Events and Things

Oh winter…

It’s cold and damp and the light is not good. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating to get colors right on a painting or to photograph a piece in this winter light.  It is really nice to be so focused on the work and to get a larger number of paintings ready to show. When spring hits, I’m sure I’ll have more company and more events to go out to. It can be harder to focus on creating new work when other aspects of the job take more time.

I just read a couple funny things about working at home… It can get a little crazy… I wake up thinking about painting and only go to sleep when I’m sure I can’t do any more useful work at night. There’s no real commute… except to the kitchen… all the way down stairs.

It is a luxury, though, to be able to focus on the pursuit that transfixes me so. Words are really tricky… I can’t say how many times people have said to me “at least you’re doing what you love”…

Yes! I am! It’s WAY better than writing lesson plans, grading papers, or selling insurance policies! But those tasks didn’t consume my thoughts in such a voracious way. I’m always hungry to see what image appears on the next canvas. It’s always a surprise to me! Even if I think I know what I’m painting, I am always surprised at the end product.

So one of my favorite things to do is to paint with live music… It’s especially exciting when I’m on stage. I’ve been on stage a fair amount in my life – quite a bit if you count time lecturing – but in most situations, one gets to face the audience. When I paint on stage, my back is to the audience and they can see the bare, raw, unfinished work! Of course I never know how it’s going to work out! I just keep going with my fingers crossed – no looking at a clock. No looking at the crowd. Just warm spotlight and ambiance and good music…

It’s kind of funny to me because at the house, I often turn my unfinished pieces around so that people in my house don’t see the works in progress.

In order to finish one or two pieces in 2 hours, live, I have several hours of canvas prep to do. First, I prime the canvas. Then I add fabrics or papers. Then I have to apply at least 2 coats of additional paint to make sure it’ll take the paint the way I want. I try to be as random as possible with the colors. Using white as a background would be more standard, but then, sometimes, in low light, I miss spots and have white gaps in my painting. That’s not cool…

Here’s a random painting I’m particularly fond of.

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Hope Springs

I don’t have a show to represent in March, but I have April at 133 S Gay St, Knoxville, followed by shows at Central Flats N Taps and Crafty Bastard in the following months.

I’m sure I do things other than paint, but they’re not nearly as interesting so I’ll leave it there.

Onward and upward!

*

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All I Want

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Walk With Me

Sometimes, in life, great moments flash before us. I have one in mind at the moment, but it’s irrelevant. These little sparks of brilliance appear and awaken hungers for the next time… but the next time is never the same and the next moment of brilliance only really appears with the shock of newness.

So we can’t anticipate the next wonderful thing. We want to taste the last one again. We appropriate pronouns to drag the collective into “our” desires and validate our appetites.

One great quest of discipline that I enjoy setting myself to is forgetting the most awesome moments as fast as I can. I come home from some event with faces and hugs and conversations dancing in my head and if I don’t make a conscious effort to clear my mind, I never get to sleep.

Sleep is good. Peace is good.
Still I spend most of my time on fire inside, ravenous for the consummation of yet another frivolous creative whim.

Onward and upward
As always with love
*

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January Fires

Oh January… It’s cold. It’s dark, but the light comes back a little more day by day.

January is the most intense month to me I think… a time for reflection.  This January has been incredibly intense creatively… I’ve had some transformative experiences that sound like nothing when related… so it all comes out the end of the paintbrush. This piece is more intense and conflicted than I usually allow myself to follow through on, but it is as it is and I thought I might as well share it anyway. When I’m completing a new piece almost every day, it’s hard to hold back. I know it won’t last. In the spring and summer, I may be too busy with other things to do this kind of work…

Or I may just continue on like this, on perpetual fire, rushing to expel the colors lest they consume me.

Time will tell… Until then…

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Conversion Factors

 

Conversion Factors
Acrylic/multimedia on plywood
18″x24″
$325 includes shipping. Edges painted black. Hanging wire attached.

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How was your weekend

One of the most amusing questions I ever hear is “how was your weekend?”

I don’t work at the command of any manager. I just have this crazy compulsion to paint. I have been accused of being a workaholic, but considering that I’ve arranged my whole life around my passion…well… I don’t think the definition holds.

Anyway, it is the season for baked, steamy things and hearty soups. Leaves are changing colors and driving me mad to mimic their awesomeness.  Even though I have lots of canvases and boards to paint upon, I still feel insane to paint over things that suddenly feel like “old work”. This piece is hanging in my hallway right now and is just begging to be repainted… I think I can hold myself back for a few more days. I have some other pieces ALMOST ready to show.

Every once in a while I just overflow with ideas and can’t seem to hold myself back.

Biscuits

Happiness Is a Buttered Biscuit
Featured in 2014 International Biscuit Festival
Acrylic and textiles on canvas
22″x22″
$175 – edges finished black, hanging wire attached – includes shipping
10″x10″ prints available for $25 signed and delivered

Many dear friends of mine are going through intense trials. Thanks to Facebook, I can go directly from a friend who is fighting for life or praying for the life of a dear one to someone else’s dream vacation. It’s surreal to the point of robbing my words… So I paint like mad. Maybe it is a prayer… maybe it’s just a way to make myself FEEL like I’m doing something to help… I suppose we’ll never know, but I’m going to keep on doing it anyway.

Now pardon me while I stuff my face with banana muffins and get back to the easel.

Onward and upward

With love

*

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She Dances With Fire

Life and work have been very exciting and busy lately. I was invited to show at Jazz at Ijams on April 12th and had an absolute blast! It was like setting up my own little house to live in at the concert. The whole family had a fantastic time and good business was done as well.

Since the long and lingering season of car repair has ended, I have been super busy driving around and mailing art out to people and making contacts and all that sort of thing… I really enjoy delivering pieces in person when I can and have met some lovely people recently that way.  I know so many people who are stuck in seemingly interminable stretches at “regular jobs” while their creative parts wither and suffer… And I just want so badly for them to be able to create a new and better life through their passion.

Of course every job should be done well and with love, but it hurts me to see people in the WRONG job for who they are. I have been painting for just over 20 years now and have reached a point where I can make the same or better money with art than I can with a “regular job”. I’ve studied things I never wanted to learn – like Excel and HTML – and learned SO much through mistakes and hard work. My heart just wants to encourage all those people to keep trying and keep working toward the goals. Keep making and meeting deadlines and keep making new beauty enter the world.

I had a dream the other night that “we all” were climbing a ladder over and over and over. At the end of “the cycle”, we all got dumped back at a starting point with no injury and no cost… In the dream, I always jumped right back up to climb the ladder in spite of the biting pain in my fingers from the rope and my own weight. I climbed with all my energy over and over and over even though I knew it wasn’t going to give me any “real answers” or “nirvana” or whatever… I guess some of us are just made to be climbers and strivers. I don’t feel a hunger within, just a passion to show other people the beauty I see in every moment of life – even the really shitty ones.

This painting is based on an image of Knoxville area dancer, Jaia McClure who I think is just beautiful. When I see images of her dancing, I see such love and focus on her face… and the lines of her body are amazing and so perfectly expressive of womanhood at its best. So I painted her. She Dances With Fire:

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#17

(collage by Artwolfen)

There was a time when I wanted to fly.
Keats and Alexander mocked me from the grave.
And time went by.

Excuses were made and songs were sung.
Meaning lost itself over and over.
And dreams became routine.

There will be no weeping for tempestuous, tumultuous youth.
That girl died long ago.
Nothing and everything is left.

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#14 About a Bear

I was a bear in a previous life…
A roaring, clawing, grumbling cave dweller
Taking particular glee in dismantling intruders.

I was a bear in a previous life…
A blanketed, camouflaged, quiet type
Playful on icy slopes.

I was a bear in a previous life…
Sleepy, solitary, and curious
Embarrassed of my bulk.

I am a bear, great barbaric yawp and all…
But I’d really rather not.

(The poem of the sleepless zombie)

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#7

1010813_10152597787180954_6859897273776577045_nPhoto by John Glaze

Things are meant to be discarded.
None of this ever lasting on some abandoned shelf like some memento mori.
That shit’s really so passé.

Yes I can still hear my grandfather sing and feel my grandmother’s tissue paper skin. I can see my father at 33 (the age I am now), in cutoffs and long hair and my mother before the Beetle flipped.

But what good do any of these things do me?

This longing
This sentimentality…

Only a distraction from this spring’s fresh blossoming.

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#16

https://lettersfromchurchofthetoastedcoconutdoughnut.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/national-poetry-month-scavenger-hunt-2015-april-1-30/

Rain on closed petals
With sun’s heat, vital organs
Exposed without shame

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Number 24

I smelled clove cigarettes today

I was driving at high speeds over rough roads and there it was.

I never knew your name. I thought I did, Richard, but when I met your other friends, they called you by other names.

But you’re still with me every day

That’s the trouble with some people… so beautiful that it seems more a statement of irony than anything else…

But when you toss your hair, I smell it;

And no one will ever wear leather pants more convincingly.

https://lettersfromchurchofthetoastedcoconutdoughnut.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/national-poetry-month-scavenger-hunt-2015-april-1-30/

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