Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Misunderstood and Enduring

Even given all the writings, the letters, and decades of speculation, we can never know the troubled genius that was Vincent Van Gogh. For example, it is widely held that he cut off his own ear. Along with some dissenting opinions, I think that is highly unlikely. Certainly a more plausible scenario is that he may have engaged in a drunken, perhaps, absinthe driven, altercation with, say, Gauguin, and the ear was unfortunately grazed off. To protect his friend, and the only other artist in the art colony he sought to create, Van Gogh must have taken the blame for the mishap. I shudder to think of the avalanche of humiliation he endured.

As for the irony of his work, he painted sunflowers to brighten the homes of common workers, that is, to have something cheerful and wonderful, something of natural beauty, on their walls. He wished for them the glory of color to shine as they ate their daily bread, the fruits of their own hands and toil. To this end he dedicated his days and hours. Could he have imagined that only the super wealthy could ever afford such a sight in their homes?!

As for his mastery, I recall seeing an exhibit of his work some five years ago at the Seattle Art Museum. The exhibit was exquisitely lit, that is, the most superior lighting I had ever seen in an art museum. The room seemed dark, and yet, the paintings were lit with optimal brilliance. For a Van Gogh, this has to be key, and quite a challenge with his work being sculptural in nature. I thought to myself that truly, Van Gogh was the best with color of any artist, living or dead, even better than Picasso.

I say, let's not presume so much to understand, as to appreciate Van Gogh for the wonder of color, form, and brushstroke, the wonder of the way in which he captured his world with gobs of pigment. In this way, I think we can best honor the memory of Van Gogh, the master.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jackie With Blue Hair

The painting, "Jackie With Blue Hair" is done. There is no going back in. Will this be the final work of 2009? The exciting answer is, I don't know!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Window of Opportunity, Seized, Part 2

After bringing the painting upstairs, after it had a chance to dry, it became evident that, whatever it was, the work was in no way complete. I had a chance to glance at it from time to time, and let my conscious and subconscious mind have a chance to meditate, my sensibilities a chance to gestate, on possible next steps.

This morning I had time to revisit the work, the first day in two or three weeks. It has been very difficult to find studio time lately, what with all the priorities vying for my time and efforts. Also, creative endeavors demand that, not only do you have the opportunity to create, but that you are up for it. This morning, all forces came into alignment. Whether I am pleased with the results or not, it sure felt good to "be there then." I do feel pleased with the results so far. Not overjoyed, but I feel some satisfaction. I had the urge to sign the work, often a sign that I am (nearly) done, but, it just as often means there may be more to do. I am reluctant to sign a wet painting.

I will give it some drying time, and hang it on the wall for a good look later.

Does it really look like Jackie?! I'm not sure. Perhaps. I am reminded that, after lengthy posing sessions, Gertrude Stein remarked to Picasso that her portrait did not really look like her. He responded something to the effect of "don't worry, in fifty years it will look exactly like you."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mastery in Truth

We ventured out on this dreary, rainy, icy, raw Sunday to view the show "Rembrandt's People" at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford today. What a blessing to see this show.

Rembrandt's mastery was everything I thought it might be, that and much more. The show, which featured only a handful of his works was so moving, so powerful, that words
could never do it justice. This artist was in total control of the painting. It was all so real, with an inner truth.

This show must be seen, and seen again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Joy of Sonia

I recently had reason to photograph a series of tapestries for work. Okay, that was a fun project! Among other artists, I photographed a tapestry by Russian/French/Jewish artist, Sonia Delaunay. I found her work to be pure joy. In truth, I can't recall being familiar with her work.

Do you need to look at a series of uplifting images, images that explore the joy of color and form? Check these out, and click here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Miniature Results

I have been very pleased with the Nikon P5100 that has become my mainstay in picture taking. Lately though, I thought I might like to have a sub-compact sized digital camera to always have on hand. Tethering myself to the Nikon, wearing it around my neck like an albatross is a bit much. I need my freedom. Yet, so often, I wished I had a miniature digital on hand to seize the image before me.

I must have gotten a bit impulsive, because after very little searching, I came across the Leica Minox hybrid, the Minox DCC, shown above. It was infatuation at first glance. Always partial to Nikons, I have yearned to own a Leica, having used one only as part and parcel of a Reprovite copy stand. Oh how I loved to advance the film, focus and depress the remote shutter release! The snap of the controls, the sounds... pure quality and joy. The results were impressive. I thought I might own a small portion of joy in the DCC. I was wrong.

Visually, I was awestruck when I opened the packaging. The tiny camera was stuck in a wonderful wooden box like a piece of jewelry. It was striking looking with classic good looks. However, there were downsides that could not be overlooked. The camera on-board software was anemic, and lacking. There were visible controls some of which had function, some did not. Ouch. The photos were, well, disappointing. Finally, and yes, all on the first day, one of the buttons just failed to work. I am not one to return items easily, but this had to go back where it came from.

The search is still on for that wonderful little digital that is (nearly) always with me, feels good in your hands, and yields superb results.

Yes, and someday, I hope to own a fine Leica.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Window of Opportunity, Seized

After a tumultuous night of dreaming, I woke up this morning with the time and inspiration to work on a painting I was eager to explore. Two hours later, I was closing in on something new. Is it completed? I don't know. Will it survive? Only time will tell.

I am prone to being infatuated with images that I create, and this is no exception.
Does it look like Jackie? It does to me! After it dries, I will have a closer look, upstairs, on my wall.