I recently dog sat for my daughter’s puppy, Rue. She has the most incredible ears and sweet temperament.
I recently dog sat for my daughter’s puppy, Rue. She has the most incredible ears and sweet temperament.
This painting was inspired by a scene I came across in Buenos Aires last month, while walking to visit a painter I’d met on Facebook. It was wonderful to meet someone in the flesh who I’d only known online.
I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve had someone working on a new website and this blog and all the past posts will be moved there. I’ll leave this one for now and I hope to be able to move all the subscriptions to the new site so that everyone who currently subscribes will still receive a notification when I post something to the new site.
I want to thank everyone who’s followed me this year. I wish you a happy holiday and hope you’ll continue to check in with me at the new site.
Right after Christmas, I’m traveling to Argentina for a few weeks and I hope to find time to do some painting, while I’m there. (Burglars take note, I have a house sitter).
There’s one week left to see my show at Brian Marki Fine Art. Thanks to all who came to the opening and to those who have stopped by over the past weeks. I’m grateful that some pieces have found new homes. If you’re in Portland before the end of October I hope you’ll have a look.
The opening for the Observing Observing show at Prographica Gallery in Seattle is this Saturday, Sept 12th from 2pm til 4pm.
The gallery has published short interviews with the participating artists on their blog. You can see mine here.
With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.
“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015
Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.
Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm
Artist Interview #22: Bill Sharp
1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?
I took the idea of painting a white cup as an opportunity to explore different approaches to the subject. I did several paintings and drawings using different media and methods of image making.
2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?
I was a full…
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I guess I’m slow at digesting experiences. It was a year ago that I spent a month painting in Italy with the Jerusalem Studio School Summer Program in Civita Castellana and I’m just now starting to turn those experiences into paintings. The time spent with a community of painters focused on painting exposed me to a variety of ways of thinking about painting and I’ve felt a little undirected as I allowed things to percolate and make subtle changes to my painting. Here is a piece that will be in an upcoming show in Portland.
I’m very happy to have been invited to paint for an upcoming show at Prographica Gallery in Seattle. The piece below will be included with the work of many fine painters who’s work I’ve admired.
About “Observing Observing” Sept 12th – Oct 31 2015
Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin.
Artists included in the exhibition are: Brian Blackham, Fred Birchman, Sarah Bixler, David Campbell, Kimberly Clark, Dean Fisher, Cable Griffith, Laura Hamje, Kenny Harris, Amy Huddleston, Carrie Kapp, Matt Klos, Kathy Liao, Judy Nimtz, Elizabeth Ockwell, Anne Petty, Bob Schlegel, Bill Sharp, Graham Shutt, Jordan Wolfson & Evelyn Woods.
The show opens on Sept 12th with a reception from 2 – 4pm. If you’re reading this and will be in Seattle, I hope you’ll drop by and have a look.
I spent a week camping along the Metolius River in Central Oregon. The Metolius is spring fed so it was running normally but the other lakes and rivers in the area are very low. The mountains had very little to no snow on them. I’ve never seen some of these mountains without snow. It’s difficult for me to understand why we’re still talking about whether climate change is happening even as we’re experiencing the damage.
Having said that, the Metolius offered the illusion of a healthy environment, for now, at least. Here are a few sketches I did from the camp site. Click on the images for a larger view.
Here’s an updated image of a painting I posted earlier but kept working on.
I took a trip to the Oregon Coast recently and spent some time doing watercolors. Here are a few.
I’m painting now for two shows this fall. More info to come.
Thanks for looking.
I haven’t been posting much lately for various reasons, one of which is that I was hoping to move my blog to a new website I’ve been trying to get going but I’ve had a difficult time finding someone to help me with it. I’m not familiar with web development. It doesn’t seem like it should be this hard to get a web site up.
Work in progress …
I really didn’t like that last image I posted. I’ve worked a bit more on the painting and this is what it looks like now. It’s still on the easel but I didn’t want to leave the old image here.
This painting was inspired by one of the people I leaned on most heavily over the last year and a half. I didn’t start out to make a painting of an angel but it just looks like that to me.
I’m playing with the idea of painting some figures in interiors
My friend Greg is accusing me of slacking on the blog so here are a few more paintings I did in or of Italy.
I’ve written a series of posts here about my wife, Leslie’s, death and how I’ve coped with her loss. I feel like I should conclude this somehow but am not sure how. July 3 marked the one year anniversary of her death. I marked it with family and friends over a few days then went off to Italy for a month. As I look back, it appears that I made a kind of project out of it in that, for the year following Les’ death, I did my best to experience that loss and everything that came along with it as deeply and in as many ways as I could. I did several types of therapy, personal growth seminars, healing ceremonies … whatever I could think of. I said yes to most things that came my way and tried to stay open to whatever came at me. I fell in and out of love and learned that relationships don’t have to have the boundaries I usually contain them with.
The second part of the project was to start having new experiences as a person who is in the world alone. Alone in that, although I have friends and family, my life is no longer shared. The month in Italy was the first step in that.
The year of grieving, as I wrote in earlier posts, was tumultuous and both painful and expansive. I grew and unconcealed parts of me that were buried inside for a long time. I think, in many ways, I realized that I’m the person Les always saw in me and have become better able to see that in myself.
Learning to be myself for myself is something I still grapple with and have been keeping in mind the question, can I be enough for myself? Can I find everything I need to be happy inside me? I get disappointed in my self when I feel a longing for something outside. I can usually let go of it and return to the present but longing for something, something I can’t quite describe, revisits me often. The solitude I hated earlier, I’ve learned to love at the same time that I crave connection with others.
I didn’t used to think I was much of a people person but I know that’s not true now. The reason I’m still alive is the people I love. My fondest memories of this past year and my time in Italy are of the beautiful and interesting people who’ve entered or passed through my life.
I’ve just returned from a month of painting as part of the Jerusalem Studio School Summer Program in Civita Castellana, Italy. It was very stimulating to spend so much time with people dedicated to painting, including modern masters, Israel Hershberg, Vincent Desiderio and Yael Scalia. They were very generous with their time and knowledge. Living and working among so many artists is a wonderful experience. I miss the daily immersion in painting and the camaraderie.
The month was packed with opportunities for artistic experiences. Every Thursday was a bus trip to another city with maps and lists of art treasures to visit. Sunday nights the guest artists showed slides and talked about their work. Two critiques a week led by Vince, Israel or Yael and on regular painting days, the instructors would wander the town and visit painters at work. Communal meals were served in the hotel or various other restaurants in the town and you could usually find some of our community at the Club Cafe either having a cappuccino or drinks late into the night.
Although I went there with the intention of painting in oil, I started out wandering the town with my sketchbook and watercolors and really loved soaking in the experience that way so continued to work largely in watercolor. I did rent a studio for the last two weeks and did some oil painting there and plein air but the watercolors were the bulk of the work I produced.
Although I spent a lot of time painting, the largest impact on me, I think, will be from the time spent in conversation with the other painters and instructors. I came home with a lot to think about.
Life is very slow here. It’s hot and humid and all the shops close down from 1PM tip 5PM and most things are closed on Sunday and some are closed again on Thursday. The internet is slow and not always available but I was able to upload these two sketches. Ciao.
I’ve been in Rome Italy for the past 2 days and really love this place. I have not tried to see any of the famous places, with the exception of the Coliseum, which I visited briefly. I’ve spent my time here wandering the maze of narrow streets eating, drinking and drawing.
A leisurely Sunday breakfast with my sketchbook.
While sitting on a wall of a church making this sketch, I witnessed an altercation between two men, one of whom was yelling at the other over a long period of time. Three police cars arrived and the police talked to the men separately for a while then the two men shook hands and embraced. If only life could always resolve so easily.
I’m off today to the small town of Civita Castellana for an immersive time painting.
A couple more images from Roma:
I have a show of urban landscape paintings coming up towards the end of next month at Brian Marki Fine Art in Portland, OR. I’ve been chained to the easel over the last several months painting for the show. As soon as I have all the details, I’ll post them here. I hope, if you’re in town, you’ll come by and have a look.
I’m now nine months into grieving the loss of my wife and in some ways, it’s gotten lighter. I’m generally hard on myself but I will give myself credit for working hard to try and grow from this experience. As I’ve said before, Leslie died without a second of self pity and that made it impossible for me to slip into that mud, even though it seemed likely, given my inclinations.
I’ve also written before about the courage Leslie showed in facing her death. She accepted it and walked toward it willingly and proudly, knowing she’d lived a wonderful life. She even joked on the way to death’s door. Although the experience was profound, it wasn’t heavy. We shared a lot of laughter during her last days. She showed no fear and, although we cried at our becoming separated, she approached it with dignity and grace. There was nothing sad about her death. It was magnificent and miraculous. It is her absence that causes me pain.
I’m often confused about my feelings and suffer very strong emotional waves. Sometimes it feels like I really can’t endure another wave but they keep coming. I never know when or where they’ll hit. I’ve learned to strap on my seat belt and observe my thoughts as they surge through me. Sometimes the longing to feel loved and connected to someone overwhelms me and I reach out to some unsuspecting friend with a heartfelt outpouring of gratitude and love. I worry that I sometimes overwhelm people with my urgent need for connection. Then, of course, I suffer over that.
In recent weeks, Ive felt myself start to turn away from my reverie over death and try to find something in life that I can engage myself in. I’ve felt some moments of acceptance and even feel satisfied for brief moments. As I turn back toward life, I realize that I have an opportunity to remake my life in any way I want to. Currently I feel consumed with the idea of having my life be used for something worthwhile. I’m aware that I’ve been through these periods before and they’re fragile and shatter easily. I’m doing my best to stay as grounded as I can while still believing in the possibility that I can be useful, maybe even inspiring.
I want to share this poem by the great John O’Donahue, who my friend Eithna Joyce introduced me to.
For Grief ~ John O’Donahue
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
A friend and I were trading pictures of our dogs via text messaging and I had fun doing these small studies of her Australian Shepherd Tali.
Although I completed my official birthday self portrait project last year, I will probably continue to do them every year. This year it’s just a sketch.
I’m not being as productive as I’d like to be and I’m working to change that.
A little sketchbook painting, while I try to figure out where to go next.
I’ve noticed that my interactions with people and the way I communicate, both in person and in writing, seem more deeply felt. I believe that, having lived through a time of urgent communication with Les, when I was frantic to leave nothing unsaid, has spoiled me for light banter.
Even though Les’ last days were so painful, I often find myself wanting to be there again. The air in the room was so full of urgency and intimacy. We often speak of the miracle of birth but death is a miracle as well. We tried our best to treat it like that. It seems so absurd, now, that we connected even more deeply just before parting forever.
Wow, rough week! Just when you think you’ve entered calm waters, out of nowhere some kind of psychic wave crashes over you.
There have been three or four watershed events, in my life, that have radically changed how the world occurs for me. The first was my first experience with LSD. The fact that everything appeared different to me, while under the effects of the drug, opened me to that there may be things beyond my perception. Leslie’s death has jarred me that way, although not as pleasantly.
I’ve made a lot of mental maneuvers to try and make sense out of what’s happened or, rather, to construct some kind of meaning. Holding that all together is more work than I realized and a seemingly insignificant event shattered it all in a second. The illusion of meaning I had so cleverly duct taped together crashed down on my head. leaving me feeling foolish and deluded.
Fortunately I have friends who impossibly manage to tolerate these manic episodes. They listen calmly and stand at a safe distance until they can get close enough to put their arms around me and say, “Deep breath.” “You’re OK.” “You’re held closely and dearly.” “I consider it a gift each time you choose to share your staggering”.
I’m OK, I’m OK. I think I’m OK.
Thank you J.E and E.R