“The Importance of Getting the Name Right, no.8″: 36″ x 36”; oil & collage on canvas Recently I have been thinking a lot about totems. Some of the images I gravitate to creating in my paintings become towers of marks built upon each other, like figures in a totem. When I mentioned this to Phil at the Secord Gallery, he said the expression “low man on the totem pole” actually does not refer to someone low in the hierarchy. That sent me to the internet for researching totems.
How Art Began”, written and produced by the British sculptor Antony Gormley. Gormley goes deep into ancient caves to see the drawings on the wall. Some were created as much as 80 million years ago.
His point is, in other words, there is always art. We need it. Art is intrinsic to being human. It’s our mark. We need it not just as a personal record of being here but as a connection to all that we cannot know. To what makes us bigger than what we can see and touch. Or speakin
Recently a friend who knows more than me about the business of art told me I would sell more paintings if I raised my prices. He meant, I think, that collectors like to be proud of paying a lot of money for a painting, think its value is related to the price. Maybe. I don’t know. But it does make me wonder, once again, for whom am I painting.
Saying raising my prices makes my work more appealing is almost, but not quite, like telling me I would sell more if I painted landsc
I finally realized that painting, making art, won’t solve everything. At least, not for me anyway. It won’t bring predictable weather, it won’t solve the covid-19 pandemic, find a cure or a vaccine, open the restaurants and other activities, it won’t be a complete happiness cure. It doesn’t even give me peace of mind when I do too much. Now that everything is closed down, I have been painting too much My studio is in my house and beckons. I enjoy the work; it feels good. But
It’s Not What You Think, no. 4, 60″ x 108″, oil & collage on canvas The most frequent question I get is “what is your inspiration?” My usual answer is “painting”, or “the paintings”. This morning I had an immediate experience of that. I went into my studio as I usually do (I am a morning person, always have been) planning to put in some productive work time. But I felt lethargic, uninspired, uninterested. I sat down with a cup of tea anyway, yet thinking I might as well go up
Quote: “I struggle more and more to achieve a maximum clarity, force, and plastic aggressiveness–in other words, to provoke an immediate physical sensation that will then make its way to the soul.” YES. #Inspiration #Clarity #Miro #Force #AbstractPainting #Art
I’ve been doing a bit of research on my new hero, Etel Adnan. One good source has been, believe it or not, Pinterest. I get to see/pin my favorite photos of her work and keep them for further viewing. In addition, my research led me to an article by Negar Azimi in the Wall Street Journal on Why the Art World Has Fallen for 90-Year-Old Etel Adnan. The article has some pithy quotes from Adnan. About her process, which verges on the existential, she says: “Once I put down a colo
Over the years I’ve had a few art heroes. Mark Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, and of course, Rembrandt. I have been inspired by Diebenkorn’s early abstract paintings, but he isn’t a hero. I don’t know why he doesn’t transcend that boundary, from being great, inspiring, to being a courageous hero. I need to think about that. But now, I have a new hero. Etel Adnan. Not only is her work brave, she is extraordinary as a person. A poet, writer, painter, intelligent in her life and work,
This morning I realized why Romeo is so intent on taking his stuffed animals outside, one after the other, especially after he has been away for a bit. He’s a herder. A Portuguese Water Dog, who has been bred to herd the fish, fisherman and buoys. He is just doing his job. It took me three years to figure this out. Just shows how little we know about others. Reminds me of when I am working and trying to do something “different” and end up doing the same thing I usually do, mo
Let’s Talk, no. 2; oil & collage on canvas; 36″ x 112″ For weeks I’ve been trying to figure out what I am doing, want to do, with my painting. If it is more talkative, as someone at the Secord Gallery exhibit in September astutely commented, to whom am I talking, about what, when does it communicate, or not, and to whom. Basically I am talking to myself and just hoping it says something to you. It’s not with words. Just with paint. If you love paint as much as I do, maybe it
Let’s Talk, no. 1; 36″ x 112″; oil & collage on canvas Lately I’ve been scaring myself when I am painting. This has happened periodically before but this time I don’t want to back away from what is frightening to me. My work has undergone changes, rearrangements, and rerouting continually over the years and especially in the past few months. If I look back to the beginning of the year and try to see a direction, the current situation is near unrecognizable. Which breakthrough
Sometimes, Someone, Something, Somewhere, No 4. Curious about how my exhibit at the Secord was received, I asked Phil, the owner, about it. He said: “One fellow referred to the work as being more ‘talkative’. which at the very least made it clear that he was looking with an already experienced sense of your work.“ As well, a child, perhaps 5 years old, asked why there was a little orange rectangle in the bottom right area of Sometimes, Someone, Something, Somewhere, No 4. Phi
On Friday evening, I will be exhibiting new work at the Secord Gallery in Halifax. Opening reception 7 – 9 pm; the title of the show is “Relativity”. Then on Sunday, I will be going to Annapolis Royal, NS, for the opening reception of my exhibit there entitled “Let’s Talk”. Having two exhibits so close together was my idea. I like the pressure and the opportunity to clear out my studio a bit. Make space to paint new works. So, if you are in the area, either or both, do stop b
Recently a friend asked me what is my muse. At first I didn’t know what to say. I did say that I just always wanted to do something like this; it wasn’t until I was twenty I knew it was painting. But I can’t stop thinking about the question, especially as I paint. And as I can’t stop painting, what keeps me going! And going and going and going. What is my muse? People are often asking me what is my inspiration. I usually say painting. One painting leads to another, spawns a d
For whom do we create? How important is accessibility? My friend, Nanci Lee, a poet, recently submitted her work for publication. She was rejected. The judgement was that it was too obscure. As creators, our produce needs to be seen, heard, or it lies buried in ourselves. Yet the pleasure, excitement, struggle of creating lies within ourselves. To listen to others’ opinions, reactions can be instructive or it can be destructive. The choice is with the creator. I don’t think J
Peggy’s Cove Area Festival of the Arts. For one thing, I am grateful to have a good reason to clean up my studio! But mostly it is so helpful to show my work to people I know, have known, will know. It was a steady stream of visitors for three days. I learn a lot of these studio visits. Everyone’s point of view is valid and unique. The last two visitors, friends in the arts community, gave me lots of food for thought. They were commenting on my use of circles and circular mar
Romeo likes to make up games for himself. Lately he has been pushing his ball over the edge of the dock into the lake. Then he tries to retrieve it without getting wet, just butt up, sticking his nose down as far as he can. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Watching him, I keep thinking: Romeo, there are no shortcuts. Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to struggle, just catch the ball or paint the perfect painting right away. Not get my feet wet. #Struggle #Play #Romeo #Art #Pa
At the Harrington Brown Gallery in Memphis, TN, March 2011 Seven years ago, in 2011, I had an exhibition at the Harrington Brown Gallery in Memphis, Tennessee. It was one of those shows where I took a major right (or left if you prefer) turn after that. Seeing my work on the walls outside my studio is always educational, sometimes upsetting, other times exciting. This particular time I could see very clearly that I had been painting myself into a corner. Every painting used t