Sunday, January 27, 2019


The image, called The Traveler, is blurry. The mysterious human subject is a man but has been mistaken as woman. Strange light and shadow are all around, with golden luminescence falling from above onto the lone figure who is otherwise dark. The scene is absent of color and the landscape is so amorphous as to be almost anywhere . . . including another world.

The image is popular in my gallery. 0riginally a photograph, I manipulated it somewhat in photoshop. I print it on canvas, stretch it on stretcher bars like a painting, and work on it with other materials so that in the end it is called mixed-media on canvas.

To take a photograph is often called, “the capture.” Usually but a split second. I like the term because it describes indelibly recording a moment in time and preserving it for viewing later in the form of a picture. Most photographers are trained in camera fundamentals and techniques, then use fine equipment to set up shots that are esteemed for detail, contrast, proportions of light and dark, as well as subject matter that is universally acknowledged.

Not so this photo. In October 2008 I was living in Kashmir, India on a houseboat on Lake Dal, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. One day I set out with the owner of the boat to ride horses in the mountains and trek. The day was marvelous and included a stop in a village where I painted and met locals. On the the way back, as the sun was going down we drove on a primitive road that twisted down along a river. Occasionally we went by homes and people. I was rather delirious with joy, feeling the air streaming against my face, full of happiness for the encounters of the day and all the beauty I experienced. I had experimented with using my camera for shooting pictures that included my movement and the turning of the earth . . . in other words, taking photos that did not try and stop movement but rather used it in the composition. We passed a man in the road. He wore a phiran—a native costume that is like a cloak that goes to the ankles. I leaned out the window, turned back to look and took his picture. A “capture” that took half a second. The moment proved serendipitous for the image has been enjoyed by many.

When one sells, I make another and add different strokes and textures so that each piece is unique and the art keeps refreshing. Prints on paper also are available.

For more on this photo, see: Footprints

For more on Kashmir, type it in the search field at the top of the toolbar to the right.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Eager To Be There

Before Amy and I set foot in Madrid, Spain, I was already eager to be there. It is one of the great destination cities of the world for many reasons, but I hungered for the art in its museums.

I grew up in metropolitan areas, especially Washington DC where there is a plethora of world-class museums. Furthermore, my travels have taken me to wonderful art museums around the world. Usually I am in my hometown of Santa Fe, NM. It is an art mecca in its own right, but this is because of living artists that work and exhibit in its galleries. My gallery is in Santa Fe.

There are three fabulous museums in Madrid that are above the others: The Prado Museum, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
We went to all three during our week in Madrid. There are many highlights in each that would take pages to describe.

Center panel

Left panel
Right panel
The Prado Museum is the most famous and has the richest collection of art in Madrid. There are always lines of people outside the doors queued at the ticket booths. We bought our passes online and did not wait long to enter. The first room we went in was devoted to paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, ( Dutch, c. 1450 – 9 August 1516) described as a “hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into humanity's desires and deepest fears." A crowd stood in front of perhaps his most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights. We were able to edge our way in front of it and stand mesmerized, studying its mysteries.  The painting is full of curious, magical and meticulously rendered imagery and to me, was worth the price of entry if only to stand in front of it. “The inner centerpiece is flanked by heavenly and hellish imagery. The scenes depicted in the triptych are thought to follow a chronological order: flowing from left-to-right they represent Eden, the garden of earthly delights, and Hell. God appears as the creator of humanity in the left hand wing, while the consequences of humanity's failure to follow his will are shown in the right.” -Wikipedia.

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza is a gem of a museum and incredibly, built upon the collection of one family. When we went, there was an in depth exhibit featuring the work of Max Beckman, one of Germany’s leading 20th-century artists and among those the Nazi’s mocked during the infamous Degenerate Art Exhibition (Munich, 19 July to 30 November 1937). But the knockout that was worth the price of admission was a gem by Rembrandt, Self-portrait wearing a hat and two Chains (ca. 1642 - 1643.) Rembrandt painted numerous self-portraits throughout his long career and this is among his finest. I was impressed by the excellent condition the work is in. Lushly painted in a style that many have copied since but none have achieved, the painting breathes—as though you stand in front of Rembrandt and are in conversation with him.

Another day, from our Madrid downtown apartment, we walked to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. It is the “modern” art museum. There, we found one of Picasso’s most famous paintings; Guernica. He painted it in Paris in 1937 in response to a vicious bombardment on a Basque village in northern Spain just prior to the outbreak of WWII. Although the piece is immense, measuring 11 feet high x 25 feet wide (349.3cm × 776.6 cm (137.4 in × 305.5 in), a crowd stood in front. It is absent of color, but profound and absolutely daring—“regarded by many art critics as one of the most moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history.” — “for Picasso: ‘The women and children make Guernica the image of innocent, defenseless humanity victimized. Also, women and children have often been presented by Picasso as the very perfection of mankind. An assault on women and children is, in Picasso's view, directed at the core of mankind.’ (- See article)

Amy and I felt as though Picasso painted our emotions about conflict and its disastrous result.

While Picasso was living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, one German officer allegedly asked him, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, "Did you do that?" Picasso responded, "No, you did."