March 10, 2017
March 9, 2017
“A single crocus blossom ought to be enough to convince our heart that springtime, no matter how predictable, is somehow a gift, gratuitous, gratis, a grace.”
— David Steindl-Rast
“Beside the porch step
the crocus prepares an exaltation
of purple, but for the moment
holds its tongue. . . .”
— Jane Kenyon, from “Mud Season”
February 25, 2017
“There is not a significant artist in the world who is not asking himself whether his art is justified — not on account of the quality of his talent, but on account of the relevance of art to the demands of the time in which he is living.”
— John Berger, from “Revolutionary Undoing,” Landscapes: John Berger on Art
“There is vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable or how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do to even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”
— Martha Graham, from Martha: The Life and Work of Martha Graham by Agnes de Mille
Quotes like these help me to feel better about making art. I sometimes feel my paintings are frivolous when each morning the news is full of serious and worrisome threats to a peaceful world.
February 21, 2017
“One ought never to forget that by actually perfecting one piece, one learns more than beginning or half finishing ten. Let it rest, let it rest and keep going back to it and working at it over and over again until there is not a note too much or too little, not a bar you could improve upon. Whether it is beautiful is and entirely different matter, but perfect it must be.”
— Johannes Brahms
I’ve been trying to paint pussy willows, and after several iterations, I still haven’t managed to capture them perfectly. Not all of my attempts are pleasing. With watercolors, I find that working it over generally muddies things, and it is better to slow down and make a new beginning. I’m still not satisfied with my results, so I need to try again (and again).
February 11, 2017
Primroses are making a late-winter appearance in grocery stores around here. They are a welcome splash of saturated color and hold the promise of Spring and gardening.
November 24, 2016
September 26, 2016
Hydrangeas are maybe my favorite flower. I love their colors, a changing palette — they age so beautifully. And I love their round shape. Even this late in the season, I see hydrangeas as fresh as the one above, which I photographed at the ocean in Bandon, Oregon. But more common are those that are past their peak, fading, fading.