Tuesday, June 26, 2018

“It isn’t about being entertaining or pretty,” he said, taking a drag on his cigar. “Art is about expanding intelligence and broadening the viewer’s capacity to understand the world.”
Pedro Cabrita Reis

Monday, November 21, 2016

“I would say that I’ve tried, in my work, to find out how to live life — tried to explore what our existence really is and the meaning of it.”
Martin Scorsese

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Novelists are like fur trappers. They disappear into the north woods for months or years at a time, sometimes never to reemerge, giving in to despair out there, or going native (taking a real job, in other words), or catching their legs in their own traps and bleeding out, silently, into the snow. The lucky ones return, laden with pelts."
Jeffrey Eugenides

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"I will close with what Meadow once told me about being an artist. It is partly a confidence game. And partly magic. But to make something you also need to be a gleaner. What is a gleaner? Well, it is a nice word for a thief, except you take what no one wants. Not just unusual ideas or things. You look closely at the familiar to discover what everyone else overlooks or ignores or discards."
Dana Spiotta from Innocents and Others

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night"
Edgar Allen Poe

Friday, May 10, 2013

“When I seek, I look, look, look….”
Benoit Mandelbrot

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Soul is the master,
and matter its natural subject."

"The Good Earth"
from the collection of Rene & Paul

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Life passes into pages if it passes into anything. I like to write about certain things that if they are not written about are not going to exist."- James Salter

Nick Paumgarten says about Salter- "You come away from his work wondering if you should have lived more, even if living more, in his work, often leads to ruin."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"I wanted everything I learned to be an opening into the unknown, whereas Gerry's knowledge added up to a closed circle, bringing him safely back to where he began, confirming him."
-Tessa Hadley from her short story Valentine

Friday, March 22, 2013

“The role of the art is to accept that things break down. That’s the only way to get something new to emerge.” Per Kirkeby

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself."
Sherwood Anderson

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"When you're writing, you're trying to find out something which you don't know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don't want to know. What you don't want to know, what you don't want to find out. But something forces you to anyway."
James Baldwin

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."
Douglas Adams

Friday, June 29, 2012

"You're not a failure," she told him one day. "No. You're not even embittered. Not like one of those East Europeans, people like Cioran and the rest. You're just unlucky. Like someone... like someone who..." (she was searching for the word and he was wild with gratitude: she's understood me, I'm not a professional failure!)---"That's it. You're like an undetonated shell with its devastating power intact. You're an explosion still waiting to be heard."
Andrei Makine from The Life of an Unknown Man

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eddie helped paint the porch...
When I get the sense that a new book is beginning, I start a notebook into which I put anything that might seem relevant, which could be a large-scale plot idea, something overheard on the bus, or a descriptive phrase that came to me on a walk. I don't actually start writing that book until out of all this has emerged a pretty clear plan for the whole thing. I can't just start writing and see what happens. Of course improvisation is an important part- I would find it dreadfully boring if I planned everything. What keeps you going are the discoveries you make in the course of writing."
Alan Hollinghurs, from an interview in The Paris Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"only dead fish follow the stream"
- a Finnish expression

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Workmanship of risk is, generally, the making of anything individually by hand, the creation of a product that is never exactly the same twice...
Because the outcome of workmanship of risk is never certain, the quality of it is determined by the care, dexterity, and judgement of the worker...
from Wooden Boats by Michael Ruhlman
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
John Ruskin

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"I never if I can help it get into the specifics of songs and their meanings. If you're a songwriter, and your idea is that your songs are helpful to yourself and others, they sort of operate on this sense of mystery. They don't function if they are explained; it puts out the fire." Ryan Adams in nyt interview 10/11/11
treasures found behind the wall at 2107

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"He loathed gentility and social convention. To him they smacked of fakery, like the various artistic symbolisms, Surrealism among them, that modern painting had contrived. The real world, stripped bare, already presented unfathomable strangeness and fascination. An artistic life should exhaust itself trying to unpack it."
Michael Kimmelman about Lucian Freud

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Outside it is day. You have entered, and your eyes are blinded with so much darkness. It penetrates deeply into the pupils of your eyes and hurts. You close your eyes for a moment, until they have adjusted themselves. Both are within you, the darkness and the brightness, they are yours in the depths of you retina, and you can draw them from the same well; which it will be depends on whether you stand in the light or in darkness."
from The Death of the Adversary by Hans Keilson

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"The sea had jeeringly kept his finite body up, but drowned the infinite of his soul. Not drowned entirely, though. Rather carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro before his passive eyes; and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps; and among the joyous heartless, ever-juvenile eternities, Pip saw the multitudinous, God-omnipresent, coral insects, that out of the firmament of waters heaved the colossal orbs. He saw God's foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man's insanity is heavens sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God."
from Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Friday, July 8, 2011

"... in America, where a national bent for proprietary branding can confuse a signature look with quality."
Peter Schjeldahl in a review of Blinky Palermo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you'll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?"
Jaron Lanier

Monday, June 27, 2011

tree i pass on my walk from Union Station to NMAI
The television stayed on day and night, singing like a Siren in the crowded house. “Come sit by me and die a little,” it said.
Salvatore Scibona from Where I Learned to Read in the June 13 New Yorker

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"It took me years to realize a very simple thing, which is that when you write fiction you're raising questions, and a lot of people think you're playing a little game with them and that actually you know the answers to the questions. They read your question. They don't know how to answer correctly. And they think that if they could only meet you personally and look into your eyes, you could give them the answers.
At readings I'm quite often speechless, actually. I am very happy that I am striking a nerve. But it's when they take it a step further and think that i have the salve for the nerve I've hit, or that I have personally lived through that myself, and that therefore we have a common bond, because they have also lived through that - then I begin to realize that what is between me and other people isn't kinship but a kind of gulf."
Anne Beattie in The Paris Review

Monday, February 28, 2011

found in federal hill

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Repressed people take it out on the people around them. Enfranchised people discover pride."
Roger Cohen in the NYT

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"For me, however, the greatest pleasure is to overcome some difficulty, to find or invent something while I work. I begin by posing myself a problem. But I don't wish merely to solve this problem. While I solve it, I want to find something else, I want to stumble across something that prods me into unknown territory. Out of boredom or the need to entertain myself, I end up discovering something that gives me pleasure.
This kind of work seems to develop me, to educate me, while painting landscapes is another matter entirely. There I enter into a much more sensual state of the soul, in which I have the satisfaction of finding exactly what I already know. Many painters surrender themselves to this sensual pleasure- it allows them to duplicate the things they already know, and they think it's a marvel that all these creations are ultimately recognizable as their own work.
It's a little bit like fairy tales, which end exactly the same way they did the last time we heard them."
Saul Steinberg

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"... grand ideas kill first efforts. Begin with something in your range. Then write it as a secret. I'd be paralyzed if I thought I had to write a great novel, and no matter how good I think a book is on one day, I know that a time will come when I will look upon it as a failure. The gratification has to come from the effort itself. I try not to look back. I approach the work as though, in truth, I'm nothing and the words are everything. Then I write to save my life. If you are a writer, that will be true. Writing has saved my life."
Louise Erdrich in The Paris Review

Sunday, January 23, 2011

found at the edge of the harbor in baltimore...

“Grant mystery it‘s eternal validity and rather than solving it, look for ways to contemplate it and give it honor.”
Thomas Moore

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blizzard Park
"The writer must be universal in sympathy and an outcast by nature: only then can he see clearly."
from Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Mr. Neuberger bought all his works himself, usually through dealers. And his taste ran toward the bold. “I liked adventuresome work that I often didn’t understand,” he told The Times as he was celebrating his 100th birthday. “For art to be very good it has to be over your head.”
from the NYT obit for Roy R. Neuberger

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"I don’t distort. I comment honestly and make pictures of my perceptions. The celebrity is but a person to me. I see them within the primary moment. I try not to have previous assumptions. Each moment is the only moment that we have. We have to enter it without prejudice and with the thought that it may be the last one. The photograph is an attempt to give the perception of the moment some relationship to immortality."
from an interview with Larry Fink in the NYT

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

from the sketchbook:
trees in frozen river

Sunday, December 12, 2010

from the sketchbook

Thursday, December 9, 2010

from the sketchbook...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

from the sketchbook- morning glories in the alley

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"We learned a whole new attitude about what art could be- not expression but investigation."
Jack Goldstein about John Baldessari's teaching

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"What's the average time a person looks at a painting- seven seconds? I want to get them hooked. I have to raise the bar in such a way that they're not going to get it, but they want to get it."
John Baldessari

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"The road less traveled sure got a lot of stones."
Everlast from the Whitey Ford Sings the Blues album

Monday, October 4, 2010

"We, as a species, are always looking for cathedrals made of fire, and part of the thrill of reading a great book is the promise of another yet to come, a book that may move us even more deeply, raise us even higher. One of the consolations of writing books is the seemingly unquenchable conviction that the next book will be better, will be bigger and bolder and more comprehensive and truer to the lives we live. We exist in a condition of hope, we love the beauty and truth that come to us, and we do our best to tamp down our doubts and disappointments."
Michael Cunningham

Friday, October 1, 2010

"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."
Franklin D. Roosevelt
found in the park this morning

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can- in some beautifully bound book. It will seem as if you were making the visions banal- but then you need to do that- then you are freed from the power of them... Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book & turn over the pages & for you it will be your church- your cathedral- the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal. If anyone tells you that it is morbid or neurotic and you listen to them- then you will lose your soul- for in that book is your soul."
Carl Jung
from the sketchbook-
'out on a limb in the dark'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"It is the first vision that counts. The artist has only to remain true to his dream and it will possess his work in such a manner that it will resemble the work of no other... for no two visions are alike, and those who reach the heights have all toiled up steep mountains by a different route. To each has been revealed a different panorama."
Albert Pinkham Ryder

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!"
Swami Vivekananda

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"I would hope that my music is smarter, stronger than I am. It should be elastic and sophisticated enough to endure many listenings, many interpretations. It's like scrambling onto the roof from the highest rung of the ladder which lies just beneath the lip of the roof. Every musical thing I do is like jumping onto the roof from that rung. Higher, better than I can be most of the time."
Patricia Barber from her blog

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"How life is strange and changeful, and the crystal is in the steel at the point of fracture, and the toad bears a jewel in its forehead, and the meaning of moments passes like breeze that scarcely ruffles the leaves of willows. "
from All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

found at ferry bar park today
while scavenging for styrofoam
for an installation at school 33 in january
"For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves-not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them."
from 'The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge' by Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, August 27, 2010

"Hercules was slain by a magic shirt he had donned in all innocence, its poisoned fabric immediately fusing with his own skin, burning on his body like boiling oil. He could not cast it off again except at the price of his very life.
Groaning, roaring, and finally mad with the pain, this invincible man tore his own skin and flesh from his bones along with the shirt, laid bare his bleeding sinews, his shoulder blades, the red cage of his ribs, and inside it, lungs burning out, his heart. He fell. And the light from that day gathered in seven ponds, into which the wretched man's blood and sweat dissolved, seven mirrors that bore the image of the sky,- clouds, shadows, emptiness. Then it was night. But the light of the seven ponds remained and rose up, stars among the stars of the firmament."
from " The Last World" by Christoph Ransmayr

from the sketchbook,
reflections in lavalette canal

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Each forest outline, each pond, the course of each river had glided itself through the hands of Arachne the weaver, the deaf mute, for whom, so Echo said, her loom was a window trellised with threads, looking into a garishly bright and soundless world...

Echo alone would have been capable of understanding her explanation and of translating for the Roman how her tapestry was of value to the deaf-mute woman only as long as it was still growing, stretched on the frame of her loom's beams and shafts. Once completed, whatever landed in this moldy room would be pulled out again only when a smelter or a farmer wanted to decorate his sooty walls with a beautiful landscape gave her a sheep in trade, whereupon Arachne would simply cut the ropes binding its legs and let it run wild on the stony terraces of the cliffs."
from "the Last World" by Christoph Ransmayr

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Time isn't made of anything. It is an abstraction. Just a meaning that we impose upon motion."
from The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

now in the collection of Teresa Indjein

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?"
— Laozi from the Tao Te Ching

flashing fishes
now in the collection of Amy, North Carolina

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriet Tubman

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"...a certain fundamental opacity of human being, which likes to show the truth by allowing it to be seen hiding."
Anne Carson

Monday, July 19, 2010

"I do not want to die, even if Hans and Karl should die. I do not want to go until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last twig has grown.... since I am to be the cultivator, I want to serve it faithfully. Since recognizing that, I am almost serene and much firmer in spirit. It is not only that I am permitted to finish my work - I am obliged to finish it. This seems to be the meaning of all the gabble about culture. Culture arises only when the individual fulfills his cycle of obligations. If everyone recognizes and fulfills his cycle of obligations, genuineness emerges. The culture of a whole nation can in the final analysis be built upon nothing else but this."
from the Diary and Letters of Kaethe Kollwitz

Friday, July 16, 2010

deep blue
in the collection of Jonathan Palevsky, Baltimore

from an article in The New York Times about the sex abuse cases of Bishop Vangheluwe and Roman Polanski:

"....If this is in part a morality tale — permissiveness corrodes virtue, illicit urges undermine restraint — is morality itself a relative concept?

That question seemed likely to be asked more searchingly this week after the Vatican issued new rules about the handling of priestly abuse, listing pedophilia in a catalog of other supposed grave crimes including “the attempted ordination of women.”

“What I did, supporting the ordination of women, they saw as a serious crime,” said the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, an American priest excommunicated less than two months after he participated in a ceremony ordaining women. “But priests who were abusing children, they did not see as a crime. What does that say?”...."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Sometimes I think creativity is a matter of seeing, or stumbling over, unobvious similarities between things- like composing a fresh metaphor, but on a more complex scale."
David Mitchell