Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Beautiful Morning

I had trouble titling the entry this morning and it is indeed a beautiful morning. One of my bird feeder broke and spilled all the seed on the ground, but that has brought Turkeys into the yard and six of them are working of the pile.

Do any of you read Robert Genn?
http://www.painterskeys.com/about_robertgenn.asp
He is a Canadian artist, a landscape painter and I will admit that I never heard of him till a friend subscribed me to his newsletter. It isn't really a newsletter, he writes you a personalized note twice a week. This morning's note was brutal;

Hopeless?

May 25, 2010

Dear Dan,

Yesterday, Keith Wright of Melbourne, Australia wrote, "Nothing is as hopeless as trying to justify a lifetime as an artist. I have painted for over thirty years and have little to show for it. I have a studio full of paintings and a wife who denigrates my career. I have no money, no sales, no hope. You may even say, 'His paintings are bad.' But I have no ego and little belief in my abilities. I always thought one day my work might be in demand. I know I don't paint for others--it's an addiction within myself. But the indifference to my work has gradually worn me down. I'm now being treated for depression. I can no longer believe in myself because no one else believes in me. A lifetime wasted. I should feel bitter but I'm beyond even that. I have loved my art but it has destroyed me."

Thanks, Keith. We've taken the liberty to put a few of your works at the top of the current clickback. I'm sure some of our readers will pass along their opinions. As in all cases where artists mention depression, I encourage them to seek help. Looks like you are doing that. While I'm deeply sorry for your predicament, I also recognize that it is, in degree, universal. While feelings of hopelessness may be part of the game, there is still the blessing, the power to create. At times like this, we can think of Vincent van Gogh.

"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it," said Vincent. "Passersby see only a wisp of smoke rising from the chimney and continue on their way." This statement--even though his letters are often full of flights of optimism and joy--is the grim outlook of many of us. Success or no success, joy or no joy, we are alone. And it is to this private struggle that we must consign our energy, our focus, and our lives.

Vincent tells us that one needs only to listen to the voice of nature to be fulfilled. That only the beautiful mind is needed. The idealist in us finds this to be true. The pragmatist doesn't. Vincent himself could not live up to his own standards. He too was depressed. "What am I in most people's eyes?" he asked. "A nonentity or an eccentric and disagreeable man." Truth is, when we're able to kiss off the expectations laid on us by ourselves and others, we have the chance to overcome. 

Best regards,

Robert

I could have written Keith's Hopeless paragraph! Whew!
I choose not to! I could wax on about it for a long time and I also choose not to do that to you.
This morning, while I drink my coffee. I am taking inventory of those choices I have made, the successes I have had, and outcomes that are still unfolding, while watching my birds enjoy one seed at a time.
The top Pepper painting is heading to a show/sale next week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking at Spring

I have been paintings these small long landscapes for more than a year with the idea that I would paint all the seasons. I will continue with this plan, but it is interesting to see the challenges that can present themselves. I just finished this one.
Spring and Autumn change before your eyes.
Once the leaves fall off the trees, Winter can look the same for months. Summer can also remain the same if you do not including specific blooms of flowers. Georgia O'Keeffe thought that summer in the east was green from her toes to the sky. She did not care for it.
Spring changes by the minute! Everything is so accelerated! Fall is the same, one days temperature change can make a huge difference.
This spring has been crazy! Half a week in the 80's, now I have been stoking the wood stove for the last two days.
In this painting, I tried to get that new leaf leanness and shimmer, there for only a day

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Practice"

 72" X 72" Oil on Canvas

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Swords and Art

Reading things Japanese, remind me of how difficult it is to think differently.
I have enjoyed reading Yukio Mishima, till I got to "Sun and Steel". I realized I was in a very alien mind. This was fascinating to me,  after I got over feeling stupid!
I have had more success with "A Book of Five Rings". A manual for the swordsman. I may die in my western life, never truly understanding the "Void"
What I do love about Musashi's writing is that instead of making it real, from metaphor as we do in the west. Musashi gives it to you real, then you get make your own metaphor.
If I replace the sword with my paint brush in this paragraph, it still works!

The new sword holds interest for me greater then some macho weapon to fantasize with... OK! It also does do that too!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Acquisition

Today I made a trade. My friend had admired several paintings over some time and I had made note of that. In turn, I had admired a sword that was hanging in his study. I have trained with Japanese weapons and can handle a bokken sword, but in the most elementary way.
I have had and lost several opportunities to own a good Samurai Sword. When my friend moved, I found out that he had put the sword on consignment!  Both of us respect our individual need for cash and the best price, so there was no conversation about the sword. Then I found out that the sword did not sell. I felt compelled to make him an offer of trading it for the painting that I knew he liked and he accepted! 
The story is that the sword was recovered from the wreckage of a Zero after a  kamikaze attack in the pacific. A great provenance, but not a pre-war sword.
The painting is a small acrylic on paper and I am very comfortable with the mutual values.

I am curious about the quality of the blade. It is extremely sharp and I could not resist taking a swipe at one of the branches of a shrub. An effortless cut! Wow!
I want to have it x-rayed and take off the sheath. I have promised my friend to renegotiate our trade, if the blade proves to be more than the standard Japanese army issue, but right now I am delighted.