Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The change

They asked the Professor about the changes in his life. They saw his work changing along with his person. He answered, “A few years ago my wife and I began to spend a summer month in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I began to paint from that landscape. It was good.  We then bought a small condominium and spent vacations and the summers there. There was really no room for me to work. Arguments ensued. We then decided to sell the condo and find a permanent house in which to live. We moved into a beautiful home with a studio space on the first level. I stayed teaching to pay bills and until our Houston properties sold. I commuted as often as possible. After 2 years my work began to move away from the tight photo based realism of the past 12 years. I soon realized that I was one person in Houston and a different person in Santa Fe. I liked who I was in Houston and could not be that person in Santa Fe. I tried very hard to be what was expected, but it was never enough. It felt like I was always walking on eggs. My inner voice told me that I had done all I could do with my present style and I should go back and search my roots and uncovered what I had hidden for 12 years. When I evolved into myself 40 years ago I used symbols/myths/archetypes which spoke to me of death and regeneration and it was to those sources I returned: skulls, shamen, Indians, cactus, palm trees, lovers. The waterfalls, trout streams, and mountains that I had been painting abstracted themselves. My unconscious was released and I knew that I was entering a new dimension and I did not know where it would take me.

Skull Composition 6 24x30 acrylic/mixed medium

Skull Composition 12 18x24 acrylic on paper

Shaman 1 24x36 acrylic/mixed medium

Shaman 3 36x24 acrylic/glitter

Shaman 1 11x9 WC

Shaman 2 11x9

Balancing 28x32 1975-2008 acrylic

The Force 5 48x36 2008 acrylic/glitter

The Force 3 30x40 acrylic/mixed medium 2008

The Force 4- the Waterfall  48x63 acrylic 2008

Lovers 36x24 acrylic/glitter 2008

Lovers with Waterfall 48x60 acrylic 2008

The pressure was on for me to retire, but I did not want to retire. I really like what I am doing and how I live in Texas; it occurred to me that if I did retire to Santa Fe I was going to DIE, a beautiful place with for me an unhealthy psychological environment . Thankfully the economy collapsed when I was offered a retirement deal and I stayed teaching to pay the bills. My paintings flowed from me as never before. I realized that I was telling my story overtly again; for twelve years I placed myself in an cage with the excuse that I was teaching myself to paint in an realistic manner and I did. I also knew I was sending out signals. I had a show in Houston of new work where I was by myself and I felt so very free.
Waterfall and Rockslide 30x40 acrylic 2008

Thunderstorm 2  24x30 acrylic 2008

Along the Rio Grand 36x48 acrylic 2008                                

I attended a benefit for an alternative art space that honored my breakfast group of artist friends and I saw Mary Margaret for the first time in 20 years; we talked, we exchanged cards and began. One year later I told my wife that I was in love with Mary Margaret and I wanted a divorce. This is an act of self preservation. It has caused great pain for which I am sorry. I am an artist, it is a selfish profession. I will not sacrifice myself to the so called social demands of our society. Many times I heard “if you do not want to be married you do not have to”. Or “if you do not like it you know what you can do about it.”

Big Rock Candy Mountain 48x60 acrylic 2009

Yummy Place 22x28 acrylic 2009

New Land 36x48 acrylic 2010

La Lunasea 20x24 acrylic 2010

Marshmellow Range 30x40 acrylic 2010

Island Shelter 30x20 acrylic 2010

I am happily in love with a woman with whom I can actually have a conversation, who likes my work, and with whom I can laugh and celebrate. My work and my life are filled with joy. bring it on!"


  1. Professor is just set for a good second serving of life´s cake! Congrats!!!! And thank you for demostrating by show-and-tell that as long we are fully alive, LIFE will never stop bringing in good stuff and discarding the scabs of old wounds.
    At Krav Maga we do not say "I´m sorry" to an opponent who has aimed at us viciously....if a blow strikes back, the opponent had it coming. A compressed coiled spring does not apologize when released and hits back with the same force that was used to secure it ... plain physics.

  2. Earl, this work is striking. I notice some new strength in the last two paintings. They seem to become more assured as they progress. This is great to see. Sois heureux!



  3. My Dear Professor,

    I am very happy to hear that you are happy. I too feel in love at last.

    Many kisses,

    Your student

  4. Professor:
    Life can be good and you have found the way. Love what you are painting, from an inner core and not with outside expectations.
    Over the plate,

  5. "I am happily in love with a woman with whom I can actually have a conversation, who likes my work, and with whom I can laugh and celebrate. My work and my life are filled with joy."

    My heart breaks for the time you've lost and rejoices for your awakening. If only we could understand the true meaning of 'life is too short' without the pain that makes us aware. Congratulations on surviving your trials. Now it is time to reap the benefits that come with being loved and appreciated for who you are, without apology.