A Day in My Life

Newberry, Heady Currents: Georgie's Ears, diptych, 2021, oil on canvas, 20x48"
Newberry, Heady Currents: Georgie’s Ears, diptych, 2021, oil on canvas, 20×48″

Cappuccino with freshly ground French roast beans started my day, accompanied by Bach. I listened to the Little Big Bach Piano Box, over 5 hours of recordings. It is put together by The Bach Guild and they do a good job of curating the music so that there are no jarring differences in performances. Collectors the other day expressed interest in my Currents paintings, a diptych, so I dusted them off, and saw a couple of touches I could paint to freshen them up. I had not spent time making them public because some years ago snarky people equated with them with our ex-president. That took the conversation in an unwanted direction. hahaha, I am hesitant to mention that now, because the currents of her hair is just crazy awesome to painting and I love the feeling of both paintings.

Newberry, Danae, wip, detail, hand. life-size
Newberry, Danae, wip, detail, hand. life-size

I also divided my time with other projects, more or less, treating the projects like being in art school; 3 hours in the morning, 3 in the afternoon, and 3 at night. I worked on the last part of the Danae painting, her hand which is closest to us in space. It is not just a matter of detailing her hand/fingers, the tones and hues have to be in sync with the rest of the painting. For instance if I make the highlights too bright that might kill the glow in the overall painting. I am also working my new color theory on this work. The light is yellow, the atmosphere is gold, the foreground warm, and the shadows have a purple tint. When the tones of light and shadow, and the right hues click in it is a feeling of ebullience. I am hoping done with the hand in a couple of days, then quadruple check everything.

Book with Stephen Hicks, Art—The Good, Postmodern, and Beyond

I worked on the summary part of my manifesto that is included in the book. Here is what I wrote yesterday, unedited:

Art inherently is a good thing. It is a way for artists to simultaneously be in touch with their thoughts, emotions, and senses. These are the building blocks of art, which then communicates this interconnected network to its audience. It is not hyperbole to say that art is the technology of the soul. 

Creating art is like dialoguing with a rational philosopher, a psychologist, a visual scientist, and a fiery empath. They all have a role in creating and critiquing an artwork. It has been said that an artist is never satisfied with their work, and that makes a lot of sense given how difficult it is to resolve what seems like polar opposites. That is the great unending challenge of making art. It is easy to see how artists can lose their way, and out of desperation pick one or the other, and feel that nagging sense that there is more to art than what they are giving. Perhaps give up on the holistic project in frustration and choose rage, hatred, or self-loathing. Or reject vision. Unfortunately art, as a universal human activity, will never let those that try to cheat it feel peace, once undertaken, art will haunt the artist’s psyche asking them what happened to their passion? Why don’t they use their visual perception? What is the point in showing depravity, frustration, and hopelessness? Why are they whining and celebrating victimhood? Of what possible good is that to anyone? 

Early on I chose to fully embrace the concept that art is going to be extraordinarily demanding on my entire being. I have an approach for my creative aesthetic network, which is to listen to every damn voice in my head. And then do the hard work of painting until every voice is delighted with my art. For instance the paint might feel a little lifeless, then I will do real life studies to find that spark of life and make the correction. Or everything looks correct and formal but I don’t sense any passion, I will then find whatever it takes to imbue the color or subject in a way that conveys emotion.

Late Dinner

Newberry, homemade pizza with bacon, shallots, marinated olives, fresh rosemary, cream, and touch of cheddar
Newberry, homemade pizza with bacon, shallots, marinated olives, fresh rosemary, cream, and touch of cheddar

I ended the evening by making a little pizza from scratch. My refrigerator is almost empty, but I did have one piece of bacon. But no garlic. lol. And I had a piece of cheddar cheese, and some home marinated olives, they did have garlic, lemon, bay leaf, thyme, and olive oil. That is very nice to do to olives jarred in brine, drain them, then add the other ingredients. Early in my art life I invested every cent into studio time. No regular job, if I sold a painting then that money represented how many months I could paint in complete freedom. Unfortunately I like good food. The solution is obvious, learn to cook well. Along with great literature, and music like Puccini and Bach, making delicious food kept my sensuality blasting on all cylinders.

I also had a glass of red table wine and I watched two programs with the same actress, Brenda Blethyn. She plays a empathetic detective in the long running British series, Vera, and a caustic diner owner in the comedy Kate and Koji. She is amazingly good in both. Her comedy is very well timed, politically culturally incorrect, and she can insert a touch of gravitas, which quickly dissipates as soon as she is aware of it. In Vera, she sustains a deeply complex and intelligent woman fighting the good fight. And manages to convey to her colleagues that it is just following procedure and process, not her brilliance that solves the problems.

That is pretty much the normal day in this artist’s life. Truly blessed.

Michael, Idyllwild, 6/27/2021

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