« On Painting

Painting : The essentials

June 29th, 2010

As I began work for moving our abode in early April I made a few notes for an article. The article did not get written but the move was duly made. We are now installed in a small Bourgogne village enjoying a refreshing change of lifestyle. A grange was converted into a very nice atelier and I am as they say, a happy camper. It seems appropriate to post the few lines as they were written.

It was a photographer that I heard say that there was not a need to become too concerned with art. The point is that if we start from where we are and focus on the essentials will the process will pull the art out of us. If, on the other-hand, the focus is on what we consider to be art the motivation may very well be a self-serving one. Both painting as well as photography (any creative pursuit for that matter) is best approach with humility. The reward for keeping it simple in this manner : a refreshing of the things within us that are essential : truth, beauty, deep feeling and aesthetic pleasures in all the important areas of life (The open door of each consciousness.).

Published in french as Peinture : les fondamentaux

Wonderful Experiences in the Mind Eyes

March 31st, 2010

“Tim with window reflections”, Leica M8, 35 mm, Summicron, 2010/03/22

At a certain point in the process a Visual Living experience distills itself into some kind of essence. Something remains: not a mental reflection, the memory of what was seen, or the relationship between them which has now passed.

Luckily, we occasionally through our lives gain insights that give us a warm glow. Time stands still and the Universe sings us a wonderful song, some time passes, much of the glow diminishes but the wonder of the remaining essence can remain for a lifetime.

These experiences, the visual experiences and the magical moment experiences are, I believe of the same nature. Most of us have them. Some of us attach more importance to them. And many more are simply oblivious to them. Someone recently said: “The world without Art would be like a parking lot.” True. And, I would add, life without the soul of experience would be the cement that paves the parking lot.

The above is some reflection on a telephone conversation tonight with a good friend. We talked about understanding life, health, selling an apartment, relationships, the emphasis on technique in painting today, friendship and other things! Why am I rambling on like this you ask? I am afraid I’ll have to answer with a question, “Would you read this if it was poetry?” It seems to me that in the days in which poetry was part of our literary lives things were much different. Words had deeper meanings, paintings and photograph had deeper meanings, our lives had deeper meanings and the world was not becoming a parking lot.

Reclaiming the words used today by main street to make that cement is important, no?

Published in french as Merveilleuses expériences des yeux de l’esprit

Can a Painter also be a Photographer?

March 29th, 2010

“Two Ducks in a Pond”, The river Doubs, Leica M8, 35 mm, Summicron, 2010/03/22

This is not intended as a rhetorical question. Today, when asked the seemingly inevitable question “What do you do?” (Yes, even in France) my response is now “I am a painter – also a photographer.” So, I think maybe the question is “Can a person in today’s world be a generalist?” I’ll back up a bit, say 50 years or so. During this time I’ve spent the majority of my creative effort in the process of the understanding and the practice of painting. No doubt much more time spent in the understanding. Much study and reflection. During the times when there was some clarity the painting itself was relatively easy. This, of course after years spent studying the practice and the understanding of how different pigments behaved in different mediums and so on. However, doubt has dogged my every effort. Painting is, today, very very difficult if you approach it sincerely and consciously. As for photography: this has for me been a breath of fresh air. It can be a creative response to a relatively short period of time – a mere blink in the span of history.It directly speaks to contemporary times. In point of fact, it was invented the day before yesterday – a little more than 150 years ago. We have cave paintings dated something like 30,000 years old. We are not in this case, talking about the same ball game.

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The Pioneer Spirit of Art

February 28th, 2010

Growing up on the west coast of the U.S. gave me the sense of importance which the pioneer spirit plays in art. I am not at all sure that a translation or explanation of this attitude is posssible. But it is what made the art of San Francisco dramatically different from that of New York. May be it was because it was somewhat free at that time from the market forces in the big art world of the East Coast and, of course, the rest of the world. At least that was the case 40 or 50 years ago. Critical thinking was unemcumbered.

As things in this regard began to quickly change a move was in order. Heading East was out of the question. There was only a lot of water to the west. I moved North. A somewhat nomadic way of life followed which ended with my arrival in France 16 years ago. Once again it is time to move. Hopefully it is the last one.

My formative years were spent in the country side in Northwest California close to the Sierre Nevada Mountains. I am looking forward to living in a small French village. It is like a return of sorts.

Published in french as L’esprit pionier de l’ art

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