Welcome


I am an artist, not a writer. My Intent is not to educate, enlighten or inspire but rather to clarify my motivations to myself. I find that when I write down the thoughts and reasons that I take certain paths, it helps me to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Let's face it, authentic work evolves through a series of mistakes, lessons learned and options eliminated.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why do I create art?


The question has been asked, "Why do I create art? What gets me into the studio every day?" It's like asking a bird why it flies. Man was designed to create, whether it be music, poetry, cooking or even remodeling a house. It is a compulsion essential to the development of the individual as well as mankind in general. Why do billionaires, who have more money than they could spend in 10 lifetimes, spend every waking hour trying to earn more? Making money is their creative outlet, their bliss. If I were independently wealthy, I would still create art, it is my bliss. When I am in the studio, it is special "me time". I shut out the world and turn inward. I ignore everything that is not me and tune into my individuality. Before I make a mark, I have to get in the correct frame of mind.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated, "It is the challenge of the artist to explore the particular in order to discover the universal." I believe the individual is a particular piece of the universal and one's imagination is the conduit to the realization of that uniqueness. Art, if it is honest, is a means of self discovery. I allow my emotions, my likes and dislikes, to govern the evolution of my work. Above all, it has to feel right, I have to trust my gut, not my ego. My "modus operandi" is to set up circumstances where art might occur and then allow it to do so. This creative process is exhilarating and exciting, full of surprises and discoveries. The work becomes a byproduct of the experience. Tethered in the present moment, I watch in amazement as individuality seeks to reveal itself.

"A man's art is always more than he knows about himself," ( I saw this scrawled on a wall somewhere.)

My "Fortress of Solitude"


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Muligan

Recently I have been experimenting with a lot of polished surfaced images. I felt the need, in this piece, to delve back into the more textural qualities that first interested me in the medium of cement. Most of my earlier works were all about the three dimensional capabilities of this medium. Textured surfaces occupied the majority of my designs. Then I began to experiment with the techniques used for polishing cement, I was swept away, learning about this new capability. Cement could take on the look of translucent glass, polished stone or the buffed appearance of ivory or bone. Mastery of this skill occupied the creation of many new works. Each new piece taught me more than the one before, until finally, I felt I had a good grasp of this technique. At this point, I feel it may be the time to try to integrate both surfaces into my work.

In "Muligan" I created a textured ground in which polished surfaces could be imbedded. I have to be concerned about weight, so I keep everything as thin as possible. The work becomes a kind of assemblage, as opposed to being created all in one piece. This opens up playful opportunities to move things around and mix and match, to find pleasing combinations.
As an added benefit, I am able to recycle parts of failed images that I have broken apart, that were otherwise headed for the trash heap.


"Muligan" 36"x 24" polished pigmented cement on panel

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Koi Pond

In the past I have been working fairly large, but recently I decided to play around with smaller works. "The Koi Pond" measures 25"x 24". To me, that is small. I feel more comfortable when working in the 5 or 6 foot range. I find it challenging to achieve a free gestural stroke using wrist action as opposed to my whole arm. None the less, this small size makes it possible to work much faster using less material. I consider each piece I complete a learning experience, so working small, in theory, should increase my learning curve. In practice, though, working smaller set me back. I had several miserable failures as the confines of the edges of the panel curtailed my freedom and imagination. I had to make a mental shift to this new scale. "The Koi pond" was the first successful attempt at reducing my images. When a photo of the image did not scream out "I am small", I felt I was on the right track.

"The Koi Pond" 25"x 24" polished pigmented cement on panel


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hudsucker

This was the first piece where I decided to bevel and polish the edge of the image. In my past work I was OK with the edges being rather rough and unfinished. Sometimes I get urges to make a change in a particular process or habit and there is always the choice of whether I should follow that urge or not. In this instance, I felt that it worked out very well. You can't really see the beveled edge in this photo but in person it adds a nice finished frame-like quality that contrasts nicely with the many rough finished surface areas. Many artists don't feel that photography accurately represents their artwork. This is especially true in my case. Photos do not communicate the fact that areas of the work have been highly polished, waxed and buffed to a mirror like surface. At this point I am inclined to repeat this edge treatment in future pieces.

"Hudsucker" 39" x 27" polished cement and dry pigment on panel

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tulum

Most of my work is begun with nothing but a vague idea or image in mind. This piece was a little different. It was in response to a trip I made to the Yucatan. There I visited the ruins at Tulum. I was struck by the ancient ornamentation and eroded textures still visible on those stone structures. Every once in awhile I could discern remnants of colors on what were once vibrantly painted surfaces. This piece is an attempt to capture a feeling rather than a representative depiction of the ruins.

I haven't yet determined how to refer to my work. They are not really paintings and they are not sculptures, but more of a hybrid or blend between the two. In most cases the colored surfaces are a result of mixing dry pigment with the cement before it is applied to the support. Cement, by its nature, is dimensional and lends a bas-relief element to my compositions. My concern with surface leads me to contrast rough textured elements against highly polished smooth areas. These attributes are usually associated with sculpture. So you tell me. What do I call this stuff?

Tulum '09 29"x 36" polished cement & dry pigment on panel

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First Time

Shockabookoo '08 36"x 49" polished cement & dry pigment on panel

I am not sure of my motivation to start a blog. I think that the appeal to me, is that of clarification... an online diary that keeps track of the process of making art. Something that I can look back on to review and remember how I got from here to there. In my experience, I have found that the mere process of organizing and writing down my thoughts leads to increased comprehension and clarity.


I am working with various types of cement mixed with dry pigments and applied mainly to Hardi-board panels. I have purposely chosen to work with nontraditional material in order to facilitate my desire to break away from my previous methods and habits. I know that it is next to impossible to create totally unique imagery, but it is my goal to come as close as I can. I try and let the medium, by its own properties, determine much of the look and feel of the work. Cement is a very flexible medium, it can be poured, molded, stained and even polished to a high gloss. I am free to experiment and learn what the medium has to teach me. If the work begins to feel familiar, I change direction. I am aware of no precedents that would be of undue influence to the development of the work. It is exciting and fresh to venture into uncharted waters where right and wrong do not exist.