Saturday, April 08, 2023

Stuart Shils

In the realm of visual art, few painters command the emotional intensity, enigmatic allure, and chromatic mastery that define the oeuvre of Stuart Shils. As one surveys his creations, one cannot help but be enthralled by their uncanny ability to straddle the realms of the abstract and the figurative, demanding prolonged contemplation from the viewer to unveil their intricate depths.

Shils' work, it seems, benefits tremendously from his astute exploitation of social media. Specifically, his use of Instagram as a platform for crafting diptychs of his paintings adds a layer of intrigue to his already captivating art. Moreover, the classicism permeating his titles, which frequently harken back to the grandeur of ancient Greece, serves to enhance the intellectual appeal of his pieces.

In Shils' paintings, one can discern the palpable influence of his travels and experiences, particularly those derived from his sojourns in the Mediterranean cradles of culture, Greece and Italy. It is there that he manages to distill the essence of the locales he visits, imbuing his canvases with a sense of place and atmosphere that borders on the transcendent.

As one delves further into Shils' artistic process, it becomes apparent that his photography plays a crucial role in shaping his work. Employing photographs as both compositional aids and reference points, he weaves together a tapestry of visual narratives that echoes the rich history of his chosen subjects.

Shils' technique is particularly noteworthy in its propensity for layering paint to create depth through color and texture. His paintings possess a sense of history and timelessness, as though they have withstood the passage of centuries and emerged unscathed, their beauty undiminished.

In conclusion, Stuart Shils' art is a singular beacon in the pantheon of contemporary painting. His use of social media as a vehicle for sharing his work is both innovative and effective. One would be well advised to explore his Instagram account to fully appreciate the captivating power of his creations.

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Friday, April 07, 2023

Rogier Van der Weyden's Crucifixion With the Virgin and Saint John

In a cerebral exploration of Rogier Van der Weyden's painting "Crucifixion With the Virgin and Saint John," one can't help but be struck by the profound impact of the removal of gold leaf from the painting, revealing a stark, featureless black sky. The Philadelphia Museum of Art's decision to strip away the gilded layer unveils a deeper significance that transcends the religious symbolism and invites a more secular introspection.

The black sky, akin to an existential abyss, embodies the three days when our world was ostensibly bereft of divine presence, suspended between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. This revelation of the painting's original state, much like the piercing wit of a well-timed aphorism, forces us to reconsider the true meaning of the artwork.

Though some may argue that the painting's religious context is inescapable, I beseech my fellow skeptics to glance beyond the ecclesiastical implications and appreciate the raw, human emotions that the painting evokes. It is a testament to the universal experience of feeling abandoned, lost, and yearning for salvation – whether that comes in the form of divine intervention or human resilience and ingenuity.

As we traverse this vale of tears, it would behoove us to pause and contemplate Van der Weyden's masterpiece, regardless of our spiritual inclinations or lack thereof. The painting serves as a stark reminder that, even in the darkest of times, there is always the promise of rebirth and renewal – the proverbial Easter and Resurrection of our own lives.


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Swansong for Spain’s king of spy fiction

One cannot help but be drawn into the labyrinthine world of Javier Marías, the masterful Spanish novelist, as he unfurls the intricate narrative of "Tomás Nevinson." In this complex tale, Marías explores the depths of human character and the shadowy realm of espionage, subterfuge, and political machinations.

At the heart of the narrative lies Tomás Nevinson, an ex-agent wearied by the clandestine world he once inhabited. It is the psychopathic spymaster Bertram Tupra who lures Nevinson back into the fray, urging him to undertake one final mission. Thus, our protagonist finds himself navigating the provincial streets of Spain in search of a former IRA terrorist, a key player in the Hipercor bombing of 1987.

Marías' prose is nothing short of mesmerizing, as he deftly constructs Jamesian, self-qualifying sentences that demand the reader's undivided attention. The allusive narrative voice further serves to bewitch, leading one through a tale that is both nonsensical and undeniably compelling.

Despite a foundation built upon a blend of comic and erotic elements, "Tomás Nevinson" takes a dark turn as Marías incorporates the real-life murder of politician Miguel Ángel Blanco into the fabric of the story. It is this juxtaposition of the absurd and the tragically real that elevates the novel to new heights.

In conclusion, "Tomás Nevinson" is a resplendent gem in the literary oeuvre of Javier Marías, and it is only fitting to commend the exceptional efforts of translator Margaret Jull Costa for her skill in rendering the nuances of the original Spanish text. Thus, it is with great enthusiasm that one recommends this novel to those seeking an intellectually stimulating journey through the intricacies of the human condition and the enigmatic world of espionage.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2023

One Typed Page

A typed page I submitted to One Typed Page

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Saturday, March 04, 2023

Looking at the Snow

snowSandy in a parking lot in front of the mountains
snowA selfie we took with the San Gabriel Mountains behind us.
snowSummits in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Under the Weather

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather lately. Twice in October, including Halloween night, I was hospitalized for a rather severe cardiac condition: Atrial fibrillation (A-fib), an irregular and often very rapid heart rhythm (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots in the heart. The drugs they have me on are basically kicking my ass. I have no energy at all, although I can still do a little illustrating from time to time.

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

BIGFOOT TIM — A Documentary Film

My documentary film, BIGFOOT TIM, is now streaming on YouTube. The film recounts the last ten years of my deceased twin brother’s life, using over 1,500 of Tim YouTube videos plus archival content such as 8mm home movies, newspaper articles, podcast segments, and recorded radio interviews.I made the film with a total budget of $79, using the Filmora software on an older iMac.A little background: Tim was born in Virginia and eventually settled in the Tampa area. The film explores Fasano’s life as he struggles to pull himself out of poverty as a cab driver while developing an interest in videography and a passion for finding Bigfoot in the swamps of Florida. The film brims with wild stories, wild characters, strange dreamers, and big ideas about human existence.The soundtrack uses 31 compositions by the Australian/Swedish composer Scott Buckley. It also uses the song “Wishes” by American guitarist, singer, and songwriter Matthew Mondanile, performed by his solo music project, Ducktails. The film’s trailer features the composition “Wonderful” by Scott Buckley.

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