Oh, I get it.

A superb painter let me take a brush to a canvas that she said she was abandoning. I tried to continue a simple black stroke that she had started. The contrast between the controlled pressure of her touch and my flaccid smear shocked me, physically. It was like shaking hands with a small person who flips you across a room.

~ Peter Schjeldahl, The Art of Dying (The New Yorker, December 16, 2019)


Notes:

Canvas once touched by the fingers of both Giorgione and Titian

‘La Vecchia’ (c.1506) by Giorgione

We stand before a canvas once touched by the fingers of both Giorgione and Titian.

I know that restorers’ fingers may long since have erased all traces of the two masters’ palms,

still it’s difficult not to be moved.

~ Adam Zagajewski, Slight Exaggeration: An Essay


Notes:

Love your job and “you have arrived”

golden-gate-bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is under attack. Corrosive salt air, roadway contaminants, age, UV rays—all these things are trying to turn the majestic span into a pitted skeleton.

Luckily the bridge has a powerful ally: an elite squad of painters, numbering just a few dozen. These busy operatives scurry up, down, and around the span on a never-ending quest to keep it protected and looking sharp.

The job has its ups and downs. There’s the swinging through the sky, the whale-watching, and the wielding of badass tools reminiscent of alien torture implements. Less nice, there’s a weird kind of marine vertigo and regular exposure to suicides. But Chad Allan sounds like he’d prefer nothing else…

But being a painter also involves sublime beauty—hovering above the fog line, with the towers jutting up like periscopes on a hidden airship, or spying dolphins, orcas, and the occasional whale gliding silently below. For Allan, much of the pleasure comes from the work itself, and the pride of maintaining one of the most renowned bridges in the world.

“To be a Golden Gate Bridge painter,” he says, “you have arrived.”

Don’t miss John Metcalfe’s full story and interview of Chad Allan: The Fascinating, Never-ending Job of Painting the Golden Gate Bridge


Notes:

  • Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels.
  • Photo: wsj.com – Gateway to the World – David S. Boyer, California, 1955. An intrepid workman toils at the Sisyphean task of keeping the Golden Gate Bridge covered in a protective coat of orange paint. The National Geographic Society.

He blows on the painting as if imbuing it with life

russell-chatham-painting-hayfieldsapril-the-seasons-russell-chatham

In his studio, I get to watch him scrape down and then sand lightly a painting he’s been waiting to finish: sitting with it for days, the way a good writer will sit with an ending, even when he or she is certain. Waiting to be sure—waiting for the delightful vapors, the adrenaline fumes, of completion to wear off—and then waiting a little longer.

The painting—maybe 6 inches by 9 inches— has taken him a month.

“No one spends a month on a small painting like this anymore,” he says. Later he’ll take it to an auction in Great Falls, like a rancher with a prize bull, but carrying it onto the plane like a magazine under his arm.

The blade is rasping, the paint is falling to the bottom of the easel, rasp, rasp, rasp. He blows on the painting as if imbuing it with life, shakes it, puffs on it again, then sands it lightly, holds it out at arm’s length, and is satisfied. And it is beautiful.

~ Rick Bass, on Russell Chatham, 74, who he describes as the greatest living landscape painter in America.


Notes:

  • Thank you Rob Firchau at The Hammock Papers for pointing me to his work and the article.
  • Paintings shown above by Russell Chatham: The Seasons, April and Chatham Hayfields, 1995

Aspiring to be a (fill in the blank here)…

struggle-artist-sketch

You aspire to be a writer, a photographer, a painter, an actor, a journalist – an anything.  You need to take a few moments to read this excerpt and then continue on to the full post.

“I read those words, and had a sticky, squirmy reaction; I felt the way I do when I stand back and witness the horror of someone else’s undoing. It’s a tight kink in the stomach; a hard walnut in the throat. We’ve all been there, haven’t we: we’ve seen the speaker who loses the words. The young actor who blanks out on stage. The musician who forgets the chords. The writer — the food writer; science writer; academic; novelist; it doesn’t matter — blocked by fear. We wince. Who are they to even try, some whisper as we watch them tumble from their place. When it comes our time, we become that person, naked on the stage: doubtful, panicky, assured by the nagging, the poison, the gossipy gremlin chatter over our shoulders, promising that we too, will most certainly, most definitely, fail…”

Read entire post here: Elissa Altman @ Poor Man’s Feast.


Notes:

 

Super Hyper Hair

hair-wrap-painting-hyper-realism

“Jacques Bodin is a french hyperrealist painter who lives and works in Paris. Most of his paintings are made in an almost absurd scale and magnification, so the subject becomes a kind of abstraction separating it from ordinary reality and endowing it with a life of its own.”

Don’t miss more hyperrealistic hair paintings at Faith is Torment: Jacques Bodin

Find Bodin’s website and gallery here: Jacquesbodin.com.


Source: This Isn’t Happiness

The essential the spiritual oneness

jacques-bodin-painting-hyper-realism-hair

“Jacques Bodin is a french hyperrealist painter who lives and works in Paris. Most of his paintings are made in an almost absurd scale and magnification, so the subject becomes a kind of abstraction separating it from ordinary reality and endowing it with a life of its own. The hair, the orange , the herb become a world in itself, a microcosm. He focuses in on the essential the spiritual oneness of his subjects. There is, indeed, a connection between this magnified section of human physiognomy or nature and the universe.”

MICHAEL: When I look at those rear head shots of the women, I do wonder who those women are.  Is that your intention?

JACQUES: The human figure turning one’s back to the viewer suggests some interrogations: Who is this woman? Is she the artist’s wife, his daughter? Could it be my wife, could she be me? So if I answer to your question, I break the mystery.  I have the key, but I don’t give it to the viewer. I only suggest and the viewer builds his own history.

MICHAEL: Your paintings of fruit and especially oranges are fantastic.  Were you hungry for oranges and you decided to paint them instead?  They are so detailed.  I can see the pulp!  What was your inspiration?

JACQUES: Most paintings are made in a large scale so the oranges become a kind of abstraction separating the subject from ordinary reality and endowing it with a life of its own. The orange becomes a world in itself, a microcosm. I focus in on the essential, the spiritual oneness of the fruit; there is, indeed, a connection between this magnified section of vegetal physiognomy and the universe. I try to capture a dynamic form in a static pose while still conveying movement and brightness. This is for the theory. In fact, I really love oranges and particularly orange juice.

MICHAEL: When people look at your work, what do you want them to see or feel?  What is the message behind all of your hard work?

JACQUES: “I have a dream.” In two words, if anyone looking at my works thinks, ”Sense and beauty!” I would be proud of this message.  I don’t paint thinking about viewers’ opinion. I should wish people or customers could live all their life with my paintings and every day bring a brand new emotion or interpretation.

Find his website and gallery here: Jacquesbodin.com.  Find his Oranges and fruits here. Find his Herbes (grass) here.

Blue Dive

matt-story-swimming-blue-art

Matt Story studied art from an early age and demonstrated a unique skill for hyper-realism.  “I was lauded for ‘photo-realistic’ technique, but I was never after that, really, after what a camera impartially sees, because there’s so much more there, captured only by the human filter of memory.  We all posses these invisible imprints, through experience and living, but often its only artists who can play it back for us, to remind us.  The paint surface needs to be a mirror for the viewer, reflecting back not his or her superficial self, but a deep shared humanness.  This is the essence of looking at a piece that’s totally unfamiliar to you and yet, being awed with a sense of recognition.  Your reactions, those memories and feelings are uniquely yours but you’re suddenly filled with a sense that, you share them, at least with the artist, but probably even with everyone else.  That of course is art at its best: the artist, sometimes doesn’t even know what he’s doing because he’s a conduit of his or her own collective awareness.” (Find Story’s full bio here: MattStory.com)

 

 

Nelly Drell’s Nelly Drell

This is a photograph of Nelly Drell, a 35 year old Estonian artist. Now this next painting, is Nelly Drell’s self-portrait, an oil on canvas. Where on the scale of awesomeness does this land? [Read more…]

Thomas Saliot

thomas saliot

Thomas Saliot, 45, is a French painter who lives “between Marrakech and Paris.”  He has been painting for the last 20 years.  Thomas allowed me to share a few of his stunning works in this post.  Find Thomas’ web site here.  See more of Thomas’ paintings below.

[Read more…]

Tim Jeffs

parrot-Tim-Jeffs-art

[Read more…]

Happy Birthday Noel…

Noel Coward (5)

My importance to the world is relatively small. On the other hand, my importance to myself is tremendous. I am all I have to work with, to play with, to suffer and to enjoy. It is not the eyes of others that I am wary of, but of my own. I do not intend to let myself down more than I can possibly help, and I find that the fewer illusions I have about myself or the world around me, the better company I am for myself.

Noël Coward

Happy Birthday, Noël Coward, who was born on this day in 1899.  In his bio, he is defined as having “virtually invented the concept of Englishness for the 20th century. An astounding polymath – dramatist, actor, writer, composer, lyricist, painter, and wit — he was defined by his Englishness as much as he defined it. He was indeed the first Brit pop star, the first ambassador of ‘cool Britannia.’…Coward was on stage by the age of six, and writing his first drama ten years later…His between-the-wars celebrity reached a peak in 1930 with “Private Lives,” by which time he had become the highest earning author in the western world…Since his death in 1973, his reputation has grown. There is never a point at which his plays are not being performed, or his songs being sung. A playwright, director, actor, songwriter, filmmaker, novelist, wit . . . was there nothing this man couldn’t do?”

Noel Coward: Top 10 quotes

  1. It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. [Read more…]

Piet Mondrian

piet mondrian


Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch Painter.  Titles for works above: Amaryllis (1910), Compositie (1916), Composition No. 9 (Blue Façade) (1913-14). 

[Read more…]

Would you like to be inspired? Here’s What You Should Do…

“If you’ve ever seen a painting, or watched a movie, or read a novel, or enjoyed a performance, or followed a television show that moved you on some essential level, you probably wondered: What inspired that? We’ve wondered that, too. So we asked. What follows are the answers, in all their varied glory, to that question. In part it’s an investigation into the enigmatic nature of creative inspiration. (Which, it turns out, is often not so enigmatic. Step 1: Work. Step 2: Be frustrated. Step 3: Repeat.)”

Read how inspiration fires for Alicia Keys, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Chabon, Quentin Tarantino, Al Pacino, Junot Diaz and others in The New York Times Magazine: Inspiration Issue, September 30, 2012

I believe that whatever we need is at hand…

canoeing down river in fog

“He wanted to drift on the river not so much to see where it went as to be one with it, to go with it as virtually a part of it. He wished perhaps to live out a kind of parable. One cannot drift by intention – or at least, in intending to drift and in drifting, one must accept a severe limitation upon one’s intentions. But in giving oneself to the currents, in thus subordinating one’s intentions, one becomes eligible for unintended goods, unwished – for gifts – and often these goods and gifts surpass those that one has intended or wished for. And so a drifter subscribes necessarily to a kind of faith that is identical both to the absolute trust of migrating birds and to the scripture that bids us to lose our lives in order to find them. Harlan stated it in 1932 with characteristic simplicity:

‘I believe that whatever we need is at hand.’”

~ Wendell Berry


Quote Source: dhammanovice.  Wendell Berry from “Harlan Hubbard – Life and Work” via the beauty we love: He wanted to drift

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