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.