Posted on March 25, 2015
Inevitably, whenever we watch one of our heroes speak of their process, our inclination is to feel as if we have failed on some level and will never achieve even a minimally comparable level of success – either within our work or in the world at large. We realize that we already took the wrong path in life. Our path will never possess a scant mimetic hint of our hero’s life.
We will not be “discovered” by a New York Dealer. We will not have the benefit of a non-existent, distracting family or partner or that plethora of friends to distract us. And we also know that we could never find contentment with the absolute purity of the life that was presented to us – that life summarized in one hour. And we feel we have failed, or will ultimately fail and should just give up.
Or do we?
In the case of comparing myself to Agnes – the thing we both have in common is that we both consider ourselves abstract expressionists. Also neither of us care about where we work, we would make the same work. Neither her work, nor my work is about the natural world. (That sounds odd for me right now, but believe me, its the truth.)
I didn’t have the reaction of imminent failure. I watched, and learned and thought about what she said. It was so very refreshing to hear an 86 year old painter speak about her life while she was still working on a painting. I think that was the most resonant part of the movie for me. The movies flashed back in small ways – that that were only referenced by Agnes at 86. There was nothing imposed upon me by the filmmaker, except for really smart editing and some poignant questions.
I left with the secure feeling that the direction I was going was right for me, as the direction she went was right for her. And that, damn it, I am still really young!
What I came away thinking was that we live in different times than the 1950’s Taos art scene or the 1960’s New York Art Scene. A New York Dealer does not need to search for anyone anymore, at least not in same way. They don’t look past their own small world for their artists. They already have their system that seems to work just fine for them. It keeps them in business and it continues to churn out the newest success stories. To try to seek out artists any other way would be totally overwhelming for them. The world is simply totally overwhelming!
It is my job to create a vital, strong body of work so that a dealer’s attention gets peaked. An artist that is confident, strong and speak to the times.
A Link to a Trailer of the movie: https://vimeo.com/66194933
Thank you Harwood Museum and Amy Rankin for showing that beautiful movie to the residents of the Wurlitzer! We loved seeing it in that amazing auditorium of yours.
Posted on March 15, 2015
Yes, yes, I did that. Because, well, shit, i was able to get some success with only tiny little paintings – smaller studies – to get all ready for the bigger paintings, well, I’ll tell ya, they got over controlled and just looked kinda dead and I got so frustrated………
So I went to the Harwood Museum. For 2 reasons, really. One to get some mileage out of my membership, and 2 to look at some Blumensheins. I kinda like Blumenshein. I like the way he handled paint and I think he was not over-influenced by the “Mountain”, The TAOS Mountain is a bit overplayed in this part of the universe. So I find Blumenshein a bit refreshing. ANYWAY, so I went into the Harwood, and visited the Agnes Martin Room – which is why I think I am in Taos, really – in the cosmic sense of “why”. I think she is hovering over me and “tsk, tsking” all this blogging and facebooking stuff. But I’m also thinking she might’ve been a little bit socially awkward. Maybe, maybe not. I’m sure there are some folks around here who have actually had a conversation or two with her. I mean when she was ALIVE. As Banjo Billy said to me last night at the Eske Pub – “Its ok if you talk to the spirits, its when they start talking back that you gotta start worrying.” I’m also hoping that I can get to actually see her movie – “…with my back to the world” sometime while I am here! So I went into the Agnes Martin room, and sat on those stupid Donald Judd chairs…. (sorry, I’m sure someone thinks they are genius) and looked up into the skylight. and looked at all the paintings really, really closely. I tried to shut out the fact that a yoga class is in there on Wednesday mornings. I just looked at the pictures… at the paintings. and then, I found myself doing what all errant Catholics find themselves doing at desparate times. I started to pray to Agnes. Asking for her advice. Asking her to shine a bit of her light upon me this week as I venture through a difficult passage in my work. I felt peaceful. Although its almost impossible NOT to feel peaceful in that little hexagon of a room – with the glowing skylight coming down from above. I prayed like Agnes was my patron saint. Like her paintings were relics with the spirit of her just wanting to be gleaned and heal the artist in pain. Saint Agnes.
And then I left. And bought some postcards. And found out that the Harwood shows the Agnes Martin movie on her birthday every year. That would be March 22nd. And that’s next week. I didn’t see anything scheduled.
Posted on March 9, 2015
Posted on February 1, 2015
Just as the full gravity of Abraham Verghese’s character Shiva, finds his life’s path in Cutting for Stone, and tears are streaming down my face and as I’m cutting stencils to change directions on the paintings that I have begun, I think of my good friend Fred, who loaned me the audio book. I thought about his generosity with so many people in his life. At that exact emotionally charged moment, I receive this text message:
“Thumb and finger make a ring
to see the future through.
I can see the world through it, only the world and you,
Only you and the world alone.
If I should break this ring,
where will I find you in the world
though I find everything?
Where are you?
Sent from my iPhone”
Yes I do love my iPhone. I am pleased that the efforts of that crazy shaman in Santa Fe who tried to use the spiritual forces of New Mexico to short circuit my connection to home had his powers thwarted. Connectivity might very well be our new power, our new spiritual power. Connected to each other through energies that might be suspicious if viewed through the lens that corporations control this connectivity… But ultimately the amazing collaboration of the human mind created that connectivity. Because, possibly, we might approach the collective connectivity of the crow mind.
Or maybe we are already there.
So, Fred, I am in Taos, got here Tuesday, the 27th. I don’t have real internet just yet – but I am getting it – and I just got my iPhone back. Painting is coming quicker than I thought. But it did snow a lot the day before yesterday, so being snow bound is both a blessing and a curse in a new place. Initiation by fire I guess. I’m kinda used to my late night netflix … And will welcome it when it is back. But I have your wonderful book … Thank you, thank you… and listened only to part of it on the road, so I now have it in my lovely studio.
My little adobe house has to be the best one on the block. It has a fabulously deep bathtub. And perfect size studio with perfect sized walls to paint on, a comfy bed, sweet kitchen and a lovely porch that has an amazing late afternoon and sunset view. It’s a short but good solid walk to town. And a good size living room floor for my morning yoga.
Because one of the 11 residents had her flight cancelled last week and won’t be here until Monday, we all have yet to have a formal meet and greet session. It’s a little weird. Because we are all kinda in our little casitas knowing it’s better not to be socializing… Although I think each of us would welcome cup of coffee of a glass of wine here and there. Next week, I guess.
I ran into Cynthia Huff’s ex Terry, of local Terry’s Chimney Service. He was outside his wood stove place. His place is next door to the Verizon store. I was waiting for the Verizon Store to open. Their website said 9am, their door said 9:30, and they did not open until close to 10. I gotta get used to this!
It was nice to see Terry, a familiar face. We had a nice conversation and I’ll go back there to exchange numbers since at that point I have no working phone.
I am trying to illustrate my story “wild bore”‘ but I think I am abandoning that. I have 3 paintings in process… But I think they don’t feel as alive as I would like them too, I am going to change my approach. Don’t know how yet.
Chase Morrison, of Baker and Chase from the toy store that used to be where Maria’s coffee shop is now, lives around here. So I will see her this coming weekend. She introduced me to her friend Kari, in Taos, and Kari invited my to a SuperBowl party this evening. Which is very welcome after almost a week of just me.
Also, at Doc Martin’s a local bar that I could walk to has an open mike on Monday nights. And it’s starts early… Like 7pm.. So I will go there tomorrow and bring my guitar. I am working on getting my callouses back. Retrieving my songs from my questionable memory banks.
Sleeping has been hard. I have been super tired. I finally got a halfway decent nights sleep last night. The altitude is over 7000 feet, so it takes a little getting used to. The next 10 days are supposed to be in the upper 40’s and 50’s and sunny!!!! I know, I know, you guys are getting snow again. I’m sorry. But New Mexico had one of its biggest storms in a while the day after I got here.
Since I have been a little negligent in updating my blog, I figured this would be a good way to let you, and a handful of other curious friends know where I’m at.
This is the first painting I think is ok… But I probably won’t finish the series. Don’t know yet. I got 11 weeks left!! So I’d better get cracking.