“Rhapsodic, hallucinatory, it is emblematic of the painterly process of synthesizing motif and materials, visual stimulus and pictorial will”.
Stephen Maine, excerpt from "Seeing Things" catalog essay.
Aeolus Sighs Over Schoodic
2018 Watercolor on paper, 12” x 15”
From our recent sojune Down East. The dichotomy between representational and interpretive (non literal) composition represents a compelling narrative for me. Reproducing an observed landscape within the context of recognizable semiotic orientation, keys in on a hand-eye spatial evaluation tool crucial to the practice of fluid and flowing draftsmanship. However a less strictured approach to scenery allows for a freeing-up of improvisational content that may bring potent associative elements into play. The image below was actually painted at 180°, and then flipped to switch top/bottom. This reorientation occurred as way to accommodate an unseen identity that popped into my awareness; Aeolus the Greek god of the winds (frequently seen huffing and puffing on old nautical charts). Exploring the realm of intuitive mark making is nothing new in painting, but like snowflakes, no two brushstrokes are ever the same.
“From our recent Maine excursion. We took a day up at Acadia National Park's Schoodic Peninsula to partake of the big, pounding surf. This piece required some touch up at home with ink and powdered pigments to boost a dulling effect from the unsized paper.”
“This piece was done right after my previous post (View From Flye Point, hedges). I tend to work directly from scenery, then I might loosen up, and try a more interpretive gesture. Like different poses in life drawing.”
“Here is the first of about 10 plein air scenes from Maine during last weeks visit. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated. I figured I'd be ready to roll since most of my art output the last year or so has been landscapes, but Maine required some perceptual weight lifting. This was the next to last piece I did during the 6 days we were there, and due to issues with my new 18" x 24" cheap watercolor block (unsized paper which makes layering water based pigment very difficult) I finally gave up and went back to my old 12" x 15" block. I only took one day off, and painting everyday on the ledges in the hot sun was hard on my feet and derma. But overall it was a fantastic opportunity to get back and immerse myself in the Down East environment, enjoy some peaceful quietude, lobster, and a spectacular full moon.”
Very challenging environment for plein air at Domino. The scenery was spectacular verging on overwhelming. The sweeping vista of the East River surrounded by intricate architectural perspectives, was saturated by a wonderfully undulating, low hanging cloud cover. Also had to dodge a couple of heavy rain squalls. I condensed the scene a bit to fit the aspect ratio of the paper. Next time I might set up a diptych to stretch out the perspective.
Then there was the crowd; a raucous beach volleyball game nearby, many happy but noisy kids running about with loud parents trying to exercise their pergotives. Last but not least was the extremely buff, semi nude pushup performer with his video entourage doing one-handed presses on the next bench over! Although I look forward to returning, Domino is to be avoided on weekends if you want any peace and quiet.
“The narrow twisting, turning path into Dead Horse Bay has a fairy tale quality. Well worn, but overgrown with a dense jungle canopy of deciduous vegetation, likely containing all sorts of creatures lurking just beyond your awareness.”
“Schlepped out to Robert Moses SP yesterday to try and avoid crowds! (not) Gorgeous day anyway. A warm, crystal white aura saturated the windy environs. Rowdy ocean with translucent breakers that curled into a pristine gray, green earth foam, backlit by an unknown shade of softly undulating cobalt pale.” Link to:FB July 15, 2018
“My first plein air piece for 2018. I become mesmerized by oceanic theater. The visual interplay between scene and paper merges my focus. Its like taking a dip; bracing and your feet don't always touch bottom.”
Rip Rap, New York Bay, and the Battery Going Uptown (from Bush Terminal Park)
2107 Watercolor, water soluble crayon, ink on paper. 11" x 15"
Atmospheres at Ft Tilden (ship receding)
2017 Watercolor and crayon on paper. 11" x 15" Sloan Kettering corp collection
“Painting at the beach again on Sunday. Placid afternoon with undulating sky and ocean. Wind whipped up at the end, reaching gale force in a matter of 5 minutes. You have to know how to wind proof with bungee cords.”
“This piece is based on the charts of ancient mariners that believed benevolent half human, half sea creatures lurked at the edge of known navigational regions to guide and advise further exploration.”
2018 Water based media on paper towel, paper napkins, and paperboard. 9" x 12"
“Looking forward to our first 2018 plein air trip to Ft Tilden tomorrow. This new work on paperboard stock contextualizes an inner/indoor sensation of nature with textural inclinations, and could be considered as relating to Musique Concrète.”
“This painting crosses over from a literalistic depiction of a rocket launch, into a esoteric notion of extra-physical phenomenon. Perhaps related to Coltrane’s “sheets of sound”.
Linked to FB: August 10 2018
Self Portrait As A Negro
I really got carried away during the 1990s. A large, cheap studio, and mostly part-time work on my art moving truck, allowed for a very prolific period. In the most general terms I would describe a tendency in my chroma towards patina and chiaroscuro. I see the content as mostly abstract non-fiction, but delving into psychic theory.
“This painting was a response to my discovery of Indonesian gamelan. Not so much the shadow puppet theater, as the orchestral performances. Gamelan encompasses a sublime melodic rainforest essence, that reverberates as atmospheric transcendence. There is really nothing like it in the western canon.”
“I recently have begun the huge task of digitizing all my old art slides. There are about 500 paintings and works on paper going back to 1974. A significant portion of them have been "recycled", but I'm glad I have images. More to come as the future reveals the past.”
“This crucifixion painting was a seminal moment in my youthful career. It's sheer physicality combined with a luminous viscosity, to counter my trepidation as a novice draftsman. I pulled it off by sensing my limitations, and then not minding them too much.”
2004 11” x 15” watercolor & oil pastel on paper (lost in Wingspread Gallery fire)
1998 watercolor & oil pastel on paper. 9" x 15" private collection
“Grindstone Neck is a boulder strewn stretch of paradise just outside Winter Harbor. It can get busy with gawkers on weekends, but remains one of the most spectacular panoramas along the coast of Maine.”