Buddy Cushman Art

engaging stories of hope and joy


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From This Morning’s Morning Pages

 

April Flowers pic

It’s great when I can look around and see lots of evidences of my creations, on days when I feel (relatively) creation-less. At least so far, though it’s only 7:30 in the morning and the sun has barely provided enough light to watch like yesterday and tomorrow the falling rain. This evidence of something inside me bursting to come out, even as if in a drizzle, when we talk about legacies — for the kids, for the grand-kids, for the planet, for the wife or the daddy.

So it’s good, here a book of poetry lost in a pile of greater poets, there on the wall set off by a golden brown solid wood frame a so much abstract notion of what April looks like — to me, on that day. Isn’t April the most poetic month, and haven’t I made my best effort to this date to honor her — oh sacred April — with my colors and my words?

I snap pictures on my walk
Where science holds hands with nature
In recollection, digital, colorized
My eyes look up and out
Osprey lording over green river and
Blue pond cattails lean left in morning breeze,
Hold sparrows on their fluffy perch
I drop to my knees
(In my heart)
In thanks — once again — for this. All this.

 

Yes, evidences that there is more inside me than nothing — always good to know — more, even, than lots. Whitmanesque. I am large. Little me with my little life has much to offer. Which, of course, leads to and begs the question — Whose doesn’t?

If I can get sober anyone can get sober, I’ve heard that said from time to time over the years of abstinence and re-generation. And that may or may not have anything to do with creativity — I think I doubt it — just another thing to possibly think about.

Here it is a Monday ( and I bet there are more Monday songs than Friday songs) and so far today I feel, so far, a little vacant and possibly direction-less, other than the imperative to lower the cholesterol and get down on the floor and stretch these old bones, among anything else in need of stretch, and already today — and it’s only 7:47 — I’ve read Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes and Sylvia Plath and William Carlos Williams and Mary Oliver and I can honestly report it hasn’t been to compare, but rather to seek brave new worlds. These early morning worlds always waiting. And like Ringo Starr sang, “All I’ve got to do is act naturally.”

So good thing there ain’t no white chalk outline around me yet. Amen to that.

Someone has written a poem.
When I read it
Will I twirl?
Will I then write my own?
Will I catch the sun from the corner
Of one eye, the moon
From the other?
Will my past line up behind me?
In devotion to
The one me now?

 

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Upside Down

 

Upside Down

It’s the title of the very first single my fave rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain released. It’s also the title of my painting – pictured here. At first, second, or third glance there appears no good reason for this painting to have that title, especially since it’s painted in the realist and not my favored abstract or expressionist style. But there is one. A reason.

For the first time in my relatively brief (given the number of years I’ve roamed the planet) career as an artist,Upside down 3 I painted a painting entirely upside down. The idea came from the book “Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. One of her techniques is to practice drawing images when they are turned upside down. It’s supposed to lower the light and activity of the logical left side of the brain and amp up the cells on the way-more creative right. I’ve done drawings that way a number of times, with results varying from wicked cool to what-the-hell-is-that.

Anyway, I had the flash, one day in my wife’s garage-turned-studio, to try an upside down painting.

NS 1

I had some old, used books of photos from around the world and I found one of a fishing village in Canada.  Deciding on it as my subject, I did something else I had never done before as a painter and graphed out the photo. You can see that in the picture to the left. When that was done I penciled in a similar graph on the 20 x 24 canvas. Standing close to the finished painting today some of those pencil marks remain visible through the acrylic paint. There’s also a vivid example of the process in the lower right with the blue boat. The graph mark cuts that boat right in half, but since I was painting one graphed square at a time the boat is slightly off and it almost offers the appearance of movement and another dimension. We painters call things like that fortunate and happy accidents. Often I prefer “Duh”.

NS 2

 

 

Anyway again, before applying the first brush of paint I turned the graphed picture upside down and began painting – a square at a time -from right to left, top to bottom, on my canvas, in actuality painting the sky last. I never once turned the painting over to see how it was going, not until every inch of the canvas was covered and the paint had dried. I say, in all modesty, that I was shocked at how lifelike the houses on the bluff/hill came out. I have never been able to paint a house with windows that well right side up again – before or after. Ever.

 

 

I tried the graphed, upside down technique one other time on a painting, attempting to copy my favorite artist David Park and one of his paintings. It didn’t work very well.

No lessons to be learned here, no moral nor heavy thought. No keen insight or words to live by. Simply a little story about a painting I did88ef918dc457d2dada7cf751635148da.599x601x1 upside down.


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On the Dark Side – With Feeling

Some where between the inherent artist who’s always lived within me and my increasing horror at the sparkling stupidity of mankind and most of its individual members, I have morphed as to what it means for me to be an artist. That I started late in life maybe plays some rolExpress 1e. But the TV plays one greater. On-line news sites. Overheard conversations on the street. The eternal optimism of the “now-we’ve-finally-got-him” multitudes. These are the ingredients explaining my world view and painterly outlook.

 

I’ve been paying more attention to the German expressionist painters of late. Their works speaks to me, whispers to me to come over here, hang out for a while, take a look through our eyes. See what we see — and how. The dark side, in technicolor. So I see, as best these old eyes can, and I feel, and I get it. I, as in me, get it, as in what I get.

Get it?

Express 4

My painting has evolved, hopefully I’ve become a little more skilled with the brush and knife over the six or so years I’ve been painting. Subject matter too, from happy flowers to abstract visions to, a goal, David Park-like people. And now expressionist people.

Lake Merritt crowd piece

This is mostly a visual post and I’ve included four paintings of famous German expressionists, and three of my own. You can tell which are which — theirs are better. Mostly, though, the deal is how I feel today. Bruce Springsteen once said, “Man the dope is that there’s still hope.” For me “the deal is how I feel.”

 

Hopefully I can get that in paint.

 

 

Express 2Express 3My backyardGirl