Friday, October 31, 2014


A person can't really try to be an artist. I think that it's a calling.  What you can try to do is become better at your craft. -Patty Smith

I often think of what Robert (Mapplethorpe) would say.  We can seek guidance from our departed, you know, as long as we listen.  It's a matter of listening. -Patty Smith

Artists are always translating the present into something else ...and that always makes you more removed. -Patty smith

I'm often feeling these things as I paint and prepare to paint and afterwards, when I stop and look at the of the most interesting things is to see which painting strikes the fancy of someone first looking at a few I haven't yet put away.

...The most singular insight I get from that is to realize how far away I am from understanding what pleases others.

a plaything of memory

I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in above all the plaything of his memory. -Andre Breton

It is odd sometimes as I stumble through a new set of paintings...I sometimes feel as if they are gently speaking to me, barely a whisper,  and I can almost hear what they say, but not quite...

...maybe I don't listen quite carefully enough.  I am sure there is something bright-eyed happening here something I can not quite grasp.  So I continue...

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night. -Edgar Allan Poe

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. -Edgar Allan Poe

Thursday, October 30, 2014

On this occasion

Well I just found these.  I forgot or maybe didn't want to post them.  Maybe I couldn't think of anything from looking at them...cause you know usually I put up the pictures first then I look at them then I know what to say or where to go to find something to say...

Cause of course I don't want to talk about them.  I want them to talk about whatever they want to say.

And usually it just happens that way and saves me the work of having to say or think anything about anything at all.  That's how I like things to happen.

But today -I am having to work.  It is boring having to work.  It is boringer to have to is the worsest of all to have to work and think at the same time.

Yet, on this occasion,  I am trying to work on how to think and to work at the same time without working or thinking.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The Lakota had been a thorn in the side of the US government's expansionist agenda for decades, and the arrival of the new movement (the ghost dance) at a time when many Lakota were on the edge of starvation convinced US Army officials on the scene that another war between the Lakota and the United States might be in the offing...

More troops and weapons were sent for, and regulations banning the Ghost Dance issued.  A flashpoint was probably inevitable;  when it arrived, at Wounded Knee on December 28, 1890, US soldiers opened fire with field artillery and Hotchkiss machine guns on a mostly unarmed band of Lakota Ghost Dancers...  -John Michael Greer

No, I will be the pattern of all patience.  I will say nothing... -King Lear

I don't quote Greer to demonstrate the army's broodthirstiness...we already know about that...what I'm trying to do is show a certain tension that seems to almost always hover around -a sort of mad hunger and wild thoughtless process that demands is part of what I paint I think...I'll have to check.  I'll ask him and see what he says...

I like the word "decadent".  All shimmering with purple and throws a brilliance of flames and the gleam of precious stones.  It is made up of carnal spirit and unhappy flesh and of all the violent splendors... -Paul Verlaine

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

James Franco

Now there is no reason to talk about an actor especially here...He never talks about art as far as I know.  But he does talk about books and even publishes lists of his favorites from different times...I used to do that back when I was in school.  He says he reads a lot but I grew up out there and I understood that actors mostly all read a lot then.  Maybe they don't now.

Well I'm not gonna criticize his lists.  If I were gonna do that I would do it somewhere where he can't find it, a website or blog nobody goes to...anyway it is only a slight criticism anyhow...I mean who cares, right?  I know nothing about this guy except I liked the Wizard of Oz movie he was in...he's a good actor I think...more interesting to me was The Orchard Keeper movie he made which was really excellent...

But he made those lists and for some reason, some internet magic or something, they got to me and I read them...and I found them disappointing, sort of like some college list...and well I guess they were...I was glad to see they even taught English in college, at least somewhere thank god...I hope he gets a chance to read Moby Dick out loud to someone cause I think it will move up in his rankings when he does...and I'd guess Cormac is up in his list of contemporary writers...I'd like to see that list. That would be more fun.  My nephew was doing that out in Berkeley for awhile...I liked it.

I made a list once, my wife and I both made one of our top ten books, except mine was a list of eighty books cause I couldn't narrow it down...speaking of which I wish James Franco or somebody would make films of Amos Tutuola's books...naw I don't really care.  I prefer just reading the books over and over...but what about Norman Lewis?  That would be great.  They used to make books of Geoffrey Household.  They should do more of those.  And Aldous Huxley...the early stuff, the British books...actually maybe they have...I've been reading somewhere about some Stanislaw Lem movies...!  They could be really fun...we'll see.

I'd like to try to make a top ten list of books...Yea I should do that.  Maybe I could get it for next time though really I should just do it now.  Of course I'll completely forget the main people I'd want to include...Joseph Delteil (and they made a movie of one of his great books), Blaise Cendrars (what a great trilogy that would be Planus!) Henry Miller (have another go at it you guys) Kathy Acker (have they done anything at all?) ....and I don't really follow movies much anymore (they follow us it seems to me.)  Hey did anybody see that latest Polanski movie?  What a trip...!  Ouch...! Louis Celine, I completely forgot him...!  How is that possible?  

Monday, October 27, 2014

new new new sploestro

These are the newest of the new...the new new.  same old shit, once again, though I do wonder now and again how this happens...why don't these look like I don't know, something else? got me...may be that they are all and I mean all of them an attempt to express something about something...

could be maybe...I mean, what?...who knows...really, they drive me insane...all right you guys tell me what you are trying to least say what you think you are trying to express...oh well then.  Just sit there quietly, try to look pretty, look like you speak another language...

eqruidi maggo noonena?  Sploestro elio foghdraphment igoolisee?  Wow. not only can I not speak English...I can't speak anything else either.  Okay...I can see, this artist ain't so wonder he likes to quote udder people

It may be that the deep necessity of art is the examination of self-deception.-R Motherwell  I come across quotes like that and I think, yea maybe, maybe that's it...and I most often think that art is mostly an attempt to express something, anything.

Well, that is the complete story...thank you for visiting and we can continue this introduction another day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to make these or not

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. Herman Melville

Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses, -for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it -not in a set way and ostentatiously, though, but incidentally and without premeditation. -HM

We are very often told that we are incoherent, but people intend this word to convey an insult which I find rather hard to grasp.  Everything is incoherent.  The man who decides to take a bath but goes to the cinema.  The other man who wants to keep quiet but who says things that don't even come into his head.  Another one who has an exact idea about something but who only manages to express the opposite in words which for him are a bad translation.  No logic.  Relative necessities discovered a posteriori, valid not from the point of view of their exactitude, but as explanations. Tristan Tzara

The acts of life have neither beginning nor end.  Everything happens in a very idiotic fashion.  That's why every thing is the same.  Simplicity is called dada. -Tzara

In painting, things happen in the same way.  Painters, technicians who do very well what a camera records much better, will carry on with the game.  We'll play ours.  We don't know why, nor how.  With everything that comes to hand.  It will be badly done, but we don't care.  -Tzara

Friday, October 24, 2014

I don't know why

I don't know why but this stuff keeps happening.  It's the truth.  I think it's finished, I think we live on a small island in a large round ocean called earth, that there are only 500 of us left, and that doesn't really help.  I still make 'em.

But maybe if there were only 5o of us it'd still happen...but maybe if there were no more paper and no more more pencils.  If all this were restricted by the government and if art itself were restricted, maybe that would work...

I don't know really.  I own a bunch of pencils and paper...I gotta use it up one way or another.  One day August Renoir was walking home with a friend when he saw one of his paintings he had given to a neighbor being used as a patch on a chicken seemed to make him happy.

I'm tired this morning.  Seth wants to go to Rock n Roll Vintage guitar shop and I don't wanna go...but I probably will.

I gotta fix these photographs...they look lousy.  Well they're better but not great darn it...oh well this will do...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

round painting

Days begin and end in the dead of night.  They are not shaped long, in the manner of things which lead to ends -arrow, road, man's life on earth.  They are shaped round, in the manner of things eternal and stable -sun, world, God. -Jean Giono

Civilization tries to persuade us we are going towards something, a distant goal.  We have forgotten that our only goal is to live, to live each and every day, and that if we live each and every day, our true goal is achieved.  -Giono

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. -JB Priestley

I tell you, take me back three or four months...then I can find paintings that knock my socks off...I look at them and think, man if I could paint like that I would paint every day...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Compassion for things I'll never know

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered -the point is to discover them. -Gallileo

Vire will wind in other shadows
unborn through bright ways tremble
and the old mind ghost-shaken
sink into its havoc.  
-Beckett "Saint-Lo"

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. -Orwell

I would add myself, that in a time of universal deceit, being able to recognize a truth is also a revolutionary act.  It is never fun is it?  You think it and suddenly find yourself looking around as if someone else heard you thinking it...

here we are stuck by this river you and I underneath the sky that's ever falling down
through the day as if on ocean waiting here always failing to remember why we came
you talk to me as if from a distance and I reply with impressions from another time -Eno

It seems almost impossible to know the truth of things in this world...once seen, they disappear quickly and one is always rediscovering parts of them in small ways...and then one feels they are coming closer to you...but they fade again as they pass you.  Maybe this explains Patrick Mondiano and the writings of so many people nowadays.

...and I've wondered is their a connection between Orlando Gibbons and Brian Eno, between David Byrne and Phillip Glass?  Is it couched in these ambiguous terms?

The dimming of the light makes the picture clearer.  It's just an old photograph from when the world was just beginning.  -David Byrne

Monday, October 20, 2014

okay one more but that's it

I guess I've never really caught up.  Not with the large ones at least.  Somehow this is how things go...I can get close but then I make more, go to a wedding, make more, go to a wedding, come back and try to catch up.

A genuine work of art usually displeases at first sight, as it suggests a deficiency in the spectator. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

yep no more art

I just try to take these photos of the large ones to hold me over while I wait for my fiends to come out and take real good ones.  I really hate it when I get mushed with to many to do, too many blogs to make etc.

A bunch of the time I think I'm gonna make a bunch less, just like one a week or one a month or one a year.  Then I won't have to make these blogs and I won't have to say anything and I won't have to do any work and I won't have to think anymore.   

I know what you are thinking anyhow.  Doug, you don gadda have to write anything.  Just post the pictures...but you see the pictures all come with this writing.  This writing is embedded in the pictures.  It all comes out when I paste these pictures in here, sorta like when I flatten them in here this writing squeezes out if you can believe it...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

why make such ugly things?

You might look at these and ask, "Why make such ugly things?"  And in fact I might also ask the same thing.   But the answer is always the same.  I don't know.  I set this first one out yesterday and when I did I thought..."perfect."   I didn't know what perfect I meant, what composition I thought I was exploring...

And I moved on to this next one in which as I peered at it seemed to me to have a fun jumpy energy...

And this next one I thought contained a weird limid the weird "we think it dead" energy of the shark someone caught out off the coast of Santa Monica that time I went "deep sea" fishing with my dad on that large scary floating metal casket of a  boat that day.

...they just kept shooting the shark with what I thought was a weird little gun and it kept swimming and swimming...but it slowed down and was chained to the boat right under the platform where we stepped to get off the boat.

...I think I permanently lost much of my essential energy that day.  And almost the very next day I found a miniature shark on the beach, just a dead little guy in the sand.

I never did think that shark, the big one, was dead at all.  I thought as I looked in it's shark eye that it was patiently waiting...waiting to strike.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It happens at once

A really good picture looks as if it's happened at once.  It's an immediate image.  For my own work, when a picture looks labored and overworked, and you can read in it --well, she did this and then she did that, and then she did that --there is something in it that has not got to do with beautiful art to me. And I usually throw these out, though I think very often it takes ten of those over-labored pictures to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronized with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute.  -Helen Frankenthaler

Sometimes when I get downstairs, I look at the table and whoa and behold,  I see the painting already sitting there.  It's like all I have to do is glue it together, or paint it, or draw it.  Those are my happy days.

I don't worry afterward about how it looks...mainly because I just can't tell, really...if I start thinking I will immediately recognize that, damn it don't look like a Motherwell at all, and shit, it don't compare with a Kurt Schwitters or a Max Ernst, it is not in the same world with a Miller or a Patchen...this junk is all crummy!  for christ-sakes!  well I can get rid of it all for all anyone cares....

And I can imagine a huge show where I'm selling all this stuff for millions (in aggregate that is) and at the same time I'm being sued by every photographer who ever existed because though these paintings are meant to change i.e. that the stuff on the back bleeds through to the front and the composition changes and text magically appears, and the Orbit gum company is after me though they ceased to exist 20 years ago and all the designers who ever thought to design a menu and the Kit Kat company and of course Shell Oil etc. etc. etc. and though I make millions I spend even millions more and years and years settling all the legal stuff...

And of course I will be sued for the 600 paintings somebody stole from me and is then selling though he himself has been dead or incarcerated for a dozen years and I'm not making a penny off it in the first place.  And that throws me back 50 years to the first song I wrote with lyrics -My mind is filled with a thousand things like the dates of wars and the death of kings.  I don't even remember who wrote that -Robert Browning?  well everybody has a poor relative or a rich company that will come after me for that one...and I've got one that is wholly stolen from Yeats -that greatest of Romantics and the last too...

But finally I come back to the paintings which just sit there, quiet and complacent, drifting aimlessly through the internet, never raising a fuss, nor engendering any comment nor interest, happy just to float along till we are all long dead and my blue bubble friend comes along and discovers them, and knows he likes them, and writes a little paper, which gets him into a college with an interested professor, and then begins his life long study and he somehow (with magic I suspect) uncovers these hundreds of blogs, and even the 600 stolen ones and trough the grace of the universe finds the ones lost by the moving company and using the magic of the time is able to prove my ownership of their production, till finally, I take my place in obscurity, next to Rembrandt's teacher, with six actual paintings still existing, the others just poor digital images.  The End.

Monday, October 6, 2014

the Zen Buddist

This is another one of them large ones.  You know it's funny, because my brother sent me a collection of his favorite large ones from 2013 and you know what?...I didn't recognize any of them not one darn painting...thank god I sign them usually the next day or so or I wouldn't know they were mine.   Or maybe I would. Just looking at it, I'd go hey there goes one of my little fellas.  Now I know this one has a watermark from 2013, but that is just a goof ball thing I don't know how to fix.

But I wanted to say that I think it's my unwillingness to judge them that allows me to keep so many, even crummy ones.  I just can't tell em apart.  They're kind of like children who all seem so beautiful, even when they're in a crummy mood.

I used to like some of Franz Kline...and I've looked at a bunch, as many as I could.  Now I like all of them, each and every one.  It seems I've gotten to know him.  So I am always glad to see him.  And I've gotten to know more about how he worked, thanks to de Kooning's wife.  She is always so real, so down to earth, and she says prosaically, well he did this with a board, then moved the top a bit and then really slopped on some paint.  I love that stuff.  You know I got that same feeling from Donna Tartt...well -whatever...

He laughed at the mighty efforts made by the artists of earth to reach beyond the boundary of human imagination (which must visualize everything); at how little, really, they departed from platitude, though straining to the utmost to depart...-Stanislaw Lem

There's something Zen-like about the way I work -it's like raking gravel in a Zen Buddist garden. -Chuck Close