Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Because of several looming deadlines, I missed about a week of posting for this space so there is a little catching up to do.
Last Friday noon, after a week of finishing up numerous paintings, I headed north in the van with a load of artwork from myself and three other artists at Mc Rae http://www.mcraeartstudios.com/ First stop was Bennett Gallery in Knoxville TN. http://www.bennettgalleries.com/ I was unloaded and checked in with Ginger by noon Sat. At 5pm I pulled up to Miller Gallery in Cincinnati and left work with Katherine and Rosemary for a show I'm participating in beginning May 6th. http://www.millergallery.com/ Then back to Bennett by Sunday morning to pick up a few pieces of mixed media work that was being returned to an artist in Gainesville FL. Sunday night at midnight, I pulled up to my house in downtown Orlando. 1,800 miles in 60 hours.
While in Cincinnati I took a little personal time to track down my old house. This was the one I lived in at the time of my birth. I haven’t lived in Cincinnati since I was 7 years old but it still holds an attraction for me after all this time. The house is in a section of town called Norwood. It was largely settled by Appalachian migrants who came to work in the factories. My grandparents were part of that migration in the early 1930s. I have happy memories of the house at 2316 Madison Avenue even though those memories are vague.
I was taking a photo of the front of the house when the owners pulled into the driveway and greeted me. I told them I was a past resident and just wanted to reflect on those years when me and my tricycle owned the sidewalk out front. We chatted awhile and they asked if I would like my picture made in front of the house. I remembered a photo somewhere of me on the front steps with my mother. It was taken when I was three years old. I asked if I could have the picture taken there on those steps.
When I got home I found that old photo. I was reminded that though I could reach down and touch those very same old steps by simply moving my hand, so much was forever unreachable. Maybe you can't go home again. But you can carry the memories.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This week has been a trying time for painting inspiration. I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I am working on five or six paintings simultaneously since one at a time usually puts me into a creative ditch. I get stuck, or worse, I start thinking I have just created the best painting of my life in a mere two hours only to come back the next morning having to wipe it with a turpentine rag and set it on fire. Falling in love with your brand new quickie creation is to painting what going home with the girl from the bar after nickel beer night - is to drinking. That painting may be a nine or ten at quitting time but in the morning it could be a number one. At any rate, I find it better to suffer interminably over multiple pieces at once. There is less guilt about doing something I love.
But here is the darndest thing. Somehow my mind seems to subconsciously time work to finish just as scheduled deadlines arrive. I usually zone out and become mediocre and unproductive in the week or two preceding the exact day that only a herculean push can be executed to turn in a respectable showing. I guess this is to protect the body mind and spirit from total meltdown. You can’t be anxious and industrious continually. The body isn’t capable. I also can’t look too closely at approaching deadlines on a calendar anymore. I have learned to regard this as heart-healthy, allowing me more red meat at dinner.
I marvel at this innate sense we have of knowing when the afterburners must be lit. In my case, not just because I know when to get serious, but that work gets better and flows more easily. It comes together because it has to. Still, I would love to just once take two or three days off before delivering new work to a show. Maybe down deep, I know I couldn’t handle the guilt.
New work pictured above: Pastel Sky, 12"x16", o/c
Monday, April 13, 2009
"Where did you get the pottery? My wife made this!"
It's a small world after all, or so the song goes. Barbara had once worked for an attorney in Orlando who had bought the piece and given it as a gift. Barbara comes to Florida a couple of times a year to participate in the spring and fall art festivals. In between those and other shows in the west and midwest, she returns to the Idaho mountains for gardening, horseback riding and making her art. Not a totally bad existence.
She was on her way today to the Main Street Art Festival in Fort Worth, day two of three alone in the truck. She said she was going down her cell phone directory looking for someone to talk to since, while the landscape of northeast New Mexico was interesting, she didn't recall it being so long lasting. Bach, being only a B name, left plenty of contacts for the vast stretches of prairie ahead of her. You can only drink so much coffee.
I can identify with her road weariness. My daughter and I took that road home in 2007 from the Cherry Creek Art Festival in Denver. Northern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle were beautiful and well, forever. Though somehow, when you're not in the experience of road boredom, you can't wait to be out there again. It's mind clearing and for an artist inspirational.
For me, it's observation I hope will show up later as paint on a brush. I mentally file away what color the shadows on the mountains were as the sun set. I know that color will reside there somewhere in my brain though I will only recognize it when it appears by accident on the canvas.
Barbara may cycle through her phone directory to the B's again before Ft Worth appears in the windshield. Your call is important to us, Barbara. Stay awake and good luck at Fort Worth.