Thursday, March 27, 2014

see what I mean

I'm sure you can see what I mean.  An artist gets an idea, or maybe it would be more accurate to say an idea gets an artist, and it won't let go.  And go where?  One cannot go anywhere while you're trying to understand the idea.  You just get one finished and then you begin looking at it.  

It doesn't really have much complexity, or even many layers.  I think what it has is a certain rhythm, and it has a bit of movement, not a great deal of either though.  What might be its appealing factor, if we decide to credit it with any, may be that it seems to be reminiscing about some other time, some memory, not an active one.

Of course I did these yesterday and the day before that and each night I had the worst dreams.  Last night I simply relived an event from my youth.  It scared the hell out of me when it actually happened.  And again each time I happen to think of it.

You see, when I was a kid we had a long pool.  I also had a three year old brother.  Well I was standing in the house behind a glass door.  I was watching my brother trying to climb under the diving board.  He slipped and fell into the pool and sank immediately to the bottom.  Twelve feet.

I instantly opened the door, tore out to the pool and dived in the shallow end.  I just kept to the bottom.  And I got to him I think a few seconds later though it has always felt like when you are running in a dream and huge hunks of soil stick to your feet or you begin to sink into the ground until only your head is left.

I picked him up and pushed to the surface and this was the hardest part.  Getting to the surface using only one hand.   God I hated it.  But finally we got close to the surface and my dad took my hand and pulled us up.  I looked at my little brother.  He didn't look scared, he was breathing normally, he wasn't crying, everything looked weirdly alright.  Yet everything was so strange around me.  I could hardly breathe myself.  I felt shaken and frightened and I almost started crying.

Later I asked him what he was feeling down there.  And he said,  Well I knew your were coming.
I wasn't really feeling anything.  I just held my breath and waited.  Three years old.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kingsley Amis

This is part  of my studio.  It is the kitchen counter.  I like it because it is contiguous with the water and I always need water for spraying them or mixing colors into that little white jar you see in the back there.  It used to be for cooking.  I forget what those are called. And I need water to clean tubes of paint and to wash my hands too.

I appreciate it when I can let myself make really simple things.  I'm not quite sure what they can do but they give me more time to look and less time to have to paint.  And looking is probably the key to painting most of the time anyway.

I especially like it when I just use a little acrylic and some ink.  They are easy to do.  Just take a minute.  Done.  And really, every single thing I do I could be happy just doing it over and over.  A thousand identical paintings.  I would like that.

I suppose somewhere in this vast land, somebody has a job like that.  He's been doing it for forty years so far.  He checks to make sure the label is one it and puts his initials there.  That is the job for me.  At the end of the day he crosses the street and gets a cup of coffee.  Sits and reads whatever has been left there by other people.  

I have a friend who left an interesting Angela Carter book at one of those places.  Wouldn't that be fun to sit and read at the end of the day while it is still light outside.  You've put your signature on all those jars of paint or strawberry jam or labels on baseball bats.  Now your are done.  You go across the street and whadda know here is a copy of Nine Profane Pieces.  Sweet.

I went to this little fish and chips shop in Ann Arbor once run by what I thought was a very beautiful girl.  I was looking at the books lined up in the window, all Kingsley Amis books.  I told her sincerely that she should move the books because they were all signed first editions.  She said -Yes I know, I was married to him.

I didn't say anything else.  I just thought, gosh why would someone let a beautiful and pleasant girl go?  I was very young, about ten years younger than my actual age I think.   But they were superb fish and chips.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The end of winter

Once the present system of exploitation crumbles, and it is crumbling hourly, the powers of imagination, heretofore stifled and fettered, will run riot. The face of the earth can be changed utterly overnight once we have the courage to concretize the dreams of our inventive geniuses. -Henry Miller

Never was there such a plentitude of inventors as in this age of destruction -and there is one thing to bear in mind about the man of genius -even the inventor -usually they are on the side of humanity, not the devil. It has been the crowning shame of this age to exploit the man of genius for sinister ends.  But such a procedure acts as a boomerang: ultimately the man of genius always has his revenge. -HM

The individual simply does his work turning over each painting looking for bugs underneath, trying to discover why this is the case.  But in the thousands of years he has created in this way, he has not yet found the answer:  but he now suspects it.

I'm not sure the meaning can be clear to the one who creates a piece, but only to others, to someone who at it and immediately says ah yes, this is the one.  And I don't think the piece itself has any power, the power is in the mind of the onlooker, the one who takes the time to look and to discover what must be obvious -when they see it.

Myself I cannot see the persistence of the artist type.  I see no reason for the man of genius in such an order.  I see no need for martyrs.  I see no need for vicarious atonement.  I see no need for the fierce preservation of beauty by a few. -HM

Beauty and truth do not need defenders, nor even expounders.  No one will ever have a lien on beauty and truth; they are creations in which all participate. -HM

And last and may be not least is this big fat one.  He got lost at the near bottom of the pile.  But last night I heard him calling out "I am here, I too am in this pile." - Well welcome come out show yourself join with your brothers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tzara again

Art is a private thing, the artist makes it for himself.  A comprehensible work is the product of a journalist...we need works that are strong, straight precise...and forever beyond understanding. -Tristan Tzara

Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.  _Andre Breton

And it's odd how much I steal, primarily from myself, in order to try a produce a painting.  I am happy though when I find an artist who reminds me of myself...for then I go, ah I am on to something.

I feel like he is looking for the same thing I am looking a lost memory or maybe a comprehension of an old old memory, an understanding of what this could mean.  There is a road there.  It leads to something I must understand, must learn to understand, to appreciate.

If I place love above everything, it is because for me it is the most desperate, the most despairing state of affairs imaginable. -Andre Breton

And now my little boy has become an unimaginably good guitar player and song writer...we are always busy now thinking up lyrics and polishing chord sequences.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

as they were meant to be

Great paintings -people flock to see them, they draw crowds, they're reproduced on coffee mugs and mouse pads and anything you like.  And, I count myself in the following, you can have a lifetime of perfectly sincere museum going where you traipse around enjoying everything and then go out and have some lunch. -Donna Tartt

But if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don't think  "oh I love this painting because it's universal.  I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind."  That's not the reason anyone loves a piece of art.  Its a secret whisper from an individual heart-shock Your dream. -Donna Tartt

And when you're the one painting them, you're involved in their calculus, you have to sort through the detritus and the wavering sense of color and sense and balance, you have to say this is done.  And you can never ask yourself is this any good, because of course not, none of them are any good what-so-ever.  They just are. As they were meant to be.

And when someone steals them, comes in your house and walks out with six hundred of them, and you watch the police secretly smile at one another and quietly roll their eyes, and they look for them "for a couple of weeks" but they have to get on to "real" crime, and the FBI let you know with their pronunciation and informative short lecture on "real crime" (wait I've heard this before) that they will have nothing to do with this, well you get dog-tired.

Sorry my posts have been somewhat lax, but i'm painting some in odd sizes, mostly much bigger, and I've been reading books, and once that starts you are in for it.  All these new paintings I think of as books, old books, though most of the books I'm reading are new...

Sometimes you can do all the right things and not succeed.  And that's a hard lesson of reality. -Donna Tartt

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Every true genius is bound to be naive. -Frederich Schiller

There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny. -Friedrich Schiller

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. -Arthur Schopenhauer

Ouch.  I hope these quotes don't make me out as portraying  myself as something I am not.  I just like them today.  They match some feeling.

Art is the daughter of freedom. -Friedrich Schiller

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's just a stone's throw

I'm intact and I don't give a damn.  -Arthur Rimbaud

It just seems that these are a mess.  It happens sometimes.  You can play a piece of music perfectly, you've played it all your life.  and then one day after a couple of years when you haven't played it, you scramble to try and remember it at all.

Things go gablooey.  The paint brushes are not the right size, the colors are too subtle, the concept disappears before you can get it down on paper.  Then why show them?

Well, why not.  There's always a chance they don't meet my expectations, but that they meet yours, and even if not, it's the last show this piece will ever have...

I've produced them so there. Maybe they will go straight to video, not even get a release notice.  Or they will be like all the crummy albums that marked the middle of his career, or all the terrible books he wrote after those three brilliant beginning novels.

Actually they will all look a bunch better when my friend gets here and photographs them.

Genius is the recovery of childhood at will. -Arthur Rimbaud

Thursday, March 6, 2014

in martian

The only word in the Martian language is written phonetically: Koh-ray-kh-kuh-ko-kex.  It means whatever you want it to mean. -Blaise Cendrars

Occasionally, I get one done and I go like I did to the one above, well there is me and my sisters on the dock down at the lake.  And I don't even know why...

My poor life.  This shawl frayed on strongboxes full of gold and I walk along with dream and smoke and the only flame in the universe. -Blaise Cendrars

An angel has no memory. -Terry Southern

It's funny I always think of this type of painting as my medieval  type of work.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


The world is awash in bright, shiny nonsense.  Every day we wade through a glare of misinformation and lazy delusions and irrelevant data.  It can be hard to locate the few specific insights that are actually useful and stimulating.  That's the bad news, Capricorn.  Here's the good news:  You now have an enhanced ability to ferret out nuggets of data that can actually empower you.  You are a magnet for the invigorating truths you really need most.  -Rob Breshney

Well I don't know that I've discovered any except an old old one.  Just do what always attracts you.

It always gets you back on track, back on the search for what may be meaningful.  And that is always the best thing.

It is always frustrating, always encumbering to look at any other artists.  Because I immediately want to do exactly whatever they are doing.  I want to paint not like that but THAT exactly and when I've done the thousands of things they have done, then I will move on...

Move on that is to the next artist.  and then the next etc. et. al. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

all sorts of colors

In the 1840s society wags razzed the aging William Turner, oracle titan-painter of the sublime, alleging that 'Turner's reputation dies, dolphin-like, all sorts of colors. -Graham Burnett

I certainly gazed in disbelief at the Turner's I've seen, almost always reproductions, and wondered at different times, what is this, searching for a title, some clue.  And even then not getting it.

And now of course I would want nothing better than to be able to paint like that.  Above is my sunrise over the lake.

Painting seems to me to be be often mystical, arranged and made by others for other types of people.

Mine seem obvious.  Made for me I guess.   And for some few select others.

It must be interesting to look. and to see. these differing things that show up.  It is for me.