Sunday, October 31, 2004

eye candy open studio day.

c'mon down

Saturday, October 30, 2004

back home in pittsfield.

walking to my favorite cafe

moving sale, open studio, paintings to do.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

a few more silver city photos:

a row of gallery/studios - if I'm lucky I might get one of those. coffee shop on the left. great sky, eh?

nice little park I came across in my walk. fell asleep. pretty green here - not desert like.

my little hotel room - old style, sink and shower right in the room. nice quiet, luscious sunday afternoon sun

and my room, corner room.

back to Massachusetts in a couple of days. bye bye new mexico!

Friday, October 22, 2004

same pass I stopped at in 1971 in my turquoise dodge pickup, on the way back from tucson to indy in my first big road trip.. truth or consequences in the distance...

new mexico sure is beautiful... cottonwoods turning yellow
On the Age of Corruption story line - I thought of a story in an old magazine - maybe Shambhala Sun from a few years back - about Thomas Merton's last and only trip to Asia, where he died from electrocution - an electric fan or some such thing. On that trip he met the young Chogyam Trungpa, as I remember reading it, and there they discussed the falling-apart of the monastic traditions, both Buddhist and Christian. Their conclusion was that it was, now, "every monk for himself." Not "for himself" in the sense of looking exclusively for his or her own interests, but more on his own, without a monastic structure within which to work. I think this correlates with my feelings about what's going on in the larger world: the institutions which we have relied upon are failing us badly. And now, and to an increasing degree most likely, we're on our own, and will have to form our own institutions and groups and partners from the ground up. Not a bad thing. Not easy, but not bad.
For some reason this morning I remembered a story I read a few years back about computer generated art. An AI program given some different algorithms to work with was connected up to a plotter and the results printed out. I wish I could remember more about it � it had a cute name like Alf � but I remember it in the context of trying to decide what someone means when they say that art is �good.� Or �bad.� This has never made any sense to me. I�m more in agreement with Duke Ellington when he said about music, �If it sounds good, it is good.� It�s all � in my opinion � based on the experiencer�s experience. Ah. But this brings up other thoughts. This morning I was walking � very early � in the nearly deserted morning streets of Tucson. And walking by a thick yellowish green tree, I heard the most beautiful birdsongs I�ve heard in a very long time. Ah, yes: beautiful. Were the birds trying to make art? One thinks not. Was God � or someone working the same line under a different name � trying to make art? Dubious. Waling further on: is that particular portion of that old wall crazed and cracked in such a manner �art� because it looks so beautiful to me? What makes a good sunset, for that matter, as opposed to a bad one? Or a cup of coffee? Difficult to escape the notion that it�s all personal. I oughta re-read that Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, since he covered this ground with regard to the concept of Quality. I don�t recall that he came to any earth-shattering conclusions. Or any conclusion. But it�s all wordplay, I�d say�the world is so much bigger than our linguistic version of it, and so-called paradoxes are bound to occur within the bounds of a linguistic setup. I say so-called, since I�m skeptical that they can exist �in reality.� And that no great conclusions as to what �quality� �is� are possible.

But if truth�s beauty and beauty�s truth, I�m gonna get confused, and misled (taking you along with me, if you�re not careful) into the thickets of semantics and words, which is just a small neighborhood (and not a well-respected one) in the vast city of knowledge and understanding, most of which is, if you hadn�t heard this already, entirely outside the verbal realm.

In this connection I must reveal my Buddhist leanings by remembering what one sage said, to my own and others� dismay: to an awake person, food is the same as shit. Ah. So our seeing this part of the world as good, or beautiful, and that part as bad or ugly, is a result of our not being awake? This is particularly galling to a practicing artist, because if it�s true, then the profession of art is a just a way of keeping otherwise unemployable persons in green and off the street.

In the realm of art, and without even getting near to that Zen stuff, one can confidently assert that at least 50% of the art transaction (the transaction being the creation of the art combined with its appreciation by a viewer) is on the side of the person looking at (or hearing or reading or sipping it). By this I mean, one person�s good cup of coffee is another�s undrinkable dark-roast disaster. So in the case of the computer-generated art, there seems to be, as in the case of a beautifully flattened beer can glittering in the morning sun, the transaction seems to be almost completely in the eyes, in the hands, of the viewer, if we take the programmer out of the equation, which he or she would probably not appreciate. To them, the program itself is a work of art. I actually think �art� is one of those words that we should ruthlessly eliminate.

on the road from Tucson to Silver City. photo doesn't do justice to the vast panorama. you can see forever out here. Open sky. I love the feeling. Now I'm in Silver City, an old mining town about the same size and of the same flavor as Grass Valley CA, where I lived for about 10 years. But Silver City is away... away from most everything. The two closest big cities are in two different states - Texas and Arizona. It's a lovely town, and I'm thinking about spending the winter here and working on Why I Paint. The light here is something else. Especially contrasted with New England..

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Age of Corruption. We're in it, eh?

Church, state, business, even, for God's sake, sports! Always been here, of course, but I'd say we're in a particularly acute effloressence of it right now.

Ah, but maybe we might be able to get back to a certain kind of golden age of yore - even if it just means not being terrified all the time, and that corruption isn't quite SO BAD. Sorry - I don't think it works that way. Where we're going no one's been before. I'm talking about system breakdown. Even in the mundane sense of running out of money, which our social systems are certainly going to do, similarly to Argentina, most likely, even in that sense things will breakdown, and what are we going to do about it? What we will do if the breakdown is even worse?

Of course, this might be all wrong and nothing bad will happen. Bet on it? Hmm.

But what if it's right - might as well think about it, and what to do. Prudent, not alarmist.

I heard old Bucky Fuller give a talk once, he said that if the ERA didn't pass it would be a signal to Galactic Intelligence that Earth didn't deserve to survive, and probably wouldn't. Further on in a litany of corruption (and how innocent we were back in the eighties...) someone asked plaintively, "What can we do?"

Fuller's answer was short: "Live with integrity. That is all that 's necessary and sufficient."

There's also that Golden Rule thing. And that story about a king asking a crowd of religious types if they could explain their religion while standing on one foot. That smart ass Rabbi did so, and said, "Don't treat others the way you don't want to be treated. All else is commentary." I'm sure he said it with more grace than I just did, but he did it succinctly and fast, cause his balance wasn't that great. But in a way, if you live like that, it might almost guarantee integrity.

That might help, but it's important to find a reason to do something even if it's not going to help.

I heard on the radio a couple of days ago an author talking about his book. In it he recounts the story of a judge at the Hague who goes to the Vermeer museum after a hard day dealing with war crimes and psychopaths. The author then mentions that when Vermeer was painting, Europe was in the last part of the Thirty-Years War, a time when much of Europe was reduced to cannabilism, and was totally ravaged. I think the weather was bad, too. But even in a time like that, Vermeer was able to see and reproduce things of such beauty. And it was important to do so. So I guess for starters we could say Don't Do Bad to Others, and Appreciate the Beauty that's all Around.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Cats as follows:
Josephine is a Russian Princess kitty who escaped the terrors of the revolution and all that followed. Sharkie - the black one sleeping�foolishly!� next to the back door, and she came together as best friends at the Turtle House, that green thing I've painted so very many times. Josephine got a weed thing in her eye and it got infected and she lost the eye. She's not wearing her patch in this picture. She and Sharkie had to split up. Sharkie moved on to a house where he's allowed to sit by the fire, inside, and Josephine lives in a nice apartment in Sacramento now. Oh the lives we see!!

I got an MRI of the orbits yesterday. Fell asleep in the tube they stick you in while all the machinery bangs away like Flann O'Brien's mad Professor DeSelby next door. One of my eyes is sticking out too far, so they gotta see what the deal is. I love the MRI images - they act as a way to get a different picture of the bodies we inhabit. That is, we have a self-image of our bodies, but it has very little to do with the actual physical dimensions, much less the biochemical micro realities going on all the time. By that I mean, we don't really have any sense of the oxygen transfer going on in our blood and lungs all the time, but it's as real as a beesting - we don't really have a good sense of these bodies, so the MRI is just a reminder of what these things REALLY look like. I'll post it if I get a chance to scan the film.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Comments are now activated. also, I gotta pic.
I'm doing the 6-month web site redo - putting up a lot of new stuff, and even more older work that may never have seen the light of day. It'll take a few more days, with photography and layout.

more soon!