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

Learning by . . .

Learning By . . .
acrylic paint on canvas – 30″ x 40″
2016

 This piece will rearrange or enhance the synapses I believe. After I finished the artwork and was enjoying the view (sometimes I can actually do this without mentally attempting to “improve” the painting). I began to have a new and curious feeling I hadn’t quite felt before with one of my abstract paintings,at least not so directly. As I gazed at the painting somehow I felt a mental change, like I was smarter (in some way). Perhaps it was similar to the way a baby looks at a black and white mobile to get its brain booted up.

I thought the act of viewing this painting was rebooting some part of my mental processes – like new software. I could have titled it Bob_2.0.

I suspect many people will think this is completely ridiculous but I intend to continue working on the complex black and white paintings – with a few color elements – to this end. They are a big favorite of mine anyway, and this interesting feeling I had is an extra impetus to work on them. I’m not sure if the retina cones are processed in the same way by the visual cortex and brain as are the b&w rods, but it seems to me they could not be quite the same, and probably are very different. I don’t seem to get that booted-up feeling from colorful art so much as from some b&w art. This also seems like a good direction to pursue.

the-hallucinogenic-toreador2I used to have a poster of a Salvador Dali painting, “Hallucinogenic Torreador.” It is probably my favorite Salvador Dali work that I’ve seen. Now that painting might operate on my brain like my abstract painting, “Learning by . . .” But I don’t recall feeling like my brain was getting booted-up when I viewed HT. It’s been decades since I owned that Dali poster. The Wiki link has a lot more information on “Hallucinogenic Torreador” than I ever had before, which was minimal.

 

 

Houston my Once upon . . .

image of Houston, TX

I’ve already blogged a little bit about Houston. I won’t say too much about the place. It’s been in the news after the recent world-class 50″ rainfall. It never rained that much when I lived there back in the middle 80s but I did see some huge rains of course.

Anyway, I don’t want to blog about any rainy wet stuff. This is a fantastic photo of Houston. It can really be quite the looker sometimes. And it felt like my creative art mother (also sometimes). Not always but the feelings are still there even after all these decades.

I’m looking for another artwork I produced in Houston. I’ll add to this post when I find it. But now I need to add to my one hour of sleep. So… I’m off to count sheep – all two of them before I’m out 🙂

Wooden Galaxy & Objets d’Art

wooden-galaxy wall sculpture

Another “legacy wall sculpture” I made back in the day 🙂 I had a downtown art studio on San Jacinto Ave in Houston, TX when I was creating these pieces. But it’s been so long I don’t think I get any ego trip from it anymore.

Most of the artwork was done in the apartment living room using my little Dremel tool saw. My ex-wife put up with a lot from me (always) and I wonder how many wives would be okay with hubby sawing out wooden pieces in the tiny apartment living room!

But during this time she could see my artistic self was very motivated and I was getting some art production moving and in a definite, solid direction.

I may be fibbin’ a bit (little white lie) so far in this post – but I’m guessing nobody cares except me, and… not even me anymore. This piece Wooden Galaxy was probably created in the house we moved to over in the north loop Heights section of Houston.

That house was a productive art studio home for me. Considering my diet was baked potatoes, marijuana, and diet coke, I managed to get a lot of art done – at least I thought I was! HAHA And I was. These numerous small wall sculptures got me into Kauffman gallery at the end of 1984. They loved my art and sold quite a few of them (and much larger wall sculptures) through the years.

Now decades later the Houston art years seem a little unreal. I still have friends there, and Houston will always be my original artist home. When I look at the photos of my artwork from the early Houston years, I remember what a great inspiration Houston was for me and the artwork reflects it. I will always love that city 🙂

But I realized a long time ago that wherever I live I can produce art that doesn’t make me cringe (too much haha) decades later. I find inspiration in the external world wherever I live, but my artistic self makes it happen ultimately.

That being said, some locations are great for the artist to grow and thrive and others not as much. Houston really was the artist nurturing home for me from 1981-1985 especially.

Then, I had a big Houston art show in 1985 and one of the reviews was not entirely glowing for me. the reviewer at the Houston Post reviewed the citywide show (can’t remember the name). But galleries all over town participated. I was part of this show. Of course, quite a few artist were mentioned in the review, including me. The reviewer said:

“Then there were the usual “objets d’art.” Robert Terrell’s wall sculptures at Kauffman Gallery …”

So I got top billing among the usual artsy objects in the show. That was very upsetting considering how hard I’d worked. The nurturing felt like it was over!! My wife and the gallery people told me not to worry about it, but i felt like something was lost, or over, or…. I don’t know. I didn’t want to live in Houston anymore. haha Maybe a bit of an over-reaction.

But we moved to LA a few months later…

Installation 2006

art installation

Think of a song, to the title of “Secret Agent Man” of about a million years ago. But it’s called Installation Man! 🙂 haha. Well, it felt like that when I was trying to make this installation work at Underwood Center back in 2006!! I was granted a work reprieve of ONE WEEK!! to make it happen in the back end gallery space. Not a boatload of time. I could have worked on it more – Dawn Wolf-Taylor the director was ever so kind to give me rides to and from the gallery.

I had already quit driving by that time. Seizures (that should explain it). And she probably would have given me even more rides up to the gallery to work more.

I painted 80′ (as I recall – at least) of wall space and installed a mobile in the center. It was imho a good success. If I’d planned better it would have been even more cool than it was.

But my painting process has always been about painting and then repainting, often several times. This project was not going to easily lend itself to that. More planning would have been probably building a model and working through a lot more work in the model stage. I’d never done too much of that.

But the photos I took and all the mileage I’ve gotten since, using those photos to create new artwork, have been the best part of the experience for me. I’m using a highly modified one now as the header photo for my new website: Abstract Painting by Robert Terrell.

As time goes by I might search for more photos of the world famous (in the mind of me) art installation at Underwood Center 2006.

I lost any fear of painting large, that’s for sure!

Hurdy Gurdy Dream Reef

hurdy-gurdy-dream-reef

I’ve painted for over 30 years almost exclusively on wood. It made sense because I was making wall sculptures. Then I got a commission in 1996 and there was an ADA stipulation that it couldn’t protrude from the wall more than 4″. I was the safety coordinator at TTUSOA and really didn’t know about that! Well… another story that I probably won’t blog about. Ancient history.

I’d been creating wall sculptures with no regard for the z-sxis (the protrusion into the third dimension) except for design reasons. And as long as I could make each design hold together, it was good. But now it seemed, I was in a new design world. The 4″ restriction very much changed my whole approach (but I noticed that for Frank Stella it didn’t seem to create a ripple at all! Oh well. He made art for museums and I was happy to get art commissions here and there.

That’s what caused the big change for me in the first place. I got a commission for two wall pieces that had to comply with ADA. So, the designs really had to shrink a LOT along the z-axis. Where I had produced some wall sculptures that protruded out from the wall a foot or more, now that 4″ restriction changed my wall sculptures into bas-relief paintings, or 2-1/2D paintings!

Those first two commissions were really two wall sculptures that looked like they got run over by a truck. haha I was still creating in the “exploding” style I had been, with pieces blowing out from the center. Only now, with these two pieces, they weren’t blowing any more, except sideways!! haha I wasn’t laughing too much then, and I really delayed on those two commissions. I never got any more commissions from that company down in Houston. Can’t blame anyone but my own little self. Still, things really changed for me after that. It wasn’t the end of the wall sculptures, but the war was lost (in my mind). Perhaps the mind can trick an artist, or anyone. Ya think??

I’ll probably blog about this topic ad nauseum (hopefully there will be no hurlin’) but for now, I’ll just say that I finally got to the point that I was experimenting with almost flat art again, with just a whisper (just wanted to use that word) of any sort of bas-ness. haha

And this piece has the Z-none axis (none at all), other than the illusionistic spaces created by yours truly.

And black & white! I had a dream of an ALL black and white art show over 30 years ago. Still thinking about it.

This piece has so much going on. I kept working on it for quite a while and things would happen in my little world, which would show up. And now… do I mention them or what?

For this evening I’m done. I think this is a blather-post. May need to edit out a lotta lotta. THEN I might add-in some Hurdy Gurdy Dream Reef yadda yadda . . .

MESO “88” (presidential cream cone)

Meso “88”
abstract painting – synthetic polymer on canvas
30″x40″ ~ 2017

Thought it be time to insert another Abstract Painting by Robert Terrell acrylic painting on canvas 🙂 How’s that for a totally transparent plug for my artist website?? So… not sure where to go from here.

I just had to paint an object-like thing or two in this painting. I’ve hardly done that in many decades. So if you look (and not even too closely) there’s the trout with spots falling off, and several other recognizable and not quite recognizable somethings I painted into MESO “88.” I kind of let my artist’s OCD talent go too far perhaps ~ NOT! Oh I’m loving this one.

Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed painting all the B&W artworks quite a lot, and I’ve painted a few of them in the last three years. My first gallery “owner” Larry Kauffman told me don’t bother, he couldn’t sell B&W. He could really sell colorful art though. He started representing Hundertwasser, and I remember seeing his big wall covered in Hundertwasser prints, about, ohhh well smallish size less than 18″ and landscape format.

That was a wonderful wall to gaze upon, I gotta say! During that time, mid-1980s, I was making small wall sculptures, also less than 18″ in the long axis. I need to find an image of one of them… hang on …

wall sculpture - mini
Neptune’s Secret

I constructed and painted a lot of these during the 1980s and beyond. By the mid-1990s I was pretty much finished with them though I did morph this style into my long-time bas-relief painting style which Jim Howze called 2-1/2D ! haha

I’ll post more photos of the wall sculptures and the 2-1/2D revolution of the late 20th century soon.

I’ll end with a passage from Ecstatic Encounters by Allison Stanfield – Art Biz Coach:

“…the term “Ecstatic Encounter” was originally inspired
by a 2002 NPR interview with Frank Stella, who said that an encounter
with Barnett Newman’s paintings made him “ecstatic to be an artist.”