The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
The Artist at Work

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yo Yo Yo, Merry Christmas

That first painted image,"Cosmic Christmas" ignited an energy that continues to gather strength. Entering my 25th year as a painter, Anne and I celebrate the past while focusing with great excitement on the future. EYES WIDE OPEN !
Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yo!: How To Have a Cosmic Christmas

Several weeks before the Christmas of 1986, less than nine months after the accident, Anne and Marcus' sister Amanda presented Marcus with a set of Crayola watercolors and unknowingly awakened a talent in Marcus that would turn out to be a gift to so many others.

Marcus took up the paintbrush, in the spirit of fun, and his first work was a Christmas card (pictured). The message it carried was more than just a holiday wish. His triumphant “Yo!” signaled to everyone his definitive take on the situation.  Rather than gloom or depression, the drawing attests to Marcus’ simple joy in being alive and his pleasure in this new-found form of expression. Twenty-five years since the accident that paralyzed him, Marcus still paints in the spirit of love and fun, touching lives with tenderness and wonder.

There's an ancient Hindu story about a man who spent his lifetime begging by the city gates, always at the brink of starvation, clothed in rags. After awhile, he died, and after another several years the city decided to enlarge the gateway. During the excavation, the municipal workers turned up the earth on which the beggar had stood, sat and slept for those many years. Underneath the very spot, they discovered a priceless treasure, enough to feed and clothe any number of men for any number of lifetimes. All along, the story goes, within touching distance of the hapless beggar's feet great riches lay buried, worth many times more than what he needed to survive and live abundantly. What a cosmic event that might have been! If only the beggar had ever paused to consider what lay underneath the layers both of himself and the world.

We need more messages like the message of Marcus' first Christmas card: signs, poems,  paintings, gestures that point the way to the treasure hidden shallowly beneath the surface of our everyday struggle, hungers and chills. It is in the same spirit of love and wonder that we wish all our friends and family,
Merry Cosmic Christmas! 

PS: Happy solstice all! There's nothing like the shortest day and longest night to heighten your sense of time. ;')

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Magical realism

Imagine: you are walking along the beach. In a tidal pool reflecting the day's last light, you discover beautiful shells, larger than any you've encountered before. The wind dies; the only sound is the echo of the ocean from the shells, which sounds like your own heartbeat, or could that be the flapping of wings? 

Nature performs magical feats by the millions every minute. But, busy with our private concerns and human interests, we often fail to notice nature's miracles . . . until someone shows us the world anew and wakes us up to the extraordinary quality of ordinary time.

Marcus is an artist who wakes us up. To borrow from literary terms, Marcus’ paintings, provocative and miraculous, are an instance of magical realism. He crafts scenes that defy the rules of the real world and in doing so, reveals a truth about this world we call home, and take for granted.  We willingly follow his lead, suspending disbelief because he creates a reality we only need to be shown to believe in.

"For the hard of hearing you shout, and for the near-blind you draw in large and startling figures," says Flannery O'Connor, a writer whose style anticipated the power of magical realism.

Realistic, accurately rendered elements in fanciful, impossible scenes evoke strong feelings.  Through his use of mystery and metaphor, mediating between reality and imagination, Marcus opens up a world and invites us along on an epic journey.

The invitation is the same invitation  issued by Nature, day after day, with her miracles. This winter, wake up to the world revealed anew.  The Geminid meteor shower tonight and the Christmas Bird Count are both  good ways to jump-start your belief in miracles and join Marcus on a journey which promises to be both very magical and very real.