This first image is not what I consider a work of art, though it does seem intriguing. Perhaps that’s because it’s actually a piece of ice that I picked from my front yard? I scanned it immediately, and while this image has been mildly modified, this is essentially that chunk of ice.
I often refer to an image like this as my blank canvas, as it really is the starting point of a few of my creations, including this most recent one, as shown here:
Even though it’s not quite complete, I would have liked to consider this as part of an entry in an upcoming abstract art competition. However, I’d say there are far too many figurative aspects, especially when you look at the details . . . you really do need a laptop-size monitor to really see that aspect.
I’m finding it difficult to find many of my creations that are purely abstract. Thankfully, for years now I describe my style as being abstract-figurative, and if you’ve seen a dozen or more of my pieces, I’m sure you would agree.
I have a few weeks to submit my entry. It’s a juried competition and given the past winners, it would be quite an honor to be among the top ten. I’m planning on posting 3 – 5 of my selections in a blog post before entering. I’ll also be adding a little “what’s your favorite?” kind of survey . . . one or two simple questions . . . that should be fun!
Finally, I’m adding this favorite music video. It goes so well with the process of this painting. 🙂
As promised, I said I’d post an update on the project I described in my most recent post – When Projects Kaleid. The feature image here is that update. While I do consider this to now be a finished piece, I’m still playing with different renditions. This could be one of those pictures where a handful of renditions are more than acceptable, yet notably different.
For now the piece remains untitled, and no, “Collie Eyed” is not under serious consideration!
PS – Here is an afternoon addition to this original post. I wanted to show what I mean by a “notably different” rendition . . . very acceptable, I think.
I’ve intended to write something about my art in the context of feminism for a long time now. This is not easy because I know very little about what the term even means, aside from the desire to have equality between men and women in our culture.
The press gives a lot of attention to women being paid 30% less than men for the same work. When I talk to women about this there is a lot of frustration, resentment, and so on. However, inevitably the discussion comes to a silent end when I point out that one solution is for all those men to take a 30% pay cut. Often there is a look of horror, as I can see some of these women calculating the impact that would have on them, given their husband’s salary . . . but the issue of a culture of “wanting more” is a whole other topic, except to say that the aspect appears to be truly “gender neutral?
In reflecting back, I’m very happy to see how wonderfully balanced the years were, at least in terms of my time spent with both men and women . . . to explain that more fully means adding tons of stories . . . that’s for a book, not a blog. The truth is that on some subconscious level I’ve always put women (as a group) on a pedestal – somehow at least slightly superior to men – perhaps the real source of hope for a better future?
I no longer feel that way as women become more like men overall. For example, I see no reason to celebrate the so-called gender equality in some countries’ militarization. And with so many big issues confronting humanity, are any discrepancies between the sexes at the root of it all? I really have no idea, not even sure if it’s the right question, not sure if the “root” itself is even an issue today.
Back To the Art
How does this relate to my art? Well if you’ve taken any time to view much of it, overall there is a major emphasis on the feminine form. Very often it comes up in one-on-one discussions, except when I get that a sense that the whole issue of the sensuality of my art can be too much for someone to talk about. That happens often too. That can be a little depressing for me, as I know that there are some who look at my art and somehow come to a conclusion that the “artist must be some kind of sexist” . . . I’m not sure there is another more troubling accusation . . . but I make no apologies for anything about my art.
The truth is I do it all with no intent, though I suppose that needs to be qualified. Years ago, when I noticed how “biased” toward the feminine my art was becoming, I tried to counter that by consciously introducing more masculine forms into this or that piece. It felt forced. With a little work I could have attained more of that kind of balance, but I chose not to . . . that’s not the kind of force I want to be with me!
My art is what it is. As for the male/ female issues, while I believe in equality in principle, I also cherish the differences. Frankly though, I’d much rather just continue to paint rather to analyze this situation . . . that part is reserved for my writing, and was central to my first novel . . . so much fun in fiction . . . or was it really fiction? hmmm
Some Help From the Missing Links
Finally, I’d like to share a couple of links with you here. The first is an interview with Gloria Steinem on Charlie Rose. She says some stuff better than I do, and I was quite taken about her comments on some of the ancient cultures, ones that had no words for “female” or “male”. They also seemed to appreciate the significance of circles, as opposed to hierarchies (pyramids). This topic that has been a huge passion of mine . . . oddly that started when I began my transition into a person immersed in the creation of art.
The second link shows some music and dancing by people with a Kwayan African background. This ancient culture is one of the two that Gloria notes as being “gender neutral”. It’s a little surreal at times, especially with the shots of the guy on the organ wearing the socks. But let me rephrase that . . . the person playing the organ . . . big foot? ha ha
My last blog post of 2015, and the first that involves the taking of notes! What’s next? An artist making New Year’s resolutions? Now that seems outlandish, even perverse? The very notion of it reminds me of a small part of my novel, the part where a love-struck Ben struggles with how he will win over the woman of his dreams. He is so sure that destiny will bind them together – an uncontrollable fate – a certain unity. Then it hits him, the hypocrisy of all his planning, and the gnawing of the supreme irony of it all . . . trying to plan one’s destiny!
As I review these notes all I see are two lists, and partial ones at that. The first one concerns what I’m thankful for over the past year. The other gives you some of my predictions for 2016.
Thank You 2015!
Every moment with my daughters was a precious one. Many of you may think that’s a little exaggerated, but the truth is that since we are about 1,000 kilometers apart, the time we spend together is very little, and so if anything my gratitude is understated.
My art. I think the only important about art is the question it ultimately brings, “Is there something invisible about it . . . something much more special and endearing than any of us . . . something timeless and not our own?” Of course the answer is yes, and I will always be so thankful for “the Yes”.
My mother and sharing in her triumphs, as she finds ways to find joy and laughter in spite of her aged condition . . . the trials of dementia . . . she seems to live for each day these days. It’s a hard way to live, but this too is precious.
Emma. She’s my neighbor’s eight year old granddaughter. She’s also one of the smartest people I know, and so very funny . . . sharp, quick wit. She symbolizes all those who bring a laugh or smile into my life pretty much every day, even on days when that seems near impossible.
The sun, simply because it is shining a little brighter through the clouds and my window, as I’m writing these notes. It only gives, seems to ask for nothing in return, though I sometimes wonder about that . . . what it wants from us. Then I do some more art and stop wondering.
My many long distance friends . . . and my fans . . . all of you inspire me more than I can ever explain . . . thank you!
I could probably keep writing about 2015 until this time next year, but now it’s time for something a little more lighthearted. So pardon me for a minute as I firmly insert my tongue in a cheek (one of my own), and begin:
LG’s Fearless Outlook for 2016
Sixto Rodriguez will finally get his music heard more in North America, and his 1970 album “Cold Fact” will become an “instant” success.
The UN will establish a new fund to end all poverty and it will be called the “World Trade Foundation”. I encourage you to give them your full support by sending lots of money. Send your check now and be sure to remember to make it out to “WTF”!
Apple will launch a new home study math program in West Thumb, WY. It will be named the ePi, despite protests from some crusty old math profs and Don Cherry. Grammar experts shudder at what’s ahead for them, calling the idea of a similar writing app “half-baked”.
Manitoba’s first transgender judge’s popularity will show mixed results in the polls.
Sarah Palin and Donald Trump will become running mates. However, the announcement will be marred by controversy . . . the pair are caught on camera doing a dine and dash from a Taco Bell in Fairbanks Alaska.
People magazine will take off where Playboy fell behind by announcing its new magazine, “Peep Hole”. Things really take off when Marilyn Monroe is named their Person of the Year for 2016.
Hillary will veto her first Bill just before the swearing. Closely related, Bill volunteers to give Madonna kissing lessons, but privately.
Disney announces its plans to do a movie specifically for future space travelers. It’s a science fiction film about a distant planet. The film is tentatively called, “Earth”.
The pope becomes uncomfortable when Jesus returns and immediately highly recommends some redecorating. When the suggestion is made to have Georgia O’Keeffe do something floral with Chapel, Francis smirks, telling Jesus that Georgia is dead. Jesus just grins.
Paul McCartney announces plans to bring The Beatles back together; Ringo sues for being snubbed!
Jesus surprises everyone by playing Royal Albert Hall with Ringo Starr and then announces Bono as Pope. Bono goes on tour with Ringo in his back up. In the meantime Francis takes painting lessons.
As you can see, it will be one heck of a busy year! I wish you all the best of the timeless ones in these times . . . “times”? Hmm . . . now where’s my iPi?
A few months ago I watched a biopic about Renoir – the painter, not the sculptor or film director – the latter two were his sons.
Parts of it were disturbing, much more was fascinating, especially from the perspective of an artist, painting while the world is at war . . . much of it very close to his home in France. I think of myself in those terms these past several years, “Why do art when there is so much else going on . . . so many important movements . . . causes?”
Of course one must answer such a question in order to feel good about doing art, and it took me perhaps a few minutes to figure it out, though I think about the matter often. That answer is kept close to the vest. However, it was warmly reassuring to see how basically this answer comes out about the same through the views of this man Renoir.
Sadly, since the making this film, there has been a group established proclaiming the irrelevance of this artist’s work. Renoir’s talent, subject matter and aesthetic merit have been severely ridiculed; someone has taken it upon himself to try to have Renoir’s art dismissed – banned from museums, and other such endeavors. By his own admission, this person knows little about art, but he does seems to know something about causes – apparently he is having some success. This kind of madness is not so separate from so many others . . . it’s just not violent.
So in the midst of madness I’m continuing with my creative projects. The picture below is called “Defiance”. It came from a five-year-old creation that is featured at the top of this post.
It’s tempting to write something about Canada’s recent election, which I followed so closely, looking for a glimpse of a return to some form of human dignity. I won’t do that except to say that something quite remarkable happened. It has to do with the newly appointed Minister of Justice. She’s a lawyer, so no surprise there. To learn more you can read her story here.
In an election full of big promises and tons of symbolism, this shines through as much more than a symbol and I wish her well . . . yeah Canada? I hope so.
I’m tempted to write about my little dream, another one about black holes, and the notion that they are impenetrable because they are full of Love . . . intense beyond comprehension, a universal force and something to do with new creation . . . and so love conquers all after all? But conquer is not the right word, as in that place and situation there is simply no fighting allowed. That has always given me hope too.
So in the end I won’t write about anything other the release of a new painting which has turned out to be very, very well-received in all my social media circles. I had been leaning toward launching it as a limited edition print, but instead I’m adding to my selection of Open Edition Prints – see the main menu above.
Perhaps the oddest thing about art is that a lot of people seem more interested in the person doing it than in the art itself. That always makes me think that there must be something wrong with my art!
It’s even stranger that I’ve become the same way in many cases, “Who is this person behind this painting or song or sculpture?” So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised about getting what feels like a lot of personal attention from some very dear fans . . . still, it’s a little unnerving putting one’s self out there . . . often it feels downright narcissistic, but mostly it feels undeserving.
To make matters worse, it seems the blog posts people enjoy most are the ones that include my little blasts from the past . . . those personal little stories.
Time to get out the birthday suit!
So tomorrow is my birthday – 58 and painting like I’m thirty-something – and I wonder if there will be any surprises? I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was drifting back to so many milestones, in particular this time of the year but 39 years ago. I was the same age then that my youngest daughter is now. She is finishing her university life this term, while I was just beginning mine back then.
That started in Vancouver, at Simon Fraser University . . . it’s on top of Burnaby Mountain, to be more precise. It was a newer school, renown for it’s architecture, designed by Arthur Erickson. It wasn’t a huge university back then – a recluse for the fans of the liberal arts – the smart, driven folks went to the much more conservative University of British Columbia (UBC). That was a long time ago though – I’m sure much has changed since then.
I went there for one main reason. In my youth I was always fascinated by the movies and in 1979 Simon Fraser was the only school in western Canada that any kind of film studies program . . . and a minor at that . . . I majored in psychology.
Yes, I did take one psych course – intro psych – plus a course in intro botany or biology, which I never took in high school, so I damn near failed that one, though I loved all the line art and photography in the text book. There was another intro course that I simply cannot remember and then there was this double course, a six-credit doozer called “History of Italian Renaissance Art”.
Apparently that art course had something to do with the film studies program, though I have no idea what that may have been. What was more apparent was that the man who taught really knew his stuff. Through the term I found out that he was one of the world’s leading experts on the subject, and he had the passion to go with the reputation.
He had all his own slides and we would spend hour after hour in a theater looking at every square inch of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in great detail, while he told us all kinds of stories. In hindsight though, I think we really only grazed the surface on the lives of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and so many more.
Then there was the smaller, once-a-week workshops on more specialized topics . . . I chose the literature one. It was all about some dude named Dante, and myself and about a dozen other became intimate with The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova. What I remember most is how Robin (the first name of the professor), would explain who each character was in real life . . . the ones portrayed in one part of Dante’s Inferno.
They represented various merchants, bankers, clergy, and other people in some form of “leadership”. It was all very awful, yet fascinating at the same time. As was Dante’s quest to write about the notion of pure love in La Vita Nuova.
What has stuck with the most over all these years is that the art of that time was very much intermixed with the developments in science and technology . . . the introduction of perspective by Leonardo, for example. This has helped me on a personal level, as I’ve struggled through the years of, “but is it art?”, in terms of being a digital painter.
In the past couple of years that has finally changed – digital art is becoming more mainstream, or at least finally “accepted”. Yet I’m still uncomfortable with that. Frankly I’d like to drop the reference to “digital” altogether and just focus on the art as being simply art.
I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future any more than I can say that I can just paint and keep my personal stories just that . . . personal, as in “private”. Then again, I suppose I could just write another novel about love and continue to hide a few anecdotes in there? It has not all been a divine comedy, but then is anything funny without a little tragedy?
Anyway, there’s no sense getting too philosophical the day before one’s birthday. Now I’ll sit back and wait for those precious well wishes . . . and the magical surprise of some glorious birthday cheesecake?
Finally, here’s a wonderful clip of a nearby park. It’s the place for where I first got to see a bison eye-to-eye, at the age of nine. We were only about ten feet away, and the gazing was only for a few seconds, but I can still remember it so very clearly. This park is about a 10 minute drive from the town where I grew up (Dauphin) and an hour’s drive from where I’m sitting right now (Brandon). It’s beautiful there. I don’t know that it has influenced my art in any way, but one can always hope.
This unfinished piece is one of my earliest on-screen creations. It’s about 10 years old now. I’m showing it here and now for a couple of reasons.
First, lately I’ve been asked more questions about my art in terms of meaning and such. Frankly it is much easier for me to talk about that in the bigger picture context rather than in any one piece. However, that can be a bit like opening Pandora’s Box, even though it really revolves around a simple truth, “There are no lines in nature.”
By the way, this painting up top is simply called “Hmmm”.
It is meant to be a playful statement – more like a question – and it is about nature. It’s also about science. The scientific method came about as a different way of observing nature. As it can all get quite complicated, it can also be easily forgotten that the essence of the activity is really that simple. Perhaps the thing that disturbs me the most is that it can easily be forgotten that it is only one way to observe nature. The only thing more disturbing is when someone claims that it is the ultimate or superior or “only true way” to make these observations.
On the more positive, playful side of things, “Hmmm” represents a lot of fun I had in wondering how nature observes us, doing all our science, as represented by the pie chart. Thanks for stopping by.
I’ve always liked the look of Mobius curves. However, I’ve never understood the math that tries to explain it . . . those infinite loops. They do remind me of what the poets, romantics and dreamers talk about . . . eternal love or endless love. Are those terms one and the same? The question becomes somewhat perplexing if you equate eternal with divine.
I’m a stickler with the definition of words, and that annoys the hell out of some people when I stop and ask about what this or that one means. I don’t do it to be a jerk or a smart-ass. I do it because if the discussion is worth having then maybe we need to slow down and look what is behind the words we throw out so quickly.
Language is very odd that way – in many ways – quite fascinating really. Any given word needs another word or series of words to have meaning . . . another form of infinite looping? It seems so.
Maybe that’s why I like visual art so much, no need for words to understand? I hope this painting comes across that way. It’s called, “In the Loop” and it is one of those that can be viewed in at least two orientations, and in this case, since it was created with both in mind, shown either way is fine by me.