No Words. Just Thanks.

thank you

Go On A Fool’s Errand

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

 

 

“I paint the way some people write their autobiography. The paintings, finished or not, are the pages of my journal, and as such are valid. The future will choose the pages it prefers. It is not up to me to make the choice.” ~ Pablo Picasso

 

 

The further I walk down this life path, the more I identify with this quote. A younger version of me would have thought it interesting but not much more. A younger version of me wouldn’t have admitted to trying to pre-determine the choice for the future; trying to determine what others see. A forgivable fool’s-errand as I am certain I am not alone in my folly.

There is a flip side to my fool’s-errand. There are things I see in the paintings that no one on earth will ever see. I am the channel. It is the privilege of being an artist to express from personal experience what cannot be fully expressed, only approximated. And, in the attempt to fully express the personal (another fool’s-errand!), a common ground is created – art is a universal meeting place, a crossroads. It’s a paradox. It is also a truth: individuals create common ground through the experiences they share and the stories they tell about those experiences. Society is a creation just as a painting is a creation. Society is an expression just as a painting is an expression.

The future will choose the pages it prefers because it will choose the pages it relates to, the pages it understands, the pages that inspire, remind, or give pause.

For me, at this point in my autobiography, it is enough to paint without regard to validity or investment in value of my paintings. It is enough to discover yet another facet of my life as an art-fool on errands .

See Art Everywhere

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH APRIL 22nd

Together we read the local paper every morning. Yesterday there was an essay from the executive director of a new ‘creative space’ making a case, financial and otherwise, for why the community should value and support the arts. Everything he wrote was true. Everything he wrote has already, as Kerri likes to say, fallen into the moat.

Fifteen years ago I might have written that essay. I am an artist and need no case made for the necessity and essential nature of “the arts.” However…. In a past life I consulted with schools and many times found myself in the position of lobbying the school board to support arts programs. I jumped up and down making a case for the arts and rarely achieved my desired result. Until, one day, a word-angel grabbed my tongue and instead of using that mystical word “arts,” I replaced it with the phrase “experiential learning.” Doors blew opened. Angels sang. Kids made movies, painted paintings, held poetry slams, wrote musicals, made plays…came alive. And learned.

Our mistake is “to make a case” for the arts. Our mistake is to define it narrowly, relegate it to museums. It is not a separate thing. It is everything. It is everywhere. The design of our cars and blenders is an aesthetic as well as an engineering process. The apps on our phones (the very design of our phones) requires artistic as well as technical skill. Every piece of marketing that clogs our streams requires an artistic sensibility. We live in age of narrative, of artificial intelligence, of imagination run rampant. We story ourselves on Facebook and Instagram and share our pins on Pinterest. Step back and listen to the competing narratives we call The News. Listen not to the content of the question but how it is asked; these things are not accidental, they are designed, targeted to influence and move our imaginations. The “arts” are not lofty nor dusty, they are throbbing, vibrant, and central to every nuance of our lives. Why do we insist on  keeping them in such a tiny little box?

Stephen asked me more than once, “Why don’t people value the arts?”  He is a prolific painter, brilliant, and exhausted from living on the margins. “They do,” I’d say, “they just don’t know it.”

Kerri and I said goodbye to a few more paintings yesterday. They found their right home and that is more than gratifying.  It is the moment of completion of the painting (or the play or the composition…or the car, couch, and coffee mug) when it finds an audience or its home. It’s a life cycle, deeply connected. It is everything. It is everywhere.

Commune With Color

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

I always loved gallery openings of my work because they served to remind me how deeply personal a relationship with a painting really is. And, isn’t that the point? For instance, when I first showed my painting, Canopy [featured in a post yesterday], it literally stopped a woman in her tracks. She burst into tears and spent the next hour communing with the painting. Literally communing. I love this story because a few moments before the communing woman entered the gallery, a young couple stood before Canopy and said, “Ooh. I don’t like this one.”

As John once said, “Your job is to paint the paintings, not to determine what people see in them.” True enough.

There are two paintings in my stable that have drawn more attention than any others. By far. They were painted at roughly the same time. They are the same size. Both are acrylic on two panels. Both have shown often, always have multiple inquiries, and always return to the stable. They are favorites to be courted but are always left standing alone at the altar.

Once, when taking them down after a showing, a gallery rep. told me she thought they were abandoned yet again because they were too colorful. “Too Colorful?” I questioned. And she said, “You’re right. That’s not possible.”

Something Old, Something New

50% OFF ALL ORIGINAL PAINTINGS THROUGH MIDNIGHT APRIL 22nd

Horatio and I just finished one of our famous calls. He, too, is an artist [and film maker] and so I look forward to our all too rare and epic conversations. They are pot-stirring and life-giving. Today, among a host of other things, we talked about the necessity of letting go of the old story in order to move forward into the new.

Non-attachment. It is an artistic imperative (and spiritual practice). It is one of the reasons I love and appreciate Kerri’s total attachment to my paintings; I know my work is loved and in good hands so it frees me to continue stepping forward. I no longer walk this path alone. I have the same attachment to her compositions and trust my embrace of her work opens safe space for her artistic voyage to the edge.

Kerri treats the sale of my paintings more as a placement, a matching of hearts, than as a transaction. She’s helping me tell a new story even in the selling of my work. ” I hope you sell a lot of 50% off paintings,”  Horatio said.

“Me, too,” I thought. In my new story that would mean a meeting of many, many hearts.

 

If You’ve Said, “I Wish…”

50% OFF ALL PAINTINGS through MIDNIGHT APRIL 22

IMG_2751It is my favorite rituals. Just as I put the last stroke on a new painting I hear Kerri say, “I love it. You can’t sell that one.” I smile because I know she means it. Generally it takes a few days of convincing her before she acquiesces to the inevitable destiny of my paintings and we list it on the site.  Letting them go, placing them in the world, is  personal.

We take great delight when my paintings find homes with people who love them.

Soon, Kerri and I will celebrate 5 years together. A wish come true. This morning in the studio, sorting through paintings to select new morsels for the melange, we discussed how fortunate we are, how prolific we’ve been, how fast we are filling up space, how many people have said to us, “I wish I could afford that painting.” We decided that part of our celebration of the first 5 years should be a clearing of space, a nod to wish-giving (or as close as we can come to it), an invitation and welcome to the new.

It’s easy. Go to my site before midnight on April 22nd. Choose your painting – old or recent. Take 50% off the listed price (of course, there’s tax and shipping if we need to ship it to you). Send us an email through the contact page (or text or call us) claiming your painting. If it’s still available, it’s yours (our space-clearing is necessarily first come first served). We’ll contact you with the details.

Oh. And, don’t be surprised if Kerri tries to talk you out of it. She is persistent!

cropped head kiss copy 2

Think “And”

a second version, a second point of view of my painting Shared Fatherhood

I suppose it is the great trap in human nature to define life through oppositions. Was your experience good or bad? Are you liberal or conservative? Are you your brother’s keeper or is it every man for himself? Oppositions provide the illusion that there is a right way or a wrong way, that any issue can be reduced to a simplicity, a singular path. One way. Oppositions are great language devices for dictators and the righteous. They remove the grey tones and blunt the grey matter. With an opposition, us or them, “god” can be exclusively on your side (a small god, indeed) which self-grants permission for all manner of abuses enacted by “us” on “them.” The problematic word when employing oppositions is “or.”

“And” is a much more useful (and honest) term to employ when dancing with oppositions. Can you be your brother’s keeper AND take care of yourself? Certainly. Can you survive entirely by yourself without the participation of your brothers and sisters? Certainly not. No one lives in a vacuum; “or” is the great creator of illusory vacuums. “And” guarantees a conversation and perhaps a host of useful, challenging and robust perspectives. Both/And is always more functional than Either/Or.

AND the first version of Shared Fatherhood

The snag in “Or” is that there is very little truth in any reduction that ultimately lands on just One. This or that. All life is movement and all movement stops in One. Creative tension requires at least two points and a desire for someplace place to go. There is no single arrival station in real life. There is no achievement that stops all the presses. Every answer inspires new questions. Each question opens doors to multiple possibilities. Agreement is a fluid target at best and must be nurtured. Compromise is never an end state; it is a relationship imperative. Life is never found in the static “or.”

Do an experiment: go to the grocery store, choose any item and ask yourself how many people it took to bring your chosen item to the shelf at that moment. If you are not astounded by the complexity of participation, how dependent we are on actions of others, your imagination has most certainly failed you. Skip, entrepreneur extraordinaire and mentor to entrepreneurs taught me that a business cannot succeed until it serves its customer’s customer. Note the word “serves.” Businesses serve. Not simply a customer but the complexity of a customer’s customer. Entrepreneurism is a service to the creative genius of a community and multitudes of communities beyond.

Entrepreneurism, like artistry, ….even, yes, like governance…like all things vital, moving, complex and growing, live in service according to the good graces of AND. Anything else is a mirage.