Now on the 3rd Beats trip, traditions have been established. As the last leg of a day unfolds and night settles in it is time for Night Music. Everyone is quiet, reflecting on the day or sleeping, with good music filling the space I found out it’s not just me who feels melancholy rise up.
Starving by 2:00 rolling in to Harrisonburg Virginia, turn the corner, and enter this hole in the wall…The Downtown - Turkish Street Food. Dive head long in to Labne, Sarma, and Red lentil soup. Unbelievably delicious!
Imagine: each day was filled with music, art and literature.
We daily explored the history of American music, particularly jazz. We drew, collaged, and recorded our visual experiences in our sketchbooks. And the main focus, the counter-culture literature of the Beat poets of the 40s and 50s, drove us onward across the plains, deserts, and mountains of this grand land. As we followed the path of Jack Kerouac in his book On the Road, “authentic” became a term over-used and finally eliminated from our shared vocabulary, but it was that type of experience we sought and then to record through a multitude of mediums.
"As an artist, I was turning from the foreign to the familiar. From the incense of Bangkok to the cornbread of Crossville, I looked with new eyes. In many Main Street intersections we stood alone, not a car, truck or person in sight. In these abandoned towns the past hung heavily in the empty windows. Sayre, Oklahoma, which once thrived on the original Route 66, now stands nearly empty save for a few occupied buildings.
The students pondered previous concepts of “home,” especially those in which home is a place to escape because nothing is happening in the old hometown. But our students’ sensitive eyes also noted the beauty of patina, of age-worn wood. And stories seemed to hover above us in the quiet cool air. One could pluck them out of the sky to internalize them, and like the Symbolists of the early twentieth century, we tried to “materialize” these experienced ideas in paint or in words.
How does one paint the pregnant void of the past?”
me - Harrisburg Magazine
"A gentle shock element opens the eyes and helps me see anew, thus the reason I travel. It is much easier to stay home where all is familiar, but travel pushes my comfort zone outward to embrace the broader world, to learn new ways, to appreciate all that is not my own and to recognize indeed I am a citizen of the world. For this effort I am rewarded with heightened sensitivities: my senses are expanded and, as they are, so is my mind. Life feels richer. Then, as I return home, I again see with new eyes — not only the cultures that I have explored but also my home. Travel bathes the eyes clean.”
me - Harrisburg Magazine
“To be a painter is to arrogate to oneself the powers of divinity. It is to remake the world. Painting transforms the mundane, both metaphorically and materially. Painting is itself made out of ordinary things that have been transfigured, the base matter of earth or oil or ground up stone.
Every painter is a shaman of sorts.”
Andrew Graham-Dixon on Howard Hodgkin
” Inspiration is for amateurs the rest of us just get to work”
Artist, Chuck Close
Salt/Mud Flat Inspiration Utah…
On the Road counting down the days. Beats book #1 Wyoming to Colorado to Nebraska. Rolling hills to flat golds on to big sky..lets go now!
Fort Payne Alabama - On the Road the colors of the South. This year going as far south as we can - down to where land dissolves into the Gulf - American Sketchbook - go BEATS