Thursday, May 24, 2012

man or monkey?

i paint in a spontaneous manner.  if you have five minutes to spare, the below video will illustrate what i mean.  it is from a month ago or so.  my friend Randall watched it and said that i paint the hardest way possible.  i don't know if that's true, but i don't know any other way.

any way, my point is that by painting this way i create an environment where magic can happen.  by being less dictatorial about the process, and by allowing whims and fancies to inspire me as i go, i am open to anything.  don't get me wrong, much of the time this results in a disastrous muddy mess.  it happened last night.  frightful painting.

the painting in this video is not bad.  i don't think it's done, and will most likely go through another ten rounds like it went through this time, but i feel like the process is a good one, and the results, when they are solid, are worth the effort.

tuesday i opened myself up to that opportunity and a good painting came about in less than two hours.  today i was pretty tight and the painting isn't as good.

but get this.  so today i'm driving around and a thought entered my head.  if i thrash about on the canvas as i do, all meat-fisted and semi-conscious, am i just a thousand monkeys with paint brushes?  creating mostly junk but occasionally dipping the right brushes into the right combination of buckets and getting lucky!  is that all i am??

man, i tell you, i was in a panic.  i had a confidence-crisis moment.  that's probably why i tightened up today.  i guess the proof is in the painting.  in my higher state - my more evolved state, i created a less exciting painting.  the other one, the hundredth-monkey painting from tuesday, is hanging upstairs in my foyer and i think it looks pretty darn good.


here's the one from tuesday that i like:

A visit from The Past

painting is simultaneously the most frustrating and most fun thing i have ever done. it is such a struggle to wrench a painting out of all those marks.  the mental gymnastics required to jump from scene to painting, and the effort required to be master of each, and not just puppet, is exhausting and exhilarating.

today The Past was my uninvited studio guest.  i got him to leave eventually, but i'm not sure the painting survived the onslaught of suggestions he made while he was here.  he really wanted me to paint another Wilson River painting like "The Hollow", but I threw in these giant white rocks at the bottom to completely reconstruct the composition.

i'll probably leave it alone for a while and show it to my artist friends for criticism.  i think i'm too close to it to know what to do next... time will tell.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

to thine own self...

as i sit in my studio today, it is clear that Cage was right about everyone being in here with me.  i keep hearing them.  remarks about composition, mark variations, color choices.  one thought keeps streaming into my mind and fights them off: be true to yourself.  at the end of the day we have no one else to answer to.  the work has to be honest.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I've been yakkety yak yakking about recent work with one of my artist buddies, whose opinion I take very seriously. That opinion, combined with my crippling self-doubt, is giving me the fucking vapors. I both totally agree with this person, and find that these opinions both make me want to drop sails and totally change tack, and also want to start working on my medical degree.

The most crazy-making part is that this stuff is all backed scrupulously by depth and breadth of knowledge.

In other words, I don't know what I know I don't know what I want to do.

It's no wonder dollars earned becomes the easiest way to measure whether art is successful or not.