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Jul. 17th, 2008 | 05:44 pm


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Jun. 16th, 2008 | 09:58 pm

Once I was a party in Albuquerque. This was when I was in school and ceramics/clay sculpture was my major at the time. I was with Laurel Foster who was also a clay person, who had just gotten in the master's program. She was slightly mexican with broad, white teeth, very pretty. The party at first seemed to be just a regular kegger. We didn't know anyone at the party, just got word of it and went.

After awhile some people were dancing, and then a few took their shirts off. We figured out they were on ecstacy, which is a hallucinogen and produces stimulant effects like amphetamine. It is commonly marketed as a "feel good drug" because of the positive feelings of well being and empathy toward other people, elimination of anxiety, and extreme relaxation.

I don't remember quite how I figured it out, but of course it was no big deal. They were just having a great time over in a little nook room by themselves, dancing.

This is where the story takes a little turn. From the little nook room comes a dancer, a curly headed man, probably 35, a beer belly, definitely not in shape, perhaps a teensy effeminate. His pupils are dilated, he 's all smiles. It's time for him to dance. He takes off his shirt, exposing a hairy chest, with fat pods that make them almost breasts instead. He swings the shirt in a strip-tease cabaret, swirling it and finally letting it go into the audience.

Off come the pants. "Wheeew! Wheeeeew!!!!!" he cries. "Wheeeeewww!!!!" catcalls the drunken audience, just us party-goers. The jeans twirl and swirl, 'round and round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows!!!' The denim jeans soar into the living room. His white legs and beer belly undulate in the sheer pleasure of being exposed to the crisp afternoon air. He can hardly wait to continue, and continue he does. His underwear comes off awkwardly, he must bend, lift pull through. He's no expert at this part. He twirls the boxer shorts over his head, he dances, his soft fleshy hips back and forth. He is free. The combination of music, beverage, the stage, the audience, the drug all combine into a new and pristeen experience for him, wafting in waves of pure electric pleasure, which he feels in every cell, beautiful light flowing through him, He continues to dance and smile crazily, by now he is aware only of himself.

He is a spectacle to be sure. There is an unfortunate fact of his birth and his life, which he has now shown to all of his. His penis, white, purplish, and perhaps slightly shrunken from the cool breeze, is no bigger than the day he was born. His tiny baby penis fails to sway as he moves his body to the music. In truth it has no weight of its own, it is only a small protrusion from his abdomen. Unlike his hairy chest and belly, this region is bare. Nature has left it to be infantile, forever a cherub's little pee pee.

He is smiling his widest smile, and suddenly while his underwear over his head, he notices Laurel Foster across the room.

'Come and dance with me!' he coos, extending a dramatic beckoning finger.

'I don't want to!' she issues back to him, smiling, not mean.

'But we're the only ones here!' he lavishes.

'Really?' she lavishes back.

'Yes!! These people are only figments of our imagination!' He twirls his underwear and fleshy white hip her way. By now the figments of imagination are laughing our asses off.

'I didn't know that!' Laurel says. 'I thought they were real people!'

'They're not!' he retorts convincingly.

'Well I still don't want to come over there!' says Laurel, establishing her boundary.

The guy, not a he-she but just a pre-pubescent man, twirled his underwear at her for another four minutes or so, trying to attract this specimen of the opposite sex. The audience by now is in a continuous wave of laughter, which he senses is encouragement for a little while. Then he began to look around the room, seeing the individual people for the first time in perhaps twenty minutes. Just as Adam and Eve he became aware of his nakedness, and was ashamed.
Helpers from around the room helped him gather his clothes, and then he ran away out of the Garden.

Later on I went outside. The sun had gone down. I saw him sitting in a rusted metal chair under a tree, fully clothed. He was drinking a Budweiser longneck.

'You okay?' I didn't want to bother him.

'Yeah, I'm okay,' he said. He wouldn't look up at me, only stared in the direction of the crimson setting sun. I went over and got him another Budweiser. He took it without turning his gaze.

'Thanks,' he said.

'Yeah sure,' I said.

Then Laurel and I took off, it seemed like the party was kind of winding down. I remember starting the car and rolling out of the driveway. I knew what he had just done, exposing his worst demons, his most coveted secret from the world. Despite all that, and feeling sorry for him, I was in a good mood, the crisp spring air moving around, I had confidence in the car I was driving as it rolled down the driveway. Laurel lit a cigarette for me even though she didn't smoke, and we drove back to our own neighborhood there in Albuquerque and fished out a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food. Hot green chile dark brown greasy refried beans, really good relleno fried in egg batter. It was really good, just the kind you want.

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painting for june 2007 show w broken hand and pneumonia

Apr. 25th, 2008 | 05:14 pm
location: bozeman, montana
mood: accomplishedaccomplished
music: rolling stones

today we'll install the remaining track lighting in the studio and make several easels that bolt into the ceiling - this will allow me to work on up to probably five pieces at a time. We all woke up with the flu- literally our pajamas were dripping from sweats - we're used to working through (me with a broken hand) so we're just taking it slow and making progess- baby steps count-that's the motto of the day.

I'm planning the show well beforehand, so that I know the sizes of the pieces and can order framing even now, and once they're done they can be photographed and framed and set aside for the show...probably ten large pieces, and up to thirty small framed drawings, postcard size. I have twelve folio papers from the fifteen hundreds, probably 7 X 12, which may be included, these will be higher priced because the paper is so rare.

The large canvases will be gessoed painting/drawing on birch panel, much more sensitive I think than some of the canvases from the past...

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the artist with the broken hand

Mar. 25th, 2007 | 02:53 pm
mood: amusedamused
music: bungalow - Will Pope

I've been building out the basement into what will be I think an awesome studio - it's over 700 sq ft and has been a dark hovel since we moved in 20 months ago - dark brown concrete. still, I've made a lot of art down there and have been thankful for a place to do it. the other day our mailbox literally fell off its stand, and I went to fix it, using a a heavy duty hammer drill - the drill swpun on me and torqued my hand, and immediately I knew I had snapped my fourth metacarpal on my right hand.

I was a week away from finishing the studio - white wainscoat and ceiling, a new closet to hide the boiler and water heater and a few half-walls with box windows for a mod look. the floor will be blue stained concrete, and a a blue stained closet door...all new track lighting.

I was very excited to finish, but broke my hand...now it's light work, and a waiting game till I can get back to any kind of manual labor, and painting is backed up.

Sold several paintings this week though and very optimistic new paintings, new recordings, and video of all.

for now typing in a limited pecking fashion...

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evolution through the landscape

Nov. 20th, 2006 | 03:22 am

I moved to taos, new mexico the first time when I was seventeen. I had never seen the landscape, never seen an indian reservation, never smelled pinion burning in a kiva fireplace. and like anyone else who visits I got hit over the head with images in gallery windows of 'pretty paintings' of mountinas, animals, pueblos, and flowery new mexico doorways and lanes. I wanted to be an artist, and I sensed that these must be the works that were selling, they were everywhere. I knew enough about art history to know that this particular approach didn't really fit into the 'serious' mainstream of art, and yet it was impossible to deny that these western themes had forged their way into the mainstream consciousness.

being from fort worth, I had seen the r.c gorman's on occasional walls, and if I had ever seen taos it had been in a painting, accompanied by someone's comment in a texas accent, 'oh, we jsut love taos.'

through my years of art school in albuquerque and taos, and through studying art history, the majority of western and native american art naturally was thrown out the window...only a handful of artists semed to have been able to hold the mantel of western painting and acceptability in the world of high art...the scrutiny of art historians, and the reality of what had happened in the art world over the last half-century left the feeling that most of these people painting landscapes in bright colors were naive, children who had somehow missed the point of all major movements in art...

I had good teachers, I hung out in the studios of highly regarded minimalists, post-modernists, high-art and high-minded californians. and somehow twenty years later I find myself painting this year in bright colors, fanciful (and childlike) themes, and the same brightly colored landscapes and western animals that I consciously know may relegate me to the lions, classify me as kitsch, and close doors that could have opened on any other terms.

My ongoing question to self has been, knowing that my sensibilities do lie in the post-modern minefield, is there a serious and poingant place for me in this tradition? So far so good...I'm a third generation painter - my father and grandfather both painted animals and landscapes (my father still does, at seventy-five) and I guess my blessing, no matter what I leanned in school, is that when I go to paint a landscape, what comes out is like no other western landscape...and the animals I paint can range, in the same painting, from fauvist or german expressionist figures in seven colors and black outline to very detailed paintings of regional birds painted for audubon...with a set of new brushes from my father, if nothing else, these are getting better.

so we shall see. I'm watching it happen as it happens, and the odd result is that in my decision to try this, something happened, coninues to happen...

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snowing in montana, the painting goes on

Sep. 16th, 2006 | 02:18 pm

A low pressure system moved in to Bozeman yesterday, first freezing rain and then our first snow today, this morning. The system sits very low, and the low pressure causes bone and muscle pain and you get headaches. It's a lot like what happens to divers when they come up off the ocean floor too fast.

The other part is that some gland in your brain is affected and it makes you want to sleep. Sometimes it's almost impossible to stay awake.

I've experienced before where the system will clear and suddenly I'll wake right up and all the pain will go away....

Painting a large painting today with three bison and a field of maybe ten varieties of flowers in the forward picture plane...

through all this I'm excited by the painting, if exhausted- I've got songs to practice and some carpentry to do, but the cold, the overcast, it may be just wine and painting till tomorrow..

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painting in a stream

Sep. 4th, 2006 | 08:12 am
mood: ditzyditzy

Monday, Labor Day. with deadlines for painting the flow is continuous. finish one, load another canvas. no time to process the paintings, nor to calculate what the next will be necessarily. I try to get an impression as soon as the new canvas is up, I x-ray it to see what image is waiting to be brought out, what the overarching theme can be- these are relatively western landscapes, and the underpainting Background I do first in plaster, regions, friezes of color. and so I wait for the initial impression, and that's how the painting starts. I designed the first three in my sketchbook, now I'm winging it.

thee's not enough time to do the paintings I need to do. I've finished four, I'm on my fifth for this week. I need ten complete paintings...framed, varnished.

laying in the animal forms, buffalo, deer, horses, geese. then I work to make the painting a will pope, I put in a traiin and some clouds, rain. it's a process. getting the plaster canvases takes a few days application and drying, lots of sanding and then tapping words in with the leather/wood stamps I use- at least a hundred years old these stamps. then painting is a couple of days, then varnishing, which takes a day to a week to dry, then framing another day. this process is much more laborious than painting on canvas or paper. also a lot heavier, so shipping is an added cost-

listening to mozart, beethoven vivaldi, brahms now. started out the week with pj harvey and bjourk, the eels, a bunch of classic, john lee hooker.

have to keep changing the music to keep the monotony down of standing and painting. I forced myself to paint for six hours in silence, that was interesting. no where to run, no where to hide.

the western flavor is difficult, without adding my own 'notional' images, a submarine or flowers. it's relatively straight painting. the next series, chavez ravine, will be more light, comical maybe, at least free to put whatever I like. cousin christy turned me on to it, chavez ravine, the old mexican neighborhood in LA,and I went through a book of photgraphs on it, never quite placing it. I did the first painting in the series and dropped it at the gallery. it's been a month and I went back to look, and I really like the painting, the series I hope, I identify with it- the painting, called 'chavez ravine and the submarine' is big,
3 x 5.

James called from San Diego yeserday and told me that Chavez Ravine was bulldozed to put in Dodger Stadium, which is where I lived in LA, less thatn a mile from Dodger Stadium. So it turns out I'm painting my old neighborhood...very odd, a little aunted I would say. So it will be quite something to finish the series.

off to paint.

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almost september

Aug. 28th, 2006 | 04:58 pm

hot and tired, back to work on concrete countertops, and painting for a new gallery in park city, utah.

it seems that will have to be enough for now, but writing is easier now and writing about the work, the life, is essential for what's coming. I find in doing it that something else comes, something that doesn't happen any other way. We should all keep our thoughts and share them if we can. If not it's an account for self. Proof that things are happening and thought accompanies the world, the world without end....

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