Glow (of recognition)

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

 

This wee painting πŸ™‚ (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!! πŸ™‚

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 Β 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 Β 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…

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… πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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…

I love them!

This little wall sculpture was the first of a series of quite a few small wall sculptures I made in the early to middle 1980s. I had a wall full of these and they looked good! Good enough that Kauffman Gallery decided to accept me into their “stable” as some galleries call their artists. I’ve never been too fond of that term, but I do love horses πŸ™‚

Be that as it may, It was late 1984 and I had quite a few of the little wall sculptures finished. I thought they looked strong – a solid direction to present to a gallery. And life was pressing in on us. Things back home were not good. My parents were going through it and every time ET phoned home the news seemed worse. Bad for them, but sort of a sword dangling over my head to work my tail off to present to art galleries. Why my parent’s plight affected me directly like it did I’m not entirely sure. My existential artist plight was drenched in family drama at that time.

So, I got up my nerve and called a gallery (big deal for me). She seemed to like my work but informed me the next day that my work was not a fit. I was disappointed but it was only the first gallery I’d called, so… I recovered quickly and in a day or two called the director of Kauffman gallery – which I felt drawn to already. I’d attended shows there and (years before) hoped someday I would show my work in their attractive gallery space.

The Kauffman director, Leigh Smitherman, caught me off guard. I asked if I could show her my work and heard, “Sure, do you want to come in today?” This was such a surprise to me I fumbled around and said, No, I can’t today, but tomorrow is good (what a big artist dummy I was…).

The next day, I arrived at the gallery with my little sculptures in a cardboard box. haha What a presentation. I was a few minutes early, so I pretended to look at the art on the walls, but, yes, that’s what I was doing. A few minutes passed and she came in – but I didn’t know it was Leigh.

She saw my box of art first and said, “Oh these must be Robert Terrell’s pieces! I LOVE THEM!” That was one of the best reviews I EVER HAD. I think I said, I’m really glad you like them, and then told her I was the man! haha We looked at the ones I brought – I think about 8 of them. I told her how I made them and what they meant to me.

She told me the gallery voted on new artists that coming Friday, so I had to wait a couple of days to find out if they were interested. From her opening comments and our conversation I was hopeful but still I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. You never know. She was not the gallery owner. But, like I said, I’d wanted to be in their gallery for a long time πŸ™‚

Friday came and I called (I think I did the calling). Leigh told me I’d gotten a thumbs up from the gallery committee, and that such great news – it was the beginning of my new life at age 31!! They started hanging my art, including some larger pieces (I will post photos of a couple of them).

The first month with the gallery I sold two pieces for about $750 and $500 so I did the only rational thing – I quit my pretty good job at Texas Art Supply. And, No… that wasn’t the best idea I ever had.

My wife and I began eating more potatoes than usual.

My joining the gallery was still such a good experience for me… I finally felt like I’d achieved a real artist goal. Now other artists had a reason not to like me (they thought) – and some of them did seem to have some issues. They had more Houston connections, they had more art schooling…. oh well.

Even after all these years, I still look back to that afternoon. “Are these Robert Terrell’s pieces, I love them!”

You can see several of the little wall sculptures here on my art website: Little Wall Sculptures by Robert L Terrell

Houston my Once upon . . .

image of Houston, TX

I’ve already blogged a little bit about Houston. I won’t say too much about the place. It’s been in the news after the recent world-class 50″ rainfall. It never rained that much when I lived there back in the middle 80s but I did see some huge rains of course.

Anyway, I don’t want to blog about any rainy wet stuff. This is a fantastic photo of Houston. It can really be quite the looker sometimes. And it felt like my creative art mother (also sometimes). Not always but the feelings are still there even after all these decades.

I’m looking for another artwork I produced in Houston. I’ll add to this post when I find it. But now I need to add to my one hour of sleep. So… I’m off to count sheep – all two of them before I’m out πŸ™‚