Trees + Family + Millworks + Expansion (Generations)
It’s hard to explain painting.
In the words/ worlds of Miles Davis “I’ll play it first and tell you what it’s called latter” (from his Miles Davis Quintet recordings in 1959).
After traveling for what seems like almost 20 years I’ve arrived at four things:
Practice/ Education (both self & academic) + Family + Place + Trees = The Mountain
The mountain is life. The view of the changes. One must look at the mountain every day. A different view each day.
Haruki Murakami said:
“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder’s frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain.”
To climb their mountains artists have answered this in many ways. The British painter J.M.W. Turner strapped himself to the head of a ship in a squall. To the French, Paul Cézanne had his mountain in Aix en Provence (now called Aix). Claude Monet planted his garden and then painted in his Giverny. Vincent Van Gogh ate yellow paint (although I wouldn’t recommend the practice) to experience yellow and wrote to his brother Theo. In Japan Katsushika Hokusai painted his mountain over 36 times in wood block prints, influencing Cézanne, Monet and Van Gogh just to name a few.
I don’t know how else to put it. It’s as important to explain with painting the mountain as the beauty of old trees. Ahhhh old trees. Trees that have been around longer then you or I, and will be around long after we aren’t around any more. Trees with roots that go deep down into the earth. Trees are also a metaphor for families. One generation to the next.
The places that are in my mind, while based in reality have become fragments of experiences colors becoming life, life becoming color. Some times life can only be explained in an image. If I were a poet I’d write about it, but I’m not. If I was a song writer, a song. I’m an artist so I paint those experiences, always have. Not caring particularly how long it takes to make the object, rather embracing the journey and understanding the time it took to get to that point and place. When people ask me “how long does it take to make a painting?” I simply respond every day I’m awake to paint what it is I’ve found.
Appreciate every step along the way.
Some times I look back and say, how did this happen? I can tell you the streets I stopped on, what stoops I drank dollar coffee on and the post offices and FedEx’s I sent letters and post cards from. Now, I find myself in tiny Texas towns and on ranches. Painting trees usually. Coffee is the same everywhere in the US, drip coffee that is, unless your in Europe. Italy & France can take that conversation up.
Everything matters these days… geographic location, past history, preparation … and that ever fleeting idea “inspiration”… yes, there is still such a thing as hero’s and inspiration. Without them we’d all be lost.
While painting watching my nephews grow has become of great interest. Their love of my “twuck” as they call it, my 2013 F250 Texas Pick up truck. The love of family and the simplicity of time together. Those things become the most important thing of all.
For life is painting itself.