Monday, December 30, 2013

after Christmas -

Now this will be enough till after the new year I guess…they are just more of the fantastic landscapes that are showing up all the time now…when you drive by the beach or the park where John Cussack grew up…

The giant rocks, the frozen water, the incipient violence of the place, it simply looks like a terrible tsunami is on the way, coming in, bury yourself inside, keep warm, put on a record...

The deep multicolored, multi-themed last light of the day, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald….

A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken dreams of yesterdays life… -Jimi Hendrix

…and the sky seems to be on a stoned trip somehow ready to suck us all up into the spaceship above the clouds...

In the winter you look out over the dunes and standing in stead of endless water is Mount Vesuvius and the threatening clouds of doom…it is all very beautiful.

Once in a while in the morning you must just give up for what the water and sky have set to deliver...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dad -Vietnam at Christmas

One time my mom came in the room and said -I saw a clip of Dad getting on a helicopter
in Vietnam -it was filmed by Viet Cong -and one of the Viet Cong said should we shoot him and the other answered -No, they will just send another…

I was very surprised and asked what she was watching and she said just this short thing on tv.  I wondered, did she really see this or was it something else, maybe an old memory, something he told her about then, back in the day, 1970 or something?  And then she saw something on tv that got her thinking about it? And maybe confusing it into a story seems a kind of Irish thing, at least to me.

But it was upsetting to me.  Was she telling me we almost lost your dad then, and I had known nothing of it.  That would have shattered me for sure, completely.  It would have been unthinkable, ever...

I guess this time of the year is when you think of these things…Was my mom telling me a story?  I simply don't know.

But now I remember my dad coming in the basement once and saying -Son, I may write you when I am there, and if I do write, it will be in code.  I've forgotten the the code for now, but I remember how impressed I was then…and I was frightened too, who was he afraid of, the Viet Cong?…or us, the government?…the military?…the CIA?  I asked him and he said nothing, no I am just going to do it that way...

I was tense that entire trip then…and I was glad when he was home again.  It's funny, the only other time I've thought of this was when I called the FBI after my paintings were stolen and they spit on me.  I remembered how whenever our phone would ring then, the connection was always bad, you could hear the FBI, sometimes really hear them, a few words back and forth as they worked on getting a better connection, but back then I always thought they were my friends.

But this is years later, and now I should simply -Call the police.  I guess, but I remember when you were our friend.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I'm just trying to keep moving…to gain velocity even…to join the world of vacators and stay in their land of vacation.

While we are there, for fun, we work, and sometimes on a cloudy day we may get ill for a few hours, but mostly we just grow young and beautiful.

One of the problems is that we never lose anything, and so we have too many things and must make them disappear. 

It's so nice to know where you are going, in the early stages.  It almost rids you of the wish to go there. -Samuel Beckett

And in this land money is of course a major problem.  We just have too much of it, and so we must hire people to spend it for us.

An unfamiliar city is a fine thing.  That's the time and place you can suppose all the people you meet are nice.  It's  dream time. -Louis Ferdinand Celine

But thank god, Christmas comes every month, and we must travel around the world and play with all the other vacators and give presents to everyone and try to stay ahead of them.

I'm usually not where I think I am.  It's kind of spooky.  -Laurie Anderson

Sunday, December 15, 2013

christmas time

I admit they don't look like this to me.  They all just drive me crazy.  Why can't I get these brushes in tune?  I was bleeding when I tried to do this one…but not enough apparently.

You know Whistler said it took him one day to paint those fireworks, and maybe he touched it up the next day he doesn't remember.  Those guys have got talent…genius…remarkable huh?

These feel possibly unfinished to me…they're not even signed not on the front nor the back.  I must be thinking of something…now ain't it funny that you cannot not only not think but neither can I even remember what it feels like to think…what a disaster...

My son and I were driving along the lake the other morning at first light, and looking out the entire horizon of the lake was in flames, giant trees out there a couple of miles were caught in the conflagration, even strange swollen animals were dancing in the extreme heat…

Please forgive me if this is the last pre christmas day posting…you never really know.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

palette pictures

Of course, like anybody, I repeat myself endlessly, but I don't know I'm really doing it. -Brian Eno

Well these photos are strange ones…these pictures are a little large for me so they got taken with a weird angle…naw I'm going down stairs and try to take them again…be right back.

I use these things to absorb the extra paint and to paint on and transfer it to paper and occasionally to make paintings themselves.

You have to tear them up of course and then look at both sides to figure out which side to use…blah blah blah…who cares?

This top one is a favorite of mine I think…you know what this might be the last post before Christmas maybe...

This one inspired this series, which ain't done anyway yet,  I go all sorts of junk down there now…

If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again. -Harpo Marx

Thursday, December 12, 2013

how to fail as a painter part 1

We live by Lake Michigan.  The sky is always ominous during the winter, especially down by the water  where the beach is cluttered with ice and huge waves of ice are frozen on the water.

The sky remains deep and conflicted.  It is strange to see people walk out on the lake and up and down paths that always promise they are not safe.

From the land it all looks as though it is wrestling with huge forms, huge new thoughts and conceptions of how the earth and sky will work together.

And on the beach frozen objects seem to model a new form, and things are jauntily askew or just barely noticeable out on the ice.  I think I dislike all of it…it's strange warnings…and scary signs that are rusted and somewhat attached to the piers…and the wind  arriving in giant bubbles that sweep you around...

Somehow there is the whiff of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake being carried on these winds coldly out into the water hopelessly moving in all directions…sometimes with great destructive purpose and at other times with a directionless -an aimless madness...

A need to tell and hear stories is particular to the species Homo sapiens…-Reynolds Price

I had a dream when I was 22 that someday I would go to the region of  ice and snow and travel on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth. -Ernest Shackelton

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

and the newest junk

Common sense tells us that the things of the earth exist only a little, and that true reality is only in dreams. -Charles Baudelaire

I can barely conceive of a type of beauty that does not contain melancholy. Charles Baudelaire

Art must show what goes on in the world. -John Marin

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the three brothers

Do you ever feel like your own identical twin?...The one who is furious all the time, in a rage. The one who has such difficulty thinking, difficulty forming a thought, who can't be bothered talking to anyone.

And the next day you are the other, the one who feels so bright, who lips have a slight smile, as if he can speak seven languages, the one who who has no difficulties, no conprhension problems, for whom even the most complicated math problem is just one that is not yet solved.

These two exist in the same place but never at the same time.  They do not even have an awareness of each other.  And they swim in the same pool, switching from one to the other in the time it takes from jumping off the board to landing in the pool.

Ah, and when they hit the water even a third can surface the one who questions all results who knows he has failed as his head clears the surface, or who thinks, No not a failure, but not the dive I intended.

It is probably he who wishes to write this blog, not the other two…they do not  need  it.

Because they agree it is a waste…in fact all writing is a waste…a waste of time that could be spent painting…that should be spent painting...

how to fail as a painter and other things

I was thinking about a philosophy class I took in college.  I liked the professor and I liked the class.
The main grade for this class would be made up of a paper we wrote at the end that we turn in on the last day.  Well I ran through some more and less difficult strategies for this paper.

I worked on a few of them, but in the end I suddenly decided on the next to the last day to just give the bum what he wanted, not to try and extend our class into other areas, not to use language which I thought would express diaphanous diamonds of thought, not to challenge his teaching, just write the damn paper...

I worked on it a full day and then rewrote it that night.  I rewrote it again and typed it out and then made minor changes to adjust the flow and rhythm and then typed the final draft.  I turned it in and I felt like a fraud.  It seemed a terrible cynical piece.  I got an A in that class.

And now when I read that paper a gazillion years later, I find astoundingly that I like it.  It sums up everything we discussed in class in one uniform way.  And it makes me believe that I know one way to fail as a painter, that is, to never compromise, to never take what is freely given, to refuse knowledge that appears to easily acquired.

I remember my girlfriend at the time who said she simply always gave the professor what he wanted.  I always rejected that approach.  Now I wonder, what did I think? What is my thought now?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

brand new new junk

The vainglory of wishing to understand is dangerous, immoral, and above all old fashioned.  The modern way -perhaps the final way- is to say: Go forward -as quickly as possible, without knowing why, towards an unknown goal! -Remy de Gourmont

I like that quote.  It seems to fit me.  Moving forward only because it turns out that is the only way we move.  It is the only acceptable way.

The above is my conception of someone standing at a door -yet the door has no will to open and the person is too wet and too cold to move in the wind...

Yet somehow he has passed through the door, breaking it and himself.  And now he has a gun.

And he looks out the window at the rain, the wind, and the mud. And that's the way I often, almost always, see paintings, no matter how "abstract" the image I see a gesture, usually of sadness.

junk and other delights

Among painters as among writers there are those who stick to their guns, who follow the scent like bloodhounds, as it were, and there are others who sit like birds of prey on some imaginary limb or ledge, ready to land on the happy accident that will lead them to some unknown, undreamed of, destination. -Henry Miller

Haven't you ever looked at some paintings a gotten mad, not at the painting, but at the painter's attitude, at some perceived arrogance, some stupid show-iffy detail in the painting?  I don't know but it happens to me all the time, and it is always with someone I've never heard of,  I just think, well that's stupid, really it's idiotic to me, or of me if you will.

…but let me know the painter, or have been introduced by another painter I admire, and I will never think badly of him or her.  I will endlessly admire all the flaws, especially those I consider to be personal flaws...

…which I suppose is introducing my own personal flaws, hmm, oh well.  Maybe it will allow you to follow my blog, knowing these flaws -that would be good.

Each one, in following his native bent, talks a different language.  In the end, no matter what language they talk, we get -pictures. And eventually the dealers and critics will inform us into which category the pictures fall, even if they defy categorizing. -Henry Miller

Matisse was always ashamed that he could not paint like any of his fellow painters.  It happens all the time.

The astonishing thing is that those who were mocked and jeered at, especially by their fellow painters, sometimes turned out to be the foremost painters of their time.  -Henry Milller