OCT 10 2008

I haven't been uploading much lately to Artwanted, not because I don't have anything to upload, but because my attention has been drawn elsewhere. Please pardon the pun. :)

I have been active over the last several months in resurrecting and recustomizing my music studio---in my home, of course---that used to give me a lot of pleasure going back to the mid-Eighties through the mid-Nineties. The vintage equipment that I mothballed for over a decade, plus the newer equipment is starting to come together. What was going to take up a small corner of the room has now eaten most of its space.

A lot of great affordable tools for creating music have been developed since I was actively dabbling in the sonic pool and there's almost too much to absorb. For you who are familar with MIDI, you probably know something of what I am referring to. My primary instrument is a Yamaha WX-11 wind controller. Think clarinet-looking instrument that connects to the computer and with which you control internal and/or external sounds (from synthesizers, etc.) But I am eyeing the much newer Akai EWI4000s as an upgrade in the coming year. It has a built-in synthesizer, unlike the WX-11, but can also control other synths as well.

Anyway, I thought my absence warranted some sort of explanation. I'm still filling notebooks with drawings in the meantime and I'm sure I will be uploading some new ones soon. ---Charles

FEB 26 2008

I have begun a new 'egg series' which I will be uploading to commemorate Easter soon. So far there are three potential that I may upload. In these I have used more colored pencil than gel ink, though a piece I was working on last evening incorporated both mediums equally.

Actually I've several 'egg' pics that I have done over the course of the last several years, so I may upload the best of these also and create a gallery special to them. Eggs and birds are a natural combination, so I suppose it is not in the least bit strange that I would have done some of both, even putting egg and bird together in the same drawing, as I did in 'Which Came First?'

I appreciate any input from viewers and hope that folks will take the time to slow down and look below the surface of my pieces.

FEB 17 2008

It seems there are not many who wish to view my private gallery. Or maybe they think if they send me a message requesting the code, I will sell their address to the nearest spammer. Whatever.

I'm shaking up myself a little bit these days, trying to shake my media up a little also. I'm still working on paper, but using more pencil than pen lately. I hate to get in ruts---any more than I am forced to. :)

My son, Nathan, is doing a self-portrait in his art class at his high school. I saw it friday night, and I must say, I was impressed. When he was younger he drew alot, but I haven't seen him at it in a long time. I hope he continues to develop his skills---I would hate to see it end with me. I would also like to see him surpass his dear old dad.

DEC 05 2007

I've been contemplating a private gallery, one less restrictive in subject and form, perhaps a bit more 'adult' in theme. If you'd be interested in viewing such a gallery, please e-mail me and I will upload images and send you a code so you can access it. Thanks, Chas

NOV 27 2007

Some have asked that I address the bird imagery that is so ubiquitous in much of my work. I will endeavor to do so, but, like my work itself, the end result will most likely be imperfect. For this I apologize beforehand.

When I was young I had a recurring dream of flying. Maybe we all do--I wouldn't doubt it. In my dreams I made some progress over time. In the earliest, I remember merely flapping my arms to no avail. I remained locked to the surface of my world. In later dreams, I was able to tuck my legs under me and fly just above the earth, sometimes scraping my toes as I flew. But I had one dream in which I flew high above the treeline. It was wondrous and I remember the viewpoint even now and the feeling of the wind in my face. But I had no sooner loosed the bonds of earth then I was downed by, of all things, an arrow. I plummeted downward and awoke. I do not recall having another dream about flying after this.

I think it runs deeper than or maybe just different from dream imagery though. Birds are symbolic of freedom, of innate intelligence. They are constantly with us but not of us. (I, for one, hope to hear birdsong on my dying day.) They are symbolic of the natural world though the two of us co-habitate even within burgeoning urban settings. They probably observe us in ways that would surprise.

I think also that I connote 'bird' with creativity, of rising above the mundane of everyday existence to see from a different viewpoint what is commonly referred to as existence. Maybe that dream of flying is still alive in me somewhere and this is how I deal with it. Who knows?

I told you my 'explanation' would be less than succinct. You have only yourself to blame for reading this blog. :)

NOV 02 2007

I read in the morning paper about a documentary that just came out about a four-year-old girl who paints abstract paintings and who, at the time the documentary was filmed, was getting thousands of dollars per painting. The little girl looked sweet in the photo with brush in hand, but looking at the agitated abstract in front of her that already appeared to be finished(Yeah, exactly how do you KNOW its finished? LOL)I couldn't see her in the act of painting it. One must imagine that little girl, posing demurely before the camera, like a four-year-old, really working up a sweat both physically and cognitively. I couldn't. Did I mention the would-be artist dad?

The article brought to mind a previous article some years back of the elephant who painted with its tail, and appeared to enjoy it, so said the article anyway. Now this Indian elephant had to have the colors applied to its tail by humans, humans had to stretch the canvas and humans had to back it up to the canvas. So much for the creative process. Its works sold for goodly sums also. Not in the thousands like the little girl---after all she is HUMAN, and, well, the elephant isn't, is it?

What am I getting at here? Well, let's see. It looks as though the little girl was a 'successful' artist because of her age, and the elephant because of its species. But why would intelligent humans spend good money for such piffle? (I always like to think of money as 'good.' After all it is inanimate and therefore incapable of being either GOOD or EVIL, correct?) Is it because the work speaks to them personally, or because of the oddity factor?

It always seems to be the abstractionists who get slammed with this type of thing, doesn't it? Obviously a little girl or an elephant isn't going to paint like a Rembrandt or even a Picasso. I say EVEN a Picasso, because he wasn't exactly a photorealist, was he?

I thought it interesting also that the article about the little girl mentioned the local gallery owner who at one point said that abstract art is a scam and then pointed out that the little girl is a genius. Both of those statements, in this context, can't be correct, can they?

SEP 12 2007

Even though I classify my work here at Artwanted as 'Abstract,' I seldom work within the confines of true abstractionism. Artwanted merely does not give me the option of creating a new genre with which to classify myself. :)

A purely abstract work of art is without any pictorial/figurative reference point for the viewer. Think of late 40's and early 50's Jackson Pollack or later Rothko for examples of pure abstractionism. And for an artist who crossed from the purely abstract to the figurative during his career, look at some of Philip Guston's work. He had a great reputation as an abstract painter only to confound art critics and established audience alike with figurative work later in life. Of course, he didn't exactly move from abstract to photo-realism, but the shift was still quite profound.

So how would I classify my work, you ask? Like the abstractionists, I wish my work to capture the emotional 'moment,' but I do not limit myself to color and basic shape, as, for example, Rothko did. I will literally throw in the kitchen sink if it suits the piece I am working on. An individual's reality is full of memories, both real and idealized, abstract and pictorial, and so I cannot consciously limit my process to conform to a specific flavor of art, without sabotaging my own artistic vision.

One reason I draw more than paint is because with the pure speed of the process, coupled with the average size of my drawings, I am more likely to pull out 'something' of the hidden self. For this reason I look at my small drawings as fragments, small shards of that reclusive entity. You could say my work is an active attempt to know and understand that person who by the merest coincidence is also the artist. ;)

But I still haven't put a label on it, have I? Perhaps that is as it should be.

Addendum dated April 1, 2015: I have now been painting again almost exclusively for over a year and a half. I am still using the one-minute sketch and/or the magnetic sketchpad to come up with ideas. I have also used as inspiration some of my works on paper, both color and monochrome. I call them 'translations' since they are not usually identical replications. The origin process has not changed though the paintings are admittedly not as spontaneously realized as some of my drawings have been. Some might think that a plus. :)

JUL 26 2007

Have you ever looked up the word 'art' in either a dictionary or on the Internet? I did recently and found that seeking such a definition can be quite mind-boggling. It seems that our peception of art, like art itself, is fluid. By giving it a solid finite definition we are, in a sense, casting it in bronze. It may be beautiful in that form, but it ceases to grow and evolve.

We can thank the Dadaists and the Surrealists for widening the concept of art with or without the capital A. And, as I recall, the Impressionists, as tame as they are perceived in the 21st Century, rocked the status quo of the art world when those artists began to show their 'outrageous' works in the salons of Paris.

I would suppose that every artist, good, bad or indifferent, has an 'idea' of what art is and thrives to fulfill that personal definition with the tools at his or her disposal. One thing I think we can all agree on is that art isn't all about perfecting technique. Technique without emotive substance may as well be wallpaper. And it isn't all about the concept either, I think. Some concepts make interesting bedfellows but only as intellectual one-night-stands. Their ideosyncracies, like a lisp or snoring, can become quite annoying and their lack of a broad vocabulary can make them appear quite dull or stupid upon multiple visitations.

When you find the time, go to your local art museum and see what 'passed' for art, then visit a couple of your local art galleries and see what 'passes' for art. It will be interesting, I think, to note the similarities AND the differences.

JUL 11 2007

I have mentioned in my bio that a lot of my work is like automatic writing, but did you know that automatic drawing, a technique I use to access a lot of my visual imagery, was first developed by the surrealists? Automatic drawing was introduced by Andre Masson, but Miro, Dali, Jean Arp, and Andre Breton also indulged. Even Picasso got into the act in his later years. Many of Miro's paintings began as automatic drawings and were converted into paintings.

And like the surrealists, I use the illusionistic approach. By this I mean that I let lines move until they suggest something representational to me, then I develop the work based upon these 'suggestions.' Sometimes they suggest nothing representational. These remain pure abstractions.

You can put 'automatic drawing' into a search-engine and find out a lot more about this genre-style if you like. I find that you can develop a better understanding of where art is heading if you know where it's been. I found out a lot I didn't know and I'd been a practitioner for years. :)

JUN 28 2007

The gel pen is relatively new to us. I'm thinking its been prevalent for around a decade plus now. It makes an ideal drawing medium as it is acid-free and extremely fade-resistant. Tests have been made under extreme heat-light conditions and it was unclear whether the ink changed or the paper deterioated. But the average estimate by testers is that it will last at least 100 years without noticeable fading.

I use gel pens exclusively now and have since the late nineties. I like the way I can achieve a layered look without a lot of effort. But not all gel pens are created equal. Some of them dry out quickly or the medium bunches up at the tip. Two pens I bought less than a month ago have had their balls disintegrate already. And cost per pen is no indicator of either longevity or worth as a drawing instrument.

So buying a gel pen is a lot like buying a good paintbrush---when you find a good one, you hate it when it wears out. :)