Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Variables of Art Perception

Someone recently described my art as "Leigh is in her own world."

Today a visitor said when she looks at my work she sees the past, the present, and feels like she's traveled to many different countries... all in one piece of art.

We can only perceive through our own experiences. It is not a matter of being right or wrong in the way we looking at art, but rather, a matter of intention. To look into art is to see the world of the artist, and that world is only as big as the world of the viewer. It is the fascinated viewer who can look in at the artist's world and feel his/her own world expand.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Do We See?

A stranger asked me recently if my thinking is similar to my painting "Blue Migration", which he was looking at at the time. I said yes. He nodded. I didn't say more. He didn't ask more. He moved on to view other art. Later I realized that his insight into my thinking is still obscured. This piece of art does not generate a consistent reaction in viewers. Some people say the piece is chaotic. Others feel it is a dream. I've heard fear expressed about it. Most commonly expressed is delight and warm comfort. Some people say maybe they see birds and others find the avian forms plus a lot more. Many people just look and say nothing, keeping their thoughts to themselves. 

I look at it and see all kinds of birds doing their thing... plus a few other creatures morphing in and out of existence. That's all.

But the way I interpret it is according to my own psyche just as that visitor had his own interpretation. I don't know how close other people get to my view of the piece. So, jumping out on a branch, I'll say what my interpretive mind sees:

The world is full of movement, variety, evolution at any given moment and this painting shows an awareness of this. Our memories fly in and out, our attention to detail shifts according to the focus of our eyes, and in this modern world we view a lot of life through mechanical lenses that might be symbolized as tunneled vision. Shifting reality is a rich and abundant enclosure that encases us as we fly towards the future. This is what I see in the painting. It is a portrait of how the human mind can grasp so much in an instant. It's a portrait of reality. It's as simple as a snapshot of a bush (if you don't want to put meaning on the birds) and as complex as the human mind (if you do).

("Blue Migration" sold, but is presently on exhibit in my studio.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Unfinished story.
This partly finished piece shows my work process.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sculpting the Line of the Art

I made the trip to Big Sur to visit my dear Pa, and he's as inspiringly comical as ever... even while ill. What a miracle it is that his cognitive remainders are so full of humor at this late stage in the mental game. I'm practicing my humor around the house, hoping to steer my own dotage in that direction.

Meanwhile, I came across three live individuals who might be imagined as the walking figure in "The Journey Man" (for different reasons). And today I read a story about a stone angel that kept appearing in a man's dream... making me smile because there is that stone angel that appeared in this same painting.

Since the characters and forms in my paintings come up out of the paper (I see them emerge as I paint along) I think of them as having both conscious and subconscious attributes, sometimes the compositions being so loosely formed as to be in similar construction as lucid dreams. Of course, I do not paint all of the images I see in the paper. That would be anarchy.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dancing for Life

My dad is ill. It might end up being serious. I painted this while waiting for news.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Puddle Stomper"

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Friday, June 27, 2014

Seeing Others as Highlights of Interest

I have been reading William Soroyan. He appears to love humanity and feel bored by humanity all at the same time. Since he wrote before a lot of breakthroughs in scientific psychology it's pretty clear that his boredom came from a lack of stimulus from within. He didn't want to know what other people were saying. He felt comfortable in his own visions, his own inner sounds, his own senses of discovery. To look deeply into other ways of thinking that did not support his own style would do what?... Could this be competitiveness that caused his boredom? It's all very ironic because he was so sure of his deep perceptions of humanity, and in a good humanistically philosophical way, and at the same time such a blind fool. And, of course, he was intelligent enough to admit he might be a fool. There in lies his great voice.

I suppose all artists have to be blind in order to see and be seen. If we allow all of those strong and talented personalities out there to have their limelight within our heads the din would be so loud there wouldn't be any room for our own voices to be heard. So in order to be heard we do have to yell, to put in ear plugs, to fine tune our inner pitch so that we can hear the unique tones, notes, words and songs within the symphony that is our life.

A woman walked into my studio two days ago who spoke as she read one of my tiny paintings. She was singing her own song as she sang along with mine, as she introduced images into the painting that I had never known existed. I walked up close to see what she was seeing, and she was right! Her song was playing right there within my painting. By the end of the viewing we were in full duet. I now have Tibet inside my song of that painting and there is nothing boring about that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"The Journey Man"

(Edges were lost in the scanning. Such is life.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

This is a tiny quickie in between bigger projects.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Abstraction Continues to Reveal the Big Picture

Our relationship with the nonspecific aspect of abstract form continues to unfold as we live with a piece of art.

An example, I put on Leonard Cohen, glanced at "pilgrimage" in the last post, and saw a new form I'd never seen before. Since it is a very large form I am especially intrigued. If art duplicates life, then there are some mighty large issues out there I am not seeing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Painted after an experience of being bullied. Humans have such a capacity to love that it amazes me when they choose instead to hate. I believe a wire gets broken inside their psyches and they have a difficult time crossing the roaring waterfall of egotistical self hate/doubt in order to reach calm ground. It's very exciting at those falls. The thunder of the pounding water causes our blood to rush and we stop hearing the self doubt. We have all met those falls at sometime in our lives.

"Portrait of Creative Thought"

I'm still drawing on this.
Just goofing around.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Imp on the Hill"

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Uplift #3"

"Viewing the Stars"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Fear by the River Flow"

These gouache paintings are impossible to accurately reproduce, the subtlety of color far too sophisticated for scan lights. The large dark blob is a lighter rust, the lines softly opaque. I originally named the piece to fit the foreground but now have changed it to address the figure in the middle ground.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trashing the piece mid progress releases something uncontrollable that if slightly tamed later on can bring one closer to the truth of things.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I didn't have paper so I grabbed the ph-balanced foam core nearby. Putting a painting on one side caused the sheet to curl so I put paint on the reverse to even it out. Of course that meant I had to make the splotch of paint into something.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Paintings Flying About and Landing

"Blue Migration" (detail)

The after affects of an Open Studio are here: Someone has bought "Blue Migration". Now I feel like the little guy, flying alone in a calm space, heading off into new horizons.

The new owner is allowing me to keep the blue painting in my studio for a while. When I create large pieces I learn so much and pull on that info to create new works. When the painting leaves the studio I feel like I've lost a major resource. Since "Blue Migration" is so new I appreciate the new owner letting me sit on it for a while. 

I keep one of my most interestingly painted canvases in my studio at all times just for that reason... as an inspirational resource of what is possible. ("Confronting Brown")


This is the part I look at for reference material. Whenever I see other people paint like this I get such a high! I do it in tiny form now (in gouache), and hope to get back into large versions when I am able to paint with oil again. There's no ventilation in my new studio, so I'm avoiding oil fumes. Maybe if I do the messiest work elsewhere and then bring the painting to the studio? 

Meanwhile, I work with acrylic paint, as you see in the blue above.