Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pithy Aphorisms

Gotta tell ya the following:

1. I checked my mouse traps this morning and found two new victims.  This after a three week delay because my wife, Janey, loves animals so much that she couldn't stand the thought of killing the little things.  I tried to convince her that sharing our forest home with these critters is a loosing proposition.  She finally caved in after one of these guys started eating her fine wicker chair--you could hear the thing crunching all night long.  We have a pet semitary under the redwoods where two dogs and three cats are memorialized with home made custom monuments--yes we love animals.  Albert Einstein would not kill mosquitos because of his profound respect for all living--I AM NO EINTSTEIN !

2.  I drive so slow that I create back ups on our country roads.  I always pull over and let those in a hurry pass--but I get pissed when I don't get the "thank you" wave.  Most men will acknowledge my kindness, but women seldom do--this morning a women gave me the big "thank you"--A FIRST IN MY LIFE!

3.  When I want to fall asleep I read the book of Leviticus in the Bible--its boring as hell and puts me to sleep every time.  This habit has changed at long last.  I now read how to paint books by famous authors like Richard Schmid.  IT REALLY WORKS!

4.  I find that if I postpone commissions I get guilty.  If I get guilty I paint better.  The more behind the work--the better the result.  Conclusion:  put off commission work so that you produce a better result.  THE CLIENT WILL LOVE YOU FOR THE EFFORT!

5.  If your paintings don't sell--then give the damn things away.  It helps to be on social security when you do this.  We have all made too much money for our efforts over the years anyway.  IT IS TIME TO GIVE BACK!

6.  Why is representational painting in the modern era so inferior to that of 130 years ago?  We know more about the science of oil painting, about the physics of light, about design, about technique--we have better equipment, better materials, more information about everything--what's up?  Here comes the answer:  In 1880 the brightest and best were still seeking careers in oil painting.  Today the brightest and best seek careers in film,  in cyber technnology, in science and industry.  Its a matter of demographics--THE REALLY SMART ONES DON'T PAINT ANYMORE--SORRY!  OK--I know you are smart, but you are the exception.

7.  Why then do people still paint at all?  The answer:  ITS THERAPUTIC!

8.  Why do some still make big bucks selling representational oil paintings.  The answer:  Because they are rendered to the knats ass,  and there is a boat load of bucks out there for paintings that look like photographs.  This is an expression of taste that you may or may not think is lacking in oil painting purchases today. You have to read Robert Hughs for a fuller answer--see "Nothing if Not Critical"--the final essay on Art and Money.  It has to do with the amount of money flying around in the modern era--especially F....you money as we call it in California--mostly gas and oil money.  O BOY,  YOU'VE DONE IT NOW!


10.  And Finally (thank God)--what would I do if I made 5 million on one painting?  I would stop painting altogether, hire a golf coach, hire a masseuse, hire an organic cook, move to Majorca and study Bobby Fisher on how to beat the computer at chess.  FOR SURE !


  1. hahahahahaha... I loved this one. I have read Leviticus, and you're right. Although I find Schmid easier to read than (dare I say it) Edgar Payne. Sheesh... that guy was verbose and technical. In fact, it is quite possible he had a hand in writing Leviticus too.

    Here's a question: Has anyone here tried the Soltek easel (lightweight, easy to pack up, plein air variety) and if so, how do you like it?
    I gotta get better equipment. Won't that make me a better painter?

  2. This comment may seem random, but so's your post.
    a) Your first few figure sessions were interesting bait, but I think it actually may have been your writing that set the hook.
    b) I have a teenager; nothing you say can offend me.

    Deb--I don't have one, but I know a couple of people who swear by the Soltek easel.

  3. Deb: I destroyed all of my outdoor painting equipment in a rage about ten years ago, and I gave away all of my EasyEl stuff to a plein air painter who left it in Panama. I have two big Newport Easels that are half assed. One must create stable outdoor equipment from heavy camera tripods, iron weighted umbrellas, cables steaked to the ground, Viet Nam jungle juice for bugs--also a nine millimeter hand gun for intruders--why not use Photoshop and your digital camera and leave outdoor painting to the young and restless? Great help huh?

  4. Don, A thought-provoking post. I always learn something here. Thanks for the mention of Robert Hughes, it sent me off to find out more about him and his writings. Always something new under the sun. TY

  5. Don, You've found your true calling. Its not painting, its writing about painting. Of course you had to paint for years to be able to write about it with so much cynicism, humor, joy, and insight, so it was worth it....
    at least for the rest of us!

    Agreed on the painting as therapy issue. Who needs money! (we all do, but maybe its better that it come from somewhere else..)

    Carry on!