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May 13, 2008 3 Comments
I think I'll be greedy.

Bitten Apple, 5" x 6"

While in college, of all things, I painted the head of a Turkey. A few years after graduation I was showing an old professor some of my newest work. With hand on chin, a knowing smile and a glint in an eye shrouded by wild graying hair, he responded, "Do you remember that Turkey you painted? That was a great turkey." On my way to what I'd naively thought would be a touchdown, I'd rolled an ankle.

I had shown him a series of paintings based on some time in Bermuda. The colors and shapes were relatively crisp and flat. With their more traditional aspects - clear perspective, light and shadow, and so on- they intentionally contrasted to the more intuitive and somewhat splashy approach that I'd developed in my years at school. I had this silly notion that with the Bermuda work I could prove to myself that I could, in fact, make an interesting painting with those traditional aspects, without leaning hard on what I thought was a glib hand. While I learned a great deal about color and design from those flatter works, Victor had correctly seen that they'd be a dead end for me.

All of this may sound familiar. It's some of what motivated me to make the current still life paintings. But where those Bermuda works, however educational, were restrictive, these small pieces remind me every time that I can make anything. I can be greedy. I can splash away and have a crisp highlight. I can have a specific shadow and a luscious undefined murk of wandering color. I can do what I want. The biggest limits are the ones I set.

Tom Sgouros, a great painter and another former professor of mine once said to me (I'm probably butchering this), "What an artist does is determined by what they can't do." I've come to believe that the more accurate statement is, "What an artist does is determined by what they believe they can't do."

I still think about that Turkey. It's taken on a mythological status in my artistic life. The myth, like most, is more impression and less fact. As I remember it, it's a powerful beast of a bird with engorged red flesh. Looking at it again, I see that my memory isn't what it used to be. But that doesn't matter. Not yet 21 years old when I painted it, I was reaching for something.

There's a good chance that these days in my new studio are a little too conducive to introspection.


Ann Marie    May 14, 2008  at  11:41 am


It’s not the studio pulling you into the introspection, but the wisdom that comes with time and age.

Trust me on this.

Martin    May 14, 2008  at  12:12 pm

Bis jetzt ist dieses mein Lieblingsstück, das im neuen Studio abgeschlossen wird. Ich denke, dass der Titel Apple in meinem Auge vollkommen sein würde. Absolut wundervoll!

helen    Jan 21, 2017  at  7:54 am

Wow it seems since your young age you have been a good artist and this will definitely take you to high. I have seen similar arts from http://www.australianwritings.biz/ blogs before.






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