Remember when you were a little kid? I do. I remember clearly. It was pretty awesome. I went through some things a child shouldn't, but many of my memories are beautiful. It was the '70's and things were so groovy! Heh, heh, heh...:). The one, big thing when you're a kid is you need to feel safe and loved. You need to feel that if that monster actually DOES come out of your bedroom closet, your mom will rush in. Well, I didn't always have that, not as much as I would've liked. My parents got divorced when I was 4. Mom won custody and the rest is history. That was rough. I missed my father, terribly, and was terrified of the dark. I was an anxious and hyper child, fraught with insecurities. Then, when I was 17, still a minor, my mother took off to Germany with her army man, and my world became more lacking. It disrupted my school and social life. It caused a lot of problems. Do we all have wonderfully loving parents? Sadly, no, but life goes on. In this piece, Safe With Mother, we have a great mother, willing to make the sacrifices necessary to get the kids through anything. The concept used here in this painting involves a kind of scary hell-place and mom's gonna get them through. There's a kind of church thing at the end (the safe place). Yes, I think mom should be God, warrior, angel, and all powerful entity. Otherwise, why have a mom in the first place? In the child-mind, this is just how it is...
What makes art good? I mean really good! Happy accidents. In this piece, Empty City, I was so pleased when this painting flowed from my brain and ended up showing the workings of my brain in a very loose and obviously abstract way. This is where my brain makes friends with the paint. I was very unaware of what was going on as I painted this. It was fun and exciting. It felt like a form of therapy. Not flaky or empty therapy, but REAL therapy. It's where color and line work together in a beautiful way.
Am I afraid that the world will glimpse some of my brain? Not at all, I'll still sleep just fine at night. Good art should be honest.
Whether this piece represents GREAT art is up to you, dear viewer.
There is so much art out there these days, with the internet and all. It's flooded. Yeah, there's A LOT of bad art out there. Now more than ever. However, every now and then, we come across art that actually has emotion. Imagine that! Emotion...
This piece, one of my faves, "When the Tide Is Out", contains emotion and other complexities contained in the paint. When I say emotion, I mean the mood I was in when I happened to paint the piece, the way the colours came out, the brushstrokes, the power of the painting. There is a mood of this painting that translates to the viewer. I have to be in a certain mood to paint like this. This is the difference between realism and illustration and art like mine, which actually has feeling, complex emotion, original thought, idea, flow, and originality. These are some of the reasons why old abstract expressionism is worth so much money, in the millions, because there is something honest, different, and powerfully artistic about it. The "Scream" comes to mind.
So, next time you happen to be in an art gallery or are looking for a genuine piece of art to collect, remember to really take your time to gaze AND feel that creation. You'll want something that lives with you to be worth something.
I created this painting of Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg for three reasons. I like to paint, I was in the mood to paint her in my way, and she matters. She matters now more than ever because in case you didn't notice, the world's going to Hell in a hand basket. Look around. Look at the level of hypocrisy, greed and heinousness. It's disheartening. It's really messed-up. However, there's hope! As long as we have original idea, there's hope.
Greta is at the very least saying, "Wake the hell up! You need to care. You need to notice what's going on!" That's important. Unless you're some kind of soulless hillbilly, you need to care about our planet. If you don't care about the natural world and only care about money and getting ahead, what are you really contributing? Not much.
So, in closing I'll say that we all really should at least care enough to investigate things for ourselves. Go to an art gallery, go for a long walk along the ocean on a beautiful beach, go exploring through the woods.
Go out somewhere, someplace quiet, and really search yourself. Ask yourself, "Who am I? What do I want to contribute?" I hope the answer ends up being ANYTHING progressive in a positive and healthy way. Cheers...
. There are some things that just stick in your mind, random things that likely have no meaning to anyone else, but they they stick anyway. That's what this painting is about. A few years ago, Misty and I went on a road trip, one of those fun impromptu, let's just get in the car and see where we end up type of trips. We ended up halfway across the country and travelling through 3 or 4 states. On our travels, I remember a certain city, I won't mention the name because I wouldn't want to insult anyone who has the misfortune of living in this town or may actually, for some inexplicable reason, like it. We stopped for gas and something to eat in this "place". It had to be the saddest city I'd ever seen. Sad because you could just tell it was one of those places that the townsfolk described as being "a great place when..." And I know they'd be telling the truth. All along the streets of the all but abandoned downtown core, you could see fading monuments to the city's former glory. Once brightly coloured painted storefronts, now sun faded and peeling, lined the streets and despite the early fall sun, it was eerily quiet. There was hardly a soul around, and the handful of people we did see, in the gas station and the restaurant, and on the street, had the same faded look as the buildings, as if their lives, along with the city's had lost all colour and just went gray. It kinda felt like a giant cloud just enveloped the place and everyone in it. They were friendly enough, the people we met, making small talk, smiling, from their mouths, not their eyes. I couldn't help feeling sad for them and for the town. It was an uncomfortable sadness because from my newcomer's perspective, I could see some light, some potential to restore colour and life to the city, if only someone had enough spark left in them to try. That, and I could hardly wait to get the hell outta there! I wonder what it looks like now; if someone did have enough spark left to bring the city back to life? Do I dare take another road trip?
You may not see any new work from me for a while, and hey, that's just fine because I have several fabulous pieces waiting for their forever homes. That being said, it's time for a break, a vacation, if you will. You know, vacation, that annual 2 week break those employed in traditional jobs take, where they leave the office, unplug, go away, or stay home and let someone else take care of the crap at the office? Yeah, that. Well, as a self employed person, I don't, or I haven't really taken those. Any person that works for themselves knows what I'm talking about; you can't take a vacation, you can't afford to, a week off is a week you may not eat, better keep the wheel turning. The thing is, when the wheel stops turning, there's no one there, no company pension, no short term disability insurance, no vacation pay. At the end of the day, if I paint myself to death, I can count on one finger who would give a shit, yeah, one finger, aside from me. Well, the cats too, but they aren't people, despite their assertions to the contrary.
The old adage is true, you really do have to look after yourself first. All the accolades in the world, all the praise, whatever, can't sustain you when you work yourself sick. There's got to be some balance in life. I did the math, well, let's be honest, I don't do math, Misty did the math and I've put in about as many hours over the past 20 years into this painting thing as an 80 year old man that worked a 40 hour work week for the past 60 years! That's a lot of work, too much!
What I'm saying is this, I'm grateful for all the collectors I have that love and buy my work, and I do hope you check out what I have available because there are a lot of good pieces, but if you're waiting for something new, you'll be waiting a while, it's time for Carl to put down the brush and "do Carl".
It's almost October, people are enjoying their pumpkin spice lattes and other treats, store shelves are overflowing with Halloween offerings and I have already dug out, and used some of, my cooler weather wardrobe. You know, sweaters, hoodies, long pants. And then, bam! Just like that, summer announced that she isn't quite done with us yet. She's returned to give it one last go, and boy, has she returned with a vengeance! As I sit here now, I have to say, whoever invented air conditioning should have a monument built in his honour! I shouldn't have to use air conditioning at the end of September, but here we are.
All this summer weather has me longing for cooler temperatures, hot chocolate, scarves and frozen ponds. Maybe this year, I'll dig out my skates. It's been a long time. So long in fact, that it's more a case of buying new skates then actually digging any out. In any event, as I sit here beside my air conditioner, looking at my work on the wall, my eyes can't help but fall on this one, Ice Shadows and I can't help but remember what fun it was to glide around on the ice, free as a bird in the crisp early evening air of winter. There was always someplace to skate back then, a neighbourhood rink, a rink a friend's dad made in their back yard, or just a perfectly frozen river or lake. Remember, the evening was always the best; it seemed warmer than the daytime somehow, the wind always died down. We'd skate around, maybe play a bit of hockey, if someone had a net, or we'd pretend there was a net where we placed a couple of sticks or branches. We'd laugh and skate and then come in for hot chocolate, and then, if it wasn't too late, we'd head back out for a bit. I wonder if kids still do that. If not, they should. Playing Nintendo or Playstation just isn't the same as getting out into the fresh air. I wonder if I can still skate. Or would I fall on my butt? Maybe it's like riding a bike. Only one way to find out, I suppose. I'm determined to try to enjoy winter when it comes. But until then, I'll sit here in my air conditioned apartment and daydream about it. It'll come soon enough.
The crows have saved me many times. They have helped me buy food, shelter, etc. They have also done a lot more. They have enabled me to meet awesome people from around the globe. The amount of great conversations I've had with collectors of the crows is amazing. The crows are INDEED special.
If you watch and listen to crows, you begin to realize intriguing things about them. You also begin to enjoy the mysterious things about them. The sounds they make, their actions, their endurance.
You know what? If THEY can make it, so can WE...
Crows, for us who appreciate them, are powerful beings. They remind us that nature matters. They inspire us. Crows can be seen as the embodiment of a winning and cunning nature. At the same time, they protect each other and actually hold funeral services for their fallen comrades. This is a cool bird that is so much more than a bird. This is a creature that some say is a messenger for the other side. It is a powerful animal totem. The crow is an immense symbol of strength, resilience and craftiness. Some say the crow is a symbol for death and evil. For me, however, the crow has been a saving grace so, so many times. Actually, I still have an art career due to crows. People who collect my crow paintings feel a kinship with me and how I paint them.
Today, I thank the crows and the humans who give them their due and respect.
This piece, Now Serving Hypocrisy, at first glance, may seem ghastly and negative. This is not the case. This piece is simply a painting representing EVERYTHING around us, pain, pleasure, sadness, joy, loss, triumph, color, darkness, and the oddly complex human lives we weave. Art should absolutely represent everything around us. Otherwise, it's just decor. ;)