Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm Learning - Soul Dance

The lady emerged over a few weeks, as I sat in my car at lunch. Taking out my sketch book for 5, maybe 10 minutes at a time, I would either flip pages in the book, looking for something specific to work on or simply open it, allowing a blank page or previous work to guide my hand. These were "interesting days," where I only allowed myself these small breaks, to consider practicing what I love. Yeah, I got "issues."

As I said, she slowly came forward, actually, without my noticing until I saw the sway of her brown hips and ample rear moving amidst splashes of color. Excitement didn't overtake me, forcing me to complete the image; having other pictures and responsibilities to attend to in this short period of time, I worked on it as I had time. Currently, I'm concentrating my energies in the part of the drawing where Red seems to be cooling.

I'm learning in such works, to allow it to gather it's own strength and tell its own story. There are certainly times, as I sit before paper or a canvas, I have a title and story in mind. There are times when the message is clear and I can tell it, start to finish before I begin. But in cases like Soul Dance, I sit before the paper, with the same Right-Brain freedom my mom exhibited years ago; it was as though her hand knew to draw a flower or a cube, but didn't need the full concentration of cognitive thought. While on the phone, she would have a sheet of loose leaf paper nearby or in the corner of her phone book, she would sketch. And in that moment the door was opened on my own brand of creativity.

I'm learning to allow the work - the message - to define itself. In the swirls above the dancer's head, there is this sense of sky and worlds 'above.' At her feet is a world cooling down to something concrete. And in the middle, she dances about, spinning and gathering the forces of both.

I'm leaning to see with eyes that understand the marks on the page, hear the music playing (though no one can hear) and to be attuned to a words whispered.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Others See

The other day, I held up "Triplicate" for my wife to see my progress. Her face said it before the words came out: "uh, business as usual." Her words were: "It's nice, really nice." But I pressed for more, "but..." She said it just seems all your work is the same.

There was a time when that response would leave me wondering whether my work was a true expression of what I wanted to communicate, but lately, having spent time looking carefully at the works in progress, connecting my soul to the work, I came to the conclusion that my work for the last year is about a release of energy. I always got a kick out of using multiple colors, so much so, even with "common" themes of still life, street scenes, there was the release of energy, about capturing and reflecting the rainbow of colors on the edges of leaves, and splashing brightness where ever possible.

Lately, the pattern is embraced. Please believe, I love nearly every subject and painterly style, including landscapes. But seeing through the eyes of my wife, I came to accept that I have a "style." I'll keep working on it; continue to look out for it. Thanks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Triplicate: Near Complete/When it gets REALLY Good!

I'm putting the finishing touches on Triplicate and actually, there's a few more bold steps I have to take to call it complete. But when it gets "this good," when I look at the actual image or the picture, I feel the energy. Some have said the work is calming, relaxing or makes them feel better. If that's the case, take a huge dose and apply liberally! LOL

When it gets this good...I really could go at this night and day. Rather than look back at my past with regrets, I choose to thank God for the choices I made. Yes, I didn't think it was possible to get back to it, but in actuality, that was the ember of hope keeping me from losing my mind! When it gets this good, on days when I know someone is waiting for me to do something for them or I could be preparing dinner or cutting the grass, I reflect on the work I choose to do and realize, this is my contribution to the world. In the short term, mom's car is dirty and has been for weeks. In the now, dinner may have to be the corner restaurant down the street or whatever everyone puts their hands on. But for the long haul? This work satisfies my soul. I hope it does the same for you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Thought it was done...

I think anyone that works on something without a step-by-step plan can identify, but I'm certain an artist can. That is, you're working on the 'thing' and you see shapes coming forth and you can't wait to see the end. Not that you're tired of it, but in my case, often I want to see how the finished product comes together, just to gauge my thoughts about it.

Triplicate is my first work done while I'm in this new phase of my life. Given the time of day, the amount of energy I can exert, it didn't feel risky or  too ambitious; it felt right. So as the colors and shapes came together, and the center filled in, I felt a bit of apprehension about "the end" and the edges of the work. I journaled and studied the feel of the piece and concluded it was energy. I thought I saw a sunrise in the left panel, a womb in the middle and an explosion on the right.

But it isn't done. I post a picture as it is at this moment, but it isn't done, there's still work to be done. Watch!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Jazz

Love the recordings that make their way to the final release, where there’s dialogue between the artist(s) and the recording engineer or just dialogue you know they didn’t intend (initially) to release to the public. It’s truly the human side of this creative process. And this creativity is certainly me. As I was to turning to look at the two things I’m working on, contemplating shapes, colors, movement, I hear the end of a recording by Oscar Peterson (Moten Swing (alternate take)) and it sounds like ‘they’ are talking about ways to edit or where to place the song. I played the end another time to determine what they’re talking about, but I didn’t get it. It really didn’t matter, I had gotten what I needed: humanity.
This follows pretty well behind Seth Godin’s blog today: “Rehearsing is for Cowards.” Funny; I do a great deal of looking back – at history, my past, etc. I think about the origins of Jazz music, one of the earliest forms of “American (North America, specifically the United States of America) Music.” I think about the disdain for it, the declaring it to be “devil music,” and despising anyone who listened to it on a regular basis. Then I laugh when I think today we have “Christian Jazz,” which to someone born before 1900, would seem like a true sign of the apocalypse. But we have it and we love it in nearly all its forms. And the funnier thing is now the majority of our society won’t consciously listen to jazz.
In it’s true form while it can be practiced, the best parts of it are the innovations musicians come up with on a continuous basis. That’s true of all art forms, especially visual art. Thinking back, I hated paint-by-number kits before it became popular to do so. Yes, I wanted a picture perfect painting, but I wanted to do it myself without someone directing which paint went where. Nowadays, I can render as I like; I don’t have a number, a teacher or anyone else for that matter, dictating what colors and shapes to use. As a matter of fact, some of my best work is that I do when I’m sitting with pencil, pastel or brush in hand, following a pattern that doesn’t seem to exist. I simply go and go and sit back, amazed at the mixture of shapes and colors. It’s Jazz!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Wow, it's been so long since I posted anything here, I'm almost out of practice - NOT!!! I write so much in other places that I always have something to write about.

With a bit of "time off" I'm getting a few of the "honey-do" items taken care of as well as my own extensive cloud of tasks started and/or completed. One of the things I'm learning about the creative aspect of my nature is that, for the moment, it is boundless energy. Of course, that energy is encased in the body of a 48 year old male, fully committed to the well being of his family and the weight of adult fears prevents that energy from receiving free reign. Again, this is "for now." Somewhen in the near future, I anticipate a vent or valve being opened and creativity as well as a spirit willing to instruct others in like manner, to be set free.

One of the things that's happened in the last week is a bit of "preparation." Considering I'm busy for 19 out of 24 hours a day, I've only been able to set aside a minute or two for art. For the last year, I only squeezed in 15 minute increments while at lunch, gobbling food down, drawing and then taking a nap. Having this time, there's a great deal of soul searching to be done, and often, I find myself in the same position as I did when I worked. But taking whatever time I could, I found a huge board ideal for mounting paper and working on an easel. I worked all last week on a charcoal rendering of a lady I call "Contemplation," all the while chomping at the bit to get to something colorful. Pastels feel 'right,' so when I had the charcoal work 98% complete, I set it aside, pulled a sheet of pastel paper and taped it to the board.

You know, we should not be in a hurry; it's amazing what happens when we allow 'things' to get in our way. I had the paper in place, ready to go and it stayed there for about 14 hours, too busy with other things to get to the picture. But when I took a few minutes to 'contemplate' the paper, the huge board seemed to clamor for attention as well. Looking at the little paper and the huge board, "triplicate" (the name for now) came to be.

Right now, it's three sheets of paper taped together on the board, but eventually it will be a great work. Don't despise the beginning of small things.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Better Git it In Your Soul

A friend of mine once heard that she would find something she had lost. She wondered and wondered about it. Don't think she's ever 'found it' or figured out what that phrase meant. But...

Sometimes I get the impression that there is something we all lose. I see it fading in the eyes of my youngest child as he 'matures.' He's an energetic young one, whose found joy in video games. He could spend hours in front of them if we allowed him. But as he gets older and acclimates himself to the reprimands/corrections regarding other outlets - i.e. clean your room, help around the house, etc - he finds a little less time for his favorite past time. If video games had not caught his attention at an early age, maybe it would be baseball or soccer or basketball. But he would be the kid that didn't understand why he couldn't play in the rain or why cold weather should be a deterrent to play. It's in his soul. He'll adjust, but it wont' be an easy transition for him. "Having fun" still means more to him than an orderly room.

My middle one found it. Funniest non-comedian I've ever met. Except for him, it's machines and 'knowing.' He can spend hours, days, weeks, researching the 'how' and 'why' of something, has patience to put off his wants until appropriate, and when comfortable with his surroundings, makes you laugh until your sides hurt. To see him during the 'build' season of robotics, he's driven, determined and has a one track mind to complete assembling the robot. He has an eye and hands for mechanics, especially something never 'done before.'

And my oldest child, my daughter. I would have to say she gets her sense of WOMANHOOD from her maternal grandmother, who she's named after. Always determined to be the best she can be and to strive to be a success, she's making a mark in the world. In clubs in college, she's a leader. Always poised and always presentable as a lady, that is 'her thing.' It's in her soul.

They will all be successful, one way or another. There is a determination in their soul that pushes them past restrictions and boundaries.

Better git it in your isn't 'lost' or 'misplaced.' It's that thing you stumble over, those thoughts you scream over,  that quiet voice that reminds you of desires unexpressed. It is that part of you, responsibility and adulthood says there is no room for. It is in your soul, waiting for the day you will exercise and revel in the joy of 'it.'

My daughter and I had a conversation this morning about how some people in the military are considered heroes for doing their job. We both agreed many young men and women go to the military because its an opportunity to make money and possibly get an education. "Hero" is accidental; it comes with the job. But then I thought how many people go to jobs - tomorrow, most Americans will wake, dreading the start of another work week, though a shortened one - that if they could turn their backs on it, would do so in a heartbeat. We do it because of convenience, money, or benefits. We do it because we "heard" this job "pays good." It isn't because it's what I've always wanted to do, or more importantly, because "that's who I am." And yet, when we fill our homes (and our hearts) with homes, cars, clothes, and flat screen televisions, we wonder why we aren't happy. When we realize our "in-come" doesn't match our "out-go" we wonder when does it all end. Well, when you realize it's "in your soul," maybe you'll wake up and leave the insanity you signed up for. Maybe then you will live in harmony with that 'missing link' waiting in a small box, in your soul. Maybe the struggle will not be over but begin to take on new meaning.

Better Git it in your soul.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What you're "supposed to do!"

Ever notice how some are crazy successful - what ever way you define success at that moment - and you and others seem to be looked over  to the point you're like paint on the wall? Considering those who got straight A's in school, were the talk of the school, student of the week, etc.; the pressure is on to rise to the challenge. And if you were the straight A student, but as an adult, you're the straight D's adult, it's a miserable existence.

They take away the grading scale, or at least what it takes to qualify for those grades, as we get older. "You're supposed to do..." and there's an extensive list of 'to-do's'

  • Earn $50,000 or more per year
  • Have a 4 or 5 bedroom home, whether you have 5 members in your family or not
  • Drive a new model luxury car, always shining
  • Age gracefully
  • Eat right
  • Be on Facebook
  • Tweet!!!
  • Have a blog
  • Blog the 'right way'
The list is amazing; longer than an NBA player, but that doesn't account for the people who are successful without doing what's on the list. It doesn't take into consideration those who didn't go to college and yet they're millionaires: Bill Gates, Jay-z, to name a very few. Those 'to-do's' don't relieve the pressure of existence when you're doing 98% (maybe a little less) and yet you're so unhappy, you dread a sunlit morning. 

"What you're supposed to do..." how about live, laugh, love, smile and enjoy the ride?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

...Of the Beholder

In the eyes of the beholder
There is beauty before them
But in the eyes of the beautiful
What is seen
Behind the eyes of true beauty
What thoughts go unseen
What mysteries and decisions
Are hidden behind those beautiful eyes

In the eyes of the beholder
Eyes, face, neck and body
Are wonderful to behold
But behind the eyes of the beauty
A world unknown
Though traces slip out
Made concrete
Yet the eyes
That mind
Are shrouded in the mystical

Monday, March 22, 2010

Briefly... That's where I'm maintaining a working website. With a little help from my friends I'll make it a great place to allow the light to shine into the lives of others.

I've place poetry, pictures and another blog on that site. Stop by, take a look and send a comment to: I would love to hear from you!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Following the Guide

Getting up early, staying up late and thank God, not all in the same 24 hour period, I'm on a mission. Not a every-step-is-clearer trip, but one where the best laid plans seem to get turned upside-down. But on a mission, nonetheless.

I completed a painting (well not quite, one small area to be completed) recently that sat on my easel for a number of weeks. It sat in my head and sketch book for months and the idea of 'getting it out' was getting to me, so I started, and then slowly, agonized over it for weeks. It's a dark piece as a few are that I've worked on. The image has the sense of night or early morning just before sunrise. A forest view and a pond are nearly black, subtle colors used to capture the sense of darkness. A single bird takes off from the pond, heading west. But no sooner had I took a break from it, I was back with pastels and lots of colors.

I know, there are times when I don't follow the path laid out by other artists. I see the work of others, their series where a theme seems to get worked out over several pieces, but that doesn't seem to be my path. If I was 21, I would do my best to be like other artists. I would strive to be in a gallery with 3 - 8 pieces as part of a series. More than likely it would be the work 'everyone' loves. But I'm a great deal older and far removed from the 'artists culture.' I do what is in my heart to do. Don't get me wrong, it would be wonderful to be accepted in the world of artists, but about now, a full sketch book or two or three has me on a journey. I could sketch and draw, conceive and plan, paint and mold clay, for another 40 years and never tire of this process. And it seems like I receive guidance from God himself.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Some Days...It Doesn't Take Much

You wake, early and before you know it the wheel is turning fast. So fast you look down and don't see your legs. The mind is elsewhere, asking the question, "how did I get on this thing and when do I get off."

I've been told since childhood to "get an education and a good job." But the same folks that told me that, didn't tell me it isn't enough. They didn't tell me about the part of life where dreams fade long before you wake. They didn't tell me that longing never goes away; that it just turns into cardiovascular disease, or high blood pressure or an unhealthy obsession with alcohol (which I don't have).

Sometimes, I wake while it's still dark and wonder should I just go ahead and get up? In my heart, I know I should be sleeping and getting as much of it as possible, but whatever sleep and dreaming is supposed to do, it doesn't seem to be doing. No panic or fear about it, just an acknowledgement of the work I should be doing.

Sometimes, I just want to sleep, especially when that treadmill follows me through the day and the STOP button is too far away to reach. Some days, it doesn't take much. And I want a break. But everyone knows...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Early Morning Work

It's 9:30 pm. I have a canvas sitting near complete, one I'm itching to get to and a sheet of pastel and watercolor paper I would love to give some time. But again, it's 9:30 and in another 7 hours, if I do this right, I'll be up, going to the gym.

It's a new habit, waking at 4:30. So far, I'm awake before the alarm clock goes off. Three days a week, out the door at 5:00. Two days a week, I'm up, reading the bible, praying and squeezing in time for the art.

It's an effort, a spirited attempt at getting a sense of order in my life regarding both exercise and the painting. If you've noticed in earlier blogs, I might stay awake until 3 - 4:00 am, trying to paint, but nothing with consistency.

Early morning work is my attempt to trick my mind into thinking I'm making progress to a better me; physically, spiritually and creatively. Let's hope I can this going for a few years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Change Going Come...Walking in the light

I've been working for months - if only primarily in my head - on a theme of night or early morning images. I have other ideas in mind and on sketch pads, but as far as my preferred media, I've been working on these dark images. Many observations were made, lessons learned and images gathered. One lesson learned is there is always light, though it may not be the type we're accustomed to or comfortable with. Wake in the middle of the night, but rather than flipping on lights, leave them off. Most of us are comfortable enough in our living space to walk in the darkness. Find a chair, anywhere in your place. Sit and observe. Before you know it, you'll notice you can distinguish between the wall and a table or 'discern' an object on the floor ("kids, always leaving their socks lying around!). That's been the world I've captured for a while.

I'm certain I'll continue drawing and painting these themes; I still have a few paintings to do before I call it a done deal, but the image included here came just as many of the others do: in one of the moments when I'm dozing, I saw this image. It is a forest or a path thick with trees and foliage. The concept seems to be a place where most of us find a sense of discomfort. Others have a certain sense of exhilaration in nature. But most of us don't notice the play of lights and dark, filtering between the tree limbs. We don't notice the tones as sunlight mingles with earth tones on the road ahead of us, or beside us.

I think I'll be busy with images where there are highlights and judging by the inspiration I have, there will be a great deal. By the way, this is another image I work on for about 15 minutes a day (thanks, Alyson Stanfield for confirming my afternoon breaks!); it just so happens I took a day away from the daily grind and decided to spend time on this today. check for the updated image. This is also a move toward working in daylight; hopefully I don't lose the edge of night. More to come...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What do you do on Day 3?

Since late April of last year, I've:

  • Finished a second year of a Master's program for Counseling
  • Begin painting
  • Begin drawing
  • Posted photos on my Facebook account
  • Created a Flicker account
    • Begin putting images out there
    • Labeling and describing the images
  • Created a blog (kind of fell off the regularity wagon on this one)
  • Created a Twitter account
  • Created a website
  • Working on a monthly newsletter
I forget to mention, I sold a painting. But in the grand scheme of things, everything I do seems like day 3 of a very long journey. No discouragement or anxiety, just an acknowledgement that I have a great deal of work to do. 

I've said it before, work is good, especially when it's work you love. I've spent the last three weeks developing enough content to post to a website, then late nights and a long weekend wrangling files between my computer and the hosting company. And finally the site could be clearly seen. So many times, I wanted to call an 'expert.' But I kept reminding myself: "this is my work. And every detail I learn to do myself, the greater my help to myself."

Somewhere in the future, it's my hope that I am known by my art. I would like to have a following that allows me to rely solely on the business I create. I want to have my days (and nights if I desire) available to work as I see fit. Each day I do the work, each time I exercise my ability to "do the work," tossing aside exhaustion and frustration and pressing forward.

The day will come when I will rely on others to manage the business, but until then, I will struggle to establish my image and make Eddie L. Hudson, Gallery Hudson, Hudson Gallery and His Words, synonymous with creativity and light.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just "Doing" it

At a moment (Ray Charles playing in the background) I'm doing it. I'm painting, the thing I say I was brought into the world to do. Last night, the night before and for the last two weeks, fear had my hands and mind locked. You know, I can see how artists, musicians, writers and other creatives end up dying of an overdose. There's a feeling that comes over me, a sense of existing in a world beyond this mundane existence of dinner, money and heartache.

So today, I shut off the television, put down the games, placed paint on the palette, picked up the brush and went at it. The corner of the basement I work in is cold (gotta love a Chicago winter), but until I stopped to reflect on the moment, I didn't notice. Between the work, the process, and flow of energy, personal comfort didn't matter. All that mattered was the doing it. My constant prayer is that the only concerns are the process and those effected by the work.