#504 Silverpoint

7″ x 5.5″ … with washed out water color. I draw the color, then hold it under running water… work the silverpoint into and around the remaining patterns. I used water soluble Neo-Color crayons… they take to the ground better than brushing wet water colors on and leave a texture that is caught by the silverpoint, and shading over them darkens the underlying color, as though the silverpoint itself were colored. Something to explore…
#504 Silverpoint



Texture and pattern on the Street

In front of A-Space

I set up a table outside A-Space Anarchist Community Center. People ask, ‘how much is this?’ I say–if you like it, I’d appreciate a contribution so I can keep making art… it’s what you can afford. The value of art can’t be measured in money–only in love and appreciation. Make me an offer… and it’s yours.

At first people don’t take me seriously. Have to educate people to think outside Capitalism.  Photo below, a section of weather-and-wear broken concrete near by. These textures are my inspiration. Some paint landscapes from a hill top. I find my art in a few square inches at my feet. Won’t this make a fine Silverpoint!

A-Space driveway concrete


My Nemesis


Working at my easel I heard a thump and a rustle of papers somewhere behind me.
Murphy had finally clawed his way through a box holding drafts–some 700 pages worth–of my great but destined to forever go unread first novel…. The Magic Slate… cardboard shredded, fell apart, pages sliding down the side and between other boxes to the floor.  ‘Nemesis’ was its first working title.
I wish the photo of #499 were better–I was pretty happy with it. I think I’m finding my way with metal point, my own signature.
A couple of painting I’d pulled out and set aside to paint over were rescued by Sire for his room. When I like–or dislike– one of my pieces, it probably hasn’t much to do with it’s actual merit–if such a thing is measurable. What I like isn’t so much the painting, as it is its power to suggest what I want to do next. The pieces I paint over are like closed doors to rooms I’m no longer interested in visiting. Metalpoint seems endlessly fresh, because I’m finding new ways to use it.
I’ve got the ground now where I like it. I can get beautifully modulated tones, and almost hear the grit of the silver as it slides over the surface–I detested the plastic-like feel of the unadulterated Golden Silverpoint ground. I use about 1/4 cup of high quality gesso, a heaping TBS of fine marble dust, maybe a teaspoon of water soluble brown ink (with soft Golden Titanium white if the ink makes it darker than slightly off-white–and the rest, Golden ground. Two cups.
 ‘Nemesis.’  The muse as fatal temptress… that an artist, writer, poet… can achieve the best of their ability only by pressing themselves beyond that… pressing on to an ultimate, and fatal failure.
I look at that dusty heap of papers… Fail… fail better.
(My second novel, Ari Figue’s Cat, was published in May, 2015. Check out the reviews on Amazon!)

John Cage…& the Queering of my Master’s Impulse

Listing to this…

I’ve been listening to a lot of John Cage. I think it’s cause my art has become so centered on the tension between intention and accident.
You think of Cage, you think accident, random patterns–but it’s never just that. There is always the constraint within which the random is allowed to happen, and in much of his work, where there are performers, you hear in the performance, exactly that kind of tension emerging again and again… in little snatches of melody, in coy references to known melodic lines: it’s delicious!
I’ve been doing this since I started making art again–I mean, exploring that tension between control and accident… but never so aware of it as I’ve been since I started playing with silverpoint, where even the reference to the medium calls up associations with great Renaissance draftsmen, da Vinci, Durer… at least, if you are familiar with European art history.
There’s something so satisfying in turning their obsession with control inside out, in the one medium most demanding of that control… you can’t erase a mark in metalpoint. You can’t even cover it over… as it will eventually show through as the metal oxidizes.
… which makes covering over one of the techniques I’m working on… layering. Accident… but also… intention. Structure. I hold those great artists in extraordinary reverence…(too much so… in that this accounts in a major way to my 40 years abandonment of visual art)  and admire those contemporary artists who emulate them, mastering their technical facility. But technical facility, without invention?
The artists of Renaissance were in love with science; they explored their understanding of the physical world through their art. Cage releases my imagination to explore my fascination with the layering of perceptions… how we comprehend the world through layers of the received, the given, and the accidental: revelations into what we might never otherwise have imagined.