Wow! I just noticed how long it's been since I last posted here. Hopefully that will not happen again. My artistic focus the last 15 - 18 months has turned to my writing, and while I have self-published a number of books my painting has sat over in the shadows, patiently. As of today the wait is over. Yesterday I created my first new piece of art in over a year, and it came as a result of an accident that ripped the painted canvas of a long-ago finished piece. I got motivated by the need for a do-over. I hope you are liking the difference between old and new as much as I am. I'll be back in a day or two to write more about how my writing -- and even a change of diet -- will have an effect on my new art. And thanks for your patience, gentle reader.
Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band had a song by that title, I believe it was back in the 70s. There's a style of painting in a similar vein -- Expressionism.
I've found myself drifting in that direction recently, largely toward German expressive art - and more on the particulars later. It's how I'm feeling, how I want to paint now, not so much for reality as how that reality makes me feel. Hopefully I'll be posting some new paintings over the next few months that say in picture form what I'm trying to say here. To express myself.
Here's a new one, heading in the right direction.
I was contacted by a man saying he and his wife had seen my "Sunfish" painting on display in the lobby of Portland's Academy Theater (see previous post) and wanted to buy it. When I returned the email and received another I learned that the couple were tourists from Detroit, MI, and already on the road down the Oregon coast, so could I please ship it to them. I brought a canvas the same 24 x 30 size to the local UPS office to get a good guesstimate of the shipping charge and it turned out to be more than $100. When I relayed this information to the travelers, well, I never heard from them again. The cost was more than twice what I had paid for a similar sized-painting to be shipped all the way to Massachusetts a little more than a year earlier. Here's what I heard -- "The rates have gone up a lot."
It's a bummer to think that shipping charges may scare potential Art patrons away, especially for someone who has so few.
Creative solutions welcomed.
I am fortunate to hang paintings in The Academy Theater in Portland for the month of October. The old-time theater in Portland's Montavilla district invites local artists to display work each month, and I'm fortunate and grateful it's my turn. I have 15 of a paintings, a mix of abstracts, portraits, and landscapes, on their walls through Halloween.
This painting, like a number of others, is the result of an intention to clean my palette, to use all the paint already there so as to replace with a new supply of fresh colors. Scraping with a palette knife off the paper - in a long-lasting moist acrylic box - and slathering the paint on the canvas, in this case a 36 x 18 Blick Premier. This painting went the way it goes with my abstracts. I bring the paint to the canvas, with knife or brush, and the canvas tells me where it goes.
When this one was done a title came to me immediately -- the title of this post, which happens to be the title of one of my favorite songs by the Scottish 90s rock group 'Orange Juice'. Here's the song for your listening pleasure ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyKvScfXcCg ) Joan Mitchell, one of my favorite abstract painters, never had a title in mind before the painting, and that is often the way it goes with me. Here's my "use up the paint, clean the palette, it speaks to be" 'Falling and Laughing'.
There is a story behind this painting. Long, long ago, and far, far away, back when I was growing up in Wareham, Massachusetts, I had a friend named Donnie. He lived about half a mile away, on Gibbs Ave, right where it meets up with High Street, which was my street. Behind Donnie's house were the woods, literally 20 steps from his back door, and it was in these woods that Donnie and I spent many a spring, summer, and fall afternoon, running around, hiking (we didn't call it that then), crossing over the fire road, with its ever-present bed of pine needles, back along the different trails there, sometimes forging our own trails, and a couple of times following an old road way, way back into the woods until it dead-ended at a house, a house we would sneak up on oh so carefully, from tree to tree, because we knew for sure -- the way kids know stuff -- that it was a house where witches lived. To this day I still have a long scar on my right leg that I got when I tried to balance, unsuccessfully, on a row of barbed wire -- some 55 years ago.
Into my new adventure as an abstract artist I brought all these feelings and memories when I approached the canvas. Often I don't know what a painting will be titled until it's finished, and it speaks its name to me. But this painting, before the first drop of ultramarine blue, was going to be my best effort at honoring the place and time behind Donnie's house. The different colors of paint went on where they went on, the canvas and my memories guiding my way.
Sometimes I go through periods when I have no motivation to paint, even pick up a brush. Generally I switch to my fiction writing then. I'm not sure what that says about me as an artist - not showing up to work everyday - but that's the way it is. I've been in one of those vacated spaces the last month or so, just as this Art page is coming to life. Hopefully I'll have some right in the middle of it thoughts soon. Thanks for checking in.