"169 paintings, Miracle at Three Rivers (well kinda)”

I have had a lot of comments about my last blog, the one concerning my lost artwork. Thank you for your kind words.

Many years ago I read that an artist should keep a record of everything that they create, that this record would make that artists work more valuable since an accurate record would prevent someone from mysteriously claiming to have work from that artist that is unverifiable and then selling it as if it were legitimately created by that artist. I have kept such a record of every piece of art I have done to include the medium and materials used. Out of curiosity I went back and counted how many Paintings I have done, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that after 16 years of painting, I have completed only 169 paintings! Yeah, about ten paintings a year on average! In fact, last year I only completed sixteen paintings, so I lied to you when I told you that a third of all the work I did last year has disappeared, what I should have said was that 13 of the 16 paintings I did in 2016 have disappeared. That is why I am sooooooo upset.

Oil painting is not something slopped together, a good oil painting requires a lot of labor; that is why good ones are so valuable. Something else to consider is this, a painter, according to experts, does not begin to paint relevant work, until they have painted at least, one hundred pieces. And I can affirm that as oh so true. So, out of my one hundred and sixty nine paintings, in my opinion, only about one hundred of them are good. You see, it took me about ten years before I even understood what I was doing. To add to that, painting is not a mechanical skill, anyone can paint. Great painting is not done with your hand and a brush, it is done with your vision and a brush…and that vision is an elusive mistress, most painters NEVER, EVER, get it; my artistic vision only recently came to me. Point is: in my lifetime, I will probably only paint five hundred or so, relevant pieces, that is all. So, if you have one, take care of it.

On the subject of my last blog, my son Marco, the big shot lawyer, is the one who has stepped up and decided to try and recover my stolen work…I want him to get the credit he deserves for his efforts; for the record, he also has a bunch of my paintings framed and hanging in his home.

”Miracle at Three Rivers”

For the last several months I have been working on a painting, which I started as a protest piece. Let me explain.

A few months back I ordered an art book on Figure Painting – a book that I had sent to me while I was at the USP in Florence Colorado, but lost when I loaned it to an irresponsible someone. Anyway, it is a very good instructional book. When that art book arrived here at Three Rivers, someone in the mailroom, along with one of the Associate Wardens, decided that, because it had nudity in it, that I could not have it! I remind you, I was allowed to receive it in another Federal Prison, but not this one. It’s an ART BOOK! A book about painting the human form! Give me an Forking break!!! I’m sixty-one years old and I can’t have an art book on “figure painting” because some right-wing bureaucrat with a little dick ( ok, I don’t know that for certain, but I suspect it as true. But you feel me right! ) is offended by art! Anyway, I decided to paint this picture of a beautiful female figure, WITHOUT showing any nudity, to show that the human body, in art, can be portrayed as beautiful without vulgarity. For the record I would never paint something that I would be ashamed for my daughter to see.
But, along the way this painting changed from being a protest piece to something completely different, it took on a life of its own; often a painting will start as one thing and morph into its own individuality. In the end this painting was of a woman posed, if you can imagine, like a woman trying to cover herself in the fashion she would if she was forced to disrobe and stand in front of strangers. Vulnerable. In the background I put behind her, almost hidden, a set of wings. I put upon her head a Buddha type headdress and on her forehead I put a red dot, like the Hindu women wear…so, she is representative of all women, of all religions and she is mesmerizing.

Mesmerizing is the word. So, when I finished with her I sat down and just stared at her to ascertain if there was anything else left to be done. As I looked at her, I could see ever so clearly her vulnerability, but there was something about her face that held my attention. I could see in her face, something, an emotion I could not quite understand…and I knew that she was speaking to me. And I knew that I loved her. And I knew that she loved me in return. My soul and her soul bonded, and in that moment of bonding she told me that I needed to cast a little more shadow around her eyes, so I moved slowly to her and brushed in just a little darkness above her eyes and then cleaned my brushes and told her good night.

The next morning I made the first move back to the art room; I was excited to see her, paintings often change from one day to the next. I rushed in to the art room hoping that all was well with her, but, when I got there I saw something that caused my heart leap within the confines of my chest. What I saw was, a tear, upon her face a tear, a tear I had not painted, running ever so delicately down her cheek. I have to admit, that I immediately thought about the religious miracles where statues and paintings of the Virgin Mary, wept. Being that I am completely and unabashedly spiritual I stopped in front of her and just stared…truthfully, I felt like dropping to my knees and praying, for I was truly moved by what I saw.

Gaining control of my emotions, I walked up to her to take a closer look and in doing so I touched her shoulder. As i leaned over to inspect the tears, I say tears because only then did I realize that there were tears running so perfectly down both her cheeks.

The conclusion is this: When I had added the shadows over her eyes the night before, I used linseed oil to soften the paint, and somewhere in the night, that linseed oil, for some reason, accumulated in the wells of her eyes, and mixed with the paint I had used, ran down onto her cheeks leaving a trail akin to that of a teardrop. As I sat down to look at her, I realized, that the emotion in her face that I could not identify the day before had now revealed itself…it was sadness.

She is beautiful. She is very sad…sad like me.

Peace be with you. Mark

Three Rivers, 1-8-17