First Friday Reception, Jan. 5th at Alpine Fine Arts

There will be a First Friday Reception, January 5th at Alpine Fine Arts, in the Art District on Santa Fe. The opening reception is Dec. 1 and runs through Jan. 5th. First Friday Art Walks run from 6–9 pm. 

The show, Wall Whispering, Morocco will feature paintings inspired by my artist residency in Morocco during March of this year.

The Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

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Opening Reception, "Wall Whispering, Morocco". Dec. 1st at Alpine Fine Arts

Opening Reception will be December 1st at Alpine Fine Arts, in the Art District on Santa Fe. The exhibit and will be available during the December and January, First Friday Art Walks (6–9 pm). The show will run until January 5, 2018.

The show, Wall Whispering, Morocco will feature paintings inspired by my artist residency in Morocco during March of this year.

The Art District on Santa Fe is the hub of the Denver art scene, featuring 30 participating galleries, artist studios and restaurants. This is the largest concentration of art galleries in Colorado.

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New combinations!

New combinations. Let me know what you like. If you see it, it's available. Prices are negotiable.

New combinations!

New combinations. Let me know what you like. If you see it, it's available. Prices are negotiable.

A Gift to Cancer Survivors #FCancer

This painting was gifted from a friend to her sister who is now a cancer survivor.  I am a survivor myself. If you know of someone going through this, please let me know. I will make them something for free, if you cover the shipping.  So far, works have traveled to Indiana, and two in California.

This painting was originally exhibited in a solo show in Palm Beach, Florida 2013. (Oil on Canvas, 12"x12")

A Gift to Cancer Survivors #FCancer

Recently, I have gifted paintings to cancer survivors. I am a survivor myself. If you know of someone going through this, please let me know. I will make them something for free, if you cover the shipping. So far, works have traveled to Indiana, and two in California.

(Oil on canvas, 16"x16")

A Gift to Cancer Survivors #FCancer

Recently, I have gifted paintings to cancer survivors. I am a survivor myself. If you know of someone going through this, please let me know. I will make them something for free, if you cover the shipping.

So far, works have traveled to Indiana, and two in California.

Wall Whispering - Half way through my small canvas studies

Since arriving home from my artist residency, Green Olive Arts in Tetouan Morocco, I have been painting primarily 20"x20" canvas.  My idea is to paint 40 small canvas studies before embarking on large pictures.  I am half way there.  Hoping to see a shift moving forward. We will see what happens.

Wall Whispering, Morocco #1 - A gift

I gifted my very first Moroccan wall painting to my daughter, Taylor, who turned 26.  Hopefully, she will remember to hang it up when i visit.

A split image

In 2015, I made this painting, in south Florida, for Shellie. It was originally a larger canvas.  But, I later decided that i did not like a section of it.  So i cut it out and made two canvas from it. She still likes it and it hangs in our bedroom in Boulder.

Wall Whispering - The Creative Process

I remember feeling some pressure. "What happens if I have no ideas." I wasn't worried about how I stood with the other artists from all over the world. I had not met them yet, and new little about their work.  But, I knew I was going to Morocco with no preconceived creative notions. In fact, anytime I had an idea, I mentally threw it out. I would remain a blank canvas for as long as possible.

Buddhist and meditation books will state that thoughts and emotions will pop up while you meditate. You have to then let those thoughts go, rather than focus on them. Then, return to a blank canvas. I suppose it is like that for me.

For two weeks, I felt the impact of being dropped into a foreign land.  It was an assault on the senses. Eating breakfast, meeting the artists, running around the city without getting lost, seemed enough for one day... for way too many days.

I was excited to visit the studio for the first time. Review my space, look out the window at the vendors below.  Frankly, I was more excited about the sun on my face from balcony outside my window.  I sat there like a cat for quite some time.  The sun from the roof was even better. Though two of the artists were always up there smoking. A day later, the sun left for days on end. It was wet, chilled to the bone cold. I had already experienced a very cold, reluctant winter in Colorado.  I was done with that feeling. I had wished the desert was closer.

By now, the artists had been shown the city and its resources. Some of the artists were already setting up their space and were quick to work. All my fellow artists saw in my studio was an empty desk with no artist present.  Personally, I saw no point in sitting there.  To work on what exactly?  My blank canvas continued to be just that.  Had I gone too far with this meditative blank canvas thing? Shouldn't I be working on something by now?  I've been in Morocco for two weeks already. 

I had reviewed Matisse's Moroccan work, when I was in New York and online.  But this was the equivalent of a child hanging onto the edge of a swimming pool when learning to swim. Let go!

Back to the studio. Still no interest in spending time.  Perhaps it was the lack of privacy, or an inability to blast my music, or the disinterest in searching for materials in the city to get started, or the bizarre tight reign on blue tape in the studio.  It's tape!  "I am out of here, see you tomorrow. Maybe."

I went back to my Riad, Hotel Reducto for lunch and a nap. When I awoke, I decided to walk the streets and learn my way around.  Explore, get into something, an adventure. I walked through the Medina toward the old Jewish Quarter.  I walked through some very narrow streets which led to neighborhoods of homes.  I began to notice these buildings and walls. They seemed like hundreds of years old. How are they still standing?  

On the walls, which people pass daily without ever noticing, I began to notice abstract fields of color. I am not talking about graffiti from artists, but rather decades worth of layers of color, markings from children, scuffs, chips.

"Unofficial and non-commissioned signs and images on the walls have always existed.
They bear significance not only for their makers but also set strong signals
for the viewers - bones of contention and impulse for
discussion since the Stone Age." - Johannes Stahl, Street Art 2013

When I decided to spend one month in Morocco, i did not know what would spark inspiration.  I knew that the chaos would be a big factor. I had no idea that i would spend my time roaming the streets of Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech photographing the walls of Morocco. i think i photographed over 200 images of exterior walls. 

Now that i am back in my studio, images of walls are pouring out.  I am not editing my work just yet, first i have get it all out of my system.  Then I will see what i have to work with... like big canvases.. maybe even wall-size.

You can go to the shopping page to see the collection so far. More to come...

Growing into my studio

I am painting up to 40 smaller works. Then i will know what path to take when i work larger scale.

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Pablo, the dog.

My wife wanted a long-haired dachshund. I said okay. Then suddenly this little guy reminds me how much work he will be every day.  He is trying to eat the entire house. We also have a cat, and she is not very happy with this situation.  Pablo Picasso had a dachshund named, Lump.  I'm sure these dogs are great companions in the studio, when they are adults.  Pablo is not quite ready for that.

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The Walls of Morocco

"Unofficial and non-commissioned signs and images on the walls have always existed. They bear significance not only for their makers but also set strong signals for the viewers - bones of contention and impulse for discussion since the Stone Age." - Johannes Stahl, Street Art 2013

When I decided to spend one month in Morocco, i did not know what would spark inspiration.  I knew that the chaos would be a big factor. I had no idea that i would spend my time roaming the streets of Tetouan, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech photographing the walls of Morocco. i think i photographed over 200 images of exterior walls.  I am not looking for the work of graffiti artists, I am looking for walls with some history. I am looking layers of paint, cracking paint revealing colors underneath, maybe a marking here and there from others. 

Now that i am back in my studio, i will attempt to make sense of my experience. You can go to the shopping page to see the collection so far.

My arrival in Marrakech

The following excerpt is from a blog i wrote on my psychology practice site. You can read the full story at https://www.drmarklesser.com/news/2017/4/19/the-benefit-of-knowing-nothing-a-lesson-for-business-leaders-and-consultants

 

I flew from D.C. to Casablanca on an overnight flight. When I arrived, I discovered that my ride was cancelled. My new driver, who I had never met, was a retired commander in the Moroccan military. We would be driving three hours to Marrakech. The next day we would drive another 7 hours to Tetouan. He only spoke only Moroccan Arabic and French. I only spoke French, which is a joke because my French is terrible. Well, my French is good enough to be polite. Anyway, it was the only common language to for us to work with. English and Arabic were wasted on each other. We spent 36 hours together, driving and sharing meals with a huge language barrier and absolutely nothing in common. He seemed about my age. When we had lunch in Marrakech, and I decided to share photos of my family. His face lit up. He shared photos of his family. We had something in common. Additionally, it is also pretty easy to express a mutual appreciation for red meat and beer. We were connecting and eventually managed communicate effectively. At the end of our journey, we were friends.

Once I arrived in Tetouan, I felt an immediate assault of the senses. My artist friend, from Australia, called it the Moroccan Stampede. I walked through the tightly wound medina with no sense of north. The sights, sounds, and smells are in itself a culture shock. There is an old poem about Tetouan that still holds true today. Loosely translated, it describes the air as poison, the water bloody (in the streets, not from the faucet), and its health could make you sick. And it did! One person in our group ended up in the hospital and went home early. Another was too overwhelmed to stay. Others had to lie down at random moments because it was all too much to push on as if it was just another day, or just another trip to a comfortable city.

While my description may not inspire you to bring the family over the winter holidays, the air was also filled with mystique, and echoes of the sounds of the call to prayer. Most importantly, there was lots of space for gaining personal insight and reflection. It is no wonder that each day, I needed to retreat to my Riad, Hotel El Reducto, to rest from this cultural assault. This daily rest allowed me to learn, adapt, and be ready to proceed to the next day’s life lesson.

The painting below is one in a series of #wallwhispering paintings i have created of my experience walking the streets of Morocco admiring the walls and their history. Click the link below to review.