New Year’s resolution redux
I know in my last missive, I said that in the new year I would concentrate on Women in Hats. Well, that didn’t last long.
My only excuse is that I recently started reviewing the work of John Nieto. On one of my first trips to Santa Fe as a young adult, I saw Nieto’s bold and colorful work and right then I resolved to be an artist. That resolution was delayed for many years, but ultimately kept.
So, this paining of the Lakota war chief Sitting Bull is my homage to Nieto. Perhaps Nieto was also inspired by Sitting Bull? Both lived their lives fully and with purpose. Not a bad example for all of us.
Until next time...
Year end is the traditional time for evaluating the past and planning for the future and I’m no exception.
The twelve months past have been a satisfying year of artistic growth for me. I’ve made good progress on my Legends series and been pleased with the result. Even though I’ll continue to work on this series as inspiration demands, I’m ready to move forward in a slightly different direction. In the coming year, I hope to focus on my Women in Hats series.
I want to look back at last year's work but also look ahead to this year's creative path. I’ll keep painting cowgirls, of course, but I also want to depict subjects with a less agrarian bent. Who knows, I might paint women without hats!
T.S. Eliot remarked on this backward/forward looking exercise when he said:
“... last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
And new beginnings often lead into unknown territory, where the possibilities are endless and more than a little scary. Perhaps Dorothy said it best: “Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”
So, anyway, here’s wishing you a happy, prosperous, and creative new year!
Until next time...
Tell Me a Story...
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” Those of us of a certain age remember that line from the movie Cool Hand Luke. For the artist (whether painter or writer or dancer or actor) that thought could be turned around to become “what we have here is an attempt to communicate”.
"...from aardvarks to zucchinis..." Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
30X40 acrylic on canvas
As some of you may know, I’m working on a series of paintings called “Legends”. While trying to decide which legend to paint next, I ran across a reference to Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. He is one of my all-time favorite authors. Since it had been a while since I read his work, I re-read “Slaughter House-5”. I was reminded what a good story teller he was.
Most artists, in whatever medium, are trying to tell a story. It may not be readily apparent to the viewer (or sometimes the artist) what that story is. But it usually attempts to communicate an idea, a feeling, or a moment in time. And Vonnegut had thoughts about what an artist is and does...
“... go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
So, here is my offering, part of my story. I’ll be sending these missives out every so often and I hope you’ll come along with me.
Until next time...
Why We Make Art
I was recently in London and took a tour of the East End to see the beautiful and fantastic street art. The works ranged from multi-story murals on the side of a building to art small enough to fit on a traffic sign. They could be beautiful, funny, or disturbing. But why were they there?
Granted, some artists had been paid (sometimes a substantial amount) for their creations. Some artists were hoping for name recognition and were trying to build their brand. But many of the art makers were creating art for it’s own sake. Perhaps to decorate their neighborhood or to make a social statement. But it wasn’t for the money or the fame.
In Praise of Strong Women
There is a saying in my part of the world to the effect that “Texas women shoot there own snakes”. The message being that they are self sufficient and solve their own problems. Of course, this may apply to women in other parts of the world, too.
Lauren Bacall was a 19 year old ingenue when she met one of Hollywood’s legendary leading men. She went on to be his equal in cinema and his partner in life. As she matured, she did so gracefully, saying “I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that”. So, here’s to the strong women of Texas and elsewhere! If you know one of them, give her a whistle. You know how to whistle don’t you...