Michael Divine

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Know Your Brushstrokes

The thing is – you need to know your brushstrokes. Not the ‘meh I don’t know what I’m doing’ brushstrokes – not ‘these are just the unimportant brushstrokes til I put the important ones on top’ but EVERY brushstroke. The very first to the very last are all part of the same rhythm. There is no underpainting. The underpainting IS the painting. The overpainting is the painting. It is all the painting. It is just the painting. The rough hewn strokes should be just as intentional as those fine dashes painted with your finest brush and the more you practice […]

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The Mystical Lineage in Contemporary Art

Human beings are essentially social creatures. For the most part, we enjoy hearing music, seeing movies, and looking at art with others as is evident by our copious clubs, theaters, galleries, and museums. The collective participation greatly enhances the experience. Often, we hear musicians speak about their love of the live show and riding the energy of the crowd. It’s a symbiotic relationship – this giving and receiving. A positive relationship develops between artist and observer (or in the case of musicians – the listener) when the desire for connection with others and with ourselves is fulfilled. This recognition and […]

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Stamina

“Many painters work so cautiously and meticulously with the primer –and with the execution of the picture – in order to preserve it for eternity – that they lose their flame And it happens that the painting becomes so tedious and poor that it ends up in a dark attic.” Edvard Munch So what is it to maintain one’s stamina through the course of a painting? Inspiration strikes so hard sometimes. Like a lightening flash, we have that instant realization of all that it could be. How do we take it from that moment of inception to a point where […]

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Passion

‘In a recent interview, Marc Andreessen [an investor who made all his money in tech and then VC investing] was asked what his best advice would be to a smart 23-year-old American today. “Don’t follow your passion,” he said. “Your passion is likely more dumb and useless than anything else. Your passion should be your hobby, not your work. Do it in your spare time.”‘ Business Insider – Jun 22, 2021 Don’t follow your passions. Don’t do that which brings you joy. At best, it’s a frivolity. At worse, it’s just taking up your spare time when you could be […]

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The Future of Art Making

I think a lot about what the future holds for us. Like you, I am concerned (to say the least) for the ever changing climate. I worry about the divisive and tense politics of our times. Wealth disparity, economic catastrophes, and the kind of indentured servitude many of us find ourselves in: the list goes on. I sometimes imagine these post apocalyptic futures where the trappings of my own life are stripped away and, like so many others, we scrape the earth for sustenance, banding together in our little tribes, trying to fight our way through an inhospitable landscape. It’s […]

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Why Visionary Art

There are several essays available online exploring the question of what constitutes “visionary art” (Here is one by Lawrence Caruna and here is another by Alex Grey). For the sake of our discussion here, I’ll add an abbreviated definition so we can have a point of departure for the conversation to follow and the topic I explore in this essay: the WHY of Visionary Art – why do the artists who undertake this style feel it worthwhile and what place might it serve in the world. What is visionary art? Visionary art is, I think, an approach to creative work that […]

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What I Learn From Painting

Around 2am I usually just can’t paint any more. Sometimes it’s a tad later. Sometimes a tad earlier. But usually it’s about five or six hours in and my hand is cramped and my back is aching and my eyes are starting to blur and my brushstrokes start to lose their precision. The good things is that once I get like that I usually feel pretty good about my work for the night. It means that I covered a lot of ground. Painting is about ‘the process’ as much as ‘the product’. Sometimes, it’s just a lot of blanks to […]

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The Song We Play

The silent stillness of late night surroundings finds me solitary and drinking a glass of red wine with a side dish of cheese and olives. It is a usual place for me on a late night Monday night these days listening to late night music like Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma. What a weird collaboration of soundscapes and mental landscapes it is and yet, it was through this experimentation and willingness to go “out there” (and, incidentally, “in there”) that led them to great albums like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. . The willingness to walk the […]

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Feeling Moods

Feeling a mood, a beat of a heart, a tap of a foot. Feeling a touching the sky, a holding the keys or a glinting of an eye. Feelings: they come and they go. Arising… falling… A painting captures a moment, never stationary, never static. Example: Each painting of the Evolution triptych is one part of a path but neither is ending or beginning or middle. The glouriousness of Illumination (III) is only labeled as III because that is the natural progression, but the display of the images is what break them out of that progression. As an artist, when […]

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The Art of Discovery

I started cataloging our art books today. Very exciting, I know. We have quite a library of books all together – between the art book collection, the dozens of philosophy books and the many volumes in between it spans more than a few centuries of knowledge and inspiration. What boggles my mind, when I look at the couple hundred books of paintings and drawings, is the lifetimes they represent. Hours, days, weeks, years of the lives of men and women who dedicated themselves to the creative urge. And each book – each artist – is a facet of a jewel […]

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