6:41 PM 9/22/2015

My work presents itself though a concept.  Individual works, and sometimes groups of work, are created around a concept.  Say…. EAT:  Link 1; Link 2.
This is difficult to do using photography as a base.  Realism automatically sets up a question that is related to literature.  Words explain the real world to us.  By extrapolation, then, realism must tell a story; explain something.  To present the concept only, without any word explanation from me, I set up an arena of contemplation; a setting where questions are asked but not always answered by the concept maker.  The viewer must now engage in contemplating the image and its structures; ask questions of their own; listen to their inner voice for possible answers.  No answer is correct.  No answer is wrong.  They are simply answers, which hopefully lead to asking more questions.
A concept is structured using images that create connections and associations that start to reveal what it might be; a glimpse; a reflection; a pointer; a place maker.

8:34 PM 9/23/2015

I like to work at manipulating digital photography of people relating to people, themselves, the artist, using different psychological states as a driving engine, and not sentimental if at all possible, or super emphasizing the sentimental as expression and documentation.  Cliche is also good.  I also like action to be static.  I like to remove all signs of lens distortion and off-horizon angle, everything nice and tightly related to sides, top and bottom.

People and things, events, relate to the picture plane.  The picture plane is the thing in  2d art.  No picture plane.  No art.

The feeling and experience of all things “isolation”;  getting away from the noise of life; solitude, comfort with ones self, being within one’s skin.

Image structure explores the event as an appearing open-ended — deliberately suspended.

The visual related to music and sound and how the abstractness of sound-like images make a statement at the level of poetry; word structure of a poem; especially a minimalist poem.

All things surrealist. Monsters.  Imaginary reality.

10:35 PM 9/24/2015

I like the drama created by artists involved with surrealism; a sense of mystery where the question is asked, “what is it?”  Most of what I have written so far needs to fit the cover concept:  surreal, mystery, —–


Grid Related Minimalism

9:13 AM 1/22/2016

interesting thought.

my digital fotografy/imaging = interest in grid alignment of parts… align all straight lines to be parallel to sides and top;  eliminate all extraneous elements = a grid related minimalism; this minimalism equates to a kind of isolationalism (being alone or wanting to be alone in what ever environment presented); the “aloneness” could = a form of fear = or a desire to escape from “whatever”; to disappear; as an artist (me) to step outside of the immediate experience, like a ghost mabe, and simply observe the “action”; be a voyeur.  Relating all of ths to current culture, I exist as an outsider not willing to interact locally.  This keeps me and my mind free to explore all aspects of a given cultural/political/environmental interest; or ignore it and the work becomes a fantasy which may or may not combine the past, present, and the future {however one wants to define “future”.  ….social commentary both personal and publically defined.

digital imaging:  non-fotografy related = all over the map with regard to image structure; from hyper realism to completely non-objective structure.  Also added to digital imaging = combination of fotography, found digital images from all possible sources, abstractions of all definitions, plus—— to be continued.

Am I Protean?

9:54 AM 2/2/2016

As an artist, am I protean?
Iowa grad faculty had a hard time with this because I kept shifting.  They considered this a negative.  Not enuff evidence to evaluate work correctly(?).  Whaaaaaa?
YesBut:  I like to explore and experiment.  Maybe a better pigeon hole would be “conceptual” artist.  This would be ok if I could express my artistic thoughts via words.  I cannot.  So the confusion continues for the audience as well as for myself.
2016:  I continue to struggle with proteanism in my work.  Art making now confined to digital images (all things digital including my take on “straight” fotografy).  I continue to search for my “center”.  I dance all around this indefinable “center”.  I get a glimpse of it once in awhile.  But never see this “center” with any clarity.  I keep searching.   I keep exploring different media to see if “this” new stuff can bring into the light my “center”.

10:10 AM 2/2/2016} In addition I am very impatient and full of high anxiety.  I feel that most art processes are too slow and can’t keep up with my mind.  I need a medium that can change to match my mind as fast as it changes.  Digital imaging, so far, seems to come as close as I can find, at this time, to achieving this goal.

9:50 AM 2/2/2016

adjective: protean

tending or able to change frequently or easily.
“it is difficult to comprehend the whole of this protean subject”
synonyms:    ever-changing, variable, changeable, mutable, kaleidoscopic, inconstant, inconsistent, unstable, shifting, unsettled, fluctuating, fluid, wavering, vacillating, mercurial, volatile; technicallabile
“the protean nature of mental disorders”
antonyms:    constant, consistent
able to do many different things; versatile.
“Shostakovich was a remarkably protean composer, one at home in a wide range of styles”
synonyms:    versatile, adaptable, flexible, all-around, multifaceted, multitalented, many-sided
“a remarkably protean composer”

Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
adjective changeable, variable, volatile, versatile, temperamental, ever-changing, mercurial, many-sided, mutable, polymorphous, multiform the protean and complex nature of his work

English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


12:09 PM 11/23/2015; update 2:31 PM 7/15/2016.  This was written in NC before my move to Whidbey Island WA in Feb/Mar 2016.

I haven’t posted to my blog in 6 years.  I felt that I had nothing to say that was worth publishing.  I would write something.  The next day I didn’t believe what I had written.  So I stopped writing altogether.

Today I felt like writing this little ditty on galleries.

After 2000, or so, as the artist/gallery structure started to morph into something that I didn’t understand or no longer fit, I found it harder and harder to write about my art.  My art for the most part is not narrative and therefore is not easily represented through word constructions.  My work still isn’t narrative.  I have finally given up trying to explain in words what I do in painting, sculpture and digital imaging.  Galleries, grant organizations, and others want artists to make “artist statements” about what we “do”.  The decision makers who run these organizations seem to need a manual that explains the art before they endorse it for exhibit or grant offerings.  I could never write a convincing sales pitch about my work.  Uhhhh!  It is nonverbal!


In 2009 I ended my last relationship with a commercial gallery.  The director was micromanaging big time and in the end wanted to dictate what I should create so he could sell it to his commodity oriented clients.  He wanted me to be a market artist.  No-no!  Over!

A short story:  Back in 1988-89, my gallery director decided to increase his commission from 40% to 50%.  No problem.  I adjusted my retail prices accordingly.  Upon delivery to the gallery a set of new paintings, I was greeted –the new paintings were priced too high.  He wouldn’t accept the paintings until I lowered my prices.  I then wanted him to lower his commission and he said no.  Dilemma?  I reluctantly agreed to lower my prices which effectively negated my price increase to match his 10% increase.  I never made any money from this gallery again.  Broke even at best!

Since 1989 I have had this same battle over my prices not fitting a gallery commission of 50%.  What I needed in pricing so I could at least make a minimal profit, the galleries would not accept.  When I moved from CT to NC in 1991, I decided to drop out of the commercial art circus.  In 1995 I joined a Galley in NC.  Agreements were nice and acceptable.  Not many sales though.  In 1999 this gallery closed.  I again dropped out of the commercial art circus.  In 2006 I joined my last gallery.  This relationship ended in disaster in 2009 as I stated at the start of this commentary.  As I write this, 2015, I remain unrepresented.  I love the freedom.

As it now operates in the Charlotte NC area, artists take it upon themselves to self promote and sell through studio weekends or other collaborations.  Works very well.  The commercial gallery scene in Charlotte is dead at best.  If I am really interested in getting back into selling my art, self promotion is the way I would go.  I am not interested.  Want some art?  Buy a print from the internet for under $5.00.   Or get involved in extreme postmodernism.  Call yourself and artist and make your own art.

I haven’t quite figured this out yet, but I believe the internet and postmodernism and commodity invasion of the art markets has killed creativity in visual arts except for the rare few individuals who have figured out a way to self promote and succeed in the commercial world of art as commodity and still make art that is personal and creative.  Some of the art that comes from this arrangement is questionable, but there is no paradigm by which to judge it.  Postmodernism accepts anything as art by anyone who wants to call themselves an artist.  Interesting times????

Update:  2:54 PM 7/15/2016:  I recently read an interesting interview with artist Sterling Ruby.  Conversation came up dealing with his connection being labeled a “Market Artist”.  Interesting read!  Also I remain unrepresented by a commercial art venue.


2:00 AM 5/20/2010 (date written)

i turn around and see myself on the net

i have got to stop looking at art on the net. i continue to turn over websites that reveal to me new artists and their work. Some of them seem to be me. what? can anybody ever be original anymore? it seems that there are at least 10 or more artists exploring the same territory at the same time without ever knowing the existence of the other. How can anybody every be in a “first” category with their art again. too many people involved in the act(ion) now.

Kinda negates the last entry “riding this horse” doesn’t it? Or does it?

And life continues.

riding this horse

10:07 AM 5/17/2010

riding this horse

i seem to be the only one riding this horse. it must be a horse of a different color. at the same time i seem to be invisible; even to myself at times. as an art maker i am free.

this is a nice place to be as a maker. throw caution to the winds. throw anxiety to the winds. make, make, make! however, after awhile, what does all this mean to the self if its only me that sees or feels it? dilemma? yes! i say to myself that it doesn’t matter if it is seen. busllshit! it does matter. but getting it seen today is almost impossible. i don’t network anymore— not that i ever really networked in the first place. but 20 — 30 years ago, i didn’t seem to have issues getting my makings shown in galleries and/or museums; or sold. now? forget it. like pulling hen’s teeth!

so, what do you (i) do?

dunno! i keep on making. turn over rocks to find venues interested in showing the work. don’t know what else to do. in a commodity run art world, art seems to be invisible. i seem to be invisible. as an invisible, i need to put on the suit and get on with it.


dpn 10:15 AM 5/17/2010

personal art making

12:22 PM 5/15/2010 (date written)
personal art making

of all the elements that point out a personal/unique view in an art work, regardless of its medium and/or style; how the individual maker organizes space is the determining factor. all artists/makers use approximately the same materials, techniques, and other whatnots of their trade. but it is how this stuff is organized in the field of action that separates one maker from another; distinguishes a deKooning from peter halley from frank stella from robert altman from spielberg from michaelangelo from john chamberlain from…………………………..

Karl’s page

10:17 AM 1/11/2010 (date written)
Karl’s page (a feature page on my work at Karl’s web site)
Karl’s web site

Two forces are operating in my painting at this time. Both connect to my interest to establish a reductive process in my work; move away from my long history of AE structures, mostly with gesture intensive painting. So I keep on painting, these days, using structures that feel comfortable at the time of their use. Work executed in the past two years, for the most part, does incorporate reductive reasoning. If I take this reductive thinking too far toward its extreme end, my work tends to get lost. If it gets lost for me, then it has to get lost for anybody trying to connect with it. When I feel lost, I add back some modulations -gesture or color field, and I seem to get back on track. I dance around minimalism but never quite join it.

I have gone through two digital cameras since 2000. On my second camera the odometer just rollover over to its 2nd 10,000 images. As a photographer I view the world as a painter. My photographs are composed with a painter’s eye. I am also an impulsive photographer. If something out there interests me the moment I see it, I take a picture of it. This isn’t film! The only restrictions for me with regard to digital photography is the size of the hard drive. When it fills up, I get another one and keep shooting!

Four computer manipulated digital images are included in this set of images. For some reason I can’t leave an off camera image alone. I have to tinker with it. In some pieces I intentionally flattening the picture to relate more closely to the picture plane and picture edges. Some pictures require more computer manipulations than others to accomplish this task. Other images require little computer manipulation and I keep the structure close to what happened off camera. There are manipulations that are composites of several separate photographs. There are re-imaged composites that have been abstracted heavily but still retain some of the original digital image’s form. I manipulate these images in the same way I paint. Whatever the image requires of me I do the task.

I don’t evaluate any of my work according to any acceptable criteria; how it fits or doesn’t fit to arguments for or against modernism and postmodernism. I evaluate it to whether I like it or don’t like it. It = a specific work. I have no other way to look at the world. After all, it is my brain that interprets the world I live in. My art is created through this filter.

I wrote this statement before I selected the images. Eh? What I said above illustrates that painters should paint and not talk (or write)! And what I write also points up facts to how illusive a topic an artist’s statement really is. For me, I change my mind every minute of the day. And love every minute of it. And…. tomorrow I select different images to show and think of other things to say about it. How schizophrenic!
Ain’t life grand?

Here are 8 paintings and 4 fotos. Enjoy!

Also please visit Karl Maenz’s web site. He is a fine painter and photographer, and to say the least a fine friend.

What do you do?

3:14 AM 10/17/2008; adds 11:13 AM 1/11/2010 (dates of original writing and its update)

Q What do you do?
A I make marks on different supports; paper, canvas, linen, wood, cardboard, ????

[10:05 AM 10/17/2008]
Q What does this mean? Do you call yourself an artist?
A Precise definitions that describe what I do are difficult to organize. As part of an answer to your first question, I use the materials and tools that all fine artists use to create paintings. I am primarily a painter in the fine art sense. Yes. I will call myself an artist. As you can see I have injected the term “fine art” and “artist” to mean a connection between these two as compared to a painter that connects the terms “house” and “commercial” together. I am not a house painter. However, one aspect of fine art painting today is this: Commercialism has crept in to this business big time since 1990. So separating a difference between “house” and “fine art” painters today can be a tricky thing to do. For me, today, much ado about painting has to do with money and not art.

Q Can you elaborate more on this?
A No. Next topic please!]

Q How do you make these marks?
A I use acrylic paints mostly. Apply these paints to these supports using a variety of tools; brushes, sponges, fingers, squeegees of different kinds (cardboard scrap, polyethylene sheets, window squeegee), mono printing from (polyethylene plates, wax paper plates, paper plates, metal plates, glass plates), pouring, etc. I use any way to manipulate the paint as i can and best suits my feelings or urges at the moment the act of painting starts. The technique for application, then, is much determined by the mark each tool makes as it spreads a coat of paint. This is the fun in mark making this way. It is truly an exercise in making marks.

Q What does your art mean?
A If it has meaning in any sense, this meaning must be brought to the engagement by the audience singly or in group. There is no intentional literature applied here. The energy source for making my marks is open and free from linguistic connections. There are no stories being told here. Energy, however one wishes to define energy, is transferred from within me through media (paint), the tool used to make the mark to the support. Beyond that action no hidden meanings are imported to the work.

Q If your art has no meaning, then why do you do or make it; the art; the painting; the marks?
A Why not? Making marks on different supports is as old as man. Making marks with various mark-making tools is an ancient almost indigenous act made by all humans from the age of two onward (I could be wrong on the age here — it has been a while since I last studied mark making by human beings and its history). Once the mark is made, its meaning can be interpreted by as many people who engage with it. A mark on a surface can be revisited many times and mean different things upon each new visit. Meaning in art is in the eye/mind of the beholder. For me, the more photographic a painting becomes, the more literature becomes an automatic connection to this painting. The further away from photography a painting becomes, the more abstract, the more this painting becomes a mirror-like event. In this sense a painting becomes a device for reflections and projections between the maker [made] and a viewer.

Q Several years ago you titled your web site “Marks from the mind”?
A Yes. I think this was back in 1998 or 1999. At that time I felt that I was a mark maker as an artist. I strongly related my motivations to make marks from withing a self defined set of Zen paradigms that had no hard rules really. What I thought my art to be could never be defined as I felt it. The marks were a never ending moving target. We can never step into the same river twice. When we try to define our lives, I think the difficulty in revealing who we are by us is because where we are and who we are is wrapped in this arena of the never ending target. This, of course is caused by time never stopping. Always continuing to from past to future with an extremely short stop, maybe, in the present. I am not sure the present exists. Getting back to your main point, today I am moving my self definitions as an artist to the position of being a mark maker.

Q Are you, then, an abstract expressionist artist?
A No! Yes! I don’t know! I can’t be an abstract expressionist painter in real time because this isn’t the ’40’s when this approach to painting was first introduced. If I am an abstract expressionist, then I am a 4th generation AbExEr. I forgot how many years defines a generation. Most first gen AbExErs were born around 1900 – 1910. I was born in 1941. So my guess is that I am a 3rd or 4th gen AbExEr in this sense. There have been moments in my career that I really liked abstract expressionism. Then there have been moments that abstract expressionism has left the building and disconnected from my mark making. I do, however, use a filtered version of Surrealist Automatism as a main energy source to motivate my working process. This process was used by some of the 1st gen AbExErs. Most recent self analysis of what I think i do takes me back to just a simple mark maker. AbEx, to me, today, is simply another tool to use to help in my mark making.

Q Can you say more about this process?
A No! Well, Yes! Simply put: I like to paint. I like to make marks using different colors of paint and make line and shapes. Most of the time I let the design take care of itself as it unfolds in front of me. The painting, in this sense, exists as a recording of this performance. And, like a finger print, the marks take on my personality. I think all art does this.

Q Thank you for your time.
A Your welcome.

is painting dead?

2:32 PM 12/30/2009

commentary on paintings of Gerhard Richter related to the topic: “Is Painting Dead?”

Speaking to the question of whether or not painting is dead or dying consider this:
Isaac Bashevis Singer, the only author to win a Nobel Prize in literature for stories written in Yiddish, was often asked why he wrote in a dying language. His reply: “Yiddish has been dying for a thousand years, and I’m sure it will go on dying for another thousand.”
Saul // 21 Dec 2009, 6:48 pm

What do you think?