Thursday, December 31, 2009

new years eve ...















eve walking about on freshly fallen snow ...

been a while since i posted - sorry ...
was back in LA for a few days back in early november ...
diagnosed with lymes disease again - one of the benefits of being able to work in rural PA i guess ...
a couple of project deadlines - now completed and installed ...
late season panic about working outdoors - temps are always on the cusp of ruining paint application - back and forth between the inside and out ...
web page workings - wanted to complete it in 2009 - done, but have a lot more archives and content to upload ...
and the holidays - which are a beautiful thing with family and friends, as long as one can escape the perils of anxiety-ridden consumers ...
but all that is just noise in the circuitry -
what's in my heart is the very best wishes for everyone in 2010 ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

more 'homeric' paintings ...




each: 32"h x 20"w, acrylic paint on wood, 10.'09
eos
naias
purple webs
caves of naiad



Friday, October 23, 2009

"poseidon's revenge" ...





















36"h x 40"w, acrylic paint on wood, 2009.


still listening to and reading “the odyssey” - enchanted with it actually - part of my daily routine this year, along with the music of eleni karaindrou [contemporary greek composer] ...

the ‘shuffling’ of her music and this book narration provide an endless, gentle and thoughtful backdrop to my work day - occasionally offset by new work from david torn, keith jarrett, and u2 ...


a couple of lines from bono resonate through as well; “no line on the horizon”, “she’s like the sea - every day she changes for me”, and “josephine, be careful of small men with big ideas” ...


poseidon was a vengeful god - especially toward the arrogance displayed by odysseus after declaring victory at troy - a lot of self will run riot - its never been a favorable human characteristic ...


as soothing as blues can be - when combined with analogous and complimentary colors and erratic patterns, they become something entirely different ...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

paintings on paper ...

"taenarum" "hades"

"phaiacian" "ogygia"


"troy"

all works: 40"h x 28"w, acrylic on paper, 2009.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

cool shoes ...













no, it’s not a fetish thing ...

i’ve learned over the years that happy feet make for a happy person; whether you’re in a marching band, on a football team, a day laborer, a hunter, a beachcomber, in a jazz band, a tourist, a poser, strutting through lower manhattan, or painting large canvases on long island or in the backwoods of pennsylvania ...

if your feet ain’t happy, you’re going to be miserable ...

besides, after speaking your first words - taking your first steps is a pretty momentous occasion ...


this subject arises through a flood of emotions which i generally work through in silence and paint - but since weather is impeding my production, i thought i’d try writing it out ...


my late Father’s birthday is arriving in a few days - october 21st ...

birthdays of his immediate family were always important to him - a day to honor those you love, if only in remembrance ...


much of the time i spent with him while growing up is obscured by my own preoccupations - mostly because he was a quiet and deliberate man that just did what needed to be done without fanfare - so my memories are heightened when he did speak or give advice; particularly in difficult or scary situations: like crossing over a pretty torrential stream on a broken tree and being afraid of falling in, or hiking through rugged pocono terrain in sub zero temperatures, or driving through white out conditions on rural excursions to my grandmother’s home on holidays - the advice was always: “one step at a time”, or “just keep walking”, or “keep moving ahead” ... it’s the simple message i rely on most when the going gets rough - and he knew that ...


a few of my last memories of spending time with my Father was here at the barn where he’d love to visit during my working day - a place where he began to understand what it was i did for a living, and how it wasn’t that much different from the work he enjoyed - carpentry and machinery ...


on one particular autumn morning - not unlike today - he came out with the idea of chain sawing down a few dying trees around the property, and even though the buzz cutting while painting is an annoyance, “it must be done” ...

what scared me was, i saw him trip and fall a couple of times - something i’d never seen him do in my life - and when i asked what was wrong - he said, “ah, must be these shoes” ...

turned out to be the beginning of a malignant brain tumor that began to severely effect his balance and nearly another year of surgeries and suffering until cancer finally claimed his life - throughout which, he never complained - and through the many trips to kimo and doctors when i tried to approach him about it, he’d say “whadya gonna do - just keep plodding ahead” ...


a couple of other things spawned this entry - the other day i read a blog by my dear friend - the poet, michael lally - about having to get a new pair of sneakers for his skateboarding, pre teen son - who apparently obliterates them with frequency [see entry] + the fact that i’ve been buying myself a pair of comfortable chukkas around my birthday in february to gear up for my painting season every year to find this year, the chukkas are blown out six months premature ...

i attribute this to faulty workmanship - whereas my wife reminds me that my production has probably doubled already this year - either way the wearing, and the wearing out of shoes tells a lot about a person ...


i recall one of my childhood chores was to polish the family shoes every saturday ...

my sisters’ and Mom’s were usually pretty easy, delicate, with minor maintenance required - my Dad’s boots, on the other hand were a massive undertaking with abrasions that cut deep into the leather depending on the work and weather of that particular week - and the stories of how; a fallen I-beam, hot tar, bull dozer tread, barbed wire, jack hammer cuts, saw dust, oil, wood stain, paint, etc. - shoes tell the story ...

what amazed me, was all the things you had to know and be willing to do to wear out a shoe ...


his simple messaging continues to resonate, even after all these years - and his passing provided me with more appreciation for life, faith, family, friends, and the work i’m able to do ...

like all the yesterdays, this day will come and go - but not without fond memories of a man who guided me along the path ...


Monday, October 19, 2009

"views of a secret" ...



















#6, 20"h x 25"w, ink on vellum, 2009.

i've had the benefit of seeing some pretty great artists push the boundaries of their talents to a different level once in a while ...

at poetry readings, street raps, vocal performances, live bands, some guy blowing a solo, or that gem of a drawing or painting in a gallery, museum, or graffiti post ...

you know when they hit that level - that consciousness - ‘it’ captivates and transports us - but what is ‘it’ ?


maybe ‘it’ happens when experience and skill lose self-consciousness - perhaps its transcendent, or spiritual - but for anyone who has been in this zone, definitions remain vague and mysterious ...


over time, a lot of theories have been generated; from animism to zeitgeist - but i’ve always preferred duende - the flamenco explanation that understands ‘it’ as a process that culminates if conditions are in place ...


i’ve been working on a series of layered drawings for the past few years - inspired by an ice storm in february 2008 - and the observation that the ice took on its’ own form and characteristics from the skeleton of things it covered ... the forms of everything existed, but were veiled or obscured by their new skin - kind of like truth or essential meanings as they adapt to time ...


while working on these pieces, i often feel that they make themselves - and i just facilitate their completion ... an apparent cacophony of lines and symbols, flowing to simple rhythms and textures ...


Friday, October 16, 2009

"wild flowers" ...
















on cold, rainy, snowy mornings like today, i fondly recall more hospitable conditions - and weather more conducive to working outside ...
no matter, there's plenty of drawings and finishing work to be done inside ...
the top photo is a hillside of wild flowers near the studio that inevitably find their way into my work on some level ...























"wild flowers", 7'h x 6'w, 2008-09.





Thursday, October 15, 2009

"placid blues ..."























3'h x 3'w - section 1 of 3, 2009.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"words of prey ..."























7'h x 6'w, acrylic paint on wood, 2009.


“birds of omen ...

words of prey ...

speaking with winged words:

hostile world - this is not my dream ...” ph’09


i’ve always been interested in the mechanics of flight - lift, drop, pivot, glide - like dancing in air - defying gravity - something western cultures aspire to ...


the summertime antics of birds around my studio never cease to amaze me - their endless display of dexterity - the incomprehensible speed of hummingbirds and barn swallows - the grace of otherwise awkward turkey buzzards in flight - and the cunning accuracy of hawks, owls, and eagles - they all seem to operate on a different frequency ... more articulate and accelerated ...


their efforts in flight are inaudible and usually barely noticed, but closer examination reveals some pretty astounding acrobatics applied against a full range of atmospheric and weather conditions - just one more example of the evolving perfection of nature ...

take-offs and landings are always interesting, even in airplanes ...

but particularly with birds of prey - navigating the thermals on meal reconnaissance; gliding through altitude adjustments, agile dives, attack and retrieval ...

with amazing accuracy, their finger-like feathers seem to grasp at air currents as they pull out of bulleted descents upon their prey ...


i see that image often - that momentary ‘landing’ - in the clearings around my studio, but also in reoccurring dreams since childhood of some shadowy, vague archetype ...


it made its way into a few paintings over the years - not through conscious intent, but as a recognizable element within an otherwise abstract field ... and i'm always somewhat alarmed by its appearance ...

















'dream time',1986.


throughout the making of this painting i was avoiding preconceptions while still allowing some of my more recent and re-emerging interests to filter through; the kaleidoscopic summer changes in the northeast, sumi-e drawings, twombly’s calligraphy, growth patterns of plants, trees - neurological similarities - the possibilities of grey - the monotony of ignorance - metallics, iridescence, color interference - things not always appearing as they are - string theories, circumstance, causality - the timelessness of beautiful music and homer’s odyssey - what his birds of omen predicted - a line from a chili pepper’s song: “with the birds i share this lonely view” - our diminishing resources: natural and cultural - the passing of so many legendary ‘creatives’ over recent years - the shifting in consciousness toward an apparently unthinking culture, albeit emotional and controllable - fueled by a lack of facts or credible information - mob mentality - woodstock ...

and, the power of words ...


"the last painting ..."




















7'h x 8'w, acrylic paint on wood, 2008 - 2009 ...

i started this piece in january 2008, during the culmination of a series of personal disasters ...

partly as a diversion from tumultuous events, and also a source of meditative focus to help bring meaning and direction to circumstances ...

the act of painting has always led me through the ‘dark wood’ of my life, probably because i spend most of my time in prayer and meditation throughout the process - usually many hours a day - every day ...

in this piece, i was desperately looking for answers like few times before in my life and career - aesthetics were the least of my concerns - the painting simply becomes a medium through which other information is delivered or sustained - there is no right, wrong, pretty, ugly, or pertinent - it simply is ...

i always imbue the surfaces of my paintings with textures, marks, notations, etc., as a way of establishing its spirit or identity - but here i was working with more automatism than usual - receptive to what the painting would deliver rather than what i would bring to it - the early layers resulted in a cacophony of seemingly indecipherable data ...

in retrospect, i now see it as a purge or mescaline field of symbols, textures, and patterns - a field of apparent meaninglessness or culmination of encoded experience - who knows how the mind works - at least a touchstone for other inquiry ... the ensuing developments read like an excerpt from borges’ encounter with the ‘aleph’ - simultaneity contextualized ...

the first clear thought to repeatedly arise from all this was: “nothing says ‘fact’ like something written in blood” - so what is the fact, what are the facts, and with what facts do i concern myself - and ‘what’s blood got to do with it’ ...

from that point - two ‘sets’ of letters became distinctly obvious; one was that of a mantra i received in 1970 as part of my initiation to the practice of transcendental meditation - a word never written or spoken aloud - the other was a series of letters that seemed to be a word - at least phonetically recognizable and familiar in sound to words i heard my lithuanian grandmother speak - ‘iepov’ ...

closer examination revealed the origin from ancient greece to mean ‘temple’, ‘holy ground’, or ‘a place where God dwells’ ...

while randomly emphasizing combinations of letters the word ‘fatima’ began to emerge, spawning research in other areas; ideas of apparitions, sun-dogs, miracles, coincidence, prayer, meditation, devotion, mysteries, the aleph, etc.

the experience of this painting became a journey from ‘dark wood to white rose’ as dante suggests; through ideas, images, memories, conflicts, turmoil, and acceptance of a different order and understanding of realties - and humbling, in its’ clear recognition of what is - followed by a sincere attempt to achieve it ...

almost two years since it began, i still adjust a line or recognize something previously overlooked or misunderstood ... and i still don’t understand the maps and blueprints or lines they suggest ...

‘the last painting’, like few that preceded it and others that followed, has me engaged in a dialogue i’m more interested in continuing than controlling ...

it’s a journey - odyssey or exile - time will tell ...


Monday, October 12, 2009

dark wood to white rose ...









inspiration ...









process ...









results ...











been working on a series of 10 x 10's recently [among other things] which should explain [but not excuse] my blog absence ...
"dark wood to white rose" is another one of those fond allegories of journey and transformation that i recently completed and exhibited as a stage backdrop for Phil Glass' benefit concert for the 'new arts program' where i met phil 35 years ago prior to his premiere of "einstein on the beach" - a lot has happened in the ensuing journey - including his son Zach's foray into brazilian music [which i heard for the first time last night] - all of which was delightful ...




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

homeric paintings ...



breath of boreas [left], boreas + zephyrus [r.] ...



marriage of chloris [left], road from hades [r.] ...

i got an ipod about three months ago and became absolutely enchanted with the device -
loaded a few of my favorite things including all the recent work of a contemporary greek composer named eleni karaindrou ...
to compliment those hours of sublime music, i added homer's odyssey [13 hrs. of narration] - put the thing on 'shuffle' and started my '09 season of daily outdoor painting ...
the experience has been beautiful - uninterrupted, transcendent, pleasantly surprising, and modifying ...
the experience has led to a series of pieces that i'm not quite sure where they'll take me - but i'm thoroughly enjoying the journey ...

i was sad to hear of merce cunningham's passing - there's such a wealth of creative genius that seems to be slipping away along with the continuity of art making ...




Tuesday, June 30, 2009

unseen painting ...



















"shadow dance" in progress ...

and their secret life when the lights go out ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

unpainting "flora" ...













detail of unpainting ...













a more global perspective ...
[9'h x 13'w]

Monday, June 8, 2009

"flora" blooming ...













been working on this one for nearly nine months ...
sunday morning it was all brought back to white,
with more than fifty choice layers beneath the surface ...
keith jarrett's "radiance" against an aural backdrop of twittering trees -

sunday and monday were perfect for baking paint - 'frozen moments'
lapis lazuli, azurite, pearlescence, siennas, and quin golds ...
























now comes the peeling, scraping, trimming, and sanding
to see what the last nine months has provided ...

blind faith, intuition, and experience ...

Friday, June 5, 2009

circumstance ...














"electric avenue" + "shadow dance"

















"rain - heavy at times" - an understatement ...

its beautiful - the ground is soaking it all up -
the plants and trees [and weeds] are getting stronger by the day -
so is my faith and healing heart ...
i heard a comment last night:
“when man plans, God laughs” ...

i used to think the rain raised challenges -
now its just another, somewhat different circumstance ...
i’ve always relied on certain temperatures for drying,
sun for baking, humidity for slowing things down ...
even water on a much smaller scale
for saturating surfaces to achieve specific results ...

so mostly, i organize materials and ideas
while interacting with other forces -
to document or freeze a moment, an event, or sequence of ...

[probably why amber fascinates me]


Thursday, June 4, 2009

baltic blues + amber forests ...









a rainy day here in pa -
not much to say except i've been thinking about colors -
anticipating my next moves with the five large scale
works in progress ...
truth is, i could have worked two of the pieces in the rain -
i mixed color instead ...
rain or shine tomorrow ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

la, ca ...















recently returned from Los Angeles ..
as usual - healing and inspiring ...
enjoyed the company of some old friends, visited familiar stomping grounds, beach cafes, hit a few museums and galleries, made discoveries ...
and generally, just dug the vibe.
i miss it - a lot -
mostly the ocean air with walks in and along the Pacific every day -
sunsets over the ocean -
maybe its bred into me -
part of my dna from the Baltic Sea and my Lithuanian grandmother’s family -
or maybe just a truck load of fond memories.
one thing i’m sure of - i need to return more frequently ...















the Baum's + Gehry ... with Greg Miller ...


















with Moses y' Blanco [Ed Moses] ...


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

from here on ...

video

the summer studios are back in full production again ...
trees, sky, grass, birds, animals, weather - perfection ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

artist statement ...

my paintings are improvisational -
like jazz ...

informed by nature and responding to the ever-changing conditions of its life force,
the paintings are symphonies of compressed time ...

through multiple layers of application and natural selection,
their surfaces ultimately reveal a tactile history of the process ...

i’m inspired by the lyrical qualities
of work by Tiepolo, Masson, Dufy, and Gorky;
the colorful playfulness of Cezanne, Chagall, Mompo, and DeKooning;
the urgency and deliberate approach of Pollock, Twombly, and Moses ...
the conceptual harmony of Smithson, Polke, and Rabinowitch ...
and distressed surfaces of frescoes,
ancient manuscripts, and medieval paintings ...

over the last ten years
the majority of my work has been produced outdoors
beneath a lush canopy of forest amid abundant fauna
in Upper Bucks County, PA along the Delaware River ...

those are the rhythms i’m playing to ...


critical notes:

“he effectively combines a wide range of disparate information in order to suggest a constantly transmutating world, a world where nothing is ever still. It is a world where numerous events are occurring simultaneously, a place where sudden as well as constant change is the norm ...”
John Yau

“one is reminded of the process by which they came into being - through the sensuousness of surface texture created by the veiled layers of paint that reveal only the necessary elements of the mystery of being ...”
Sandra Erikson

“it’s like creating a new language from bits and pieces of various old languages - now comes Harryn with his unlikely choices and juxtapositions laying the groundwork for some overdue ‘new’ ideas ...”
Michael Lally

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

views of a secret ...

1-3, ink on vellum, 22h x 30w, 4.'09.















Wednesday, April 8, 2009

abloom ...

seven days ...