32×28 Acrylic underpainting
32×28 Acrylic underpainting
32×28 Acrylic underpainting
I sent images of work by the PaFa master of figure drawing and anatomy, Al Gury, to my late uncle.
But they are ugly! he complained.
A conversation I wish we could have had, but he was beyond such exchages by then.
You look in the mirror when you’re old, and you realize two things
That you are not what you look like.
And you never were.
I think about this.. about the tradition of portraiture.
Is it a tradition devoted to reifying an illusion? Or does the artist… help us see beyond
what we see,
even while we are seeing it?
The ideal…when applied to physical reality
is always a lie.
Fucking Greeks messed up our minds… and never more than those of the English
For years I resisted figurative work. I told myself, I wasn’t ready. Maybe… when I had the skills of a quartrocento artist, rendering the human body.
But it wasn’t that. All that time, I was preparing… learning how to paint, the way I needed to paint. Discovering my own sense of structure, of surface. So much in art is like that–I think, for any of the arts. We set a goal, and put off where we want to go while we prepare, than at some revelation, find that we were preparing all along for a different goal–one that turns out to be closer to the one we’d been avoiding all along.
This is why art is so important! We need to learn how to move into our future, without knowing where it will lead, without nailing it down,–fixed and embalmed. How to learn through our trials and then discover what it was all for.
This is what we have to learn–that no technology, mapped out schema can save us, if we aren’t listening… and ready to embrace what newly emerges before us.
Science and art have this much in common.
We may be going in the right direction… and all the while, think it was something else… and then…
Like Jean Valentine’s poem.
| Trust Me|
Who did I write last night? leaning
over this yellow pad, here, inside,
making blue chicken tracks: two
sets of blue footprints, tracking out
on a yellow ground,
child’s colors.Who am I?
who want so much to move
like a fish through water,
Fish like to be
underwater.Fish move through fish! Who
are you?And Trust Me said, There’s another way to go,
we’ll go by the river which is frozen under the snow;my shining, your shining life draws close, draws closer,
God fills us as a woman fills a pitcher.
I would like to paint on surfaces that are not rectangles… this painting I’ve just finished (see work in progress, below) ) … I’d like if some of those shapes on the edges were cut into the rectangle, so the shape of the painting and it’s support are not two different things. I don’t have the tools or the means to realize this.
For so many years I’ve lived in the city, with few opportunities to get out–and none for any length of time. I watched a video of David Hockney talking about Van Gogh… and found myself wondering, how different my paintings might be if I were to have spent this time observing woodlands and fields and open waters–or if I were to move out of the city and spend the rest of what little is left of my life in a cottage by a lake in the woods.
This painting, and #1206 below) of the last suggest new ways of organizing what I see… new for me, at least, and making me feel like much of what I’ve done before is so much splish splash of color–searching for a visual idea and falling short. Maybe this time I’ll find my way
Journal entries. July, 1988
An Account of the Death of my Father
Max Bodenheim partied in London with T.S. Eliot and PoundWho remembers him now? Harry stands over the sink flash back to father
Strengthen the passage on seducer Death in hospital again and not doing well I’m on hold off the respirator
it’s overcast drove to Spring Lake Thursday arrived about 1:30 AM
Father moved to Ann Arbor Saturday back and forth–150 miles there 150 miles back heart mapping ventricular tachycardia slurring
a small stubborn man with small wants fiercely felt.
Spring Lake to Philadelphia 864 miles 18 hours
Raymond Carver died of lung cancer He just wanted it that’s all that damn wheel turning there above the field of goldenrod and Queen Ann’s Lace and going just nowhere at all George Washington Ferris built and designed wheel for 1993 exhibition–Columbia Early wheels:1892 Atlantic City Isaac Newton Forrest 1892 William Somers Eli Bridge Co.
10 seater, 35 ft Sandusky Park, Cedar Point, Ohio–148 feet. 216 passengers
This story needs work
* * *
no patience move on to another piece impossible to free myself from this job
Another hot summer another drought each change foreshadows disaster
this could go on indefinitely thin frail thread to hang by
The humidity broke a weak cold front the practical pressures–apart from writing.
still waiting to hear test results medication not working We may drive up there tonight try the defibrillator defibrillator defibrillator defibrillator
slept all afternoon
prying open a rusty door
car won’t start rap music radios kids in playground behind me
Triple A jump start
long wait usually come sooner kids hanging out up and down the block in front of this row of little two story project apartments Leaning against a fence, sitting on the door step–five kids are waiting for someone to come home and let them in. A girl in pink slacks and red sneaks has brought home a half gallon of ice cream, which she’s set down on the walk while she waits. The ice cream is melting, soaking the bag it’s in, running out over the walk.
buses pass last night it was cool a chill a hint of autumn
traffic comes at me in the rear view mirror girls are talking about riding the bus (there goes another one). A trip. “The Greyhound–” says the biggest girl, the one in the red sneaks and pint slacks–is lots better than a school bus. They have racks up top the seats where we put all our bags, and they have bathrooms, and no school bus has that!
Phone call from Dad’s neighbors kids throwing party in the house police
there was a fight cloths in a grocery bag no diner on the road
sleep in the car cold in the mountains lights coming at you do strange things
$38 at a Great Western This morning across the road a motel for $21
40 miles into Ohio night crosses into day $14 cash
Youngstown sky like a water color still wet farms and factories cranes jutting up through the mist a bank of cloud ahead the Meander river day lit landscape spill out before me a gift
tiles in the men’s rooms on the Ohio Turnpike like cross sections of some organ
micro-photos of blood cells red with a tint of iodine
a quart of oil
sixteen miles to Toledo
No money to park at hospital lot 10 miles to Ann Arbor
released from the hospital today on my way to pick him up
103, 846 buy gas
misty and overcast after a night of rain.
weak didn’t eat well in the hospital head for home after breakfast
3:40 Fill it up (4394/230 miles 57.5 MPH avg
104708 Exit 23 from 80 to 144 544 miles
9:30 PM 544 miles in 10 hours 53.5 MPH avg
11:15 104805 PA Turnpike 641 miles
1:00 104907 743 miles, 13 hrs/40 min/ 54 MPH
Harrisburg to 80 via 433 & 144
* * *
On the road again. Almost to Harrisburg
Exactly 100 miles. 2:40
* * *
house appraised by Rich Jones
Home Trip drive alone with trailer behind my father’s Buick.
The funeral was Tuesday.