Monday, February 24, 2014



 Why do I make art?  Why do I write?  I suppose I could ask, why do I do anything I do?  I am willing to try answering the first two queries, but the last one is too overwhelming for me.  Then again, it may be foolishness to think I can answer the others. 

I have struggled with these questions for years, hoping to understand what compels me to do this work.   I did not choose art; it chose me.  Art reached into my almost perfect world, placed its hand upon my shoulders, and against all odds pulled me into its breast.  Tenacious and unyielding, it would not loosen its grip, determined to overcome all obstacles I placed before it.  The desire to be an artist and live an artist’s life inserted it self into the fabric of my thoughts, overwhelming everything else.  Eventually it transformed from something I wanted to do to something I had to do.

Almost 35 years later, I’m still doing the work, which now includes writing as well as painting and drawing.  I have learned how to explain why I paint the way I do, and how I choose my subjects, but why I paint at all remains a mystery.  At least it did until last year, in the fall of 2013 when I wrote the following in my journal:

“Why it has taken me this long – 74 years – to see myself so clearly is beyond comprehension.  While most of my “ah ha moments” occur in the proximity of my morning shower, I can’t recall when this one poked me in the head; it happened about a week ago.

I cannot let things simply “be”.  I have this unrelenting need to act on things, to make them more than an experience or knowledge.

Ideas, thoughts, or feelings must be put into words, spoken, written, or both, and more often than not, they must be shared, quietly and personally through conversation, or publicly through writing (blogs, facebook, etc.).

In my encounters with the world around me the same phenomenon occurs.  When a particular scene, natural or manmade, inspires me, I am driven to re-create it on paper or canvas, directly or via a photograph.  Living with the experience and memory is not enough for me.  I have to make it into “ something” that I can see on demand, and, as is usually the case, share with others.”

For the lack of a better term, I think of this as “materialization”, an act of expression as well as recording.  I am archiving the moment, the vision, the emotion, the revelation, so that it can be revisited as well as shared.  Something in this act of “materializing” provides the validation of the experience that I seem to need.

It happened it Boston in 1976 just as it is happening as I write these words.

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