seppuku was an event…much like a debutante ball with the level of regalia…and hype…

the samurai who was committing seppuku…did so in front of witnesses…dignitaries…his master..etc….he dressed accordingly….sat on a centralized raised wooden platform….contemplated his end…lowered his clothing to expose his abdomen…tucked his sleeves under his knees…so he fell forward…as a gentleman should always die falling forward…the condemed would stab the blade into his left side below his abdomen…pull across to his right and then in an upward motion…the samurai would extend his head and neck forward… this was the sign…the “Kaishaku” (the second cut)…who was appointed by the dishonored would then sever his head…

hopefully….honor was regained….

“I spent most of that time driving through the desert…while he slept…..”wake me up if anything happens”…. he’d say…..I sat on a phone book…thinking of Marcia…and her moving to Mexico that next year…I wondered what 5th grade was like in Mexico….we always stopped at the same place….piss by the back of the truck….had  a Falstaff…beer…he’d let me light his Camel cigarette….I’d watch the smoke disappear in the air…sometimes cough…but more often than not….just be quite….and listen him to tell me about Southeast Asia…and how he was going back there some day….”Going back to Goddamn Vietnam”…..he really said “Vetnam”…left out the “i” but he said a lot of words with left out letters”

Richard Diebenkorn…painted an entire series of paintings on cigar box lids…that clearly illustrated that abstraction can be magnificent with little regard to scale…he originally made these paintings as gifts…not a part of his inventory…and yet they have become a part of his inventory…posthumously…

maybe what starts as one thing …follows it’s course…stays what it is…dies as it is…and becomes something else…because  it gets made that way…not because it has a destiny to be so…but we make it what it is…from what it wasn’t…

there is something very appealing about the nature of obscurity…as the idea that once we recognized and genuinely acknowledge what might be seen as…unimportant and dim…allows for the possibility of perspicuity then to exist…and flourish…

“Art is Art. Everything else is everything else.” – Ad Reinhart

479. January 25th…Phalaenopsis cultivars….what’s not to like???

Art and my thoughts about being an artist, Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“Cage” 2011

“If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons.” – C. S. Lewis

tonight my karate classes start…I am excited as I am sure my students are as well…some will be very nervous…cry and want to get off of the floor go sit with a familiar person…one who doesn’t raise their voice and make them do pushups…others have been there…they know the ropes..or know them as well as they can remember them…the returning students…they have rank…each of them has received either a stripe on their belt or a new colored belt…the older students who have higher colored belts…not only have rank…they have power and they are beginning to notice that….power and what it can do…tonight will be a lesson in power…I suppose…

I think everything has a fullness to it…a completness that if explored/pursued can give up the essence of itself…show all of the smoothness…and purity of the item or thought…but I think that depends on how we look…for what reveals itself…there might be unexpected revelations as well…equally a part of the entire…

for me…much of the revelations happen after I think I really know what I am doing…and feel confidant about my…”Expertise and Knowledge“…I find myself in a place that now the questions are sharp and very precise regarding what would seemed like a giant visual landscape….rather now…the focus is clearly visible a few hundred miles away….on some miniscule little dot…that was of no notice once…yet has something to it that changes the pursuit…

I’ve thought a great deal about “Perfecting’… and what that means …well it means “excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement“..and there is a part of me that…1). knows that is a life long endeavor…2).will reveal much more than I can imagine…3).seems very isolated and focused…4). opens up many other venues of exploration…5).seems ideal for me as an artist…and 6). doesn’t really have an end…and that’s the part I really like…even though a definition says “beyond anything“…. perfection is unattainable…and is merely some stops…before the starts…

I have a  rescued phalaenopsis orchid….pregnant and …so ready to bloom…as I recall the last year it bloomed…the flowers were perfect…they were delicate…saturated with color…beautifully patterened …erotic…beautiful and everything about them screamed flawless…each an individual fingerprint…I’m reminded of a response to a blog post of mine…”When we see everything as art we taste immortality.”….orchid day is very close…my friends….

“Painting is not for me either decorative amusement, or the plastic invention of felt reality; it must be every time: invention, discovery, revelation.” – Max Ernst

 

 

 

 

477. January 22nd… “Collisions” …nothing like what you might expect…

Art and my thoughts about being an artist, Thoughts from the "Tinman"

“The Last Days” 2011

“Like vanishing dew,
a passing apparition
or the sudden flash
of lightning — already gone —
thus should one regard one’s self.” – Ikkyu

yesterday was a scavenger hunt…

while shopping at a thrift store…a friend found a beautiful lithograph by  Jean Cocteau…it was signed and dated 1925…numbereed 42/150…we sat on a couch…”for sale”…and looked up the artist on a the internet on a phone…he was one of those artists that was a painter..coreographer…sculptor…film maker…drove an ambulance during WWI…was friends with Modigliani, Picasso, Egon Schiele…and of course a boxing promoter…

after some investigation I found the lithograph was the cover illustration on an autobiography titled “Professional Secrets”…published sometime in the mid 1970’s…trail ends there…for right now…

I wondered after this discovery…why we find what we find…how it is with all of the possibilities of running into something we can run into…we run into what we do… I’ve given up trying to understand the reason…and now just let the collisions happen…when something appears at my feet…I don’t look for a reason…I look in the general direction of me feet and am more often than not…amazed with what I see…

I think it’s the “As is”…I’m really starting to get…accepting the imperfect…the incomplete and the impermanence of things crossing my path is important…it is what they are rather than what they appear to be….I mean I can distinguish the flavor of a “Fuji” apple from say a cataloupe…and can make quarters disappear… know dark from light…but it’s like smelling a meal in the savannah…but also smelling danger….it is what it is and will turn out that way as well…

the days are getting longer…here…and the birds at the feeders by my studio window are busy getting fat and ready for their respective collisions…the sky is a beautiful blue this morning…and it’s going to be a lovely day…wow…what a collision…..

“An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.” – Jean Cocteau

475. January 20th…ahh the… “Mystery” … “the Why” we make art….when pancakes are so much easier…not mention you can eat them….

Art and my thoughts about being an artist

“Kokuryuu” 2011

“It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion” Charles Driggs

Nakazora…means the space between sky and earth…zenith or emptiness…

in the last 2 days I have ended up in two different studios…talking about art…what we are each doing…where each of us are going and our thoughts about what we do…and how we do it…the conversations have been very interesting…enlightening…and certainly motivating…yesterday I went directly from my friend’s studio and instead of going home…as planned….I opted for an afternoon of taking photographs…ones I’d like to show sometime this year…

some years ago…a friend/mentor/instructor….gave me some advice that even though I nodded my head in aknowledgement…I don’t think I got what he was saying fully…or for that matter at all…he said…to me….”pick your crew…those artists you want to run with and run with them for a while“….the other day while visiting another friend in Madrid…he said something that rang of that same mentality…of painting for a few years…and seeing where you are…seeing what has and is happening…that seemed like pretty good indicator of place…

I question art…and as my friend Neil asks with great… excitment…and conviction….”why the f#@k do we paint?”…I’ve thought about my answer…I don’t think I really care why I paint and I am certainly not deluded into believing it is a “calling“… that if I didn’t…I would cease…or some magical apparatus that guides my life and was given to me out of the ether…I question…why I paint…when I don’t…

every morning…a small flock of sandhill cranes fly over my…house….I can hear them before I can see them…it started out as a frenzy…trying to find my keys…getting my shoes on…getting outdoors to see them for the brief time they are visible in between the tree tops…more often than not…I missed them…and heard their distinctive sound moving away from me…now I just step out the door…all of the prep is done…everything is aligned so I am outside each morning…coffee cup in hand…staring skyward…

at somewhere between sky and earth….

My question to you: WHY DO YOU PRODUCE THE ART YOU DO?…let me know….


“I try to kind of empty my mind and not think about anything. I just play without thinking.” – Ace Frehley

 

 


 

 

 

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