Arts Reviews, Forums, & Blogs
As a Professional Portrait Painter, Writing about Significant Themes in Respected Arts Web Sites and Elsewhere
In 1996, my mother suddenly, quite unexpectedly died. It was a terrible shock to my elderly father and me; we took stock of our lives. One thing that particularly affected me was how precious and irreplaceable the images of our loved ones were. With my software publishing coming to a close, I answered the innate call to develop my latent talents for art; my “right brain” instinctively needed to mature, to balance out my much-exercised “left brain.”
I studied the works of the Old Masters, learned the timeless concepts of design as well as the newest media and techniques of painting, and created a portfolio of portraits in acrylic and oil — well-received by my subjects, patrons, fellow artists, and international art critics.
And in the process I discovered that the key to “good taste” in art is balance. Inspired, I wrote about that and other significant themes in respected arts forums and elsewhere online.
Art and Science ... A Marriage Made in Heaven
A Posting to New York Arts Magazine Online Forum, in Response to SCI-ART: Science and Art — So Different, So Similar?, by “M-1000,” August 7, 2003.
As a university-educated scientist and an autodidactic artist — not to mention an admirer of Leonardo — I am particularly moved by this discussion.
To me, pure science is the search for truth in the universe, which exists independent of the observer, the scientist.
Art, however, is not only the search for truth in the universe but also the communication of its meaning, which is utterly dependent upon the observer, the artist, and, typically, an audience.
Both science and art may be either pure or applied — applied science being technology; applied art being technical drawing, commercial art, etc.
But at their most basic, science and art both stem from the truth — worshipped, in one form or another, by virtually all major religions as the Supreme Being (or source of existence itself) and, being everywhere around us at all times, typically taken for granted (like the force of gravity or the passage of time) ... that is, taken for granted by those who are not theologians, scientists, or artists.
If you believe as I believe that the soul of Homo sapiens exists within the mind of Homo sapiens (and to argue otherwise raises such romantic notions as the heart being the seat of the soul or the controversies surrounding abortions within the first two trimesters, before the neurological formation of consciousness), then science and art are as inseparable as the left and right halves of our brains ... each an entity unto itself, but each more significant in light of the other.
Art and science ... a marriage made in Heaven.
A Posting to New York Arts Magazine Online Forum, in Response to Art Notes: A New Agenda, by John Perrault, October 24, 2002
Thank you for stating what needed to be stated — that art is adrift — and for challenging us who believe that art is important to human life to think and do something about it.
At its most fundamental, “art” is artifice — the thoughtful acts of a thinking species attempting to change its environment to its own liking — and at its most sophisticated, art is an entity taking on a life of its own — a dynamic system calling upon its past (hence the “neos”) and inventing its future (hence the “posts”) as the sum total, greater than its parts, of countless works by countless artists both renowned and anonymous, studiously and unwittingly influenced by and influencing one another.
Perhaps the aimlessness or stasis in various quarters of art is simply the reflection of a generally aging population, having lost the verve of youth and/or comfortable in its familiar ways; but perhaps the organism we call art is a grand pupa, dormant to the world (“as if art were asleep”) but actually undergoing significant, perhaps even dramatic structural changes, which may start at the most microscopic level but may not become apparent at the macroscopic level until there is an appropriate, yet unpredictable change of “seasons.”
Perhaps, then, it is the role of the artist to be but one “gene” of the organism of art — to express oneself as effectively as possible, within the context of the feedback (the “critiques” you mention) from other components of the genome and within the limitations and positive influences beyond our control from the environment at large.
Art can be both a domestic animal, in service to us, and a wild beast, incapable of being tamed. But as long as artists keep creating, art persists (“because you have to”), art consumes (and is con$umed), art reproduces and evolves (“pluralism” becoming ever more so) — art lives!
“Good Taste” in Art
A Posting to the Portrait Artist Forum in Response to What Defines “Good Taste” in a Portrait? by Cynthia Daniel, owner of the forum and of the likewise prestigious A Stroke of Genius Web site, January 12, 2002.
My answer to the question, What defines good taste in art? “Balance.”
“Neo Megilp”: A New Painting Medium from Gamblin Artists Colors
Postings to the Portrait Artists Forum in response to A No-lead Maroger Medium? by Karin Wells, February 15 through April 16, 2002 (and beyond).
This was one of numerous postings I made in the Portrait Artists Forum that often probed very technical questions, often referred to art history, sometimes caused considerable controversy (as in this case), but always proved highly intellectually stimulating.
In the process of contributing to some of the longest and most widely read threads in the Forum’s history, I paid my respects to and gained respect from some of the day’s great portrait artists.
Probing the Psyche of the Information Age: Repella.net
A Digital-Art Web Site Review in the Arts section of OpEdNews.com, November 26, 2005.
Don Repella at the time was the Executive Director of the Pasadena Community Access Corporation, on which I served as associate producer for NewsRap. I also helped analyze franchise agreements for them and organize a campaign to help save Public Access television.
Don is also an accomplished photographer and digital artist, having earned an MFA and taught internationally at the college level. His work is challenging and rewarding. I also wrote a review in local, widely-read weekly newspapers about his contribution, as a highly select artist, to “billboard art,” a community art project celebrating the diversity of northwest Pasadena.
“Bug Art by Steven”
I reviewed the unique gouache watercolor paintings by world-famous entomologist Steven Kutcher — nicknamed “The Bug Man of Hollywood,” for his extensive work as a “bug wrangler” on such productions as Arachnophobia, Spider-Man, and countless television commercials.
To make his Bug Art, Steven uses insects as “living brushes,” their movements across the paper influenced by his intimate knowledge of insect behavior and his sincere appreciation of art.
I wrote an article for widely-read local newspapers about Steven’s exhibit as Artist in Residence in the Armory art gallery, in Pasadena, California.
Steven’s artwork has traveled worldwide, physically and in publications online and off.