Monday, May 15, 2017


Oil on black canvas, 12x48

Sometimes, I paint on traditionally shaped canvases, 16x20, 36x48, etc., but I prefer square canvases or ones that have ratios of 1:3 or 1:4, so 10x20, 12x36, 12x48, etc.

I've written a bit about these long canvases , and how the shape can suggest content. I've thought about canvas shape ever since I wrote that "Dogwood" entry, and I think that part of my response to the odd shape comes from my years of working in newspapers.

As a page designer, and the boss of page designers, I spent lots of time working with photographs. At a couple of the papers - the Virginian-Pilot and Times Herald-Record primarily - page designers worked hard with photographs and photographers to put as much graphic power as possible into the art. This often ended up in interesting crops. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't, but the experiments always taught me something.

So the house in "Home Away from Home" (or, frankly, any of my "Big Field, Little House" paintings) doesn't need to have windows or porches or chimneys; the painting is not about the house. The dogs in my portraits (like Red) don't need to have legs or tails. And the cows in the long skinny cowscapes don't need to have legs, either, or noses. The crop focuses the painting on the interesting part, and leaves it there.

Stuff I've Seen
My friend Julie is a master gardener and a member of the Eastern Shore Master Gardeners Association. She not only planted this beautiful shade garden, but also built the lovely, curving path through it. Her garden and others were open on Friday for viewing. 

Dog of the Day
Another cousin of Doc and Lulu! Met this Australian cattle dog at the show 
in Tubac, Arizona. He was quite a serious fellow. 

A Final Thought

"The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed. 

Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can. 
The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it's a job. 

Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people. 

I call the process of doing your art 'the work.' It's possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that's how you become a linchpin. 

The job is not the work." 

- Seth Godin

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