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The Mystery

I notice I become increasingly inarticulate when it comes to talking about my painting, almost as if I don’t want it to be infected by words. Words can sully a painting and cling to it and drag it down.

A few painters have a gift for words as well as paint. Francis Bacon is one of those:

“The creative process is a cocktail of instinct, skill, culture and a highly creative feverishness. It is not like a drug; it is a particular state when everything happens very quickly, a mixture of consciousness and unconsciousness, of fear and pleasure; it’s a little like making love, the physical act of love.”

Yeah. Like he said.

Ornette Coleman by Eugene Knapik, 1997.

Ornette Coleman by Eugene Knapik, 1997 (private collection).

Starting a new set of paintings is a strange experience. I look at works I’ve completed  as if somebody else painted them. How did I get there? Although I thought them up, I applied the paint, it seems that I’m helpless to answer.

I have 7 canvases set up in my little studio ready to go and I’m stalling.



  1. How beautiful! It looks so real, like you just went outside and took a picture. Awesome work you do. I look forward to following your blog, as I am sick and blog mostly about that, but I enjoy reading and following a variety of topics, especially any type of art, cooking, etc. Take care. So happy I found your blog, as artwork is good for the soul and it just amazes me at what people can do. 🙂

  2. I can’t find the original quote, but someone else once said that an artist is the last person you should ask to talk about their art. I agree in many ways. I feel with my short stories, for instance, that if I have not said it in the story, there’s no point in asking me about it – the thing should stand alone without explanation. However, with paintings, you have one opportunity to add words – in the title – that’s always fun. I wonder if you see titles as an integral part of the paintings you do?

    • Sometimes titles can be important. The painting I posted here has a title, Ornette Coleman, that is somewhat unusual. I rarely name a painting after a person. When I made this painting I was listening to Ornette Coleman in the studio, turned up real loud and I felt that his rhythms and peculiar melodies were all over this picture. Sometimes I’ll have a title before I start a painting. Other times the title will occur to me along the way. Still other times any title seems arbitrary.

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