Tuesday, May 17, 2011



Here is another painting by the Nevelson master, Dirk Van Assaerts. Painted shortly after the artists marriage. The painting as usual has a problem, called THE DOWN TRIP! The lines of the painting have a sinking leftward depressing slant that causes the viewer to slump and rethink whether their lives are really that good. The painting is a drag at best and tragic when you are having a bad day.

It is OK to have one or maybe two of these in a grouping of paintings for a show or presentation (although having none would be my first choice) but too many gives a bummed out look. People feel things when they look at paintings, at least I want them to. I don't want to afflict the purchaser of my art (who will have to live with the picture) with a bad trip. Oh, no siree.

I'd like to be more positive, more UPLIFTING! I want to use rising lines that lift up the viewers gaze to the upper right of the painting in an ascending and affirming glide. Most of the time, paintings with lines that rise to the upper right are more pleasing, and cheerier. There are however, lots of paintings out there that are WAY too happy. They have spots of sunlight, and playing children, bright flowers and spotty backlit clouds and maybe a happy puppy playing with a satin ribbon. You can get really cheesy in a big hurry. There is a difference between making a painting positive and turning it into a fricking petting zoo.

A few more quick biographical notes on the Nevelson master. After graduating art school Van Assaerts married the daughter of a highly regarded officer in the shoe bureaucracy. His numerous connections in the other ministries gave him access to many goods. Dirk and his young wife, Sepsis, received bushels and bushels of potatoes through her father. Never would the little family know hunger, even in hard times Sepsis family provided more potatoes than they could ever eat. Often Dirk would barter with other subjects for tobacco or lottery tickets. Dirks young wife, accustomed to privilege and the prestige that officers are due, yearned for more than the young artist could really provide for her. Shopping made her comfortable, and eating helped too. As her body began to grow and extend protuberances of various sorts, Dirk knew he had a problem.

Writing these Encyclopedia is extremely time con suming and I am trying to get my Texas art finished and out the door. The art has to come first and today for example, I had to get a whole days painting in before I could write the blog. If I am a little more random in my postings presently I apologize. All I do is work.
I have two open spots in my workshop, below is the broadside from the sponsors of the workshop.

Vermont River by Stapelton Kearns.jpg

JCAS presents Stapleton Kearns Plein Air Painting Workshop

prior to the Cranford Plein Air Event “Paint the Town”.

June 4,5,6th

The cost of the workshop is $300.00 for three intense days.

To find out more or to register visit www.jcas.org

visit us on Facebook


Unknown said...

I would comment, but I am just so depressed suddenly after viewing this post. I don't know why.. it just hit me suddenly. I feel so DOWN.

Hope we get to see some of those Texas paintings....

Brady said...

He should have just turned the sign around, then things would be looking up!

BTW I couldn't resist, the captcha word was pottrod. Is that the new term for a VW bus?

Libby Fife said...

I couldn't finish the post as I rolled down the hill and tumbled out of the scene!

I think you may have missed a second calling as a creative writer:)

Plein Air Gal said...

Even more depressing than the painting example is that you'll have to endure 3 days in Cranford NJ! There is a small park in the center of town that has a few trees. NJ has so much beauty to offer -unfortunately, being part of the "armpit of the nation" section, Cranford and area isn't part of it! Some nice historic buildings, though and a good Chinese restaurant. Looks like some great artists participating, though!

Mary Bullock said...

I'm a little confused Stape. You say the painting goes down (which I can see), but then you say that you want your paintings to go up - which the painting does actually do - it goes up to the right. If it is going down to the left, it is going up to the right. Isn't that what you said you want your paintings to do?

Philip Koch said...

The sign with the arrow on it was a scream. This whole Nevelson master series is so funny! I think any artist who is able to stay with the task of being an artist has to, of necessity, develop a sense of humor. Obivioiusly the writer of this blog certainly has.

I'm only worried about what happens the day Stape stops writing the blog. What will I do then?

Poppy Balser said...


I am enjoying these posts immensely. I would like to add my confusion to Mary's... I am wondering if the difference would be if the lines going on in the picture were convex instead of concave (ie like umbrellas over the earth, not like puddles carved out of it)? I would be grateful for clarification.

I must echo another thought as well, what would I ever do when I do not get my daily ration of Stape's thoughts? Are you weaning us off gradually to prevent withdrawal symptoms? Seriously, I learn from every post, thank you for sharing so generously of your time and work. Good luck with the Texas show.

willek said...

I also don't understand what exactly is a down situation here. A stock analyst would be pretty happy to see those lines on a graph.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hang on tonight, upbeat. You will be happy then.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Tonight I turn the sign around.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I missed a lot along the way.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Plein Air Gal ;
I imagine I can find somewhere good to paint. I can teach almost anywhere.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hope I have answered your question tonight.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't think I will be quitting any time soon. I am just swamped with work.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hope I have made it more clear tonight. Thank you all for letting me know I had been unclear. ...............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Lets hope tonight's post clears that up.