"The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world." ~André Malraux

After a year of intermittant "painter's block"  I am working again in my studio, and feeling in a tentative positive state. Painting is a solitary activity, and as artists, we are often working in a vacuum. Unless we have a show hanging, reaction to the work is minimal. With several pieces underway, I decided that perhaps if I write about what I am doing or am attempting to do, it might act somewhat as a muse for me as well as give me some feedback on the work I am creating -- hence the establishment of this blog. 

As for the blog title, traditional, representational painting is a language for expressing what’s visible. But I feel my work is the most successful, and most interesting, when focused on things not entirely visible. I paint what I see but also what I sense and feel by utilizing my interior and unseen world --- in other words, the invisible world. Plein air work or  studio work from photographs are only touchstones or landmarks which guide me to other inner spaces. By so doing, I find that I am pushing the boundaries between representational and abstract work.

You can enlarge the images in this blog by clicking on them.

Feb 3, 2011

Portraits and Politics

Several years ago, I was commissioned by a family in Texas to do a portrait of their daughter. They wanted a Vermont artist because they used to have a summer home in Vermont which their daughter loved. The painting was taken from a photo of her at their Vermont home. Her mother and I worked back and forth with photos and Emails to a final happy conclusion, and it was shipped off to Texas. They were very happy with it. See below.  

. Only later did I learn that the young girl’s father was a conservative Republican in the Texas house of Representatives who ultimately became Speaker of the House.  

Just tonight, on the John Stewart show, I learned that Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, was the target of some terrible, dirty politics in the election of the Speaker for the next term. Straus, a traditional mainstream Republican who focuses on fiscal issues and calls himself a fiscal conservative, is disdained by conservative activists who have targeted him since the fall election, when the GOP piled up a 101-49 majority over Democrats in the House . There were loud protests from Tea Party activists in the groups Americans for Prosperity, the Austin Tea Party Patriots, the Texas Pastor Council, and Texas Eagle Forum who insisted on a more conservative leader, and organized to oust him. Pro-life advocates including key Catholic clergy worked hard against Straus because of his weak pro-life record. Further, anti-gay forces worked behind the scenes in the race for speaker of the Texas House; it was made public when The Texas Observer posted a story in which John Cook, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, explained his opposition to Speaker Joe Straus. The race to lead the Texas House of Representatives took a very nasty a religious turn, with some conservatives in the state suggesting that the speaker of the House, who is a Jewish Republican, should be replaced by a "Christian conservative." Cook said “I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office.” And apparently some conservative Republican activists working to unseat Straus circulated e-mails that emphasized his Judaism. I understand Straus handled the nastiness with diplomacy, grace, and intelligence. 
Now most of my few readers know that I am a liberal, and rarely come to the support of a conservative. But this whole thing really makes me sick, and angry.  I am happy to report that  the idiots were not successful in the efforts. On January 10, the Republican caucus overwhelmingly supported Straus for a second term effectively ending what was a very weak, sloppy, and feeble attempt by Tea Party conservatives and his opponents, Chisim and Taylor, for Speaker of the House. By a 132-15 vote, Straus successfully fended off a challenge from those ultra conservatives who wanted to replace him with one of their own. This is one time when I am happy about a Republican victory.
Robyn, second in, with her Mom, her Dad Joe Straus, 
and her sister Sara.

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