Tag Archives: Marcel Duchamp

Painting: Rorschach 2 — Don’t eat that bug!


Don’t eat that bug!  I’d go for the plain looking crickets instead…

Don’t eat that bug! – Rorschach 2, acrylic on 9″ x 12″ canvas paper, May 2012

It may not bear much resemblance, but this was inspired by Marina Kanavaki‘s “Between the lines“.  I thought it would come out looking more like trees reflected in water than a like big, toxic larva.   …or perhaps to you it looks like a bunny?  People have been seeing so many bunnies and rabbits in my work lately it’s like a freakin’ unintentional theme!  🙂

Again, I scumbled and blended in the blue-gray background, and after that was dry squirted on lines of yellow, green, and black, and folded it in half, lengthwise this time.  Pulled it apart and voilà.  Took minutes to paint and two days to dry.  Yes this is acrylic, but a lot of it!

There are three quotes that guide my thought and action when I paint:

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.”
– Frank Tibolt

We need to just dive in and do it.  Stop just sitting around and thinking about what to create.  Because this is so true — action generates inspiration.  More good ideas come while actively trying to create something.  It’s much rarer to get a good idea just by thinking about it.  It does happen occasionally, but that’s the problem — it’s occasional — good ideas are just not frequent enough that way.

“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.”
– John Cage

This helps me stop second guessing if what I’m working on is good or bad.  Ultimately beauty and ugliness are completely subjective.  How incredibly beautiful is a big, fragrant pile of shit… to a dung beetle?  What do you think that same dung beetle would think of this?  But I digress.  Keeping this in mind helps me stop second guessing — which is paralyzing to creativity.  When I can stop that, creativity is liberated and I produce my best work.  Actually, I need to work harder at keeping this in mind…

“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
-Marcel Duchamp

This helps me keep in mind what it is I’m doing.  It helps me dispel delusions of ‘expectations’, because to conform to expectations — real or imagined, usually imagined — is to put yourself into a rut.  For me art is participatory.  Fitting ‘expectations’ would only discourage feedback, interpretation, and comment.

My artwork is participatory.  You play a large part in it, you create a large part of what it is with your interpretations.  You imbue it with meaning — deep or superficial, much more than I do.  In short, it becomes much more than what it was when the paint dried, when you give it your interpretation.  To me, the art is not complete without this blog — without your interpretation, your input, your comment.  This is my sincere thanks for your comments and interpretations!  🙂  Thank you!

And don’t eat that bug!

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Painting: Deployment


It!  Is!  DONE!!!  Yay!!

Deployment, acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard

Deployment. Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard

Seems like this has been ‘in progress’ for a very long time, but when I look I see it’s only been two months.  Started this in November.  It’s been a long two months I guess.

Unlike usually, this time I have a very definite idea of what this is.  But I’m really a lot more interested in hearing your unbiased impressions and interpretations.  So, tell me, what is this?  🙂

Like many of my other paintings I suspect, this seems to work equally well at other angles:

Deployment.  Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 90º

Deployment. Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 90º

Deployment.  Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 180º

Deployment. Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 180º

Deployment.  Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 270º

Deployment. Acrylic on 11" x 14" canvasboard, rotated 270º

I’m thinking of framing this one.  All the frustration I had framing the Fairy gave me an idea for a new approach to framing that I want try.  Also this is painted on a canvasboard, and they’re challenging to hang up without a frame…

As always, comments and especially interpretations are more than welcome!  It was Marcel Duchamp who said, “The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”  Your decipherments and interpretations fuel my own creative process.  So please do not hesitate to tell me what this looks like to you, what it may mean to you, or anything else that comes to mind.  All opinions are completely valid, are they not?  🙂

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Painting update!

First, here is the Fairy painting in the frame:

Fairy, framed, a Christmas gift for my daughter, acrylic on 11" x 14" canvas

Fairy, framed, a Christmas gift for my daughter, acrylic on 11" x 14" canvas

I made the frame out of corner molding, and have had a lot of “fun” actually getting this thing into the frame.  Third attempt is in progress now, as I write.  While the glue dries on that, I’ll relate the annoying tale.  I made the frame just a little too big.  Something about cutting the pieces with the miter box, and getting them the length I measured, eludes me.  I can make the top and bottom, and the sides the same length without a problem, but it tends to come out too big once I get the painting in.  I had the same trouble with the frame I made for this painting.  Anyway, I liked the size because the opening was exactly the perfect size to not cover up any of the painting.  I paint seriously all the way out to the edges of the canvas, so I don’t really want to cover any of the painting up, even with the frame.  So I went ahead and painted the frame.  What I did not realize at that point was that this size left me with few options for securing the painting to the frame…  First I tried using brads to hold it in, but they’re just too short to hold in the wood of the frame, and hold onto the canvas stretchers.  They tend to just fall out, and one did Christmas morning.  And corner molding is thin, so I can’t nail them in very far without splitting the wood.  Which I did twice.  Glued that back together on Christmas Eve and tried using a combination of the brads and popsicle sticks glued together along the sides to hold the painting in position inside the frame.  This was all dry Christmas morning and I gave it to my daughter.  She loved it!  I had no reason to fear on that point.  🙂  As she unwrapped further gifts I picked it up and the painting fell out.  Luckily no one saw that.  So now the brads are out and I’m gluing short chunks of the corner molding inside the frame, using their angles to hold the painting in.  If that works, tomorrow I’ll hang the dang thing.  Sheesh.

So after briefly getting back to one of the paintings you all voted on, I started this instead!

...in progress, acrylic on 11" x 14" canvas

...in progress, acrylic on 11" x 14" canvas

This was inspired by two things :  First, the ice stalactites and nemertean worms under the antarctic ice from the “Creatures of the Deep” episode of David Attenborough’s Life.  (Very cool video there.)

I’ve also been reading more about Dada.  I talk about it so much on this blog, I figured I really should know more about it, and it’s inspired me before; with more exposure it likely will again.   Actually it just did: my second inspiration was Hans Arp’s “Automatic Drawing”, in the Dada collection of MoMA.  More ‘nemertean worms’ and other organic shapes there.  So yeah, this painting is kind of busy, but it started out that way

Another aspect of Dada was a rebellion against how calcified and rigid the definition of what was and was not art had become, at that time.  Even though impressionism had loosened things up a bit, it was not enough for the Dadas.  They blew the definition of art wide open, to pretty much everything we count as art today, with works like Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain.  This I think was done in the spirit of, “I’ll do whatever the hell I want and call it art, and declare that it’s not art at the same time just to mess with you, even as it sits in an art gallery.”  If somehow you have missed ever hearing about this (I know, it happens), yes, it’s a manufactured urinal turned on its side and signed “R. Mutt” by the artist.  So I was also painting the above in the spirit of, “I’ll paint whatever the hell I want to paint even if it does look like crap!”  Or more articulately, too much red at this point I think, and too ‘squeezed in’…

I also made a lot of progress with this one, but it’s so close to done now that I think I’ll just try to finish it up and post it Friday in lieu of an update now.

~ ~ ~

Update to the update!  The third attempt at framing the fairy finally worked, and it’s hanging on the wall now.  🙂

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