“Day after day the visitors arrive, armies of them, primed to take their expensive plunge into one of the coolest collections of modern Western art in the world. That’s the bottom line: You go to museums to see art; MoMA owns fabulous art.
And a surprising amount of that art, which was once in the vanguard of culture, is about very old-fashioned things, like love and death, and landscapes and seasons, and one season in particular: summer.” – New York Times 7/27/2007
Not long ago, an art critic in Albuquerque mentioned the process of recognizing the change of seasons within the individual locales of my paintings. It was an unconscious effort on my part to paint the seasons; I was painting time and progression of life within a region… that has not changed in my most recent works, since moving to the South. I used to tell my students only one thing mattered in life and that was this: time is more valuable than money.
I live this life as the poor traveling artist, wandering the landscape for any opportunity to cast my line in that long-forgotten stream; cruising the terra firma scanning the perfect spot to set-up my easel for that singular quality plein-air painting moment. I paint when I have nothing to say; I paint when I can’t shut-up about the problems of my world. However, I don’t spend as much time as I should on the logistics of running my life as a business. I’ve read the articles; I’ve heard the lectures – what I need to do to sell in volume instead of quality. Christ, I produce more annual paintings than any other artist I have ever met… so being prolific isn’t a problem… but I’m also that maestro who has skipped an occasional sale because I refuse to send my paintings home with an unappreciative collector. I’ve been repeatedly informed that this will be my downfall. I have a family to raise, I’m often told… as if I could have forgotten the mops of blond and brown hair begging for attention in my studio whilst dreaming aloud of their own lives as adult artists.
If you don’t like the story behind the work… if you find it dreary or offensive… go to the mall and buy a giclee print of some mundane cottage glowing with light and framed with a triple-mat and copper plate displaying a corresponding New Testament passage. I’d rather spend my evening hours swapping stories with a fellow liar over gin and tonics than to waste my time convincing someone that my painting is grand. I’m a painter not a salesman.
It may be near the close of the season, but it is still summer or did you lose track of time? I may no longer be close to my mountains or hidden high-altitude glacial lakes, but I still have my green-eyed little boy that begs for drawing lessons in the evening. The remaining time in this late-summer is running off, but not without me. I have to seek out new early morning drives, there are two paintings in the studio I want to finish and children that need to be shown that time, for it’s own sake, is still rewarding and handsome in the face of ridicule and self-doubt. – DN