Joy

Matisse Was Right In Matters of Joy and Toasting Success

Matisselandscape

I need to explain the genesis of this painting. It began in my mind long before brush touched board—actually, at dusk the day before I got up from bed on a harried-to-be morning with my plein air materials set at the door ready to go. I would teach myself to paint in the light of day. A month or two, whatever it took of daily jaunts out into nature to record what I sat down to see—my eyes, arm and left hand making interpretive copy of what was already right there in front of me. I walked down to the lake like an intense van Gogh, but unlike him in so many ways as to render me the most simpleton fool tool to the greatest of painting’s idiots. I set up on the rocks and commenced painting the view. I wish I had a picture snapped behind me. What was coming out on the canvas looked very similar to this photo taken last year.

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I was set up outside on a beautiful spring day intent on painting my wish to keep the rain at bay. There is an expression from days gone by that if you can throw a cat through the clouds, then it will not rain. Meaning that somebody’s great great aunt heard that if a cat can fit inside a patch of blue sky, then she would not have to carry her umbrella to the corn fair.

My attempt in the photo didn’t last much longer. Seconds after the picture was taken I brushed over the board in heavy grays and black. I didn’t feel good about painting what I saw. So I finished the day enjoying the outdoors with my family and friends, and went home thinking of weather folklore. The next day in the studio I set up the largest canvas available and for the next week, commenced painting with my thoughts and only what the canvas beheld in front of me. Here is the result:

Don't Worry I Can Throw A Cat Through The Clouds

“Don’t Worry, I Can Throw a Cat Through the Clouds” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 73 x 50″

I had no luck in the wild, but was thoroughly satisfied abiding by my own genius.

This post’s title painting was the forth and final attempt to paint a scene I saw on Monday morning. While there, painting the view, I had three unremarkable failures. I could have titled them: Straining, Impotence, and Self-doubt. For the rest of the day I felt awful, a great sham, a delusion unto myself, and a guilty criminal to loved ones who believe in me. What a heavy load. I scribbled the board in grays and blacks, and laid off painting for a day in order to follow through with promised summer chores, thinking often about my failure. And then at some point yesterday afternoon, Matisse popped into my head. Rather, words once uttered by him. I paraphrase: “I don’t paint what I see as much as what is in my mind.” Then a mantra silently repeated over and over again while making dinner, visiting with the family, and finally settling down on a hot night.

Up in the morning, down to the studio. I could not paint fast enough the scene of a couple days ago. Plein air just doesn’t work out for me. Maybe nature is what it is and only some form of torture can come to those who attempt imitation. I would rather paint the cat with a red halo being thrown out to the clouds, than struggle with strokes that make me feel like I’m having a stroke. So finally I can say after many years time, in matters of plein air painting, I know what I do not know, and that is a milestone joy worth toasting a glass to. Here’s to you Mr. Matisse!

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My Silver Dollar Campaign Updated

Newtie

“I’d Rather Rendezvous With This Sexy Italian Newt Than Wait Around Here For Tasteless Billionaires To Win Again” 2016. acrylic on discarded press cleaning sheet, 7 x 17″ (In private collection of a friend)

Repeatedly, I suffer bouts of intense self-doubt that usually presages a light epiphany of sorts. I get a new idea or a reaffirmation of a past philosophy, and all is set back right with the world. Always temporary though. Another self-doubt monster will invade my pshyche in due time. It never fails to torment again and again.

Last night was bad. I won’t go into it, because the good idea that transpired has charged me back onto a positive path.

For some unknown reason, the life of my great grandfather sprang into my mind this morning. Henry Throop lived in the central New York area all his life. He was born in 1880, raised in Lebanon, N.Y., attended Colgate when it was still a prep school, went to Cornell to study civil engineering, married, and settled in Syracuse, where he worked as a railroad engineer, and then on his own as independent engineer/contractor until his death in 1956.

I use his life often in writing and conversation to juxtapose today’s culture to the one of a hundred years ago. Was it a better time? Who knows? I can say with certainty that Henry was a very mature twenty-something year old. He kept a journal—observations and day to day life for the most part, and also an expense account book, showing where every penny went. This morning’s idea was to use this account book to revolutionize the way I intend to sell my work.

My Silver Dollar Campaign

I have had it with business and art. It doesn’t work. The moment the painting gets offered, haggled, denied, etc, on the market exchange, the entire culture of the thing created gets violated. I lose all semblance of its original innocence as soon as the money door opens. Only once have I made a painting thinking about money, or a sale. Here it is:

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“My Heart’s Desire Is That One of You Is Drunk Enough To Buy This Painting” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16″

I was invited to a rock concert with some friends where there would be a section of the parking lot cordoned off for vendors. I painted this the night before, and had it sold before we finished putting up the tent.

It is stated in my great grandfather’s account book that on September 14, 1907, he purchased the following for one dollar:

2 loaves of bread
1 dozen cookies
toothpicks
paper
salt
chestnuts
peanuts
pound of butter

and a haircut…

A dollar in 1907 had the spending power of about $25 today, without the haircut (some small luxury to prove how contemporary inflation experts always seem to get it wrong). So, about $40 today would buy these goods Henry bought in 1907. A dollar was a dollar and it purchased what forty more dollars could buy today.

I love the silver dollar because it has an ever changing value on the money market. For several years I have watched its value move between about $15 to $35. And it’s just a dollar! It also feels good in the hand, and I bet many of them in a small pouch attached to my belt (a lá Rimbaud), would feel even better.

Henry’s items I listed above are worth any one of my paintings. No one is buying the luxury items I have made available. So I have sweetened the pot in order to avoid the money exchange problem for the rest of my life.

I will amass silver coins!

From this day forward, any one of my paintings not hanging in a gallery can be bought for a silver dollar. Not what a silver dollar will buy, but exactly one, shiny silver dollar. I don’t want to barter anymore. I want to jingle coins in a pouch. I have set the value, and it is universal. Any size. Any painting not in a gallery. Of course, the buyer must pay for frame and also shipping on top of the silver dollar. I have some very big paintings. If they were purchased, I would have to charge a handling fee. (Quite a bit of work goes into hiring a tractor trailer to pick up at a residence). Frames, shipping and handling could be exchanged in paper currency, however, the painting itself—always just one silver dollar.

Now imagine the creative time we could have. No more of that embarrassing “real” money exchanging hands. You can stop at the local pawn shop on your way to my studio and deal with the proprietor. He or she will certainly have silver dollars to sell you in trade for the paper money. Get it. Heck, get two, and stop by to pick out any painting(s) you want. If framed, I will price it fair, and you can give me the paper money that I will spend on groceries, or a dress for Rose at the second hand shop. I will mark your name, painting, and date of purchase in a little cardboard envelope, and if I make it to seventy-five, cash in on retirement fried eggplant sandwiches once in a while, thinking of you and our shared human experience.

(Please note: I can only accept silver dollars, and not paper money of what a silver dollar is currently worth on the pretend money market. I made the effort of the painting. Now you can go the extra mile to pick up the actual silver dollar).

Please think about this, and spread the idea far and wide. There must be some painting that you like for such a fair price. Think of birthdays, upcoming holidays. I am just so exhausted from these encounters with the self doubt monster. It’s time to kill the money.

Several of my recent paintings can be found here. I look forward to jingling coins in a pouch.

Ron

Honestly, If I Tamed The Wild Phthalo Wolf, What Makes You Think I Can’t Put Down These Sterile Thermonuclear Puppies?

Phthalowolf

Not much to say beyond the title. Men (mostly men, rarely women) my age are holding the earth hostage with 20th century mass death technology. Not one of them is made of more  virtue than I—Better bureaucrat, yes. Better fearer. Better mistruster. Better God or mother-hater. Better White supremacist. Better Chinese or Korean Supremacist. Better Indo-European, maybe even Dravidian supremacist, of course. But never a better man than me. Any military that holds these in arsenal is more than coward—it is degenerate evil. Logic for this kind of destruction is insane. So humanoids in or out of government who tacitly set aside madness for status begin their climb from a much lower level than I, and I hope, you too. Maybe they are what hell would be if it existed.

It truly is a world divided into us against them. Especially if “us” ever raised and loved a child. I tamed the phthalo wolf. I am better than all manufacturers and the combined militaries of nations that would serve this evil.

Potential mass annihilation is premeditating mass annihilation. People who are connected to these weapons need their noses forcefully pushed into their own Armageddon pile. Even our dear mother, uncle or son who collects a paycheck to perpetuate this madness. As a lowly painter I have become a higher human being than anyone who would allow a world to collect this much death power. There is a time to become arrogant in love and nurturing. I have arrived. I have more love for mankind than all nuclear nations combined.

And all I had to do was paint an imaginary green wolf.

Under 30 Dream Writing

 

“The Bodhisattva Poses With Her Anniversary Pot” 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20″

From Leopold Courting Rose, a book of year long thief letters in an attempt to steal young girl’s heart… It worked.

RoseSuperIconBMP

Today,

Okay, you’re lucky. No notes about thighs, eyes, sighs—I shall write to you a confessional. That is my desire for this Tuesday morning, a little over a year gone by since I first held your hand. Always in the library I am on these fall days when I have a greater sense of the life within me. Since childhood I have revered these moments spent in the gray cool morning. As a man I am still overcome by them. They take my breath away. Delve me into dream. Retard me for the betterment of self.
I am the happiest man alive. Now at twenty-nine years I scan the shelves of books with the small part of my brain that seeks to know some other man’s happiness or misery, and this I do for a good long hour to end up cursing the great ones, because I know that good behavior will never get published in a book I write. I hate them, and deliberately misplace their works back on the shelf because they don’t deserve all the attention I give to you in dreams. This makes me happy. Dostoevsky will mingle with Thoreau probably until the next time I arrive at the library to mix things up again. Then I will carry that Russian idiot over to the Hindus, and all the dead philosophers can argue over who is more miserable in their time, and therefore deserving of recognition. The Hindus laugh. The Buddhists snicker. Saint Testicle wears a hair shirt. Good god, they’re all jealous of each other. Petty fools. They’re dead! I have nothing to share with them. I am certainly not going to give you away. No more sacrifice. You are mine, and these skinny legs holding practically double my body weight will prove it. I hoist my pile of books up to the counter, check them out, and take our happiness outside where it belongs on this perfect day. Here in the gray light. Shoulder my backpack, hands thrust into corduroy pockets, and the long walk back kicking the leaves high. I am alive with you. That is all we need to read about.
Two years ago about this time I was being haunted by a dream ghost. You were coming into so many dreams at a time I was out of myself and delusional. Stuck in New York to wallow in my misery, which I did very well, a strange man equipped with the special powers to plan and execute his own demise. I was well aware of all my moves, fully conscious and sane, for I knew all along that I was torturing myself. Oh, but I felt alive. I went on long walks throughout the city. No different from today, except the feeling was different. I could lose myself. With both hands in pockets, I walked through Central Park oblivious to all around me beside the sound of my own breathing and footsteps.
Today is a day like many I lived in New York. Inspirational feelings abound… They take hold, control me, pull me back to the realization that I was “chosen” for this day, so I better make the best of it. Humans share this ability to not take for granted each moment of their lives. The novel won’t amount to much if it be replete with paragraphs about shopping for shoes.
Anyway, I feel then what I feel now. Every move I make I make for the biographers. I live my life as though I am being watched. A one man act, who writes his own plays, and performs on the road. These are the romances I have been writing. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this type of behavior. It’s original for sure. And it gives purpose toward realizing fatherhood, companionship, poetry, self-liberation… Whom do you know, other than yours truly, who would live a whole sober day in this super economy, solely for a meal? Who but village idiot Ron would give up certain lifetime security if it meant losing his ability to dream of you and the impossible requited love on a ten mile walk around New York City? Who besides a fool could claim one of his happiest days penniless with a borrowed cup of coffee, sitting on an Upper West Side stoop dreaming of her? Just dreaming? She didn’t even know him in that way. She barely knew him at all! But he knew about her. All the important things. He knew that if she ever took the plunge with him, he would always use a good olive oil when cooking for her, no matter what the cost. He would over-elaborate in poverty. It’s what poets do. Every man would become a poet for the woman he desired. And the woman would only respect poetry offered. All dealings with security and pension into old age would be mutually respected, after love. But love must come first, and love can only be born of poetry.
So he walked a long day and in the evenings sauntered into any neighborhood book store. His story gave him the strength to seek comfort in the stories of other men, dead and gone, who would never get the chance to know his joy and suffering.
From the stoop on gray days like this I would watch the many girls pass by, think of you, and suddenly see your body down the street on your way to class. Your face on every woman. Your eyes glaring into mine. Eyes so sleepy, wanting a warm boy to curl up with under covers. I thought of you thinking of me on a walk and talk along the lake shore while having conversation with a friend. You wanted me to hear your laughter and listen to your speech, its tone and vibration reaching all the way to Larry’s cold November stoop. These Autumn days I would keep with you. In evening the street lights exaggerated the wet of rain. You dreamed of me in the Chelsea bookstore walking up an escalator to my favorite authors. They were going to write about our life together from now on.
Rose, you are in time a mystery to me. I will not become familiar enough to let you go. I still cannot pronounce your name correctly. This time spent with you has been streams of evenings on Larry’s stoop wondering how perfect the world would be if you would just let me hold your hand.

MeRoseinTreerrt

I Believe it is Inherent for the Artist to Doubt His or Her Own Face

Meenough

2017. Acrylic on (8) scrap canvas, 6 x 6″

News this morning says that the big penis bomb dropped on the subterranean  compound in Afghanistan killed 36 ISIS fighters. All bad guys according to the Pentagram, I mean Pentagon, upside-down crucifix… whatever the name for “Satan Central” is these days. So I get low some mornings down in the basement studio, knowing that, with a dead Constitution, we are all just a broken people without a country. And I paint emotionally.

The Pentagon thought a million Vietnamese were all “bad guys”. A million Iraqis too. 300 million dollars (cost of exploding penis) to kill 36 repressed suicide bombers, and our heavily armored, eye-brow-cured “leader” declares it a success. And yet, the ISIS gang can achieve equal success, and more by murdering innocents at an airport, or shopping mall, or public park—wherever the heck they want to. And all they need for it is some wires, TNT, an electrician, and of course a man or woman whose child was killed by the Pentagram, I mean, Pentagon, no, I mean upside-down crucifix.

My God, this broken war-mongering state has made so many psychologically sick persons that it wouldn’t be difficult to recruit a few, and for a million bucks a pop, strap some explosives to their bodies and drop them from airplanes onto any heavily ISIS’d desert military compound, or, tit for tat, an ISIS airport (Oh wait, they don’t have any of those), shopping mall (none of those either), or public park (nope, zippy, nada).  There are many American life failures who might offer up their bodies for a cool mil to be collected by loved ones after a successful mission. And it would simultaneously free up millions for home improvement. Infrastructure, housing, health care.

Nope. The corporito mafia wouldn’t get its cut.

Anyway, Happy Easter! In 2004, during the recent memory insanity of constitutionally illegal Iraq war, I wrote the following open letter and mailed 40 copies to all the religious houses in my city and countryside. Hummers were delivering their broken families to church, while the paid-for military was spreading disease all over the globe. It was time to scold the scared little preacher lambs. They weren’t doing their Jesus job. Cost me 40 stamps and I never got one reply. Oh well Mr. Vonnegut, so it goes…

An Open Letter to My Local Messengers of the Gospel to be Read Aloud This Easter Sunday….

Earlier today I heard over my car radio that a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq had been struck by three U.S. missiles. A Mosque in Iraq. Missiles. In 1938 rocks were thrown at Jews and their windows. The Night of Broken Glass.Today, April 8, 2004, forty Iraqis were blown to pieces by your government. A sacred house. A holy shrine. Today I believe this mosque to be the holiest place on earth. Little Jesus was one of those children inside, crouching, holding his tiny ears while your government assassins melted him.
This Easter Jesus will die and rise from the grave for Iraqi children. Why should he even bother with the Americans? Our children are not in need of any god or its savior. Our children have been orphaned by the holy spirit.
So now you know what has happened, and what will you do about it? Myself? I stuck my head out the car window and screamed a thousand curses on mankind. With all my vocal might I shouted out hate until I nearly passed out with rage. If war is crazy, then a church that is silent about war is criminally insane. Criminal to Jesus Christ. To men, to birds of the air and beasts of the land and of the sea. A mosque is burning and children are screaming for their mothers and fathers. Grief is destroying the families of Iraq and I must do my part to block your false Easter joy with cries of their suffering.
I am tired of crying my heart out to fallow fields, to oblivious trees and squirrels. It is time to confront the men of my village. The truth is that your church is partly responsible for the premeditated murder of human beings. I call on you to end the global murder perpetuated by your silence, your acquiescence, your tax dollars and those of your congregation’s. You have a pulpit and therefore a responsibility to God and the people to right the wrongs of your brothers and sisters.
The children of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine… Are you not getting the story correct? Who is David and who is Goliath? If Jesus was walking the streets of Fallujah this morning, where would he run to when all hell broke loose? To the mosque of the holy spirit, or to the Bradley tank? Do I have the New Testament wrong? Have I been away so long that Christianity has warped into a reliable adjunct of the Pentagon? Do you ever wonder why people don’t pack full your churches? Do you speak for Jesus or the American emperor? Are you a Pharisee, a mobster, a coward? For God’s sake, stop reading Christ as if he were literate! You know as well as me when the gospel was written. You know who wrote it too. A good comparison would be the Indian Parliament in the year 2300 interpreting Gandhi’s message for the masses, with uplifting words as well as a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Please now, the suffering people of Iraq are deserving of good news this Easter. Say something for them if you can claim understanding of anything Jesus. Why so many preachers live the better part of their spiritual lives in Revelations will always be a mystery to me. Maybe fear and impotence play a larger role than I had imagined. Maybe after all is said and done, the lot of you just suffer from spiritual envy. You can’t deny that those terrorized Muslims sure know how to feel!
I think regular doses of suffering would make us better believers too, but unfortunately Walmart doesn’t carry any of that in stock. In America, Sunday church is only as palatable as the brunch afterwards. The latter is always too cheap for real maple syrup. The former just gyps the spirit.
For Christ’s sake, go out into the streets this Easter! At least lead your congregation on a march through the parking lot. Point to the machines that are destroying their planet. Help them to understand what that means… to not have a sustainable planet. For contrary to present Christian representative opinion, global warming is a Jesus problem. Also nuclear weapons, the military budget, the Patriot Act… Jesus, these are all very good Jesus problems. I’m afraid that the real revelation these days is that most of you are so far gone from the teachings of Christ that American Christian spirituality is one of the world’s biggest jokes. You are good comedy. Funny like the Morris family in Uganda
preaching the gospel to unbelievers. I think that a Ugandan criminal has more Jesus in him than all the Morris family and their church sponsors combined. Why? because chances are that that poor sinner has actually suffered. Americans don’t suffer. They weep into their pillows and buy cars. And you, who could possess so much authority in your own house, allow them too many transgressions, even these mass murders of late. Why? For your own security?
For the sake of all God’s creatures, risk your jobs this Easter Sunday. Tell the people what they do not want to hear. Give to the Iraqi children who have died for you. Cease negotiations with the Emperor. Let the people come to your mosque for reasons of life and death. But first tell the people what they damn well need to hear. That Jesus Christ would not be proud of them. At least no Jesus of my heart would die for these hide-behind-missile child murderers.
The killing must stop now. It is your job to stop it. Make our Jesus proud! Imitate the Christ this Easter.

A Couple Weeks Painting as I Come to Grips With My Limitations at 50

cornishhen

“Cannibal Cornish Hen Fancies Cabbage for Valentine’s” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

skunkcrab

“A Skunk Got Us and the Rats This Morning” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

goosefruit

“Canada Goose Knows Late Apples are ‘for the Deer’” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

rathole

“Fat Rat Digs a Memory Hole” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 9 x 12″

calculus

“If You Study the Intricacies of Mathematics, and Neglect Art, Then You are Probably a Maladjusted Social Animal, But Never Vice-Versa” 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 18″

hamlet

“Hamlet, the Old Dog, Tries a New Trick” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

oeufs

“I Wonder if All That Money We Spend on Space Just Happens to be a Real Sexy Breakfast” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 22″

mackerelfinal

“Holy Mackerel Arrive for the Garum Sacrifice” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 15 x 21″

menu

“Chef Newt Has a Tricky Menu Tonight at Salamander’s” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 10 x 13″

thankyou

“Adding Bone Black Was Probably the Best Thing I Could Do For This Painting” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 18 x 27″

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Four Paintings This Morning While Mourning

bobby1

“Robert Allen Mazza was Born on November 7, 1934 and Died on January 12, 2017” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″

bob2

“I Do Not Recommend Death” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″

bob3

“I Think Careerism is the Only Obstacle to Being Born Again” 2017. Acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″

 

bob4rex

“Rex Tillerson, the Highly Protected Sociopath, is Going to Kill a Lot of Stuff” 2017. acrylic on canvas board, 8 x 10″