Sunday, March 31, 2013

This is probably the strangest painting I have done, let's call it a momentary departure. This is the first of a series of dreams, I had this dream when I was like seven or eight and the willow tree that was in the back yard in my childhood house in New Jersey was struck by lightning in a storm. I ran to the tree to see that my Grandfather was freed as the tree shattered, i remember the powder of the pulp streaming all around and my grandfathers' face was unmoved. It is amazing the dreams we remember so vividly.

This is my first attempt to actually capture the image after so many years in my subconscious, I'm not sure what the dream meant but the tree did get struck by lightning in the years to come and this tree was struck and my grandfather-no that's just the beginning of a great tale, but the tree did really get struck by lightning.

The blackbirds were kind of an afterthought but they are symbolic of the not so comfortable aspects or atmosphere of some of my paintings. I write about them as well and they represent the impending doom or feeling comfortable with the presence of darker scarier things. I hope this painting brings about images or ideas from the viewer, maybe the viewer could create a story in their mind or perhaps inspire the idea of writing or paintings. So my challenge would be to write a short poem, essay, what ever you would enjoy adding to the picture and included it in the blog or on words and pix. What I would love to see from this post are others with dreams, their oldest or most vivid dream, include a picture on words and pix or writing or even Google plus or even simply comment-what is your most vivid dream you can remember and how long back did it occur?
Thanks for taking the time to read.

Friday, March 29, 2013

This post will end with a challenge, a challenge to capture something you see merit in and share it as one artist to another. Here is the idea-finding interest in the normal everyday things we see. Another aspect of this post is opinion-some of you may see nothing in this image, others will see the idea of something either haunting or of whatever interest or memory it sparks. The reason I photographed and retouched a bit-I will admit as not to mislead, I liked the texture and I liked the fact that you were looking outside into the country, it is an inspiration for a new series that is on my list-beautiful windows, this series will include a self portrait, an image of views through windows into ourselves, our families and life in general, not to be too artsy but the idea is a continuation of another new series I am finishing which is new perspectives capturing different vantage points in nature for the viewer to explore. For the first time in the last forty six years I am certain of what I need to paint and the information I need to decipher and share with the viewer. 

This image was a revolt against logic, I saw it in a hotel room on a recent trip and usually I would just look at it and think it was interesting but not take the time to photograph or sketch it. I have explained that in the past I photographed things for the sake of interest and the minute I started thinking about why I photograph or paint or how would it sell or be received, my vision and uniqueness of seeing dissolved. This is a point and shoot photograph but I loved the texture of the sheets, it reminds me of the late evening on waves at the ocean. The curtains seemed haunting and the view outside was rough and rugged-I found interest in the light and texture and instead of letting it pass I captured it for the viewer to maybe stop and see something they see everyday and perhaps see something different.

At the end I have included images that were unretouched just to show the basic inspiration.
So here is the challenge-share your images on this blog or at
it is a facebook fan page-introduce yourself and show a picture or painting or really anything creative and explain why you captured it-the idea of this is the celebration or beauty of the mundane. I would love to see what others can find from the most simple everyday objects or places-so there's your challenge, lets the words and pix begin.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Process of New Series

Well I'm in an odd place in the series which I would almost call an addendum to the previous series. It would be adequate to use that term if it weren't for the fact that this series is taking off in a great departure from the previous and will stand on its own as a new series for 2013. Here is the strange place as I have in the past mentioned that there are points in the creative process where you feel like you are painting someone else's painting and it has always been an awkward and never a positive place to be which usually hints to the end of a great creative state. I am having the same feeling with this series only with an amazing positive twist.

Now I feel like I'm painting someone else's painting but instead of being awkward and tagging along I feel I am looking over an other's shoulder. You can call it anything you want but I consider it a divine intervention. I am painting from perspectives I have never even tried to attempt and for some reason-right now, it's working. As not to bore the reader I will explain three paintings that I just worked with today and try to not go into too much detail about any one.

First, I started painting today without a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish, I just knew I wanted to paint and had a bit of time available for it. I started on a completely new painting called moon  flower. It is the view of a large tree from the bottom of its trunk. You are looking up into the moonlit sky and the peripheral images are faded and dark. Your attention is taken by the large, almost surreal moon flowers- I am right in the middle of detailed and accurate detail and soft dreamlike areas without much detail. I want the viewer to feel the dreamy affect of the background and the moon but still can ponder on the detail and accuracy of the moon flowers which glow in the moon filled sky. The view of the image is already awkward and you feel a bit off balance and I haven't even filled in all of the detail and added the visual cues to show you how high the tree is from your vision.

The next painting is a bridge-it's a simple bridge image and that is the beauty of it, it kind of painted itself, it is from a walk I took with my son. It is almost monochromatic blue, again detail in the extreme close up of the rocks and than it fades into  the distance of an overcast sky. It is a basic landscape but the light and shadows are extreme and atmospheric.

The last painting is a field, the same I have driven by for so many years and have captured in my memory and have attempted to capture in previous images. Now the image is all about detail and the light in the sky, a road comes up to meet you as you look through a deep mesh of wild sunflowers reflecting the last bit of light from the sunset that is disappearing in the pink and amber sky.

I am excited about the direction and the intensity of colors and lights balanced with a darkness that was previously common in older works. I also intend on working more extremely cold and detailed images of rivers in Yosemite and Montana so stay tuned. I look forward to the next series and look forward to your comments and critiques. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My first portrait, this painting began probably two years ago and I've put it aside, picked it up and put it aside again. In the manic state of painting these days it seemed appropriate to finish. I have always thought that if you truly observe  an image you can paint anything-I think a landscape painter should be able to paint a portrait and a still life painter should be able to paint a landscape because the observation is the same.

I feel the same, although with added thoughts to the process. There are disciplines to each subject matter and there are shortcuts that the expert portrait painter can use in their tool box that the landscape painter may have to take the long route and there is a difference between the mastered portrait and the first portrait. I do believe as artists we are called to capture illusions and capture correctly what we see.
One thing I have learned in the process of painting a portrait is I love detail more than I thought-I love the discipline of tighter brush work, I like the need to really get the individual objects correctly. It has been a great exploration and an added burst of enthusiasm for painting.

I also realize the discipline that the portrait painter must capture or the highly detailed painter must take care with the tiniest details. I will take the things I have learned to my landscapes which fights with the fact that I have lightened up on my details, so how do we get a happy medium between detail and less detail. I am excited about upcoming paintings and the need to be more pains taking about detail and the use of light and shadow. I will definitely paint another portrait and have even more respect for those masters of the portrait. I look forward to do more detail in the eyes, which this squinting image didn't give me the option for. What do you think? Would love any comments-positive or negative. Thanks
for reading.

Friday, March 1, 2013

This is the first in a series of cartoons on critics. First off-critics are helpful and very purposeful in some aspects of the creative world-critics such as John Ruskin come to mind. The other side of the critic is the legless man that teaches running-to be really cliche, but it is accurate. There are several reasons for the negative side of being a critic.

I have noticed a lack of knowledge or security can make those in the position of being a critic that much more critical and not always with enough knowledge or insight to correct a design problem. Another reason for the lack of quality or a critics ability to be objective is the would-be artist that always wanted to be an artist or creative but never quite had the skill or ability- this would be a problem of envy or ego getting the better of an otherwise constructive viewer. A final reason for the negative or nonconstructive critic would be the fear of failure which would be a corporate problem with the creative project. This would also include the idea of having too many people having input into a single idea. Again to be cliche but there is a reason for the old saying-too many cooks spoil the broth.

 Creativity in itself is so subjective, one persons masterpiece is an other's paint pallet, in  a corporate setting you can not please all eyes and attempting to please all eyes will get you a watered down design with flaws that happened by too many ideas and options trying to fit into one design. In this instance usually the intricacies and spontaneous process of the original creative is usually lost, the colors don't work anymore as originally intended and objects tend to overcrowd or fight with each other for attention.

To go back to the idea of the helpful critic- a second pair of eyes will many time refine the often original rough creative thought so working with a single or minimal decision makers can really make a great design better. Again, realize that the customer is always right even when they are dead wrong-we as artists can sway and attempt to move them in the right direction for the success of a project but in the end it is their project. My best advice is to work with clients that have strong ideas and if they don't have strong ideas at least they are open to new thoughts and have good ideas to lead the process.
Luckily for the painter or independent artist, they always have the last say-your customers or patrons will than either buy or you get to hang a wonderful masterpiece on your own wall-that's the trade off.

Do any designers reading have stories of how a project went from good to bad to worse? Do any readers know about designing by committee or being micromanaged? All comments and thoughts on the critic-the good, the bad, the ugly-would love to hear it. Thanks for reading.