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2019 Annual Medford Open Studio Tour

Annual Medford Open Studio Tour

June 8-9, 2019

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Annual free event. Local artists open their studios to the public for viewing and shopping. Learn how artists create their “magic”. 2nd weekend in June.

Medford Open Studio Tour June 8-9 2019

We are happy to announce the following artists (to date) will be participating in this year’s popular studio tour.

Charles Anderson, watercolor
Betty Barss, watercolor
Len and Violet Burton,sculptured wood items, photography, acrylic
Lisa Case, “Mad Hatter
Kim Faucher, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed medi
Karen Gilsdorf, decorative gourds
Tom Glassman, photography
Claire Harkins, oil, funky birdhouses
Cathy Nicholson, acrylic in, watercolor, jewelry
Charlotte Peterson, watercolor
Teri Sutton, acrylic, oil, paper mache
Ben Wood, pottery

Martin Steele, watercolor ink on metallic paper

Roy Musitelli, photo illustration, and Gail O’Dell, silversmith will be showing with Roy.

We have 12 locations and 16 participating artists.

More info on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Annual-Medford-Open-Studio-Tour-538995009857874/

“Dear Earth…” Woman Made Gallery Calls for Art – Deadline April 26

womand made gallery call for art header

"Dear EArth" Call for Art by Woman Made Gallery, Chicago

Artwork by Kathy Blankley Roman

Dear Earth…
Exhibition Dates: June 28 – July 20, 2019
Final Entry Due Date: April 26, 2019
Juror: Catherine Game

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT WORK 
https://womanmadegallery.submittable.com/submit

Exhibition Description: Woman Made Gallery, Openlands, and Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods partner to illuminate women’s voices of action and hope for the planet. Together, we invite artists to submit artwork that highly reflects personal concerns and connections to the natural environment where they live.

Dear Earth was inspired by Sibylle Szaggars Redford whose performance, The Way of The Rain, was created as a “love letter to Mother Earth.” Szaggars Redford and her husband, Robert Redford, were Brushwood Center’s 2018 environmental leadership award recipients.

Works in all media are welcome. The application fee for juried exhibitions is $30 for up to three images of work, plus one detail image each if necessary. A limited number of artists who experience financial hardship may be exempt from paying the entry fee; please send us an email to request a fee waiver: [email protected]

***All applicants should submit a brief artist statement. The first sentence of the statement should begin, “Dear Earth…[add your message of action, hope, or inspiration].

Accepted artworks must not exceed 72″ horizontally and must not have been previously shown at WMG.

About the Juror: Catherine Game is the Executive Director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods. Catherine ensures that the legacy of Brushwood Center thrives through strong partnerships and inspiring programs that connect art, nature, and wellness. Prior to joining Brushwood Center, Catherine served as Director of Communications and Engagement for Chicago Wilderness where she oversaw the organization’s communications, member engagement, and efforts to cultivate a diverse conservation constituency. Catherine has held previous positions in communications, program evaluation, and education with conservation groups in Michigan and Illinois.

She holds a Master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Art from Albion College. Catherine is the recipient of the Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship and a Morris K. Udall Scholar. As an artist Catherine Game explores the role of art in cultivating human relationship with the natural environment. Integrating sustainable paint-making into her process, she uses plants, minerals, spices, and other gathered materials to create hand-made paints.

To learn out more about the partners for this exhibition:
https://openlands.org/
https://www.brushwoodcenter.org/

Banner Image: Opening Reception during ‘Quilt & Resist‘ group exhibition.

100% Human - Call for Art by Woman Made Gallery, Chicago: Artwork by Anoush Bargamian

Artwork by Anoush Bargamian

22nd International Open
Exhibition Dates: August 9 – 31, 2019
Entry Due Date: May 28, 2019
Juror: Dolores Mercado

CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT WORK 
https://womanmadegallery.submittable.com/submit

Exhibition Description: Invitation to all female identified artists worldwide to submit artwork for this open exhibition. All themes, styles, and media will be considered. Artwork that explores or challenges conceptual and material boundaries is encouraged.

Prizes Awarded:  Best of Show $500 / 2nd Place $250 / 3rd Place $100

The application fee for juried exhibitions is $30 for up to three images of work, plus one detail image each if necessary. A limited number of artists who experience financial hardship may be exempt from paying the entry fee; please send us an email to request a fee waiver: [email protected]

We encourage entries of recent works, but there is no restriction in the creation date. All applicants should submit an artist’s statement about their body of work (up to 250 words.) Accepted artworks must not exceed 72″ horizontally and must not have been previously shown at WMG.

Juror: Dolores Mercado

Dolores Mercado is the Associate Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago, Illinois, and former Associate Director of Education and Senior Arts Educator. She studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printing La Esmeralda in Mexico City, The Academy of San Carlos from the UNAM in Mexico City, The School of Video of the University of Guadalajara, and at the School of Visual Arts of the University of Guadalajara.

Mercado was the Curator of Women Artists of Modern Mexico: Frida’s Contemporaries; La vida sobre papel: Judithe Hernández; Contemplations: Dan Ramirez, Works from the Permanent Collection; Deportable Aliens: New Work by Rodrigo Lara Zendejas; La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead; Carmen Parra: Suave Patria; Rito y Recuerdo: Day of the Dead; Quilt Me A Story: Nuestros relatos (Immigration Stories); Maquila Blues: Oscar Moya; Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo; and Abyss: Rocío Caballero among many others. Mercado has also Co-curated Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey; !No se olvida! Remembering the Tlatelolco Massacre and Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez, and others.

Mercado has hosted Camino Tierra Adentro radio program at WRTE 90.5 FM (1999 to 2004, MFACM), and Alquimia radio program at WRTE 90.5 FM. (2004-2006) NMMA. She was coordinator and collaborator for the Women Artists of Modern Mexico: Frida’s Contemporaries catalog and Coordinator for Nahui Olin: A Woman Beyond Time catalog, NMMA. Mercado has been in charge of several Symposiums, Conferences and Events and has participated as a panelist in Art in Response to Violence, Northeastern University; Ni Una Más: Remembering the Missing Women of Juarez, DePaul University; and Translating Tragedy into Art, a conversation with Filmmaker Carlos Carrera. Dolores Mercado has exhibited in the US, Mexico, Spain, Canada and Nicaragua.

 

Join Woman Made Gallery
2150 S. Canalport 4th Fl, Chicago, IL 60608
Enter through Parking Lot at North Entrance on 21st Street
312.738.0400 | Email | Website
Gallery Hours: Thur-Fri 12 – 6pm & Sat-Sun 12 – 4pm

Woman Made Gallery is an amazing place to show for women artists! To see information about past exhibitions, visit this page: https://womanmade.org/past-exhibitions/

ABOUT WOMAN MADE GALLERY
Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization founded in 1992. Its mission is to support, cultivate, and promote the diverse contributions of women in the arts through exhibitions and other programs that serve, educate, and enrich our community. We rely on membership contributions and individual donations to create the programs that support our mission.

YOUR DONATIONS HELP MAKE WMG’S EXHIBITIONS AND PROGRAMS POSSIBLE!
Woman Made Gallery is supported in part by grants from The Arts Work Fund; The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation;  The Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund; The Illinois Arts Council Agency;  The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; and the generosity of its members and contributors. We thank our Art Angel, an anonymous donor who contributes generously and repeatedly through BMO Harris Bank.

ASCEND 2019 Earlybird Registration Deadline Monday!

View this email in your browser
Are you endeavoring to become the best YOU as a young artist or a musician?

Mark your calendar now for June 17 – 21 and join us at

ASCEND 2019 logoA West Coast Convergence of Young Artists & Musicians

REGISTER NOW BELOW…

…before the deadline for early registration — save some $$ and register by

Monday, April 15!

 – Energize the intersection of your gifts & your faith! – 
Masterpiece Christian Fine Arts Foundation is partnering with The Story church in Ashland, OR to host ASCEND 2019, a four-day artist and musician conference in the heart of Ashland.  Young artists and musicians, ages 15-30, from up and down the West Coast will engage in great vision-building, inspiration, and technical instruction by an incredible team of professionally trained and experienced artists and musicians.  Participants will gather in morning and afternoon sessions in specific learning tracks, plus engage in morning and evening all group devotions and worship, inspiring featured speakers, and lunches and dinners.  This will be a week packed full of inspiring connection and unforgettable community!
Pick Your Study Track!
– STUDY TRACKS –
a glimpse at some of our

FEATURED ARTISTS.

FRANK ORDAZ
| OIL PAINTING: FIGURATIVE |
top right: Stella – Frank Ordaz, bottom left: Bunny – Frank Ordaz, bottom right: Marshall – Frank Ordaz
RYAN MOON
| OIL PAINTING: PORTRAITURE |
top right: Solace – Ryan Moon, bottom left: Jim Wright – Ryan Moon, bottom right: Baptism – Ryan Moon
     ART             MUSIC
Become a part of this unique community of creatives as we pursue excellence in our crafts together to become the next generation of influential artists and musicians!

art


| Frank Ordaz |

Oil Painting: Figurative

| Ryan Moon |
Oil Painting: Portraiture

| Cathy Gallatin
& Mera Oliveria |

Mural & Chalk Art

| Jennifer Garrett |
Digital Drawing/Art

With our team of highly experienced, professional artist instructors, you’ll gain a vast range of in-depth, inspirational teaching as you’re guided through these hands-on workshops and discover  a broad scope of technical skills, a brief history of the impact of Biblical art throughout history, and the impact artists can continue to have  in His story of reconciling people to Himself!

music


| Steve Hopkins & Matt Combe & Jeremy Oliveria |

Worship & Songwriting

| Zachary Sprunger |
Keyboard/Piano

| Michael Farley |
Intermediate & Advanced Guitar

| Jennifer Davis |
Vocals

| Jim Abdo |
Recording Studio

Our team of Spirit-filled professional musicians and songwriters are collaborating to bring a rich learning experience to each individual student, as they will venture through the foundations of music, theory, technical skills, and the importance of music in bringing the Kingdom of God!

– FEATURED SPEAKERS –

Xavier Brasseur (Head Pastor @ The Story)
Jenna Randall Hays (Author/Motivational Speaker)
Jeanne Rowlett Randall (President of Masterpiece)
Frank Ordaz (Artist)

| SCHEDULE, LODGING, DETAILS |

Activities from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Morning and evenings  devotions, worship, and featured speakers. Mornings and afternoons dedicated to specific track interests (i.e Oil Painting: Portraiture, Keyboard/Piano, etc). All lunches and dinners provided -breakfasts not included.  Ends Friday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m.

COST

$260 — Early Registration before April 15
$250 — Register with a group before April 15 ($10 discount per person)
$280 — Registration after April 15
$270 — Register with a group after April 15 ($10 discount per person)

* Registration fee does not include lodging. See lodging recommendations below.

Masterpiece has reserved lodging at the Ashland Commons Hostel, just within walking distance to The Story. This accommodation is $40/night; reserve a place through the ASCEND 2019 registration form.
Alternatively, Masterpiece has also reserved a block of campsites at Emigrant Lake County Recreation Area, just a 15 minute drive from The Story. This accommodation option is $20/night per site, which holds up to 8 guests. Group sites are available. Mention group name ‘ASCEND 2019’ when reserving your place. Contact Emigrant Lake County Recreation Area to book a site (541) 774-8183.  Or reserve another fine Ashland lodging establishment of your choosing.

Please visit ascend2019.com for full information and details.
Contact us with any questions:
[email protected]
541.601.7496

Register Now!
For full information & details, visit our event webpage!
Learn More
We hope to see you this summer at ASCEND 2019!

Sincerely,

JEANNE RANDALL
President & Founder
Masterpiece Christian Fine Arts Foundation

With XAVIER BRASSEUR
Head Pastor @The Story
And the entire Ascend 2019 Team

mcfineartsfoundation.org
[email protected]
541.601.7496

Writer’s Room Workshops Spring Writing Groups

Spring Writing Groups  at Writer's Room Workshops logoWriter’s Room Workshops Spring Writing Groups

Beginning April 2019

Be inspired and start writing. Find space for your creative voice at the new Writers’ Room studio in Jacksonville.  Only a few spots left in the Spring Writing Groups.

Monday Evenings, April 15 – May 13
6:30 – 9 pm

OR

Wednesday Mornings, April 17 – May 15
9:30 am – 12 noon

Workshops are limited to eight writers. Registration: https://writersroomworkshops.com/registration/

* Explore writing in a supportive environment and creative space.

* Write together, study craft, and receive useful feedback.

* New to writing? Beginning again? Established in your writing practice and looking for community? Writers’ Room welcomes all experience levels and genres.

Painting Classes with Jeanne LaRae at Central Art!

 

Acrylics or Watercolor? You Decide! NEW 4-week Class Sessions with Jeanne LaRae

 

 

New painting classes at Central Art Supply taught by Janne Larae of Sacramento, CA! Starting April 15. New painting classes at Central Art Supply taught by Janne Larae of Sacramento, CA! Starting April 15. New painting classes at Central Art Supply taught by Janne Larae of Sacramento, CA! Starting April 15.

Painting Classes with Jeanne LaRae at Central Art

NEW Ongoing Acrylic & Watercolor Classes

Mondays, Starting April 15th!

Instructed by Jeanne LaRae

 

Acrylic Class (4-week session begins 04/15/19) – 10am-1pm

Fee: $120

 

Watercolor Class (4-week session begins 04/15/19) – 2pm-5pm

Fee: $120

 

Where: Central Art

 

*Pre-registration is required. Seating is limited. Call or visit Central Art to reserve (One reservation per individual, please. No group reservations will be accepted). 541.773.1444

 

Jeanne LaRae uses light and shadow to create and tell a story she relates throughout her paintings of nature, landscapes, architecture, people, and animals.

 

Organizations –

American Impressionists Society, California Art Club, Intermountain Society of Artists, Oil Painters of America, Southern Oregon Society of Artists, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association – Artist Members

 

For more information on demos and upcoming classes, contact:

Jeanne LaRae

(714)743-3622

www.jeannelarae.com

Visit Central Art!

Small Business Saturday November 24 2018 Central Art Supply, Medford, Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay Myer Announces Spring Workshop

Kay Myer fkyer for June 2019 painting workshop

Kay Myer Watercolor Workshop

Kay Myer is so excited to announce her new watercolor workshop for painters, to take place at Long Hollow Ranch in Sisters, Oregon on June 18 and 19, 2019.  She is honored that they asked her to share her skills and says the location is just awesome. Join her! Pre-register by calling Shirley Bloomfeldt at 541-604-0327 or by email at [email protected]

GPMA Spring 2019 Art Classes

Click on any picture to reach our website class signup page.
We now have two levels of pricing for classes.
 Museum members receive a $5 discount on all classes this year.
To become a member or to renew a membership:

LAST CHANCE!

This is the last chance to sign up for Bobbi Baldwin’s Animal Painting class. Bobbi comes up from Sacramento to teach, so we need to make sure we have registered her minimum to hold this class.
Bobbi is an excellent teacher with lots of technical tips about proper values, colors, anatomy of animals. Past students of this class have learn a lot and enjoyed it.
(If you have already signed up, thank you. We will call you on the 11th and let you know if we are holding the class.)

Animal Painting

with Bobbi Baldwin
Saturday, April 13
10:30 am – 4 pm
Dogs, cats, horses, tigers, cows, wild animals… Whatever your favorite animal is, we will work on learning the structure of faces as well as how to best portray them! Learn new techniques to make your artwork stand out! Artist Bobbi Baldwin will begin with a demonstration in pastel or watercolor. Then… Work on your own subject with the help of the instructor – Beginners to advanced, all are welcome! You can paint or draw in any medium (bring your own supplies). Open to all mediums except oils.
(Please register in advance. Bobbi comes from out of state to teach here.)
$80/Members,
$85/Non-Members.

Impressionism

with Kristen O’Neill
Saturday, April 20
1 – 4 pm
Learn about Impressionism. A beautiful visual lecture of Monet, Renoir, Sargent, and Cassatt will be given. Then you can copy your favorite Impressionist painting. We will use acrylic paint and 8” x 10” canvases. An afternoon of inspiration and fun! All supplies included.
$30/Members,
$35/Non-Members.
All materials provided.

Paint like Matisse

with Kristen O’Neill
Saturday, May 4
1 – 4 pm
Learn about Matisse, and Fauvism. Create your own copy of your favorite Matisse on an 8” x 10” canvas.
Explore bright color, flat surfaces, bold patterns, and a change of perspective.
$30/Members,
$35/Non-Members.
All materials provided.

Figure Painting

with Bobbi Baldwin

Saturday, May 18
10:30 am – 4 pm
Join Bobbi Baldwin for a day of investigating the techniques of masters in the art of figure drawing! Take your figure drawing to another level following the techniques offered by this workshop. Learn the easiest concepts that will help your anatomy understanding. Work from a live (clothed) model. This workshop will teach you how to understand light, shadow, composition, human structure, and how to make your work outstanding! Bring your own supplies. Open to all mediums except oil.
$85/Members,
$90/Non-Members.

Creative Idea Generator

with Karen O’Brien
Saturday, June 1
10:30 am – 1 pm
Play generates ideas and constraints make things interesting. They send you in new directions and bypass inhibitions. The assignment is to make a figure. Any kind of figure. Or more than one! The more you do, the more ideas you will generate for bigger projects like dolls, drawings, paintings, and sculpture. This is a chance to engage deeply and freely with your imagination and embrace real play.
All materials will be provided. We will use paper, cardboard, fabric, sticks, moss, feathers, buttons, metal, wood…basically whatever is around including tools – glue sticks, tape, paint, thread, string…. You are welcome to bring a Ziploc bag full of your own bits to use or share and add a nice element of surprise.
$40/Members,
$45/Non-Members.

How to Paint Vegetables

with Terri Regotti
Saturday, June 15
1 – 4 pm
This workshop is a continuation of painting in acrylic where students will expand on the study of the acrylic medium and their subject matter. A finished painting will be completed. All supplies provided.
$50/Members,
$55/Non-Members.
All materials provided.

Traditional Painting Techniques

with Kristen O’Neill
Saturday, June 29
1 – 4 pm
This class we will explore traditional painting techniques. We will start our paintings with an underpainting, then learn how to block in your painting, and add texture. Then we can use glazing, scumbling, and sgraffito. These will be taught in acrylic. Students will leave with a painting that uses all these techniques. We will be using a Renaissance palette of color. All levels are welcome!
$30/Members,
$35/Non-Members.
All materials provided.
All class sign ups are considered final and refunds are not given. The Museum will give a full refund in the case of a class being cancelled.
Unsure if your membership is active? Check in with the Museum staff by calling 541-479-3290, or email [email protected]

“It’s tough” is relative

Face Painting, Jonas Wood (2014). Courtesy of the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Brian Forrest.

Bill Santelli sent me this interview, which is a good read. Jonas Wood makes Hockney-esque paintings that look like graphic art, colorful in unpredictable and interesting ways, and dense with detail. They feel immediate and carefully observed but executed with almost childlike simplicity. I love the embrace of flatness because it forces him to put so much of his feeling into the color and his color can be extremely good (but sometimes not all that interesting.) What you see is what you get and that has to be part of his appeal, the ordinary quality of the experience he conveys. It’s funny to hear Wood talking about his staff and his office. Who does he think is going to hire a staff after reading this? The only staff I could imagine wanting or needing is Gmail with a good spam filter and auto-reply as my receptionist. Which he would applaud, if it worked to manage the tsunami of demand I anticipate any day now. It’s sort of his point: detach yourself from all pressures other than the work and get it done, but that’s easier to say when you are selling work for $2 million in an auction. There’s a no-nonsense fearless voice here, but it’s speaking back towards us in a foreign tongue he picked up in this other dimension of big art world success where nothing is commensurate with the way all but one percent of one percent of artists live. All of this reminds me of France before the storming of the Bastille. Where did Fragonard go after the revolution? I think he just dematerialized. Or maybe he finally hired a staff. But it doesn’t seem we are at that point, income inequality notwithstanding. We’re facing something different. Economically, Wood is among the elite of the elite. This world the rest of us live in, the world nearly everyone else lives in, can’t imagine hiring a staff. But who doesn’t envy Wood’s ability to just do what he loves doing and, voila, the money and attention flows? Reading his comments feels like watching the Kardashians have breakfast while they talk about how you need to become an Instagram star as practice for your reality TV show. Working hard isn’t what gets these results. Most of the factors that make Wood’s work so lucrative are beyond anyone’s control–and if art schools teach anything about the market it should be that you aren’t going to face his choices. It happens to an infinitesimally small number of people who get beamed up to this rarified world, and then have to find a way to shelter in place from the abundance of their new planet, the way Wood does, in order to keep working. Hard work is a given, but it isn’t enough. Van Gogh ramped up to a painting a day, more or less, near the end. Nobody has ever worked harder. It got him something far preferable to sales. 

Some good advice here, with the intro from art.net:

Jonas Wood is not shy. He won’t hold back, takes aim when he fires, and doesn’t seem concerned about ruffling anyone’s feathers. He’s also busy—very, very busy—and seems to have a lot on his mind.

When artnet News spoke with the artist earlier this month, he was preparing for the first institutional survey of his work at the Dallas Museum of Art, which opened last week. The show is a real boon; although Wood has earned a solid reputation for his lush interiors, tender portraits, and vibrant still lifes, which he has shown in dozens of commercial gallery exhibitions, museum support has largely eluded him until now. Not that he has much time to bask in his success. In April, Gagosian will present new works by the artist in New York, which means he has to quickly shift gears and look ahead.

From Wood’s answers to artnet’s questions:

I think it happens to be that I have a broad audience right now. Maybe that’s not always the case, but the reason I paint is not for those people. I think it’s for my own mental health and for my own sort of goals as a painter, but I’m aware of the viewer.

I worked with Laura Owens. And I got this really good advice—and from other people too—which was just, if you want to separate yourself from the noise, you’ve got to create some distance.  Another thing was just saving my own work and not being so greedy, and being aware that, okay, $5,000 now is $5,000 now. If I sell three more paintings, yes, I’ll get a little bit more money, but it’s not like life-changing money. Maybe I should start holding onto things for myself and not selling everything. I mean, the dealers are going to hate hearing this, but maybe they won’t. Maybe it’s good because they want an empowered artist. But they would offer to give me money to buy stretchers and buy stuff for my studio, and I didn’t really want them to buy stuff for me because I didn’t want them to know how many paintings I was making.

I was painting for me, and I knew that I didn’t want to paint for the collector audience. I wanted to paint for me. 

So establishing that was really important for me because I was able to keep my practice open. I didn’t want to be pigeonholed right away. I showed a lot of different kinds of work, and I didn’t really cut myself off and be like, “He’s the tennis court painter.” Or, “He’s the sports portrait painter,” or, “He’s the guy who makes the still life.” I guess I’m kind of all of those things, which is better than just being one of those things.

Well, when I was at school in 2002 at the University of Washington, my goal was to teach at a liberal arts school, have a studio on campus, have the summers off. That was probably my ideal.

Man, it’s fucking tough because people say crazy shit about your work. You have to be super thick-skinned, and it’s hard. That’s a big part of it. I would say that you just have to take all that energy back to your studio and try to be critical in your own way and just take that criticism. Just say, “Okay, yeah, I’m going to keep looking because maybe these people have a point.”

But that type of shit is tough. Dealers saying crazy shit, your friends saying crazy shit, collectors saying crazy shit, having a show where you don’t sell a bunch of stuff. That shit is tough.

 

 

Magnetic and inexhaustible reality

Iris Murdoch

I’ve just reread Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of the Good, in reaction to my rereading of Dave Hickey’s The Invisible Dragon, in an effort to see the contrast between their ideas about beauty. Hickey speaks about beauty and desire. Murdoch about beauty and love. One might think they are speaking the same language, Hickey at a very high rate of speed, full of rebellious spunk, and Murdoch deliberately, cautiously and in the dry language of a professional philosopher. They were both pushing back against a tide of thinking and theorizing, in their time, about what it means to be a responsible social human being. There is some commonality. It would seem Hickey would have been very uncomfortable with Murdoch’s wisdom. They arrive at what sound like very different conclusions, yet I’m wondering if Hickey might have appreciated Murdoch’s embrace of Greek philosophy a little more than he lets on in his own book. On the evidence, his view of beauty seems entirely utilitarian compared to hers, but his assertion that artists need to do beautiful work in familiarity with a tradition of past beauty that has some kinship with Murdoch’s concept of attention.  

She starts off in the weeds of shop talk, fending off one academic philosopher after another, trying to somehow save the idea of individual subjective consciousness against all the 20th century efforts to render human beings merely an agglomeration of genetic/cellular activity–or an isolated will, an abstract freedom of choice, completely detached from any governing reality external to the individual will. (The latter, existentialist view, has certainly receded since she wrote her book.) In rereading the book, at first, I was annoyed and puzzled by how dense her thinking gets, right out of the gate, as she fends off the other thinkers–analytic and existentialist both–who want to dismiss the idea of what used to be called the human soul, a consciousness that isn’t simply the epiphenomenon of bodily activity. She tentatively asserts subjective consciousness as the only way to describe the actual experience of being alive and human–an inner life apart from actual behavior that proves to others it exists–in order to build her philosophy of Goodness. Everything good in human behavior for her depends on a lone individual’s effortful attention to other people and things external to the self and she needs that inner life, that inner struggle of attention, which goes on invisibly from moment to moment (essentially a sort of continuous, daily discipline of contemplation) for her view of moral goodness to make sense. (Though she probably would have been disheartened by the current ubiquity of mindfulness meditation, complete with helpful apps on your phone, her thinking isn’t all that far from the moral dimension of mindfulness.)

For now, here’s a long series of excerpts from throughout her book. Any painter, including abstract painters, will recognize how much this describes the act of painting, how little depends on personal choice and how much relies on obedience to the requirements of a given picture, even though her focus is on moral behavior. She sees very little space between moral attention and creative attention:

But if we consider what the work of attention is like, how continuously it goes on, and how imperceptibly it builds up structures of value around about us, we shall not be surprised that at crucial moments of choice most of the business of choosing is already over. This does not imply that we are not free, certainly not. But it implies that the exercise of our freedom is a small piecemeal business which goes on all the time and not a grandiose leaping about unimpeded at important moments. The moral life, on this view, is something that goes on continually, not something that is switched off in between the occurrence of explicit moral choices. What happens in between such choices is indeed what is crucial.

If I attend properly I will have no choices, and this is the ultimate condition to be aimed at. The ideal situation . . . is . . . to be represented as a kind of ‘necessity’. This is something of which saints speak and which any artist will readily understand. The idea of a patient, loving regard, directed upon a person, a thing, a situation, presents the will not as unimpeded movement but as something much more like ‘obedience.’

This is what Simone Weil means when she said ‘will is obedience not resolution.’ As moral agents we have to try to see justly, to overcome prejudice, to avoid temptation, to control and curb imagination, to direct reflection.

One of the great merits of moral psychology which I am proposing is that it does not contrast art and morals, but shows them to be two aspects of a single struggle.

In one of those important movements of return from philosophical theory to simple things we know about great art and about the moral insight which it contains and the moral achievement which it represents. Goodness and beauty are not to be contrasted, but are largely a part of the same structure. Plato, who tells us that beauty is the only spiritual thing which we love immediately by nature, treats the beautiful as an introductory section of the good. So that aesthetic situations are not so much analogies of morals as cases of morals. Virtue is au fond the same in the artist as in the good man in that it is a selfless attention to nature: something which is easy to name but very hard to achieve. Artists who have reflected have frequently given expression to this idea. (For instance Rilke praising Cezanne speaks of a ‘consuming love in anonymous work.’)

And here we retrieve the deep sense of the indefinability of good, which has been given a trivial sense in recent philosophy. Good is indefinable not for the reasons offered by Moore’s successors, but because of the infinite difficulty of the task of apprehending a magnetic and inexhaustible reality. Moore was in a way nearer the truth than he realized when he tried to say both that Good was there and that one could say nothing of what it essentially was. If apprehension of good is appreciation of the individual and the real, then good partakes of the infinite elusive character of reality.

We need a philosophy in which the concept of love, so rarely mentioned by philosophers, can once again be made central.

Stepping away from her argument briefly, for me, the problem with discussions about art, such as this, is that the terms goodness, beauty and love all sound trite or can easily be taken to refer to their most shallow examples. Goodness can be misinterpreted as the rote obedience to socially acceptable customs, beauty a meretricious commodity when seen in a fashion plate or a showroom car, and love merely romance or sex. What Murdoch refers to is goodness not tied to the self—anyone who has ever worked weeks and months on a painting knows how much pleasure has to be sacrificed, how much gratification has to be postponed or relinquished, and how much the self has to be subdued to simply see what needs to be done, let alone do it. Pursing order and beauty in the work itself, paying such diligent attention to what the work requires, that you simply try to fulfill whatever it demands in a sort of endless submission to the work’s necessities. The question simply becomes “What do I need to do to get this perfectly right?” The only motivation and reward for this is love. 

Back to Murdoch:

In the moral life, the enemy is the fat relentless ego. Goodness appears to be both rare and hard to picture. It is perhaps most convincingly met with in simple people—inarticulate, unselfish mothers of large families—but these cases are also the least illuminating.

There is nothing odd or mystical about this, nor about the fact that our ability to act well ‘when the time comes’ depends partly, perhaps largely, upon the quality of our habitual objects of attention.

Of course the good man may be infinitely eccentric, but he must know certain things about his surroundings, most obviously the existence of morality (and also in art) is personal fantasy: the tissue of self-aggrandizing and consoling wishes and dreams which prevent one from seeing what is there outside one. Rilke said of Cezanne that he did not paint “I like it,” he painted “there it is.” One might say here that art is an excellent analogy of morals, or indeed that it is in this respect a case of morals. We cease to be in order to attend to the existence of something else, a natural object, a person in need. We can see in mediocre art, where perhaps it is even more clearly seen than in mediocre conduct, the intrusion of fantasy, the assertion of self, the dimming of any reflection of the real world.

A deep understanding of any field of human activity (painting, for instance) involves an increasing revelation of degrees of excellence and often a revelation of there being in fact little that is very good and nothing that is perfect. Increasing our understanding of human conduct operates in the same way.

Art presents the most comprehensible examples of the almost irresistible human tendency to seek consolation in fantasy and also of the effort to resist this and the vision of reality which comes with success. Success in fact is rare. Almost all art is a form of fantasy-consolation and few artists achieve the vision of the real. The talent of the artist can be readily, and is naturally, employed to produce a picture whose purpose is the consolation and aggrandizement of its author and the projection of his personal obsessions and wishes.

The consumer of art has an analogous task . . . the appreciation of beauty in art or nature is not only the easiest available spiritual exercise; it is also a completely adequate entry into (and not just an analogy of) the good life, since it is the checking of selfishness in the interest of seeing the real. But the greatest art . . . shows us the world, our world and not another one, with a clarity which startles and delights us simply because we are not used to looking at the real world at all.

It is important too that great art teaches us how real things can be looked at and loved without being seized and used, without being appropriated into the greedy organism of the self. Unsentimental contemplation of nature exhibits the same quality of detachment: selfish concerns vanish, nothing exists except the things which are seen. Beauty is that which attracts this particular sort of unselfish attention. It is obvious here what is the role, for the artist or spectator, of exactness and good vision: unsentimental, detached, unselfish, objective attention. It is also clear that in moral situations a similar exactness is called for.

The direction of attention is, contrary to nature, outward, away from self. . . toward the great surprising variety of the world, and the ability to so direct attention is love.

It is in the capacity to love, that is to see, that the liberation of the soul from fantasy consists. The freedom which is the proper human goal is the freedom from fantasy, that is the realism of compassion. What I have called fantasy, the proliferation of blinding self-centered aims and images, is itself a powerful system of energy, and most of what is often called ‘will’ or ‘willing’ belongs to this system. What counteracts the system is attention to reality inspired by, consisting of, love. In the case of art and nature such attention is immediately rewarded by enjoyment of beauty.

Freedom is not strictly the exercise of the will, but rather the experience of accurate vision which, when this becomes appropriate, occasions action. It is what lies behind and in between actions and prompts them that is important, and it is this area which should be purified. By the time the moment of choice has arrived the quality of attention has probably determined the nature of the act.

Beauty appears as the visible and accessible aspect of the Good. The Good itself is not visible.

The ‘there is more than this’, if it is not to be corrupted by some sort of quasi-theological finality, must remain a very tiny spark of insight, something with, as it were, a metaphysical position but no metaphysical form. But it seems to me that the spark is real, and that great art is the evidence of its reality. Art indeed, so far from being a playful diversion of the human race, is the place of its most fundamental insight, and the centre to which the more uncertain steps of metaphysics must constantly return.

 

Acrylics or Watercolor? Choose Your Own Art-venture with 2 FREE Art Demos this April!

Central
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2 FREE Painting Demos this April!

Presented by Jeanne LaRae

 

Acrylic Demo – Monday, April 8th – 10am-Noon

Watercolor Demo – Wednesday, April 10th – 2pm-4pm

 

Where: Central Art

Fee: Both Demos are FREE (limit 20 participants per day)

*Pre-registration is required. Seating is limited. Call or visit Central Art to reserve (One reservation per individual, please. No group reservations will be accepted). 541.773.1444

 

Jeanne LaRae uses light and shadow to create and tell a story she relates throughout her paintings of nature, landscapes, architecture, people, and animals.

 

Organizations –

American Impressionists Society, California Art Club, Intermountain Society of Artists, Oil Painters of America, Southern Oregon Society of Artists, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association – Artist Members

 

For more information on demos and upcoming classes, contact:

Jeanne LaRae

(714)743-3622

www.jeannelarae.com

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