• Art Making
  • The Basic Rule: There are No Rules

    Colson Whitehead‘s contribution to the New York Times Book Review’s “How To” issue on Sunday is titled How to Write. You know, a topic that fits neatly into 11 easy-to-follow rules. Well, sort of. It’s a funny piece. Famously smart and clever, Whitehead’s novels include The Intuitionist (which I loved) and most recently, Zone One. […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Diebenkorn’s Fields of Silence

    Ocean Park #54, by Richard Diebenkorn Most artists can remember those crucial moments that were turning points in their creative journey. These are events that are a more authentic tracking of a life than the customary biographical timeline; that marked up map of a well traveled terrain that is more personal, meaningful and accurate than […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Art as Spiritual Remedy

    Sandi Slone, Rasputin, 1984, oil and acrylic on canvas, 84 x 120 inches (Photo: Left Bank Art Blog) Carl Belz, Director Emeritus of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, has been posting his views on a variety of art topics for some time on Left Bank Art Blog. His most recent article, The Color […]

  • Art Making
  • Setting Aside the Familiar

    Composer John Adams Much of what I do each day feels difficult to describe. For those of us who spend a lot of time alone in the studio, it is often hard to know what’s really going on. I am grateful when I find others who can language some of these emotions and experiences. And […]

  • Against the grain
  • Drawing Lines

    In my studio (Photo by Martine Bisagni) The difference between being a complainer (who wants that reputation?) and being a precise observer can sometimes be a fine line. I may be grazing close to the edge of grousing by sharing excerpts from two articles by art critic Karen Wright of The Independent. But they are […]

  • Art Making
  • Portalized

    At the RISD exhibit (Photo by Jan Baker) It’s an it. It is a simple insight but a huge one, that an entity exists outside of yourself that is your inspiration. Some call it the artist’s gift, some call it creativity. But the idea that it is separate from you—that it can be addressed and […]

  • Wisdom
  • Weil and Hesse

    Simone Weil Eva Hesse The writer Simone Weil died in 1943 at the age of 34. In spite of her short life, her legacy is a rich one, spanning a variety of m├ętiers including philosophy, Christianity, theology, social justice, mysticism. And even though her life’s work was from her point of view of a god-centered […]

  • Philosophy
  • Rhizome Redux

    Revisiting the past: “Tuffesse,” 20 x 50″, from a body of work I painted about the same time as this original post This post first appeared here in April 2007. In looking back through that period of time I found these quotes from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari still relevant and useful. A Thousand Plateaus […]

  • Art Making
  • What the World Can Do Without

    Another passage from Christian Wiman* that speaks to poetry writing but could apply to all the rest of us who are inveterate makers: Reality doesn’t need us. A poet knows this, and then, in the midst of a poem, when reality streams through the words that would hold it, doesn’t quite. W.S. Di Pietro, probably […]

  • Science
  • Focus and Creativity

    Heron on the beach at Small Point, Maine This is a postscript to yesterday’s post with more on the theme of the usefulness of downtime… Sam McNerney has posted a piece on Big Think called Why You Shouldn’t Focus Too Much in which he highlights the results of several recent studies on focus and creativity. […]