Mondo Abstracto

wall sculpture – synthetic polymer paint on wood
6.5″x12″.5″(deep) 1985

I’ve always loved this diminutive wall sculpture 🙂 which is NOT diminutive in my artist eyes & mind!! It never did sell down in Houston. The little creature traveled with me a couple of times to different states, and finally I sold it to a friend of mine – doctor’s wife, for her husband’s birthday. That sort of sale is always a scary thing for me.

A lot of times I’ve experienced an enthusiastic spouse but the other spouse wasn’t enthusiastic at all. And if the enthusiastic spouse be female, “occasionally” it has appeared (like a big truck) that hubbo was a bit more than unenthusiastic, if you be getting my drift.

Well I don’t want to drift along like an iceberg – ready to ram the Titanic of marriage voyages . . . yikes. Still, being an artist trying to sell his or her art follows a simple formula that was succinctly explained to me by my most excellent artist friend (both artist & friend) Ron K Smith many long years ago down in Houston, TX.

Believe them (public art buyers) when the check is in your hand!

This simple statement runs counter to many folks romantic idea of what it’s like to be an artist. I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum actually. There isn’t a lot of middle ground and Ron’s handy art measuring guide is very useful, as it does lie firmly in the middle ground of artist reality (a place that seems to be getting harder ‘n harder to locate for everybody).

But before I break out into song (which sometimes happens when I begin to ‘n so watch out people!! You saw that ‘n in the previous paragraph. I did, too, and went all mental uh oh. Song-bloggin’ is a scary place to be with me…. I’ll move on with my bloggy bloviatin’ blather. See, the ‘ns are multiplyin’ haha My wordy word words are the lesser of two or three e-evils when you’re surfin’ the interwebs 🙂

SO, the glamour of being an artist is (partial fun list): full of a lot of alone time – painting, sculpting, printing, priming, sanding, crating, uncrating, etc. Also, calling dis-interested gallery owners & entering shows (well I’ve been sho nuff lazy ’bout that – got me a good violin soundtrack goin’ now!! Yes, there’s plenty o’ rejection from galleries for most of us (but as Dean Andrew Martin says, “It’s a numbers game – Just keep entering.” That doesn’t seem to bother some artists. They just move on down the gallery row list. But some of us are sensitive artists like yours, too-ly! haha I don’t like no rejectins. Still, do it enought and it gets easier. Not sure it gets quite as glamorous as a job at the art supply store, though 🙂 Meet lots of artists there, male & female. Move to the big city, like Houston – Texas Art Supply has tons of folks buying their art supplies there. I worked there for 4 years. I met lots of art people. Not glamorous but could be fun for an isolato artist like me. Still . . .

For me, the most glamorous parts are those times (and not every day, when the pieces of the art jig-saw puzzle fall into place and I see something new & amazing on my easel or wall! WOW! Often this is 3AM, 4AM, or 5AM. Almost always it’s when I’m totally alone! Just me, my brushes, and my cats!! That’s when I’ll often have my music turned way up and my ancient dancin’ feet going a mile a minute… Or, I’ll be sitting in my special art chair just gazing at what I just finished painting – wondering how that got painted exactly… and… wondering if I will be able to make such magic happen again. Because often I’m not too sure how it did happen anyway. But the wondering doesn’t drown out the feelings of awe at these times!

Yes, art IS GLAMOROUS!! But the general public misses most of it 😦 

Queen’s Interpretations (Near Death Suite)

Non-objective painting on canvas – synthetic polymer paint
30″x40″ 2017

This painting is only three months old. Just a little baby 🙂 It might still change as I continue to work on it, I think I’m done for the foreseeable future. I’m settled in my creative mind with it. And some of my outside critics seem to be relatively calm about it, too.

That can often be a good stopping place. A creative “declared” truce. Even if it’s all in my head, which is usually the case.

Do you see what I have to put up with here? ME!! HAHA The creative battle is so much about dealing with keeping my mind calmed down so I cal really SEE what I’ve painted. It’s tricky sometimes. I don’t want to paint out the brand new creative parts. They can fool my old thinking brain with their novelty-like or weird-ass oddly different appearance. I’m making this sound like a crazy sort of pursuit. It’s not quite that, but you’d be surprised sometimes what the mind will put itself through and drag me along with it.

Truly creative newness is not so easy to make, to recognize, to keep, to live with, etc. It can be uncomfortable – it can look like a mistake. AND…

MY REALLY CREATIVE HITS OFTEN LOOK TOTALLY AWESOME AND I DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT STARE AT THE PAINTING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.

Glow (of recognition)

Glow (of recognition)
abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on canvas – 1976 – 86″x60″

 

This wee painting 🙂 (all of 8 feet long and five feet tall) was my second large-ish painting to produce, in art school, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Or if not dinosaurs, then flying-saucer men or something. It’s getting fuzzy in those parts of the old head-kicker.

I painted this huge a monster with a different palette first, mostly an arrangement of blues. That didn’t suit me, as so often happens, so I fixed it. I remember very late nights alone, just me and my brushes, in the big painting lab working away. This is the result and it was rather popular with some of the students as I recall.

We hung it in the big stairwell by the main art office (where large paintings were hung all the time). The stairwell was enclosed in an interior space about 30 feet high with skylights at the top and the one big wall just ideal for large paintings!! 🙂

This painting (which is now suffering from my art school lack of photographic technical abilities) was a natural for that space. My apologies for the lack of a good slide of the painting and no slide of the stairwell. Oh well. But I was able to save my one photos quite a bit  with my digital painting program abilities. How some things have changed in all these years since 70s art school especially the digital revolution.

So, I remember one small event after we got it hung. I was looking up from the stairs below, and a classmate and I were shooting the breeze about how it looked and art in general.

About that time, a faculty member came down the hallway. I didn’t really know this teacher but my classmate, John, did, and he went over to visit with this faculty. John came back in a couple of minutes, clearly in a bad mood. He told me that the Fack had a criticism (well it is their job, I guess). Apparently he didn’t like how I’d dealt with the “corners” of my painting.

Being way way too sensitive to criticism, I let this get under my skin so deeply that I became hyper-duper aware of corners in my artwork for the next… FOREVER YEARS!!!

WT HECK?? And you know, another student in the class, my very good friend, Donita Myatt loved this painting, and bought it from me. True, she only paid me $50. That just covered the cost of materials. But my wife Cindy & I went over to her house to see it installed.

Donita and her husband had a very nice home, with one of those “sunken pit” living room spaces. My painting was the showcase of that room!! She had big Philodendron plants on either side of it and her cathedral ceiling  had skylights and track style lighting shining on it, too. WOW! I could hardly be upset about the home my “corner-challenged” painting had – it was living much larger than Cindy & I were! ha!

Finally, just earlier this year, I seem to have overcome my “painting corner” PTSD. . . I’ve been working on a lot of new abstract paintings on canvas and with a little effort on my part it seems to have faded into the background din. Oh yay!

Rectangular art is once again safe for me to tread…

Subatomic Bone-eaters

abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood
20″x60″ – 2993

The bone-eaters evolve to a subatomic shell level (stealth visual, non-verbal). Slowly they circle their molecular wagons about the greatest artist of the premillenial 20th century century aka Pablo Picasso.

Their intel captured from the collected works of thousands of mind-numbing lectures at colleges, they make their move. But alas, the great master has made his move to the great beyond 🙂

Busy now, capturing the hearts and minds of astral angels and cherubs alike, he works feverishly at his crafts using brushes of pure light & delight. Still, the bone eaters will not give up.

Why oh why did not the historians and keepers of the art flame inform the bone eaters that the immense Pable P has no bones to pick in the hearafter??

This is truly intel of the first order. And order he shall !!!
boneeaters
Bone Eaters arrive at their (galactic) destination

 

Pandora’s Otter Box (can’t be closed!)

abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood –
2003 – 20″x48″

A big struggle to make this painting work. The flat, solid shape, hard edge paintngs are not so easy as some people might think . THere’s no help from painterly effects at all. THe colors and values have to work by themselvs. it’s a lone reference for art – nearly but not quite.

I tried this piece vertically and horizontally in my mad artist struggle to make it work. And Melody (owner of this fine artwork, is displaying it horizontally, in an excellent location in her kitchen up in Seattle. Nice, Melody! I’ll add the picture once I locate it on my computer, El FInders Losers! haha

All my visual art demons have now been painted to light. And with them my inner stuffed animals. There is no turning back now. They’re loose and can’t be stuffed back into Pandora’s Otter Box… The world must now deal with some deep set distractions, I must say . . .

 

Gift of the Sun

Heliodor
(Gift of the Sun)
Wall Sculpture – synthetic polymer paint on wood
54″x102″x14″(deep)
1997

Heliodor is an awesome wall sculpture. Oh let me toot my own artist horn just a little bit. It’s a looming wall piece that has a definite physical presence in a room. I painted it before I got my job really going at TTU School of Art, so I wasn’t quite aware of ADA regulations regarding objects protruding from walls in public spaces. Well, this piece helped acquaint me with those regs due to its 14″ wall protrusion 🙂

It hasn’t been a problem really. I haven’t sold the artwork, thought I did hang it in my Reconnecting show at Goldesberry gallery back in 1997. The piece had a $9000 price tag on it then, which sounds like a lot (well it really is) but considering all the work I put into it, that’s not a big price.

The name Heliodor means “Gift of the Sun” and the piece is named after a crystal family – the Beryl family. I’ve always loved crystals, and Heliodor is the bright yellow Beryl crystal.

Now the wall sculpture graces my bedroom wall. It’s a little large for it, but I’ve had it mounted in there for many years and would miss it if it left for greener pastures. Not that I wouldn’t love to get $9000 for it. Actually I think that’s a little bit low.

My lifelong art mentor, Jim Howze saw the piece soon after I completed it in early 1998. He told me, “Well, I just got back from a trip to New York City and this is as good as anything I saw there!” That was quite the statement. He didn’t hold back his thoughts. I knew that about him If he didn’t like something he would let me know it. Once, back in art school he told me, “That piece makes something start going around and around in my stomach and I have to choke it off at the neck!” hahaha

He was so right about that nauseous artwork!! I was using a lot of greens shades in it. Some of them were in trouble 😦

And I am not directly sure about his statement about Heliodor. I haven’t been to New York City.. And I have no idea what he saw while there. I”m assuming he saw work by many of the recognized masters of 20th century art. I didn’t quiz him on it, but I just assumed who they might have been.

Jim Howze image Jim Howze passed into the great beyond at the end of 2016 😦 He will be missed by many, certainly by me. He told me to call him Jim and not Professor Howze, so I did. But I always felt a little bit uncomfortable and phony doing it, because he always seemed to understand my art better than I did. My great mentor and friend, Jim.

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So WP art lovers, get busy saving your spare quarters. I probably won’t be making huge wall sculptures like Heliodor anymore. Get this one while it’s hot!! Isn’t that how you sell a huge artwork? One deluxe model wall sculpture. Buy it while the price is still reasonable.

It’s probably the last of its breed, I’m thinking. Twenty years ago I was up for producing these really heavy wall sculptures. Now, though, I’ve switched to canvas painting. It’s a great way to work, too, and my shoulder still gives me a little bit of love at the end of the day.

I almost forgot to mention the semi-hidden visual “story” in Heliodor. Why didn’t anybody say anything? Probably because not too many folks are up at 5:45am blogging full-tilt bloggie. So! Heliodor has a theme of the Greek myth of Icarus. If you look closely you can see him falling earthward after his wax and feather wings have failed. So how does that “fit” with Heliodor gift of the Sun? I don’t want to make that determination. This is highly visual art. The meaning rests in the visual 90+ percent. I could come up with some verbal connections I’m sure. But I want to keep it viaual. That’s my theme for this blog post, and my art-life in general. Until I post again with another visual theme motto 😉 hahah

(so, friends, did you just love my little conflation of Icarus experience & art mentor? Thought I quite nearly pulled it off. Maybe next post trip!)

KEEP IT VISUAL

Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !!

Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !!
bas-relief painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood
22″ x 60″
1997

This was a big success of an artwork for me 🙂 It sold out of Goldesberry Gallery in Houston in 1998 for $3200. The price tag was $4000 but the buyers asked if I would go down to $3200. I didn’t really want to drop it. But I hadn’t been selling much in the Goldesberry, but even with the 50/50 gallery split I would be netting more than a month’s take home from my safety coordinator job at TTU School of Arrrrt. Couldn’t tell them no!!

Yes, I’m spin-splaining this a tiny bit. I wanted to sell it but I had my usual conflicting emotions about the sale (about 38% level – so, not too bad for me). It always feels like I’m selling a car when the buyer wants to deal. I’m not quite financially independent from my art! YO! someday, someway…

So… It was the last piece they ever sold for me at the Goldesberry, and soon after, I met Dawn & Chris Wolf-Taylor. They loved a big piece, “Ex-Nihilo et al” (I changed the name for them & other normal people to: “Creation Once Removed” and I made a deal with them to drive down to Houston to pick up all my art from Goldesberry and pay me some sick dough (see, when I use slang of today, it just doesn’t translate 😦 ) for the piece. It was a groovy deal (dead slang is also a no-go!) for me and them, too.

Still, Goldesberry did sell several pieces of my work during my tenure in their gallery. Unfortunately, I didn’t try too hard to cooperate, really. Oliver Goldesberry said I needed to make much smaller works which he could sell, but I just didn’t make any. Bummer! (I rate this a 8.9 on the slang-o-meter). Not too sure why I didn’t but I was feeling a lot of stress at my jobby job (You rate this one, dear reader :^)

That job stress was NOT helping too much. Menial work is good for some artists perhaps even l’il me. Menial is not a bad word for some creative people. My daddy dad dad did NOT understand where I was coming from. I remember him getting so upset that I was a janitor when I was “graduating from college,” he pounded the kitchen countertop during breakfast on morning so hard the silverware did a little dance of daddily F-rustration. Ho No! Golly Gee daddy dad. I certainly wasn’t the little adoptee sonny boy you had in mind…  But that was all part of the Transmogrification of little Bobby. It can be a long haul when daddy mean bux thinks sonny boy is a little loser who needs sports and boy scroats shoved down his throat 24/7. Ok that’s more of my spin-splaining. Better grab onto something solid, like this here couch or the spinning might just keep on a spinnin.’

There now,  getting back on the art horse – if you check out my website archive page #1 you’ll see several small wall sculptures. (And yes! “check out” was a worm hole direct flight to that page aka hyperlink!… ) Those little wall sculptures basically launched my art career in Houston about 10 years before I joined Goldesberry. And the Goldesberrys remembered me from when they worked at Kauffman Gallery. So they KNEW I could make it happen.

Well, it’s time to skip the coulda shoulda woulda paragraphs and move on to the reality of my artwork. So watch me take a flying hop, skip and jump… ha ha ho ho

This piece, Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !! is a rather characteristic “style” of mine for most of my life. I’ve often designed with heavy lines and solid, vibrant colors, starting with a landscapish design. From there I’m able to launch a painting far and away. But my process, that process, is a very good match for me, and, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Still I continue to experiment with various art jams ‘n jellies. I’ll spread them on with multifarious scrapers, brushes, squeegees, etc. And from this experimental “outlier” process I  do find a new tool and method. So it’s good for me to continue to experiment. And I can’t say that this “outlier” process is an outlier at all. It certainly is not.

The experimentation is a vital part of my art process. I just don’t include it into the direct painting process 24-7. More like 23-6.33 🙂  It’s always there, or just went out for a cuppa coffee (be right back!!) . …

Yes, I painted many a painting with practically one brush, a #8 sable round. If I can locate one of those brushes, I’ll take a photo. I’ve worn several down to a bare nubbin’ from brushing  away the happy hours after hours.

Keep the tried and true. Experiment with the new. Works for me, and always has. This has created and sustained my Metamorphosis  ~ Transmogrification !! art process through the years.

Pyrrhic Horse Trader

Pyrrhic Horse Trader
synthetic polymer and latex paint on canvas
1976
60″x96″

I hope to post large images from my website here, so that when someone clicks on the LARGE IMAGE link on an art thumbnail he or she will either come to a larger image here on this page, or to a blog with a spellbinding blog post written by l’il artist me… 🙂

The featured image is the first big a painting I ever produced, way back in 1976. I know it was that year because it was the Bicentennial Year, 1976 and I painted a sort-of Bicentennial painting.Back in the day we had no woodshop to speak of. I went to Handy Dan Lumber Store and picked out 2×2 lumber as straight as I could find for my stretcher frame. I think I did the actual frame building in the painting lab at school. It was summertime and the classes were quite small, as I recall, so there was a lot of room to spread out. With no woodshop I couldn’t cut a bevel on the wood, required to make sure the canvas didn’t leave a mark as you painted, on the front. So I bought quarter round and glued and tacked it to the front of the 2×2 sticks.

The 45 degree cuts for the corners I simply estimated and went for it. The whole thing was held together with nails! Talk about old school 🙂 haha And then, to strretch it, I didn’t even have a staple gun. I used tacks and a hammer. That took quite a long time. Now, my memory is getting fuzzy these daze. It wasn’t my first canvas to stretch. I might have bought a staple gun by then.

Actually I believe I had. It was so much easier and faster with a staple gun. I put some stars and stripes in it. This photo is not the final result. I did add some stars in the left side long blue stripe. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary but I was having a bit of trouble getting to a complete “FINISHED” place. That’s still a difficult place to find.

Some paintings are rather open-ended. You can paint on them for a loooong time. But no compressor and pneumatic tools. I have several now and they help so much.

Back then, though, I was a real artist, more than now, in that regard. I didn’t have a ton of money and I used some latex paint for gesso, too. That didn’t seem to be a problem either. It should have been according to strict conservation methods, and if the painting had survived it might have, but the painting had a different destiny awaiting.

A lot of people liked that painting. My good friend Sal Hernandez came in from working with grounds to just sit and look at it. I know he liked it. And I had another friend who seemed to like it. This was a high school friend who will remain nameless. Why? Well, in my youth I was prone to smoking entertaining herbs. So, I traded that painting to him for a quantity of hash. Yeah, I did.

Well, no I don’t feel guilty about it. I was 19 or so, and I sometimes did goofy stuff. That was one of the goofy things. But he did make a generous trade. And, I gotta tell you people, the next semester of college was my lost semester . . .

I spent a lot of time lying on my couch not doing too much of anything except smoking hash. It got me stoned as all get out. And as soon as I would recover I would smoke some more. I think I had a bit of an addiction for a few uhhhh how long was it? It’s kind of a blur.

I’m surprised I did as well in my classes as I did. I wasn’t taking all art classes just yet, as I recall. Somehow I survived that semester and didn’t flunk any classes. I think I dropped a class though.

This is a rather boring blogpost. It’s too bad because that painting looked really really good! i liked it, but sometimes my artist mind will trick me. I’ve thrown art away when I got into insane artist mode. Or traded it in questionable deal like the one I just described.

And there was one more thing, too. As some point I went over to my friend’s house. He had the painting outside against a wall. That was sort of sad to see, but it gets worse, at least for me. He had decided he didn’t like some parts of the painting, so he painted them out!! Yikes!!

I was not too happy about that, to say the least. But I was not too assertive at that time in my life (or any) so I didn’t say anything at all. But it bothered me, and so even after over 40 years here I am still bringing it up. Jeez.

Oh glamorous life of the artist I’ve led. That remains a difficult thing to recall, though. And, I plan on not recalling it too many more times. So, don’t plan on any trades. I want money! Of course the problem is, I don’t like to sell any of the art I’ve created. It’s never easy…