Comments on painting

Comments on painting

by Jon Rappoport

March 5, 2015


I’ve been painting on and off since 1962.

For example, as I start to paint on a blank sheet of paper, I remember a feeling, but it’s woven into images: a window box of flowers (I don’t know where I saw it or when), green grass, a lawn, sun coming through trees, summer, an apartment building in the Bronx in the 1940s or 50s, pansies, tulips, all of that and more.

There is no way I could render all that realistically. Nor would I want to. I begin to lay down colors, bits of color, and shapes. I know where I want to go—the feeling. But it isn’t rigid, it’s free. And so I’ll move away from that feeling into something else…but I don’t know what that is. It’s next door to where I just was, I suppose.

Squares, rectangles, but not closed. Open, with pieces missing, and colors bleeding out beyond the shapes. Now I’ve lost it. Whatever I was going for is gone.

So I turn the sheet of paper upside down. Now the growing flowers (if that’s what they are) are growing down from the top. The boxes are upside down. The colors in relation to one another…the connections are different. Now I have no idea what I have.

I root around, thinking about what I have there. No answer. So everything on the paper now becomes background for something else I haven’t done yet. It’s background. I lay new colors and strokes and lines and shapes on the background.

That gives depth, but not uniform depth. The background and the foreground are interacting. They’re colliding, interpenetrating. All bets are off.

I stop, take a few steps back and look at the whole thing. It’s a mystery. That’s good. I can’t dream up some explanation for what I have there. No particular dream will suffice. I can’t tell a coherent story about what I have. That’s good.

I keep painting, without knowing why. I keep going. Then I look at places on the paper where intersections of unexpected “things” are happening. I’m not seeing language, but I am seeing something like language, if it were a completely different kind of…if this “language” had been formed along vastly different lines. Words and symbols transformed from the literal and the exact into specific sensations. I can feel them. I can sense openings that lead out of how we ordinarily think into how we don’t.

Instead of words circling around and grasping a sensation, you get the sensation directly. No detours. No approximations. It hits you. You explore it, you go into it, you want it.

This is one avenue-experience of painting out a possible million avenues. There are millions of ways to go.

Sometimes, you’re taking total control of the operation. Sometimes not.

But your chronic and fixed ideas about (anything) are not going to stand up forever. You’re not going to spend a thousand years spooling out paintings that merely reflect and illustrate those ideas.

This has nothing to do with culture or civilization or tradition. It doesn’t. You aren’t shoring up a system or promoting a god or a set of gods. You’re out past all those props.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at or OutsideTheRealityMachine.

24 comments on “Comments on painting

  1. NWO Reporter says:

    They are working on a robotic attachment for the arm and hand that automatically guides you to production of a perfect drawing. You clamp it on, pick up a pencil, and it moves your arm for you. They are still working on the programming—seems people wearing it tend to fight the programmed movement. Yes, apparently human imagination keeps interfering with transhuman perfection. I guess that’s what “art” will become in the singularity.

    I’ve never understood photorealism. “Look—I just produced exactly what a camera can produce in a fraction of a second—and I spent about 200 hours doing it!” Wow, you sure know how to waste time. Impressive.

    Realism in painting can be beautiful, but it’s often boring. Some artists perfect a “formula” for realism, and they may be very good at it, but you have a pretty good idea what it’s going to look like before they do it. A lot of people want that kind of artist to paint their portrait—no need to worry about any disconcerting surprises.

    Very inspiring article, Jon.

    • From Québec says:

      “They are working on a robotic attachment for the arm and hand that automatically guides you to production of a perfect drawing.”
      – NWO Reporter

      That reminds me when they came out with the “Auto Cad”. I was working for an engineering firm at that time as a draft person.

      This really killed our profession. The firm offered me a course in Auto Cad. I hated it. Drawing became mathematics, calculating a point to another one, to draw a single line. WTF! Maths had been never my things. The drawing was so ugly and cold. All the lettering was computerized…yuck!… nothing compared to hand writings that were so beautiful.

      I hate it so much that I didn’t finish the course and left the company. I also developed at that time, hate for computers who were destroying a profession that i liked so much. It took me a while to overcome that hate of computers. I only bought one 12 years ago…lol

      Of course now, I enjoy my computer because the Internet is such a tool for information. But that’s all. If my computer goes down, I don’t know how to fix it and don’t want to know it either. I pay somebody or ask a friend to fix it. I guess, deep inside of me, there is still a remaining hate for this technology who ruined the so beautiful drafting profession.

      ” I’ve never understood photorealism”.
      – NWO Reporter.

      In my paintings, I like to mix a bit of realism with abstraction, it aways comes out well. Or, I incorporate some reality into an imagined world. It makes reality look really stupid! I like that.

  2. From Québec says:

    My parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
    I said I would like to have oil paints, brushes, easel, canvas… the whole shebang. So I got it. I was 16 years old.

    The next day, I started my first painting.
    I painted a big ocean with a small seashore. It wasn’t bad, but it sort of had a boring look to it… no life! I didn’t show it to anyone. I left it there for a few days and meditated over it.

    The following week, my mother had some tickets to a Fashion Show in town, so she asked me if I wanted to join her. I said sure, why not?
    The fashion show was outstanding! Dramatic lightning effects, swirling dresses almost out of a science fiction movie. I was stunned!

    The next day, I decided to introduce mannequins (fashion models) into my painting.

    Since I didn’t have the skill yet, to paint fashion models, I cut them out of some fashion magazines that my mother had, and I glued them on the painting.
    I made the mannequins walk on the ocean in high heels while doing their fashion show.

    I also reversed the perspective law, by putting the smallest mannequin in the front and the tallest mannequin in the background. Then, I started adding small and huge waves behind, beside and in front of some of them, like if the wind was coming out from all directions. I even added a sea-gull on one of the model’s heads…lol.

    Then, I put a few coats of a very shinning varnish over the painting and the result were truly amazing! I was proud of my first painting.

    The following year, I entered Art School. The teacher asked us if we ever tried to do a painting. Four of us said yes. He said, next time, bring them, I would like take a look at these first paintings.

    So, of course, I brought mine. He liked it so much, he offered me to buy it. I didn’t want to get rid of it, but he finally convinced me… hey 50$ was a lot of money at that time for a student.

    • Michael Burns says:

      I went to university when I was a young artist. Thought I needed a degree.
      I had been painting for about four years before entering school. About half way through my first year of a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art) I was asked to leave by my professors…they said I was too intense for their classes, therefor I was unteachable.
      Strange…I was asked to teach a drawing class by students at that
      University a few years later, when I had a grand slam show at the top gallery in town.
      My art caused me to be a minor cult figure at one time with younger artists. I was always being asked to come to the University painting studios to critique their work…I always declined

      Art schools I believe destroy young art minds. Many dont know young minds. School has become design driven. They spit out a lot of clones of what is hot.

  3. Michael Burns says:

    For me its about getting rid of the fidget, that rat running around the maze in my head…its focusing. On the act of imagining and creating that in paint. There is no room for doubt what so ever. No should I do this, or should I do that. Getting down to the process of paint, isn’t about giving yourself another painting lesson. You already know how to paint, you are master here expecting nothing less than your best. If there is still doubt about that, then walk away and come back when your ready to give your all. Painting is about pouring out, so you can fill again. Its about emptying. Your exercising your imagination.

    The work starts with a large enough piece of canvass, that makes it worthwhile. It must be first dressed with a good gesso. A large white surface can be terrifying even to a experienced artist. Change that thought…so white and clean…unsullied becomes like a field of snow to a child with good pair of winter boots on.

    I work in acrylics and charcoal at first, it dries quickly…because I am usually working fast here.

    I take raw yellow orcher. And wipe and smear, scumble a translucent layer across the whiteness. No commitment of color. Drip it, splash it bit. Free the surface from the tyranny of the white.

    Stand back from it, look at it…you own it now. Its the landscape for an imagination. Look at it,  scrye into to it… imagine. Take a logical piece of charcoal… start pulling some shapes out of those initial washes. Go with whatever attracts you to it. Don’t impose a thought…but rather, react to a mark, or smudge. There is a language here. You are fluent in it.  Pull out whatever your seeing in that smudge. Don’t define it as anything known yet. Work the surface for a while moving across the whole surface of the canvass…exploration. Leave no area untouched, or at least unexplored.

    Look at the surface. Wash over the whole previous surface a translucent layer of a light burnt umber. Scumble, smear and charcoal, maybe again. Still no commitment here. Just walking around in that untouched field of snow making tracks. Just a general sort of attitude. Get thrilled with the new things you see.The umber will darken some of your previous work. Maybe even, push it back into the picture plane. Bring it back out again, if it’s lost, and you wish to keep it. Otherwise allow things to recede into the surface. They will become the past. Dont save them. Now you have added another dimension to the work…time. You know those shapes are back in there. Keep working the surface generally, rather than specific. I’m just having fun here. Exploring imagination unfolding on a large canvass.

    Make a translucent wash of phthalo blue, over the surface. Lighter here, darker there. No commitment still. Smudge, smear and scumble.

    Stand back, and look. Keep your head free, don’t allow convention to come in now and take over. Don’t rush it. Don’t make decisions that will move the canvass to a finishing. There is lot of time. As matter of fact it might be time to start another canvass about the same size or maybe a smaller surface, something more intimate.

    This starting new surfaces can sometimes go on for a  while… some images are worked a little more than others. But some general idea comes in to being…its not exactly known yet, but its there. Its ambiguous, a feeling, or a possibility of a feeling. A image is starting to take shape. It new and its exciting visually, at least in this context of color, line and shape. 

    At some point I move back to the initial canvass. I pick up some steel wool, or make tools of items around my studio, and starting scratching back into the surface of the canvass. Tearing off previous layers of light paint and charcoal. Refining areas with scratching that please me or obliterating what I don’t like. Sometimes rediscovering lines or shapes that were lost in the  beginning layers of the painting/paintings. In this way I move back and forth from one surface to another. Not staying long, always moving. When my thoughts start to become specific, I move to another surface, or start a new surface. Specific is an ending to a surface. It becomes a painting then.

    This can go on for days, sometimes weeks or months. 

    At some point a surface will become a painting and will start to become a story or part of a larger narrative which could become a theme of this particular body of work.

    Layers of oil paint are laid onto to the surface and soon what was imagined, is now a painting. Amongst a body of paintings. Specifics take over and now something is said.

    • From Québec says:

      “The work starts with a large enough piece of canvass, that makes it worthwhile”
      – Michael

      I’m with you on that matter. I like big canvas. It feels like it gives you oxygen, you are not stuck in a suffocating tiny place.

      “I work in acrylics and charcoal at first, it dries quickly…because I am usually working fast here.”
      – Michael

      I could never work with acrylics, precisely because it dries too fast. Hey… I’m a woman, so I change my mind all the time. Oil paints are perfect for me. I can change my mind as many times I want to.

  4. From Québec says:

    You have to see this, especially the end of his drawing. Truly amazing!


    • Michael Burns says:

      An old stagnant repetitive thought. Rehearsed so many times. A formula.
      Is it a painting?…
      technically yes.
      This painting is made for applause.
      Is it art? For me definitely no.
      You could visit Mexican painting sweat houses, if you wish to see speed painting.
      These guys paint those sofa paintings you see in furniture store like the Brick or Leon’s. Their job is all piece work… You earn the equivalent of how much you paint in a day.
      Original Elvis on black velvet paintings that have had a resurgence of late, were achieved in this fashion.
      This type of sofa painting is being replaced by painting machines, I understand that produce hundreds of machine copies of the same scene…they simply change the colour palette on the machine to get a different version. Or expand the limits of the picture frame. To achieve a larger version.
      I’m not impressed, there is real magic Q!
      Absolute real magic.
      I do what you see on that video as a painting or drawing exercise, every time I get down to sketching.
      Performing 30 second, one minute, two minute, and five minute drawings/paintings is a way of getting one outside of preconceived notion of art, or personsal mindset.
      I have taught this method of drawing for years.
      I use to attend drawing work-shops that happened the first Sunday of every month, that went on from seven in the morning till midnight.
      We would,jointly in a class of fifteen artists draw/sketch/paint our way through sixteen hours of nude modelling. I have seen on the average eight to ten models go through the studio that day.
      Not many artists are around at midnight.
      We usually start the session with a two hours of speed drawing/painting.
      It was called ‘Draw till you drop’. A sort of yoga of the imagination.
      I would say its freedom…very intense.

  5. From Québec says:

    Deception! I’ve sent this video to my brother and he told me that there is a magic trick to it. I guess I’m a bit naive!

    Apparently, all you have to do is to trace the portrait on the back of the canvas with hot glue. Then, you turn over the canvas, and almost invisible to the naked eye, the drawing appears in relief, and all you have to do is to to fill the spaces thus delimit.

    Still, I was impressed by the artist who used both hands equally, and by the speed in which he painted the portrait (less than a minute in a half).

    Now, here is one with no “magic tricks”. I want to show it here, because the end result is precisely the kind of painting I like to do: Half realism and half imagined world.

    unfortunately, there are two advertising in the middle of the video… just skip them.


    • Michael Burns says:

      This is three-card Monte Q. A recipe for baking a pie. A little flour, throw in a egg…whisk a little bit. Toss in some apples,
      cinnamon…flip ot upside down, little baking powder. Oven at 350 degrees. Lala la… Yawn… I’m getting tired watching this guy…I’m falling asleep. Snore.
      The guy does this endlessly.
      Now if he had a monkey beside him, playing a concertina, spittin nickels out of it ass, singing a french song…maybe I’d pay a buck and half. For the monkey.
      This is repeated thought over and endlessly over.
      This is as creative as flower arrangment.

      • From Québec says:

        “A recipe for baking a pie.”
        “Now if he had a monkey beside him, playing a concertina, spittin nickels out of it ass, singing a french song…maybe I’d pay a buck and half. For the monkey.”

        ROTFLMAO! You’re just too much Michael! You crack me up! Just like Jon does, sometimes when he associates. two odest things in his posts.

        “This is as creative as flower arrangment.”

        Bwahahahah! You are one real mean prof.

        But I can see what you are trying to say here.
        We look at this guy’s painting in a very different way.
        I was a part-time artist, my main profession was doing drawings for architects, interior design and engineer firms.

        I look at this guy’s for his executing skills as a technician. The process, the speed, the precision.

        But I also look at the end result of his painting. And I find it creative. He created a new space, a new reality, a new world. Painting like a child, doesn’t necessarily mean to me, to paint like a child with no executive skills. It means, painting with the kind of imagination that the children have for fairy tale style.

        In this painting, I like the fact that the ocean and the trees (realism) is combined with the two big planets, the stairways who end up nowhere on a rock mountain (imagined world).

        In one of your previous posts, I’ll admit that soldering the copper penny onto an eight inch piece of straightening, one quarter inch plumbers copper tubing, to make a drawing tool, was very creative, since copper will, make a fine mark on a calcium carbonate surface, as dark and gray as a 1H pencil.

        But your painting was a landscape. I see no new space, nor new reality nor new world about it.


        You see this painting through the eyes of an art professor and a man.
        I see it trough the eyes of a part time artist and a woman.

        It’s always a pleasure to exchange with you.
        I sure would like to see one of your paintings.

  6. Michael Burns says:

    Comment on painting:

    It surprises me what most people consider a painting to be. Whither is be one of the ism’s of art; realism; photo realism; surrealism; abstract expressionism; cubism; art ism, ad nauseism.  Its irrelevant… the painting is actually, absolutely of no use to the painter after the creation of it. It is about the process of the painting; the walking around inside a different reality, and bringing to the two dimensional surface of the painting the experience of that sojourn. The bringing back something that is found at a very deep level inside one. The painting, the audience viewing that painting is of no use to the painter painting…as matter of fact it usually dangerous to the creative process. A lot of artist don’t survive fame. 

    My first year in University; my drawing professor walked into the drawing class after most of the students had rested into the complacency of what was thought of as an easy credit towards a more valued degree…and handed each and every student a copper penny. A small, round, copper penny. He stood at the front of the class room an announced to the quizzled class. “This is your first class assignment…
    create” and walked directly out of the classroom, without answering the cacophony of questions. Nervous laughter filled the room, followed by the more disgruntled WTF.

    Three people in a class of thirty-five, finished their assignment, with the remainder bitching all the way to the drawing professors office or latter to the dean of faculty’s office, when no solution was found at the former.

    One fellow completed the assignment when he hammered the copper penny flat, and etched the original queen’s head back on to the one side…a double maple leaf, date etc on the opposite side. And thusly made a large very thin replica of the original penny.

    Another young woman used a large piece of tracing paper and traced over the penny with graphite. Tracing paper over the penny. Multiple overlapping images of the penny to make a larger image of a Queen’s portrait that is on the one side of the coin. The final drawing was about 24X30 inches. It was quite good.

    I completed the assignment when I prepared a gesso ground of calcium carbonate, titanium white and arabic gum. After trials to achieve the proper tooth. I prepared a 24X30 inch drawing surface with the white calcium carbonate/white titanium gesso. By soldering the copper penny onto a eight inch piece of straightened, one quarter inch plumbers copper tubing, I was able to make a drawing tool. Pure copper will make a fine mark on a calcium carbonate surface, as dark and gray as a 1H pencil.  By building up small marks on the surface like a silverpoint one can achieve a beautiful drawing.  My drawing was a landscape. When the drawing was completed, a very light misting of lemon juice, here and there, will cause the marks on the gessoed surface to gain a greenish hued patina (oxidizing of the copper) were the misted lemon juice lands. I was impressed in what I had discovered. A dead technique of drawing, that had not been popular since renaissance.
    This assignment actually inspired my later love of silverpoint, copperpoint and goldpoint.
    I still take the time to create drawings using that process.

    The point is that creativity is the goal here, the process of imagination fuels the resolution of a drawing conundrum. That is the point…the drawing is simply the proof of that process. The excitement was in solving the problem of the penny. The artists in the class excelled in this endeavour because they were willing to break the mindset, and explore imagination for a solution. And because they had experience at solving creative problems in their past as artists. The lesson wasn’t for us the artists who completed the assignment I found out later. It was for those who failed to rise to the problem with creativity and imagination as their tools.

    And thusly a rather stern and creative lesson was taught to those who disrespect artists, and the artistic process. After classroom discussion over the completed projects, many walked away from the class. Or were inspired with a renewed sense of the great and many benefits of the creative/imaginative process.

    “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint as a child.”

    -Pablo Picasso

  7. From Québec says:

    I really like the assignment with the copper penny. Brilliant professor!

    “… the painting is actually, absolutely of no use to the painter after the creation of it.” (Michael)

    I wouldn’t say that. I never want to sell my paintings. People have to almost beg me to sell them. I’m attached to those paintings. I feel they are part of me as a whole. Just looking at them, stimulates my imagination for a further and better painting.

    “The point is that creativity is the goal here, the process of imagination fuels the resolution of a drawing conundrum. That is the point…the drawing is simply the proof of that process. The excitement was in solving the problem of the penny.” (Michael)

    Well, I guess that I have solved the problem in my first painting, by cutting out mannequins pictures from fashion magazines that my mother had, and glued them on the painting. Or was that cheating…lol?

    ““It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint as a child.”

    This has always been my favorite quote from Picasso.

    • Michael Burns says:

      “I really like the assignment with the copper penny. Brilliant professor!”

      That same professor asked me to leave his class and the school, roughly four months

  8. From Québec says:

    Well, being brilliant, doesn’t immune someone from becoming an authoritarian crazy weirdo.

    By the way, I gave you a reply on your post where you almost fell asleep watching the incredibly long and boring painting video…lol

  9. Michael Burns says:

    @ Q

    I have been drawing and painting since I was a small child…I’m sixty years old now. It’s the only thing I have ever known. And yet, I have not achieved what I seek in it. I have not fully discovered it. I probably never will.
    There is no such thing to me, as a part-time artist Q!
    It’s like saying that you breath part-time. Or your a part-time walker, or part-time human.
    You either do it…or you don’t.
    You either see…or you don’t see.
    You either feel the power of imagination and the consciousness in everything you witness…or you don’t feel it…yes you can have glimpses I would think.
    But one can live fully inside…forever.

    It seems you consider Art to be learning a skill…improving one’s painting technique. Paintings are precious to you. I Destroy them on a regular basis. Only what I don’t understand survives. My family hates that I am this way. But ya see…I am the only one allowed in there.

    The landscape I drew in that assignment was imagined, that place in my mind. A place I go to every single night. And every time I sketch or paint in my studio.
    I have been creating this world I go to, for well over thirty years. It has evolved, changed…been torn down and rebuilt. That will continue, till I exit life.

    The drawing spoke of was not a copy of something I had seen,or been to, on this plane of existence, and rendered from that memory. It was from that place.

    We are diametrically opposed on this…art issue Q. My apology if you have felt that I am mean. I don’t wish it so.

  10. From Québec says:

    “My apology if you have felt that I am mean. I don’t wish it so”

    I meant “mean” in a funny way, to tease you a bit.

    “There is no such thing to me, as a part-time artist Q!”

    Okay, let’s say a part-time painter… is that any better?

    I come from a family who venerates arts. My father, was an architect and an Urbanist, and was also a part-time oil and watercolor painter. My mother played piano, my brother is a full time artist, painter. My youngest sister does sculptures and my older sister…yuck… was a Maths teacher, but still, there is no one that knows better than her how to decorate a cake…lol.

    But hey! One as to earn a living. My profession as a draft person gave me a good living, but my brother always had money problems and still has.

    “The landscape I drew in that assignment was imagined, that place in my mind. A place I go to every single night. And every time I sketch or paint in my studio.
    I have been creating this world I go to, for well over thirty years. It has evolved, changed…been torn down and rebuilt. That will continue, till I exit life.”

    We are not as different as you think. I also have an imagined place in my mind, where I go to, every night before I fall asleep, for the last 40 years. I’m 10 years older than you. And just like yours, this place evolves, but I never would want to paint it, I would be afraid to kill it. I keep it to myself, it is my secret life, my refuge, my sanctuary, my asylum, my retreat.

    Michael, are you the “Michael Burns” on the web, where they show pictures of your paintings? If so, I would like to comment on them.

  11. Michael Burns says:

    This is a strange conversation Q.
    You have an interesting family.

    If you had asked me about what I would do in my life… When I was eleven years old. I would have said I will be an architect.
    I also excelled at mechanical drafting, I think that is why I have a great love drawing. The drawn line is very powerful for me. I like seeing a perfect line. The weigh of it, receding, diminishing to nothing.

    Yes, I am Michael Burns the painter…a dealer labelled me a mystic painter. Whatever that means! Now I am stuck with it.
    I supported myself and raised my children on my art.
    My work is all over the planet. In many corporate offices. Lawyers offices seem to like my work…must be something about them buying their souls back…lol.
    My first show…which sold out the day it opened…I had to force my way to the front of the line. People felt I was jumping the line. That was a weird feeling.

  12. From Québec says:

    More in common:
    I was 30 years old, when a friend of mine, a well know painter in Montreal, asked me to do a show with him and three other painters. It was my first show. I accepted. I also sold out the first day. The 4 other painters, unfortunately, sold only one or two paintings each. I sold 36.

    Bizarrely, it didn’t make me feel good. On the contrary, I felt like I betrayed myself, like if I had sold my soul for 50 pieces of silver. I guess I must be some kind of weirdo…lol. I decided that it was my last show. And I stuck to that. I sold all my other paintings, one at a time at my house to people I knew personally.

    “Lawyers offices seem to like my work…must be something about them buying their souls back…lol.” (Michael)

    Yes, I know, I once became the manager of my brother’s paintings and the buyers were mostly engineers and lawyers firms. I didn’t hold that manager job very long, because my brother who is 5 years younger than me was sort of a hippy. I would plan some shows and either he wouldn’t show up, or he would show up stoned or drunk. He’s clear of that now for a very long time.

    I believe he has a lot of talent, but he always tells me that he would like to possess my executive skills as a painter. If you want to see some of his work, here are two links:

    Now, back to you :

    I’ve seen a few paintings and videos of your art.

    Of course, my favorite painting, so far, is your “Red Wedding Still life”
    I always liked still Life. We can easily give it a “mystic effect” to it. If you have other paintings in that style, I can see why you were labelled a “mystic painter”.

    I see that at one time, you liked to paint old abandoned barns. Well, my father, was the same. Barns and towns and forests. At the chalet, every weekend, he would go out and paint old barns. I guess like minded architects like these subjects.

    Your more modern painting reminds me a bit of my brother paintings.
    You seem to be a very versatile artist, and your paintings are to my liking. Great talent! But I would like to see more of them. Can you post some links? I have some difficulties finding more.

    It’s good to know that you were able to make a living out of it. My brother in the early 80th had a great opportunity to rise quite high, when he did a show in Ney-York. City. A manager from New-York, fell in love with his paintings and took him under his wings. But, that was at the time of his hippy years. So I guess the manager gave up after 8 months, just like I did later on.. He sort of screwed up his chance to become internationally famous.

    • Michael Burns says:

      I had always had a weird sense of selling. Felt like prostitution.Or what imagined prostitution to feel like…I had to push my way to the front of the line to my first grand slam show. In order to enter the gallery before the doors opened for the show. People were actuslly upset.
      My first studio was about 3500 sq/ft… a massive third floor studio in a 1920’s era brick building. I was possessed by that place. I truly loved it. About 15 ft to the ceiling. Massive windows on pivots that I would open wide in the summer to the sun and the street below. There is a book full of those experiences.
      I would staple my work on the walls and have a palette on wheels that I move to and from the paintings. I had twenty paintings on the wall at any given time. I miss it sometimes…anyway…there was a tai chi studio next to my studio. Classes were held there every evening. They were quiet, very quiet. Perfect neighbours for a painter. The fellow who owned and ran the tai chi studio was interested in me and my work. I would see him walk into the studio and look while I was working away on something (I always keep my doors open, fellow artists dropping by and all). George the owner of the tai chi would get into these discussions with me about the true price for me of selling my paintings. He felt I was selling pieces of myself…selling my magic, mojo what ever you want to call it. And that there would be a cost to me. He made a lot of sense…he was Buddhist…quite devote in his practice. George had felt I was exposing my inner world to some unlikely people, who would take advantage of it.
      I was offered New York and stardom, the price was that…I would have to leave my family and go there alone.
      I declined and fell into obscurity.
      I now seek rebirth.

  13. From Québec says:

    Amazing the similarities we share!

    Besides the bad feeling about the selling, that triumphal first show, also scared the hell out of me. I knew no one there, except my friend the painter, and I had not invited a single soul to the show. A crowd of perfect unknown was fighting over my paintings…WTF! I never dreamed of fame. I think it is a curse in a way. The people , will then always expect something from you, and always expect something better, greater… more and more, till you kiss the world goodbye. You have to live up to your reputation and not deceive your followers. I don’t need that kind of pressured stress in my life. This is another reason why, I decided that it was my last show. Low profile style, with all the freedom that comes with it, suits me much better.

    WOW! Quite a studio! I can see why you miss it so much. I miss mine. that was far from being the size of yours, but just like you, I had very high ceilings, they are so appeasing to the mind and soul.

    “I had twenty paintings on the wall at any given time.”

    That is something I could never do. One painting at a time… completely obsessed till the final result.

    Michael, I’ve noticed that you have not given me any links to view your paintings. Maybe, you forgot or you don’t want to… whatever! The reason why I asked for some links, is because it is so confusing searching into the Web. There are a Michael Burns, the “painter”, the “photographer”, the “illustrator”, the “author” of books, and also a “Mike” Burns. I’m lost here. Can’t figure out who is who. Could you be all these characters at the same time?

  14. Karmic Spiel says:

    This post was fascinating on a number of levels, especially in the way it inspires the reader to see themselves in it, to extrapolate beyond it into their own experience.

    I’d like to see those landscapes, Michael Burns and From Québec.
    I also like how you both said they evolve.

    Reading this conversation has been very interesting. Maybe next time I’ll join it.

    • From Québec says:

      I’m happy that you have found it interesting. We sure would like you to join us on this site. We need more people here.

      This is the perfect site to train your imagination and create new realities. I thought this site would bring a hundred of people, but for unknown reasons, not many people post here. Maybe Jon should promote it a bit more. It would be a shame if it would end. I surely would miss it.

  15. karmic spiel says:

    Thank you, From Québec. I may not always comment, but I plan to stick around. I like it here.

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