Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Helene and I finally got an afternoon in the Milwaukee Art Museum. The 20,000 works are displayed in one of the most unusual venues in the art world. My humble words could never convey the scale and impact of architect Santiago Calatrava’s  masterpiece. Facing the bright blue of Lake Michigan’s west coast, the beaming white bow of the building boasts wings, yes wings that lift from the side exterior walls in the opening hour of the museum until the closing hour when the wings gracefully return over the walls. An architectural must see for art lovers.
After hours in and around the magnificent building through the soft curving interior walls we took photos of the building sculpture until it was time to go. On our return ride back to the southwest side of metropolitan Chicago, we played the game of naming all the art museums we have been so fortunate to have experienced. The list grew quite long as we headed south around Chicago. We got so engrossed in our little game we missed a crucial fork in the road and traveled east instead amid five lanes of busy traffic. The Willis (Sears) tower kept getting closer and closer. We turned on the mighty GPS and let the miracle of the modern age get us not so lost.
The art and architecture of the Milwaukee Art Museum should be on your list of great places to view and become part of the grander human experiences. See pictures of the museum below the blog posts.
To know the impact of the structure another valued architect, Rosolini, once said: "Don't watch the building. Watch the face of the people coming to the building."
Enjoy the art around you,

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Gloomy days slide by as we wait for spring and look through the inventory now completed and helping us prepare for the upcoming art year. The business of the art game is still difficult for us, the act of creating still the most pure and by far the most fun.
Creating art is perspiration and concentration. Some acts of art are pure pleasure, while others are pure hard work often with little positive results.
I wanted to immortalize an anniversary pot of roses. Sounds like an easy painting assignment but nooooo.  After four painting sessions, the dreaded mud. The painting result sits out of sight but watching from the its isolated distant location. On to the next…
Winter, with it blues and purples, set off a wave of energy for me that carried into a really fine “A” painting. So… perspiration, concentration, plus the hidden and often called on perseverance keeps the gloomy days away.
Still waiting for spring and flowers with all their color and textures and dancing in the wind. Please check the website for a look at my work:
Best to you for “A” days,

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New Start

At the beginning of the year, 2012, we realized it is another year to get organized and the inventory is still not under control. Not that we haven’t tried in past years. About three years ago we began a numbering system that helped in this new project.  Creative work as a way of accumulating and without some organization much of the work is likely to languish in the bins unaccounted. We’re talking hundreds of items.  The holiday season had an empty ring to as we saw the dreaded job ahead.

After many soulful discussions, we made a plan. The first day we arranged twenty paintings to photograph with their number and hand note them on two cross reference inventory sheets – one numerically and one alphabetically by first word in the title of each painting. We went through all the steps with no major glitches. In one full week, we worked six hours a day each, photographing and checking every painting in every bin noting the paintings that were also out at exhibition. Some paintings were sold and not noted on the old inventory sheets. Some, as art goes, were refined or painted over without an updated photograph. The inventory is now completed and recorded in the computer, but the challenge today is to keep the process going.  It is a good start to the new year.

With the inventory in control, I felt I could spend some winter nights reading without guilt. My good friend Karmen suggested Van Gogh: The Life by White and Naifeh. This 900+ page book has put together all the pieces of this genius’ life. After all the books I have read about Vincent, the gaps were so constant: how did it feel to live in these areas, what caused his illnesses, what was driving him. The big surprise confirmed some of my own considerations about the artists supposed suicide. I don’t want to give away this surprise, because though the book is a long read, the 10-year research and writing have been a treasure to those of us who really want to know about this prolific writer and artist – Vincent VanGogh.

Simply, Van Gogh said “I want  to paint what I feel, and feel what I paint.”

Okay, with that inspiration it is time to get back to work and fulfill the potential of this new year.

I intend to share the progress and thoughts of the artist’s day in this blog. If you want to check some of my newest paintings go to . If you would like to contact me, e-mail is the best source . Thanks for taking the time to read my restart of the Joel Ellis Art Web Log.