Archive for February, 2009


For several years I have felt a deep urge to get my art out to the world, to allow it its own life.  My art seems to, at times, create itself , and I experience myself as the conduit for this process.  So these are the big questions: Does artwork truly have a life of its own?  Why do we as artists need to have our work seen?    What is the relationship between the self of the artist and his/ her work?  What separates the commercial aspect from the esthetic aspect of art?  Is art more important than furniture and do they match?     

With this blog I hope to explore the answers to these and other questions about art,  the self and society.   I hope you find it illuminating, humourous, insightful and entertaining. 

Some ruminations on the first question: Does art have a life of its’ own?

My first real art epiphany came while I was looking at the sunflower paintings of Vincent Van Gogh at the Ontario Art Gallery in Toronto sometime in the early Seventies.  These works were part of a larger exhibition of European Impressionists and, while the other works had merit, the paintings of Van Gogh had an palpable energy and a feeling of Life about them.  They were entities, not just bits of canvas with oily marks on them.  I absolutely knew that this man was a spiritual genius, whatever else we choose to call him.  His vision of the world, luminous, flowing and changing was a familiar one to me from prints and books, but I had never seen a collection of the originals before.  They were to change my life.    As a Zen Buddhist, I had felt an energy from certain Buddha figures, transcending their value as works of art, perhaps positively changing the life of those who saw them.  However I had never got such a strong feeling from a Western painting before.  At that moment,  I knew that I wanted to someday create works that would have such an effect on the observer.  Of course, as an amateur artist I thought that my chances of actually doing that were slim at best.   

Yet today, I know of several people who have had my paintings and drawings on their walls for decades and find them very life enhancing.  Does knowing this inflate my artist’s ego?  Or do these works have a life of their own, an importance that goes beyond matters of self congratulation and commercial value?  What is Value and where does it come from, the object, or the self, or is it a purely numinous quality?

Obviously, the artist lives, paints, and sooner or later passes on, though his/ her work may continue to enhance, change and affect many other lives.   

More on this tomorrow and some thoughts on art, the involvement of the mind and the sense of sight.

Here are a couple of quotes for you:

(creating) Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending. 

–  David Bayles and /or Ted Orland from the book “Art and Fear”

My work is a game, a very serious game.
  – M. C. Escher

Today’s image:  a cartoon self portrait with a three question marks. 

Question reality before it questions you.

Question reality before it questions you.


With this blog I hope to explore the journey of an artist and my perception of the importance of art to society.  Please stay tuned as I launch this blog and fine tune it along the way. 

First is a link to my online gallery 

The gallery was mostly designed by myself as I wanted it to be a little different from the average website.  Most online advice  for art site design, which I chose to ignore,  said to keep it simple and avoid flash animations.  So my home page is a flash animation and the galleries are flash templates.  The site is a bit complex and the designers had some problems with getting it functional.  I probably got a little bit too  cranky before the final version was launched. 

My primary goal was to have a site that was itself an evolving work of art.  I am already working on ideas for more flash art, which willl eventually become a gallery in itself.  As an eclectic artist, I knew there needed to be lots of space for more images and room for editing, hence the flash templates.  Overall, I feel satisfied with the results and have received much positive feedback from you all.  Many thanks. 

So, what does it mean to be an artist in these times of shrinking budgets, expenditure cutbacks, diminished funding?  One way to look at it is to follow the “fear thread”, which will inform you about layoffs at Christie’s,  about galleries selling their collections to raise money, etc.  These news bites are misleading, because they focus on the material, rather than the esthetic, value of art.   There are more artists out there today, painting, drawing, printing than ever before!  Just look at the number of art websites…..staggeringly wonderful.  We are all finding new ways of expression and just beginning to tap into our multiple muses.  Even the Rockband-ers and U-Tube-ers, the MySpace-ers, Facebook-ers and Flikr-ers  are potential artists, emerging from their shells.   

Digital artists are unlocking new doors to tomorrows art, and they will not go away.  An interesting anecdote:  Two years ago I approached a local, prosperous looking, gallery with some of my work and the owner said, disdainfully, “I am not the least bit interested in digital art!”  This gallery has since disappeared, while many new online galleries are launching and flourishing.  I am seeing more articles and blogs stating that all artists, analog and digital, need to have an online presence now.

At this point I would like to make an artist’s statement:  “I believe that art is the lifeblood of civilization and will continue to paint until am I no longer able, with a goal of bringing some beauty into other’s lives and giving expression to a more transcendant view of life and reality.” 

Finally for today, here is my latest finished work, titled simply Gingko Robe 7  Enjoy, download, alter, print or recycle it as you please.  Just don’t resell it.

Nature personified.

Nature personified.