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Friday, July 16, 2010


summer fog

It's the Friday night of the Fiddler's Convention in Sparta. I intended to go right up to time to go out the door. That's when I decided to get some painting done I'd been aiming to get at all day. That told me I'd rather paint than go to the Friday night fiddlers convention. I painted about as long as I'd have stayed at the convention, about 3 hours. It felt like staying home from school sick. About the time school lets out I started feeling better. By the time daddy got home from work I was feeling better yet, but there was hell to pay for staying home from school when I wasn't sick. Whatever. There was no incentive to skip school to stay home, because I liked school better than home.

Starting a new painting is always deceptive and often in the same way. I sketch the thing out on the canvas and it has everything I want the final picture to have about it. Then I start painting it and paint away what I had in the sketch. From there it's a long, slow process getting back to what I had initially. Looking at the dvds of the PBS series on contemporary art, the cutting edge, ART:21. Art in the 21st century. A lot of them are philosophers of art and expound on what they're doing philosophically in whatever their art form. The interviews with the artists, watching them in the studio, hearing what they have to say in relation to what they are doing in their art. They're inspiring. They take my mind to a place it hasn't been in a matter of years, and charge up my art eye/mind with some new ideas to consider. Much has changed in New York art since I last paid attention to it, when I let my subscription to Art in America go, twenty-plus years ago. Paying too much attention to what was going on in NY inhibited my own painting. I'm a provincial painter, not NY.

I'm setting out on a need to paint more and more. This series is of 16 artists per disc. I've seen 3, the 4th is coming tomorrow and the 5th some time in near future.
Every artist in the series is refreshingly unique in art form and in personality. They are very different people from each other and do very different art forms. The abstract expressionists said their paintings were the only form like what they painted on earth. It's no copy of something like a barn. Every one of these artists in the series is unlike any other. Each disc is about 3.5 hours long. Evidently it is a series on PBS-TV that perhaps is still running. It's called ART:21. Every one of the discs is as much a gem of art cut loose from all but the basic principles that determine what art is. The 20th century deconstructed art a step at a time, an ism at a time, breaking down color, form, all the way to conception, down to the conception itself and no art object following.

Entering a new spell of painting regularly, the inspiration from these various artists and what they're doing is soaking in. I won't be painting any way I didn't before. Mountain musicians is my theme from here on, so I suppose today. These mini-documentaries on the different artists are all saying to me that I may choose to paint the really old-fashioned way, that's as legitimate a form of painting as any.
It's not cutting edge. So what? It's what I want to do, portraits. That's every bit as ok as a black line running vertically on a tall and narrow white space. These aren't to attract attention at art shows. They're just to portray particular musicians performing their art form. To me, they're artists the same as any other kind of artist. I've been writing these blog entries for practice in self-discipline. Next step, now that the blues over Jr and TarBaby has lifted, I'm feeling ready to approach my last series of paintings, musicians on canvas. They play old-fashioned music and I render them the old-fashioned way. They do old-time musically, I do old-time visually. Works out just right.

This is the direction I am coming to believe the new cycle is going. I started paying attention because new cycles, like the sun going into a new house, the character of the new house manifests right away at the start. It seems reasonable to me for an hypothesis to what I'm feeling most strongly in this new beginning. It's what's next. Who knows what will happen? Maybe I'll drill holes in boulders, run a thin cable through each one and suspend them from an overhead structure so you have to walk under them. That's a little too much expense for my means. My means are oil paints I already have on canvases I have, with brushes I have. Ready to go. Let's do it to it.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read your blog, or written in my own, for some time. Glad to see you are painting more. I love the Summer Fog. Do you have any of your work on dislplay/for sale anywhere in Sparta? I took your cue and starting writing again. A long blog as I haven't written since last October. Thanks for the friendly nudge. Keep up the painting AND the writing. Many of us enjoy it. Hope to see you soon.