Oh we enjoyed
the Summer sun
but now it goes to
to warm the hearts
and cheer de souls
of those left out
in de freezing cold.
Two weeks ago I was visited by a relative of Bob Thompson’s. Jeff Cooper. He is a nephew of of Bob’s. He is a film producer and is doing a documentary on Bob. He was accompanied by Anthony Staten who is helping produce it .
As I had known Bob very well they wanted my input. I also have works by Bob that they wanted to include in the movie. It was all very professional and took about six hours. They headed of to Provincetown Mass to document more work. I gave them a few people to contact, especially April (?) Cabral who owns a large and beautiful work of Bob’s ” St Anthony and the Dragon” that he used to have hanging in his bar ” The A House” back in 1959.
I wish Anthony and Jeff the greatest of luck with this documentary about Bob Thompson who I believe to be one of Americas greatest artists.
In Ibiza Spain, when Bob and I had no paper we would take old art catalogs and work over copies of the old masters. We would interpret them with our own shapes and colors. In the gouache above top, one can see the demon shaped head he introduced to his work via Goya.
The fourth dimension exists only in the individual. It is arrived at by mind cultivation. Unlike the other three it cannot be perceived but only felt.It lays dormant. It can happen in any individual, but it has to be focused on intensely. However it can come about at unexpected moments. When Robbie Burns wrote ” Ode to a Mouse” it came about when he was a farmer and ploughed through a nest of mice that had worked hard to build a winter nest with food supplies. To anyone else it may have been dismissed as unfortunate and to others it may have bought delight. But to Robert Burns it took him into that forth dimension for a moment. In that split second he saw how he had destroyed a precious thing . “Och wee timeret curious bestie och what panics in thy breastie. Och, the best laid plans of mice and men ofttimes gang aglee. All the hard work ,time , and effort that those mice had put into their home was gone, In that split second the poem was formed in Robert Burns mind.
A flash , a peek, a gimps, that’s all one gets of the forth dimension and nothing more. A gimps of that elusive truth. It is what keeps us searching , our appetites have been whetted. Every one is prone to this , but artists always searching for perfection are apt to find it more often. Often the reason art become priceless. Only the individual can experience the fourth dimension . It can arrive when least expected.
This painting came about while I was working on a Mad Cow series. We are all endangered one way or another. How long can the planet sustain the population. I came to the US in 1954. The population was 150.000,000 it is now over 300,000,000. It has doubled in sixty years. Another sixty years and the US population will be 600,000,000. All of these people have to be sustained and this is just the States,
For me paintings come about in odd ways. I never plan for a painting as it does not quiet work that way for me.
I start just by making a mark that leads to another and another that takes me into the storage department of my mind. Shapes and colours begin to appear, places I have been, things I have seen and felt. I just read an article about consciousness. The article mentions people out of the past who have struggled with what it all means. There is a moment in painting and I mean a moment, a flash, when one has an understanding of consciousness. All is understood for a brief moment in time. One is given a glimpse of the truth. Really it is a tease , but it wets one’s appetite for another peek. And so we continue the search for another brief peek at the truth.
All the research in the world will not be able to put it into words and they are puzzled by this. I reach it through poetry and painting leaving evidence of my glimpse of the truth.
About thirty years ago I found a beautiful wooden panel that folded together like a book. I had always thought of doing a painting on it and finally I dragged it out and did the painting.
The wood that I think is cherry had a beautiful grain and and where the wood was joined gave me guidance in the painting of it. It came from out of the blue.
Green can be a tough color to deal with some times. In this painting I got it to work not just perfectly for me but beyond my expectations.
Painting is very difficult. If you are a format painter like Alex Katz or Wolf Kahn one can crank work out endlessly on the same subject. It is a sort of a trap. People want a Wolf Kahn,they want a New England barn in some bright colors. Change your style as Larry Poons did from elliptical colored shapes and sales go down. Not being a format painter leave room to turn mistakes or unexpected shapes and forms into a new pathway to seeing things in a different light or way. This painting took awhile to get right. Eventually, it’s as if green led me by the hand.