Time and Place

March 31st, 2010

of my own choosing

Its Own Landscape - painting Dan Beck 2010

Its Own Landscapepainting Dan Beck 2010

Seemed like a good time to add a recent image.  Like the last painting and article below – this painting is not so much based on anything in particular but more about color and clouds.

The title speaks for itself – the painting is its own place – not a completely implausible place but not particularly based on anything recently seen or any recent scene, as it were.  Interesting how similar a meaning of those two words seen and scene … such as “seen in passing” or “passing scene”.

I guess my hope for such a painting – and as is the case for me – it is familiar enough looking yet different enough to be fun to look at.   My visual experience is never going to be exactly like anyone else’s experience – even if it is a shared experience.  We come to the world differently – and it is beautiful that there is such variation.

The colors, composition, and clouds speak to me – perhaps they will to you as well.

Painting For Me

February 11th, 2010

beyond seeing

See Where It Goes - painting & digital image - Dan Beck 2010

See Where It Goesoriginal digital art -Dan Beck 2010

A recent cloud formation was so inspiring to look at – I thought it would be fun to kind of bask in the memory – exploring my own representation of clouds without referring directly.

After all, no rendition can ever capture the experience – no memory can capture an experience …

but art can be experienced again and again – and in the process of making it – one can get lost in a world that is its own.

I am on a campaign of trying to be true to myself – not that this is a big departure.  I have painted the Salinas Valley landscape for a number of years now – partly to pay homage to the beauty here – partly as my own personal challenge to try to communicate the feeling it gives me – and partly because representational art has generally gotten better response than my abstract – but not always.

And frankly why do I care about response – because I am human and like to believe I am doing more than talking to myself.

Today, however, and in the art above – I know I am talking to myself – if anyone else chooses to listen – fantastic.

But today it doesn’t matter.


January 18th, 2010

spread the feeling


We all know that we’re connected
But we haven’t spread the word
If together we were facing
We’d have all the money in the world

The problems we see – the fights that aren’t right
The struggles – the hunger – the various plights
The torture of people for no real clear gain
The righteous indignation held on to for shame

There’s more than enough food
There’s more than one way
Each has a part in this marvelous game
We can’t have a fight when no one fights back
That saying I remember from my childhood back
“What if they gave a war and nobody came?”


It seems so damned obvious we are fighting ourselves
The anger we’re feeling is coming from us
We all can feel pleasure
We all can feel pain
Reflection – Projection
It’s all the same

If I could connect with all the friends I’ve known
Their friends and their friends
We’d circle the globe

The power we seek has long been inside
If we weren’t conscious beings we wouldn’t be alive
Positive energy can always combine
Why couldn’t we all just simply align?

Related Song

  • audio file Eyes, Ears, Hands – a 2001 song recorded on ’02 that seems appropriate for the sentiment of above

Painting Evolution

November 23rd, 2009

digital development shows progress


Seeing a painting evolve – Artichoke Warriors – 2009 – digital painting – Dan Beck

In my experience, most creative processes require stopping, stepping away, and starting up again – sometimes a number of times.  The changing piece above shows the three major places I stopped in creating this work of art.

A friend of mine once remarked that as a child he thought that all music was just one song.  I don’t discount that view. Although it is easier to see one’s own art or music as a continuation of the same self expression – it is equally true that we are all part of the creative fabric of life.

Bringing it back down to this particular painting – all three versions are valid – but I didn’t feel like I was done until I felt like I had completed my task.  Songs are like that too – I can keep working on them until I am ready to move on.  They can be faster, slower, better, or worse each time I might play them, but they don’t tend to fundamentally change.

In the same way, viewing a painting can change each time we look as well.

Listen and View

  • audio fileFeet on the Grass – since I don’t have any new recordings since 2007 – I figured I would share the last song written during recording at that time and what seems to have been my personal favorite – odd because it seemed too easy to write and too much like other songs – yet once recorded quite a different matter.
  • Continuing the Original Painting – previous article and only other time I tackled artichokes – so to speak – interesting it also has multiple versions – I don’t generally save my stopping points.

Exposing Intent

October 28th, 2009

feeling the space

Open Fieldsdigital art painting – Dan Beck 2009

This was painted approximately two months ago – the colors of everything have changed a bit since then – more brown in the fields – more blue in the sky – the change of seasons is subtle here in the Salinas Valley, but still noticeable.

This was a remarkably loose painting – my recollection was to capture that quick glance of field workers – in the distance – in multiple groups upon the backdrop of very open fields.  Looking at the painting today, I feel I captured these undulating and exposed fields.

The workers are more colors than people – probably hinting of the way the workers blend into the scene and are not seen or even thought of by most people. There is a tremendous amount of back bending work that goes into our being able to eat produce – and there is meant to be a kind of vulnerability from the open vastness of these picking fields.

Is the power in those floating electrical towers or in the people, clouds or hills?

See Also

  • Composition of the Bend – a somewhat similar piece from a different time and curiously mentions three paintings I just hung up in a rather impromptu exhibition at a local coffee shop
  • Digital Painting – never hurts to check out a little explanation and process

How Long Does It Take?

September 24th, 2009

The Timing of Art

No Painting Involved – definitively digital painting

The above piece of art used one color gradient and two painting tools – a square shape with adjustable rounded corners and a fill tool.  I stumbled upon the adjustability feature and started playing.

Frankly this is not a style of art which I would normally do. I like to use color and I prefer to create my own shapes – but it was fun and quick and begs the bigger question. How long does it take to create a painting?

I do find myself answering some times in terms of hours for a piece, but it is a faulty sense of time.

In truth, it takes a lifetime – or one’s lifetime up to the point of creating the piece – but I guess that is the nature of any skill – and even in the non-painting above where skill was not so needed – there are years of observation, aesthetic training, and appreciation which go into it.

Plus – time is different when one is creating – it can be faster or slower than other time – even timeless if you will.

If one is watching the clock when painting – one is doing it for other reasons.

In some ways – I think the real answer is “it takes no time at all” for it adds to one’s life not detracts.

See Also

  • How Our Sense of Time Flow is Created -fascinating group of articles on how we perceive time and even how to change it
  • When Art Can’t Fail – a previous article – with another painting done without any freehand – built on top of some strange symbolic language I unearthed opening a file in the wrong program – I guess.
  • Original Art – seems to me – a similar kind of unanswerable question and related to how long it takes – more than one’s lifetime – a whole history perhaps.

Glimpse of the Show

July 8th, 2009

medium rare photo

After everyone had pretty much left the gallery – we had a few photos with Dan & Trish in the Gallery at the Blackstone Winery.

I think the picture hints at what a beautiful space this is to have an art show. The opening was a lot of fun and the art was universally well received. Comments ranged from “Spectacular!” to “that painting belongs in the MOMA“. There are 35 original pigment prints hung in this exhibition and it will remain up until mid August.

Since Trish and I are getting married the first week in August we are hoping to share the show with our out of town guests. Trish has a smaller showing of her double-exposure photography in the corridor to the gallery – so it is really extra fun for those who know us both.

Solo Exhibition

June 26th, 2009

at the Gallery at the Blackstone Winery – Gonzales, CA

Sky Over Mountains – Dan Beck 2007 – Pigment Print on title wall of current exhibition

Opening Reception – tomorrow – Saturday June 27, 2009 2 – 4pm

MEDIUM : RARE Exhibition will remain up into the second week in August.

Below is an excerpt from my “Artist Statement”

My preference is for people to not focus as much on how I create art, as how the art appeals to them or affects them.  In most cases, the subject matter was chosen because my experience of a place has left me with such a strong impression.  I clue in on a few particular aspects of what I am seeing and try to articulate those aspects in a way that translates a feeling and invites further exploration.

The process of creating art using the tools of digital painting is important in a different way. It reveals much of what excites me about art. The computer allows me to overlap translucent gradients of color, and paint in a way I could never have conceived of using conventional painting methods.  I can manipulate and change my paintings in ways that continue to remain magical. The language of art is unchanged, but the tools I am using to create it require the time period we are living in.

For me, creating art needs to be fun and meditative – it also requires problem solving and experimentation to make something look the way it is supposed to look. I am always trying to push my abilities and develop new ways of working.  I firmly believe there are many ways to get to the right place – and similarly, many meanings are richer than just one.

See Also

  • Blackstone Winery – it is a beautiful gallery space with enough room for 30 plus paintings in the main gallery – not mentioned on their website – but they deserve credit for continuing to utilize the space with regularly changing high quality exhibits.

Strength of Color

June 19th, 2009

Sea-ing is Believing


Monterey Bay Colors – Dan Beck – February 2009

On certain days, there is an incredible green glow that comes from the ocean when the sun shines through.  In the month of February, the ocean – at least on this particular day – was an incredible shade of blue.

I have taken great liberties with the way I have painted the sand dunes, painted the ocean, painted the structures which butt out from the land on old Ford Ord just west of  Hiway 1  – not sure if it is Marina or Seaside – but this is not important.

What is important to me and was at the time of painting this – is the intensity of color – the remarkable show that I have never seen quite the same elsewhere.  What are these Fall colors doing in the midst of such a tropical colored ocean show?

I share this today because of the strength with which this piece is painted.

See Also

  • Tropical CD Cover Art – the colors reminded me of some other art where one can “put oneself in the scene”
  • Another Example – also from the same cd cover project – good album too
  • Fall Color – a painting of mine by that name – oddly a passing California vineyards image

Hide and Sync

June 1st, 2009

the dance of how we see

sync hoes

Sync Hoesdigital image – Dan Beck 2009

This painting was created in early April.  It is an image which  comes from both what I witness and what I understand.

This is often the nature of how I create – something captures my attention – in this case the in-sync hoeing that looks like a dance to a slow passing motorist.  It was the relationship of the field workers I was focused on and not the location.

There was a place – but again I was more concerned with the color.  Attention is related to understanding because so much of what we see is dependent upon what we are looking to see.

One could see the above art as abstract, as colorful, as primitive, as movement or perhaps none of the above.  It is my understanding which makes it work – I hope it works for yours as well.

See Also

  • Hoe Dance – 2005 painting with a similar theme