Interesting how we try to tame everything. The ocean, with its wildness pushes against everything we hold as “our own” with total disregard. She doesn’t care about our feelings or our inadequacies. She will eat you up and spit you out. Sometimes, she won’t spit you out. When we were kids, we would rent “surfrider” inflatables and let her throw us at the beach. We’d walk out the door by nine and by 10:30 we’d be slammin’ the sand. For a couple of bucks, you’d get a bus ride, a soda, a piece of pizza and several hours of end-over-end near-death misses. It was a good thing for mom to get all that energy out of the house for most of the day. That’s the ocean I like. The one with dolphins that hit the surf, or tiger sharks that’ll “take your leg off”. The one that reminds us what it means to be alive….to live with mortal uncertainty. We tested her, and after a few times in the “washing machine” we decided it’s time to head home….stronger, browner, every orifice full of sand. Yet for some reason, this is what I think of to paint? A safe quiet harbor? Who is the one who has been tamed?
20×16 Oils on canvas board
I have only ventured onto the open ocean a few times in my lifetime. Even a couple of days of five foot swells will give you a respect for the sailor that braves a liquid life.
It’s like playing a musical instrument. Holding it firmly, like deadly weapon An extension of the arms
Connected to the brain Connected to the heart Connected to the eye
Reality melts away Like it was never there Reality is now foolishness Logic dies quickly, quietly
The eye looks at all conditions Color over there Greater values to be had Two miles away
Extreme contrast At the forefront Thought walks away Let’s instinct in the door
Mind assembles Heart assists And speak to hands
Hands obey in the frenzied moment Before it all changes
I have been practicing this obscene bastardized form of photography for about twelve years and it won’t leave me alone. It is not considered valid by most traditionalists and is discounted as “Photoshop” (veiled insult). This piece is a manipulation (contains a second photo layer) so in that sense it is “Photoshop”. The base photograph is (10) exposures onto one frame. My critics’ jabs would carry weight if I saw how easy it would be for them to make a similar image using the same techniques. Even if that were so, I would still refuse to allow any voice to interrupt the creative processes that have now become compulsion.
Understand how the camera works. Understand ALL the possibilities. Understand the rules. Then go and make whatever the mind can imagine with these tools. Push the camera to its limits. Reveal all the possibilities. Break all the rules if you have to. Make new rules.
Arguably one of the most beautiful melancholic true American pieces of music you will ever hear. It belongs to the U.S. and has been sung around the world….and as such, belongs to all people. Like many of us U.S. Americans, this song is a blending of many cultures and stories. There is the story of first nation man Shenandoah who aided the new republic in defeating the British. Though he was true and valiant, he saw his people and lands ultimately diminish. It is said he stood 6’5″ and was a great war chief. The story in the original version alludes to a seven year courtship a trader held for Shenandoah’s daughter. He brought the chief a canoe full of gifts, but was rejected. Later, he brought liquor, and thus, when the chief was under the influence, he stole her away. Shenandoah’s life existed far away from the Missouri River. So how did this river become a part of the song? Well, this song was a well used shanty sang by sailors who worked the boats from the Missouri, down through the Mississippi, and eventually onto the ocean faring ships….which made it a global song. Apparently, this is where the marriage of the river, the native princess and the men came together. The story of a man’s love and his willingness to risk his life for that love was just too much not to sing about. It was a man’s song about a man, his desire and unfulfilled love. The river and its unrelenting power gives a beautiful metaphor for leaving, adventure and the power of love.There are many versions. The original likely carried a medium upbeat tempo. The meanings behind all of the versions take on a certain abstract interpretation that transcends any one simple story. But no matter the version, the tune stays constant, and sends the listener to distant places. Like a great river, this song is a confluence of stories that by themselves are wonderful, but together make for something words cannot describe. It is a song for the world.
Untrained Defines the perceptive analysis. Unschooled Becomes the label of preference.
And so much has become This lazy polarization Of labels Marginalization
There is power In marginalizing Whether intentionally bigoted Or by way of “righteous vengeance”
Neither Have a good “place” There is only darkness When hatred Is the motive
“Flowers Near Water” has lived with me for some five years or so. It hasn’t always looked this way. It started as an 1/8″ plywood board that I gesso coated….then dried. Oils were brushed on…then removed, then reapplied. At some point, I may have used a palette knife or two. The smell of oils is intoxicating, suffocating. I let it dry for a week or two and worked on it some more. Applying, removing, drying. This went on for months. I made a frame for it. Hung it. But always felt it needed more. On some occasions while I was painting another piece….if my colors were right, I would add more touches to my friend “Flowers Near Water”. Recently, I noticed that some of the white paint had too much drying agent and is turning yellow. I will return to this piece to freshen it up….to do my best to make it whole. Or I could just throw it away.