Saturday, May 8, 2010

several things

I am going to take a break from design tonight and do a potpourri of subjects. The first is my daughter Emily. I called her tonight out in California, and she answered the phone from a playground run by Teen Challenge, the heroin fighters, in Compton, LA. Other kids may be out partying, my daughter is doing missionary work in one of the toughest ghettos in America. She's there every week with her roommate from Biola university, teaching kids with her crayons and her courage. She visits the projects to teach the Bible and has had street gangs open a path before her in welcome, and guarantee her safety. Emily and her friends can go places that most of us will never see. She has been to the projects in Watts, helping counsel young mothers, and eaten homemade tacos in fortified homes in neighborhoods that the police fear. You may be cynical about Christianity or think its a crutch, but you wouldn't dare go where she does. I am so proud of her.

I got a catalogue from Judson's today. I have been critical of some of their products in the past. But there on page 58 was a new product that looks like it might be a real winner. They call it the "French Resistance." This thing looks like a breakthrough to me. It is a pochade box that I think makes a lot of sense. It has a mast to hold the canvas, which I think is essential. So it takes canvasses of different sizes, up to 16 by 20, and that mast is made of metal. Which is what it should be made of. The Guerrilla easel, their standard product, has one great feature, and that is the best hinge mechanism in the business. It is an L shaped piece of aluminum that holds the lid open better than any other design. They have brought this hinge to a new design that looks to be as good as any I know of. I don't see this easel on their website. It must be real new. If you are looking for a pochade box, check this one out. I think they have got it about right this time. If you do buy one, get back to me after you field test it, and let me know what you think. Here is a link to their site.

I was talking to a famous artist, a good one, on the phone last night. I get to talk to all of these interesting folks because of the blog. We were talking about jealousy among artists and how we sometimes envied other artists, particularly the young ones, who are currently getting a lot of play in the art world. I told him how I deal with that.


That takes all the pressure off of me and all of the weird psychological stuff goes away. I try to bring something of value to the forum or market place. Someone else may bring more, but what I bring has value. It will usually be recognized. I try to be useful. That means that dealers and curators find me useful. I may not be the star, but I have my uses. By trying to be contributing rather than competing, all of the one upsmanshp goes away. I then can concentrate on making the best, most honest art I can. That makes me a fellow to my brother artists and not a foe, and keeps me from being a threat to them. Your attitude will shape your art. Your intent, if it is positive, will shine, if it is aggressive or competitive, your paintings may only say. "hey look at me, I am important" rather than "look at this cool thing I have brought for you".

Tonight's uplifting bog is a one off. Tomorrow I will return to my usual snarling, irreverent self.


Linda Crank said...

What a special daughter you have, Stape! I know that you are proud of her and thankful for the input that she is having in other people's lives. For sure it is her personal relationship with God that gives her the love and courage for this work.

I like your thoughts on Contribution instead of Competition. Far better to encourage each other and appreciate what each person brings to the table rather than trying to feel "better than." That is a never ending and hurtful cycle.

Gregory Becker said...

You have alot to be thankful for when it comes to family and I know you are.
Competition...All of us artists are seemingly lumped together when the comparison is between what we can do and what God can do. Best to walk in that humility.

Philip Koch said...

I like Stape's comments on envy and competition among artists very much.

Robert J. Simone said...

If it is a crutch, it's one worth leaning on! Sounds like the Spirit at work in, through and around your daughter. Very praise-worthy!

I originally brought my athletic competitiveness to the art world. Learned the hard way that the same competitiveness that helped in sports didn't not serve me well in art. Good thoughts and post.

Durinda Cheek, Fine Artist said...

Thanks for that uplifting post, Stape. Your daughter sounds wonderful and what a wonderful calling for such a young person.

I have backed out of some art organizations in the last few years because of the competition, not for quality of artwork, but for the spotlight. You have reminded us of what is really important.

billspaintingmn said...

Hmmm, I wonder who/what inspired Emily to do such stuff?
Without faith, it is impossible to
please God!
Have value..make the most honest art I can make..
You know Stape, I talk with a famous artist(almost everyday)too!
(A really good one!) This person inspires others and is valued very much for the heart, nerve & sinew
displayed on a daily basis.
Of course tomorrow he will return
to his snarly, irrevernt self! ha!
...and I think he smokes a cigar.

R Yvonne Colclasure said...

"Bring up a child in the way she should go and when she is old she will not depart from it". Looks to me like you did a good job. Thank you for sharing. If we heard of more youth like your daughter instead of all the bad eggs, maybe there would be more good going on. Too bad the negative wins out in the news media.

I find most of the artists I admire are Christians. It helps to remember Who we are painting for, then the competiveness is not an issue. God bless you Stape for sharing with those of us who are less skilled, but aspire to a higher life and art.

Deborah Paris said...

Thanks for telling us about your daughter and her work, Stape. Such a shining example of God at work in the world.

I also applaud your comments about giving back rather than competing. This past week my workshop students and I were talking about Carlson and what a gift he has given generations and generations of landscape painters with his book- far more than what we would have had with just his paintings. He could have kept all that knowledge to himself and with what happened to representational painting in the 20th century that would have been a huge loss.

Nita Leger Casey said...

Stape , Your daughter is beautiful ,and great for her do do such of wonderful deeds in this days of incertitude.
Yes, some people get the fame ! and sometimes short lived , let's see who last the longest , I have over the years been envious of some who made it big , and thirty years later ,they are not better then me and some have not been seen in the map for years, the long journey is better , do what you love first, be nice to others and help others with their journey. and hope to paint until I can't hold a brush anymore.

Unknown said...

Bravo to daughter, Stape. She is makin a difference!

Judy P. said...

Yes, your daughter is making a difference, and so do you, everyday; you know what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree!

Teresa Lynn said...

A wonderful post. How uplifting to hear about your daughter and her work, faith and relationship with God.
Thank you for sharing. said...

I think a little competition is good. Too much competition is very bad ,unproductive and distracting.

However, I think positive can come from competition. Say, you see a better painted "tree" for example and your tree doesn't measure up and do your next thought is "I'm going to learn how to paint a much better tree". So competition in moderation can keep one moving, striving forward and help build skill levels and ability .And being a good competitor still doesn't stop one from contributing to others in the field.Competitors often admire one another.

However, Envy is evil and one of the seven deadly sins. Envy will kill your artistic soul. Envy brings dissatisfaction, distrust and destruction to personal and professional life. Envy never allows one to contribute. It's about withholding,secrets and wishing others ill. Nasty stuff.

Carol Nelson said...

I liked everything about your post. Your daughter sounds like an amazing young woman.
Your comments on competition and envy point out a common human frailty. I so much enjoy teaching others, I can't imagine not wanting to share what I know.
I'm glad to be a contributor. Your contribution with this blog is huge, even when you're snarly and gnarly.

Mary Byrom said...

What happened to you today? This one is a gem!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you Linda:
It is often difficult to keep above the fray and try simply to do the best you can.Remembering I am here to contribute helps me to do that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Sometimes I am so glad I didn't get what I deserved!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I do however feel a twinge of envy over your museum tour. Congratulations on that.Why don't you e-mail me the flyer for that and I will post it on the blog for the readers to see.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is a good thing that athletics is not demanded in art, I can't tell one sport from another, although I can usually pick out horse racing because of the animals included.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I have to ask, what do you direct?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think she got it from her mom.I am a nasty piece of work myself.

Billy Guffey said...

Hey Stape. She's storing up those treasures in Heaven, even though that isn't her purpose I'm sure. What a wonderful daughter.

I've had the pleasure of meeting the man in charge of Teen Challenge here in Kentucky, Mr. Skip Arp. The organization does wonderful things.

Not only does the one in the field sacrifice, but the person's family does also, whether by their side or across the world. My wife started a Christian based home for battered women and their children a couple of years ago (that's how I met Skip). Without the full support of our family it wouldn't fly. But with faith the results amaze us constantly.

She's added to our list. ;)

Stapleton Kearns said...

"Bring up a child in the way she should go and when she is old she will not depart from it".
What great advise that is.
I think the news focuses on the loser kids because, well they make news. But my daughters friends are all pretty much on the ball.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I bet Carlson would be very surprised at all the influence he has had.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Those are wise words too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

You too are making a difference,I know what you do.

Stapleton Kearns said...

She is a lot different from me. I am wicked edgy.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I wonder how many readers rolled their eyes and thought ewww!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I try to contribute rather than compete, but I do have a competitive streak to try to keep at bay. I think a want to contribute is more powerful and less corrosive than wanting to compete.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you; I will have to snarl a little tonight just to prove I can.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will get over it.

willek said...

Emily is the young lady you told us of at Snow Camp but the extent of her efforts is more amazing than you indicated at the time. I also know you and your wife work very hard to do the best you can for your girls. But there is no better feeling than when they do well. Good going.

Unknown said...

On competition versus contribution, delightful and refreshing view points, one I struggle with coming from having two brothers and very dysfunctional. Within that structure I am always feeling the competition, even nauseus before events fearing judging, losing, etc. I am competitive in sports but I hate it in art. I know I have my own view, vision but am often fearful to "contribute". Then again Henri says to be afraid before each painting, what we do can be awesome or slothful, depending.

Richard J. Luschek II said...

You must be proud of your daughters.

I just found this quote that I thought I would share.
"Art, like love, excludes all competition, and absorbs the man."

Todd Bonita said...


Wow! You've won the game of life my friend. To see your child live her life the way Emily does must bring you to tears sometimes. My son is only three and I feel so proud of him when he poops on the potty all by himself, I could only imagine your joy. To have managed to balance a successful art career as you have and raise a child in the manner which you have (not discounting your wifes efforts) is testimony to your greatness in my view.
Regarding the French Resistance, I got my Judson catalogue too and thought it was doosey, but, I didn't like that there is no pallet and it doesn't look like you could simply put one in and close the lid...not sure about that but take a look for yourself, it looks like it wouldn't close if you tossed a pallet in there. If this is true, you'de have to bring another box for your pallet and remaining paint, no? In the catalogue, they put the paint in the larger compartment but I think that is valuable storage and would leave little room for your paint tubes and brushes. I personally like the removable pallet option. Just me maybe.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your contribution. You're inspiring us with sound wisdom. May God continue to bless you as I see He already has.