Thursday, April 30, 2009

Abstract artifacts

In the search to find new meanings in abstract art, the intuitive process can unearth rich artifacts on which to compose a new non object. With a central compartment, subdivided into 'the findings' from the wandering pastel, new forms emerge. Rich, new color are experimentally are added. The compartments allude to the bones and pottery, usually unearthed on digs. But the interpretation can have significant, historical value. Usually adding to the rich history of a people. Sometimes all that is left of an interesting tribe of people are pottery shards, sharpened stones and bones. A cracked skull might mean an attack by outside foes.

This abstract art only allude to the historical context. Done largely in oil pastels, pastels and acrylic,"Artifacts" reminds one of the other, natural artifacts found on sites.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Investigation of Abstract Art

Within a central compartment, the 'investigation' begins. Is it the type, popular on television, made famous by CSI Miami? The close-ups of gore and mayhem? The microscopic investigation of tiny fragments? A crime of passion? Red hot fury? The chemical reaction of gunpowder on the fingers. No. Not quite like that. It's an abstract investigation of a single color layered repeatedly over abstract forms. Calligraphic lines surround the investigation. The collage of abstract forms await further scrutiny. The white lines keep the eyes, in constant movement, around the periphery. The abstract painting above, is called "An investigation". More can be seen at

Abstract art- 'According 2'

Abstract art can lead to new directions, new experiments and with collage the use of virtually any element can lead to a new avenue of exploration. The inclusion of bits of drawings, cord, maps, magazine scraps can open new directions of abstract thought.

Collage, as a fine art medium was developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in France in 1912. These two cubist artists sought to break up space, forms, colors by using torn, cut, pasted papers, wallpapers, magazines and newspapers as important and new elements of their art. Collage is a means to achieveing layers of thoughts, bringing new ideas and meaning to the work.

Collage, for me, brings new life to old drawings, painted surfaces, old magazines, textured cardboard, a historic fusion of artifacts that lie around the studio. A composition of memories in a new abstract combination.

Some major proponents of collage include Kurt Schwitters in the 20's, Surrealists artists such as Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Miro, Dali, Joseph Cornell and Romare Bearden in more recent times. More will be told of Bearden's work in my other blogs.

The Collage on the right is called "According 2". More of my abstract work can be seen at

Monday, April 27, 2009

Abstract art- Figure engulfed

With an ever expanding arc of lines, made by a marker, the figure struggled into existence. "Figure engulfed" the abstract art on the right, is a synthesis of dynamic lines, that over time, revealed a figure. Is the figure engulfed with multiple problems? Financial pressure? Urban living? Tension? Fear? Color transports the eyes to various sections of the animated abstract work.

Excavating the abstract

In Abstract art, for me, unearthing what lies hidden in the paper and the mind, becomes the challenge. "Excavating" the drawing on the right, grew, drew out of this slow, painstaking process, not with a small paint brush, tediously, brushing aside the dirt, as is common with archaeologists, but, excavating to reveal new, not old forms. With a pen, scratching, digging out the forms, that lie hidden... in my mind. Charcoal, pen, pencil pastel and acrylic wash helps to bring the forms to fruition.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nocturne - abstract art

Always trying new techniques, "Etching nocturne" and "Eventful" were developed from experimenting with oil pastels. Having created a colorful, dark background, this became the base for drawing with a sharp knife. The color revealed by the knife edge would either be the white of the paper or the oil pastel beneath. Drawing with a knife was a new experience and gave the abstract work the visual feeling of an etching, carving out the drawing on a metal plate. The result, however, was more immediate and spontaneous. More can be seen at

Equus- abstract art

Like the cowboys of old, on horseback, heading westwards, the journey, metaphorically on paper, can be just as arduous. Not fraught with danger - ambush, rattlesnakes and outlaws, but mentally tedious. Drifting across the blank, desert-like page, scratching out forms. The horizon is wide open, you can gallop aimlessly, at full speed, or you can start to structure areas. Vertical forms, interlinked to horizontal boxes. A maze of cross-border trails, leading everywhere and also nowhere. Looking ahead is a relentless sun that has sucessfully bleached every object in sight.

The drawing above is called "Equus". A bleached horse who has sucessfully emerged from the maze.

Modern art- new forms

"Emerging patterns" evolved out of a slowing down in the traversing of the line. The more freedom the lines were given, this time, the more it 'didn't feel right'. So I began to compartmentalize some areas. Then working in the confines of this smaller area, the more the forms and ideas grew.

Quincy Jones, in 1957, moved to Paris to study music composition. The best advice he got was from his music tutor, Nadia Boulanger who told him- "The more you restrict yourself, musically, the more freedom you have".

The idea of restricting myself in small areas of a painting, one section at a time, was the more freedom and satisfaction I derived from the work. Leaving areas of color, so that more focus could be made of the animated section, created a visual balance to the abstract work. When is a piece of abstract art completed? When you can go no further. However some pieces will take years to feel completed, after many retouches. A change of background color. An abstract element. The addition of collage elements. The additions could be endless.

Abstract art-Elevated form

Does a painting or drawing have to be anchored? To a base? The horizon? "Elevated form" attempted to rise above all of this. To take off, set sail above the din, even as gravity would have us grounded. It's a heavy form, chopped into existence by crude charcoal lines. Roughly assisted by pastel colors. It's the thoughts that soar and are elevated into a new existence. Is the background on the left an inner city wall? Is the blue on the right, the sky? Is that the route, the escape to a new life? A new vision? A more elevated existence? Halfway in, halfway out? To see other works visit

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duality in Modern Art

In my quest to better understand modern art I read current and back issues of Art News. In referring to the importance of Abstract Expressionism, Meyer Shapiro in 1957, said " The change in painting and sculpture may be compared to the most striking revolution in science, technology and social thought." Meyer was revered for his extraordinary scholarship and inspired teaching. A pioneering art historian in medieval studies, he was also passionate about the great modern masters, and was a champion of the artists of his own time.

In accepting art that is reduced to color, line, and form, he argued, we are able to appreciate "many kinds of old art and the arts of distant peoples-primitive, historic, colonial, Asiatic and African, as well as European-arts which had not been accessible in spirit before because it was thought that true art had to show a degree of conformity to nature and of mastery of representation which had developed for the most part in the West."

The abstract art on the right,"Duality" evolved out of a process of lines, color and form. Having established a linear skeletal framework in the first place, attempts were made to add a color dimension, then to create a sculptural third dimension.

The title "Duality" came about from thoughts about man and woman, light and shade, ying and yang, night and day, right and wrong. Much of life represent a duality.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Disagreement in abstraction

Can their ever be universal agreement? The sketch of 4 figures, going in different directions, make any agreement difficult. Add politics and religion and the mixture becomes even more volatile. "Disagreement" - pen, charcoal and pencil lines with loose watercolor washes.

Abstract difficulties

This drawing evolved out of a random use of stacatto lines to begin a thought process to completition. The bird seemed to land itself in the midst of this abstraction of lines, tentative then bold. It brings to mind, my annual observation of birds making their nests in various trees. A few months later the almost constant screams of the young birds, as the frantic parents try to satisfy their ever growing hunger. Soon they can no longer fit in the nest. Then it's time to leave. They make tentative attempts leaping from branch to branch. Then farther afield. Always hungrily watched by visiting stray cats. The aggressive parents are always attacking or distracting unwanted visitors. But, on leaving the nest, there's no turning back. No return to the protected comfort of the nest and the regular supply of warm food, fed to the youngsters. The title-' Difficult flight' came after the artwork was completed.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Art and urban renewal

I once embarked on a journey from Fort Lauderdale to New York. It lasted about 27 hours. The family members who accompanied me were not amused. The journey seemed endless. It was 1994 and portable video games were not inventd yet. So a glum look was what travelled with them. With 7 magazines at my side I was very comfortable. The architecture changed from Miami modern to farming houses. But what struck me was, perhaps, an obvious observation- the train stations were in the oldest part of the cities. And with that, the garbage collection, it seems, suffered.

The drawing:"Detritus" above, evolved from thoughts about the neglect of older, inner cities. In a never ending crisis due to a lack of funds, everywhere in the world, the older sections are forgotten or neglected. No wonder people move farther and farther away to the suburbs, adding to non-productive commuting times, morning and evening. Hours lost daily. Urban renewal, is a solution, but it has never gotten the funding necessary to really jumpstart the change. Except, South Beach and the Art District in Miami. These once neglected areas, have become the hottest real estate properties for residential and commercial use. Many studios and galleries are flourishing there.

I digress, the drawing, though not what I set out to do, originally, evolved into 'Detritus at the base of walls.'

Art from the Barbershop

What could be more fluid - a wandering mind, black oil pastel, smoothily crossing the paper. The end result, it seems, resemble a Picasso etching viewed many years ago. On the right, it seems, curiously, like someone in a barber chair. The barber chair reminds me of a line from Pablo Neruda -
" A whiff from a barbershop does it : I yell bloody murder
All I ask is a little vacation from things: from boulders and woolens,
from gardens, institutional projects, merchandise.
eyeglasses, elevators -I'd rather not look at them."

Art, to me, is like that- it transports you to another time and place. Another era. Abstract art evokes thoughts far removed from mere depictions in a representative manner. Viewed at different times of the day, in a different light, new thoughts emerge. It has the power to rejuvenate itself, precisely because it is not something that you quickly identify, recognise, and then have no real desire to review again. Is the pale yellow background, just a back and forth rubbing of pastels? Or is it the steaming hot sun on a mid summer day in July? More paintings and drawings can be viewed at

Prude art

Sometimes the lines lead to something tangible. From a series of compartments in the background, a form emerges. It looks like a reclining nude, or is it a declining prude? That is the question. Viewed by a series of framed, abstract onlookers, decked in fiery colors.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Abstract art - Cornices

In my journey across the blank page, many corners, cornices and crevices begin to show themselves. I have little choice but to reveal them, first, as a wandering line, then a form, a shape, add a compartment to isolate elements. Then introduce color to help shed a new light. A new insight. A central form unfolds. What is occuring in the background? There's movement. Fleeting. Colorful. A stable, central object, a background alive and animated. Like staring at a tall building, immoveable, but clouds continually drift behind, birds, helicopters, ceaseless movement, Is the object on a pedestal? Is it symbolic of a holy shrine?
Title: Cornices.

Abstract art-Contravene

Contemporary abstract expressionist art. Done in a rapid, flash of black lines, using charcoal, markers pencil. Color is added using pastels, oil pastels and acrylic paint. For additional works visit Title: Contravene.

Carving into abstraction

Stone, wood or any form of carving, follows a strict pattern of carefully stripping away the unwanted portions. Whether it is marble or alabaster, the process is a gradual removing away portions to reveal the form hidden in the mass. The drawing above "Carving", attempted to carve out shapes, forms and patterns by the opposite approach to carving, by drawing. Drawing out the form hidden in the paper. It's an isolated form set in the middle of the composition. Like a single rock form in a sea of sand. Or an ancient hieroglyph, a precious summary of civilization, long gone. The only trace, an almost indecipherable piece of clay, with markings, understood by only a few scholars.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Abstract art and ostrich eggs

For me, titles come at the end of the process. While working, the mind wanders... what an amazing process occurs with a new life. A female ovum is fertilized by a male sperm and almost immediately cell division occurs. Without that process the egg cannot sub-divide and create a new life. As an aside- the family went on a tour of Prospect Plantation in St Mary, Jamaica. A very interesting tour, visited by many prominent personalities, even Winston Churchill spent some time there. He was invited by his friend Sir Harold Mitchell, British author, industrialist and politician. The tour included various practices that occur on a plantation, but more interestingly there are ostriches and camels there. Back to the topic of cell division. We saw a number of ostrich eggs, when we enquired if they'll hatch, the reply was in the negative. "The eggs aren't fertilized", was the reply. The kids had a ball, I mean an egg of a time. Although there were male and female ostriches, the conditions weren't right for fertilization and cell division. The above drawing is called "Binary." The first stage in cell division. The convoluted analogy, unrelated to ostrich eggs, came to mind.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Abstract art- Cells

One of my larger works, "Cells for Meditation", evolved from this innate need to compartmentalize sections of a painting. To focus on an area, one section at a time, while integrating the segment to harmonize with the whole. Dark, brooding, warm colors are filling the abstract spaces. I'm standing in front of "Cells for Meditation". After Holy Week, fasting and following the Passion, it's time for deeper reflection. Contemporary abstract art can evoke emotions. What do you think?

Abstract art - Awakening

Paul Klee makes reference to his art while working on a blank sheet, 'to render visible', that is to make the images appear that are hidden in the sheet. To, metaphorically 'carve out' the images that's emanates from the mind, the muse and the paper. "Awakening Molecules" that abstract expressionist art on the right evolved in the same kind of process. The pen line moved over the surface, a curve, an angle, grows. It seems almost like the alimentary canal, growing in complexity, widening its tentacles across the page. Like an organic mass it spreads across the page. the molecules multiplying as the hand moves the pen across the page. An organism, an art object, with an aesthetic life of its own. The drawing/painting becoming visible, almost on its own accord. Washes of acrylic paint, pastel and coloured pens enhance the shape to add volume to the mass. To see other works visit

Original abstract art -"Aroused"

Floating a semi-dry marker over a blank paper in a random pattern, seem to arouse certain images. As they arise and take shape, new forms also are aroused. Bulbous, sinewy, undulating, they slowly emerge. There's no need for color, a monochromatic scheme enhances the forms. On the question of arousal, should you awaken sleeping lions if they are in your path? Do deep underground mining, underground nuclear explosions undermine the large plates that support the earth? Do we arouse volcanic action in these explosions by shifting the plates? So much for 'arousal'. This monochromatic work and many others can be viewed at

Advancing- towards abstraction

Starting again with pen lines in a loose attempt at one point perspective. The mixed media colors, derived from acrylic paint, oil pastels and markers serves to enhance the composition. Are the images advancing or receding? An example comes to mind. Napoleon had assembled a large and impressive army. In his flights of ambition, he suceeded at first. But the closer he advanced towards Moscow, the thinner the lines became, lack of food, sickness, the relentless winter took its toll. The lines continued to advance, but the numbers got thinner and thinner. They advanced but receded into defeat. Napoleon's journey is not dipicted in this abstract art. But the thoughts of advancing and receding lines were an afterthought. More paintings and drawings are displayed at

Friday, April 10, 2009

Abstract art- a new form emerges

The drawing shown emerged from simple scribbles, then following the concentric line a shape emerged. Colors are added. I enjoy using a pen to begin the process, it lays a foundation, a skeleton on which I can add color, add more lines, texture anything that comes to mind. Music is playing low, sometimes its a classical piece and the thoughts soar. Add a light background, the pace of the music quickens, the pen line moves, sometimes in unison, a crescendo, perhaps some red is required. And so the interplay of thoughts, music, with the hand and mind working together. When the music stops, the thoughts change... is it finished? Perhaps a parallel effect to the left? or the top? This is the kind of process that takes place. The result is abstract. Abstract art. A new form emerges. That's the title of this piece. More of my work can be found at

First art blog

I'm starting thisblog with an emphasis on showing some of the art I've done over the years. Generally starting with a loose line dictating where it wants to go. Later I'll see shapes and forms then add color, texture and compartments. I read a lot of art books, and I'll occasionally quote an artist or writer if I think the thoughts are relevant to the work. I'll also insert other short snippets of art activity or other activity I think will be of interest occuring in Jamaica or wherever I travel.