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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Carpe Noctum, Mar. 26, 2011

When you've discovered your niche, scratch it!

My setup: Painting chiaroscuro, at the Santa Barbara Mission, in 2000.

Possible titles for the photo: Legalized Lurking, Notes on the Night, Insatiable Insomniac.

When others are in doubt about what you're doing, and you are arousing suspicion, at least pretend you're on a mission.

Moonrise Las Vegas March 27, 2011

No Fear and Loathing in Vegas for us.

Eringer and I are off on another one of our Surreal Bounce Zeitgeist Safari's. This time to Aspen, Colorado to search out the configuration of Hunter S. Thompson.

Should be fun a plenty, and hard to keep a straight face.

Moonrise, Las Vegas
from Surreal Bounce; Suicideology
9x6 oil 2006
Collection of Robert Eringer

Friday, March 25, 2011

Breaking Wind. Dukes of Hazard (--Again!) March 25, 2011

My crazy (but beloved) friend, Andrew, was after me for a YEAR; to paint a Confederate Battle Flag on his Nissan Stanza. I kept puttin' him off as I didn't have the time.

One day when I was driving to my studio in Santa Barbara, I saw littered along the road, a hundred or so large black stars made of paper. They were strewn about the side of the 101 freeway. I sensed an opportunity, so I pulled over and grabbed a few of the Stars. I remembered Andrew and his nagging, then thought they would be the perfect size stars for the project.

Andrew and I organized a painting day, and on that day Andrew drove up in his beater, (wearing a muscle man shirt). With Bandana and all he looked like some Red Neck from Dukes of Hazard! I immediately got to work: measuring and taping off the hood, spraying the blue stripes over the red. The stencils of stars were taped down over the blue bars and white was then sprayed for affect.

Two and a half hours later, I removed the tape, paper, stencils; and 'Cleared' it. Andrew posed for a snapshot photo in his car. I then sent Andrew off into the world in his new 'statement'. He was living his dream, which then became his nightmare!

The story goes like this: Andrew thought he'd like to have this flag emblazoned on his car. He thought it would look "cool!"...But it turns out he got so much attention and 'flack', that he felt like a fool!!

Barely 48 hours later, my phone rang. It was Andrew (peace be upon him), pleading for me to help him remove the flag. Now, I was torn... being I am a huge Civil War History Buff, I just couldn't bare to remove it. After a few deep breaths, and treating it like a Tibetan Sand Painting, I gave Andrew the directions for desecration. He then proceeded to take some Scotch-Brite, and sand the image of the Old Confederate Battle Flag, away. (Not to mention the red paint on his beater's bonnet.)

In retrospect, in REVISING HISTORY (HIS STORY), this one episode with Andrew was so brief. It was like passing gas on a windy day! Much like the South before the Civil War, it was here, and then Gone with the Wind. History repeated itself in a way for the both of us.

Now, if you ever see a Red Nissan Stanza driving down the road, check to see if there is a large red 'X' scraped out of the paint on the hood. If you see it, know that that "X" marks the actual spot, where VAN STEIN made his mark a long, long time ago.

Here on Earth, nothing lasts forever.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Montecito Peak March 25, 2011

I think it was for Ray Strong's 95th Birthday we in the Santa Barbara OAK Group, gathered for Ray's birthday celebration up on East Camino Cielo, behind Montecito. This was the painting I painted on that occasion.

It was a glorious day. We all painted landscapes, even Ray. Patricia Chidlaw even donned her middle-eastern costume and performed a belly dance for Ray. Everything was extraordinary. This painting was chosen for the advertisements and poster of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Annual Art Walk.

A few years earlier Ray and I had had a bit of a falling out over our differences in philosophy. During an OAK Group show, I had a painting of Monet's Garden I'd done in Giverny, France. This was not "Nature Preserved" enough for the taste of some in the group, including Ray. During a heated meeting with the OAK Group, he called me a, "Loose Canon". This was all over my painting which some in the group felt was not appropriate content.

After the meeting, John Comer assisted me (gleefully), in removing the painting from the exhibition.

When Ray was 100 years ago, I visited him at his home. I wanted to make amends. He wasn't feeling so well; the years were taking their toll. My intentions were to transcend the ego, and complete with him.

We resolved our differences, and as a token of my appreciation and admiration, I gave him this painting. He hung it on the wall next to his bed. That was the last time I ever saw it.

Three years later, Ray Strong died. An itemization of Ray's estate was completed, and strangely enough, this painting was never accounted for.

That day, we both were STRONG! Now, its time to let go once more.

Montecitio Peak, on Ray Strong's Birthday
12x20 oil/board
Whereabouts Unknown

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

David's Moon. March 23, 2011

I had a Mentally Handicapped (Officially, TMR, or Trainable Mentally Retarded) friend when I was growing up named David Winneguth, a.k.a. "Big David". He was a BIG Kid. I use to participate training him for athletic events in the Special Olympics when I was nine years old, to seventeen.

Later on in life he settled down the street from me here in Carpinteria, where he became part of the fabric of the town's culture. Everyone knew him and appreciated his quirky antics. He was quite a character.

A few years ago, he died unexpectedly, after chowing down on one of his favorite meals; a hot dog from the Spot--(a Hamburger Stand next door.)

I was moved when I heard of his passing. Probably because I took life for granted, and I didn't get a chance to say good-by to this childhood friend. The night of his unexpected departure, I grabbed my painting gear and went out to search for a motif, by myself. I intended to dedicate a painting to David.

I went down to the Carpinteria Bluffs where I witnessed a quarter moon hovering, and peeking through the stratocumulus, over the Santa Barbara Channel. There was nobody around but David (in Spirit) the Moon, and me. The crashing waves below the bluffs was the only sound I could hear. The salty mist permeated the air as I documented the moment in solace.

It does me good to paint for those who have passed on. I feel it gives me a moment for atonement, (at-one-meant), with them in spirit; express appreciation for the divine moments we shared, and a glimpse of the world that they no longer are able to see.

David's Moon
16x12 oil/board
Collection of the Artist

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Leonardo Da Vinci: A Relative Canon of Proportion March 22, 2011

Now I'm not saying I represent the ideal male or have perfect proportions,(in fact I'm far from it), However, I was tempted to test my features. One day when traveling through the airport in Reykjavik, Iceland. I was traveling there to paint the purity of the night sky along with my patron Robert Eringer,

Lugging my baggage (NOT the unfinished stuff still left over from years of psycho-babble therapy) through the airport lobby when I saw this large circular window. Immediately, I was inspired to test the master!. Let's say the, "Spirit of Leonardo Da Vinci" filled my imagination.

When studying Art History at Cal State University Northridge, I remembered Da Vinci created a drawing of a man inside a circle; depicting the correct proportions of a human being.
I was focused on the possibility of getting inside Da Vinci's head. (Actually, I could argue he'd entered mine instead!)

Giving my camera to Eringer, and defying airport security; I halted the group, dropped my bags, jumped over the rail, and inserted myself into the hole. I spread my legs, fanned my arms, and struck a smile the moment my hands made contact with the edge of the inner circumference of the "0". Eringer snapped the picture.

It worked! What a great experience; to investigate and immerse oneself, even for a brief moment, in a creative act. To align with the Art Spirit,(don't mind the Air Stair), and not be taken away to the funny farm, or as they call it in Iceland: The, "Klepp", or "House by the Blue Bay."

This trip was where Surreal Bounce was born, and our quest; darting over the edge of creativity and madness was launched.

Photo: Robert Eringer
Reykjavik, 2002

Canon of Proportions
Leonardo Da Vinci

Monday, March 21, 2011

Super Moon? What Super Moon? March 21, 2011

A few years back I was contacted by Allison Malafonte of American Artist Workshops Magazine, asking me to organize a Moonlight painting workshop in Santa Barbara... in two weeks! With the help of some friends whom I had taught plein air nocturne painting to (in the past), I was able to pull it together and teach the workshop.

When the workshop rolled around, we lucked out. The weather was perfect, the moon rose right on time. Bill Dewey showed up to take shots for the Magazine.

I'm showing this photo because of the, "SUPER MOON", that is appearing around the Earth both yesterday and today.

I was hoping to get out and capture it in paint, but alas, here in California, where it never rains, it's pouring. The forecast calls for rain all week...So any thoughts or dreams of super moons I will have to paint from my imagination. It's times like this when I will rely on the wisdom of Albert Einstein. He said, "The Imagination is Everything".

Capturing Moonlight
Photo Credit: William B. Dewey Photography
American Artist Workshops Magazine, Fall 2006