Friday, October 22, 2004

I was shocked and saddend when I found out about the sudden death of fellow Philadelphia painter,
Recbecca Westcott earlier this week. I only met Rebecca once, and that was at her solo exhibition at
Spector Gallery. I only talked with her for about 10 minutes during the opening, but in those 10 minutes I managed to get a feeling for the warm, dedicated person her
friends and acquaintances knew.

R.I.P, Rebecca.

More on Rebecca Westcott:

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Day one of the open studio was a let-down on the attendence side of things. I hope tomorrow is better. The weather was pretty shitty as it rained for most of the afternoon. Plus it was way chillier than last year. Had a good, long conversation with a fellow artist and some buddies stopped by later in the afternoon, which helped to ease the frustration of not having many visitors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Monday night, our local PBS station, WHYY, offered a rare treat. They broadcast an hour-long documentary on one of Philadelphia's best known living artists,
Bo Bartlett in conjunciton with an exhibition of his work at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This event was rare because:

1. It's seldom that a local painter is featured in any program here.
2. It's rarer still that a local, living painter is given such focus.

I like Bartlett's work, despite it being somewhat sterile at times. I like figurative work, but it has to be done well and Bartlett is one of the few contemporary realist, figurative painters whom I think is good at what he does. Beyond that, I really connected with the sheer will, ambition, and determination he's cultivated to stay focused on his work. There was this connection to a very palpable 'search' going on that fuels much of my own creative endeavors and, which I suspect, is the same for other creative people.

This all relates to conversations and thoughts I've been having lately. It first came up a couple of months ago when I had a conversation with Gabrielle, one of my studio-mates. We got on the subject of the type of guy she had been dating before she met her present boyfriend. She said that it was an adjustment to getting used to someone who was so, and I'm paraphrasing, "so settled and unquestioning...someone who was happy where he was and accepted it". While on the other hand, her other relationships were with people who were creative in some way and were seemingly always searching and questioning what they were doing and the world around them.

That conversation has been with me for a while now and I've been thinking about the search I've been on as a painter. What it is I'm searching for doesn't matter; I honestly don't know what it is I'm truly after most of the time. It changes all the time. I know I'm attempting to express something; some relationship to my enviornment, some emotion/feeling, beauty, whatever...What matters is that there's this very real pull to define something which, ultimately, is undefinable to me. The act of creating, itself, is being in a constant state of questioning. Each painting I do invariably winds up leaving more quetions to be dealt with. There simply isn't an answer. The minute you begin thinking that you've found answer in your work, then what's the use of continuing to paint? There's no point in going on with it if you know the answer to what it is you have been after. Life is exactly the same way. There is no answer to the question, "What is life?" That only leads to more questions and there isn't a definitive answer to be found.

So why put myself through all of the ups and downs, self doubt and confidence, etc...? I don't know why, I just have to do what I do and I love it. It's that simple. What makes creativity worthwhile for me is knowing that I'm in an active conversation with life and ideas. You can't be passive and be creative, these are mutually exclusive. It just doesn't work. Creativity arises out of passion and for there to be passion means that you have to be engaged in life at some level. Not just thinking about it, but living, feeling, and being it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

One of the hardest things I find to do is writing a desription of what I'm doing visually. There's no way to convey what I just painted without an image. It has been interesting but ultimately a futile effort. However, without a digital camera or scanner at present, I'll have to rely on the written word when I want to talk about paintings I'm working on. It's not been that bad, just challenging.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Had a late start getting to the studio yesterday, but my time there was productive. I worked on a couple of large hand-drawn grid images on paper using graphite, charcoal and some acrylic medium. I did three, all on 22"x30" printmaking paper. The jury is still out on if they work or not, but the first two are definately better than the third. I really struggled with that one. That's good because I had to deal with some of the ptifalls of enlarging the images that have existed as 6"x6" studies. I'll try a couple more the next time I'm up there, probably Monday morning before work.

Last night was pretty good. I went out for First Friday. Saw some art, saw some eye-candy, ran into some people I know and met a couple of other artists. There were a couple of painting shows I liked: Keith Ragone at Snyderman, Joseph Marioni at Larry Becker, and Joshua Mays at Union 237.