Saturday, August 18, 2018
It is the absence of something, most of the time something we took for granted for a long time before we realize it's gone. The swing settles in the family tree and only a random breeze will wake it from its slumber.
I remember the cool green grasses and clothes blowing across the long lines of rope making shapes and patterns like ghosts. I remember the simplicity of a great blue sky and a child's mind full of opportunities.
There are so many times we fall off the swing, we skin our knees and assume that no one is coming with the clean washcloth or the gentle encouraging voice; we grow up. We become self-sufficient, we are taught to ignore the swing, the green grass and the great blue sky as if they were just childhood foolishness.
We barely realize they're gone but the child inside us still yearns to stop, to seek comfort, to search with an explorers heart for wonders among the grass and secrets in the woods.
It is this loneliness, missing a child that always found time to play, to look up to the sky in search for something great. How I miss the swing and the tall willows throwing viridian shadows, I consciously aspire for my own resurrection.
The green lawn, the red and white shed before it was an eyesore, back when it had a purpose. We would have family dinners in the backyard, the kids would take orders and there was a barbecue fired up, it was summer.
I remember a large gathering of people, usually Easter, after church we'd sit outside. It was back before mosquitoes became the deadly creatures they are.
I remember plastic chairs and long white plastic table clothes, laughter and drama-it was a family gathering after all.
Now the family is scattered to multiple states. Many of the members I remember are dead, some still live near the same town but we are all separate.
I miss the bond of family, even if what I remember wouldn't match reality. I"m sure there was more tension among them but I was young. I had the privilege to grow tired of having guests.
I would love to sit in my Aunt Ann's kitchen listening to the old woman with stories and small talk. I would enjoy sitting in the living room with all the men watching sports and talking trash but time moves on and we don't realize the connections or their significance in our lives.
The Precarious State of Loneliness
There are so many more like me...but we are all separate,
How uncomfortable it is, longing for contact
and yet unable to fathom its joy
To seek solitude while aching for connection
it's the most difficult state as nothing seems to feel comfortable
time is slow and yet fast and random simultaneously
I have lived here
I have driven a long road, alone, missing others
and yet insistent on my own solitude
is it the soul's nature of knowing its own state
but curious for another?
Fear keeps us
Awkward we are souls in transition.
I forced my way through loneliness
until I grew comfortable with myself
it was only then that I could fathom
and it's joyful conclusion...
The colors of humanity
ebb and flow just like the seasons
but they are to be shared
our voices are like the fleeting colors of autumn
how they linger among the tangled limbs
to grow as a wonderfully colorful
they become stories among grasses
ghosts in the shadows
until they settle on stones
and sleep like whispers...
we were never meant to be alone
we are all notes in a beautiful song
so when did we stop singing?
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Joy is a child's unique expression of the world. The intricacies of faith, hope and seeing with honesty and simplicity restores some of that beauty the world teaches us to abandon.
A creative must bridge the gap between being an adult, realizing and abiding by wisdom and seeing past that which is discernable. It is only than that we realize our innate simplicity and can allow the child to coexist with the adult.
No one ever chooses to be ordinary or common but often safety is what keeps us reasonable and comfortable. It is tearing away the skin, with as much violence and tension as it would literally seem that we find our new self and the rejoice of our child inside that never died but was only sleeping.
The summer rages through breathless days, cicadas buzzing in yellowing fields, the sunflowers giving up all of their sweetness and color. A heavy haize taints a blue sky as the birds scavenge for anything that's left alive.
The heat breathes in and out like a beast from a forest. Seeds settling to the parched earth, all that can be done, is done. Even the normally chatty wren or the raucous mockingbird keep themselves in check.
Only the young birds, bluejays and cardinals hop from dried up nests desperate for the promise of seed, the sunflower complies.
I watch every day unfold like a novel I've almost memorized. The morning breeze, cool and insistent that the sun is on its way. The crows in garbled conversation speaking in tongues, arguing like old men on the street corner.
The nearby roads and even the highways hold their breath. It's 9:AM, the stillness stirs the birds from hidden roosts. Squirrels chase eachother with jobs to do before the sun burns away the hues of the sky.
As afternoon unfolds, the highways start breathing, a heavy breath of cigarette smoke, car exhaust and the dust from deserts of Africa-the sky turns yellowish and gray. The cicadas are insistent, sighing as if disgusted with summer-the heat is inevitable and none of us have any breath left.
I've watched this scene again and again, I longed for the evening when all sounds are hushed. When all the cars have gone back to their homes, where everything is calm again.
It will happen again tomorrow until summer loses its battle and like the blooms of summer sunflowers-Summer will relinquish its breath and we will all take a deep sigh, a sad but necessary breath and a sweet goodbye.
Just a glimpse, but I can barely remember what it looked like before. Near signs that insist no littering, there are piles of trash, families, big loud families, walking along a crowded road where no one seems able to go the speed limit.
It's hot, even the promise of the waterfalls don't offer much. If you could see the full view of the photograph you would see a crowd of people in a hot, murky pool, the water is not really hot but it might as well be.
I went there with a purpose, I wanted to get some background information for a painting I'm reviving, I'm getting back to water, trying to see what I used to see. I am still left to guess on the details.
This place is nothing like I remember, there are crowds of people, herds of families carrying floats and chairs-they all look exhausted. The water is yellow instead of its normal blue and greens, it's so murky you can't see beneath the surface.
There are tents on concrete, families on the edge of grass and road, instead of being more relaxed I am more tense and exhausted from the heat.
I'll go again, but not until summer is over. I will wait until nature revives its original state-some of the trash will remain but at least the crowds will shrink, maybe than I will get the details I need for the painting.
No one remains inside, that stone wall seem useless at best. There is no glass hiding the self, no locks, no mechanism to deny access.
Nature embraces the soul. It's warm enticing arms become a fortress given away. The self erupts, becoming the truth it needs to be. I am eager to know my second skin, to realize the possibilities of hope, of tomorrow embraced with fingers reaching from paradise to insist that I was here and I am still alive.
My window is open, my doors wide, I hope to allow the possibilities, people, goodness to meet inside.
Monday, July 30, 2018
This series started with blue jay feathers-the blues were so rich against a gray background. In our busy lives we often ignore the simple things and when our eyes open to the beauty and simplicity of color and texture more of our soul comes to life.
This clarity and consciousness of form and color is where the artist lives. A sensitivity to colors that create mood and texture, we creatives are vessels that the outside world works through to become a force.
If our eyes and our souls are awake and alive we suddenly start to notice every richness of nature that is present in everyday life.
The flower is usually realized when it is first born, that first spectacular bloom but the colors change and often even intensify even after the bloom has gone past its initial purpose. Quite suddenly images in the neighborhood began to appear as obvious as watching the spectacle of a sunset.
Plants discarded in the alley become rich colorful works of art. The cools of purple jumping out of the warmth of dead leaves, it is an amazing experience when the mundane becomes something more beautiful and that is the job of a creative, to find and create something beautiful from the ordinary.
Friday, July 27, 2018
The first painting is calle the painbirds. I got the idea from Sparklehorse-Good Morning Spider and added the passionvine because they are symbolic in much of my writing, I also collect them.
The lake is a simplified Lake Ray Hubbard and most of the focus was on the bridge and the storm in the distance. This painting started in my house in Sachse and sat on the easel, as many paintings do, for more than a year.
I finally finished it in a day in 2016 I think. Immediately following this painting was the Swallows in Sunset, not much to tell although I think the water area is from a scene in Florida. The same process, it started out on my easel and stayed unfinished for several months.
The next painting is finally completed. It is called the Celebration, it was inspired by watching Lake Ray Hubbard finally fill again. It was after the drought and the swallows were all around the bridge in celebration. I started it in 2016 or so and never finished it until just yesterday afternoon.
The problem with getting attached with a painting in the beginning stages is you lose confidence to go beyond your original feeling of success. It is part of my series of water studies, getting back to the basics of water and why I started painting it in the first place.
It is the smallest of the three paintings and has the most swallows. The bridge with all the nesting swallows was further inspired by a trip to North Sulphur river where the swallows were flying around the bridge and many were even swarming picking up the mud to create their nests.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
I realize there is necessary discipline in painting, writing and any other creative endeavor but the question today is what if you're just not there yet? I cleaned the studio, and was able to see the previous paintings, there are so many things that have changed and continue to change in how I see and how I want to show what I've seen.
There is another stumbling block, the purpose in painting, I've always said I'd prefer not just paint a landscape with no feeling. There are so many intangible feelings that seem to haunt me and those are the core of what I want to show.
There a darkness, a loneliness, a separation that all seem to follow my work. It seems lately there is perhaps a bit more, too much time alone working as a traveling sales person I guess. Now I have the insight of being alone and feeling content in being alone but there is still that feeling of unease that I feel and want to show.
My painting has gone from very dark, more realistic and than bright, rich and fun, now I feel I've jumped back to dark but there is something else that I want to say and that seems very cryptic at the moment.
In this recent sitting, I realized I want to get back to painting night and water with the skill and clarity of older works and yet with some sort of intangible light I've only recently realized. This light I think is from being immersed with photography lately.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
On the wall of my studio are two paintings of waterfalls from the Cascades in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It's a series of paintings from a very special time in my life, I had just gotten married and enjoyed an idyllic honeymoon in New England.
It's in the Cascades where I became obsessed with waterfalls. The sounds, the colors and the depth and clarity of water, they became a common theme in my paintings. When we are younger we see through eyes untainted by expectations or attempts to suit style or current trend.
Since the original series there have been several that I believe now became more expressionistic which is fine but I believe I left something crucial out of the mix.
It is always an artists job to decide what to leave in and what to leave out. What is too realistic or to abstract and what feeling is intended for the viewer: all go into the final product of creating something from nature.
Today I went to the Park Hill Prairie. I wanted to study the pristine water and get back to the basics of how water interacts with its surroundings, weather and its angle from the viewer.
I redefined what it is about water that I love and aim to share with the viewer is the intangible coldness one can imagine, the depths and mystery of its many layers and the simplicity of the mirror.
Just like creating a rose with droplets of dew-the final realistic image is much more simple than one would first think. It's the simplicity of the rendering that keeps the viewers eyes imagining the depth and the feeling of the surface.
I am excite about getting back to the canvas and reinvigorating my passion for nature and the intricacies of water. Stay tuned.
Thursday, May 10, 2018
I am more focused on the atmosphere of my paintings rather than a specific place. Although many paintings are from real places, my intent is to convey how it feels to be there, the feeling of cold breeze or dark shadow.
I like the tension between figures and the tension between the painting and the viewer. Some of my paintings have been described as otherworldly, a feeling like something is just not quite right.
I am haunted by nature and the mystery that exists, the silence in the evening or the quiet before a storm. I believe if an artist can make a viewer feel an emotion when looking at a painting, it's the difference between creating an attractive painting or an emotional tool.
There is an intangible and often cryptic voice in every painting I create. It is how the act of painting can touch the viewer, make them feel something that is more than the surface of a canvas.
I want the viewer to come away from my painting with a feeling they're not quite sure of, or a memory they can connect with. I want the viewer to make their own experience of my work.
For more artwork see www.artbygordon.com
Next Subject Matter: The Night Sky