:::this is the way the world ends:::

It Is Easier to Conquer Than to Govern

 From the studio of Ned:

Click on the image above to enlarge.

5 Comments

  1. J.E.

    This is great Ned. What size is the canvas?

    I can see the engineers’ satisfaction in transforming the landscape. I’m often surprised how scenic I find highways and power lines that blight nature. I can also sense the loss of the transformation. To those of us who have been drafting and drawing up plans since before we can remember the is no pleasure that can compare with the straight line the true arc or ellipse. What satisfaction it gives us to transform an environment — exterior or interior. This transformation must always destroy something of what was there before.

  2. Shotts

    This is tremendous, Ned–really may, so far, be my favorite of your paintings that I have seen. I think this is a step forward, thematically, from the scenes of the harbor off of Staten Island, for example–though that was a few years ago now. The colors, and the perspective, especially with the swooping power lines, are all terrific. And the overlay of the city plan. Congratulations.

    And I like J.E.’s take off on some of what’s in the painting. The title tells us a lot–is it from Machiavelli? That would be appropriate to the image, and to the theme of paving over the earth, conquering it instead of truly or rightly governing it (or letting nature govern us, for that matter).

    I hope I get to sometime see the actual painting in person. It’s remarkable to think of where you’ve taken your talents, Ned. I still think of you drawing the angel for the cover of In Touch at MHS, or drawing comic book characters in middle school. You’re journey already feels like a long one. I’m eager to see where you go–so keep posting your work here (or having J. E. post it)!

    –Shotts

  3. Ned

    Thanks for the comments. The quote that comprises the title is by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and, though I’d like to say I’m reading Rousseau, I came across it in The Politics of Nonviolent Action Part One. I’m on part two now, and I will say it is an amazing work of literature. Part two will take me a while – it is a systematic investigation of every type of resistance that does not involve violence. He includes good examples, like the bus boycotts of the civil rights movements, and some bad examples too. Part One is philosophy and historical context, all the way back through recorded history. Part two is the Methods section.

    As far as the canvas size. I hate to say this too, but I’ve gone to working on paper. I had to switch to mostly acrylics once I moved to Eau Claire, because Eliot is in the basement a lot, I was concerned about the fumes. But working on paper has advantages too. I don’t have problems storing larger canvases; prep time is shorter for a surface so I spend more of my studio time actually painting; and the paper lends itself to blending mediums like gouache, watercolor, colored pencil, etc. I then matte and frame the pieces.

    J.E., I think you hit on a good point when you spoke to the aesthetics of the engineering of nature, but also the loss. I’ve been interested in those aspects for a while now, but as Jeff, mentioned, I may be getting better at evoking those ideas visually (or not).

    I haven’t seen Pan and won’t until video. I haven’t watched a movie (that wasn’t for kids) in about 6 months, which is funny. I can’t say that I miss it.

    Recent readings include:
    The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Part 2
    Essays by Barry Moser
    The Object Stares Back, James Elkins
    Unto This Last and Other Writings, John Ruskin.
    Old School, Tobis Wolff (finished this one).

    I’ve joined a critique group for writing picture books. I have a goal of writing and publishing my own.
    I’m going to go read the poetry post now.

    Ned

  4. Shotts

    Ned–

    Thanks for more on this painting. Rousseau. Yes, thank you–a major influence on William Golding.

    You mention you are working on paper, but you don’t answer how large this painting is. I’m curious about that too (as is J.E.).

    I do think this painting communicates “theme” more readily than most. That’s not to say it simplifies it, but it’s work that wants to be read the way the artist wants it to be read. Some cringe at that, but in this case, I only appreciate it, and find it ultimately more risky for being sincere. And the layering of the painting is certainly complex.

    I have not yet seen Pan’s Labyrinth either, but would like to. Jen is going to India February 9-20, and perhaps I will see it in that time (since Jen does not want to see it for its violence). Good to have such high reviews from Toby and J. E.

    You’re reading great things, by the look of it, Ned. I’m intrigued by the huge, two-volume The Politics of Non-Violent Action. Sounds like it’s been a major influence on you and your work.

    I’m in the middle of a 700-page novel titled, appropriately, WINTER’S TALE, by Mark Helprin. It’s going slowly, as it should, but it’s one you would really like Ned. A lot of history of turn-of-the century (1900) New York, and intriguing stories within stories, with a touch of the legendary, magical realism.

    Jen’s been reading Jhumpa Lahiri–The Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake. The Namesake will be a new movie, coming out this spring. We saw a preview for it before The Queen, and the preview looked terrific. And The Queen, by the way, is very good, one of the best I’ve seen in the last year, certainly.

    Ned, glad you are still on your three months without red meat. Sounds like it’s going well. I hope you’ve seen the recent postings on the subject of food and found them interesting.

    I know the former governor of Iowa is running for the democratic ticket, but I don’t know much about him, other than he seems to be a non-factor at the moment. I’m surprised how strong John Edwards has started out, all in all, though I’m curious if he’ll be able to maintain that through the primaries. It amazes me how early all of this is happening–which is good, but for now, feels a bit distracting somehow from the war, poverty, and health care and other vital issues that we still have to deal with under George Bush the next two years. He’s hardly out the door yet…

    OK, a lot to respond to, and I meant this to mostly be about Ned’s painting. And yet, looking back, I suppose it is.

    –Shotts

  5. Ned

    Jeff,
    The painting is 16″ x 16″. I’ve read two collections of short stories by Helprin. I’d like to read a Winter’s Tale, but haven’t been able to get to it yet.
    Ned

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