Wednesday, June 25, 2014

the long one: albatross map

Now this next batch may take some time.  And they are all large.  And they are all contiguous.  Maybe I will take some time out to make some smaller ones though.  We'll see when we get there.

Of course you don't know what size this one is cause they're all the same size right no matter what unless I take the picture in a room our something. 22x30. And this would be the last one if we are moving forward, or the first one if we move backward.   And I think there will be about eleven of them in one giant roll.


When Pissarro returned to to his home in Louveciennes in the summer of 1871, the Germans, having defeated the French and briefly occupies Paris, also looted his studio, leaving only about 40 out of 1500 canvases, which the artist had stored there. -Herman J Wechsler

-the result of a lifetime of work.  Very little of his production had ever been sold.  He was told how the invaders had used his canvases as shoes to protect their feet from the mud. -H.W.

The next years were consumed with hard work, were rich in Production, and some of the century's most poetic landscapes were being turned out.  -H.W.

Not enough of these were selling, however, to keep the maker from becoming more and more bitter and all but ready to admit complete defeat.  -H.W.

During his lifetime Pissaro received few honors.  In his last letter to his son Lucien, he writes:

I sold two pictures to the Museum and two to collectors, but I am hardly besieged by demands.  I see that we are far from being understood -quite far -even by our friends. H.W.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Realm of Dreams

In 1907 Redon ad addressed a letter to his friends and this is what the old painter had to say:   It is a long time now that I wield the fateful crayon.  Will it have traced anything of lasting worth?  This is the worried, self-questioning that occurs at life's end;  I don't know yet the answer. -Odilon Redon

Thank god my youngest is such an obsessive and prolific drawer...and he gives them to me! -Here dad you can put this in your painting.

I love these when they occur.  There is no image to take away your view.

Then here are a few thoughts about that old counterfeiter, who's work can bring such a sense of relief, like a cool glass of water.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Words can be like x-rays if you use them properly -they'll go through anything.  You read and you're pierced.  -Aldous Huxley

I've been running amok, which happens to me not unoften when its quiet and I'm painting...sort of by definition: "depression followed by a manic urge".

But i'm in abeyance much to think about and strangely little time to organize the thought.   I feel a wee bit like some little kid frantically trying get something done.

Well, thank god I've got coffee,  that always helps a bit. And I'm trying to speed up the process isn't working, it can't be done.  These things just happen when they do, but I can't really figure out why.

We did everything that adults would do.  What went wrong? -William Golding

Friday, June 20, 2014

next to me

And I also like that Socrates quote, because it affirms my belief that the greatest writers are also the greatest readers.  That seems paramount to great work, a study of the works of others...

Now I painting, that from the beginning I've been hesitant to wish to study the work of other painters -I think I was afraid I might have to dig myself out of a hole, and might never find my own voice so to speak.

And ever since that first day in Kindegarten when I painted what I thought was a masterpiece, I have had the voice I have now.  It is the only voice I shall ever have.  And it suits me.  Now probably, somebody sometime will -in kindness- open my eyes to how derivative this work is, how hopelessly amateur it is, how completely unoriginal. 

But I'm ready.  Bring it on.  Art, though, I think of as a hopeless task, as unrewarding as a task can be -I mean how could I expect some "reward" for making this art.  The best reward is without doubt, 
is those that know me, and come regularly to the site, and leave is those crumbs which feed me, and those morsels which inspire me to keep working.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Brion Gysin

Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for. -Socrates

I know it must seem adolescent and perhaps somewhat silly to quote from Socrates (and even then this is only what Plato says he said), but really this quote seems so important to me primarily because it is only from looking at and studying other artists that I have gained any confidence in my own work.

And yes of course there comes occasionally the awful realization that something I've done looks like some else's work, and ironically, I never know of their work until shortly after I've done my own.  And this is not so uncommon at all.

I did a small series of paintings once that I named after book I loved called "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Amos Tutuola.  And I wrote that right on the face of a couple of them.  Only three months later my brother said -Oh man, they're gonna think you took this from Eno, as Eno's newly announced album had the same title.  I just said -oh well, that's the way it goes.  Funnily, neither he nor Bowie had even read the book.  But I loved the album when it came out, it made me feel proud of my clever "advanced theft".

And Brion Gysin had the critics telling him he got his ideas from Mark Tobey, a great artist, but one he had never had the pleasure to see at the time.  And there is Mark Twain's quote  where he says that every thing he had ever said he was able to find in other's work.  It just happens.  Wow, I just spent a couple of minutes with Gysin's work online.  I realize I hadn't seen it before.  And I like it. A bunch.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Occasionally I can look at some of these after they are finished, and I go Ah, uninspired.  The reason it occurs I think is that I'm tired and wound up at the same time.  And I'm hoping the paintings will save me somehow.  But sometimes they don't.

This happens especially when I have been in a mood of thinking I don't care for composition, I don't care about color, I don't care about movement, I don't need or want any of this.

And so I just slap the stuff down and don't think about it. At all. And I go, that's enough, finished, let's go, photograph them, move out,  okay what's next, and stuff like that.  And yeah, they seem a little weird or not finished, uh, or unfinished.

Of course there are no words to describe them, partly because they sit there and go, oh shut up.  We don't want any of your bullshit.  We are what we are, get over it,  dude.

Maybe they just seem a bit flaccid, not worked out, or not finished working out.  But they are looking at me and being very insulting.

It is almost as if I had a thought.  But I didn't want to follow that thought.  Or I changed thoughts in the middle of it.  Actually, I think they are like a very short story.  They each have only one sentence. Or maybe only one word.  Well I'm not giving them another thought. Period.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

emptied my wallet

I was afraid that my seemingly irrelevant comments might be distracting.  No in fact I was hoping they would be distracting so that no one would recognize the oddly pessimistic work I presented.  

And it worked to some degree.  I mean who has time to argue on those kinds of stupid terms?  Well, not one of us.  But people are weird to me.   Yet, not the people on this blog.  Oddly enough.

Well, I have a couple of complaints to make myself.  Like, what is going on with the focus?  Come on.  You can do better than this, can you not?  I can't even read this.  And brighten up the photos.  Come on, this is the modern age.  You can do it can't you?  Or is this your glasses playing tricks on you?

Or maybe it is this rainy spring with the cloudy days messing with you eh?  But wow, what is being produced outside is wondrous.  Clematis blooming everywhere,  peonies shining out,  flowers and leaves and grasses.  Beautiful.

You'd think I'd be doing pictures inspired by these beautiful things but sometimes I work in contrary directions.  I emptied my wallet today.  I bought bathing suits for my boys.  And here we are.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

contra naturum

There are some you do that look like nature, or some version of nature anyway and I love those.

I don't ever know where they come from, because honestly, whatever I do, it is not "I" who does them but some other who channels through me.  She tells me what to do and I do it I guess.

This is not uncommon but probably what happens to everyone who paints often.  That is of course the one requirement she has; to keep working to produce these pieces without wonder, without even joy, but in some concentration, like a child working on his piece, who when he gets done, comes out of it and tosses his drawing aside, or maybe shows it to his parents, who concentrate their brows and try to understand it, or often, make an undue bru hah hah and get all "happy" at the child's work.

But since I am neither the chid nor the adult, I simply go "look what he made" and move on, knowing that I cannot accept any credit nor blame for what has happened.  Just like you I may search it and name it, "huh, looks like a broken leaf" but I usually stay away from any of that sort of thing, primarily cause I don't know what anything is, what anything means, where anything goes to nor from whence it came.

Like anyone I could use them to show off my learning (which is a joke since I know really nothin bout nothin) and I could say, ostentatiously, "well from the brief two minutes he went into a kind a Jules Olitski moment..."  blah blah blah, but that is only an academic wiping his waste on a wall to clear it from their head.  And I am, admittedly, far away from any academia.

Instead, I will bow my head, and go make some more.  It is my instructions, the command of the other.  There is no good, there is no bad.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


When you are in a neighborhood like mine it is fun to walk the mile down to town and while you do that -if its in the evening -you can check out everyone's houses through the windows, all lit up, and there are some very pretty arraignments of lamps and pictures and lighting and colors, its nice to see.

And it just doesn't happen very often, mainly because we usually only walk in the mornings before any of the fronts are lit.  Oh well, it's pretty then then too, especially this spring as it has kept cool and the flowers are blooming for a long time, beautiful happy peonies and viburnums, new healthy young hostas popping up here and there, and sweet tulips waving good morning in the gentle breeze.

Odd, this really doesn't seem to complement these paintings.   Or maybe it does, since these guys seem to want to jump in my face, and so a peaceful kind of writing may mitigate some of the wildness of these things.

It has actually been sort of hectic with school ending celebrations, obligations of varied types, yet its almost over and then it will be peaceful summer with the hot days and glowing water of the lake nearby.

Hmm, I seem to have accidentally turned on the watermark.  Oh well I'll figure that out later.

Monday, June 2, 2014

erotic and abstract part 2

I'd like to really, really talk about a painting's, or art object's, qualities.  This is an undeveloped muscle in the critical apparatus.  I think we should be looking at objects formally, while understanding that, of course, content is part of form and form is part of content, and see how objects are working with content and abstraction now and what they really are doing.  I wish there was less embarrassment, less tension around a kind of formal and poetic response, where you describe something in terms of feeling or association, or you look at how something plays, rather than how it signifies, or how it deals with the literary, marketplace or distribution systems that lie around it.  Some critical language around art may fall short, and need to be refreshed, or be dropped.  -Amy Sillman

Well I'll drop it. To be sure.  Done.

Gotta say everybody here is happy to have that burden lifted, as happy as a cat with a ball.

The opposite of abstraction -or to say it another way, its complementary color -is realism.  And realistic paintings are not that good.  I respect them, but from my point of view, they're pictures.  You look at a picture and you recognize what's in it, and more than 50 percent of the joy is over -you're pretty much going downhill from there. -Josh Smith

the erotic and the abstract part 1

I'm doing a show with a friend of mine.  I didn't pick the title.  She did.  She is much younger than I am.  She grew up in Northern California and was educated there.  And she is smart anyhow.

But just to ensure you know I am honest with you I will admit I don't know what either of those words mean.  I'll have to look them up and stuff and maybe write something more or less academic.
I'll definitely put in Kandinsky and Picasso.  Hmm, and maybe Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock.
That oughta cover it.  No no no.  Put in Amy Sillman and Helen Frankenthaler too.  That oughta do it.

I've always distrusted that word, abstract.  I think what it means is something like, not done in a recognizable pictorial or photographic style, or maybe, consisting of elemental strong line, that cross a bunch of times or something like that.  Or maybe not huh?

And erotic? Jessus help me. I don't know.  I remember Cendrars talking about the erotic.  He was saying it is fundamental to fashion or something, man I gotta find that again.  But he said that fashion is always about death, that that is why we have all the skinny girls in those outrageous costumes and makeup, -to celebrate death, to imitate it's costumes, etc.  At least I think so.  Something like that anyway.

And -of course -I have to put those two words together.  Either compare and contrast, or join them like the erotic and abstract in Art....well I don't even get that.  Is that like Klimt:  make a beautiful painting, now cut a hole in it a insert a beautiful woman?

I've got an idea.  I'll get Cassy who is beautiful and smart, and a graduate student in art to write it for me.  No, wait a minute.  The smartest and most educated person in art that I know of is Laura...there you go, now I know who to call, my own personal ghostbuster.  I'm practically ready.

There are many accidents that are nothing but accidents -and forget it.  But there are some that that were brought about only because you are the person you have the wherewithal, energy, and intelligence to recognize it and do something with it. -Helen Frankenthaler