Monthly Archives: June 2009

A Million Ideas Worth Painting…

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet 

"Treading Water" 40" x 40" work on canvas

"Treading Water" 40" x 40" work on canvas

Here in the northeast we have just had one of the worst spring weather months I can ever remember. It has been a month of rain, fog, rain, clouds, and more rain. The tomato plants are not happy. It has been cold too. Now, I am not usually one to be bothered by weather but this is really getting old! Then today, just when it felt like it would never end – the sun came out. It is absolutely blinding! Beautifully blinding! The  dismal greyness of the last month seems to instantly be lifted. “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” If we had not been mired in rain and fog, the sun would not be so bright!

“At times there seems to be a million ideas worth painting. However, there are days when it’s a challenge to pull any idea together. On these days I go to my studio, leaf through an art history book, and tell myself that I am part of this great tradition.” 
– James Dean

James Dean says [I believe this is James Dean the painter and not James Dean the actor] “…there seems to be a million ideas worth painting. However, there are days when it’s a challenge to pull any idea together.” Boy is that the truth! I find myself bouncing from one thing to another right now and the ideas are bouncing around like ping pong balls. I just can not seem to grab on to one at a time. I know from past experience that this is a time when things are usually changing in my work. Change and growth are good things. I am never quite sure where the next step will take me and I begin to feel like one of those ping pong balls. I battle the visual elements, the paint, the brushes. I cut things up, paint over pieces, change things, and then change them again. Nothing comes easy and then, like the sun coming out today, it does. Somehow the struggle gets me to another level. It’s just such a challenge to pull those ideas together when I am going through this process. As difficult as it is, trusting the process is something that I have learned to do in my work. Yes, the sun does eventually come out…

“…When I’m stuck a day
That’s gray
And lonely,
I just stick out my chin
And Grin,
And Say,
The sun’ll come out

– Lyrics from “Annie” by Martin Charnin

Painting is available.

Diagonally Parked in a Parallel Universe

“The growth that an artist seeks is a fine combination of mastering craft, garnering an audience, maintaining one’s mental health, and working mightily from a ever-expanding base of experience.”
Eric Maisel

"Collective Harmony III" 21" x 21' work on paper

"Collective Harmony III" 21" x 21' work on paper

I have been trying some new things. Really they are old things that I am refocusing on. Drawing is a basic necessity of creating art. I have to admit I have not been drawing very much of late. I love to dive right into the tactile pleasures of the paint. I’ve found that the spontaneity of the brush to canvas has been inspiration enough. Now don’t get me wrong, I do use line, liquid acrylics, pencil, conte, charcoal all faint and scribed within my pieces.  I have done this in my work for a long time. I love quality line work. I would like to incorporate more black line into my work – I will draw more…

When my son came home from College this spring he had to ship back his art supplies. He shipped home a giant bottle of India Ink that of course leaked [kids! – oops – I mean young adults!]. Fortunately he had put the ink in a plastic bag so the clothes were spared [ I must have taught him something somewhere along the line]. In cleaning up the mess, I was reminded how wonderfully black India Ink is. It was an inspirational moment disguised as a big mess! I filed that one away in the thought banks.

Last weekend, I was in Philadelphia exhibiting at the Rittenhouse Square Art Show. I was close to another painter pal of mine Joyce Stratton. I love her work and suddenly there it was – Joyce had used India Ink in her paintings! Is the universe hitting me over the head with this or what?? Joyce shared with me some of her tools – I showed her the lines I have been working with. Long story short, I am now way out of my comfort zone, experimenting with ink drawing, and ‘working mightily from an ever-expanding base of experience.”

Not quite ready to post new pieces, but stay tuned…

”Sometimes I think I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe.” – Diana Britt 
"Vibrant Perspective" 14" x 21" work on paper

"Vibrant Perspective" 14" x 21" work on paper

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”- Brian Tracy 

Both artworks are available in the Martha’s Vineyard Decorator Show House and Gardens 2009. Habitat for Humanity of Martha’s Vineyard is the beneficiary of all tickets sales and a portion of the sale of the furniture, accessories and artwork through out the house. Click here to see my works in the Captain Thomas Mellon House.

I have been influenced…

“I have been influenced by paintings I have seen in books, and in museums, not because they defined success but because they suggested possibilities.”
Eleanor Blair

"Calculated Dream" 24" x 24" work on panel

"Calculated Dream" 24" x 24" work on panel

The artist Irwin Greenberg said, “Add new painters to your list of favorites all the time.” When Lisa Pressman began her new blog she invited readers to e-mail her their top 10-15 artistic influences with the intention of creating an interactive blog. Lisa asked me to send in my top 10. Ok, this challenge should be easy and fun! I soon realized this was not quite as easy as I thought it would be. More than once I asked Lisa to add another name! How could I have forgotten Joseph Cornell, Cy Twombly, Willem de Kooning, Paul Cezanne, Robert Motherwell, Jasper Johns, etc. You get the idea. I wanted to include some of my contemporary painters as well as the established favorites. I guess Mr. Greenberg is right, I will always continue to add new painters to my list. The “Other Artists/Friends/Websites/Blogs” list on the right names a few of my contemporary favorites. Here is the list I gave Lisa, a sampling of a few artists that have influenced my work [in no particular order]…

Robert Rauschenberg for his continual work with collage and paint
Richard Diebenkorn for his use of space and line structures
Mark Rothko for his use of color
Pablo Picasso for everything he created
Vincent Van Gogh for living, color, line, passion, energy, emotion
Jackson Pollack for his desperate joy
Henri Matisse for his spirit and color
Amedeo Modigliani for his odd quirky portraits
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec his oils and lithographs 
Alberto Giacometti his sculptures of walkers
Paul Klee for his whimsy and composition
Tony Magar the space paintings for his depth of color, texture and energy
Sharon Booma I love her use of color & balance
Glen Ossiander for his freedom, emotion & joy in the work
Paul Baumer especially the cityscapes for his whimsy and color 
Doug Trump for his incorporation of line, color and composition

Thank you for highlighting my work this week Lisa. What a great way to start your blog by asking this question! It is fun to see the different responses you are getting. It is also a good reminder to step back once in a while and remember the painters and people that have influenced my work. Thank you for giving me a chance to do this! I encourage you all to visit Lisa’s blog and enjoy her works along with the works of other artists she features. Send in a list of your own – you might find it is not as easy as it sounds!

“All artists are influenced not only by what has been painted before but also by what one’s contemporaries are doing.” – Raymond Leech 

Painting has recently sold to Private Collectors