Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bears Den Study 1

Bears Den Study 1
  oil on linen  9" x 12"
These studies allow me the freedom to battle with the surface quality and texture, color and value, the form and shallow, constricted space - allowing abstracted qualities to balance with the actual subject. Fairfield Porter, the American painter, wrote that the important thing about representation in painting are its abstract qualities and in abstract painting are its real qualities. I try to pursue that idea in my work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Studies From Bears Den and a book to straighten things out

 Bears Den Study
  oil on linen  9" x 12"

March Morning at Bears Den
  oil on linen  12" x 16"    
I've been kicking around an idea for a book lately - a book about how learning to draw could save our entire nation. No sense in spending ones time on small ideas. Anyway, it came to mind when considering how we might get things started in a better direction for us all - as a former teacher of 32 years, these things do occupy my mind from time to time - and I figured we need folks today to be creative, hard working, and willing to take risks and explore. When one learns to draw and really see it involves abandoning preconceived notions, remaining humble and open, and completely committing to the process of exploration while ignoring what anyone thinks the result should or should not be. Just so happens this style of thinking and doing and even living are also found in the best of our science research, mathematics, and medicine. It even works for all the art forms and especially in education of our children! So, if everyone was taught how to truly draw and see and joyfully engage the task while embracing chaos and accepting failure as opportunity - WOW, it just might straighten out this old world.
Of course, it also would lead some folks to make a bunch of paintings of rocks and trees and stuff.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bears Den 9 and Bears Den Study: Passage

 Bears Den 9
 oil on linen  12' X 16"
Why am I fascinated with these rock formations, probably part of the rubble left behind when the Appalachian ridge pushed thousands of feet up tens of thousands of years ago? Every aspect of these rocks speaks to the passage of time - the posture or gesture they have fallen to; the broken and worn surfaces; the way trees have managed to grow in amongst them. The form of the large rocks define space and weight against the background of the forest's chaos - and I enjoy the way color is suggested by the mineral make up of the boulders as well of the lichen and moss clinging to them. These rocks and this place of vistas and enclosed crevice, caves and flat-rock expanses, seems to have captured my complete attention. I suppose I'll just keep at it until I have exhausted my interest!

Bears Den Study: Passage
 oil on linen panel  9" x 12"
Someone asked me why I made these paintings, as no one they knew would be likely to buy a painting of rocks for their home - I guess intimating that selling the things would be the purpose for making them (they were well-meaning and probably concerned for my future). My stock answer has always been that 'I would be making these sorts of paintings whether anyone ever paid attention or ponied up and bought one or not'. That is true and while there have been shows where what I'd painted coincided with what folks wanted to buy - it has never been my motivation. Always it is the light and shadow, the form and space, the challenge of visual exploration, and the sheer joy of being alive at that moment in that place.