Monday, March 23, 2009

Art books on the shelf

Glancing behind me are books I've acquired over the past decades. Some are getting dusty, pages are getting loose from continuous use, but all make valuable reading years after purchase. I'll confine my booklist to books on art. Although my collection is wide ranging and eclectic. A small neat collection of Picasso's paintings, drawings, collages, ceramics and sculpture "Treasures of the Muse'e Picasso Paris" It in a brief but interesting way shows the full sweep of Pablo Picasso's inexhaustible genius. Beside it is "Picasso's Weeping Woman. The life and Art of Dora Maar" by Mary Ann Caws. Dora Maar was a successful young photographer who met Picasso, became his lover and Muse and spent 7 years living with him. Their stormy relationship reached a painful end in 1945. She lived in religious seclusion for the rest of her life. The book is filled with an extensive collection of her photographic work including a photographic study of the making of the famous and tragic "Guernica" from its beginning to the finished painting.
Quickly glancing again there are books on Klee, Kandinsky, Basquiat, Prints of the 20th Century, Romaire Bearden's "Myth and Metaphor," Motherwell, Bissier, Millares and Sutherland. All adding to the trek towards a better understanding of modern, abstract art in its most daring and varied forms.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abstract photo art 2

The same process of painting, underpainting, changing, journeying into something new, can be experienced with a digital process. Here a photo is radically changed, almost "steamrolled" into a new abstract shape and form. This can be a gradual and long process to "arrive" at a satisfactory end.

Abstract photo art

Abstract art explorations can be made with a photograph. By a continuous process of refining, contrasting, flattening an image changing its appearance and thus its meaning a new creation is born. The resulting abstract object is stripped of anecdotes and depictions except in a poetic sense. Thus a visible object is transformed, reduced to lines, colors and not so decipherable forms.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Abstract art digital fusion

I've been experimenting with digital art for some time now. Using digital techniques, I will re-create a photo, break it into abstract elements, combine drawings, add textures, fuse other images to form a new whole. Then I'll incorporate new shapes to integrate the disparate elements. It's a challenging process, but the joy is in the journey. While working, changing elements, introducing new pieces, time and space is forgotten. Just an intuitive, subconscious passage of time, while the hand follows the 'instruction' of the exploring mind.

Scanning and using an innumerable combination of abstract materials brings a new discovery into being. Constantly experimenting with new materials and forms will eventually produce an abstract contemporary work of art. Three examples are shown. More abstract art collage fusion, paintings, drawings can be viewed at

Collage-Abstract art

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1912, in their quest for a completely new image of reality and art, developed a technique of pasting paper and other found materials to a support to create a new meaning in what was considered art. It was called Papier colle', the French term for pasted paper, or collage, as we know it today.

In collage, the unusual and the familiar, time and space, closeness and distance, the known and the unknown, dreams, inspirations, imagination, all coincide. This no longer an art form painted, but pasted, assembled or juxtaposed to form a new image of reality and art. An art that is freed from stylistic terms, freed to form new associations in the viewers mind.

The artists in 1912, broke up space and shapes using cut, torn and pasted papers, newspapers, old posters, wallpaper and anything they could find around the studio and the streets. In this way they created an abstract art, abstract still life and textures. Thus making collage a fine art form. They were joined by another Spaniard Juan Gris in making collages during the Cubist era.

Today, many artists use a combination of collage techniques. While it is often used alone, collage can be combined with various other media- painting, drawing, computer generated art, photographs.

Today, on the right are 3 examples of my work using various collage techniques. More abstract paintings, collages, drawings and digital collage fusion can be found at

Friday, March 13, 2009

Queen Sofia visits Holy Trinity Cathedral

The King and Queen of Spain paid a courtesy call on Jamaica. They visited many sights. Included were Spanish Town, one of the few remaining authentic sites in the Caribbean. They also met the Prime Minister and other dignitaries while touring the island. Their are many investments in the hotel industry and a number of new projects have been undertaken.

Queen Sofia made a courtesy call at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston, where the Spanish Government have been providing expert help in the restoration of the cathedral, which suffered extensive damage as a result of hurricanes and the passage of time. Along with local and foreign contributors, extensive renovation have been started and continues. The Spanish Government have sent experts in restoration and trains a number of Jamaican artisans in the art of restoring sacred murals, mosaics and frescoes. Those who saw the restoration work for the first time were deeply impressed by the beauty of the murals, restored to their original colours, after so many decades.

Sunday, February 5, 1911 was a triumphant day for Bishop Collins, who spearheaded the establishment of the Cathedral. Before him stood his monumental dream, the most magnificent, the largest, the costliest church in the British West Indies. Built in Spanish Moorish style, with dome and four minarets. Pope John Paul said Mass here in April 1993.

Queen Sofia was escorted by Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Burke, as he gave updates on the restoration's progress.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dunn's River Falls

Like any meandering line that usually starts a drawing, the road from Kingston to Dunn's River Falls is a winding, twisting adventure to the most popular site in Jamaica. Moving from busy, bustling Kingston where the ever popular 'robot' taxis are racing each other to pick up passengers, you move into the suburbs of Spanish Town. First settled by the Spaniards, our first colonizers. You would be well advised to take the toll road to avoid Spanish Town. Snails have been known to pass frustrated commuters in the morning. " Look Dad, the snails have passed us" :) But moving ahead you'll pass over the centuries old Flat Bridge, into the Rio Cobre Gorge where the river has carved out its own course. An interesting geological study, a 'mini' Grand Canyon. the journey continues over Mount Diablo and Mount Rosser, weaving over and through steep, verdant, mysterious mountains. Many interesting stops will greet you, from fruit stalls, "curry goat" and "jerk chicken" stands to a labouring country bus making its way to Ocho Rios.

Just a mile from Ocho Rios is Dunn's River Falls. From the Caribbean sea, this majestic "cathedral' climbs majestically, unfolding perhaps, a hundred mini falls, whirlpools, swim holes and best of all - you can climb all the way to the top. Here the origination of the term "chill out" is revealed. Find a spot and read your favourite book, take snapshots or sketch as you please.When a cruise ship docks in Ocho Rios, hundreds of tourist swarm this picturesque site.

The abstract art of seeing colours, shapes and forms are largely forgotten in these moments. The physical art of climbing these falls, now require some peppery shrimps, fish and chicken.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Other views on Modern art

While a meandering line usually starts the process, inevitably my work is hardly finished until I form some kind of "compartment" for the elements. So several elements serve to form a "whole".

I found a quote that hints at an explanation of this process. "Malevich describes how matter "disintegrates into a large number of component parts which are fully independent' so that things do not exist but only the sum of their entities".

Another explanation for the intuitive process in relation to Modern Art ..." the interactivity of intuition and intellect in which spontaneous vision is intellectually scrutinized is highly characteristic of modern painting."

..."it arose ( this new relationship to reality) in the revolutionary discovery that visible reality is only one manifestation of the real, that the inner world posseses just as concrete a reality, as much truth and reality as the images reflected on the retina."

This is a mixed media work that evolved out of this meandering process. It's called "Agitated." More of my original paintings, drawings, digital abstract photo compositions can be found at

Monday, March 9, 2009

Some quotes on Modern art

In trying to understand modern art, I've been making notes from 1974. Here are a few I've written in my notebook:

" ... good taste feeds on the past... Being nostalgic, it is a useless instrument for measuring the worth of the new."

From the ideas underlying modern art( "Painting in the 20th Century") :" Modern art differs radically from art of the past, because of a profound change in the thinking of artists concerned. They arose to a lesser extent from the thinking of Hegel, Fieldler, Croce and Bergson, but to a larger extent from deliberations which could not be disregarded, or as they arose in actual artistic practice, in the dialogue of the painter with visible nature and the search for the elements which could make the painting a self existent organism and for the expressional power of purely pictorial means".

"... the interactivity of intuition and intellect, in which spontaneous vision is intellectually scrutinized, is highly characteristic of modern painting".

As I read and made notes, these quotes gave some validity to my thinking and better articulated my approach to art.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My first blog to the world

My artwork is an intuitive journey, starting from random ink doodles to scratching out shapes, forms,and geometrical swirls. While listening to music, thinking of current events, feasts and famines, war and peace and past memories floating around in my head. Having learned the techniques, studied the masters, the drawings and gestures become a subconscious inner voyage. Shapes, pen drawings, colours derived from oil pastels, acrylics, charcoal, collage materials give form to the abstract conglomerate on the paper. When is the artwork finished? When I can go no further. Sometimes this could be years. Sometimes much quicker. My inspiration, that gave some validity to this kind of art is the whimsical modern expressionist style of of the very inventive and radical Paul Klee. I first saw his work in a Grolliers Encyclopedia insert on Modern Art. His work has been described as the free expression of an inner world inexhaustibly rich in poetic resources, from which he invented a new form of art.