• Art Making
  • Legacying a Life

    Conflagration, by Gordon Waters (Photo: Art collection of the University of Western Sydney) After years of experience and a commitment to abstraction I am able to “forget myself” with greater ease. The pictures have begun to determine me instead of the other way around. In the process, a more cohesive body of work has evolved. […]

  • Books
  • Lovell’s Quiet Portrait of George Saunders

    George Saunders (Photo:Damon Winter/The New York Times) Joel Lovell has written the cover article for the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the writer George Saunders. Much more than just a portrait of Saunders—which is reason enough, certainly—Lovell’s article is full of interstitial wisdom, a handfull of small but meaningful vignettes, and a respectful generosity […]

  • Art Making
  • Thanks for the Resonance

    Happiness studies (Is that a legitimate category of research now? I think yes) have produced results that often surprise me and feel counterintuitive. One well known study from a few years ago found that happiness is not just the product of a proactive program of self help books and positive thinking. It also is impacted […]

  • 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
  • Talking About What We Cannot

    The “rag and bone shop” barn studio of my (nearly) lifelong friend, artist George Wingate. Our conversations here and in other venues over the last 40 years have been some of my favorites. My friend Robert Hanlon recently wrote me and said, “You are an expensive friend: you make me buy books!” Sorry Robert, but […]

  • Art Making
  • Where it Works

    A shelf of visual stimulants in my studio The artistic value of hermiting and the need for isolation has been an ongoing theme on this blog, so of course I was intrigued reading Tony Perrottet‘s essay in the Sunday New York Times Book Review about writers, isolation—self-inflicted and otherwise—and the discipline needed to work. (Curiously, […]

  • Wisdom
  • Something to Say

    Green glass in my studio window Continuing on a theme of Fitzgerald… To have something to say is a question of sleepless nights and worry and endless ratiocination of subject – of endless trying to dig out the essential truth, the essential justice. As a first premise you have to develop a conscience and if […]

  • Books
  • Condimenting

    Malcolm Gladwell is a phenom to be sure. His books always end up on the best seller list (there are two of them on now, Outliers and What the Dog Saw) and he is a popular inspirational keynote speaker. I admit, I imbibe. I read his New Yorker pieces religiously. I’ve read all his books. […]

  • Wisdom
  • Wallace Shawn’s Pugnacious Wisdom

    Wallace Shawn has been a figure of admiration for me ever since I saw My Dinner with Andre, a movie that exemplifies Robert Benchley’s claim that the world is divided into two groups—those that divide the world into two groups, and those that don’t. My experience is that anyone who knows the film either loves […]