Loving Vincent

Last weekend, I saw the film Loving Vincent. The film is illustrated through painted animation that references Van Gogh's work not only in terms of style, but subject matter and characters as well. The technical aspects of the film are truly impressive - 100 artists, each frame hand-painted. This was truly a labor of love.

The idea of so many artists contributing to this film was such a moving (literally) tribute to a beautiful, and often misunderstood soul who was not long for this world, but left a wealth of timeless art and inspiration. I absolutely love these types of experiences that open my eyes to possibility! This was a great reminder for what I am trying to do with my work as well - using expressive brushstrokes and color to convey the feeling of seeing the world through fresh eyes again.

I highly recommend seeing this film. If you do, feel free to share your comments and let me know what you think!

"Landscape at Twilight" Vincent VanGogh

"Landscape at Twilight"
Vincent VanGogh

The Devil Is In The Details

Monday night, JQ and I went to go see The Dead Weather perform at my preferred music venue, The Ogden Theater, here in Denver. I had been looking forward to the show for months as the group features one of my favorite musicians, Jack White, on drums. Prior to the show, we met up with some friends at a bar nearby. At 8 o’clock we rushed through the rain to find a substantial number of other latecomers waiting in line for the sold out show. Once inside the building, we were able to work our way to a very good spot next to the soundboard.

We settled down and listened to the first band already in the middle of their set. After they finished, the roadies to The Dead Weather came out on stage, providing sound checks for the audio engineer. Each wore a black suit with a derby hat and a blue tie. JQ and I both looked at each other, acknowledging the attention to detail in something as seemingly insignificant as the dress code for the roadies.

Soon, the lights dimmed and the band came out to the stage. A powerful drum explosion erupted through the crowd’s applause with rapid-fire beats channeled straight to my heart. By the time I gathered myself back together, the rest of the band had joined in and the music sustained the heights to which I had been so violently propelled. I looked on to the stage to find a soothing blue background punctuated by the black and white colors of a tapestry, instruments and costume. Black butterflies tickling my back, as the band on fire seized our attention for the next hour and a half with a brand of rock and roll I had never witnessed before. JQ and I grooved the duration, enjoying every moment. The chemistry of sound, showmanship and lighting all working together, spellbinding the audience from start to finish.

Again, like my experience At The Theater, the meticulousness really made a difference for this show- the diligence and precision of it- paired with sound, atmosphere, drama, lighting and other visual elements. It soundly reaffirmed that when great care is applied to the most minute details of any production, whether it's a concert, a play, film or art exhibit, the impact can be completely breathtaking. The performance certainly fueled the creative fire.

P.S. Jack White is an amazing talent.

Dialed In

Getting into the "mood" to paint (or doing anything, really) can be a challenge at times. I remember one of my professors in college explaining to the class that you can't sit around and wait for inspiration to strike you, otherwise, you could be waiting for a long time. He urged us, instead, to work even when we didn't feel like it. Work, in turn, would breed inspiration. I was reminded of this through a quote passed along to me from JQ by Virginia Woolf, "For masterpieces are no single and solitary births, they are the outcome of many years of thinking by the body of the people, so the the experience of the mass is behind the single voice."

As I mentioned in a recent blog (10 New Works from June '08), I am very excited about my new work. I am being more intentional with the brush than ever before and I am therefore able to see my paintings more clearly. I believe this is the direct result from the advice I received so many years ago. It wouldn't have been enough for me to be inspired; I had to make sure my skills were sharp enough and mature enough to permit me to render what was in my head, and I kept them so during the times when I was learning more than I was being inspired. As I painted yesterday, I was acutely aware when my mind and body act together, there is a harmony between me and the canvas. The harmony creates an effortlessness that essentially makes the work paint itself- I almost feel like I'm just painting by numbers because I can virtually see the painting hidden in the canvas and acting on it is merely intuitive. This is how it's supposed to feel!

Finding

About two and a half years ago, I switched from painting with acrylics to oils. When I made the switch, I also wanted to change how I approached my art. I wanted to learn more about paint, process and technique, improving my foundational understanding of what it means to be an artist, so I could become a better one. My work, in turn, has grown in leaps and bounds. As I continue to mature, my path becomes increasingly clearer to me- I am growing more intentional with my work. When I look at a blank canvas or even a painting in progress, I can see the finished work beneath it. The following quote from Michelangelo has been an inspiration in this process-

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

I recently came across a quote from Picasso that sums it up simply and beautifully-

"I do not seek. I find."

The elegance of their words demonstrates not only their gift to express, but their contrasting nature as artists.

Timely Quote

I took a quick break between projects yesterday and checked to see if I had received any messages. I saw that JQ sent me a text message- a quote from William Blake:

"I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason & compare; my business is to create."

Although my words could never match Blake's, I will certainly keep his close to my heart, as I create my own system. Thank you JQ.