Friday, June 01, 2007

Studio Developments

I had a monkey wrench thrown into the development of a new painting this week. Won't go into the details, but it really upset me. In talking it over with several different people, and in mulling it over while walking the dogs (always a very productive time - if not for me, then at least for the dogs), I realized something. I've been making very angry paintings for the past several years. And it comes from a very deep place.

Some of you (from among the three people in the world who read this) are probably saying, "well, DUHH!". My "Bush League" series of paintings are satire. And what is satire if not anger with wit? I knew that going in, but kinda lost sight of it. Actually, I started the series specifically because I was pissed off at Bush and his Republican allies. My previous series of paintings (not on my web site anymore) was an unfocused bit of navel-gazing, and I needed to find a way to tap into something deeper. My anger at Bush was the key. So out came a series of satirical political paintings. After a year or so, I started the "Meditation on War" series. I wanted to work on something less politically partisan but that still tapped into some deep feelings. And most of those deep feelings were anger: at leaders who send young people off to die for no good reason, at events that kill people and destroy cities, at all the waste.

Seems strange coming from a retired naval officer, doesn't it? Well, there it is. I believe in the military. It was a great life for me. But as a great general once said, the purpose of a military is to kill people and break things. Unfortunately, sometimes military force is necessary, like in World War II, Korea, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan. But sometimes that force is used stupidly, like Bush's adventurism in Iraq. And that makes me angry.

I don't know yet how this new (to me) revelation will affect my work. Maybe there won't be anything that would be visible to a neutral viewer. But I'm already looking at my work in a different way. Anger is a great emotion to capture in art. I think in my case it was getting to be too much.

1 comment:

geniemuse said...


I can't wait to see what comes next.