Thursday, January 31, 2008


“Daughter” is really the last painting I worked on in 2007. It’s one of my magazine collage/acrylic combos, an approach to painting that I began experimenting with around 2005.  I found the pictures of both the girl on drums and the old man painting in front of his garage among separate ads in whatever magazines were lying around, and they wound up pasted to a piece of paper together with acrylic medium in my studio. Months later I accidentally discovered this unfinished collage among my clutter, and resumed work on my forgotten child. I am both a musician and a painter, so it’s little wonder I  chose them as potential characters and they ended up together: the father admiring the progress of his careful attention and encouragement. The great surrealist Marcel Duchamp once said that if an artist marries or has children, he is unwisely dividing his focus and attention on achievement, that one cannot create great art of with one foot in familial commitment, and the other submerged in the filthy business of uncompromising vision. I don’t know if Duchamp had children, but he was a merciless champion of modernity, and a professional smartass, which I admire in a man.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Eiffel Tower in the Snow

I painted this little Eiffel Tower in the snow for my Mum. Every year in the weeks just before Christmas, I agonize over what to do for her- I mean, what gift do you give the woman who gave you life!?

My mother is an outstanding individual, and is probably the primary factor in my becoming an artist- we visited the St. Louis Art Museum many times in my youth. Mom didn’t just push us through- she had favorite pieces (Degas’ Little Dancer was at the top of her list), and we would talk about what we both liked. She was raised a farmer’s daughter in the bootheel of Missouri, picking cotton with her sisters, and grew up to be a superbly learned educator in Foreign Language, acquiring her Masters Degree in the middle of her life- a time when most have forgotten their dreams of achievement. She has traveled the world, even taking her high school French students to Europe- how many high school teachers have been able to pull that off? I would bet the number is low, nationwide. If I’d had a brain in my head, I’d have learned French while under her roof all those years ago, sitting at the dinner table with the best French teacher in Missouri. But music and art ran through my veins at an early age, and creativity took me down a different path…

The day I began painting this little Eiffel Tower, it snowed all day, and so I crafted it snowing there in Paris. A tiny snowglobe in my imagination of a place I’ve never been, of a place my mother probably dreamt of as a little girl- a dream that came true.