The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
The Artist at Work

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Labor of Love

Anne in a sea of photos, selecting the perfect images for each page.
The 25-year artistic career of Marcus and Anne Thomas is best described in  images. Their life and work together has been well documented by Anne, who has an eye for meaning in the ordinary, and an intuition for how their particular story touches a universal longing.

Anne collects and records the memories; the retrospective requires her eyes on the artist as he grows, creates and evolves, as much as it requires the eye of the artist himself.  She has documented Marcus, his work and their life together over the last quarter-century, plus a few years, those years before the accident. Her diligence is a labor of love which gives flesh and blood to the words describing their journey together.

So, as anyone who has loved for long can imagine, when it came to sorting through 25 years of life in images, it was certainly a labor of love! From the photos of Marcus as a young athlete, to his time of transition adjusting to paralysis, to photos of him at work painting his latest masterpiece, not to mention the images Anne has carefully recreated from his original paintings, she can show us the evolution of their love and art.

To Anne we owe this next exciting stage of the journey of creating this retrospective. The images have been selected, and putting pictures to the story is like putting words to music. Stay tuned for perhaps a few sneak peeks and maybe even a photo essay. . .

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving: Time Is a Gift

Watch time soar.
Marcus began work on the painting How Time Flies after the first couple of sessions of interviews with Leslee for his 25-year retrospective coffee-table-book.This image was taken during the creation of the painting. The raven is gaining his third dimension and appears to be tearing out of the canvas, over and beyond Marcus' pallet and implements. The pocket watch trails in flight, haplessly careening.

How Time Flies is a direct expression of Marcus' relationship with time – the revelry and ravages, the love and loss, the joy and the heartbreak, as he is (all of us really are) simultaneously blessed and held hostage by time.  In his honesty with himself, Marcus transcends his particular experience of time and touches on something universal. We see through Marcus’ own eyes something we can all recognize in our own relationship with the time of our lives.

Time around the table with friends.

We often catch ourselves lamenting the speed of time. Days, minutes, hours go by so fast, especially when we are with people we enjoy, doing work we love, creating something we believe in. We can't help but wish for more time. It's probably high time we recognized the commodity time is - we can spend it, waste it, lose it on crazy nights perhaps worth forgetting, we want to steal it, and oh if we could just stretch it out to last a little longer. . .

But time fools and foils us completely. We trick ourselves into thinking time is exhaustible when the truth about time is that we make it. Just like we make art, memories, love. "I cherish every moment," says Marcus, when he reflects on the time of his life, nailing the true spirit of Thanksgiving in his depiction of this holy theft."The raven seems like it could surpass time, and I’m hitching a ride – the fountain of life."

"An infinite perspective is the fountain of youth," Marcus says and this is what he shows us in How Time Flies. And this is what defines human thanksgiving - simultaneously blessed and held hostage.

So, here from this corner of the world to yours, wherever you may be: let us give thanks for the folks that make life and time meaningful, for good work, the people who inspire us, the moments we spend with one another . . thanks for art, and cadmium yellow, alzarin crimson, Payne's gray and cobalt blue, trickster ravens, lovers, friends, deep sky over the mystery ahead, and for time and life itself which gives us all these possibilities in which to dwell.

What are you thankful for in this moment? Add to the infinite list (into cyberspace, for which we are also thankful) below.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kairos, the spirit of good timing, is with us

Bob films Marcus cruising through the lovely day at Lake James.
The ancient Greeks believed in two different aspects of time. Chronos embodied the passage of clock time, responsible for days, hours, minutes, the way we age. Kairos embodied the split-second opportunity, the spirit of good timing and the eternal instant. This spirit of "the right time," Kairos, is depicted balanced atop wheels with wings on his ankles, holding a sharp edge representing the "split" second in which opportunity arrives and must be seized.

As we work on capturing the last 25 years of Marcus' time creating art, we find ourselves blessed with many good moments in which we almost seem to transcend clock-time to dwell in possibility and opportunity -  moments that last a lifetime.  The spirit of Kairos hovers around us as the right people gather at the right place in the perfect time to create the book.

Lydia Inglett, Marcus, Leslee and Anne (behind the camera) discuss timing.
In the past couple weeks - how time flies! - we've begun to work with Lydia Inglett, who will design the book. That process will soon be underway and her vision is inspiring us all.

We've also spent some time in front of the camera ourselves, thanks to Bob Peck of revpictures, a talented videographer who is working with us to film the DVD portion of the project. Saturday afternoon found us all at Lake James. Vibrant leaves served as a fitting backdrop for a fireside chat which was profound and inspiring.

We cannot know what the next days, weeks and month will hold, but with the good work before us, the right people beside us, and the blessing of good timing, we know we are in for a harvest season of grand possibilities. 

Kairos, the spirit of good timing.