Nicholas Baxter

In The Studio 4

After an awkward and disconcerting hiatus from regular painting while my new studio space was being built and furnished, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the past month back at the easel on a regular basis.

I’ve been working on a half-finished painting that was begun after its original spark of inspiration occurred during the early summer months of 2014. It was then picked at sporadically through the fall and left dormant in winter, until finally undergoing the last push toward completion in the past few weeks.

Occasional and intermittent work on a serious and challenging painting is one of my least favorite phenomena. On the contrary, steady and regular progress on a painting keeps the spindly and often ephemeral thread of inspiration intact long enough to keep the nipping dogs of self-doubt and overquestioning at bay. So now I have uncertainties about some of the choices made in the progression of this painting, but done is done. I’d love to carry on the themes and subject matter of this one into future related works, though. We’ll see how that pans out. So many ideas and images in my head…so little of it turns into a physical object in this shared reality.

Here are some progress shots from last year and this month. The completed piece will be unveiled soon, after I hopefully think of a title.

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Grisaille.

Color block-in.

Color block-in.

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Applying splatter texture to the block-in.

 

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Building up rust textures.

Adding fine details and highlights before the final shadow glazes are applied.

Adding fine details and highlights before the final shadow glazes are applied.

 

 

 

 

On The Road 8: Bolivian adventures and a Diablada Mask

Here’s a poster commission I completed last year that got lost in the shuffle and forgotten about:

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“Diablada” Oil on Panel, 11 x 14 inches, 2014

 

I attempted to utilize a much looser painting style to complement the hand-painted folk art look of this traditional Bolivian ceremonial mask. It’s so harrrrd for my neurotic perfectionist brain to not. overblend. every. millimeter. of. paint. but I want to keep trying a more expressive use of paint in this new year. We’ll see how that goes… ha.

In a fortunate twist of fate I had the pleasure of visiting Bolivia last year after completing the commission, and got to experience the intensely macabre blend of indigenous and Christian/colonial cultures being celebrated in their annual Natitas festival. Here are some iPhone photos from that experience and the rest of this latest South American adventure:

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Perception of Being Recap

Last night was the opening reception at Mindzai Creative for my new painting series, and so today I’ve posted all 20 pieces to my gallery. Several of the originals sold at the opening (thanks to those collectors!) and are marked accordingly in the image gallery, as are the ones still available (email to inquire on those).

If you’d like to display all 20 paintings, I have an 18 x 24 poster featuring the entire series, limited to an edition of 100. These are printed on standard semi-gloss poster paper, and are priced at $20.00 each, plus $10 domestic shipping to cover a mailing tube and postage. Email me through the contact link in the upper right corner to order one.

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I’ve also printed archival giclees of 4 of my favorite pieces on thick watercolor paper at actual size (9 x 12 inches), limited to editions of only 10 each (signed and numbered). These are priced at $80.00 apiece, plus $10 domestic shipping to cover a mailing tube and postage. Email me through the contact link in the upper right corner to order one.

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Giclee prints of images 5, 6, 7, and 19 from the series.

Thanks to everyone who’s bought posters and prints so far, and to all who came out to the opening last night, the support is truly appreciated!

 

For more insight into the series, here’s my artist statement about the work:

“Perception of Being”

New works by Nicholas Baxter

 

“The heart has a natural capacity to find the eachness of things, to experience an intimacy with each particular event. The ancient Greeks called this capacity ‘aithesis.’ Developing the capacity for aithesis allows the unique living essence that is present in all things to flow into the human through the organ of perception that is designed to receive it—the heart.”

–Stephen Harrod Buhner

 

The heart has been regarded throughout history and across many cultures as the emotional and feeling center of the human—an intelligent organ of perception. Modern science has corroborated this ancient understanding by measuring emotion-based changes in the electromagnetic fields generated by the heart, with researchers going so far as to conclude that the heart’s own nervous system is so complex and intricate that it qualifies as a second brain.

Phenomenologist author David Abram writes, “We are organs of this world, flesh of its flesh” to describe the inverse of our mainstream logic: that the world we are embedded in, indeed the entire universe, is experiencing itself through us, via our own feelings and perceptions. And so universal feelings like joy, anger, and sadness find individual expression through the unique interfaces of our own consciousnesses, completing the interdependence of the individual and the whole, the merging of finite and infinite, micro and macro, an illustration that each of us are miniature holographic reproductions of the cosmos we inhabit and are made from.

We are thus immersed in an infinitely complex yet subtle energetic field from conception until death. Under the dominant material-reductionist paradigm of modern civilization, however, this aspect of existence is often ignored and denigrated. Esoteric feeling states are what language and hard science still, after many generations, struggle to describe and convey; indeed, words often drown out the delicate perceptions of the heart, and measurements merely quantify.

Where words and numbers fail, images and symbols may begin to succeed in describing and conveying the rich ether of our interior experience, the directly felt human condition, an ephemeral shifting myriad of momentary perceptions and feelings. There comes a time in many lives when exploration and recognition of these are necessary to reconnect the individual with a sense of purpose, meaning, or simply an appreciation of their own humanity. In describing and documenting these feeling states—through whatever medium or means necessary—we move toward the truth of self-knowledge and the integration of wisdom. This state of increased awareness comprises the path towards embodiment of our fullest human potential.

This collection of paintings is not definitive nor complete, merely an attempt to portray a portion of the vast internal experience of being human, through the visual manipulation of a simple and universally recognized symbol. Each heart is situated within a field of pure white, which represents the clear, unfettered and undisturbed awareness that resides beyond the level of ego and emotion. Our consciousness and its tendencies, perceptions, feelings, and emotions are the splashes of color, pattern, and form that populate this great expanse of unconditioned possibility.