Tuesday, June 5, 2012


On a water-wavy page of my small sketchpad are scribbled notes about a CA painter named Michael Ward whose work I just saw in Bluecanvas. Two links in my first sentence: one to an artist I've never met but quite like (a glance at his website will explain why) and one to an actual print magazine (and also an art blog). I sometimes have the urge to borrow other artists' words about their work, to relate to my own if I happen to identify with them. Is this wrong? There are always differences, in motivation, method, perspective and so on. One thing I like is discovering what the differences are, beyond the surface of a similarity in subject. (Nothing like someone saying, "Hey! You both paint old trucks and signs!" Where to begin? I can rarely explain why I have been variously irritated and intrigued by this.) There are so many ways to connect to a certain subject/theme and to describe in paint (or another medium) why it matters. Then, to find the words.
Ward, Lanai, 14"x18"  
Ward, Beautify Your City, 24"x36"

My out-of-order notes read something like this, except, speaking of dangerous, I'm also writing from memory-impression: "Idealism/nostalgia... dangerous tendencies born of ego that obscure the world we live in. I consider my paintings to be documents of particular places and times that I sometimes alter and combine for the sake of composition."
On the subject of working from photos versus from life, there are "always little mysteries to be figured out, discoveries needing to be made that were unseen when the photo was taken... Painting from photos is less ego-driven" [than painting from life].
This led me to look up more on Watts, a philosopher & writer: "I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting."
I don't mean to take these quotes out of context. They still resonate. The idea of nostalgia does have something to do with ego. Even when the nostalgia is not even the artist's own, but rather a feeling that is evoked or projected, a quality ascribed to the work.


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  2. Thanks for thinking of me. Perhaps we'll meet someday. Funny, I lived on Hauser St. growing up.