What is so good about Derek Jeter quotes is that they apply to life in general. I see some great comparisons to being an artist. For example Jeter said, ” Sometimes people complicate things by thinking too much about what someone might think of what they said or did.” Now, that quote really applies to art.
Painting With a Cat
Let’s say an artist dumps a cat into a can of paint then slouches the cat around on a piece of canvas. There is cat fur in the paint and maybe some scratch marks where that cat clawed to get free. Some blood from the artist may have gotten mixed into the paint – but all of the fur and cat scratches end up on the canvas. So, a critic comes along and tries to give some meaning to why the artist used a cat to paint a painting. He’ll say something like, “The claw marks are an allegory of the artist’s struggle with his existence – and the blood represents the depth to which he will go to achieve his goals – and the cat’s independence is a metaphor for the artist trying to create a painting without the influence of others.” Where in actuality the artist used the cat because all of his brushes were bad and he liked the way the cat fur held paint. Or to paraphrase William Faulkner, “Sometimes you just need a cat.”
More Derek Jeter Wisdom
Another thing Jeter said. “You can’t be sensitive, because you’re going to get criticized. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to get criticized.” How true in painting. Everyone is a critic. Everyone has an opinion. I have painted a lot of portraits. And no matter what, someone is going to say, “You know, that nose is crooked as a frog’s leg. ” … Or, “Her eyes look like that of an owl.” I know when I create a figurative painting a lot of women say, on completion, “Could you make my breasts a little bit larger?”
A Little Bit About Derek Jeter
“Derek Jeter was born on June 26, 1974, in Pequannock, New Jersey. He was drafted by the Yankees in 1992. During 1996, his first full season in the majors, his performance helped the Yankees win the World Series against the Braves. Since then, he’s seen four more Yankees World Series wins in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Jeter is the all-time Yankees hit leader and was named team captain in 2003. When he officially retired in 2014, he ranked sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits.” Thank you for the information from http://www.biography.com/people/derek-jeter-189311
The Derek Jeter Baseball Player Painting is 5 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas by sports artist John Robertson
Cassandra Tondro posted on her blog a nice piece about my painting ( John Robertson ) demonstration at the Santa Paula Art Museum. Here is a link to Cassandra’s website “about” page. I have known Cassandra For a number of years when I lived in the Los Angeles area. We attended the same art salon in Santa Monica that met once s month. Her work is beautiful, using bright colors and in unusual ways. Go to her website to see them. The work I like of hers are the Botanical Ecoprints she makes.
Here is a short description from her website explaining what the Botanical Ecoprints are:
“Using fallen leaves collected on neighborhood walks, I create one-of-a-kind ecoprints made by steaming leaves against paper. No inks, dyes or paints are used — just the colors from the plants themselves.
On the way to the trash, the plant material takes a detour through my studio to leave its imprint as art before being tossed onto the compost heap.
The ecoprints have an ethereal feel. They beckon us to slow down, quiet our minds, take a closer look, and appreciate the spirit of the trees. The colors of the prints are a whisper of reality, their patterns a pale and delicate gift at the end of the leaves’ brief lives.”
What a treat! I got to see one of my favorite painters, artist John Robertson, do a painting demonstration at the Santa Paula Art Museum today. John starts with a black outline of his portrait, and fills in with his very loose style of painting. He’s also very funny and entertaining to watch. John uses house paints for his work, and he’s the person who first got me interested in house paint for my art many years ago.
Three of artist John Robertson’s finished paintings were on display on the museum floor. These are very large paintings — like 8 feet x 4 feet or so.
Painting Demonstration John Robertson Gallery Talk
This is a short video clip of Artist John Robertson from my recent museum talk and painting demonstration at the Santa Paula Art Museum. In the past I had participated in a couple of group shows at the museum. Both shows were about art and agriculture. Santa Paula is one of the most productive agriculture areas in California.
Egg man From Ventura Farmers Market
The figure you see in the video that I am painting is the egg man from the Saturday, Ventura Farmer’s Market. Painting the egg man was in keeping to the previous paintings I have shown at the museum. We have been buying eggs from the egg man for a number of years and seemed like an appropriate subject matter.. His eggs are pure bred – free range and delicious.
I have been working on a series of large-scale (8 foot) figurative, agriculture paintings based on a series of photos taken over the last four years at the Ventura County Fair. They have a big livestock section where the 4H and other youth agriculture groups show the animals they have raised over the previous year. Other subjects have been from the different horse shows and events at the fair.
About the Santa Paula Art Museum
“The Santa Paula Art Museum, Jeanette Cole Art Center was established as a not-for-profit organization with a mission to preserve and share Santa Paula’s artistic heritage including the famous Santa Paula Art Collection; and to educate and engage the community through collection, exhibition, interpretation, programming and outreach. “The information is from their website”
“The Santa Paula Art Museum is, in part, the repository and exhibition hall for the famous Santa Paula Art Collection. The valuable assemblage represents the accumulation of award winning entries in the Santa Paula Art Show which began in 1937.”…” The works that comprise the Collection reflect both Southern California’s art history and this community’s unique local history.”
Gallery Talk Painting Demonstration John Robertson
The Santa Paula Art Museum has invited John Robertson to speak and and give a painting demonstration and gallery talk about large-scale figurative painting. 3:00 PM, Thursday, March 10. Please join me at:
Santa Paula Art Museum,117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, Ca.
$4 Adults, $3 Seniors, Students and museum members free
The painting you see in the photograph is of Luis, a tattoo artist who works in a tattoo shop in the same complex where my studio is located. As you can see, he is covered in tattoos including his face. He has plenty of piercings also. Luis has been tattooing for about twenty years and is quite an accomplished artist. He paints in oils and not surprisingly his subject matter tends towards the dark side. This painting is 40″ by 84″ ink and acrylic on unstretched canvas.
The Santa Paula Art Museum has gallery talks every second Thursday of the month at 3:00 pm for talk and tour through the Museum’s galleries led by guest curators, artists, and experts.
I had met the musician Sol Soloman over ten years ago. I was invited to a recording up in a studio session on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood for the absolutely great song writer P.F Slown. P.F. Sloan had written some of the greatest hits of the sixties, “Eve of Destruction” “Secret Agent Man”, etc. and was recording some new music.
P.F died a few months ago. Sol was there for back-up with a number of other great musicians. The great bass player Phil Chen bassist for Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart and countless others was there. I have painted him also and will post his portrait at some future date. There was another great musician there, Bernard Fowler who was a back up singer and toured and recorded with the “The Stones” (who I also painted and will post sometime)
Sol had this great look that I had to paint. At the time I had been painting portraits for about six months and had not been able to do a very good job of painting them. And when I first tried to paint Sol Soloman I also struggled. The first couple of portraits musicians painting of Sol was not very good and I usually just “forget about it” and go on and paint someone else. But in this case, I really wanted to get a good painting. And with a great bit of effort over a number of days I finally was able to create the painting of Sol Soloman. A few years later, after meeting him, he tragically passed away.
I have probably painted three-hundred-and-fifty portraits paintings musicians and this is my favorite. I probably have created over two thousand pieces of art and this is in the top five paintings I have created. Although, a number of times people have come along and wanted to buy it, it is not for sale. Meeting Sol Soloman was very meaningful and the painting itself has great meaning. It was my breakthrough portrait painting which allowed me to grow as a portrait artist.
Portrait musician David Gomez keyboardist from the group Slowrider. Around 2001/ 2006 / I was painting portraits of musicians playing at The Temple Bar in Santa Monica, ca.
I went to the club a couple of times a week and hung around to find interesting faces to paint. Obviously David Gomez has and interesting look. Over a period of time I probably painted 250 musicians. The paintings were all about the same size 50” x 70” acrylic on unstretched canvas. At any given time there was about 15 portraits hanging inside the club and in the front windows 4 hung facing Wilshire Blvd. at 11th St.
At the time I painted this portrait the group Slowrider was part of the new wave of Chicano bands coming out of Los Angeles. They were blending sounds Brazilian and Caribbean rhythms, Spanish, Spanglish, hip hop, bilingualism, etc. and Mexican music. There was also some political overtones. Here is a link to more current East Los Angeles latino bands on the music scene. Although I had followed a lot of bands when painting some of the local Los Angeles musicians I did not stay In touch. There were and still are hundreds of musicians playing nightly that a are as good as any you are going to see anywhere – it is always shocking to me how they struggled just to be heard.
I read a quote from David Gomez Like a D.J., we create a collage of music and take a little from different (parts),” said David Gomez, the band’s keyboardist, in an interview with Boca magazine. “That is how we put our songs together. It isn’t about being influenced by one genre of music or a specific time of music; it’s the past coming together with the present.
My Sweetheart ( now, my wife) had a small cottage in Venice, Ca. and in the early mornings, before sunrise we would walk to the Venice Fishing Pier. So the painting is how I generally saw it – in black against the white, early, just before the sunrise. There is something about the Venice pier that makes one want to walk to the end of it.
“But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling And there they stand- miles of them- leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets avenues- north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite….”
So the ocean, and piers always draw me to them. I want to walk to the end of them – to the extreme end of land and pier. I stare out to see as far as I can see – to the horizon. And my imagination carries me past the line dividing ocean and sky.
Ventura Fishing Pier
My studio is now only a few blocks from the Ventura Pier. If I stand on a crate I can see the ocean across the railroad tracks and through the trees. My wife’s studio is a few doors down from mine. Although we do not go down there in the early mornings as we used to do in Venice, sometimes we do take the short walk to the pier and have lunch at the fish taco stand. Then, without hesitation we wander to the end of the pier and stare out to the horizon and the wonder of our good life.
This is another one of my paintings of a Green Bay Packers player in a uniform of the Acme Packers. The Acme Packers were the name of Green Bay used before they were the Packers. The painting was in the Celebration of Super Bowl 50, a group Super Bowl Art Show (with five large-scale football paintings)
Early on in their history (in 1919) , the founders of the Green Bay Packers got money for their uniforms from the Indian Packing Company, a business specializing in canned meat. Even after the company was bought by another meat processor the Acme Packing Company they kept the Packers name and called the team the Acme Packers. Though the original sponsor of the team was the Indian Packing Company, it was under Acme that the team joined the American Professional Football Association (soon to be the NFL) in 1921
The Acme Packers, Green Bay Packers, painting is 4 feet b y 7 1/2 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas. (No stretcher bars or frames.
Someone recently asked why I had painted Randy’s Donuts when there so many more attractive objects to paint. I try and paint only objects or scenes that have a personal connection to me. When an artist has a concern or personal interest in a subject then what shows up in the painting is the heart and soul of that connection.
That is what I am really trying to paint – not the subject but the abstract connection between the subject and me. So, the case for Randy’s Donuts – . In my early twenties, and in college, I supported my family by driving a truck. For about four years I drove by (and sometimes stopped) at Randy’s. It was a landmark or milestone for my commute to the warehouse. When I passed by it on the way to work it was the starting point of the day. And on my drive home, in the evening, the large donut reminded me of my children whom I would shortly see.
Drawn to Ornaments
What does this have to do with owning and hanging a painting of Randy’s Donuts ? A site, or home or building that has a true relationship with the context (the owner, the environment, etc) may have little effect on first viewing but the more we are engaged with a good design, in its context, the more it attracts us. A site, an interior, etc. at first glance, may impress us by drawing us to its ornaments, the objects on the tabletops or mounted on the walls, etc that does not have a true relationship with the creator. That tends to be something mass produced. And so, over a period of time ornaments will leave us cold when we realize and see the affected nature of its features. The beautiful interior or objects become just that – beautiful – and looks as cold as stone. But a piece of art engages us through it’s quality and meaning to the viewer. So – collect objects that you connect with personally , either through a personal relationship or context of the piece, and, in the long run you will find greater satisfaction in your collection.
Los Angeles River Bridge Viaduct not only join two sections but cross over a third. It is the beginning of one side and the end at the other – a symbol of the meeting and the crossing.
Much like a painting that bridges the gap between the decorative and the inspirational. It contributes to the nature of the space by intervening between the object and the viewer. Like the bridge the art cannot stand apart from the viewer but needs to reinforce the relationship between the two.
First Street Viaduct (Black and White Painting)
What made me think about the First Street Viaduct was that the 6th Street Bridge is being torn down and a new one constructed in it’s place. (What is a viaduct, you ask: A viaduct is made up of multiple bridges connected into one longer structure) The 3,500-foot, curving concrete 6th Street Bridge connects the Los Angeles downtown Arts District to Boyle Heights ( The “Arts District” is being gentrified and will be gone soon. Artist’s Lofts are being sold for over a million dollars so any artist worth his salt in art will not be able to afford to live in “The Arts District”). The two bridges have been in many film, television and commercials. It appeared in “Grease,” “Terminator 2,” Kanye West music videos and television epepisodes”Paladin” ” Gunsmoke,” “Little House on the Prairie,” Vikings,” “Lost” and “The Amazing Race.”
The historic 1st Street viaduct (bridge) was originally constructed in 1889 (wood and nails) and then torn down and rebuilt in 1929 at a cost of $975,000. In 2014 it cost $975,000 just to paint the stripes on the road. Again it was torn down in 2008 and reconstructed, after 3-year closure, in December 2011. Like the 6th Street Bridge it was a restoration of a cultural link between the city’s core and neighborhoods to the east. The bridge also was part of the extension of the MetroLink Gold Line’s Eastside tracks.
Here are some basic facts of Los Angeles’ First Street Bridge
Built 1929. Concrete arch bridge over Los Angeles River on First Street in Los Angeles
Design: Open-spand concrete arch
Dimensions: Length of largest span: 148.0 ft.
Total length: 1,327.2 ft.
Average daily traffic about 24,000 cars daily
Inspection (as of 09/2012): Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 72.1 (out of 100)
Hmmmm. I guess it is relatively safe to travel
The black and white painting is of the grain elevator in the town of Bigelow, Minnesota population 231. Recently I visited Bigelow where my sweetheart’s brother-in-law has a farm. (My sweetheart is actually, my wife)
They live in a small community about ten miles away from the farm and he commutes out to the farm from town. During the summer months he rides a motorcycle out to the farm. That’s not exactly what you would expect a farmer to be driving, but those country roads are great to ride on a motorcycle.
I’ve been to the mid-west a number of times and fascinated with the prairie elevators. I’ve noticed just in the fifteen years that i have been traveling to Minnesota and Wisconsin that these grain elevators are disappearing. This grain elevator is about a hundred-and-twenty-feet tall and in this part of the country usually stores feed corn or soy beans. It sits next to the railroad tracks and at certain times of years the farmer’s trucks are busy hauling their crops to the elevators. I’ve been on the farm during harvest time and it is interesting to see his big combine harvesting the field. It is hooked up to a gps so it can actually harvest the field on it’s own. The combine is guided up and down the rows harvesting the soybeans or corn. He plows the fields in the same manner letting his big tractor guide itself by the gps.