Archive for March, 2007

If I am a painter, should I be beating up poets?

March 29, 2007

Birds Three

1. Is it possible to make a good painting with bad intentions?

2. Is it possible to make a bad painting with good intentions? 

3. Is it possible to make a good painting with good intentions?

4. Is it possible to make a bad painting with bad intentions?

5. Is it possible to make a painting with no intentions?

6. Are these trick questions?


Different Planes of Bird Existence

March 26, 2007

Birds on a Square Space

I am happy that I simplified, and expanded, the bird form.  As far as color goes, all bets are off.  I worry I have strayed too far into a decorative space, but it is somewhat refreshing.

The Joy of the Modernist Grid

March 22, 2007


It makes me very happy to finally understand and apply one aspect of the modernist or minimalist grid.  It destroys hierarchy in a picture, for the most part, and because of that it allows a person to present ideas without having to know which idea came first or is most important.

I knew that when the birds had burst through the surface of the sky things were going to change.  If the water has a surface, and the sky has a surface, how could the birds be sure that there were not other surfaces that they were not aware of?  And if they were not aware of these surfaces how could they have any confidence in their knowledge of what lay below or above, since they were not aware there was an above or a below.  And maybe the words above and below started to lose meaning.

Night Falls on the Bird and Fish Explorers

March 20, 2007

Bird and Fish at Night

I feel this painting is the visual equivalent of a piano recital.  Or a greatest hits album.  It contains all the elements I have been working on for the past few months, and places them on one stage for everyone to see.

Really this painting could not have came at a better time.  The painting I am currently working on is a fairly substantial departure from this one (If you have been following my paintings I am sure you realize “substantial” is probably an overstatement), so it is nice to have a painting that sort of sums up many of the themes I have been working on.

Fun with Fish and Shapes

March 16, 2007


Even while I am writing about this painting I am thinking about another painting.  It is shameful.  I like this painting, but I am not in like with this painting.

Birdead Birdalive

March 12, 2007

Bird Dead Bird

How sad.  And of course I will now paint a dead fish or two.

The tiny sadness is not really what gets me excited about this picture.  I am interested in how small a gesture, the bird is upside down, it takes to establish a dead bird.  I find this to be sort of true in real life as well.  There is only a fine line between life and death, between the alive and the not alive.

Recently I read Susan Sontag’s wonderful book “Illness as Metaphor” where she explores the language surrounding disease.  This got me thinking about viruses and how, at least to me, there is not a lot of difference between them and something like sand.  Except it is a type of sand that can change our bodies to a kind of sand as well.

Another Quarter Sheet, Another Baby Step

March 10, 2007

Bird and Fish Explorers 2 or maybe 3

I am really enjoying working on these quarter sheets.  You can try out a lot of ideas quickly.  And you can get nice rich colors without waiting so long for things to dry.  I realize this painting looks an awful lot like the last quarter sheet, but I think I am getting a better handle on the color.  I would not call this a very daring painting, but these smaller paintings have given me some good ideas.

It may be a bit premature, but be prepared to be reintroduced to a variant of the modernists grid in about a month or so.

Birds in Space

March 5, 2007

Bird Space Explorers

This is my first attempt at expressing the sky in architectural terms.  I wanted a way to combine outer space with the aquarium like space of the painting.  I think it is a workable solution.  The sky dome looks a little odd, but there is always next time.  I also like the idea that the bird’s space program generates a little more excitement than our own space program.

I also imagine it is a little bit better funded, well for birds.

Are Kindergartners Good Art Critics?

March 3, 2007

Bird with Two Fish Explorers

This painting was recently shown in my daughter’s kindergarten class, where a boy by the name of “John” felt the painting was “cool.”  This is a pretty strong endorsement, and leads me to believe I am really onto something here.

It is on a quarter sheet of watercolor paper because in order for an object to qualify for show and tell it must be able to fit into a backpack.  However, since the reviews for the piece were so encouraging, I am going to continue to explore the quarter sheet format.