Thursday, March 15, 2012

“I take the view that life is a constant, flowing thing.” Mildred K. Walker

(photo of drawing I did in the Creation series, Mother Earth,this was a part of my independent studies as a student of Mildred K. Walker in the 1970's)

There are moments in ones’ creative life that stand out for various reasons. Those moments are often separated by years.

As an artist it will always be my time spent in Mildred’s life drawing classes. I know that very few reading my blog will be familiar with Mildred K. Walker or her drawings, but she was and will always be an inspiration. She was tough, as in tough love. I think of her often when I am alone in my studio, and the energy that she brought to the world is still with me as I move back to and forward in what drives me as an artist. I guess, in my own way, I am giving the best thanks that I can as I know she would smile, this is her immortality… us students/ artists that remember her and how she so gave of herself.

Los Angeles Times article about Mildred K. Walker

I made a very calculated decision three years ago to work on and complete paintings that were focused on the exploration of color and the urban surroundings that I move through. For the moment I have come to the end of that endeavor (This will never leave me, I will return. As an artist I live between two worlds… the painting and the drawing). I think the transition painting was “Midtown”, color with a painting style close to drawing and back to a large canvas.

I have taken down and packed up most of my paintings to clear my studio for this new body of work. As I move forward I am becoming surrounded in the ancient story of Greek and Roman myth. I am also finding that each new drawing and painting start to relate and are telling a story. It is the story of humanity at a time when what we now call civilization began… good vs. evil. I am also expressing my feelings about what is going on with our politics here in the U.S. as well as globally.

I am now working on two large paintings; each 48 x 60” as well as several large drawings. Most of these are still in progress, meaning, not finished... I move from painting to drawing, to painting to drawing.

Cheiron was among the gentlest, wisest, and most learned of creatures. As a result, he was asked to tutor several of the greatest of Greek heroes, including Achilles, Asclepius, Hercacles, Jason, Aeneas and Peleus. Being the son of a god he was immortal, but Heracles accidentally wounded him with a poisoned arrow when fighting the other Centaurs. According to one tradition, in order to be relieved of the unrelenting torment of the wound, he gave his immortality to the Titan Prometheus and allowed himself to die. According to another, he appealed to Zeus and was transformed into the constellation Sagittarius. (painting is in progress)

This painting is from a photo I took of the Pantheon while living in Roma. I walked by this building no less than 3 times a week for over a year. I sat in a café outside of it. I went inside and just hung out. This is a very spiritual place for me. Whenever I am in Roma I allow time to visit the Pantheon. I allow time to reflect on the dreams of humanity. (painting in progress)

One of the drawings in progress is of the giant Enceladus . He is moving the volcanic rocks as he stretched from his wound. Living in California this is an interesting way to think about earthquakes. I am so enjoying this new body of work.

From Wkipedia: During the battle between the Giantess and the Olympian gods, Enceladus was disabled by a spear thrown by the goddess Athena. He was buried on the island of Sicily, under Mount Etna. The volcanic fires of Etna were said to be the breath of Enceladus, and its tremors to be caused by him rolling his injured side beneath the mountain. In Greece, an earthquake is still often called a "strike of Enceladus".

And a drawing of Athena with her hawk.

This week I have been laying in a drawing of a Dryads/ tree nymph. She is apart of her tree, which is the myth; one could not survive without the other. (in progress)

This drawing is a bit hard to explain, the short version is that yes, it is about the mythical Gods and it is also about the struggle of the artist and the inner demons that drive creativity. This drawing is kind of the essence of this series. (not titled yet)

This drawing is titled Transformation. It is about the flight of birds, the human spirit (and yes, there is symbolism is the mask of humanity) and how we are and become apart of each other in our journey when we open ourselves up to the universe.

Nature. Two Rocks. While taking a walk with my dog, Taxie, I came across these wonderful large rocks along the road and needed to do a drawing of them. As I move into this body of work, I can now see how they are apart of the Giantess and nature.

I must say that this is probably the painting that started this series, Roman Villa, acrylic on canvas, 12x9". It did not fit into anything I was working on and yet it kept calling back. I had put this little painting away and when I got going on this new body of work I pulled it back out. I did this painting in 2009.

To wrap up this entry, there are many more gesture drawings up on my wall at the studio waiting and there is a new canvas waiting. This is a very exciting departure or rather a return for me as an artist. And I am looking forward to exploring my feelings about what it means to be human and what that means in today's world. It is said that the reason the ancient Gods left us was from broken hearts because we stopped believing.

I think about ancient mythology and can see how as modern science and archaeology discovers new and exciting links to our past, those beginnings to an intellectual understanding (Art, Science, Music, Philosophy, etc., well, those things that make us human and that we can't explain) truly is what keeps us human. This should be a reason to keep going back, to learn from our mistakes and keep going forward, to grow.

Our world is in trouble at the moment, we can not forget that we all have a common beginning. My family roots are in the Mediterranean and so this is why I am exploring this subject. We all come from somewhere, and it is so interesting to find and connect the dots, so to speak. We should not forget that all of us come from somewhere and that is what humanity is about, our differences and our commonality.