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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Monday, November 28, 2005
  creative destruction
I have a painting that is close to being done, and I like it just fine, but there are a few spots that need just a little work. So I start in on it, and then suddenly I realize I've lost what I had, and it has degenerated into a big mess. There's nothing to do then but paint over it, or pour on solvent and wash it all out. This destruction feels sad and frustrating to me every time, even though after my new beginning almost always produces a better painting in the end.

This is a process I've been through so many times I really should learn to ignore those bad feelings and celebrate instead. Just yesterday I went through the whole cycle again--but this time I stepped back and thought, OK, what's going on here? And I realized that it was OK, and maybe even necessary, to "ruin" what I had. Yes, it was a good painting, but it wasn't a new idea or a step forward, just a repeat of an older painting that I especialy liked. Some inner task-master is not letting me get by with that.
 
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
  unexpected

I took this photo last week when we had our first snowfall. The fall leaves scattered on the snow struck me as unexpected and beautiful--a moment of the transition from fall into winter caught and held. There is a bit of wonder and mystery in the image.

Maybe it also caught my eye because interesting juxtapositions are something I aim for in my paintings. Separate images side by side bring each into sharper focus. Similarities and contrasts are both apparent, and the imagination is invited in to complete the gestalt.
 
Friday, November 11, 2005
  look at it this way
My friend, painter Mark Horton, has an interesting take on viewing art, which he describes as resolving a "thing" (the work of art) into "thought." As an alternative to responding in ways that label or objectify the art work (such as focusing on who made it, on its style or subject matter)Mark suggests contemplating which specific qualities in it attract you or speak to you personally. Then ask yourself how those qualities do or don't play a part in your own life or behavior. For example, if you are attracted to the color or movement in a painting, you could consider whether your own life reflects those qualities. The art then functions as a sort of sounding board to explore your own related thoughts and ideas.

Taking this extra step into subjectivity may teach you as much about yourself as about the art work, but Mark also thinks that your appreciation of the various layers of meaning in a work of art will grow, since you may respond to different aspects over time. He also emphasizes that this approach does not replace more academic art study, including art appreciation, history and theory. It's simply another way to approach art that may end up deepening your overall understanding of an artists's intent.
 
Friday, November 04, 2005
  Wednesday 2 p.m.
No that's not when I'm posting this--it's actually the concept behind an on-going photo project I have going in collaberation with my art friend Sally Bowker. The premise is that every Wednesday at 2 p.m. (I chose this time for its banal, mid-week aspect.) I stop what I am doing, look around me through my art eyes, and take a photo of something in my world. Subjects have ranged from my pets and garden to abstract images made from raindrops and reflective surfaces.

The point is to beocme present in my surroundings in that special focused way that it takes to find a good photo. I have actually remembered to do this most Wednesdays (a notable exception being a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of car-repair trauma.) The result is a weekly, slice of life photo journal. Sally follows the same routine, but has chosen Sundays at 11 a.m. for her time to shoot. We trade the photos back and forth by email.

This photo is from last Wednesday's gathering of box-elder beetles on the side of my house.
 

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