Sunday, January 31, 2010

history ...


the first month of 2010 is almost history, and i'm grateful for completing a portion of the resolutions going forward ...
for one, i'm managing to continue to build the website, and i followed suggestions by making daily entries on the blog ...
the daily commitment is more difficult than i thought, but thanks to friends like Lally, Elisabeth, Andrea, and Joel [follow the links]; their comments and disciplined examples are always encouraging ...
i know that lending comments is sometimes a cumbersome task, but you'd be surprised how helpful it is - and if 'google analytics' is close to accurate, there are many more voyeurs than participants - makes me wonder ...
and though 'the weather outside is frightful', i've continued to paint large pieces when i could; begin a transitional phase indoors, photograph, and walk - modify my late night dinners, organize and pack non-essentials, work on unfinished business, pipeline future projects, and take on this lymes malady ...
in addition, for February, i'm going to begin a 'studio tour' series ...
once again, following the suggestions of visitors and voyeurs ...
i often take for granted the daily movements from project to project through the studio - showing a snapshot, but not the vista - so i commit to post a little more 'activity' next month in real time [as i get the hang of it] ...
it hasn't been the healthiest month on record, but i'm determined to do what i can to make improvements; including find more time for prayer, meditation, reading, and being of service to people in need of it - after all, if this "period of recovery" is going to work for anyone - its got to be on the level of the soul for everyone ...
and as Jorge Borges said as he let a handful of sand from the Sahara pass through his hand - "i've modified eternity" ...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

full moon and jupiter ...

logos ... moonlight ....

jupiter rising ...

like Rickie Lee Jones said on her Ghosty Head album; "sometimes i forget to look at the sky ..." - but not last night - though it wasn't completely full till this morning, last night's moon lit up up the countryside with shades of silver-blue like only Luna can do - and it appears so quiet, peaceful, and still up there - from here ...

i've been plodding along on some of the larger pieces - left over from the 'outdoor painting season' ... they definitely take on a different tempo and rhythm when they're moved inside - more deliberate - kind of like doing overdubbing when recording - looking for the 'right' notes - considered, but not contrived ... it allows me to understand the frenetics of some of the discoveries made during the outdoor improv/painting sessions ...

'rising' is the music [or soundscape] that'll accompany the painting 'jupiter' that i'm working on - as is usually the case with this sort of muse'ic - "i know what i want when i get there ..." - it's another collage of modal shifts augmented with tonal contrasts and 'natural' sound - in this case, excerpts from Voyager's recordings of solar wind around jupiter - perhaps i'll get there today ...

painted and music'd all day - "Jupiter - Rising" is now on youtube ...
bitter cold outside, but i might still get time for a walk-about - maybe the clouds will clear for the moon ...

Friday, January 29, 2010

signals and cells ...



did it! - "Signals and Cells" is now uploaded ...
at least a comprehensive collection of the work from that period -
there's still catalogs that need pdf'ing, etc. - but for the most part, it's there ...

continued to advance what i believe will be called the "Logos" series - the process is enchanting, and it brings me to a good place - where it's fresh, vital - where new information becomes available in familiar, but new ways - fond memories percolate - like first days' of school, new or rekindled love, discovery - all those things that fire the synapses and let you know you're alive ...
and the landscape changes daily ...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

traces ...

today, in and around ...

been thinking about the archaeological sites i've visited, and places where evidence of previous culture is part of everyday life - from Pueblo Bonita in New Mexico and the petroglyphs along the Rio Grande Valley, St. Augustine in Florida, Route 66, old Hollywood, Philadelphia's Independence Plaza, the old cathedrals in Seville and Paris, the Mediterranean shoreline, and even some of the hillside caves along the Delaware river - here, where i live - where you can still find shards of native American pottery or arrowheads, or Civil War vestiges, the 1820's barn i renovated ...

sometimes the past isn't old enough to be mysterious - maybe, just legendary ...

with the exception of the monuments and lore that are erected; for the most part, everything blends back into the landscape, leaving only remnants of previous activity ...
there always seems to be tension, or even opposition between objects we make, and ideas - maybe, because we're innately aware of their eventuality - and that being human, in the scheme of things, becomes more of an idea passing through landscapes ...
i recall an interview with Brian Eno, where he describes some of his ambient music as 'landscape' - and, at different times in his career he applied melody - which he described as the human element passing through the landscape - and by its' difference, becomes the focal point of the music, or vista ...
and so it is for anything referential ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

imbued ...













i've had six freshly gessoed panels for two triptychs lying around the studio for a few weeks ...
part of me is excited about starting - part, apprehensive ...
this is the transition; from where i've been, to where i'm going ...
and what's also interesting, is my familiarity with things like blogging - and, to be comfortable enough to share the experience ...
i mentioned having dreamt about the new paintings - or if you like, visualized them after my brain had a chance to do some processing ...
i could feel the tide rising for a few days, but i couldn't launch into it this morning as i usually do ...
having been busy with a schedule of production the past few years, i forgot about the ritual that usually accompanies these early stages of romancing the ideas - almost choreographed - or as i referred to it a number of years ago; 'the chance dance of soul' ...
so i circled the studio for hours; cleaning brushes, scraping the floor, vacuuming, arranging paint containers, discarding things that won't be necessary, etc. - and every once in a while, a sideways glance over to the three pristine surfaces, waiting ...
hours went by - i began to tire and i felt like abandoning the project for today ...
but that's when it happened - when all that nervous energy dissipated - and it all happened so naturally, without reservation, without thought or self consciousness ...
just paint and my brush - something that feels like another appendage after all these years ...
the photo above may not seem like much more than lines on a surface, but it marks a beginning ...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

pleasant diversions ...




from a series of cut-out paper pieces - Civics Series, © 1996 ...



Monday, January 25, 2010

symbols ...

silver jewelry ...


George Wein, acquiring ... 91 Limited Edition ...

spent the morning polishing silver jewelry that i designed during '91 - preparing for photographs to include in the "signals and cells" series upload on the web page archives ...
a massive amount of work to edit and arrange - sometimes i forget different projects i was involved in because of the speed of life at the time - but it was a wonderful, sensuous, and almost archaeological experience - massaging the tarnish and blemishes from the surfaces to reveal the qualities i worked to achieve on the pieces; and remembering, uncovering memories ...

raining steadily outside, neutral grey light, with Miles Davis playing modalities in the background ... it doesn't matter how many times i hear Miles [1964 to present] - i always discover something - always new ...
then i recalled having a bit of a run in with him around the same time as doing the jewelry ...
i was asked to do the 91 Newport Jazz Festival poster, and before going into production, Miles saw the proof at George Wein's NYC office - Miles didn't think we should use an image he thought was him, without getting a 'piece' of it - he later let it go with my defense that he couldn't patent posture and that i didn't intentionally represent him - i was only trying to capture the essence of 'cool' and 'jazz', which in effect, is who he was to the core anyway ...
truth is, they were swirls of paint that i Rorschach'd images of jazz - and Miles would have been part of that visual vocabulary ...

anyway, a tender day ...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

an open book ...










getting back to that notion - of a studio by the ocean ...
i was re-reading John Huston's auto-biography the other day - an Artist, whom i've always admired - and came across this:
" Now that I'm of a certain age, I'm following a piece of old Irish advice in going to live by the sea: It stops old wounds from hurting. It revives the spirit. It quickens the passions of mind and body, yet lends tranquility to the soul."
An Open Book, John Huston, ©1980.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

vigilance ...

it occurred to me, with the help of my friend Lally, that some of my reaction and discomfort recently has to do with fear - and you'd think i would have figured it out by now - that if it isn't love, or indifference - its got to be that third, pesky little option ...
fear has a way of de-railing - and in my recent experiences - it did just that ... yes, the first response was - that i won't be able to accomplish what i want if i don't feel better - now! - that i'll lose financial opportunities, or some cosmic race at understanding something - but more subliminally, is the notion that i'm aging and learning about limitations i don't care to admit to - that can't be fixed by a convertible or beach side studio [i'm not convinced about the studio notion] - that despite my denial, i'm not invincible - and this lymes thing has done serious, sometimes fatal damage to people bigger, stronger, smarter, and richer than myself - and that ticks are a non-discriminating insect - and yes, Elisabeth, i did blame myself - thinking that if i wasn't outside, blissfully working on paintings [like i always do] on that particular day between march and november - that particular tick would not have bitten me - mmm - for me, that's how funny fear can be ...
i rarely anger anymore [on a soul level] - but in the same way the fox, with her cubs in the woods, will let out a snarl or a growl to let me know i'm getting a little too close to the things that are important to her - i sometimes respond from base instincts ... if i don't heed her warning - or if i challenge her - there might be consequences - thank heavens we have the capacity to reason - and if that option fails; watchful vigilance is usually reduced to reaction against what we perceive as a threat - which adrenalizes, distorts, and compounds all those irrational fears - taking it to a new level of dominos ...
and i've got to remember, that a snarl from a bear is perceived differently than one from a fox ...
anyway, perspective is good - even for an abstractionist ...

Friday, January 22, 2010

born-again kafka ...

man, if kafkaesque is "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity - and a sense of impending danger", then Franz should have spent a day trying to navigate U.S. health care - after which he could have savored the political machinations of the U.S. congress' health care reform debate on one of many sound-looped news stations - that aren't being interrupted by a word from their sponsors that seem to be dominated by drug and insurance companies ...
so i tried to deal with some of the concerns that brought me to my knees yesterday by going for blood tests, physician appointments, prescriptions, etc - what a nightmare of bureaucracy, incompetence, and technical malfeasance ...
i doubt that i really feel any better, but my adrenaline and impatience just wanted me back at the studio - as Pete Seeger would have said [but not with the same sentiments], "if i had a hammer" - but i don't, i have a paintbrush - and even a day away feels like an eternity - who was it that said "i'd rather be dead than standing in line waiting for it" - maybe i did ... sorry - just frustrated, and before i write the sequel to "metamorphosis", i've got to get some painting time in to settle my soul today - later ...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

a lost day ...

every six - eight weeks, since last February, i lose a day - high fevers, fatigue, delirious, pain, etc ... and i usually sleep constantly - it hit me again around noon time on wednesday - shortly after a successful business meeting that landed me a few more large-scale painting commissions ... i laid down and didn't get up again for 26 hours - still feel like i got hit by a truck, but i'm moving, and relatively compos mentis ... it's that Lyme's thing again, and i'm losing patience with health care incompetencies - my sister, who is an RN, found me a Lyme's Literate doctor outside of NYC - literate is good ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

competing hypothesis ...





















drawing, circa 1991 ...

its pre-dawn and a thick fog covers the hillsides and fields here in the Delaware river valley - and i'm feeling clear, centered, and ready to take advantage of milder weather with quarts of color i've been mixing and saving for a day like today ...
one of these days i'll try to figure out why painting brings me such joy - but not now ...

mmm, a quotable quote and brain food:
The past is strewn with the ruins of the empires of tyranny, and each is a monument not merely to man’s blunders but to his capacity to overcome them. Martin Luther King, Jr.
last night on jon stewart's 'the daily show', David Walker - author of 'comeback america' discusses the need for policy, operational, and political reform, and, points out that america lacks outcome-based indicators - he should know - he worked for the government [lack of] accountability office ...

it's an interesting job when you can get it wrong as often as the weather person and still get paid for it - kind of like politics i guess - and i heard the meteorologists in great britain are being taken to task for precisely that reason - the people are fed up with their inaccuracies ...
maybe i'm having a premature senior moment - like remembering walking to school in 3 feet of snow - uphill, both ways - but i'm pretty certain, that most of my life, i'd watch the 11 o'clock weather and be prepared for the next day - now either [1]they're unqualified to read the computer models, [2]the models are inaccurate, [3]there's too many man-made variables influencing weather changes, [4]the weather is behaving erratically, or [5] they're not looking outside ...
unfortunately, i didn't have favorable conditions for an extensive run at painting outside - no matter, the paint will keep, the foreplay is fun, and i've got more images to scan before updating the web page - looks like weather is on the decline for the rest of the week [?], and i've got business to attend to - so it'll be a squeeze play if conditions permit ...



Monday, January 18, 2010

nil desperandum ...



















'nil desperandum', 1990 - from 'signals and cells'

low level anxiety this morning - maybe not enough sleep - maybe the pain of lymes' got to be a little much yesterday - worries about the future [health and well-being of family and friends] - or, might have too many things gestating to find the r.e.m.'s to 'still the world' ...
either way, i don't like the feeling - and in years gone by, i'd self-medicate the problem - these days, i just roll with it and try to learn something from how the mind works - it's a clever little organ - just when you think you've got something figured out, some synapse finds a crack to sneak through - all a matter of learning their patterns and predictability, determining the best outcome, and knowing, eventually things will 'normalize' - or not ...
i learn a lot from nature - and today, particularly field mice and insects - who share a striking resemblance to low-level anxiety ...
and as the day went by my mind seemed to permutate and pretzel most concerns into a pile of wasted time - most of which was reduced to things out of my control - but i guess every once in a while the brain has to defragment to organize priorities ...
obviously, finding time to rest - for health and processing is among them ...
scanned hundreds of images and worked on music - more cerebral than physical - today - but tomorrow is another day, and temps are good enough to paint outside - yes!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

jupiter rising ...

jupiter + jupiter close up

painting outside


painting close up

one of those beautiful, Sunday winter mornings - warm and cozy inside, overcast and cold outside - with no particular place to go ...
a studio day for sure - with just enough rain outside to avoid having to pull out the hose to apply color fields on a few large surfaces - and enough drying time to attack some of those nagging little projects - like scanning 4 x 5 transparencies from the 'signals and cells' series for upload to the web page ...

there's no urgency, but i've been avoiding a few projects for far too long - a couple of landscapes i was inspired to do last spring [but never finished], that a few clients expressed interest, and an architectural model for a project that is strictly conceptual - but there's a likelihood that the project would fly if i just got to it ... maybe its the 'uncertainty' i'm avoiding ...
though i make a living as an artist, nearly everything i do is flavored with uncertainty: will the client appreciate it, buy it, recommend it - is there an audience - does it matter - will friends and associates encourage me, or ignore the efforts - when do i take it personally and when do i accept that their lives might be too busy ... i guess it all comes down to 'expectations' and choices - i never enjoyed the company of 'yes people' and i do what i do because i chose it from a deep and abiding love for art ... that, i suppose, preempts everything - and much to Eve's chagrin, even her circuitous walks in the woods - but her kind of loyalty deserves some scheduling adjustments today ...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

beginning an ending ...

woke up today feeling that maybe the worse is behind us - odd? - maybe its just the weather - or a different layer of acceptance - or the result of nature's machinations we're not equipped to understand - since we're either not attuned or 'civilization' has desensitized us ...
or maybe i just got a decent night sleep ...
i know we're less than a month into the depths of winter - or on our way out - but the light is beginning to look different - that Jupiter moves into Pisces tomorrow - something that only occurs every twelve years - and lets face it, there's something about celestial events that have influenced history thousands of years prior to us becoming 'modern' ...
anyway, the 'atmosphere' has gradually been shifting frequency - and today, i can hear/feel/sense the pitch change - a DM7 if anyone cares - which in chakra language is associated with the naval - which in Carlos Castaneda language has to do with connectivity and balance - which in Anasazi language has to do levels of 'world' - which in Greek mythology has to do with the attributes of being Athenian - which in string theory has to do with dimensional blending - or in 'seven' systems has to do with analogous and hues of complimentary colors, tones, vibrations, and frequency - but i'm not certain of the fractal implications - too complicated by my standards ...
anyway, its not often that i dream of what my paintings will look like in the future - and last night i got a preview - now all i have to do is get from here to there - or abandon 'here' on blind faith - which seems a little reckless - and even a bit schizophrenic by industry and collector standards - that despite moments of 'inspiration', they prefer deliberate, justifiable, and predictable changes ...
there were veils of something like 'speaking in tongues' or translating the archetypes of collective consciousness in casual phrases - gradating and scrimmed from tabula rasa to logos and visualizations of minimalist jazz - somewhere between my 'To Tell A Vision' and "Views of a Secret' series, the very late work of Miro, Mompo, Matisse, or Chagall and the last drawings of Gorky with the precision of Rabinowich or Rockburne and the nonchalance of a flamenco master ... i saw myself with the paintings - bearded and older - but at least thinner [unless dreams knock off twenty pounds] - and i don't even like beards, unless i can't afford blades as a result of the paintings' lack of marketability or the cultures disinterest in art or anything that isn't nostalgic - i wonder if Palin was president - that would at least explain a few things - or maybe i just retreated to the hermetic behaviors i always suspected i was predisposed to; with nature, books, music, and paint ... but that was either last night's dream or the fabric of continuity wearing thin ...
for today, i've got two pieces i'm trying to finish, one to start, and one on the go - somewhere between 20 and 40 layers for a commission ... a piece of music to work on that's been haunting me for a few weeks - organization, packing, planning, evaluation, and maybe some walking, photography, and reading ... some phone calls, bill paying, recycling, a movie ...

Friday, January 15, 2010

elastic stability ...

my objective for 2010 - is/was, to push the envelope a little harder - not in a reckless or harmful way - but to make a sincere attempt toward maximizing energy, efficiency, and resources ...
maybe its in the fact that i realize how devastating some illnesses and circumstances could be, that i still have a few years in my fifties, and there's a whole lot of 'stuff' getting in the way of me doing a whole lot of 'stuff' - i've got things i want to do that legitimate excuses prevent me from accomplishing - which simply requires better organization ...
in the past year, i've seen major manufacturing companies revive themselves, the banking industry turn red ink to black, a change of heart from political adversaries because of a shift in posture and foreign policy, and the vitality of a young president with the intelligence and tenacity to effect change - granted, there's still a mountain of problems to overcome - but anything seems possible with the right attitude, management, advisors, and work ethic ...
so, we're halfway through the first month of the new year and i'll spend the weekend working, evaluating, meeting with advisors, and adjusting the ground-game ...
its so helpful to objectify all those 'things' into lists, be accountable for them, and go about the business of performing the tasks - and besides, everything always seems to yield something else ...
like dylan says: "things from a distance, close up, ain't never that big" ...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

cycles ...
















we finally had a mild reprieve from freezing temperatures - i managed to get a few hours of outdoor painting done - still cold, but it felt great to wail away on large-scale pieces ...
an art day - totally - gessoed some new, large panels for an up-coming project in the a.m., mixed about a dozen quarts of color i've been thinking about, painted, worked on music, scanned images ...
and, got a visit from an old friend - Tom Kort, a musician/composer and 'new' music aficionado ... i've known Tom since the 60's when we were in competing 'garage bands - the kind of healthy competition that allows you to improve your skills - would run into him periodically at art events, jammed a few times, and often listened to his public radio, new/alternative music program - but whenever we'd see each other time melted away in conversations about art and particularly, music - of which he has a vast knowledge ...
today he offered a special treat by allowing me to hear a few of his recent compositions - mesmerizing is the first adjective that came to mind - it reminded me of so many things that i appreciate and gravitate to - but it still remained uniquely his ... i could have listened for hours - often - and if my encouragement did any good today - maybe we'll all have a chance to get one of his cd's soon ...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

self leveling ...

presently, the horrors in Haiti take precedent over almost everything else - as they should ...
life and business elsewhere goes on as usual - with awareness that an earth-born disaster can happen anywhere, to any one, or all of us ...
the global response for relief and assistance during times like these is admirable, and gives me faith in humanity to do the right thing when the chips are down - however short-lived and politics-free it may be - it does remind us of what it is to be human, global, and reliant upon each other for survival during the best and worse of times ...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

vessels ...























GIS #37 - graphite, ink, styrene, 1993.

finally managed to complete the archiving and uploading of Neuro Series ...

also, see essay by Joel Weishaus ...

Monday, January 11, 2010

color ...

video
"wild flowers" - yellow + orange ...

while paint dries - i'm either taking care of studio business, doing chores around the art farm, writing music, or walking through the woods with my camera ...
last spring and summer provided an abundance of inspiration and beauty along the river valley ...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

white noise ...
















so i figured out how to set up a basic webpage on my new macbook pro by learning programs and tricks of the machine - im transferring and archiving photo prints, 4 x 5's., and 35 mm slides to digital files with my hp scanjet, learning to navigate the aperture and imovie programs for filing purposes and creating slideshows and movies - connected an external hard-drive for heavy files after a few hours of telephone tech support - transferred musical compositions from an older mac g4 and digital pro 3 midi composer and korg triton studio keyboard to a roland 128 channel digital recorder to burn cd's on a lacie music disc burner -created and uploaded art to appropriate files of youtube and blogger - working on new spreadsheet programs for my accountant - and trying to figure out what the difficulties are on a system 2000 oil heating system for radiant floor heating between the unit manager, inducer, heat exchanger, and circulator, after cleaning out the water purifying filtration on the well pump so i can warm the studio for painting ...
that's today so far - and it's beautiful outside - and i want to walk and photograph the ice and snow in the late afternoon winter light, but the battery on my digital slr 35mm camera is running low so i've got to find the specific charger to boost it before going out ...
okay, did the walk and photography - but i'll have to upload them to the computer, manipulate and edit them, and do transfers to an imovie program before getting creative - but i've got to go to the supermarket for some basics ...
oh boy - it was a madhouse - apparently there's an eagles' football playoff for wild card game tonight - good thing, is that the majority of bovines weren't in the fruit, vegetable, or fish sections of the store - but they still created a lot of bottlenecks throughout, especially in checkout - that's okay too, cause it gives me time away from all the technical manuals to think about how to approach my next short movie - something i've been thinking about since last winter - a piece called 'ice music' with images of my vellum drawings augmented with photographs of snow and forest ...
home at last - unpacked, warm, and ready - and i've only put twelve hours of non-stop work in today - still have to eat [at a reasonable time - resolution #3], and figure out how to apply effects to the output buss of the roland before mastering a cd of music to upload to itunes before transferring it to imovie and youtube ...
i'm glad that technologies have improved the quality of our lives by making things easier and more efficient ...

Friday, January 8, 2010

changing water ...

















as an undergrad [many, many years ago], i did a series of 'earthwork' projects involving photography and video [before hand-held video cameras] along small streams in eastern PA ...
i'd document the flow of a rural stream, create an obstruction within - then film the results - which was a modified stream, or 'changing water' ...
most of the footage and images have since deteriorated - but i've been thinking about resurrecting the project again - especially since water and weather have become such critical elements in my recent paintings ...
during a recent trip, i played around with a few ideas ...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

check please ...















'Poseidon' Installation - 5'h x 8'w, 2009 .

seven days into the new year, the new decade, of the new millennium ...
am i sleeping better, exercising more, eating earlier and less, smoking less, being more patient and tolerant, meeting responsibilities and commitments, procrastinating less, more honest and prudent, less isolating, more willing to embrace difficult challenges, more proactive, more helpful to the species in general, more forgiving, more aware of my carbon footprint, reading more, seeking wisdom from others, communicating more openly and clearly to business associates, friends, and family, making and taking time for others, offering counsel or resources to those in need, exercising random acts of kindness to strangers, taking care of myself - health and welfare ...
yes and no,
but so far, measurable improvements - as long as i'm tuned to their importance ...

it's in the forgetting that progress retreats - and its so easy to do during post-holiday readjustments when it seems there's a need to make up for lost time and money, compensate for things that were put off till the new year, and either navigate through the ocd'ers trying to do it all now, or the aimless ones - still drudging and wondering what the point is ...
there's definitely a frenetic, off-balance vibe in the air - on the highway, in the shops, and in conversations - like the kind of energy you feel when inclement weather is on the way and preparations are being made ... maybe just too many media forecasts of doom and gloom or 2012 predictions in the collective consciousness ...
but the clouds are lifting - gradually - as we adjust to taking for granted that we have another year to pace ourselves - or forget what the urgency for resolution was about in the first place ...

since my studio has always been a place of refuge - and escape - i decided to key-code a few doors [metaphorically] to allow myself entry - codes that require i reiterate the resolutions prior to entering - and, if i short-cut the codes, i'm relying on conscience security to take me to task ... there is of course, allowance for emergency access in the event of truly inspired moments - so far, so good - since being a productive painter has never been an issue - its just allowed for other things to become secondary ...
anyway, its good to be here ...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

gan eden ...













"garden #2", oil on canvas, 1992.

the studio is really cold again today - and though i could probably tough it out - the paint wouldn't like it - not for the things i'm currently doing ...
as i happen to be writing an intro for the 'neuro' archives, i realize being confronted by similar issues in '92 which eventually forced me to cordon off a small, heatable portion of studio and produce barbizon-scale paintings ... not likely that will happen again, but i do have to wonder why i've never been able to time my residencies in warmer climates a little better - poor planning perhaps, but it may also have to do with retreating to the comforts and familiarity of the cave for reflection and rejuvenation - as Plato as that might be ...
this year the challenges will undoubtably overshadow any concerns for heat; since i've come to a point of having to decide what comes next, where to go, and how to continue along this path - though i'm acutely aware of the daily scope of things, new decades bring this out in me - but then again, who's to say when they really begin - after all, jupiter is rising in pisces ...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

neuro series ...























meiosis, watercolor, circa 1992.

between working on a few new large pieces, office admin, and archiving images for the website, i did my daily jaunt around the web-block to visit friends and inspirations - one of the people who remains at the top of both lists is my dear friend, the poet, Michael Lally - who is successfully recovering from brain surgery - it shivers me to even think of it - i mean, nothing gets more personal than exposing, touching, or modifying that organ - nothing ...

over the past eight weeks he has dutifully checked in to write on his blog about the process - and even when he isn't subject-specific about it, you can follow the recovery through his organization of thoughts - kind of, "read me think" - like the way we used to learn to read - 'see jane run', etc.

coincidentally [and i question that], i was up working pretty late scanning photos of the 'Neuro Series' - a body of small works i did in the early 90's and thinking about the difficulties in applying personal preferences to conventional methods or codes - for instance, i enjoy unedited stream of consciousness writing as much as i do technical journals, formal novels, etc. - but, like music, there's certain styles that fit the consciousness of my paintings - like detailed and interactive modal improvisations or just plain assemblages of thoughts and ideas where the syntax is denominated by the original impulse - a transcendental experience ...
unfortunately, it's often seen as gobbily-gook by the guardians of formality or even friends trying to GPS my current activities ...
my favorite, among authors who have successfully applied the technique was Jorge Borges in 'The Aleph' - and granted, he laced it into a coherent story line - but when i first read this passage it was like smelling all the aromas of home:

"I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe."
Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph

now that's the way my brain works - every 'thing' inter-laced with another - spilling over, and flowing - so when i think of a subject and allow the gates to open, an endless stream begins to flow - a cornucopia, or wikipedia of inter-related data - and to think it all begins with a single synapse firing ...

so i agree with my friend Lally: "observe it as it happens and think about the mysteries of the brain and the ways it works and organizes thoughts. Hmmmm." ...

Monday, January 4, 2010

meditations ...












"origins of memory", triptych, oil on canvas, 5'h x 12'w, 1989.

i love books - the feel of paper, turning the pages, the smell, and the way memories, while reading them, mingle with the content - they always become more than they are, and maybe that's what the original book-makers intended ...
my first reading of Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" was in high school some 40+ years ago - it was one of those little books i always dug because you can stick it in your pocket and pull it out anywhere for reprieve, inspiration, diversion, etc ...
appropriately, this one, accompanied me through many walks in the woods where i grew up - usually with my dog-eared copy of "Walden" - and somewhere along the way, when my legs got rubbery, or there was a perfect rock and vista, or the rhythm of my soul was right, i'd back up to a tree and take it all in - a mind, body, spirit thing that comforts unlike anything else - and i've spent a lifetime chasing it through a spectrum of experiences ...
so here we are in 2010 and i'm reading Marcus and Henry again ...
"but i have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine ... we were born to work together, to obstruct is unnatural ..."
M.A., "on the River Gran, among the Quadi"

Sunday, January 3, 2010

being and becoming ...














"being and becoming what?, pastel on paper, 1988.

okay, the last of the trilogy from days gone by ...
i really don't like doing things in even numbers - a 'monk' thing i guess - and even though there were a few more pastels on black Arches paper done at that time, my documenting procedures left something to be desired ...
had a buddy in NYC back in those days - Alexander X. - a Greek guy who went to Syracuse [of course], and loved to read/ponder philosophy ... as it is with all my relationships, their influence spills over ... thank heavens i've had so many interesting friends ...
i'm reading Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations", and he mentions the same in 'debts and lessons':
"all things for which we need the help of fortune and the gods" ...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

for annie ...























"for annie: time to demise", pastel on paper, 1988.

another of the recently rediscovered pastels from the 'moon tigers' period - and one of those gut-wrenching favorites ...
my cousin [through my 1st marriage] - was a beautiful, vivacious, and talented advertising artist who lived in San Francisco and Santa Monica during the late 70's and early 80's after a successful career in NYC - she was also responsible for introducing me to California - the untrodden and funkier side ...
Annie Sinclair was a gift in my life - and showed me how small the world gets when you stay true to your dreams and work hard, at a time in my career when i was standing at the base of the mountain ... there was also a darker side that her accomplishments never seemed to brighten - an impermanence and impetuousness that concerned me ... so i was shocked, but not surprised, when i heard of her demise from an auto accident off the cliffs of the Pacific Coast Highway ... it depressed me and launched a period of existential reaction and inquiry ... this pastel was only the beginning ...
the piece began by notating excerpts from an E.A.Poe poem by the same name - something i memorized years earlier - and though i'm not a big Poe fan, it stuck with me ...
For Annie - E.A.Poe, 1849
"Thank Heaven! the crisis
the danger is past,
and the lingering illness
is over at last -
And the fever called 'living'
is conquered at last ..."

whenever i'm in CA, being by the santa monica and venice ocean has always been a daily activity - and in that routine, i always pass one of the most distinguished 1930's bungalows along the walk - Annie's, at lifeguard station 23 - and we still talk ...

Friday, January 1, 2010

resolute decision ...

















"to resolute decision", pastel on paper, 1988.

i couldn't resist - it being new year's day and all ...
while archiving, i came across a few images that i barely remembered making - but was pleased to be reacquainted with them ...
if you can see past the Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Kant - and even a little aboriginal influence, the image is pretty compelling - pastel on paper is a luscious medium - and it still has the vibrancy it did 20+ years ago ...

rosy fingers of dawn ...









from this vantage point, it's impossible to project what 2010 will bring - but my wishes for the very best for everyone persists ...
there's something about the beginning of the new year, a new decade, and a turn-around from the depths of winter that fosters optimism - we need to maintain this in our hope to evolve and our struggles to survive - there's merit in the power of positive thinking ...

yesterday - last year - i managed to squeak under the wire to publish my web site - something i've thought about and worked on for a few years, but usually abandoned because results fell short of objectives - over the past couple of months the sites' development entered into the realm of 'acceptability' by achieving the content i was after - clarity, determination, and the wise guidance of friends are wonderful gifts ...
anyway, www.paulharryn.com is now official - there's still thousands of images of paintings, people, and places that a 'blessed life' has yielded and still need to be archived - but i've done my best to provide a comprehensive display that documents the development of my work through an exciting period of art and cultural history ...
i'd like to hear what you think through comments or emails ...

again, my best wishes to all for the new year ...