Friday, February 28, 2014

bowing out

I'm bowing out.  I'd like not to, but it's okay.  What else is there to do really?

You make many different sizes yet they all come out the same in the camera.  I suppose you could stick them in a room and show the different sizes.  But I don't care right now.  I'll let you guess the sizes.

It's not that hard really is it?  And it doesn't make such a big difference either does it?

And even the relative differences are compressed as you see them online.  Our brains make so many calculated compromises.

They are all from the same hand right?

And today is the last day of February.  Soon it will be March.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sometimes you know

Sometimes you know but most of the time you know nothing.  Most of the time I go by the rule just turn them out.  Don't think about them.  Don't wonder about them. And don't ask about them.

Occasionally somebody will like one.  And that's good enough for me.

The main goal is to keep the blog somewhat consistent.  That way I know I'm painting.  I'm doing the work.  The work is getting done.

Lovers of painting and lovers of music are people who openly display their preference like a delectable ailment that isolates them and makes them proud. -Maurice Blanchot

Art must remain ernest...Art must be serious. No sarcasm no comedy.  One does not laugh at a loved one.  -Ashile Gorky

We can not express the light in nature because we have not the sun.  We can only express the light we have in ourselves. -Arthur Dove

I like the way things go on and on.  A painting is never finished.  We just walk away for a bit and work on another.  It is the only way to keep from ruining them.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I think it just impossible

So it is really impossible to paint pictures to reflect some external conditions like politics or socio-economic anythings.  Because I really don't know anything about them nor do I care about them.

All I care about is trying to make pictures.  Whatever those are.  That I don't know anything about either.  I just try to make pictures that are of something that I cannot quite think of.  I can't put my finger on it.

But it seems so close.  It feels so real.  And every so often I make a picture that I think is about this thing.  And I stare at it over and again, trying to understand it.

I really started painting right after college.  Though I certainly don't know why or what I was doing.  But I remember Laura Miner was there.  She had just got back from the Sorbonne where she got her MFA.  I was worried that all my painting looked like junk.  Scribbles that didn't match.  And still think the same thing.

But Laura was there and she looked at all my paintings and said how they immediately were identifiable as one person's work.  Well I thought well I'm glad for that.  Now of course I wish other things for my paintings.

I rather wish they could move someone somehow.  I don't know why though.  That really does seem like an odd thing.  Maybe I wish it were me they could touch.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

decay and decadence

I was thinking about this quote: In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay.  And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable.  And help to change it. - Ernst Fischer...and it got me thinking about art today.

I was thinking that maybe surrealism may have had in it the first distinct expression of decay and decadence.  Now probably not because there are many individual expressions that could lay claim to this in the history of art -yet still, that R. Mutt toilet seems like it could be named as at least the first modern expression.

Now I'm sure this has all been gone over before by others much more educated than myself.  Really, I've just been thinking that this seems to be the only important function of art now.  And even then I guess there are other important statements to be made.

But I imagine the new art to be sloppy, makeshift, literally falling apart -ugly, stupid and gross in all ways possible. I'm not the one to make this art, that's not why I'm saying it, but I do collect via the mail and in the trash, free, most of the elements of my art now.

What I think is that art must always reflect the society in which it is made.  I suppose that might mean that new art will be made on, and sold on computers, traded via the internet etc.

But I'm thinking about my own stuff, which just never gets trashy enough.  When I make it, it is always too tame, to mannered, to predictable and balanced.  The new stuff must really be inbalanced,  temporary, made of junk by junk with junk.

And it should fall apart.  And rather quickly.  And have to be remade.  A new version. A better, more stylish, up to the moment version.  So in fact I guess the artist could just keep coming up with this new improved one piece of art done over and over and over.

Maybe it will be an endless painting of money.  Every type.  Just hopelessly glued sloppily on paper.  That might just be the best answer.  I'll try it. See if it works.  See if it is ugly enough.

Of course I'll get bored of it I bet.  Not sure though.  But I love making these smaller postcard-size paintings with their small images, a kind of message from me to you.  And I don't feel qualified to speak for anyone other than myself.

I actually don't even like speaking about anything let alone anyone -other than me.  And even that seems phony.   And that is why I feel so happy getting any comments, good or bad.  If somehow these things can keep a modicum of conversation going, though it be about nothing, it is better as they say than nothing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


The main problem with the way I've been doing these is that I'm getting confused about which ones I've posted already and which ones I set aside.  You figure I could just go back and look...but how far do I go back and which ones am I looking for?

Thank god you will forgive me for publishing it twice...I know you will.   But its still irritating me...I keep thinking I've used these already...I got some new ones downstairs I haven't photographed yet.  That's a good default I think.

Have you ever written a book? I haven't either to my regret. though I did begin writing one.  But it never got anywhere.  I was trying to write about myself.  And I couldn't think of anything to say.
I'd still like to write it.  A sort of sporadic book I think.

I liked this top one because it reminds me of when I'm going crazy and I can't think of anything. I just get wound up.

It seemed like awhile ago I was writing great stuff and painting great stuff too.  I'd like to revisit that time for awhile and get to know it better.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

today is bright and sunny

Today it is bright and sunny.  We haven't seen many days like this for a long time.  It makes me feel useful,  though really nothing has changed at all.

It's not that the meaning cannot be explained.  Its that their are certain meanings that are lost forever the minute they are explained in words. _Haruki Murakami

What we call the present in an accumulation of the past. -Haruki Murakami

Occasionally a painting follows the one before it and it makes sense somehow.  Then I feel, ah yes I am working on that.  I am an educated and informed painter.

But often, in fact all to often,  the next painting has nothing to do with the previous one...and I am left thinking I have no direction, I don't know what I am doing...why am I doing this?

But once in a while I look at them and I think...well these are all exactly the same, no more and no less...

...and I wonder, why am I doing this, what am I doing...what is going on?...I demand an answer!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I found these

I found these this morning.  I guess I just forgot them for awhile.  And when I pulled them out I liked them.  So here they are.  

In 1978 I was living in South Bend Indiana.  And one week we were left with 12 foot of snow on the ground.  It was illegal to go outside.  Some people did of course, but they disappeared.  I had to go outside too because a lady downstairs was diabetic and I had to go get some prescriptions for her.

I was walking along in the vast whiteness when I saw a long wire sticking out of the ground.  I kept looking at it until I realized it was the antennea on a giant truck which I had apparently been walking above.  I got a bit nervous.  I knew it was a bad idea but the pharmacy was only two blocks away.

I was worried about maybe walking over houses...but as far as I know that didn't happen.  But you didn't know what was happening.  The windows and doors on the first floor of the buildings were completely gone.  It was the strangest thing I've ever experienced.

But you couldn't step out from the second floor or you would just sink and be gone. there was a small group of us going to this pharmacy.  Very mystical very strange and wild and certainly from another world.  There were no images.  None at all.  And it was quiet.  As quiet as I can imagine.

Thank god I was young enough not to understand the danger we were in...I do remember a couple of weeks later a giant earth mover moved slowly up our little street and loaded giant trucks with snow.  Where they took it I have no idea.  It was a magical event for me.  A wondrous thing that surrounded me.

Then my boss called me.  He insisted I open my store.  Well. For who?  We had Marshall law.
You couldn't be outside.  But he got crazy.  So one late morning I walked to my store.  I had no idea where my car was.  It took several hours.  And by god an hour later I got a delivery.  Sort of.

A truck from our warehouse had gotten through somehow even though all the highways were closed and it was again illegal to drive a truck into the northern part of the state.  I saw the truck pulling up to the loading place (thank goodness they were elevated.  But the truck didn't just slid on by on its way to the river behind the store.

But I was there with a wonderful group of girl majorettes.  One of them worked for me.  That day they all did.  We counted the inventory.  Then I went home for another week.  Until the next truck.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


These are the final pieces of this stuff, the remnants of the stacks and stacks of paper and junk that I thought could be in the end the only stuff left -almost -that I could use.

And I will contemplate the rest and begin -well maybe -to keep and collect against.  I threw a few out too. Not many.  But enough for now.

And these. This! Is hardly about anything except well these are what was finally sitting there and I could sort of arrange it.

I suppose this must happen to a lot of artists.  I remember in that book about Miro he was sitting there and was asked, well what is next?  And he responded I don't know.  Will there be anything or not?

For me an object is something living. This cigarette or that box of matches contains a secret life which is much more intense than that of certain human beings. -Joan Miro

Friday, February 14, 2014

why wait

The funny thing is that  these collage paintings always take a long time to make.  In fact none of these would have ever gotten made except that I decided to clean it all up off the dining room table where it sits in giant piles.

Well just as luck would have it, I discovered another dining room table that had nothing on it at all.  What luck.  And it was only in the adjacent room.  So I moved most of the paper to it and sorted it on the way.  

But other people who live here and like to make things and even eat at tables were having none of this.  I had gone just too far.  Gosh darn it.  I had to rush around prepare paper and lay out what I thought might work...and fast too.  I got it all done in one day or two and I stacked the paper on the sideboard.  Ouch.  As I looked at it I realized there was still a big mess.  Only it was now on three tables instead of one.

I immediately got out my glue sticks and bamboo tools and glued like a maniac kid in kindergarten.  I was also painting downstairs on the ping pong table and on the kitchen counter.  It was all hopeless.  I was afraid things might start disappearing.  What do the want of me?  There is still a little round table with nothing on it.  Ahhh! Perfect!  

I used it to keep gluing and painting and stuff while other stuff either dried or sat contemplating itself.  
And we still have chairs!  Well they are perfect to stand things on while I look at them.

And with these Herculean efforts...this mad determination.  And a bit of patience from the onlookers.
I eventually got the tables almost completely cleaned off.  And the sideboard too, except for a tiny stack.  And the kitchen counter, at least for this morning.  And the stack of stuff left on the other table I am still working on.  Its a neat stack. Honest.  And the ping pong table doesn't count cause it is downstairs.  And those are big paintings down there.

This is what the artist is forced to go through when he wants to create!  

Ahemm.  I just realized that I have paints permanently stationed on every counter in the kitchen.  And in the dining room.  This is a proliferation.  There is one spot stuffed with brushes, and another with rollers and mostly empty bottles of paint (so I can save the bottles and their stoppers).  And there is still more paper out there I found yesterday and organized again....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

the age of paper

You think it will be here forever.  But it is almost over now.  I am getting weird plasticy stuff in the mail now all the time.  And in the grocery stores its become common.  No it is almost gone and will be before we can say good by.

I already use old stuff when I can find it like the origami paper thank god it remains and these beautiful playing cards are from the late forties when we were there in Japan and you find them at estate sales now.  If you can find them still.

Much of the energizer stuff comes from the hardware store where there are still some old fashioned companies that have not quite bothered to change.  In fact some of it comes out of my work cabinets and is already thirty years old.

All the paper I use comes from the Arches/Rives plant in France.  Thank the French for maintaining them.  And of course the natural foods for kids are usually but not always in nice cardboard.  

Well yo-yos you just never know.  Magazines yuck you've felt them.  Just be happy its thin paper.
I can't wait to see these things evolve and the reverse images to show.  On the origami it will be cool.

Though I must admit I have little hope for anything at all to last even twenty years.  It just doesn't happen.  These bicycle cards were an old deck of mine.  Fine cardboard.

Ahh Botan Rice Candy.  It must be soon saying its last prayers.  I remember it from the early seventies.  The same package.  Credit cards.  What junk.  But we make guitar picks from them now.
That's fun.  They are gleamy and shiny and have multiple images in them so when you do make picks from them they are harder to lose.

And these Chinese food containers.  They used to be white all of them then they got colored then plastic then kind of ugly and they no longer have much use to us now.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not reminiscing about the olde days but stating the fact that all ages must past.  All materials change and not always for the better.  I love paper.  And soon it too will pass.

The time of its abundance will be gone.  Sure...there will be something else.  Yep something else.  I think one of the lovely things that happened in that age of Max Ernst was the common objects then and I think part of the reason we go to art museums is to see them once more.

I can remember as a kid I could not dig in the ground without finding old arrow heads and then in Virginia I would find bullets and pieces of civil war metal and leather.  I don't yearn for them now.  I am just saying they are now gone.

Yep goodbye old paper age.