Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Odd Ones

These are a few odd fellows.  You know you work on a certain thing an image that speaks to you, yet on some days you hear nothing no voice comes through and you paint anyway.  And on those days something else happens, a different experience as you rush to finish them.  They speak a foreign tongue and you hardly look at them.  Not at the time.  And later you look and they seem interesting.

They have a unity of course.  They always have that though you never expect it.  Maybe they express something you haven't thought about.  I don't know.  I don't even have any idea what I think of them.

Funny too, I know I began thinking about something I hadn't thought about for years.  I mean it's simple not some wild experience.  I was thinking about my grandmother.  She was young at the turn of the century.  An Irish girl in an Irish community.

She got very sick as a young girl and had a high fever.  They thought she would die.  So a few of the neighborhood women went out that night and caught a skunk.  They cut out its stink sack and used it to rub all over her skin.  She began to get better right away.  Her fever cut and in a day or two she was cured.

One of her brothers made his living on skunks.  He started by selling the fur to the Russians.  How he did that I have no idea.  But it didn't last long as it was soon the time of the Russian revolution and styles changed.  But by then he had figured out to sell skunk oil which he got by baking them and having a pan to catch the oil.   The stink sacks he continued to sell also, and now he had the baked skunks which some people would eat, especially thru out the depression.

Her other brother decided he might work overseas and left to go to China.  He returned 35 years later and retired in Arizona.

It is always odd what it turns out people do.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Tin Nimbus

 I took some new images and I'll share those.  It seems that the summer gets a bit frenetic at the beginning but soon I feel we will sail into the horse latitudes.  It will be clear and calm and the world will stand revealed .

So the last time I had one of these crummy experiences was about 10 years ago.  And I'm just telling it cause if you have one sometime you will remember 1) you are not alone and 2) they are all crummy and I don't like them and and I won't have another.

I was lying in bed and I had just woke up.  It was morning and we had a small fire going in the fireplace in the bedroom.  I looked over there and saw my son standing looking at the fire.  He was about five then.  Well as I looked at him I noticed he had a new t-shirt, it was a bit small on him, cut like a fifties t-shirt, and I thought that a bit odd, but then he turned and looked at me and it wasn't my son after all, maybe a friend of his, but I knew it wasn't true,  the boy looked worried and scared.  My eyes were glued to him and as we looked at each other I saw him fade away.

Well I hate stuff like that.  It is just idiotic, the kind of stuff kids tell each other or people make up or I don't know.  I don't like it that's all.

Well then the next day I walk in our small kitchen and my beautiful down to earth son says dad who was that?  And I said who was what?  He said, that man who just walked behind me.  Well behind him were the stairs to the basement.

I rushed down them and searched everywhere every corner every closet every space.  I came back and asked my boy What did he look like.  He said he looked like me daddy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fast and Competent

My thanks go out to Andy Piper, the man from Ann Arbor, who came out here with his camera and took 871 photographs in less the one day and a half, and got me caught up almost on all my art photographs.  

We were like workers in the old Ford plant as we delved through the boxes of paintings, piece by piece, and with intense speed and accuracy set them up with the inventory numbers (that my wife had printed for each one)  and no we don't know what the numbers are for, they come from the department office upstairs, and then after the photograph we take them down and put them away again,  it was spinnin' and we were laughing and having a crazy fun day of it.

  His competence and confidence were awe inspiring to me.  Man he has learned a whole lot in these years of education.  I can't wait to get them downloaded and ready to show.

It makes one feel proud to know someone like that, as if I am the smart guy.  And I'm not.

I just keep pouring through these images like student doctor going over the x-rays again and again.
Or studying poetry line my line syllable by syllable, studying the iambic pentameter and listening to each phoneme as it grates against the next, listening to the subtle light inner language...

And most end up sort of idiotic like they got pulled from the oven too early and occasionally they are  over-baked and burnt to a crisp...and every once in a while, they arrive just honey baked and glow in their happy youthfulness...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Garden Spline

It turns out that I cannot exactly choose what I want to do.  I've been trying to move off the image I've been painting and I thought I could deliberately get to a new thing -you know like start in, it gets rough for awhile then you settle in.  

...but that didn't happen at least not appears that there is something in this image that I have not yet discovered and it keeps calling me...and try as I might I keep going back to it.

Even the colors remain the same.  It used to bother me how artists seem to find a way to paint...and then they won't move off it.  Now I am one of those.  Like being stuck in Motherwell's open series or making Kandinsky's paintings over and over.  

Oh well.  So be it hey?  I'm painting the images I see when I look at a tree.  It is a botanical garden in paint.  It is the dirt below The soil down there and the mulch.

It is the bizarre images left by the ice and snow and the frozen trash that blows in the yard the strange reflective glare of water on the leaves and of my image reflected in the window pane.

We used to have deer all over the yard and I built a hosta garden out back.  It worked...!  They ate those hostas to the ground but stayed away from my hydrangeas up close to the house.

Maybe I am like the deer and stick with the hostas.  I paint an image that is close to me.

And I come back to it again and again...maybe if I do it again I will finally capture it.  Or maybe it is like trying to capture Paris in photographs.  They almost always need to be up close.  And it takes thousands.  

Im reading Cervantes right now and his myopic vision, well not his but Don Quixote's, is right for me.  He continually interprets the world with his own vision of what it is.  His adventures are always close to home.  He is noble to a fault, and his fault is his own imposition on the world.  Or more accurately, his vision.

Once a long time ago now my mother went to visit her mother in Georgia.  She was sleeping in the small room at the end of the hallway set off from the rest of the house.  One night as she was just going to sleep she opened her eyes and there in front of her was a man.  Being as brave as she was, she jumped up.  The man ran out the door and down the hallway and slipped inside her mother's room.
My mom raced there and pounded on the locked door.  A minute later her mother opened it.  My mother looked around in surprise.  No one was there.  She told her mother what had just happened and her mom laughed and said -Oh Pat that is just the old Indian.

After my mom told me that story I thought I never want to inherit those abilities.  Never.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prevenient grace

Sometimes you're moving forward and sometimes you're moving backward...and sometimes you don't know which way you're moving at all.  In fact most times I guess.

It's okay too.  They are all experiments of a type -if they even reach that level.  

It is only sensible sometimes maybe those times when I consciously so to speak -reach back to another time a moment when I was lost in grief lost in memory lost to the world and existing as we all do at times in a past that will never exist again.  And of course that will be a sea of memories.

This happens to all of us.  We may be trying to remember the scene of a movie or a scene in which we did not partake of the action but were on the sideline as a witness to the event.  In fact that may be how much of our lives are lived.  

Maybe most of our lives.  We are all imbued with this prevenient grace and I can remember how as a child I felt it tangibly.  I'd ask my mother if guardian angels really existed and she assured me they do.  And I asked about elves and fairies and she assured me they do -but she warned me to stay away from them as they are capricious and wayward.

It's funny.  Once, I was at a school concert in high school and for some reason I decided to go outside.  It was wet and rainy. No one was out there except two girls who I had never seen before.  I went up and spoke to them.  They said they were witches and asked if I would give them a ride home.  Normally I would say no and move on.  But for some stupid reason I said yes.  Maybe it was because they were both pretty or something.  No, it was because they were gentle.  

So I was driving them somewhere and it took us right by my house.  And again for some wacky reason we stopped there.  Why was that?  And where was everyone?  I had a large family and someone was always home.  But not that night.  So I asked these girls if they had like powers and they said yes would you like to see them?  And I said yea sure,  show me.  

They said well primarily we see the dead.  Hmm I thought I didn't like where this was going but I couldn't stop it.  They said outside your window is a dead girl who died in a car accident.  She does not know she is dead.  We will call her here.  Here she is.  And this dead spirit flowed in the window and looked directly at me.  It was all wrong impossible and I knew it.  I asked the girls if I could take them home and they said yes.  I don't know where that was.  But when I got back the spirit was still visible in the window.  She was flowing around the room.  

So I just sat in the car until my parents returned and I told my mom. She practically marched into the house and into that room.  I watched the spirit flow out of the house and across the front yard.  I never saw those girls again.  My mom said she told that spirit she was dead and must move on.

Of course until now I've never told anyone this story.  I don't like to think about it.  Maybe then I was embarrassed. Or scared.