Finding your inner geometry

When you’re an artist, it’s 24/7.  Always on the job.  You think you’re just buying groceries.  No, sir.  Watch how you arrange the stuff on the conveyor belt.  Order.  Harmony.  Proportion.  Don’t you place those cans just so?

I find that when I place pictures here and there, just gettin’ stuff out of the way, that sometimes — no, often — there are these weird collusions.  Look at how the lines from one painting continue into the next, through different subjects, sizes, and despite the “accidental” placement.

Think that you’re just cleaning the house?  Oh, no!  You’re composing, I tell you!  It just goes with wearing the badge.

What does it all mean?  I have no clue. My paintings mean something to me. The accidentally deliberate confluence of composed lines and shapes means something. I could bend your ear telling you what I think my pictures mean.  But the spectator will, in any case, find his or her own meaning. The artist doesn’t own meaning — nor does the artist understand all the implications of his own pictures.

We live in a society. Ideas hitchhike in our minds like fleas on a dog and find expression through an artist’s work. We borrow or steal without realizing.  There’s always going to be a subliminal element that occurs outside conscious awareness.

It needs other people to figure out art’s meaning, an audience, spectators who sort out the full consequences of what things mean.  For that reason alone, artists should be bold in using their freedom. But before boldness one needs skill.


The grass was greener in the Middle Ages

I have sometimes done pictures that tell or suggest stories.  Yesterday I found an unfinished panel where I was beginning to paint “Spottie leaping through the forest,” an as yet unwritten, untold legend of our now departed dog Spot and his astonishing and unparalleled canine athleticism.  What prompted my mind’s eye image of Spottie’s feat, I cannot tell.  Some epiphanies just come unheralded, you know.  But I’ll bet that one influence upon me has been King Rene’s Book of Love, Le Livre du Cueur d’Amours Espris.  Its vivid colors and enchantingly depicted scenes stick to your mind like honey.  Perhaps as I feel once again its spell, I can finish the story of the Great Spot and give the world a new canine hero who is the equal of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin combined!