bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

babies and painting

A couple of hours ago, I was holding Liam in my right arm and Evan in my left arm, bobbing both up and down in an effort to get them to stop crying.  Softly singing Johnny Cash ballads, I paced the floor with my armful, hoping that my crooning might summon Morpheus to guide my boys off to his somnolent abode.  As I sang, I thought to myself  “I should write me a blog tonight, to let everybody know that I am still writing blogs, but have been a bit busy these past two weeks.”  When I would otherwise be writing this blog at one in the morning, as I typically do, instead I’ve been singing my boys to sleep.

As far as the daytime is concerned, things are going very well in my world of painting.  I am glad to say that my cell phone has run out of batteries. I’ll explain what this means for my situation:  my only phone charger is the type that you plug into a car, and so I only get around to charging it when I am driving.  But when I don’t drive, I don’t charge.  Last week, I barely drove a mile from Tuesday to Saturday- quite an achievement in suburban Long Island.  I spent my entire week painting, some days for ten hours.  When my phone runs out of batteries, it is a wonderful catch-22 which means that I am not distracted, nor is it likely that I will be distracted any time soon.

I am gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend exhibition in Manhattan- the Washington Square Outdoor Arts Exhibit.  It is the same venue as last September- me in a tent, on a sidewalk, happily hawking my painterly wares like a beer vendor at Shea Stadium.  It’s my chance to talk to people about my work, and so I’m really looking forward to it.

I have a lot of painting to do between now and the show.  I’ve been working on six paintings, two of which I’ll show here.  I intended to show this following painting sooner, but it was in such a raw state that I couldn’t post it.

The Artist’s View, 24″ x 24″, oil on linen

detail, Artist’s View

This painting is the view that an artist sees when doing a self portrait by a mirror.  It may take a while to figure out, but I think that’s why this painting might be enjoyable.  Maybe you can’t ever figure it out…

Here is a progress shot on the violin painting that I previously posted.  The painting is a few days further along.  I’m still working on the overall rhythms of the piece, and sorting out what is happening with the background.  I am painting in a new way recently, in that my paintings are taking much more license on what I am seeing- colors are altered, values are heightened or subdued, lines are made more calligraphic, patterns are emphasized, etc.  The best example of this altering is in the sheets of the music- you can see how the pages complement the lines of the violin.  This was not the case with the actual pages, because in actuality, the music fell off the edge of the table like flaccid pasta.  But here, I’ve painted them with the lyricism of music itself.  I am always straddling this fence of painting what I actually observe, and painting what I would compose.  I think that too far in either direction might take away from the piece- too literal and it becomes banal, too much license and it becomes stylized.  Speaking in general terms, banal art is depressing photorealism, and stylized art is simply inapplicable and irrelevant.  I would like my paintings to draw from the two worlds of reality and fiction, and to repeat a quote from Goethe, to draw “out of the worlds of truth and falsehood, [and] create a third whose borrowed existence enchants us”.

Lyrical, 18″ x 24″, oil on linen

Lyrical, detail


2 responses

  1. When my daughters were 2 1/2 and 1, they seemed to prefer recorded music to my singing. My older daughter used to say “Pay Woop,” meaning “Play The Magic Flute.” I put on the records (remember rocords?) and they quieted down.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:36 am

  2. Bill Leet

    Kevin, I like the violin painting a lot already. The reflections in the bottle and the glass are quite good and the rosin dust is “real”. As to the self portrait, after a while I think what I see is a painting that includes the right front of a canvas on the left and the mirror image which includes the back of that canvas as well as the artist with palette and the brownish wall of the room beyond the mirror which is also the brownish color seen in the canvas. The thing that is “magic” is the brush held by the artist. Well done!

    April 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

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