The painting above entitled "Into Her Book" she holds a German copy of All Quiet On The Western Front. This is a brand new painting taken out of its frame that measures 8x10 inches and is oil on a wood panel.
What is the experience of reading a story? How does it work really? We are creating the images in our mind as we read, and they are completely personal and unique to each person reading or hearing the story. This is different than watching a film, where the filmmaker has created his vision of the word for us.
The experience of reading a book is a slow infusion of the story into our soul over a period of time, usually interrupted by other life experiences that occur between the time we put the book down, and when we pick it up again to resume reading. This slow-drip into our soul's vein gives us time to assimilate the story in a deeper way perhaps - than the dump-truck drop-off of a 90 minute film.
There is also the weight of the book, the illustrations and the feel of the paper on our fingers. Sometimes books have a smell. Sometimes a forgotten pressed flower falls into our lap from a summer day 70 years ago. Perhaps there is an inscription on a blank page or inside cover telling us this book had been a Christmas gift to a daughter in the December of 1948.
Balthus may be one of my all time favorite painters of our time. This slide show takes you through several of his life works. He lived from 1908-2001. Bono sang at his funeral.
What I love about his work is the way he carried a strong connection with the past and yet remained completely contemporary. The way he paints the figure has such a strong sense of volume that it feels like sculpture. The surface textures and rich color together with his classical sense of composition helps to make each painting hauntingly poetic.
The mirror has many possible symbolic meanings but I think the one most appropriate to Balthus is the mirror as a metaphor for the spiritual world. In the mirror we see another world reflected much like ours yet different, a world that we can see but are not able to pass into unless by some magic or spiritual opening as was the case with Alice the morning she passed into her looking glass. With Balthus, painting itself functions as a sort of magical way to pass through into a world of greater spiritual potency and more vivid beauty.
— Kurt Vonnegut
When I am working up an idea for a new painting I am in a very vulnerable place. I don't like it there but if I don't go there are simply no new paintings. The cool part is when something new begins to happen. It is a little like finding a new little trail in the woods you begin to follow to you don't know where.
Remember that song by Bob Dylan, Knocking On Heaven's Door. That is also what it is to making drawings for a new painting. The art work is after all a door way into the spiritual. The paintings and drawings are like a semi-permeable membrane that divides the spiritual from the physical world.
When you are scratching around on paper with pencil and charcoal, when you are brushing, daubing and scraping oil on and off the panal you are making this membrane thinner and more translucent. When you scratch long enough and caress with enough love and tenderness, heaven starts to leak through.
Every family has dark little secrets that nobody knows. With in the family we are all bound together beyond any choice of our own to begin with. When we are say fifteen or sixteen we could feasibly run away but any time we run we generally bring it all right with behind us.
This is one of the photos I have as a reference for the new painting I am currently working on in the studio. I have been at it now already for a few weeks and it feels like it is moving very slowly. The composition is inspired by a wonderful artist fav on flickr named Hibiki M. Rose has begun to spin and dye her own yarn using a spinning wheel. This activity seems so ancient and beautiful. I have been working on a series of paintings that are portraits where the participants are engaged in some kind of activity that connects them together. I am interested in the ways we as people are bound together in relationships.
In a family relationships are constantly being challenged and stretched because of all the different personalities and competing desires that are bound together by the shear fact that you were born into this situation. It takes a lot of humility to keep coming back to apologize and restart again in order to keep relationships on track and healthy. I often think that it is in our families that we learn how to relate to others for life. It is within the family that we create a platform for creating all the basic know how to navigate our relationships that come later in life outside our original family structures, in the office, on the sports field, in the grocery store, with our neighbors... I want to create in our home a healthy safe place where if you fail some how you can quickly recover to try again finding the support of your family all around you cheering you on. It is our family members after all who see us at our total worse. We will always find a way to keep on our best behavior when we have people over for dinner but it is when no one else is around that we have the freedom to become as creepy as possible and no one outside of the family will ever see this so it remains your dirty little secret.