Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grand Steps

An 8 x 10 1/2 pastel of a view on Grand near Bergen.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Contradiction or Paradox

Two views: top, 8x10 /1/2 pastel of Longview Terrace, and bottom, 9x12 oil of St. Mark's, suburban/rural and urban.  A paradox is only an apparent contradiction.

Best Wishes for the New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Snow Field

An 8 x 10 1/2 inch pastel.  I'm trying to paint what can't be painted.

More words of wisdom from Charles Wright:

"The problem with all of us as we get older is that we begin writing as though we were somebody.  One should always write as if one were nobody, for that's what we are.  In the giant shadow of Dante's wing, for instance, we are nobody and should never forget it.  So we should always write out of our ignorance and desire and ambition, never out of some sense of false wellbeing, some tinge of success.  There is no success in poetry, there is only the next inch, the next handhold out of the pit."

Just substitute 'painting' for 'poetry' and 'writing'.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Truck Route

An 18x24 oil of a corner in Brooklyn, Third and Third.  Sounds awful.

In an interview the poet Charles Wright said:

There’s a very famous—maybe I’ve said this before—Czech photographer named Josef Sudek. He had only one arm. He was a great photographer and he used this big view camera and he did landscapes and still lifes and things like that. He was once asked why there were no people in his pictures. He said, “Well, I don’t know. There are always people there when I start, but by the time I get everything done and take the picture, they’ve all gone.” And that’s sort of the way my poems are. I think of them as being populated with people who are whispering stories in my ear which I then launder in my own way and present, and by the time the poem gets presented, all the people are gone and nothing’s left but the whispers. Once the people go, there goes your narrative.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Mysteries

Winter snow brings mystery to the landscape: two 8 x 10 1/2 pastels.

Two more items from the Belden Lane book on The Solace of Fierce Landscapes:

A Zen Buddhist saying:  To the one who knows nothing, mountains are mountains, waters are waters, and trees are trees.  But when he has studied and knows a little, mountains are no longer mountains, water is no longer water, and trees are no longer trees.  But when he has thoroughly understood, mountains are once again mountains, waters are waters, and trees are trees.

"Most of us have little experience in paying careful attention to anything.  We marvel at a naturalist such as Louis Agassiz of Harvard, who once said he had spent the summer traveling, only to get halfway across his backyard."

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ridges and Edges

An 8x10 1/2 inch pastel of a view from a ridge of other ridges and edges.

In the outstanding book The Solace of Fierce Landscapes the author, Belden Lane, writes about an Englishman in northern India near Tibet who wrote, "We are saved in the end by the things that ignore us."  The 'things' he was referring to was the landscape.  Lane adds, "By its very act of ignoring him, the landscape invited him out of his frantic quest for self-fulfillment."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Top of Blair Road

A dear friend was driving to visit us, and got a late start.  When she finally arrived, she told me she had driven over a dirt road just before finding our place.  That's when I realized that she had gone up and over Blair Road in the dark, not the preferred route.  Fortunately the road is not rutted yet.  Nor did it  have the late afternoon sun to illuminate it as seen from the 9x12 oil from a couple days ago.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Late Afternoon December Field and Managed Chaos

A 9x12 oil on panel.

I've been reading a book called Epitaph for a Peach by David Mas Masumoto, which I found fittingly at the dump.  It's a book filled with wisdom acquired through Masumoto living the life of a farmer dependent upon nature, and other things out of one's control.  The writer mentions a farmer friend who paints, who uses a variety of greens to depict plants,  and who also likes to depict piles of discarded fruit trees assembled by the bulldozer.  I might paint a picture of the discarded barn, another pile of wood.  Masumoto wrtes:  "This past year I have learned that productivity is little more than managed chaos, wildness the source of fertility."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Butler near 3rd and Wisdom

Samuel Johnson said that the prospect of being hanged concentrates the mind wonderfully.  The same applies to moving.  But I am concentrating on painting again.  The above is a 9x12 oil of the view on Butler Street approaching 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn.

Lately, I have been reading Thoreau's Ecstatic Witness by Alan D. Hodder,  which I acquired at the bookstore at Walden Pond earlier this year.  It is a rich, profound book about Thoreau's religious and artistic vision.  Hodder cites Thoreau from Walden:  "I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born."