Cecil Taylor

Cecil Taylor 1929-2018
His was such a singular voice. Despite how new and unique his work, he was also incorporating aspects of Western modern classical tradition and forward thinking jazz composer/musicians (who also worked at times off a classical template) such as Duke Ellington.

He also drew into himself for inspiration sources outside of music such as poetry and architecture.

I had just done a portrait of Cecil 3-17. In keeping with his outside the box approach, i decided to honor him w/sculpture.

I have been doing sculptures for years but look on them as a largely private matter.

Mostly it is done to keep the juices flowing, not really with any intent to show or sell them.
Stylistically, they are akin to some of what Cy Twombly & Robert Rauschenberg did. (one part totemic object, one part sort of a chronicle of a moment). There is also a strong improvisational element to my sculptures. I use what is around and what speaks to me with no pre plan.
Viva Cecil April 6,2018






Watercolor & paper 5.5×8.5


The best artwork in any medium we can return to over and over again. We find new aspects revealed in it.

The work seems to, with the passage of time change. It is not the work which is ever in flux but ourselves. Better works have multiple layers of enjoyment  and so seemingly keep up with us on the evolutionary journey of intellect/taste/spirit.

With my work, this is why my main goal and raison d’e tre is conveying emotion. No matter what the social mores or trends are, we all will continue to feel sorrow & ecstasy.




Piece # 3

9×12 Watercolor & Paper

This piece was done on Canson mix media paper 98LB

It was the third in a series with this model.

With all my portraiture, I always want an organic feel which starts first with the subject.

In lieu of the academic or glam poses, I want the subject’s natural body language to come through. This honesty makes for a conveying of emotion which is the most important aspect of all my works.

I never choreograph a pose, my only input having to do with if I feel the light is not hitting the subject evenly.

This paper, although intended for among other mediums, watercolors, requires a different touch than any of the other types of paper I use for my painting. It is harder to use, which is why I like it. If I can achieve the desired effects with this paper, then when using my ideal (paper), it is far easier.

These little self challenges are one of the ways I foster evolution in my art and avoid lapsing into mannerisms.piece3



Gougiere & Consomme

Watercolor & paper 5.5 x 8.5

Progenitors of cubism Picasso & Braque used what was around them for subject matter. Anyone who spends time not as a tourist but living in  Paris (as I do) knows that in a studio, wine & alcohol bottles are ever present along with other signs of entertaining such as packs of cards, cigarettes and the odd article of clothing left behind. These things plus the mandolin which Braque played with proficiency were all grist for the mill of early cubist compositions.

They used what was before them as it was theirs, their lives.

Every artist should strive for a constant evolution. A part of this is creating a personal lexicon. Symbols & totems of one’s daily life. There should be no thought in regards to what makes for a veneer of hipness/coolness nor drama. It has to be things of you as you are, organically occurring.

An element of what made both Picasso and Braque abandon the genre they created was that it became too formalized. Towards the end of their involvement, for a piece to be cubist it had to contain specific objects within the pictorial landscape.  What had come about to create an artistic freedom started to become as rigid as any other preexisting genre.

Although it is not a steadfast method for myself with every piece, i draw & paint what is before me. I do not give any forethought to if it fits into any preconceived notion of how i want it to be perceived. It is something i do, i like, i see. My own visual language of my life.

This is an honesty and reality which is the best way to convey emotion regardless of subject matter.

I like good conversation and aside from drawing, that is my other constant no matter where I am in the world.

This is from the last short trip I took. I like to take a small detail of a larger scene of what I am doing and make that the focal point. The latch of a window, lipstick on a cup.This piece captures that although not in an obvious way.

A glass as we converse in lieu of portraying the sketchpad I was using, the language of me.





Bee Curtain

She repeatedly stuck her tongue out for almost every piece that she posed for. It was not my thing and I believe that she was thinking of someone else.

With every person that I draw/paint/sketch I aim for a truth but only a truth of that moment. What they look like, their likeness there and then.

The same person appearing over the course of several (or many) pieces may look slightly different each time.

This is a phenomenon naturally occurring in real life. Me sitting next to you in a car going down the highway will look different than me sitting across from you in a cafe etc etc.

This has to do with the effects played upon the subject by mood, health and ambient environment.

I avoid photo realism which to me can be flat, in favor of it looking like the subject but as occurring in art.
Where once this was the de rigeur , in the digital age this is all too often forgotten. We want an exactness that is the camera’s job not the brush nor pen.

The dynamics between artist & model is as if the artist is talking about the model using their own words (words being their style) and hands.

Bee Curtain watercolor & cotton paper 10×14



Against the Glass 2

Watercolor & cotton paper 7×10

One of the greatest pleasures in painting for me is to be able to show volume & mass on what starts off as a flat white square.

Portraying flesh allows for the suggestion of warmth in subtle, organic ways. And the sense of motion, even if only in that of the subject having become still to be portrayed also holds value to me.

Close up pieces appeal to me for their ability to teeter on the edge of possible abstraction while still conveying emotion.



Drinking With Doctors

I not only woodshed every day but also take other measures as to assure to ever be artistically evolving.

Of course I have preferred equipment but I want to be able to do worthwhile, fully realized pieces no matter where in the world I am.

To foster this adaptability I change up my materials every few days. Not only the size of paper but also its quality (both painting & drawing) same with that of the pencils et al.

If, using a waitress’ pen and some scrap paper, I can make something good, then when utilizing my ideal equipment, it is then “easy”.

When traveling and often over drinks, a bunch of us make up improvised games. The other night it was “What would you do to earn a living if suddenly sent back to the past.”

So many hobbies and even jobs are firmly based in the tech and lifestyle of the here and now, a lot of people would be in trouble. Knowledge of the future would not help as knowing to invest in coca cola or apple in 1900 would be useless.

I do not watch a lot of television but have been enjoying The Alienist. With genre movies & shows, the appeal for a lot of people is escapism. There is another aspect not necessarily consciously thought about though. People see an overly idealized version of themselves plus added abilities (and attention/affection from others) in the main character.

Because of this phenomenon, everyone sees themselves as Sherlock Holmes while no one wants to be Watson. (Captain Kirk, not Scotty).

Luke Evan’s character is a sort of Watson-sidekick who is forensic sketch artist in the show. Shunted back in time, I would probably do that to earn my daily bread.

These are all quick sketches made using a waitress’s pen & scrap paper. Anatomical as to be able to help solve the crime.



Watercolor & 7×10 Cotton Paper

Compelling works of art regardless of medium, allow one to return to them again and again without diminished enjoyment. Another point of pleasure is in the ability to find new things in a previously enjoyed work.

In painting, especially the representation of flesh, this opportunity is ever present.
I get pleasure from portraying not just volume and mass, but also creating a sense of depth on what started out as a blank white square.

While I could accomplish similar feats in representing say a piece of fruit, skin allows to for the suggestion of heat as in a blush, motion as in composition of limbs and what is hinted at in the purple-blue of veins.
For the viewer to come away with any sense of this after looking at my work is the greatest achievement for me.






Witold Lutosławski

Watercolor & Paper 5.5×8.520180304_144412

Music is my main source of inspiration. I do not limit myself in regards to what I listen to. There are some definite favorites but I am constantly exploring, pulling new things towards myself.

There is the desire to always be evolving as an artist, I want my voice to be recognizable but I do not want mere mannerisms. Aside from challenging myself in what & how I work, expanding what I listen to is another part of my method. I do not embrace something only to down the line drop it for something newer to me but rather use favorites as navigational points into where else to explore.

Stravinsky has led me to Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994). I instantly enjoyed everything i heard by him. Like some of my other favorite composers, it is not something I can put on at just any time but when I do put it on it deeply resonates with me.

When I do a portrait of a musician or composer, it is interesting to consider if, someone viewing the piece not familiar w/the subject would see it in a different way than someone who knows their work.