Pyrrhic Horse Trader

Pyrrhic Horse Trader
synthetic polymer and latex paint on canvas
1976
60″x96″

I hope to post large images from my website here, so that when someone clicks on the LARGE IMAGE link on an art thumbnail he or she will either come to a larger image here on this page, or to a blog with a spellbinding blog post written by l’il artist me… 🙂

The featured image is the first big a painting I ever produced, way back in 1976. I know it was that year because it was the Bicentennial Year, 1976 and I painted a sort-of Bicentennial painting.Back in the day we had no woodshop to speak of. I went to Handy Dan Lumber Store and picked out 2×2 lumber as straight as I could find for my stretcher frame. I think I did the actual frame building in the painting lab at school. It was summertime and the classes were quite small, as I recall, so there was a lot of room to spread out. With no woodshop I couldn’t cut a bevel on the wood, required to make sure the canvas didn’t leave a mark as you painted, on the front. So I bought quarter round and glued and tacked it to the front of the 2×2 sticks.

The 45 degree cuts for the corners I simply estimated and went for it. The whole thing was held together with nails! Talk about old school 🙂 haha And then, to strretch it, I didn’t even have a staple gun. I used tacks and a hammer. That took quite a long time. Now, my memory is getting fuzzy these daze. It wasn’t my first canvas to stretch. I might have bought a staple gun by then.

Actually I believe I had. It was so much easier and faster with a staple gun. I put some stars and stripes in it. This photo is not the final result. I did add some stars in the left side long blue stripe. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary but I was having a bit of trouble getting to a complete “FINISHED” place. That’s still a difficult place to find.

Some paintings are rather open-ended. You can paint on them for a loooong time. But no compressor and pneumatic tools. I have several now and they help so much.

Back then, though, I was a real artist, more than now, in that regard. I didn’t have a ton of money and I used some latex paint for gesso, too. That didn’t seem to be a problem either. It should have been according to strict conservation methods, and if the painting had survived it might have, but the painting had a different destiny awaiting.

A lot of people liked that painting. My good friend Sal Hernandez came in from working with grounds to just sit and look at it. I know he liked it. And I had another friend who seemed to like it. This was a high school friend who will remain nameless. Why? Well, in my youth I was prone to smoking entertaining herbs. So, I traded that painting to him for a quantity of hash. Yeah, I did.

Well, no I don’t feel guilty about it. I was 19 or so, and I sometimes did goofy stuff. That was one of the goofy things. But he did make a generous trade. And, I gotta tell you people, the next semester of college was my lost semester . . .

I spent a lot of time lying on my couch not doing too much of anything except smoking hash. It got me stoned as all get out. And as soon as I would recover I would smoke some more. I think I had a bit of an addiction for a few uhhhh how long was it? It’s kind of a blur.

I’m surprised I did as well in my classes as I did. I wasn’t taking all art classes just yet, as I recall. Somehow I survived that semester and didn’t flunk any classes. I think I dropped a class though.

This is a rather boring blogpost. It’s too bad because that painting looked really really good! i liked it, but sometimes my artist mind will trick me. I’ve thrown art away when I got into insane artist mode. Or traded it in questionable deal like the one I just described.

And there was one more thing, too. As some point I went over to my friend’s house. He had the painting outside against a wall. That was sort of sad to see, but it gets worse, at least for me. He had decided he didn’t like some parts of the painting, so he painted them out!! Yikes!!

I was not too happy about that, to say the least. But I was not too assertive at that time in my life (or any) so I didn’t say anything at all. But it bothered me, and so even after over 40 years here I am still bringing it up. Jeez.

Oh glamorous life of the artist I’ve led. That remains a difficult thing to recall, though. And, I plan on not recalling it too many more times. So, don’t plan on any trades. I want money! Of course the problem is, I don’t like to sell any of the art I’ve created. It’s never easy…

Hot Jupe!

Astrophysicists and cosmologists (and cosmetologists for all I know!) are busy as all get out finding exoplanets. These are planets that I guess are also busy – busy orbiting other suns. Not our sun. I’m talking about suns way the heck out there, in other parts of our galaxy. Maybe by now the telescope people have managed to find exoplanets that are orbiting suns in other galaxies. It’s all very exciting. Certainly it is to them, and it is to me, too!

I need to refill my coffee – back in a bit. . . . Ok, that took a while. Hope you were enjoying the featured art on this blog. I painted it about 2-1/2 years ago. It’s a pretty big diptych to be painted on wood. The title indicates, hopefully, that the Hot Jupiter exoplanets were my main inspiration for the piece. Of course I do abstract things in my work just a bit. But who knows what’s going on in other solar systems?

According to the astrophysicists some of these exoplanets orbited their sun several times while I was making my coffee!! (well, uhhh …) They are planets in a hurry, though… really so crazy how fast some of them are orbiting, some of these HOT Jupiters, in orbit about 6 feet off the solar ground and orbiting so fast, orbits just a few days long – maybe hours. I’m not keeping up with those Jupes! Are you?

No really, I got interested in the Hot Jupes several years ago. I’m not just sitting here sipping (well, maybe slugging, ok) caffeine drinks as I blog blog blog, paint paint paint, code code code. I’ve always had a big interest in astronomy.

Again, though, I guess it’s good when a blogger can be a little bit honest. Sometimes ya gotta figure things out and it can takes a bloggie a while on that. As with my meteorology avocation-ish I’m getting the feeling (and understanding) that a lot of the interest I have is coming from the innate artist in me, and is visually driven. I don’t have too much interest in calculus, ya know. haha

Aren’t negative numbers real numbers? I’ll tell you what my interest in learning higher math was (is) … about -500. So I DO have a “real” interest in it, from a mathematical point of view ~ kinda. 🙂

No, really I’m glad I’ve lived in the 20th century & now this new one, whatever the dang thing’s going to be called. They’re both very charming in a quarky sort of way. Ohhh, I hear the groans from people who’ve heard that one way too many times.

Well, better get back to my web designing. I do love that! So thank you so much you math and science people who made computers and the internet happen. And who invented telescopes. If I can ever move to a dark sky place (like my dream of a home in the Land of Enchantment) aka New Mexico. I plan on once again trying for my cherished 18″ Dob!! Oh Yeah!!

And of course New Mexico is a GREAT Place for visual artists like myself. New Mexico hits so many happy buttons. No need to search for my own personal Hot Jupe 🙂 But! I’m kind of living my happy dance life now. Here, in Texas! How did THAT happen?

Learning by . . .

Learning By . . .
acrylic paint on canvas – 30″ x 40″
2016

 This piece will rearrange or enhance the synapses I believe. After I finished the artwork and was enjoying the view (sometimes I can actually do this without mentally attempting to “improve” the painting). I began to have a new and curious feeling I hadn’t quite felt before with one of my abstract paintings,at least not so directly. As I gazed at the painting somehow I felt a mental change, like I was smarter (in some way). Perhaps it was similar to the way a baby looks at a black and white mobile to get its brain booted up.

I thought the act of viewing this painting was rebooting some part of my mental processes – like new software. I could have titled it Bob_2.0.

I suspect many people will think this is completely ridiculous but I intend to continue working on the complex black and white paintings – with a few color elements – to this end. They are a big favorite of mine anyway, and this interesting feeling I had is an extra impetus to work on them. I’m not sure if the retina cones are processed in the same way by the visual cortex and brain as are the b&w rods, but it seems to me they could not be quite the same, and probably are very different. I don’t seem to get that booted-up feeling from colorful art so much as from some b&w art. This also seems like a good direction to pursue.

the-hallucinogenic-toreador2I used to have a poster of a Salvador Dali painting, “Hallucinogenic Torreador.” It is probably my favorite Salvador Dali work that I’ve seen. Now that painting might operate on my brain like my abstract painting, “Learning by . . .” But I don’t recall feeling like my brain was getting booted-up when I viewed HT. It’s been decades since I owned that Dali poster. The Wiki link has a lot more information on “Hallucinogenic Torreador” than I ever had before, which was minimal.

 

 

Wooden Galaxy & Objets d’Art

wooden-galaxy wall sculpture

Another “legacy wall sculpture” I made back in the day 🙂 I had a downtown art studio on San Jacinto Ave in Houston, TX when I was creating these pieces. But it’s been so long I don’t think I get any ego trip from it anymore.

Most of the artwork was done in the apartment living room using my little Dremel tool saw. My ex-wife put up with a lot from me (always) and I wonder how many wives would be okay with hubby sawing out wooden pieces in the tiny apartment living room!

But during this time she could see my artistic self was very motivated and I was getting some art production moving and in a definite, solid direction.

I may be fibbin’ a bit (little white lie) so far in this post – but I’m guessing nobody cares except me, and… not even me anymore. This piece Wooden Galaxy was probably created in the house we moved to over in the north loop Heights section of Houston.

That house was a productive art studio home for me. Considering my diet was baked potatoes, marijuana, and diet coke, I managed to get a lot of art done – at least I thought I was! HAHA And I was. These numerous small wall sculptures got me into Kauffman gallery at the end of 1984. They loved my art and sold quite a few of them (and much larger wall sculptures) through the years.

Now decades later the Houston art years seem a little unreal. I still have friends there, and Houston will always be my original artist home. When I look at the photos of my artwork from the early Houston years, I remember what a great inspiration Houston was for me and the artwork reflects it. I will always love that city 🙂

But I realized a long time ago that wherever I live I can produce art that doesn’t make me cringe (too much haha) decades later. I find inspiration in the external world wherever I live, but my artistic self makes it happen ultimately.

That being said, some locations are great for the artist to grow and thrive and others not as much. Houston really was the artist nurturing home for me from 1981-1985 especially.

Then, I had a big Houston art show in 1985 and one of the reviews was not entirely glowing for me. the reviewer at the Houston Post reviewed the citywide show (can’t remember the name). But galleries all over town participated. I was part of this show. Of course, quite a few artist were mentioned in the review, including me. The reviewer said:

“Then there were the usual “objets d’art.” Robert Terrell’s wall sculptures at Kauffman Gallery …”

So I got top billing among the usual artsy objects in the show. That was very upsetting considering how hard I’d worked. The nurturing felt like it was over!! My wife and the gallery people told me not to worry about it, but i felt like something was lost, or over, or…. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live in Houston anymore. haha Maybe a bit of an over-reaction.

But we moved to LA a few months later…

Installation 2006

art installation

Think of a song, to the title of “Secret Agent Man” of about a million years ago. But it’s called Installation Man! 🙂 haha. Well, it felt like that when I was trying to make this installation work at Underwood Center back in 2006!! I was granted a work reprieve of ONE WEEK!! to make it happen in the back end gallery space. Not a boatload of time. I could have worked on it more – Dawn Wolf-Taylor the director was ever so kind to give me rides to and from the gallery.

I had already quit driving by that time. Seizures (that should explain it). And she probably would have given me even more rides up to the gallery to work more.

I painted 80′ (as I recall – at least) of wall space and installed a mobile in the center. It was imho a good success. If I’d planned better it would have been even more cool than it was.

But my painting process has always been about painting and then repainting, often several times. This project was not going to easily lend itself to that. More planning would have been probably building a model and working through a lot more work in the model stage. I’d never done too much of that.

But the photos I took and all the mileage I’ve gotten since, using those photos to create new artwork, have been the best part of the experience for me. I’m using a highly modified one now as the header photo for my new website: Abstract Painting by Robert Terrell.

As time goes by I might search for more photos of the world famous (in the mind of me) art installation at Underwood Center 2006.

I lost any fear of painting large, that’s for sure!

MESO “88” (presidential cream cone)

Meso “88”
abstract painting – synthetic polymer on canvas
30″x40″ ~ 2017

Thought it be time to insert another Abstract Painting by Robert Terrell acrylic painting on canvas 🙂 How’s that for a totally transparent plug for my artist website?? So… not sure where to go from here.

I just had to paint an object-like thing or two in this painting. I’ve hardly done that in many decades. So if you look (and not even too closely) there’s the trout with spots falling off, and several other recognizable and not quite recognizable somethings I painted into MESO “88.” I kind of let my artist’s OCD talent go too far perhaps ~ NOT! Oh I’m loving this one.

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed painting all the B&W artworks quite a lot, and I’ve painted a few of them in the last three years. My first gallery “owner” Larry Kauffman told me don’t bother, he couldn’t sell B&W. He could really sell colorful art though. He started representing Hundertwasser, and I remember seeing his big wall covered in Hundertwasser prints, about, ohhh well smallish size less than 18″ and landscape format.

That was a wonderful wall to gaze upon, I gotta say! During that time, mid-1980s, I was making small wall sculptures, also less than 18″ in the long axis. I need to find an image of one of them… hang on …

wall sculpture - mini
Neptune’s Secret

I constructed and painted a lot of these during the 1980s and beyond. By the mid-1990s I was pretty much finished with them though I did morph this style into my long-time bas-relief painting style which Jim Howze called 2-1/2D ! haha

I’ll post more photos of the wall sculptures and the 2-1/2D revolution of the late 20th century soon.

I’ll end with a passage from Ecstatic Encounters by Allison Stanfield – Art Biz Coach:

“…the term “Ecstatic Encounter” was originally inspired
by a 2002 NPR interview with Frank Stella, who said that an encounter
with Barnett Newman’s paintings made him “ecstatic to be an artist.”