Monday, September 24, 2007

New Varnishes

Click the image to see enlargement...

"Casting Stones", Sumi and Acrylic Inks and Paints on Canvas, 12"x30"

My “to varnish or not to varnish” philosophy is cyclic. My scroll paintings are all unvarnished in the sense that I do not add a final sealant to the paintings… yet they are protected in the manner in which I initially mix my painting grounds.

Since recently returning to canvas from a long period spent working primarily on paper, I have begun to research new mediums (and rediscover past ones, as well) for “finishing” my paintings. Today, I finally decided upon re-exploring my previous dabbling in the land of encaustic painting. The work, pictured above, is “pre-varnish”; as soon as I find my errant half-empty jug of Dorland’s Wax medium, I’ll re-stretch (because I stretch flat over wood panel to paint in my destructive fashion and then release from the panel to stretch open over bars)… and seal/polish the painting and finally re-post for inspection. While I know the local viewer will immediately recognize an observable difference, I’m curious how much change will be noticeable from the on-line perspective. - DN

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Number 33

Click image to See MORE!... well actually, just larger.....

"Late Spring, Missouri Storm", Oil on Archival Board, 8"x40"

This is an older piece completed after my childhood home was destroyed by the nearly simultaneous strike of two tornadoes in southern Missouri, a few late springs ago. I was the age my daughter is now, when my father and I spent a spring and summer building a home that seemed luxurious by our standards, during my father’s 33rd year. He has always claimed number 33 to be his lucky number. It took my own marriage, family and a long time of both to understand why he held that figure to a near holy proportion. Building his family a home was his Mt. Sinai. Only a few months from that age, myself, I wonder what grand plans await my little family and I. - DN

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Poison in Motion

Click the image to see the detailed view:

"Burning Field Rows", Sumi & Acrylic Inks & Acrylic Paint on Canvas, 6"x16"
The sense of movement is a continuous underlying theme in my work. Countering directions and currents of change in typically stable entities marks the compositions of my paintings.

The nearby fields have been burning for over a week, now. My daughter's asthma is reacting with the chemical-heavy smoke that billows unnaturally overhead like dirty-brown mushroom clouds. That type of reaction from a simple field burn cannot be normal. The cotton is halfway through the harvest and the soy was low on production. So its time… time to raze the fields and prepare to start again. Mounds of raw cotton line the county roads running parallel to the interstate, like dollops of cream trailing home. – DN

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Desires Without End or Just Without Merit

So if I made alyah to Israel, how long would it take to grow bored? How soon would my wife find me spending my Sunday mornings in a Jerusalem cafe... hidden down some two thousand year old alley, drinking cappucinos, reading the NY Times - focus shifting between the travel and arts sections... and daydream of living somewhere else? Does it end? -DN

Monday, September 17, 2007

Southern Abstraction

You know the routine... click the image to see the enlarged detail...

"Tallit, Southern Fields and Shmita", Sumi and Acrylic Ink and Paint on loose Canvas

Shmita is the law in Torah that states every seventh year the fields must be allowed to rest. According to the Jewish calendar, this is the year (5768).

My creative burnout factor has greatly increased over the past few months, as I find myself overwhelmed with continuous exhibitions and new land to explore and paint. To keep my interest-level and rapid production high, without degrading my level of quality… I have returned to my earlier forays of abstraction based upon the surrounding landscape.

My work has held a certain degree of abstraction to its mast for a number of years, but only occasionally have I driven my art towards a complete series boasting nearly 100% non-representative qualities. Yet, here I am. Attempting to usher in a Modernist art movement that already lived a full-life outside the southern states. While I realize that there have been plenty of other artists that explored the realm of abstraction while working in the South (Robert Rauschenberg and Julian Schnabel – both Texans which doesn’t necessarily constitute Southern; and of course, the artists of Black Mountain College, etc); I have to wonder why in this singular place, the concept of Modernism hasn’t stuck… at all? Imbued by barn paintings on saw-blades and actual old “pieces of wood salvaged from a barn”; I believe I know the answer and it’s hidden somewhere in the traces of a disappearing bible-belt, the slow advancement of higher education and an overall desire to remain socially simplistic in a radically ____________ world (you fill in the blank).

I’m not always sure why I chose a specific location when the need to move arises. Sure, I give myself a laundry list of reasons and rationales, but deep-down… I really only understand that most basic of desires - I need a journey. Part of needing a journey goes hand-in-hand with taking a break from the comfortable to explore that part of the psyche that we don't parade at parties. Rauschenberg probably said it best, though:

"You have to have the time to feel sorry for yourself in order to be a good abstract expressionist."

Happy Trails (or dark convoluted ones if that is what you need to get your creative juices flowing) - DN

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Click the image to see the detailed view.

"Eclipse: Crowley's Ridge Under a Red Moon at 3AM", Sumi and Acrylic Inks and Paint on Canvas

A recent late evening/early morning eclipse created a blood-red moon... as it moved over the nearby rise of Crowley's Ridge. Looking at it during the hours between waining sleep and the faint of wakefulness, I wondered it it was an eclipse or simply G-d peeling a blood orange in the sky. - DN

Monday, September 10, 2007


"Cottonfields" Acrylic and Sumi Inks and Paints on Canvas

Click on the image to see the larger work. My last posting of new work was not actually of new Missouri-based paintings, so I thought I'd start showing them on a regular basis to prove I am painting here! - DN

Friday, September 07, 2007

Is it just the name... or does it matter that paintings are ...GOOD?

If the two dozen small paintings discovered by Alex Matter five years ago in his deceased parents' storage locker are not by Jackson Pollock, then I'd like to congratulate whoever did make them. Now on view for the first time in a fascinating, much anticipated exhibition called "Pollock Matters" at Boston College's McMullen Museum of Art, they are beautiful little pictures… And what if the paintings are never proven to be Pollocks - or proven indisputably not to be Pollocks - will they then become worthless? The best of them are still lovely to look at - or so it seems to me. What matters most in today's market-driven art world, the artist or the art? The object or the brand? – Boston Globe 9/2/2007

How often are artists (and collectors, gallerists, curators, critics...) found fighting for overall personal name recognition as opposed to battling for significance in an individual piece? The process is all that matters, the singular work created during that illuminated moment of lucidity that transfers a person from human to god, from painter to artist. Enlightenment is fleeting. It’s as fickle about leaving as arriving, and it can only be found in the flash of the creative process… not saddled to drudgery of an imperfect life. – DN

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Work

New pieces created specifically for the Morris Graves Exhibition... (among a group of 28 paintings). Click on an image to see the detailed version. - DN

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No Such Thing as a Quiet Revolution?

"In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters."--PAUL GAUGUIN

... and then there is always the back-handed inspiration of Graham Greene:

"In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo de Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock."--GRAHAM GREENE

I have always heard the art world is only a faithful mistress to young artists. I look back at other, more successful, artists I have known that burned-out… “You had a good run, thank God you were young before it passed you by, too bad your youth didn’t allow you to enjoy it.” Or maybe that’s just my jaded opinion of what I saw.

Sunday, I tossed more logs on the fire, barely refreshed after completing, crating and shipping twenty-eight paintings to the Morris Graves Museum, last Friday. I was once again stretching canvas and painting into wet gesso, without the patience to even formulate a coherent thought before I drug my roller and brush over the surface, disfiguring the clean white with abrasive combinations of red, yellow and violet. Starting and finishing a bottle of a French cerulean blue-colored concoction called “Hpnotiq”; like water in the hundred-degree heat matched by true southern humidity. I’m beginning to wonder if my painting process will ever relax to a slower pace. I’ve read that even Pollock couldn’t slow down, he either painted feverishly or he didn’t paint at all. Looking backwards, through the bottom of a bottle, at an unbelievable ten-year-run gone past, it’s said that Pollock didn’t even paint for the final eighteen months of his life.

I often daydream of returning to my Hi-line home in the northern Rockies, spending my days hunting pheasant and evenings quietly painting my distant neighbors from the Blackfeet reservation or half dozen Hutterite colonies. My painting style would either be repugnantly dismissed or unique enough to merit the regular occasion to attain models and practice my craft. Like most opportunities in life, I can only assume that it would fall within some middle ground of acceptance. Someone, just this morning asked, “Do you get bored easily?” “My God, Yes!” I wanted to declare… and here I am later, daydreaming of my northern home and still wondering if it’s possible to slow my near-rabid painterly pace. – DN

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I've been messing around with the layout of this blog as well as another overhaul of the main portfolio website. Thanks for your patience. - DN

Monday, September 03, 2007

Scam or Need an Editor?

So I got this via e-mail, today...

Córdoba, Argentina.

Dear Visual Artist

Daniel North

Found out its work quality, we considered your incorporation in the book "THE AESTHETICS AND THE CONTEMPORARY ART" produced by ATcultura.

Biographies and images of artists ; commentaries by prominents reviewers, messages and essays of Contemporary Art, will be present in this highquality book, big format, it will be distribuited on first universities and museums of the world.

Book will be edited in illustration paper, with photocrom illustrations and in a fancy box, covered by a luxe cloth binding, bilingual ( Spanish and English).

Artists invited to take part of edition, will invite by a selection criteria of quality.

Atcultura is sponsored only formally by the Government and enterprises but solicit not subsidies from they, wherefore ATcultura prefer avoid any possible conditionament, this colaborative project solicit to artists one minimum monetary contribution.

Previous books of ATcultura include artists like Caio Fonseca, Natasha de Wet, Perez Celis, Carole Feuerman, Regina José Galindo, etc. You can see in or in our page

If would be interesting participation in this book for you, we require you as soon possible reply to: with a brief biography for be larged to future, adress and phone number, to be considered one of selectioned artist for receive own proposal.

Best regards.

Dipl. Ricardo Lescano Grosso

Director. ATcultura.

My first instinct was that this originated in Nigeria, but the website was real and the blog was real... so is it an elaborate hoax or amazingly bad editing? - DN