Innocent Jim Morrison

Being Jim Morrison couldn’t have been easy.  Was he really an innocent bystander of the chaos around him?  You have all these adoring fans who love you for the wrong reasons perhaps?  At least that’s what Jim must have thought while his tenure was in The Doors.  Outside of his bubble, people assumed he was a spastic, wild man at a rock-n-roll circus.

 

Painting an innocent, poetic legend…

Inspired by the lizard king himself,  I wanted to see what my rendition would look like from a tv photo I saw from a soundstage performance.  I wasn’t trying to get the likeness as much as the essence.  And I used a limited palette of colors and brushstrokes.  With unapologetic, decisive calligraphy-like brushstrokes, It resulted in a clean, unfiltered version which surprised me when I saw the result.  I’m a huge Robert Henri fan and his influence was clear from this oil study.  Not really a finished painting, but just a quick drawing of possibilities.  I was trying to break through my own personal boundaries as well.

 

Back to the Lizard

The Doors were often mentioned like a “mirror”, to reflect what was happening in the 60’s.  Jim expressed himself in a highly intelligent form of music that was truly poetic, because that’s what his mystical lyrics were.  Mystical and beautiful.  Pure Poetry.  Purer Magic.  Bob Dylan was similar in that he express his poetic views of the times as well, but Jim took that to another cosmic dimension where abstract thinking and the sublime subconscious brought us to different worlds to help see our own from a different perspective.  Maybe not so innocent?

 

Rebelling against himself?

Yes, the Doors and especially Jim Morrison helped break boundaries of what reality was and could possibly be.   He lived, breathed and believed his own art and wanted people to believe it with him.  Unsurprisingly, Jim became antagonistic towards most of his fans because he thought all they wanted to witness was the spectacle of a wild child rock god.  “Hear my words if you want to understand me”.  How displeasing Jim must have felt knowing most people didn’t quite understand his words at that time.

Years after Jim broke through to the other side, his music and words endure today.  Time has revealed the endurance of the artist’s poetry and persona.  In fact, the lizard was deemed a mythical figure and somehow gave the audience exactly what they wanted.  A legend or jester?  A musical shaman or superficial showman?  Additionally, Jim was never perceived as an innocent artist in the circus of life.  As a result, he became an unapologetic outlaw wearing his snakeskin soul on his sleeve.

 

This is the end…

To conclude, Jim Morrison tested the boundaries of music and life.  Most of all, he gave us a new meaning of what possibilities are within us if we just recognize the beauty in our light and darkness.  Expressing your own art isn’t always rainbows or roses.  Especially if you’re an artist and sometimes you have to let the darkness in to make it free again.  Painting Jim was great for me and personally I felt like I broke through something special.  Jim broke through the darkness to help us see our own insecurities and accept them, so that we may bravely experience some personal revelation within ourselves.  And through his art, we sure did.

Jammin’ in Picasso’s Cafe

My recent trip to Barcelona was a visual feast of Gaudi buildings, art, food and music.  I mean when you visit a place, you can tell that the arts has a large and profound influence on the city.  You can immediately sense that in Barcelona.

I have been soaking up everything weird and colorful here.  From all kinds of unique shops dealing with eclectic art and raunchy chocolate snacks, there is literally something for everyone here.  It is nice when you can jump out of your own comfort zone and into a place like Barcelona.  People are very enthusiastic about their city.  Independence is important to them, to have their own Catalyn identity and history is what sets this region apart from the rest of Spain.  One of my own personal highlights came when I found a cafe that Picasso was associated with.

I found out that this cafe called 4 Gats was an important historic landmark because it was where Picasso had his first art show at 19. Which is ironic, because that’s how old I was when I began my art journey despite all the negative resistance from family.

 

Not many people know this about me, but I took piano lessons as a kid and have a greater appreciation now than before. I wanted to know what it was like to play at Picasso’s old hangout spot and once I saw that piano, I had to go for it. The moment lasted just a minute but I knew it would be special for me.

There are moments in life you just jump before your mind gets to stay stop, and you know that’s when it’s right for you. Luckily, I recorded this moment and had no idea what to play, so I improvised. And here is a taste of it…

 

 

Small Wings

Here’s a story you may have heard of.   It’s about a small bird called “Small Wings”.  He was a lonely, little bird who knew nothing of the outside world due to the hidden, overprotective nurturing his upbringing was bestowed on him since birth.  But this baby bird also had a special gift also in its infancy waiting to share with the outside world.

 

He was colorblind

This little bird wished that he could see colors. He loved painting and always enjoyed painting from his heart. But something wasn’t quite right. He was born with a limited ability to see black and white images. Maybe it was because this bird was using substandard art materials that clouded his own vision to see correctly. And he didn’t know it, just kept moving along and painting what his skills allow him to do. This bird tried watercolors, acrylics, pastels and everything he could find to express his vision. But he was still not satisfied. Not yet.

So one day as he was painting outdoors, an old bird who also was an artist painting the same scene, decided to give the boy one of his paintbrushes. The little bird was puzzled, didn’t know why the old bird gave him a paintbrush. He already had many paintbrushes. So the little bird dipped his new paintbrush into the color paints and painted on his canvas.

 

Suddenly, Small Wings could see a few strokes in color. He painted more!  First the sky, then the sun, then the foreground where the trees were sparkling a few more breaths of the last light of day. Everything the boy was painting, now the boy could see in color. He had no idea why he could see color. Was the old artist some kind of magician? Or a superhero? This little bird has never seen the colorful paintings he has been painting for years until now.

 

Then a miracle happened…

Then he suddenly realized why he could see color. The universe might have granted his wish? Maybe someone believed in him enough that it manifested at the right time? What Small Wings saw was amazing and could finally understand why he’s been painting all these years despite his inability to paint with beautiful colors. You see, his colors were not so bright, not so clear before. But someone activated the bird’s belief in himself. Small Wings tried for years to paint from his heart, his eyes, his hands to the canvas, but the paintings never turned out as well as he wanted to.

This little bird years later turned into an older, wiser bird and soon went out of his comfort zone from America to the island of Taiwan where he found a second master bird painter. It was the first time this little bird was now taking private art lessons and this very old master artist was teaching him techniques that were more old world than he was.

This hardworking bird studied the materials and discovered the right brushes, the right way to stretch a canvas, the right way to compose a painting, and some of the best paints he saw on the master artist’s palette. There were all different brands to experiment and try out. What Small Wings discovered he liked best was the paint that was thicker in consistency, higher in chroma and close to old world colors that would impress even Michelangelo. A few of these paints were oil paints, such as Michael Harding and Gamblin. The bird was hooked!  As if he finally was painting with the right type of art materials. Some of his favorite colors were Naphthol Red, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White and Yellow Ochre.

 

Simplicity is still the best…

This bird believed that a simple core palette was the way for him. He liked his colors mixed and harmonious. He sometimes used a variety of other colors and brands, but usually went back to his core colors. The best part was that there was an art store in faraway Taipei that carried his favorite paints. “Just holding them in your claws makes you feel like a better artist” thought the feathery artist.  As he happily purchased his core colors and his paintings, especially his portraits began to improve and there was no looking back now. This baby bird was now a grown bird on a mission, painting his heart out in Portugal.

As a result of Small Wing’s newfound discovery of these amazing paints, his perception changed, and so his world as well. He will never forget how to paint his colorful paintings again. Things were not so black and white, or muddy again.  The right art materials do make a difference no matter how big or small you are.  His art became like a long-lost friend.  And our feathery artist finally learned to see…again.


Thank you for reading my blog. You can check out this painting in my gallery here. If you would like to keep updated with my latest art and blog posts, subscribe here.