Thursday, February 28, 2008

Amongst Trees and Saplings

… and I said, “GO! GO! GO!” because I no longer trusted my answers to their questions. - North

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Representational Abstraction

“Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.” – Nietzsche

Repetition of symbols and manipulation of the “known” landscape from irregular viewpoints has been a staple of my style for the past seven or so years. Over time the work has become more abstracted in its treatment of the composition, though more technically precise in that same handling of representative subjects. For my own creative motivations, originally this art movement served as a catalyst for exposing national differences via Immersion Travel, now however; I believe the effort has transposed itself into a visual interpretation of unique-yet-similar perspectives in this country’s rough-hewn organization of lost-and-found communities.

Maybe I’m intrigued by the reactions of an already tapped-out society that may soon be faced with the next great economic depression. Will we suddenly find ourselves scraping together nickels and dimes, like the fictional Waltons of West Virginia, with nothing but bad seventies haircuts and our own sense of community to hold us together? Perhaps, I’m yet another victim of self-indulgent nostalgia. Yet, I can’t help but look back and find a studio with a cheap woodstove more romantic than one with an expensive air conditioner. – North

Monday, February 25, 2008

Clouded Judgment

“Two Ways Home, Same Direction” – North

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How place as a muse can be a bitch... for better or worse.

The new work from the past few weeks falls under my own self-described category of digital sketches. The title or label is somewhat misleading because I do not digitally manipulate any of the works… all I really do is scan them in and crop the rough edges; leaving the moles and scars for examination and a touch of contemplative reality. The works are small mixed-media pieces that are both collages and paintings… not unlike my traditional large-scale pieces from the past two years. I consider them digital, though, because they only survive online. I create them rather quickly, then post’em and forget’em.

These works came about at a time when I was considering what would happen if one of the numerous winter storms actually touched down on the roof of my studio. Now, this has not yet happened, but a few close calls have really got my mojo roaring and I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of a new wave of symbiotic archiving/creating from the standpoint of a traditional painter in an ever-increasing digital environment.

The subject of the work thus far is still along similar lines as before: Immersion Travel… staying in one place for a period of time (anywhere from a few months to a few years) and documenting the effect it has on both the society as well as the artist. The most interesting irony of the work, for me though, has been the evolution of a more abstract style in my art as I attempt to further demystify the motivations and philosophies of each place. These small sketches have allowed me to drop the last of my inhibitions and rethink my theories on the roles of artists and more specifically, painters. I suddenly have a better understanding of Picasso when he successfully walked away from Cubism. - North

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


“Southerners have a gene, as yet undetected in the DNA spirals, that causes them to believe that place is fate. Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.” – Frances Mayes


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Philosophy of Place



I know the differences are negligible... but I can't help but want it. – North

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Skidding Over Icy Ruins

You ask why I’ve settled in these emerald mountains,

and so I smile, mind at ease of itself, and say nothing.

Peach blossoms drift streamwater away deep in mystery:

it’s another heaven and earth, nowhere among people.

Li Po (written between 701-742 A.D.)

Terra Incognita – that sounds like the best option for the future. A place where time is no longer futility and movement is the antonym of struggle. - North

Monday, February 11, 2008

Holiday Weather Over the Holiday Home

On Monday, the Ozark Mountains surrounding my family’s southwest Missouri cottage metamorphosed from early spring to a harsh mid-winter theater. Within minutes, the land and sky suddenly became an ice lens projecting only perfection... with the valleys quickly and unrepentantly buried as shiny as death. – North

Storm Fears

These days, there is a real sense of panic at the mere thought of a coming storm across the southern Midwest. It is a foreign hysteria when I compare it to the radical nonchalance, which I encountered and emulated while a youth in this same region of the South. Tornadoes occurred at a more frequent than usual rate in the Bible belt, while I was gone for a few years, and it wasn’t nice; though I must acknowledge the irony that it was more than slightly biblical in its destructive force.

Now when the weatherman menaces of an approaching storm with high-wind potential… rumors of tornado touchdowns fly; parents collect students early from schools and people hide in bathtubs. Now that’s not to say that the fear is unfounded. Actually, quite the opposite and one only needs to watch recent news reports to understand; but for a man obsessed with land and sky and observing the change of seasons in a society’s heart – I have a different response to the attack brought about by heat and chill clashing. Tuesday evening as our small section of the world turned on its ear and people lost their lives to the slight south and east of my studio; I stood at the open door and scanned the skies in wonder. – North

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More Maps from the Storm

Maps from Tuesday night's winter tornado and thunderstorm. These past five images I’ve posted, as well as quite a few in upcoming posts, are simply sketches. Each cross-country move seems to motivate a new since of direction in my work. Most recently I have found myself drawn to small-understated works that are minimalist in scale and application of line but somehow seem larger than life in color and complexity of composition. For now they are not intended to grow into larger oils or even jump beyond the bounds of the internet. - North

"Under the River"

"Over the Storm"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mississippi Storm, February

Back in the South during winter... yesterday it was 75 degrees and a tornado touched down outside of town in the evening; then traveled east to the great river. - North

Monday, February 04, 2008


On the Arkansas/Missouri border at Bull Shoals Lake. - North

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Into Arkansas During the Spring

The past week's ice and snow made me want to dream of warmer times in the Midwest... but all I could recall was driving through the flood plains of northern Arkansas last April. - North