Links to my Books

Links to My Writings

Meditations on Maintenance for the Kindle
Memoirs of a Super Criminal for the Kindle, Nook
One Year in the Mountains for the Kindle, Nook
Adventures of Erkulys & Uryon for the Kindle and Nook

Monday, March 31, 2008

Becoming an Artist

So far in this blog I have not talked too much about my artwork. Art has always been a part of my life. Over the years the time I spent doing art has waxed and waned with my available time, energy, space, etc. Yet in all my life it seems that art has remained a constant. But not until recently did I put it together with the rest of my life and embark on this adventure of being an artist: that is using art as a means of expression for inward and outward searching. I am philosophical and intuitive by nature but even so I have not put a lot of thought into why or how I "do" art. When I sit down to paint or draw, a different part of my being opens up and moves forward. It is hard to describe. At times a certain image will float about in my mind until I can finally sit down and express it on canvas with paints. At other times when I sit before the white canvas or blank page I can see the picture begin to take shape and all I need to do is color it in. As my skills have developed it has become easier to express that which is my head or that which I see on the canvas. But where those thoughts, images, etc. come from remain a mystery. I am not sure if that mystery is something I need to pierce at this time.

There are times where I might break from this expressive art and move to a more intentional art piece. For example, if I want to speak about the environment, a religious theme, capture a moment in time, etc. Then I will sit down to do sketches, work up colors, etc. and then begin the painting. I find those pictures hard to paint. Some of my frustration comes from lack of skill level, some from general frustrations that all artist have about perfection, and some from boredom. But in those moments discipline and perseverance carries the day. It is hard to move forward with a piece that seems to just drag on and on. But I also find that it is in those pieces that I have the most growth in skill development, patience, and reward.

I enjoy reading about art history and theory. I would say that to this date the biggest influence on my thinking and painting has been the German Expressionist, the Bauhaus and Kandinsky in particular, and Schiele, Klimt, (these last two being interesting because I am a landscape painter and they are primarily portrait painters), and Hodler.

Currently I am a bi vocational artist, I have to hold a "real" job to support my habit (my art). But a day I can spend in the studio is a good day. And after a really hard day or week at "work" I really look forward to my art time. It relaxes me, reconnects me and empowers me. Art is a must in my routine, even if just a little at a time (or all that I can get).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Project update

It has been a month since I started my world literature project. I have made some progress and have began reading some texts. It is an amazing project. The hurdles to overcome at times seem too large to even grasp. But with some diligence I think I can move forward, one little step at a time. My list is growing, as it should, even though I am running into problems of dating. Some sources put a text at a certain date but other sources date it differently. I am also cheating a little. Instead of listing every little scrap of text written on papyrus, inscribed in stone or preserved in mud tablets, I am only listing the source I am using for the whole collection. Well that is the technical side and I am still working out the methodology and approach.

As for insights. I have found human thought occupied with three subjects so far. The Code of Hammurabi, the Law of Manu and the Torah are great examples of the first and second concerns of human thought: Law and religion. Even in the most ancient of times laws regulating moral conduct, religious life, civilian life and lawsuits were abundant. We as a people group are very litigious. And the law carried outward from civil life to religious life, or visa versa. Religious codes of conduct, sacrifice, priesthood, etc. occupy a lot of ancient texts. Even ancient myths center around the role of the gods in the life and creation of the world. It takes centuries of Babylonian and Assyrian thought development before the role the human is even explored in relation to the gods. The third thought which I have found preserved in ancient texts is the idea of personal legacy. Kings, rulers, priests, etc. all wish to leave a written record of what they had accomplished in their life time. Lands conquered, wealth gained, armies destroyed, cities built... it goes on and on and today it is all gone, but to them in that day it was SO important for the memory to be preserved.

Well I will keep reading and reflecting. Please feel free to comment or ask questions.