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Friday, July 9, 2010

Mad House Moon, St. Elizabeth's.

I left Robert Eringer at the Georgetown Inn, and set out to paint the moonrise madness. I found it, lurking over the haunted Mental Asylum called St. Elizabeth's Mental Hospital.

Problem was, there was only one view of the hospital for which I could get a glimpse.

I had the driver pull up so I could get a better view.

I felt like a voyeur; peering through the giant Iron Gates. The Moon rising behind the hospital in the hazy DC sky. The Silence; deafening.

My driver asked me why I wanted to stop here. He'd never ever stopped here before, in his life!

I got out and grabbed my camera and tripod.

There were some lights on inside the hospital. I wondered who was home? Who knew what activity was taking place inside?

Strange thoughts entered my mind, and then exited. (fortunately).

The only thing I heard outside was from critters in the bushes, and a strange chattering sound which turned out to be the knocking knees of my driver, who nervously awaited for me beside his big black Lincoln Town Car.

He just kept sayin', "Man, you must be crazy coming out here like this". I ignored him. But he kept on exclaiming about how dangerous this neighborhood is--especially at night! in his nice Town Car.

We was foolish!

I asked him if he'd mind waiting for me while I hopped the fence and took a look around. He yelped, "Don you go in there, they's rattlesnakes roamin' 'round.

I glanced back at him and said jokingly, "But I'm Mad! Besides, it looks kinda homey!

"Man!", he said, "the only homey ya gonna see around here, will steel your camera, your money, and your life"....

--but I'm just worried about ma car!

Convinced of the intelligence he imparted, I quickly gathered up my gear and got the hell outta there!

Full Moon Over St. Elizabeths
16x12 oil/board
Collection of Robert Eringer

For more >Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Night of Depature July 7, 2010

Robert Eringer and his family were here and gone.

I'd never met anyone like him before. (At that time, I had no clue what Eringer did for a living, his spy stuff and all, and I wouldn't learn for another three years).

Our organized trip to Iceland seemed quite esoteric--like a fantasy! It was just what a nocturnal artist needed. Lucky me-- I'd attracted a patron who saw in me my ability as an artist. Eringer also had the means and interest to help make something extraordinary happen for me and my art career. Mixing my art with his writings, how cool was that? It was a meeting of the minds.

Our friendship: alchemical, syncronistic, serendipitous.

I didn't know if the Eringer's would ever be back. I thought, who in their right mind would ever want to leave sunny Santa Barbara-- especially to live in loony London?

All I knew was that I was feeling bummed.

So, I did what I felt was the best thing for an artist to do; I needed to create...

I went down to Butterfly beach, to the place where I'd painted the 4th of July sketch, and all I saw when I was there, was darkness. There was no moon, and except for a few lights, it was a somber scene. It was perfect, devoid of meaning!

I painted away with detachment, and purged myself of sadness.

That night, I left it all on the beach, yet I sensed something out there--just out of reach.

As far as Robert Eringer and his family was concerned, I decided I would send them one post card per week, depicting beautiful, sunny Santa Barbara in a, "Wish you were here" idealism. My motive was to tease them, and to get them to realize they'd made a big mistake by moving back to London.

What else could I do? A year later, my conspiracy plans paid off; they moved back!!

Night of Departure
8x8 oil on board
Collection of Robert Eringer

For more Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Afternoon Light, Butterfly Beach

I have only so much time to paint before I have to pick up my boys and be Mr. Mom.

I have my paints, I have my easel and accouterments. I have the light, and Inspiration before me.

Even though it is a blustery day, I set my easel up in the lee side of a low hedge to block the wind. The light is changing, and so I begin.

I paint briskly, starting with a violet under painting, knowing the highlights would be represented by the complimentary color of Naples Yellow. I work dark masses to light masses, like a mad man. I paint like my house is burning down.

Within 30 minutes, I am finished. I captured the light, the gist and gestures, the immediacy of the moment, alla prima. Voila!

Therapy was good today!

Afternoon Light, Butterfly Beach
6x9 oil/canvas 2010
Collection of the Artist

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July, Butterfly Beach

It's been nearly ten years since I painted this painting; my first plein air nocturne of fireworks!!

I wanted to capture the vitality and vibrancy of the life on Butterfly beach in Santa Barbara, so knowing the fireworks would start at 9pm, and where they would be set off, I staked out a place resting above the sand, overlooking the masses of jovial celebrants.

I painted one, then two, small sketches in the afternoon. (Both paintings now in private collections. Then, after sunset, I lined in my composition after toning my board a light shade of green.

Once lined in I awaited the barrage. While people were busy lighting off their own fireworks on the beach, I busily painted in their patterns, silhouetted against the illuminated background of the ocean/waves. Then when the main show began, I sketched in the sky and corona(glow) of main bursts. I had to make a decision on what the colors were I would choose to paint.

During this painting, I had distinct company. I was visited by my new friend and patron, Robert Eringer. He popped out of the bushes holding a glass of wine, and observed me sketching away in the darkness.

Eringer had just purchased a couple of my smaller nocturnes from the Bottoms Art Gallery at the Biltmore Hotel, and I welcomed him to come and watch me paint this evening.

I knew I had only twenty minutes to complete this painting before the grand finale so I couldn't talk during the painting's evolution, but when I had completed the painting, Eringer commented on my ability to paint the night. He mentioned that he'd read about Iceland; that they have the purest of night time skies. He then asked me if I would be interested in going there to paint and capture this purity in paint.

In Seven Months, we would be flying Upper class on Virgin Airlines, in route to Berserkness and what would be the beginning of our seven year Odyssey in search of creativity and madness. The seed for Surreal Bounce had been planted.

4th of July, Butterfly Beach
10x14 oil/board 2001
Collection of Robert Eringer

For more Motional Blur, see the Surreal Bounce Blog: