December, 2007

Dec 07

My Man in the Rorschach Shirt: John Clair, continued

Back we go to the subject of one of my first Blogs: John Alden Clair. In John’s weathered but still handsome 85 year old features is a world of determined living. I’ve listened to him share some of his story and if half of it is true (and I think at least that much is) he is a pretty remarkable fellow.

The first time I spotted John shuffling along the street he was carrying his Trader Joe’s bag. I thought what an interesting fellow! I was reminded of a short story by Ray Bradbury, The Man with the Rorschach Shirt. In Bradbury’s story he describes a man on foot, on the move, approaching strangers on the street, on the beach–wherever he walks–asking each what they “see” in his evocative, handcrafted shirt. The shirt is a spectacle, it is described as a virtual fabric tornado, a roiling, shimmer construction of cloth, threads, yarns, and attachments. The garment, we come to understand, functions as a kind of mirror to the soul. No opinion asked isn’t rewarded with an excited ‘well done’ of approval from the Man with the Rorschach Shirt.
Well, John Clair is something of a ‘happy provocation’ for me and others in our community. In his colorful, baggy shirts, pants, and ready-smile this wiry, little mystery of a man is more than a therapeutic provocation. He makes it easy to smile back.

In My Man in the Rorschach Shirt, like all my creative-work, I try to stay vigilant for that moment when the effort announces it completion.

My Man in the Rorschach Shirt pastel 25″ x 18″

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Dec 07

In the Mind’s-eye

It’s a common pitfall in drawing and painting to become too involved in one area at the expense of the whole. To avoid this loss of visual unity I always imagine a painting into existence. This means that before I ever approach my easel or commit a mark to a drawing pad I invite my mind to (first) wander in search of a subject of interest and (second) transform and compose, rendering that subject into a form that is most compelling to me. The process can happen in a flash, or take hours, days, sometimes months and longer.

Once the idea is in mind the first marks I make are sweeping and fluid, establishing a rhythm and visual dynamism. Upon this framework I build more complex and interesting shapes (see the first two images below).

Like a sculptor working on a rough-hewn block of stone, little by little I chip away, defining and refining shapes, subject and surface.

My intent as a painter is never to replicate my subject. I have no interest in being a slave to my subject. My preoccupation and passion is truly for what happens when the worlds of subject, object and medium collide on the painting or drawing surface. That combustion is fuel, clean and green, for my imagination and my soul.

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art

Dec 07

Shadow Mysteries

The fall and winter seasons are a special time for me, an extra treat for the senses. And no time of day is better than the evening, when the sun’s rays transit more obliquely through the atmosphere. The result is a world bathed in lovely umbers, ochre’s, and sienna’s and punctuated by draped shadows. Inherent in this play of light and shadow is a question; what the mind cannot see clearly, it makes into mysteries.In these three examples afternoon shadows set the mood of the paintings. Cool and muted colors describe the two kinds of ‘limited’ illumination that define the shadow areas, just enough, to draw the viewer into the work and engage the imagination.

Examine more of my artwork at Brad Faegre Fine Art