Inspiration or New Language


New Yorker Mag 2015

Change Handwriting Can Change Thinking ?

There was a time when people used pencils to write letters and there were  handwriting analyst who by seeing ones handwriting could make a personality profile of the writer.  It was also thought that by changing ones handwriting one’s personality could change.  Handwriting is quickly becoming a forgotten language replaced by keyboards that wirelessly communicate with rectangular lighted screens.  Those with good handwriting say that young people’s cursive  abilities are lacking.  Young people can type at the speed of light and wonder how there parents survived  the dark ages.

Art,like handwriting,  reflecks the personality of the person making the art.  Art is a combination of ideas and language that convey our thoughts, beliefs, and personality.  It is easy to be so attached to the language, design and technique, that design and technique become the reason for making art.  It is certain that art requires ideas and language to be valued.  As artist we must guard against getting stuck in one half of this marriage. Ben Shahn’s book The Shape of Content  stated that these are not two elements sharing the stage but inseparable components of the whole.  While this is true it is difficult if not impossible to have shape (design) and content (ideas) always in equal balance.  Content does follow form, but form somethings lead content.

Chuck Close is quoted as saying, “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us get up and go to work”. I believe that enthusiasm and excitement about what you are working on is what gets us up. Barb Smucker, a student and friend, turned my class and me on last Oct. with a process of mono printing.  This process made me excited to get to he studio at a time when ideas were lacking. I can now see more clearly why people get so excited about collage, assemblages, layering, and stamping.  I can also see that it is  easy to become layerist, collagist, yupoist, or mono printer at the exclusion of emotional or intellectual involvement.

Set about this journey more as a scientist than artist (whatever that means).  My thoughts were about how and what if without a thought of why or even what.  The truth is that it is quite impossible to ever escape revealing our core.  Fear, need, expectation, influence, passion, and ego are always on display in our marks and images. Here  are a few of my explorations that I am confident will feed my ideas in the future.

X Dark/White

X Dark/White

January 29 2014

Top Up


  • Ruth Armitage

    Feb 26, 2015 at 11:32 am Reply

    Exciting work, Skip! I am disappointed to miss seeing your take on mono-printing in April. I look forward to reading more here & in the Palette?

  • Priscilla

    Mar 12, 2015 at 10:40 pm Reply

    The “how and what if” almost always overpowers the what or why when I work in watercolors. I think that’s why I like it over other mediums: watercolor gets me outside of my OCD self.

  • Sheryl

    Jun 3, 2015 at 10:20 am Reply

    I love these abstract pieces and would love to see what you have done with monotypes. Please post those!

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