Stimmung

I am intrigued by the concept of Stimmung. The origin of this word is German and in the dictionary it is defined as ‘mood.’ I like to add to this definition the words ‘energy, flow, and abundance.’ With a focus on emotion and vulnerability, I am moved to create a sense of mental space within my paintings that have vivid personal importance. I find that Stimmung is a necessity within the abundance that I reach for in the internal transcendent space I bring myself into as I create.

I am motivated and inspired to manifest relationships and conversation with the audience and the viewers who are intrigued by my art so that the mood of my art may offer an opportunity to feel something deep within themselves. Mood, meaning, and abundance are the essence of love and manifest the ability to make a statement, to foster change and to make an impact. Often, when I paint, I make notes on a piece of paper next to my painting, allowing a meandering stream of consciousness to evolve. My mood, feelings, and thoughts of what are engaging to me and what is bringing me into the experience of creating emerges. This tells a story and narrative that is a window into my personal Stimmung.

Color, texture, composition, and sacred geometry all have abundant energy that are intrinsic with value in a painting. Each to their own manifest depth and they have their own relationship to each other. Mood and abundance in my brush strokes, in my laughter, in my final work or just the moment to moment process allows me to be true to myself with unencumbered creativity, prowess and light. Artists of the past, such as Kandinsky, Matisse, and Cezanne wrote and expressed in depth about the importance of meaning and emotional quality in every part of there artwork. Who are the contemporary artists where Stimmung is evident? Is it just artists? What about musicians? What about activists?

Last night as I was putting my daughters to bed I was struck with connections. With my youngest we were reading about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. I felt his mood and his longing and passionate energy to create a ringing energy of change at the highest level. I could see a connection to that of the artist through the activist. Then as my older daughter was playing guitar and singing about her life experiences I could see another connection, again Stimmung. On her wall she has a personal letter from a grammy award singer songwriter that also speaks telling the deepest of your personal story so that you are able to connect to and also tell the story of other. Again, another connection.

Vibrancy of mood in transparent in writing,  painting and sculpture; looking to the heroes, the visionaries, the changemakers, the risktakers and the mountaineers where there are no boundaries and the mood is abundant in themselves, within their craft and their own mastery. It is perhaps in life itself that this is the fire, this is the energy that makes a meaningful day or a meaningful life or the making of something beautiful. Putting ourselves out there in a way that is real, in a way that is full of passion, in a way that pushes the edges and finds the space of love.

Here is a glimpse of my stream of consciousness writing that occurs during the process of making a large abstract painting called ‘Breaking Free,’ seen below.

Intentions:

Intentions:

Love

Fear

Antagonism

Beauty

Resilience

Letting Go

More vibrancy

Reductino

Showcase

Ayla

Refinement

Flight

Growth

Acceptance of Angst

Go Deeper

Break and Breathe

Twisting Mind

Fragility

Challenged

POW

BOOM

Big Distractions

Rage Against the Machine

Smell Food for the Soul

Hungry for Answers

Making Space

Finality

Grounded

Breathe

Calm



Why do I paint so large?

My wife asked me why I make my paintings so large. I have painted multi-wall murals in my house, multi-panel murals for public space and the inside of a tunnel.  I enjoy multi-canvas images and multi-surface paintings. Painting in the round on multiple surfaces or on very large canvases allows my creative process and finish work to be something larger than life. I gain a freedom with in my movement when the painting is larger than me, so that I am moving with pure energy, fully entranced with the artwork. It is as though I am able to become one with the process, a conduit of creativity. I really like to view super large paintings on display in a gallery, museum, or the realm of street art. Large outdoor sculptures that you can walk through and climb on top of are examples that I work to emulate in my paintings. As a kid I remember seeing Guernica in Spain and later large Murals and canvases by Diego Rivera, Siqueros and Matta. These experiences were quite influential.  Of most personal importance to me was my relationship with Ted Egri. His sculptures were so large that you could climb all over them and he even produced dance performances on the sculptures, interacting with the work as if it was an organic object of life. Since working with Ted, I have managed to look at paintings as though they are sculptures; large, in the round, and fully encompassing.

Generally, my large paintings are self-motivated unless I have been contracted for a commission or a mural in a public space. Sometimes there can be a size constraint for transportability of large artwork. I adapt to paint on unstretched canvas, or multiple surfaces like paper, panels or canvas that can then fit in my truck and can be re-constructed to be larger than life at a latter time. Sometimes when I work small I have to make sure my body moves to the caliber that I am able to achieve when working on large surfaces. This is a challenge for me when working small, to stay loose and not tighten up because of the size of the surface. Whether large or small, my quest is to achieve high energetic quality and authenticity. However, if I had a choice, I choose large. I tend to thrive when I have a large surface that is unaltered. It is as though I can pour out my creativity and vision and fill the space with life, agitation, substance, and plasticity.

 

 

New Beginnings

As I look at the end of the year and the beginning of another I think about my paintings, drawings, and sculptures in light of my understanding and love of making art.  I am filled with questions, ambition and clarification. I have been thinking about the concepts of substance and plasticity, creating art that is alive and breathes with authentic deep meaning. For me, this is a reflection of the daily twists and turns of life. These energies are both yin and yang, both full and empty, chaotic and balanced. The making of art is essential in my life. I have been finding a better understanding of plasticity and substance as I navigate these layers of energetic impulses to create my art.

In the art of painting, the concept of sprezzatura or simplifying complexity, can cut through the air with conviction and presence similar to that of a zen painter. I can find a parallel between the samurai warrior painting calligraphy and the works of great masters like Rembrandt and Cezanne all reaching a similar elevated consciousness. I am also inspired by the works of Joan Mitchell, Chaim Soutine, and Ted Egri. Again, I find these artists have simplified complexity into a beauty that is larger than the personal self and filled with life that is full and rich.

In the words of Robert Weatherford, we must paint through the ugliness for the beauty to come forth. Without one the other can not exist, so it is with the making of art. To keep the same depth and layers of life that is lived every day, painting must construct and deconstruct.  As I step back into graduate school at the Academy of Art I must have the confidence to continue making art in this way, putting myself out there, raw and exposed.  I need to reach deeply into that place as masterfully as possible where creativity, self, and the other mingle, intertwine, and coexist in authenticity. My inner voice can be a smile or a scream; I may whisper humbly and listen to the silence that is evident. As I look at this next year of 2015 I wish to embrace the making of art with abundant confidence and prowess. I know that I must be strong with spontaneous light and laughter in my paintings, in order to turn any burdens and challenges into wings to fly.

Meaningful Art- the journey

When I paint I am consistently drawn to meaning and a connection to some higher consciousness. I find it important to build my artwork in layers of construction and deconstruction. Like a day of living, for my work to breathe I need to bring it through life and death and rebirth. As I engage in this process I find I can let go of what I have created and allow for a newness to emerge. This process is clear to me at times and also allusive. I can taste or see that glimmer of light yet the journey to reach it has pitfalls and ridges, rivers, storms, and rainbows. It is this challenge that provides me the impetus to continue to carry on. I believe this process is evident in my work; the building up, the tearing apart, the love, the fear, and occasionally the triumph and clarity.