Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hey Carol

 Welcome Carol. 
I just noticed you on the followers list. Pretty cool to be the first and only follower of this BLOG. I better publish it or let people know, maybe it would create an environment of sharing our creativity and open new doors of expression for all of us. 
I hope you, Ed and the family had a great holiday.
Talk to you soon.

... at least I am not just talking to myself again!

New work complete and a life incomplete

I am putting up a few quick captures of the last work I have just completed. I ended up titling it Left Standing I believe more to my feeling of how we have not lived up to our part of the bargain when we inherited this earth. I feel we all have lost site to the nurturing, consciousness and physical care that is required in a mutual relationship. Our relationship with the planet that currently sustains us has been and continues to be that of a one sided affair. We all know how those relationships tend to end up when one or both parties are only functioning from their own ego and perceived needs.
Anyway I felt the trees - also the hills and mountain range - were only left standing after the progress not out of care or responsibility, but only because it was the easiest path.
If we wanted it down (trees, hills or mountains) we humans would justify it and take it down.
The mood in this painting - which is from my creative imagination - is one of majestic beauty in nature and its being and our connection to all of it , but also sadness for all we needlessly and subconsciously destroy of which is a part of us.
Sorry about the flash and lower quality photo, I will have better ones eventually for my website.

The second part of my heading - life incomplete - is a call out to struggle or frustration that I am allowing to become a partner in my life right now. I will never complete my life which is a good thing, but I am just struggling with finding a way to keep producing my art and financially  stay above water. Which for me is an either or proposition in my head (I can't do both) and working again full time especially in a corporate environment is looking like it will impact my art and my time with my kids . So I am or have been swimming in those waters for a while and I would like to get out of that pool and jump in a pool that has more people, fun, enlightenment and success, so I put it out of my head and into language.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to progress

For me progress is not the goal of living, but it helps to have an intention as a compass or guiding star to aid in direction. Conditions and situations will change and challenges will be present and life will unfold with or without me.
These paintings I still have a general feel and direction or an expression that I desire to be conveyed. I also have not worked on these in a couple weeks so intention as well as inspiration gets a little fuzzy for me. The pictures also get a little fuzzy until I consciously connect with the source of creation and inspiration that originally opened the doors for me to sketch these designs on the canvas.
Anyway I am back at it painting these two so I thought I would post the pictures up - especially for you Dad since we just spoke on the phone about it. 
Right now they are acrylic under-paintings from a charcoal sketch on canvas (36 x 48 and 36 x 60). I will start building with oil though to their completion.
Take care and progress may not always look like a step forward - does it?.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Being open to joy.

I have a short amount of time and I wanted to get this post out there.
 Attached is a painting I just completed and I absolutely love the mood and grace of this picture.
 The painting which I am titling "silence" was a work in progress that had been sitting for quite a while and was probably to become destined for the "never to see" section of my studio. That was until my brother inquired about it and wanted to buy it. There was no way I was going to sell it because I just was not happy with the incompleteness or the direction and feel of the painting. Well I struggled with even picking it up again, every time I looked at it I was not inspired and I kept telling my self, "I have to get it done for him as  surprise him as  a Christmas gift." The emphasis must have always been on the words "have to" and not "gift", because I left it alone for a month.
What actually happened for me was one day I believe I let go of the "have to" and just allowed the painting to be worked on again. Different for me, but I actually started getting inspired about what was happening and allowed the joy of painting, of "being artist" to take over.
Anyway I ended up with a painting that for me is one of my personal favorites, very difficult to let go of, a lesson in allowing or accepting what is and creating action anyway.
Moral for me or re-confirmation is the joy in anything or just joy is always present, not created, we just have to get out of our heads for a few minutes.
Hope he does not actually see this post, but if you do, Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Work in Progress and it Feels Good

Here is a current painting I am working on and I actually started from a very rough sketch when I got the idea/image in my head.  The actual painting has been fun and there is a energetic flow and vitality that keeps me in the moment while painting or viewing it.  It is large too which  also  increases the energy of the painting. It is on a 36 x 60 canvas.
I will update when it is complete or just add it to the gallery on my website.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Back to the business of BEING

I can't believe I have allowed so much time to elapse since my last post. Lets be real, me allowing, had nothing to do with the passing of time because it will move at its own pace regardless.
Anyway, there has been activity, doing, work, shows and doubt - well you can't completely stop the voice that looks out for it's own best interest. 
I have updated the website and it is definitely worth a peek. I have included a section for original pieces that are more accessible financially and even cooler are the "new" note cards that are available for sale and are perfect for the holiday season.

I know at this time there are no subscribers to this blog, (probably since I have yet to promote it) but my hope is that a few of you (the hundreds that have been to my website) have stumbled across this blog and checked it out in its current stage of infancy.
To check my "hope" I am going to offer one of my paintings for free in the spirit of sharing, the holiday season and to keep things fun while promoting. If there is interest I may continue the practice as a monthly theme. That way I can create additional space for new work to show up in my studio and at the same time share artwork with people who are interested in my work.
Stay tuned this week and I will upload the painting being offered. I will request you email me @ john@carmanfineart.com with your name and in the subject field it should state December Artwork Offer. I will determine a method to keep the drawing random.

Finally, for this post I am exhibiting one of my recent pieces "Midwest Morning" (shown above).
I love the feeling and flow that came alive in this painting which I became even more present to when I stopped struggling - which happened partially through the piece.
I am going to keep the spirit of this painting alive and recreate the same theme and flow in larger formats in the near future.
There is a part of who I am in everything living and the energy and expanse of a landscape takes me home.

Until next time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Simpler times and technology

First off let me state that my intention is to create this space as a daily practice for downloading a thought, eventually uploading a new piece of art each day and equally important connect with you (even if it is just me viewing right now).

This practice may turn out to be an egoic exercise into creating less and thinking more which to me equates as wasting time. However, initially I believe there is a positive way to use this forum and create space in my life for life to just show up. By pulling down the walls of thought, veil of fears and functioning out of a role or act (to look good - or not look bad) - all of which will surface here I am sure because they are human traits or definition of existence. The practice for me is to recognize them, call them to the surface and let them be so my inner self or being can shine through.

OK now to the post: Simpler times to me is the desire to bring back the adventure, patience and experience I had when I was a child. To do that in this marketed world of speed, flashes of thought, short attention span and have it now mentality (all of which is a part of me) is like juggling flaming swords with a blindfold on. My spirit desires the times (feeling, and experience of ) where I waited all week for a show to come on and then focused my attention on it, because we only had a few channels, no VCR etc... NO TV is actually better.
The feeling of laying in a field of tall grass in the fall with the warm sun keeping the chill of the air at bay - just over the surface of my body, all the while I could hear it and smell it. Calling and going to a friends house and actually just sharing in the fun without any other thought taking the foreground.
As I am typing this thought in this blog (technology) I am transformed back not into nostalgia as it may appear, but more of a realization or sense that I can still be that now. Maybe it is not a battle of technology vs. simpler times. Maybe it is about using the technology that applies to who I am being and what activities fall from that. If I am being that man who desires that space, connection, experience and adventure then possibly some of the technology (definitely the marketing/thoughts of who I should be as a man, father, husband, friend and successful artist should be or should look like) will just fall away. The more I continue to believe the thoughts and position the two (simple time and technology) against each other, the greater the frustration. I created the heading the statement "simpler times and technology" unconsciously using and, while my old story of "either or" had me believing versus.
This does bring to my awareness an ongoing conversation that surfaces for me which is "either or, pick one". I never remember when I am in that conversation that I do not have to pit one against the other!

I never even got into the frustration part of technolgy which spurred this whole thought before coming to a sense of inner rest. Chalk one up for technology in the foreground, but give all of my thanks to BEING in the background - that which no-thing could exist without it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What can you say about yourself in 30 seconds or less?

Well I am pressed for time this morning and at the same time I wanted to create the practice of downloading my thoughts so...
I have a few shows coming up this month and I have the usual request for the artist bio so the viewer can get a sense of who the artist is and their background. This is always a tough conversation (internal) for me because one conversation is "I am not as good or good enough" due to the fact I did not complete my schooling at the Art Institute even though I believe with all of my being that I am an artist and have been all my life. The other conversation is that which I know what ever I say/write is not who I am - not even close to who I am.
So who am I ?
I am a part and whole of all that is life and living. I think I am even a part of all that has been in my thoughts, but really who I am is the heartbeat, the direction of the light and the movement of the wind in the moment I am conscious to all that is. My roles are a few: Artist, Father, Husband, Friend, Musician, Teacher, etc... but the whole of me is that energy of creation and that is what comes alive in my artwork when I allow it to happen.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Taking any step, but what step to take.

Well this is the first step for me and an immediate thought on my mind is one I will use to kick off this blog.

Actually the first thought is, "who cares what you have to say anyway", but I will attempt to side step that for the present moment.

One of the tricky steps for me in anything is, "where do I start?"
I get the picture of what I would like to create in my life and I juggle the doubts (I should just drop those balls) of it ever happening - probably like most of us. But really where do I start so I am making the right action or going in the right direction?
In the statement above is, for me, the beginning to the answer. I have found this in some of the paintings I have started (completed some) where I have struggled the most. I have and will continue to apply it in my life too, because more and more when I am really present to what is going on around me I see that there is absolutely no differentiation between art and life (NONE).
Back to the statement, "...the right action" or ... the right direction"

When I get so confused about doing what is right my actions are controlled, non expressive and cautious or unsure. Chances are I will have it all thought out and recreated in my head to the point were the execution is uninspired and not worth seeing brought into existence.

I have been around much of the newer (although it has been around for ever just packaged differently) way of thinking concerning having what you want in your life, visualize-feel-expect, be-do-have principles, you know "the secret" that was so well kept we all forgot about it. Much of the information is good and has caused renewed thought in my life, but most of it is just over marketed hyped in order to sell a book, workshop or DVD's in order to fulfill their (purveyor of the message) dreams of a life they want and the intention and/or the message has little or nothing to do with actually forwarding the universal communication of the planet or helping you to connect with the unique voice or expression you are in the world.

Anyway back on track, where do I start? The second I have a thought or inspiration for a painting that is followed by a fear, doubt, disempowering thought - that is the action I start on and it never is a a study in futility because it is a practice of believing in myself at the very least and an adventure into the unkown with an expressive out come (experiencing real life) as the desired outcome and a piece of work that is me in the moment.