Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cactus in Bloom

Cactus Blossoms, 18" x 24" on paper.

I'm using a limited palette of Madder Lake Deep, Pthalo Blue and Lemon Yellow. This series of catcti paintings has been a huge learning experience for me.  

The flower shapes have been fun to work.  

The finished (maybe) painting.  It needs to sit for a couple of days while I think about whether it's done or not.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Who gets to determine what is art and what is not?  Is a jar of urine with a cross in it art?  Is a painting of something beautiful presented in a representational way less "art" that a panel with blue and red rectangles on it?  What makes something "good" or "bad" art?  Are the practicing art critics of our day the bosses of where art is going, what gets to sell for mega bucks and who gets to be an art superstar?  Why is beauty as a pursuit in fine arts lesser in importance than anti-beauty?  Why does the avant-garde expect art to scorn uplifting themes and objects for those that depict the savage or mean or tarnished in the world?

All of these questions are bothering me lately.  It might have something to do with a class I am taking this semester.  We are discussing contemporary themes and issues in the art world today.  Reading critics writings and looking at artists who are selling their work for the big bucks is an exercise in frustration to me.  There is not a definitive answer to my questions, but there is certainly a presence in the art world that seems to be guiding the mainstream of thought on the subject.

I have often pondered the old story, The Emperor's New Clothes since I began school and have been tickled to see others who also quote it in their writings when discussing the direction art critics are pushing towards.  Who was brave enough to say that the king was naked in the story? A child, and it stopped the silliness!  The difference here is that today there are people saying the king is naked in the art world, but the ridicule they are subjected to quells their voices, or at least neuters them.  Ridicule is a powerful tool.

So what makes this painting by Oscar Murillo, a contemporary "Provisional" painter:

better than this, by Maynard Dixon?

Dixon's work is well known and highly collectible, but the price Murillo's art is garnering is in the half million dollar neighborhood.  

What am I not getting?   

Catching up..

Here is how Mr. Van Gogh turned out.  Not a masterpiece, but done, graded and served his purpose.  The trouble with projects like this is that I now own a wonky sculpture of Vincent Van Gogh made of Papier Mache.  He presides over my studio.  What now?  It's no treasure, but I may need it for a school purpose before I graduate.  How many "neat-o" things does one person need?  Oh, well.  If you need a strange piece of art for any purpose, come get it!

PS, his legs are longer than they appear here...  weird photo.