Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ogunquit 16

There's something about the edge of the land and sea: 8x10 1/2 inch pastel.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ogunquit 15

An 8x10 1/2 inch pastel.  Ogunquit 15.  I think there's a couple I missed somewhere, but there will be more in a series that I like to do.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I rather be on the Maine coast during the summer: an 8x10 1/2 pastel.

President and Nevins

An 11x14 oil of a street corner I seem to always find my way to.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

First and Whitwell and Morandi on Reality

A 9x12 oil of a street corner in Brooklyn, 1st and Whitwell.

Giorgio Morandi, when asked about abstract art in 1955, responded, "I also believe there is nothing more surreal and nothing more abstract than reality."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Top of the Hill and Why Photography Matters

An 8x 10 1/2 pastel of abstracted view where Stratton and Blair meet at the top of the hill.

I just finished reading Why Photography Matters by Jerry L. Thompson.  It matters because photography or the camera will capture more of reality than the artist wants or expects, but accepting and using this chancy outcome as part of a dialectic for development, the artist will grow and have a deeper understanding of the world.  He opposes mathema to pathema, Greek terms, to illustrate the dialectic.  Mathema is concerned with preconceptions and models of understanding while pathema is more passive and open to the unexpected (like the camera!).  He quotes Henry Adams on the danger of mathema: great artworks are mirrors, and will only show what one brings to them.  Pathema, related to the word pathos, can enable transcendence beyond the accepted or expected. The book's cover shows a photograph by Walker Evans of the Burroughs home fireplace.  There may be a known story behind the photograph, but the photograph offers much more than Evans probably ever conceived when he first made the image in 1936.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Drawings and an etsy shop

Three charcoal and pastel drawings of Brooklyn.  Even when the weather is lousy, it's still possible to find something to draw.  

I finally took the plunge.  For the last couple days, I have been setting up an ETSY shop to sell my artwork.  I am still learning all the ins and outs.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ut Pictura Poesis

An 8x10 1/2 inch pastel of the Caves Trail at Field Farm.

One final quote from Charles Wright:  "Poetry is not a reflection, of course, the famous mirror up to Nature.  It is a reconstruction, which is why style is so important: as you rebuild, you rebuild in your own way.  And which is why nothing is ever 'this' or 'that' but is 'toward this' or 'in the direction of that.'  Rearrangement and reassembly.  Painting knows this.  Ut pictura poesis: new structures, new dependencies."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Brooklyn Sidewalk

Last oil I have been working on: 18x24 of a view down Sterling Place.


Another of the larger oils I have been working on:  18x24 of the Gowanus Canal.

Top of the Hill

An 8x10 1/2 pastel of the top of the hill behind the Clark, before all the snow disappeared.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Pastel Path

An 8x10 1/2 inch pastel of a path at Field Farm before the January thaw and rain.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Singing on Carroll Street

An 18x24 oil of Carroll Street at the bridge over the Gowanus Canal.

Related to the previous quote from Charles Wright is the following from Helen Vendler's book on Seamus Heany, where she comments on his book Seeing Things:

"The powerful effort of re-imagining everything - not representing it mimetically as it happened; not representing it embalmed by memory; but representing it on an abstract and symbolic plane that presents itself as such - this is the strenuousness that underlies the hieroglyphs of Seeing Things.  The virtue of such writing is that it records what is precious without tethering it to a limited personal place and a brief human lifetime.  The poet sacrifices himself - as autobiographical persona, as narrator of his own era, as a person representing his class or ethnic group - in order to see things in the most basic terms of all..."

Elsewhere, Heany wrote, "The paradox of the arts is that they are all made up and yet they allow us to get at truths about who and what we are and might be."

All I can do is keep all this in mind:  I have no idea if I am succeeding.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

On the Path

While I work on some larger paintings, I continue to walk the woods with my sketchbook.  The top is from the hill behind the Clark Art Institute.   The snow hid some ice.  I fell down at one point leaving a complete impression of my 9x12 sketchbook in the path, not to mention some other whirling impressions.  The bottom is from the Caves Trail at Field Farm.  Today all the snow is gone.

One of the attractions to the poet Charles Wright is his love for the paintings of Morandi and Cezanne.  In a short essay on Morandi, he wrote:  "If you look hard... you will see that lucidity, permanence of idea and expression, attention to detail and vision, calm and beauty continue to be the true virtues of any art... Art is slow, as Hughes says, and propaganda is fast, and choice is what propaganda erases.  As Morandi did in his paintings,  we should stake our art on the persistence of continuous inspection.  As Cezanne did as well, we should have a "tenderness toward the mundane," a gathering to us of the quotidien.  By concentrating on things that are, we can put meaning where it should be--in direct reconstruction, in the picture itself, in the world as it is when we look at it."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fourth Avenue View

A 9x12 oil on canvas of a view on Fourth Avenue near Carroll Street.  I also changed a couple images below, since I repainted them since I last posted them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Two Brooklyns

Both are 9x12 oils of Brooklyn: top is on panel of the corner of Carroll and Fourth Avenue; bottom is on canvas of the view on Third near Bond Street.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow and Mud and Morandi

An 8x10 1/2 pastel of the Sweet Brook Farm barn overhang, and a 9x12 oil of Stratton Road looking North.

An excerpt from Charles Wright:

In Giorgio Morandi's bedroom and studio, it was always spring,
He would say, "Each time we begin,
                                                           we think we have understood,
That we have all the answers.
But it turns out we're just starting over again from the beginning."
Some bottles, a bed, and three tables,
The flowers abounding in little rectangles
                                                                  all over the walls.