Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Just a Note

March 27, 2012

I am working my way down the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America as I write this.  I have had some minor mechanical problems with the boat and the usual weather delays.  To say I have had no time to paint would be a huge understatement.  What I have had time to do is take thousands of photographs for future references.  Because I have no new work to display I will begin to post some of the photography.  I should begin to do this in the next couple days.  My internet service is limited on the boat so I’ll have to wait until I get ashore to upload anything.  To follow the journey more closely please visit where I write about the daily experiences of the sail vessel Halcyon and her crew.



June 10, 2010

What Is Art?

April 13, 2010

Imagine that you are about to be born into this world and you’re just a soul up in heaven, God looks at you and says, “I now condemn you to 85 years of solitary confinement”.  Your free spirit, that can now intermingle freely with others,  will  be locked inside this small body for your entire life.  Like prisoners that are never let out of their cells wondering if the next cell is layed out the same as yours.  You would think that the builders would have built each one exactly the same but you can never be sure because you can’t see for yourself.  What is the view like in each of the other cells window to the outside world.  Just as those prisoners would devise ways to tap on the walls in code to talk to the next cell, we all find ways to experience the “view from the other cell”.  We go through our lives trying to ignore this isolation while at the same time we jump at any chance to see into the next cell.  We are all voyeurs.   Because we are separate we can never know if our perceptions are the same as everyone elses.  Do I see red like you do.  If I could become you would I see that what you see as blue is what I saw as red.  As a child you would have been told that the red sky you see above is called blue and accept it.  Would your apple taste like mine.  We have no idea.  And so we long to know.  When the painter paints they give you a limited peek into their cell.  And we all have a need to look.  “Communication” is the word that is used when talking about the arts but, I think it’s more like “sharing”.  If I connect with you with my painting, I get a peek into your cell too.  Art is NOT about being on the cutting edge or doing something in a totally new way, art has never changed, it is simply the act of trying to escape our confinement.  An attempt to be as one again.

God Given Talent

February 13, 2010


For most of my life I was told that I had a God given talent, a gift.  For many years I believed it.  I could just look at something and draw it and the rest of the kids in my class couldn’t.  How cool was that?  I could do something that nobody else could do.  This was a nice thing because I couldn’t spell or read and this sort of made up for that.  I knew I had that thing called “talent” because the teacher told me I had it.  It was something that even the teacher couldn’t teach the other kids.   The teacher told me it was a gift from God.  Here’s a picture of me before I got my gift.  I don’t look that creative do I?  The second picture is of me after I opened God’s present and you can see the spark of genius in my eye.  Look closely.  Off I went on my journey through life as an artistic marvel.  I went to art school where the instructors said my work looked like stuff so it wasn’t serious art.  Serious art no longer required me to draw or even do anything other than find some junk and then tell everybody it was now art.  Wow! how easy is that.  The art world began to look like the sequel to The Emperors New Cloths.  Nobody seemed to be courageous enough to say they didn’t see it.  If you said it was crap you were scolded by the “experts” holding up their degrees.  I have to admit that what they were doing was pretty smart.  If I was running a university that taught all kinds of things to anyone that paid me to teach them, why would I turn people away just because there was no method of teaching art.  All I’d need to do is say is, “Representational art is bad and non-representational art is good” and now the art students don’t need to be able to draw a straight line to get a degree.  Makes perfect business sense to me.  The sad fact is, and most of you will remember this, that academia had no idea of how to teach anybody to draw.  The teacher would say something like, “Just be free and let it flow”.  Isn’t it great that they didn’t teach you to read like that.  Oh sure there was the Basic Shapes method where you could draw a parrot head by starting with the basic shape of a circle.  The problem is that the method worked just as well if you wanted to draw a circle by starting with a parrot head.  If you didn’t have the “gift” it wasn’t going to happen.  So, we were left with the idea that God just played favorites.  That we weren’t equal.  That’s where things were for the first thirty something years of my life.  Everybody believed it.  Until, Dr. Sperry came along with his research on how the two sides of the brain process information.  He won the Noble Prize and didn’t have to do a slide show or even apologize to Europe.  What he found out was that the two sides deal with different kinds of problems.  Our left side handles language, numbers, logic, common sense and just about anything that makes a good business person.  That doesn’t sound like anyone I know that draws.  The good news is that the right side works with line, form, values, perspective and the relationships between things.  The reason some of us can draw and most of us can’t is that at puberty one of the sides takes over and becomes the dominate hemisphere.  Yes, I had a dominant right side.  It’s a good thing that most humans end up with the left side in control or we might have died out like the big lizards.  The people that did the cave drawings were most likely eaten by something big while they were looking for more painting supplies.  Here’s the good news 1. God made us equal, you can draw.   The bad news is; 1. It takes hard work just like anything else.  More good news; 1. It will only take 4 hours a week for ten weeks to teach yourself to use the right side and draw anything really well.  More bad news; 1. That’s just the first tool you will need in your box of tricks.  Good news; 1. You’ll be on your way to becoming an artist.  When I began using the methods that were developed by Betty Edwards with Dr Sperry, I would tell students that I would pay their tuition back if they couldn’t do a professional grade portrait at the end of the semester.  I paid one student in the first two years of teaching at Indian River Community College.  You might say that I did have a gift and that the gift was that I already had a dominant right side and I didn’t have to work hard to draw like everyone else.  True, but the left side came easy to the rest of you and I had to work very hard to learn to use the left side.  It does even out in the end.  Look at my face, would I lie.


January 27, 2010

I’ve been subjected to the definition of  “Artist” for too many years to count.  In the end, I find myself wondering if I need a new word to describe what I do because I can’t be an artist.  What I do isn’t art just because I say it is so, I can’t be an artist.  What I paint isn’t cutting edge or experimental so that leaves me out.  I never got a Masters degree in art so I’m not  a “serious” artist.  I don’t live in New York.  I can’t cut hair.  I’m not much of an interior decorator.  I’m not enough of a showman and I’m not gay…I just don’t fit anyone’s definition of artist these days.  I wonder what would happen to music if we started to apply the same rules to it.  It’s music because I say it is.  “Officer, no muffler on my car is my music and my art”.  If the definition doesn’t work for all the art forms can it work for just one?  If we let the word be used for anything then what does it mean?  It means “anything”, and “nothing” at the same time.  I feel like Art has been dead for some time and now everyone is just feeding on the scraps.