Search This Blog

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The hallways of our memories

I reflect back on farms.  I thought everyone's grandparents lived on a farm.   We were the city folks driving home during summer vacation over the rolling hills of Kentucky turning into the side road with the little bridge over the crick adjacent to the weathered old burnt  sienna barn full of upside down hanging tobacco.  Those days are gone now and having a red barn is kind of a yuppie lofty thing.  The old "HOME PLACE" that we called grandma and grandpa's is now a subdivision.  In my childish mind, I always thought they would remain; the crick, the bridge, the gigantic tree where the tire swing hung that we cousins played with for hours.  But bulldozers rearranged the earth and diverted the creek and tree lined streets with sewers, water lines, street lamps and asphalt took their place among the houses all in a row alternating with models a b c and d.  I wonder if the street sign bears any name with which I am familiar?  I always think of my maw maw and pawpaw and the multitudes of cousins when I see a red barn, especially with clouds and hills and corn on the cob. I do so wish I could remember the LAST day I was there.  Though only 10 I think I would have been melancholy to know not only that I would grow up but that it would disappear from the face of the earth.

"The joy of art lies in the spark of truth..
the quest fulfills the mind's desire to see.
The thing we make is not the same today
as lingers in the hallways of our minds."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The content of life

Again, I must begin this post with the same refrain as the last one  way back in 2012; it's been quite some time since I've written on this blogspot.

I do enjoy writing so I am going to try and maintain a regular, but not daily, log of my thoughts and paintings. Though many aspects of life have changed and insisted on being lived, painting has remained constant on a daily basis due to two main factors; I love it and I need money. As most artists know who've made the commitment to live the daring creative life, there are no pensions and the good intentions of starting a 401 K or saving 10% of everything I make just didn't actualize. I look upon it as a fortuitous set of circumstances for who among us would paint every day for 3 or 4 hours if the wolves weren't barking down the door? It all adds up to experience and a substantial body of work which is what I wanted when I made the commitment some 25 years ago. So I am a happy camper.

My sons are grown and thriving! Between now and the last post in 2012 I've gone through some loss and some grueling anxiety but painted my way through all events. One might call it life itself. My most wonderful loyal funny canine girl, Ashby, went to heaven February a year ago and though I felt like a child, I proceeded with all the grownup decisions I had to make like a true stoic. What can you do? She was my gift for 13 magnificent years, a true loyal companion and I will always carry her in my heart. I knew the day would come. I am just now strong enough that I think I can look at her photo long enough to make the portrait I've always dreamed of doing and that puts a smile on my face. I'm a special kind of nut when it comes to the dog/cat relationship. It feels very human to me.

The anxiety of which I speak above is reserved for the horrendous experience of learning your child has cancer and the tortuous events that proceed after the diagnosis is made which was exactly a year ago to this day. My 33 year old beautiful son was diagnosed with the same tongue cancer as Michael Douglas and underwent a 12 hour operation two weeks before thanksgiving last year in which they removed half of his tongue, rebuilt it with his arm muscles (wrist) and used a peel of skin from the thigh to rebuild the arm. I am happy and relieved to report that his most recent scan has shown him to be cancer free. The magnificent doctors who rebuilt his tongue have given him excellent speech and he and his lovely intensive care nurse, wife, are thriving. A scar remains but lies on the wrinkle that passes from behind the ear down the neck and is barely visible, and with a scruffy beard  it is totally invisible. Aside from the three weeks we spent sleeping on the floor in the hospital watching over him at the Loma Linda cancer center, I have continued to paint most days and am thankful for the structure it brought to my life during trying times. I have visited him many times during the follow-up radiation in LA and carved out a little painting niche on the porch and with the marvelous technology of today, was able to make a creative income all the while. With this last set of results from the Pet scan I am settling back into the "non-hyper anxiety alert" mode and enjoying some experimentation and am longing for new material...I recently got a hankering to study Maxfield Parish and his amazing glazed paintings. While reading the book I discovered TRANSPARENT ORANGE. I get a particular joy from certain colors and their properties and this is a keeper that I will always be using in my palette. It happens to rest opposite another of my favorites, prussion blue, so that makes it the complement (completes it) EVEN BETTER!

 I'm not to going to ramble on so I can save some thoughts for the next post but wanted to bring you up to date on where these last two years went. We are human beings and live not in a vacuum. Our life experience can't help but influence us whether it's in style, subject matter, materials, or complexity

I post my most recently completed work measuring 24 x 36. I lost myself for weeks in the the simple rendering in black and white of this figure and then began to patiently apply glazing of transparent orange, alizarin crimson, Prussian blue and scumbles of a velute (SP) which is a glaze mixed with some white and gray flesh tones.  The first photo show a couple of layers of glaze and the second shows the more advanced version.  The color wheel is my friend and companion always and I have many of them posted in every room of the house.  You might say I am a color wheel collector!

Contemplative solitude is always a good thing whether you call it prayer, thinking, wishing or exercising the imaginations.  I like this kind of painting because it reflects one of my favorite activities of being quiet and still and letting thoughts come.