Gift of the Sun

Heliodor
(Gift of the Sun)
Wall Sculpture – synthetic polymer paint on wood
54″x102″x14″(deep)
1997

Heliodor is an awesome wall sculpture. Oh let me toot my own artist horn just a little bit. It’s a looming wall piece that has a definite physical presence in a room. I painted it before I got my job really going at TTU School of Art, so I wasn’t quite aware of ADA regulations regarding objects protruding from walls in public spaces. Well, this piece helped acquaint me with those regs due to its 14″ wall protrusion 🙂

It hasn’t been a problem really. I haven’t sold the artwork, thought I did hang it in my Reconnecting show at Goldesberry gallery back in 1997. The piece had a $9000 price tag on it then, which sounds like a lot (well it really is) but considering all the work I put into it, that’s not a big price.

The name Heliodor means “Gift of the Sun” and the piece is named after a crystal family – the Beryl family. I’ve always loved crystals, and Heliodor is the bright yellow Beryl crystal.

Now the wall sculpture graces my bedroom wall. It’s a little large for it, but I’ve had it mounted in there for many years and would miss it if it left for greener pastures. Not that I wouldn’t love to get $9000 for it. Actually I think that’s a little bit low.

My lifelong art mentor, Jim Howze saw the piece soon after I completed it in early 1998. He told me, “Well, I just got back from a trip to New York City and this is as good as anything I saw there!” That was quite the statement. He didn’t hold back his thoughts. I knew that about him If he didn’t like something he would let me know it. Once, back in art school he told me, “That piece makes something start going around and around in my stomach and I have to choke it off at the neck!” hahaha

He was so right about that nauseous artwork!! I was using a lot of greens shades in it. Some of them were in trouble 😦

And I am not directly sure about his statement about Heliodor. I haven’t been to New York City.. And I have no idea what he saw while there. I”m assuming he saw work by many of the recognized masters of 20th century art. I didn’t quiz him on it, but I just assumed who they might have been.

Jim Howze image Jim Howze passed into the great beyond at the end of 2016 😦 He will be missed by many, certainly by me. He told me to call him Jim and not Professor Howze, so I did. But I always felt a little bit uncomfortable and phony doing it, because he always seemed to understand my art better than I did. My great mentor and friend, Jim.

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So WP art lovers, get busy saving your spare quarters. I probably won’t be making huge wall sculptures like Heliodor anymore. Get this one while it’s hot!! Isn’t that how you sell a huge artwork? One deluxe model wall sculpture. Buy it while the price is still reasonable.

It’s probably the last of its breed, I’m thinking. Twenty years ago I was up for producing these really heavy wall sculptures. Now, though, I’ve switched to canvas painting. It’s a great way to work, too, and my shoulder still gives me a little bit of love at the end of the day.

I almost forgot to mention the semi-hidden visual “story” in Heliodor. Why didn’t anybody say anything? Probably because not too many folks are up at 5:45am blogging full-tilt bloggie. So! Heliodor has a theme of the Greek myth of Icarus. If you look closely you can see him falling earthward after his wax and feather wings have failed. So how does that “fit” with Heliodor gift of the Sun? I don’t want to make that determination. This is highly visual art. The meaning rests in the visual 90+ percent. I could come up with some verbal connections I’m sure. But I want to keep it viaual. That’s my theme for this blog post, and my art-life in general. Until I post again with another visual theme motto 😉 hahah

(so, friends, did you just love my little conflation of Icarus experience & art mentor? Thought I quite nearly pulled it off. Maybe next post trip!)

KEEP IT VISUAL

Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !!

Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !!
bas-relief painting – synthetic polymer paint on baltic birch plywood
22″ x 60″
1997

This was a big success of an artwork for me 🙂 It sold out of Goldesberry Gallery in Houston in 1998 for $3200. The price tag was $4000 but the buyers asked if I would go down to $3200. I didn’t really want to drop it. But I hadn’t been selling much in the Goldesberry, but even with the 50/50 gallery split I would be netting more than a month’s take home from my safety coordinator job at TTU School of Arrrrt. Couldn’t tell them no!!

Yes, I’m spin-splaining this a tiny bit. I wanted to sell it but I had my usual conflicting emotions about the sale (about 38% level – so, not too bad for me). It always feels like I’m selling a car when the buyer wants to deal. I’m not quite financially independent from my art! YO! someday, someway…

So… It was the last piece they ever sold for me at the Goldesberry, and soon after, I met Dawn & Chris Wolf-Taylor. They loved a big piece, “Ex-Nihilo et al” (I changed the name for them & other normal people to: “Creation Once Removed” and I made a deal with them to drive down to Houston to pick up all my art from Goldesberry and pay me some sick dough (see, when I use slang of today, it just doesn’t translate 😦 ) for the piece. It was a groovy deal (dead slang is also a no-go!) for me and them, too.

Still, Goldesberry did sell several pieces of my work during my tenure in their gallery. Unfortunately, I didn’t try too hard to cooperate, really. Oliver Goldesberry said I needed to make much smaller works which he could sell, but I just didn’t make any. Bummer! (I rate this a 8.9 on the slang-o-meter). Not too sure why I didn’t but I was feeling a lot of stress at my jobby job (You rate this one, dear reader :^)

That job stress was NOT helping too much. Menial work is good for some artists perhaps even l’il me. Menial is not a bad word for some creative people. My daddy dad dad did NOT understand where I was coming from. I remember him getting so upset that I was a janitor when I was “graduating from college,” he pounded the kitchen countertop during breakfast on morning so hard the silverware did a little dance of daddily F-rustration. Ho No! Golly Gee daddy dad. I certainly wasn’t the little adoptee sonny boy you had in mind…  But that was all part of the Transmogrification of little Bobby. It can be a long haul when daddy mean bux thinks sonny boy is a little loser who needs sports and boy scroats shoved down his throat 24/7. Ok that’s more of my spin-splaining. Better grab onto something solid, like this here couch or the spinning might just keep on a spinnin.’

There now,  getting back on the art horse – if you check out my website archive page #1 you’ll see several small wall sculptures. (And yes! “check out” was a worm hole direct flight to that page aka hyperlink!… ) Those little wall sculptures basically launched my art career in Houston about 10 years before I joined Goldesberry. And the Goldesberrys remembered me from when they worked at Kauffman Gallery. So they KNEW I could make it happen.

Well, it’s time to skip the coulda shoulda woulda paragraphs and move on to the reality of my artwork. So watch me take a flying hop, skip and jump… ha ha ho ho

This piece, Metamorphosis ~ Transmogrification !! is a rather characteristic “style” of mine for most of my life. I’ve often designed with heavy lines and solid, vibrant colors, starting with a landscapish design. From there I’m able to launch a painting far and away. But my process, that process, is a very good match for me, and, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Still I continue to experiment with various art jams ‘n jellies. I’ll spread them on with multifarious scrapers, brushes, squeegees, etc. And from this experimental “outlier” process I  do find a new tool and method. So it’s good for me to continue to experiment. And I can’t say that this “outlier” process is an outlier at all. It certainly is not.

The experimentation is a vital part of my art process. I just don’t include it into the direct painting process 24-7. More like 23-6.33 🙂  It’s always there, or just went out for a cuppa coffee (be right back!!) . …

Yes, I painted many a painting with practically one brush, a #8 sable round. If I can locate one of those brushes, I’ll take a photo. I’ve worn several down to a bare nubbin’ from brushing  away the happy hours after hours.

Keep the tried and true. Experiment with the new. Works for me, and always has. This has created and sustained my Metamorphosis  ~ Transmogrification !! art process through the years.

Pyrrhic Horse Trader

Pyrrhic Horse Trader
synthetic polymer and latex paint on canvas
1976
60″x96″

I hope to post large images from my website here, so that when someone clicks on the LARGE IMAGE link on an art thumbnail he or she will either come to a larger image here on this page, or to a blog with a spellbinding blog post written by l’il artist me… 🙂

The featured image is the first big a painting I ever produced, way back in 1976. I know it was that year because it was the Bicentennial Year, 1976 and I painted a sort-of Bicentennial painting.Back in the day we had no woodshop to speak of. I went to Handy Dan Lumber Store and picked out 2×2 lumber as straight as I could find for my stretcher frame. I think I did the actual frame building in the painting lab at school. It was summertime and the classes were quite small, as I recall, so there was a lot of room to spread out. With no woodshop I couldn’t cut a bevel on the wood, required to make sure the canvas didn’t leave a mark as you painted, on the front. So I bought quarter round and glued and tacked it to the front of the 2×2 sticks.

The 45 degree cuts for the corners I simply estimated and went for it. The whole thing was held together with nails! Talk about old school 🙂 haha And then, to strretch it, I didn’t even have a staple gun. I used tacks and a hammer. That took quite a long time. Now, my memory is getting fuzzy these daze. It wasn’t my first canvas to stretch. I might have bought a staple gun by then.

Actually I believe I had. It was so much easier and faster with a staple gun. I put some stars and stripes in it. This photo is not the final result. I did add some stars in the left side long blue stripe. Perhaps it wasn’t necessary but I was having a bit of trouble getting to a complete “FINISHED” place. That’s still a difficult place to find.

Some paintings are rather open-ended. You can paint on them for a loooong time. But no compressor and pneumatic tools. I have several now and they help so much.

Back then, though, I was a real artist, more than now, in that regard. I didn’t have a ton of money and I used some latex paint for gesso, too. That didn’t seem to be a problem either. It should have been according to strict conservation methods, and if the painting had survived it might have, but the painting had a different destiny awaiting.

A lot of people liked that painting. My good friend Sal Hernandez came in from working with grounds to just sit and look at it. I know he liked it. And I had another friend who seemed to like it. This was a high school friend who will remain nameless. Why? Well, in my youth I was prone to smoking entertaining herbs. So, I traded that painting to him for a quantity of hash. Yeah, I did.

Well, no I don’t feel guilty about it. I was 19 or so, and I sometimes did goofy stuff. That was one of the goofy things. But he did make a generous trade. And, I gotta tell you people, the next semester of college was my lost semester . . .

I spent a lot of time lying on my couch not doing too much of anything except smoking hash. It got me stoned as all get out. And as soon as I would recover I would smoke some more. I think I had a bit of an addiction for a few uhhhh how long was it? It’s kind of a blur.

I’m surprised I did as well in my classes as I did. I wasn’t taking all art classes just yet, as I recall. Somehow I survived that semester and didn’t flunk any classes. I think I dropped a class though.

This is a rather boring blogpost. It’s too bad because that painting looked really really good! i liked it, but sometimes my artist mind will trick me. I’ve thrown art away when I got into insane artist mode. Or traded it in questionable deal like the one I just described.

And there was one more thing, too. As some point I went over to my friend’s house. He had the painting outside against a wall. That was sort of sad to see, but it gets worse, at least for me. He had decided he didn’t like some parts of the painting, so he painted them out!! Yikes!!

I was not too happy about that, to say the least. But I was not too assertive at that time in my life (or any) so I didn’t say anything at all. But it bothered me, and so even after over 40 years here I am still bringing it up. Jeez.

Oh glamorous life of the artist I’ve led. That remains a difficult thing to recall, though. And, I plan on not recalling it too many more times. So, don’t plan on any trades. I want money! Of course the problem is, I don’t like to sell any of the art I’ve created. It’s never easy…

wee studio

The featured image is my wee bedroom studio (well, how it was a few months ago – made a few upgrades since then). I spend a lot of time in here. And it’s pretty small as you can plainly see. But I’ve managed to build my own $5 easel system that can support a canvas of 48″x60′ rather well. Of course, navigating such a canvas into the bedroom through my narrow hallway is a submarine-like adventure, but it’s doable with colorful language.

I have three cats in my little family who live inside my studio. The one in the window ledge is Buffy. I love my little calico Buffy. The problem is she and Shumi don’t really feel a proper sisterly love towards each other. Or maybe any 😦

A few years ago they got into a fight that seemed destined to a bad ending. I had to stop it in a hurry so I doused Buffy with a big pot of water. That really cooled her jets before she did some serious damage to Shumi. Still made her little ear bleed though. What the heck?

The next morning I installed a plywood door (plywood should be my middle name!) in my narrow hallway and now I have a duplex – my kitty-plex home. So Bunny & Buffy live in the back half and I spend much of my time back here in this wee studio painting, blogging, doing web design, watching movies… sleeping you say? HAHA that’s for sissies!! No, I wish I was more. But I’ll sleep when I’m done making art!! So…

Anyway, Shumi lives in the front kitty-plex” comprising my kitchen & my living room (which is really about 80% art gallery). You can see my home art gallery in some of the art photos on my website “Perturbations” – displayed in my home gallery.

Also, I have another studio painting space in that west side of kitty-plexia. It’s not quite usable now, but I see the need to get it up and running, again. I did most of my painting in it way back at the turn of the century. Probably you didn’t need to know a thing about it. But, I really wanted an excuse to type, TURN OF THE CENTURY!!

So, I have an unusual art studio arrangement. But my little cat family and I are having our little creative lives together in this place, for many years now. Could it be better? The salads are always crisper somewhere else – isn’t that how the old saying goes?

I’m trying not to waste my life looking for better lettuce elsewhere. Boab is not getting any younger apparently. My knee’s been able to predict the weather better than the local weathermen for years now!! Obviously this is not the life glamorous by artist standards! ha! But I’ve been able to produce some artwork that not only moves me steadily down my art path (plain to see as I’ve been gazing at it for 50+ years). And from time to time I get all geezer gassed about a painting and commence to hobble dance around the studio 🙂 haha So I’m good 🙂

Hot Jupe!

Astrophysicists and cosmologists (and cosmetologists for all I know!) are busy as all get out finding exoplanets. These are planets that I guess are also busy – busy orbiting other suns. Not our sun. I’m talking about suns way the heck out there, in other parts of our galaxy. Maybe by now the telescope people have managed to find exoplanets that are orbiting suns in other galaxies. It’s all very exciting. Certainly it is to them, and it is to me, too!

I need to refill my coffee – back in a bit. . . . Ok, that took a while. Hope you were enjoying the featured art on this blog. I painted it about 2-1/2 years ago. It’s a pretty big diptych to be painted on wood. The title indicates, hopefully, that the Hot Jupiter exoplanets were my main inspiration for the piece. Of course I do abstract things in my work just a bit. But who knows what’s going on in other solar systems?

According to the astrophysicists some of these exoplanets orbited their sun several times while I was making my coffee!! (well, uhhh …) They are planets in a hurry, though… really so crazy how fast some of them are orbiting, some of these HOT Jupiters, in orbit about 6 feet off the solar ground and orbiting so fast, orbits just a few days long – maybe hours. I’m not keeping up with those Jupes! Are you?

No really, I got interested in the Hot Jupes several years ago. I’m not just sitting here sipping (well, maybe slugging, ok) caffeine drinks as I blog blog blog, paint paint paint, code code code. I’ve always had a big interest in astronomy.

Again, though, I guess it’s good when a blogger can be a little bit honest. Sometimes ya gotta figure things out and it can takes a bloggie a while on that. As with my meteorology avocation-ish I’m getting the feeling (and understanding) that a lot of the interest I have is coming from the innate artist in me, and is visually driven. I don’t have too much interest in calculus, ya know. haha

Aren’t negative numbers real numbers? I’ll tell you what my interest in learning higher math was (is) … about -500. So I DO have a “real” interest in it, from a mathematical point of view ~ kinda. 🙂

No, really I’m glad I’ve lived in the 20th century & now this new one, whatever the dang thing’s going to be called. They’re both very charming in a quarky sort of way. Ohhh, I hear the groans from people who’ve heard that one way too many times.

Well, better get back to my web designing. I do love that! So thank you so much you math and science people who made computers and the internet happen. And who invented telescopes. If I can ever move to a dark sky place (like my dream of a home in the Land of Enchantment) aka New Mexico. I plan on once again trying for my cherished 18″ Dob!! Oh Yeah!!

And of course New Mexico is a GREAT Place for visual artists like myself. New Mexico hits so many happy buttons. No need to search for my own personal Hot Jupe 🙂 But! I’m kind of living my happy dance life now. Here, in Texas! How did THAT happen?

I love them!

This little wall sculpture was the first of a series of quite a few small wall sculptures I made in the early to middle 1980s. I had a wall full of these and they looked good! Good enough that Kauffman Gallery decided to accept me into their “stable” as some galleries call their artists. I’ve never been too fond of that term, but I do love horses 🙂

Be that as it may, It was late 1984 and I had quite a few of the little wall sculptures finished. I thought they looked strong – a solid direction to present to a gallery. And life was pressing in on us. Things back home were not good. My parents were going through it and every time ET phoned home the news seemed worse. Bad for them, but sort of a sword dangling over my head to work my tail off to present to art galleries. Why my parent’s plight affected me directly like it did I’m not entirely sure. My existential artist plight was drenched in family drama at that time.

So, I got up my nerve and called a gallery (big deal for me). She seemed to like my work but informed me the next day that my work was not a fit. I was disappointed but it was only the first gallery I’d called, so… I recovered quickly and in a day or two called the director of Kauffman gallery – which I felt drawn to already. I’d attended shows there and (years before) hoped someday I would show my work in their attractive gallery space.

The Kauffman director, Leigh Smitherman, caught me off guard. I asked if I could show her my work and heard, “Sure, do you want to come in today?” This was such a surprise to me I fumbled around and said, No, I can’t today, but tomorrow is good (what a big artist dummy I was…).

The next day, I arrived at the gallery with my little sculptures in a cardboard box. haha What a presentation. I was a few minutes early, so I pretended to look at the art on the walls, but, yes, that’s what I was doing. A few minutes passed and she came in – but I didn’t know it was Leigh.

She saw my box of art first and said, “Oh these must be Robert Terrell’s pieces! I LOVE THEM!” That was one of the best reviews I EVER HAD. I think I said, I’m really glad you like them, and then told her I was the man! haha We looked at the ones I brought – I think about 8 of them. I told her how I made them and what they meant to me.

She told me the gallery voted on new artists that coming Friday, so I had to wait a couple of days to find out if they were interested. From her opening comments and our conversation I was hopeful but still I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high. You never know. She was not the gallery owner. But, like I said, I’d wanted to be in their gallery for a long time 🙂

Friday came and I called (I think I did the calling). Leigh told me I’d gotten a thumbs up from the gallery committee, and that such great news – it was the beginning of my new life at age 31!! They started hanging my art, including some larger pieces (I will post photos of a couple of them).

The first month with the gallery I sold two pieces for about $750 and $500 so I did the only rational thing – I quit my pretty good job at Texas Art Supply. And, No… that wasn’t the best idea I ever had.

My wife and I began eating more potatoes than usual.

My joining the gallery was still such a good experience for me… I finally felt like I’d achieved a real artist goal. Now other artists had a reason not to like me (they thought) – and some of them did seem to have some issues. They had more Houston connections, they had more art schooling…. oh well.

Even after all these years, I still look back to that afternoon. “Are these Robert Terrell’s pieces, I love them!”

You can see several of the little wall sculptures here on my art website: Little Wall Sculptures by Robert L Terrell

Haboobs for Real in the US (of A)

This was taken from my front door! Yaay… It was about 6 years ago – don’t exactly remember. But since I haven’t been a driver for quite a few years now, I rode my bicycle home through it – luckily the dust hadn’t gotten quite so terrible until I got home to the “relative” safety of my wee castle. The wind was pretty rough though – pedaling agains 50+ wind gusts 😦

I’ve seen these as long as I’ve lived here in Haboob, TX, but this was most def a bad ass sandstorm. Growing up we also called them dust storms. I think the name sandstorm must have originated from further south where the topsoil is more sandy. But sometime in the last 20 or so years the name Haboob, from Arabic (I guess) appeared. I like it!! It fits this picture and the experience for me.

I could have told you I’ve already moved to Mars, because this sort of looks like it, except Mars has no soil people. Or trees. Or atmosphere, really. I’m not on the list to move there. Not my idea of a home destination. Earth is a thousand million times better on its worst day imho. But if you don’t like normal gravity or an atmosphere, be my guest.

Ok I’ve sidetracked. But to answer a question some people might have, NO, I didn’t fiddle around with Photoshop to make the sky look more red than it was. It was this freakin’ red.

Yeah, living in the panhandle of Texas can be rough sometimes. But so can anywhere. That’s what I read – when I’m inside avoiding such a Haboob!! But really we don’t get this sort of atmospheric disastro too often. Dust storms yeah, every year, several times. Not this though. Actually I’ve learned not to hate them so much. I’m almost grateful. Because you can almost bet that when we get this… a few hours and a few hundred miles downstream (windstream) from us, somebody will be getting some terrible tornadoes. The winds that produce this usually just blow like heck through here, but then hit the warm moisture front coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. That means real trouble. I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Livin’ in the USA. You gotta have a spine. It does get real!