(the) Cave of Forgotten Snowmen

Charcoal & pastel painting on wood
2015 – 24″x60″

This is the Snowman charcoal drawing one. Yes, I blog-bloviated about it in my “Panoply” post. It’s my ode to the demise of snowmen ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Will they disappear forever? I’m not sure, but I hope not. Of course I don’t have to live way.. way up above the Arctic Circle. After I move there for a few decades I’ll repost. THEN we can see how nostalgic I remain about the Great White North with its ten feet of snow for months at a time. Or its soggy tundra and southern invaders fleeing fires, drought, floods, heat . . .

Maybe it’ll be a gentle warming, like chestnuts roasting on a open fire. This is Christmas Day <:>}

But I have a feeling I’d still feel the same, even if I didn’t, somehow. The earth’s climate seems to be a very flexible entity. It is wind after all. Wind and the windy people who get windy about it. Like I’m doing right now!! HA!

Oh, I make light of something that’s important to me. And worse, it’s important to my inner self, that eternally youthful self in me. Now that’s a sad thing to be doing. But it’s a protection from the coming waves of warm and warmer that I fear. More than cold.

More than cold.

I console myself by remembering one important fact about this charcoal-pastel drawing:

(the) Cave of Forgotten Snowmen is a visual experience

It’s reason #1 when I’m asked why I create them. I never set out to try to change, or save the world with my artwork,

 

 

Ex Nihilo et al

Bas-relief painting – synthetic polymer paint on wood – 1996 – 48″x98″

Ex Nihilo et al aka Creation Once Removed was shipped down to Houston for my show at Goldesberry Gallery in 1996. The shipper was me in my artmobile – Moby Dick! Moby, my trusty old 1976 Chevy pickup with a big shell (RIP l’il Moby). All white like the mythic whale – Moby hauled my entire one man show to Houston, at 9 point something mpg ๐Ÿ˜ฆ yikes…

Are we still on the glamorous art career topic? The show was in July and a very hot one. I was feeling the effects of heat exhaustion by the time I got all the art loaded. And as I passed through Cameron, TX, hours later, a bank sign read 110 degrees. Oh! The glamour! haha

Still the show was hung successfully the next day and many, many people saw my artwork. Reconnecting, (I’d been active in Kauffman Gallery 10 years earlier) looked like it was a happening show indeed!!ย  Though I didn’t sell too many pieces at the show, I did get a nice commission from Compaq Computers. Good job Bob!

And there you have it – a pedestrian nuts & bolts account of this Ex Nihilo artwork and its entry into a Houston art show. Perhaps you fell asleep two paragraphs ago (Hey, I tried to spiff ‘n spice it up a bit, there, dude!! ) If so, enjoy the nap ๐Ÿ™‚ But what about this art piece, really? The title is weird, right? Not many people seem to like the title very much.

Ex Nihilo –ย is a Latin phrase meaning “out of nothing.” It often appears in conjunction with the concept of creation, as in creatioย ex nihilo, meaning “creation out of nothing. (fr. Wiki)

Did this bas-relief painting come out of nothing? I’ve created many abstract paintings before it. Did creation come out of nothing? Perhaps God created many universes before this one. Or if there is no God (gotta keep the modern thinkers happy) then perhaps creation came out of ummm ohhhh wellll nothing. And I’ve some full circle in this circular “logic-illogical” wheel. Clear as mud to me.Perhaps I can say with semi-thority …

Random is a thing after allย 

I kind of knew that already ๐Ÿ™‚ I still leap out on faith, though. I took a big leap of faith and a big (several) leap(s) into random (probably more intuitive painting, color picking, etc. to make Ex Nihilo happen ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t tell you what my art process is exactly. It’s creative art intuitional stew. Some of us art peoples like that word intuition. It sounds so much more “informed” than random. And this batch of intuition cookies turned out to my liking. And some other people’s, too!

 

Panoply (drop your guard)

wall sculpture-painting – synthetic polymer paint on wood
1998 – 20″x24x6″(deep)

Ah! Panoply! We hardly knew ye ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But you have a nice home with my friend an ex-coworker at TTUSOA. I guess that’s not the name of that art school now. Somebody, quick! Hand me an Acronymosaurus!! Ha! Well, don’t care to go there. I love this wall sculpture and I want to dream nostalgic about it.

Panoply has a lot going on, face to face. But it has as much or more going on around the corner(s). Unfortunately I let those photos get lost in the e-zone. My bad, really, e-bad on me!

I may not be able to repair that loss. Anyway, Panoply was the first appearance of “The Snowmen.” I am not sure I quite appreciated what they were all about at that time – almost ten years before I drew & painted “The Cave of Lost Snowmen.”

Did I know I was beginning to paint environmental “global warming” art? I don’t quite think so. But my deep soul did. And now it’s quite important with Generalissimo Bozo having hijacked the Oval Office and being all busy as a busted brain bumble bee trying to deny the reality of the death of “The Snowmen.”

I cannot sit back and do nothing at all. I know I can do little. So I must retrieve the edge photos of this artwork – they show the first appearance of King Snowman I …

The Snowmen help keep the earth on track and in its orbit!!

Cave of Forgotten Snowmen10

Cave of Forgotten Snowmen

Mondo Abstracto

wall sculpture – synthetic polymer paint on wood
6.5″x12″.5″(deep) 1985

I’ve always loved this diminutive wall sculpture ๐Ÿ™‚ which is NOT diminutive in my artist eyes & mind!! It never did sell down in Houston. The little creature traveled with me a couple of times to different states, and finally I sold it to a friend of mine – doctor’s wife, for her husband’s birthday. That sort of sale is always a scary thing for me.

A lot of times I’ve experienced an enthusiastic spouse but the other spouse wasn’t enthusiastic at all. And if the enthusiastic spouse be female, “occasionally” it has appeared (like a big truck) that hubbo was a bit more than unenthusiastic, if you be getting my drift.

Well I don’t want to drift along like an iceberg – ready to ram the Titanic of marriage voyages . . . yikes. Still, being an artist trying to sell his or her art follows a simple formula that was succinctly explained to me by my most excellent artist friend (both artist & friend) Ron K Smith many long years ago down in Houston, TX.

Believe them (public art buyers) when the check is in your hand!

This simple statement runs counter to many folks romantic idea of what it’s like to be an artist. I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum actually. There isn’t a lot of middle ground and Ron’s handy art measuring guide is very useful, as it does lie firmly in the middle ground of artist reality (a place that seems to be getting harder ‘n harder to locate for everybody).

But before I break out into song (which sometimes happens when I begin to ‘n so watch out people!! You saw that ‘n in the previous paragraph. I did, too, and went all mental uh oh. Song-bloggin’ is a scary place to be with me…. I’ll move on with my bloggy bloviatin’ blather. See, the ‘ns are multiplyin’ haha My wordy word words are the lesser of two or three e-evils when you’re surfin’ the interwebs ๐Ÿ™‚

SO, the glamour of being an artist is (partial fun list): full of a lot of alone time – painting, sculpting, printing, priming, sanding, crating, uncrating, etc. Also, calling dis-interested gallery owners & entering shows (well I’ve been sho nuff lazy ’bout that – got me a good violin soundtrack goin’ now!! Yes, there’s plenty o’ rejection from galleries for most of us (but as Dean Andrew Martin says, “It’s a numbers game – Just keep entering.” That doesn’t seem to bother some artists. They just move on down the gallery row list. But some of us are sensitive artists like yours, too-ly! haha I don’t like no rejectins. Still, do it enought and it gets easier. Not sure it gets quite as glamorous as a job at the art supply store, though ๐Ÿ™‚ Meet lots of artists there, male & female. Move to the big city, like Houston – Texas Art Supply has tons of folks buying their art supplies there. I worked there for 4 years. I met lots of art people. Not glamorous but could be fun for an isolato artist like me. Still . . .

For me, the most glamorous parts are those times (and not every day, when the pieces of the art jig-saw puzzle fall into place and I see something new &amp; amazing on my easel or wall! WOW! Often this is 3AM, 4AM, or 5AM. Almost always it’s when I’m totally alone! Just me, my brushes, and my cats!! That’s when I’ll often have my music turned way up and my ancient dancin’ feet going a mile a minute… Or, I’ll be sitting in my special art chair just gazing at what I just finished painting – wondering how that got painted exactly… and… wondering if I will be able to make such magic happen again. Because often I’m not too sure how it did happen anyway. But the wondering doesn’t drown out the feelings of awe at these times!

Yes, art IS GLAMOROUS!! But the general public misses most of it ๐Ÿ˜ฆย 

Queen’s Interpretations (Near Death Suite)

Non-objective painting on canvas – synthetic polymer paint
30″x40″ 2017

This painting is only three months old. Just a little baby ๐Ÿ™‚ It might still change as I continue to work on it, I think I’m done for the foreseeable future. I’m settled in my creative mind with it. And some of my outside critics seem to be relatively calm about it, too.

That can often be a good stopping place. A creative “declared” truce. Even if it’s all in my head, which is usually the case.

Do you see what I have to put up with here? ME!! HAHA The creative battle is so much about dealing with keeping my mind calmed down so I cal really SEE what I’ve painted. It’s tricky sometimes. I don’t want to paint out the brand new creative parts. They can fool my old thinking brain with their novelty-like or weird-ass oddly different appearance. I’m making this sound like a crazy sort of pursuit. It’s not quite that, but you’d be surprised sometimes what the mind will put itself through and drag me along with it.

Truly creative newness is not so easy to make, to recognize, to keep, to live with, etc. It can be uncomfortable – it can look like a mistake. AND…

MY REALLY CREATIVE HITS OFTEN LOOK TOTALLY AWESOME AND I DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING ELSE BUT STARE AT THE PAINTING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.

Glow (of recognition)

Glow (of recognition)
abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on canvas – 1976 – 86″x60″

 

This wee painting ๐Ÿ™‚ (all of 8 feet long and five feet tall) was my second large-ish painting to produce, in art school, way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Or if not dinosaurs, then flying-saucer men or something. It’s getting fuzzy in those parts of the old head-kicker.

I painted this huge a monster with a different palette first, mostly an arrangement of blues. That didn’t suit me, as so often happens, so I fixed it. I remember very late nights alone, just me and my brushes, in the big painting lab working away. This is the result and it was rather popular with some of the students as I recall.

We hung it in the big stairwell by the main art office (where large paintings were hung all the time). The stairwell was enclosed in an interior space about 30 feet high with skylights at the top and the one big wall just ideal for large paintings!! ๐Ÿ™‚

This painting (which is now suffering from my art school lack of photographic technical abilities) was a natural for that space. My apologies for the lack of a good slide of the painting and no slide of the stairwell. Oh well. But I was able to save my one photos quite a bit ย with my digital painting program abilities. How some things have changed in all these years since 70s art school especially the digital revolution.

So, I remember one small event after we got it hung. I was looking up from the stairs below, and a classmate and I were shooting the breeze about how it looked and art in general.

About that time, a faculty member came down the hallway. I didn’t really know this teacher but my classmate, John, did, and he went over to visit with this faculty. John came back in a couple of minutes, clearly in a bad mood. He told me that the Fack had a criticism (well it is their job, I guess). Apparently he didn’t like how I’d dealt with the “corners” of my painting.

Being way way too sensitive to criticism, I let this get under my skin so deeply that I became hyper-duper aware of corners in my artwork for the next… FOREVER YEARS!!!

WT HECK?? And you know, another student in the class, my very good friend, Donita Myatt loved this painting, and bought it from me. True, she only paid me $50. That just covered the cost of materials. But my wife Cindy &amp; I went over to her house to see it installed.

Donita and her husband had a very nice home, with one of those “sunken pit” living room spaces. My painting was the showcase of that room!! She had big Philodendron plants on either side of it and her cathedral ceiling ย had skylights and track style lighting shining on it, too. WOW! I could hardly be upset about the home my “corner-challenged” painting had – it was living much larger than Cindy &amp; I were! ha!

Finally, just earlier this year, I seem to have overcome my “painting corner” PTSD. . . I’ve been working on a lot of new abstract paintings on canvas and with a little effort on my part it seems to have faded into the background din. Oh yay!

Rectangular art is once again safe for me to tread…

Subatomic Bone-eaters

abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood
20″x60″ – 2993

The bone-eaters evolve to a subatomic shell level (stealth visual, non-verbal). Slowly they circle their molecular wagons about the greatest artist of the premillenial 20th century century aka Pablo Picasso.

Their intel captured from the collected works of thousands of mind-numbing lectures at colleges, they make their move. But alas, the great master has made his move to the great beyond ๐Ÿ™‚

Busy now, capturing the hearts and minds of astral angels and cherubs alike, he works feverishly at his crafts using brushes of pure light & delight. Still, the bone eaters will not give up.

Why oh why did not the historians and keepers of the art flame inform the bone eaters that the immense Pable P has no bones to pick in the hearafter??

This is truly intel of the first order. And order he shall !!!
boneeaters
Bone Eaters arrive at their (galactic) destination

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Pandora’s Otter Box (can’t be closed!)

abstract painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood –
2003 – 20″x48″

A big struggle to make this painting work. The flat, solid shape, hard edge paintngs are not so easy as some people might think . THere’s no help from painterly effects at all. THe colors and values have to work by themselvs. it’s a lone reference for art – nearly but not quite.

I tried this piece vertically and horizontally in my mad artist struggle to make it work. And Melody (owner of this fine artwork, is displaying it horizontally, in an excellent location in her kitchen up in Seattle. Nice, Melody! I’ll add the picture once I locate it on my computer, El FInders Losers! haha

All my visual art demons have now been painted to light. And with them my inner stuffed animals. There is no turning back now. They’re loose and can’t be stuffed back into Pandora’s Otter Box… The world must now deal with some deep set distractions, I must say . . .

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