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JAN 11 2018

Seems it's a new year again. Notice that fresh NEW year smell? Hmmm. You might have better smelling ability than I. :) Looks and tastes a lot like the one that just passed too. I have a theory that each successive generation is just a bit crazier than the last. I'm also of the opinion that we are losing our ability to empathize with others, hence our inability to see others as our equals and therefore find it easier to injure, manipulate and cheat them. There are studies to back me up, unfortunately. I think if you are a 'me-me-me' person, it comes back on you sooner or later. Maybe there is such a thing as karma after all. It must be miserable to be that way.

Ok, I'm not talking much about art now am I? Trouble with me is I observe, paint, work at my job but don't have much of a venue to either write or 'say' what's on my mind. During the Christmas break, I went days without conversing with another human being. Some might think that nice but I always thought I was an interesting fellow to have as a friend, acquaintance, companion, etc. I never thought in a thousand years I'd find myself in an almost social cone-of-silence. Yes, you are probably thinking that some of it is self-imposed and you'd probably be partially correct. I do have some friends I see almost weekly and they are nice enough to tolerate my less than rosy disposition on occasion. So I guess I may not be quite as isolated as I let on save that I haven't found another person with whom I can communicate with that is yin to my yang, so to speak. I thought I had once but it didn't really work out. Sigh. It doesn't have to be a 'romantic' partner, really, just a kindred spirit.

A week back, I had a person from Singapore say he wanted four or five of my paintings 'to start.' I found it odd he didn't pick out any specific pieces when he emailed me via Artwanted. He also said I should get a vendor's credit card set up and he mentioned Chase. He also said he'd had some bad dealings with PayPal and would rather use his credit card. Well, I queried Chase about it and a nice guy on the phone said that there are scams where people use stolen credit cards to buy things and when it's discovered to be stolen the bank---like Chase---will demand their money back from the seller. This way the dishonest person gets whatever you are selling them and not only do they get the product, in this case my paintings, but the seller has to pay for the mistake of trusting them. Okay, so maybe there is a reason or two why a person such as myself might 'sour' a little over time. If you are reading this and you are one of those, I say you should be trying to do good not evil in this world and if you are an artist like myself just trying to paint, exist and paint some more, watch out for these scammers. This brave new technological world has given villains a wider net with which to draw in the trusting and ill-informed.

I'm working on my second painting of the year right now. It's another sketch-based piece like so many of mine are. It's funny. I tried doing some sketches other night and they all turned to mush. I'm currently using drawings I did a month or so back. This one is a little different, I think.

I'm going to upload the 2017 AVAA 12BUY12 Christmas Show invitation. The director used my 'Bird In The Ornament' and it's the second year in a row that I got on the digital invitation that is sent to folks. It sold also. :)

OCT 07 2017

I guess it's about time I wrote a little something in my blog area. Lord knows I usually have a lot to say about 'something' though I always finish thinking someone might need an attitude adjustment, someone very near and dear to my heart. Ah, it's still beating for the moment. I'm assuming anyway.

Yesterday I picked up 'The Horror of Now' from the Art Space Gallery and dropped of '20/20' for the upcoming Fall Show which has its reception next Friday, the 13th of October. Instead of taking 'The Horror of Now' home, I decided to hang it in the tech room where I work. I've already had a couple of comments regarding it, mostly favorable.

I don't like Friday receptions, especially Friday receptions that begin at 6 and end at 8. Too early nowadays when you factor in when folks usually get off work and the traffic congestion that inevitably occurs starting around 5 and ending around 7. I know I usually make a bee-line for home unless there's something important I need to do and what I define as 'important' now lives in a narrower margin that it used to. AND if you factor in families, not lone wolves like myself, the time factor from home to dinner to 'what to do tonight' the timeline becomes a real issue. I think ALL openings should be on Saturday, start around 7 and run to 10. AND if there's people still hanging about enjoying themselves then 10 is just a suggestion not a rule. BUT, as I say, I have little say in what the powers-that-be ultimately do.

I haven't painted all week and it's beginning to tell on me. If I don't paint or draw almost daily I get nervous and preoccupied. There's a nagging feeling that there's something missing or that I'm wasting precious time. I guess the older I get the more I think I should maintain a certain level of productivity in areas that are important to me. I mean, if they are not important to me, how important am I going to treat them anyway? Think about that sentence a bit and it starts to make sense.

I went around the house last evening taking pictures of art hanging on walls. For insurance purposes perhaps or just as a visual record of what's on the walls early October 2017. There's one pic I took in my bathroom that I thought I'd share. And as I can only upload one pic in the blog area, though I'd upload multiple if I could, this will have to suffice.

SEP 09 2017

Well, today the 2017 Membership Show has its reception at Austin Art Space. It was September 2012 on the very day of that year's Membership reception that I rejoined Austin Visual Art Association. I had been a member in the late 70's and early 80's but had let myself slip out of sight for several decades. Funny how the years pile up behind us so quickly.

I have just finished, "The All-Day Retreat,' a painting I've been working on for awhile. I say 'finished' but I usually tweak my work after the fact if I live with it for awhile. AND, I'm sorry to say, I'm living with quite a few of my paintings at present. I guess I'm going to have to re-think where I'm putting my new pieces as available wall space has become a thing of the past since I started painting almost exclusively in late 2013. It IS a small house after all.

The thought that entered my head, the one that prompted my blog today, was the question of whether or not the so-called viewing public is interested in the least in what the artist thinks. I say 'the' artist but I probably mean 'any' artist as well. Have many actually read the letters that Vincent wrote to his brother and others during his lifetime. I'm pretty sure they have been published. I have read excerpts and some of them are heart-wrenching and/or very sweet. If his tragic life were not common knowledge, I wonder if his work would be so highly prized today? Just a thought that popped into my head as thoughts are want to do. :) He is the epitome of the tortured artist though, for the most part, he tortured himself. Most misery is contributed by external sources but it is, ultimately, how a person deals with these sources that determine whether they cause psychic damage or not. For some, the irritations of life, like the grain of sand that bothers an oyster, merely become the impetus to create artistic pearls as a self-protective response. I can safely say this has been the case with me over the course of my life. I have always sought solace in the arts, from writing, music or drawing/painting.

I put the liquid refreshment that I will take to the reception this evening in the frig this morning. I had several good conversations with artists and attendees at the last reception for the Summer Show. If nothing else, I hope to repeat that experience tonight.

JUL 08 2017

Well, like everything 21st Century, even the term 'artistic temperament' is getting trivialized and, I'm thinking, misdiagnosed, if you get my meaning. I have always thought having an artistic mind or artistic temperament had very little to do with bedlam or being mentally aberrant and more to do with having a unique way of seeing ordinary things---seeing the 'art' in the ordinary. When I was young, I thought everyone saw the world the way I did. I couldn't fathom that all minds were different but experience taught me one thing pretty early on. I grew up in rural Texas, you understand. It is OK to be different so long as you don't get too carried away. Of course, I grew up in the 50's and 60's in a world that, at least on the surface, appears to be very different from this one. I think nowadays we are more likely to parade ourselves like peacocks in the hopes that folks will see our uniqueness---or maybe our 'assumed' uniqueness. As I'm not of the peacock variety, let me quickly point out, my life has been spent learning all I can about art and artists, living and dead, with little if any contact with the academic side. I wrote poems for thirty plus years, beginning in high school about the time as started having migraines, now I reflect. I did not write to impress others; I wrote to better know and understand myself. Writing poetry involves an intense form of thinking. If you don't believe me, try writing a good poem. Uh, I did say GOOD, okay. :)

I have drawings going back to the late Sixties. Self-taught would be the best description of my drawing style. I did watch the Jon Gnagy TV series when I was a kid and my parents bought his deluxe kit probably when I was around 12 or 13. I had that kit and was using it to teach seniors the basics when I was an activity director at a retirement residence in the late Seventies. Believe it or not, it was stolen from the basement art room.some time before I left that job to manage an art supply store in the early Eighties. I enjoyed my brief tenure at the store but it didn't last long as the owners didn't really have a clue about running a successful business. It isn't all "build it and they will come" hodge-podge thinking.

This little missive started out with my discussing the so-called 'artistic temperament' and I'm afraid it's become somewhat auto-biographical. So I guess I'm attempting to convey how my temperament might have developed into something approaching that. I read several pointless articles on-line today on the subject. One was about having such a temperament but not being an artist. I don't think you can have one and not do things artistically but a lot of these short articles won't let you comment. It also was too short and didn't come to an great conclusion. I think these folks are paid to write something of certain length, make it more or less intelligible and throw it onto the Internet as little gems of insight and/or wisdom. Please swallow at your own risk, I say.

I could probably ramble on for another paragraph or so but let me just say that I think all kids are born with some flavor of artistic temperament. I say this because of the pieces I see working in an elementary school. It is unfortunate that we shame each other out of keeping art an active part of our lives. I personally think we'd all be happier more balanced individuals. But I'm only speaking from personal experience. When I feel my external life in the general population spiraling out-of-control, I retreat to my peaceful inner world of art where I can express thoughts and ideas that are untouched by fear or prejudice. Keep compromise OUT of your work and for goodness sake, don't ask others their opinion unless they are art teachers and even then take their advice with a grain of salt. You do see the type/quality of work coming out of our universities these days?

If I could only take my internal world external and cross-pollenate with others around the world, we might have a planet moving in the right direction. Just a thought or two from yours-truly. :)

JUN 03 2017

Everything is screwy so we might as well 'go with the flow.' This is a paraphrase of something someone said last night as I dined with some of my conservative Baptist friends. Well, they are closer to being 'friends' than the majority of those going by that classification on my Facebook page. It's funny how trivial we've made even something as truly valuable as friendship, but I digress.

When our current president was brought up in conversation, I made what was taken as a disparaging remark and one of the ladies there said, "Oh, you are one of those." I was reminded immediately of a recent trip to an AT&T store to get a new sim card for my 'old' Blackberry and the young thing there (more or less feminine) said the exact same words. So I began thinking, as I am want to do. I concluded that I am indeed one of those. One who doesn't feel the need to spend money foolishly merely because there's a new version of it that's 'so much better.' I'm one of those who doesn't belong to any political party but who researches the facts before voting for a candidate. I don't listen to biased rhetoric or blatant propaganda and greedily swallow it as truth. This includes the usual talking heads on the tube and those in authority in my personal life, especially those speaking from a pulpit. I'm one of those who stands outside of any gathering or group and observes with, usually, bemused detachment as human intercourse plays out. Lately though, a feeling of dire concern and worries of impending doom have entered my thoughts. This knee-jerk reactionism I see on the rise is a symptom of something more deeply rooted than mere prejudice and/or bigotry. I'm reminded of a story by Shirley Jackson titled, "The Lottery." It seems humanity in its collective state is an unreasoning beast who must, occasionally, devour its scapegoat for the sake of 'the greater good.' I think this is why we love so to play the blame game; everything is someone's fault and it's usually someone else's not our own.

I think this is why my art might be construed as 'outsider' because I do not swallow current trends and my pieces are not designed to please the public. I am not a religious person but if I were I'd definitely 'thank God' for that, whether that entity be alien, male, female, both or neither, corporal or ephemeral. It seems even our concept of omniscience is sorely lacking in imagination. Maybe it's time for 'The God-Bird?' ;)

My artist of the week is Max Beckmann, a German artist who died in 1950 and who was linked to the Expressionism movement, an association to which he appears to have been vehemently opposed. We have to pigeon-hole everything and everyone, don't we? He did lots of self-portraits. Below is his 'Self-Portrait with Horn.' It was painted in the late 30's, I believe.

MAY 26 2017

I was studying the Klee pic I just uploaded and had found on the less than trustworthy Internet and noted that it looked more like acrylic and 'cleaner' than I thought an original Klee might. And, of course, I was correct. Seems there are lot of homages to his work, some in paint some in fabric, etc. I think a lot of his work would make fantastic stained glass pieces. Anyway, to help clarify and before anyone can point out my error, I'm uploading a photo of the real 'Forest Bird' or "Wald Vogel.' The Nazis thought his art degenerate. But look where that attitude got them.

MAY 26 2017

It looks like I'm going to have to repeat a previous blog entry wherein I thought I'd made it very clear that I do not have time to play the "I'll kiss yours, if you kiss mine' game here at Artwanted or anywhere else. Just because you make a comment on one of my pieces or vice versa, I make a comment on one of yours, does NOT mean we are playing a game of TIT FOR TAT. I am doing art here, possibly ART, but, at the very least, I'm creating unique and personal images using a modicum of talent, inspiration, creativity and more than a little sweat. If I lean a little heavily upon it, it's because it's the only constantly reassuring presence I have in my life and has been for a lot of years. So don't put up a quick snap of a baby, dog, or bathroom and expect me to gush all over it. I am not a hypocrite and I will not play the game according to anyone's rules but my own. If that seems harsh, maybe you need to remove those rose-colored glasses?

I mentioned in my previous blog that I could probably paint the 21st Century equivalent of Guernica and get very little notice or recognition. Let me clarify that I wasn't talking about just me. I think it is difficult for any artist of worth to stand out without a lot of self-promotion and art world clout. With all the tripe and trivia parading as high art or just 'art' in general, there's just too much to take in without being taken in, if you get my meaning. I actually believe, in this dismissive and short attention span society we find ourselves in, that real art takes time to germinate within the collective mind-set of MAN (women, you know you're included.) The internet has opened a floodgate but it is largely flotsam and jetsam. The trouble with the Internet is that all this fluff has a possible half-life of a couple of hundred years.

If you disagree or heartily agree, feel free to comment. I know my blog area gets a good number of viewings each month and I would enjoy some feedback. If you are one of the growing number of Internet trolls who are so unhappy and small-minded that you think spewing hatefulness and negativity is the only way to 'count' for anything, I say try creating some art. It is great therapy on several levels. I am not such a troll though I have been called ogre on several occasions. ;)

I have been studying Paul Klee this week. He liked birds as well. I'll upload a piece of his you may or may not be familiar with.

MAY 14 2017

I was on Facebook a little bit ago, and there was a question in the left side panel that asked, "What's your life motto?" And, as is common in the 21st Century, when I responded, wrote a few sentences, the damned thing wouldn't let me save it. :) That's so like technology today. But even with its glaring insecurity and frustrating glitches most of us are stuck to it like super glue. I find that only mildly amusing; it is also very much disheartening. But I've said more than a couple of sentences here on the pitfalls of taking technology, and those behind it, at face value. Just remember that where ever you go and whatever you read, you are more than likely reading a veiled advertisement. Ain't it wonderful? ')

I've been painting today but am taking a break. I come back to the computer room periodically to see if I've gotten any important emails and to see what's going on on my two sites, Redbubble and Artwanted. I uploaded Eggman II yesterday on Redbubble and in the area I'm supposed to describe the piece and get folks all excited about having it on a shirt, a skirt, a mug, etc., I said something that I thought worth repeating. I said I could probably paint the 21st Century equivalent of Guernica and be largely ignored nowadays. After uploading to Redbubble, I went to see a movie at the discount house up the street. Every preview of coming attractions involved either super humans or the paranormal. There wasn't a real human drama to be found. That strongly suggests that we are filling our lives with pure escapism rather than dramas that explore the human condition. Or maybe the escapism is due to the drudgery of our every day existences? If that isn't food for thought, I don't know what is. ;)

Every week I try to learn something about an artist that I've either never heard of before or know little about. This week I stumbled across David Smith. Mr. Smith is classified as the sculptural equivalent of a Motherwell, Rothko or Pollock. I actually found his pieces much more engaging than those artists. He died in the mid-Sixties. I've never seen a more concentrated and sadly serious face in my life. Well, Dylan Thomas comes to mind and maybe Mr. Eliot of Wasteland fame. The internet CAN be used for something useful, you know. Just saying. :). I'm uploading a photo of Mr. Smith so you can see what I mean.

MAR 24 2017

Perception is colored by one's personality and personality is colored by the experiential data, memories if you will, one accrues over time. A very young person's personality is initially colored by home life and the social interactions therein plus the incidental absorption of media---like TV and internet. We are pure almost empty vessels at birth without preconceptions or expectations. These two concepts are learned later and usually in much the same way as Pavlov's dog learned, I think. The only major difference between those who exist along the same timeline then is natural intellect and the genetic predisposition of the individual. But even intelligent individuals can create a rather staid homogenous collective if there's no one in it to poke holes in the flimsily constructed fa├žade of human society and point out the absurdities and its paradoxical constructs.

If you cease to question what is, you become just another sheep in the meadow baaing and chewing. And the status quo becomes calcified and violently resistant to change. That usually means that everything, popular entertainment, marketing, etc., is calculated to target the largest demographic rather than actively stretch itself to evolve into something different. In America that means those of average intelligence and the young. Undeveloped brains, it seems, are more easily distracted by colored lights and short sound bytes. I don't think there's been a time in human history when so many humans are being bombarded by so much trivia on a continual basis. I see this as I check my electronic mail, do research on the internet or turn on the radio in my car. Everything seems calculated to titillate but so little to actually educate or stimulate.

So are humans in general moving up the evolutionary ladder or merely sitting complacently on some middle rung listening to Lady Gaga? I'm probably just a little too close to see the bigger picture and as I've developed a strong pessimistic streak over time, I think I'll have to pass on that one. I think I've accrued a bit too much of that experiential data over the course of my life. ;)

I'm currently working on 'Eggman II' and will hopefully have it ready for upload this weekend.

MAR 12 2017

Another Friday evening...well early evening (5:30 to 7:30) ...gallery show opening has passed. Last Friday was held the "New Works" show reception at Art Space Gallery here in Austin. I didn't get off work until just at 5;30 and was surprised to see a good-sized crowd already in attendance when I arrived a short time later. Of course, having been a member for around 5 years now, I know the faces of artists and artists' families and friends which told me I wasn't seeing a bunch of newbie potential buyers.

I was glad to see a painting by Beverly Deutsch had already sold---probably pre-opening as I got there by 5:40. It was arguably the nicest painting by her I'd seen recently. Of course, I said something stupid when she walked within earshot and she took me literally and walked on by, otherwise I would have told her personally. Oh well.

Another artist who does geometric abstracts stopped by the reception and asked where my piece was. I told him behind a clump of attendees, pointing. When he returned he said, "Of course, it's a bird." Well, it's a bird and it isn't. It's Bird Fork II so not exactly a variety you'll see singing in a tree in your backyard. I just smiled--well, I think I smiled; those things don't come as easily as they once did. I could have responded that he only does multi-colored geometric patterns so what's the difference save that I don't do the same 'thing' every time I sit down at the easel? But I didn't.

Eduardo, my photographer friend and I had a good chat. In fact, he and I were talking when Beverly walked by. She was probably a bit 'high' after selling her piece. I don't blame her for that. In Austin, selling work isn't easy unless you have been publicly recognized by an artistic authority or achieved some other flavor of notoriety. I've always had difficulty with self-promotion. One of my biggest failings, I think.

I stayed until almost 7 then walked over to Walmart. After finding their Deli closed for the day, I returned to my Fiat and drove home. I had talked to Jan Knox, Kelli Montgomery and Eduardo. No one else there showed an interest in conversation and I didn't feel up to initiating any. I went home and started a painting I'm thinking of titling Cock-eyed. I did a sketch in January that I liked. Oh, and it doesn't have a bird or bird reference. Maybe I'll have it ready for the Figurative Show that's coming soon. I'll upload that sketch; tell me what you think. :)