Field of Poppies

Field of Poppies

“Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum.” (Ansel Adams)

For the perfect accomplishment of any art, you must get this feeling of the eternal present into your bones — for it is the secret of proper timing. No rush. No dawdle. Just the sense of flowing with the course of events in the same way that you dance to music, neither trying to outpace it nor lagging behind. Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present.

-Alan Watts


The following ideas from Robert Genn tell you a little bit about why and how I paint.

Paint with your eyes

Think what things might become

Let the brush talk

Be in love with change

Find the elegance

See the big picture

Make it a pattern

Identify the extraordinary

Don’t get gauche

Keep it fresh at all costs

Take your time

Or this from a restaurant in Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy

“lascia che i tuoi sensi si prendano cura di te”

let your senses take care of you

Ristorante degli Archi  Montepulciano (the best pasta I have ever eaten in my life, by the way)

“When you really think about your hand you begin to realize its connection, to sense the hum of your own being passing through it. When we look at a piece of the universe we should feel the same,” says Emily Carr

This is a quoted paragraph by Sara Genn from Robert Genn’s twice weekly newsletter of March 4, 2014.  It describes why creativity and the making of art is so important:

“The saving of lives, for an artist, is surely a daily act. Artists are resuscitators of dreams, rescuers of the abandoned, lodgers of the unwanted, and keepers of faith. In our lifesaving, we are saved. In polishing the souls of others, the artist polishes her own with her resurrections. She can’t help herself – giving life is the ultimate creative act. “As soon as there is life, there is danger,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. ‘I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I am not afraid of falling into my ink pot.’ ”

Other artists help us by telling us why they paint what they paint.  And why every painting is such a personal statement about the artist.

Here is Matisse toward the end of his life:

“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject-matter, an art which might be for every mental worker, be he businessman or writer, like an appeasing influence, like a mental soother, something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.”

This is a far cry from the demands of current politically conscious art forms which force us to look at our world more critically.  Are we then to say of Matisse that he is less serious?  I do not believe so.  Balance and serenity are not easy to achieve or conceive. Today’s world needs more balance, needs it desperately.

This is from Georgia O’Keeffe from the Exhibition Catalogue “An American Place” 1939

“A flower is relatively small.  Everyone has many associations with a flower – the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower – lean forward to smell it – maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking – or give it to someone to please them.  Still – in a way – nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.  If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.

So I said to myself – I’ll paint what I see – what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it…

Well…when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t.

Then when I paint a red hill, because a red hill has no particular association for you like the flower has, you say it is too bad that I don’t always paint flowers…You have no associations with those hills – our waste land – I think our most beautiful country.  You must not have seen it, so you want me always to paint flowers.

I have picked flowers where I found them – have picked up sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood where there were sea shells and rocks and pieces of wood that I liked….When I found the beautiful white bones in the desert I picked them up and took them home too…I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it…

So probably….when I started painting the pelvis bones I was most interested in the holes in the bones – what I saw through them – particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky as one is apt to do when one seems to have more sky than earth in one’s world…They were most wonderful against the Blue – that Blue that will always be there as it is now, after all man’s destruction is finished.”