Introducing my newest piece, Cantata



     I know it's been forever since I sent out a newsletter. Quite frankly, I felt a little bit insincere writing them. "My shows are going great. I am having a fantastic time with my latest artwork. Everyone I meet is just a super person." Blah, blah, blah. While all of that was true, the only reason I wrote it was because I thought a newsletter was a good marketing tool. Every artist I hear talking about themselves comes across as so full of crap, and I didn't want to be that guy. But so many of you are generously and graciously interested in what I am doing, and now I have something that I do sincerely want to share. I want to talk about the process of creating my newest white flower; Cantata. So thanks in advance for taking the time to care and to listen.  

The Confederate Rose

    Last fall I did two shows in the Carolina's. At these festivals, many people ask if I would consider doing their favorite flower. I was getting a lot of requests for a Confederate Rose. Being a Yankee, I'd never heard of that flower. The piece that I was really itching to do was another double hibiscus like my earlier piece, A Study In White. But alas, I saw that flower in Hawaii and had no plans to return there in the near future.

     Dorothy and I had rented a house on Edisto Island to spend time between the two Carolina shows. When we pulled into the driveway, I couldn't believe my eyes: In the neighbor's yard was the same white double hibiscus that I had seen in Hawaii! Sandy had just blown through and things were still gusty, so photographing the blossom outside wasn't going to work. I knocked on the neighbor's door to ask permission to cut a few blossoms to take inside, and he said he'd never heard of a double hibiscus; what you're lookin' at there, son, is a Confederate Rose. So yes, Google confirms that a Confederate Rose and a double hibiscus are indeed one and the same.


Here is the original photo I took that gave birth to my artwork:


       In the past, I have always been dismissive about the photographic stage of the creative process. I wasn't too concerned with taking a great photo because it was just raw material, and since I was going to be changing every bit of it, who needed a great photo anyway? As I started to master this medium, I realized that many of my decisions were based on overcoming or masking deficiencies in my original source material. I began to understand that if I had more information to start with, then all of my decisions could be based on what was right rather than covering up what was wrong. So I bought some fancy-schmancy new equipment and learned how to use it properly. This flower is the first one I shot with the new equipment and with an emphasis on getting this initial stage correct. 

Back To Basics

  When you earn your living with your artwork, it's hard not to pay attention to what is selling and why. So for an awfully long time, that really shaped a lot of my decisions about my pieces. But I had reached a point where I had a pretty nice body of work that was providing a pretty nice source of income, so now I could push those thoughts aside and get back to focusing on what these white flowers really meant to me in the first place.

    I want my art to be...... well, everything. And more importantly, everything equally. While my work isn't everything (yet), at least Cantata is something; and, I believe, something pretty good. I am working towards finding the common ground of chaos and order, the cerebral and the sensuous, movement and stillness, realism and abstraction. When I work, I want to listen as much as I direct, let moments of spontaneity happen within a rigid structure.








   As many of you know, I have a pretty darn sophisticated printing system that I can proudly claim is the finest one in the world. I've worked hard to elevate this machine into something that is magical, but I always want more. I know what I am capable of printing, and that has guided the way I construct my artwork. In order to print Cantata the way I envisioned it, I was going to need even more control over my grays. In my quest for everything, I wanted warm and cool tones to be able to exist side by side. I needed my light to by brimming with detail. I needed more out of my printer.
    I had been working on these newest improvements without success for the better part of two years, and about a month ago, I finally had the eureka moment that had eluded me. There is a bit of printing information called a profile. Basically, you use a device called a spectrophotometer to measure thousands of color patches and feed that information to some software that creates a set of instructions to say "this is what I mean by red". What I did was to create both a color and black and white profile from the same set of patch measurements. Where there is color in the artwork, the printer will use the color profile, and as the tones approach gray, it switches to the black and white profile. The key was to use the same set of data to create the two different profiles so that the transition within the artwork is completely seamless.
Guess what; it works, by golly!
Cantata is my first piece created using my latest printer modification. 
Here is an unrelated photo of me looking especially glamorous as I varnish the artwork.

Without further ado...
   Well, not much more ado, anyway. Cantata is defined as "a composition for one or more voices usually comprising solos, duets, and choruses and sung to an instrumental accompaniment." Aurally speaking, that sounds like everything to me. Music and Lyrics. What more could I ask for? I hope you enjoy Cantata as much as I do.
Warm Regards,