Archive for January, 2009


Mistakes that Come Back


 There are times when I find myself seeing bugs in the corner of my eye.  Usually it happens when I’m really tired, but every now and then, it’ll happen with shadows too.  It’s worth a good laugh if my wife catches me doing a double-take at a blank wall.

There are some things that will haunt me though that don’t make me laugh.  This image is one of them.  I think it came to me in a dream a while back- I can’t really remember when, all of a sudden, it was just sort of there.  This is typically how the paintings come.  Some of them show up and plague me gently- I say “plague” because I can’t shake’em once they’re there.  It’s not a terrible experience, and honestly for an artist, it’s a good problem to have.  It’s a story to tell.


I like the beautiful stories; the ones that are fairly balanced- the ones with poetic justice.  I think they sit better with me because they feel “nice”.  But, there are the exceptions.  Some of the stories I’ve told in the past don’t feel nice at all, but they are just.  To me, that makes them okay.


This painting is neither.

I feel the need to be open about this: what you see is not how the painting started.  Originally, below the wolf’s head there was no landscape; only a bouquet of dried roses hanging from the stems.  It was soft and sad and the petals were falling.  The original image was more haunting, but when I had it on the surface, it didn’t look right.  It didn’t feel right.  That story will be told in a later painting- probably with different symbolism.  Then, the painting changed.  It became darker and angrier.


Before the roses were gone, I saw a jester’s collar around the wolf’s neck, so I painted it in.  This changed the piece dramatically.  Now the wolf told a story of a fool back for revenge- someone underestimated and discounted, only to return with a bloodlust.  Great story- but not for this painting.  In hindsight, maybe the jester’s collar was the painting mocking me…it wouldn’t be the first time.


After 2 coats of white, the surface was clean to become what it is now.  It feels lonely and cold, and at least to me, it feels pregnant with something terrible.  I don’t know what this story means, but I kept hearing “mistakes that come back”- so that’s what I called it.  This piece took longer than I would’ve liked and frankly, I’m glad to be done with it.


The Hollows of Hopenot


The tale of Hopenot has not fully clarified in my mind, but I do know that these characters play a central role.  These are three of the Hollows of Hopenot.  I assure you, they aren’t evil.  Not really.

Their condition is not alien to any of us, and I grieve their story as I have my own.


Lost in Translation


More than a month ago, I was in a pretty large argument with my wife.  I acted pretty childish, but I remember feeling so justified.  I won’t go into the messy details, but after a couple of days, things were much better.  We were connected again.  It’s amazing to think about how different men and women are- how clumsy we can both can be communicating our love for each other.

Really, it’s like speaking two different languages. 

We hold out who we are with clumsy hands- these beauties that are fleeting, but even backed with good intention, sometimes they are misperceived and lost in translation.


This Forward Journey

This Forward JourneyI’m curious what you guys think about this one.  When I finished it, “This Forward Journey” was what came to mind.  I don’t even have a solid story for it- I know there is one (somewhere)… Can you enlighten me?


The Butterfly Collector

The Butterfly Collecter

What does bondage look like?


I read this story a while back, but I can’t remember where it came from…otherwise I’d tell you.  It must have been in some John Eldredge book (Waking the Dead? Wild at Heart?).  I don’t know.  Anyway the story goes like this…


A wise king is almost killed by his brother, but because the king is a nice guy (wise kings are usually nice), he doesn’t kill his brother.  No.  He sentences him to stay in a small shack-type-thing overlooking the ocean.  The king has also ordered his personal chef to cook feasts for his brother for every meal of the day.  Here’s where the king’s wisdom shows: There’s no door to the shack.  And did I mention that his brother could stand to lose a few pounds?


So I pictured this dirty prisoner in the middle of a cell overlooking paradise, craving his next meal more than his freedom.  It’s pretty easy to dismiss as stupidity isn’t it?

It is a parable of justice, and I don’t know about you, but there’s a part of me that is rooting for that prisoner.  Too many people die in their cells overlooking paradise (the man in this story did). I wish we could use our wings and fly away.

January 2009
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