Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winston Churchill was a Painter


Excerpts from the book:

Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time, and I shall venture in the pages that follow to express the gratitude I feel.

Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life’s journey, ‘Age cannot wither her nor custom stale her infinite variety.’

One by one the vigorous sports and exacting games fall away. Exceptional exertions are purchased only by a more pronounced and more prolonged fatigue. Muscles may relax, and feet and hands slow down; the nerve of youth and manhood may become less trusty. But painting is a friend who makes no undue demands, excites to no exhausting pursuits, keeps faithful pace even with feeble steps, and holds her canvas as a screen between us and the envious eyes of Time or the surly advance of Decrepitude.

Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.

To have reached the age of forty without ever handling a brush or fiddling with a pencil, to have regarded with mature eye the painting of pictures or any kind as a mystery, to have stood agape before the chalk of the pavement artist, and then suddenly to find oneself plunged in the middle of a new and intense form of interest and action with paints and palettes and canvases, and not to be discouraged by results, is an astonishing and enriching experience. I hope it may be shared by others. I should be glad I these lines induced others to try the experiment which I have tried, and if some at least were to find themselves dowered with an absorbing new amusement delightful to themselves, and at any rate not violently harmful to man or beast…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nouveau Riche


Having an out-of-body out-of-town kind of afternoon. Drove to Fayetteville and found Dickson St. Books, a gem of a used bookstore. Found a few small treasures, including an Art Nouveau book published in 1972, complete with gorgeous color plates. I am reminded of Paris last summer, the d'Orsay and the most stunning collection of this original work I've ever seen; such gorgeousness. A featured painter is Alphonse Mucha. His images just transport me, like great art is supposed to do.

From the introduction of "All Color Book of Art Nouveau" by Geoffrey Warren: "Think of a sensuous line; of a flowing line; a line which bends and turns back on itself. Think of the feminine form, rounded and curving. Think of plant forms growing and burgeoning. Think of flowers in a bud, in overblown blossom, as seed pods. Think of lines which seem not to conform; think of waves, think of women's hair; think of twisting smoke. Think too, of controlled lines: lines which begin parallel but then converge and eventually contradict each other. Think of the resulting stress. As the English artist, Walter Crane, one of the earliest exponents of the 'New Art' said in 1889: 'Line is all-important. Let the designer, therefore, in the adaptation of his art, lean upon the staff of line--line determinative, line emphatic, line delicate, line expressive, line controlling and uniting."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Valentine to Art

Socks and Chimes



At my summer job, the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, I get the privilege of working with fantastic artists. Ian Merrigan is a Renaissance man of sorts...theater, music, spoken word, all-around special dude. We both hail from KC; way to represent! He's been recording and living in LA. What he had to say about his latest adventure:

"The band is called Socks and Chimes. It's me and Zibby and then the guy who's getting out of the shower produces us. His name is Casey Hurt. He is a fantastic musician too, so you should definitely check his stuff out, too.
There is another live video going up on youtube today. We play live a bunch in LA and somebody described it as 'a bear and a pixie singing magical love duets.' I think that's pretty accurate, actually. I would love you to post it and share it. I'm very excited about it. Our album should be done by the spring."

Thanks for putting it out there, Ian. Rock on.