Semi-Quiet Art

The current paintings in my “Veil Series” began as thoughts on how I might reduce the distractions in and around me. The challenge begins with learning restraint. I have a tendency to crowd my physical and mental space with visual and audible distraction. My questions about reduction are not about wanting absolute silence. I think of absolute silence as a blank canvas in a room without light. Silence taken to such an extreme becomes a lifeless setting. My thoughts about being a little more quiet are in pursuit of enriching life. A life with fewer distractions becomes one with more discovery. Art can distill the chaos and mystery present in everyday life. Isn’t this why people seek out the arts? Most are not longing to become artists, they want the sense of discovery art brings to our existence.

Most of the paintings I’ve made over the past year confirm using restraint is a challenge. The power of understatement eludes most of my paintings. I have accomplished it in a few out of the group. So I will continue learning how to say just enough with the thoughtful application of  line and color. There’s not a formula as every painting requires a different way of completion. But the painting (below) titled “Veil 184″ is semi-quiet and says just enough for my eyes.

Veil 184. 2014. Mixed + digital media on paper. 14"x11".

Veil 184. 2014. Mixed + digital media on paper. 14″x 11″. Gregory Zeorlin

So how much quietness can I allow in my art? I don’t know at this point as there is much work to do. But if this becomes a mental exercise in the studio I should stop working now. Such a reductionist exercise eventually leads to a blank canvas. I’ve seen blank minimalist canvases in esteemed art museums and have not been moved. When I watched others view such paintings, most barely pause. A quiet work of art  is not created to go unnoticed. A quiet piece of art may challenge our sense of timing and patience. An understated piece of art shouldn’t be consumed in a single 15 second glance. And what happens if the viewing leads to contemplation? Could we allow ourselves enough time to pause? “Looking at art has potentially unexpected side effects.” Should this statement be posted at every art museum and gallery entry?

I’ll return to the challenge of making semi-quiet paintings after making sketches, photographs and writing poetry for a month. After sorting this new information I’ll see what happens to the next group of mixed media paintings in the “Veil Series.” Maybe the next ones will even convey the quest of semi-quiet that I’m writing about now.

After all these thoughts about being quiet, I still have to make noise so others notice my semi-quiet work. I’ll post images of finished paintings on my studio website while seeking opportunities to exhibit them in galleries and museums. I don’t want my art to end up in a dark room.

Thank you for reading this blog. Please forward this post to friends, art lovers and art gallery/museum professionals.

Artists Emerging From Dirt

The term “emerging artist” is a perplexing and amusing one to me. It generally indicates an artist is rising to the surface. As if, before making it to the surface, an artist is in the dark. They are like an organism in the dirt that slowly takes on form until it mutates into a real walking artist complete with a cover letter, bio, image list and artist statement. Emerging artists who are deep underground can only see a faint light from up on the surface.  So we squirm around in our dim dirt piles wondering about that light up there coming from the art world.  When an artist starts to emerge, does their head push out of the dirt so their face can follow the light? I wonder about such things.

Of course, sometimes I wonder if I’m more of a pre-emerging artist and not an emerging one. Then my mind races to all those galleries I contact that respond as if I’m just another weed to spray. So they ignore my wildflower blooms and unfamiliar perfume or tell me I cannot become part of their carefully arranged bouquet.  I return to my dirty studio to continue working and mutating. I’m slowly becoming a stronger, vibrant wildflower/weed with a variety of unusual blooms. Those blooms are fade resistant and able to tolerate heavy doses of weed spray. Could I be like a plant in the desert that knows it will bloom in the light when the time is right? Sure. Yeah, that’s me.

Plus think about this…Hothouse flowers shrivel up soon after being cut and arranged. And many hybrid blooms are only arranged a certain way.  Sometimes those flowers start to look like plastic. It’s a good thing there many vibrant weeds out here with ample roots. Even when transplanted into a variety of pots you know they will bloom where they’re placed.

Being a pre-emerging or emerging artist is OK. I do long for a bit more of the bright light. And when the bright art world light beams on my uncommon selection of wildflower blooms, I’ll keep the roots in moist soil.

Thanks for reading this bit of playful sarcasm. I’ll keep working. You can see my artwork by clicking here.


Veil 126

Veil 126

“Veil 710″ (studio shot)

Here’s a mixed media painting I just finished titled “Veil 710.” It is from my ongoing “Veil Series” paintings you can view on my studio website ( “Veil 710″ is 28″ x 22″ on canvas. The image on this blog is a quick studio shot. I will photograph it again with even lighting and post on my website.  I still need to attach it to a canvas stretcher.  If you have comments or questions about this painting please let me know. Thanks.

"Veil 710"

“Veil 710″



Writing An Artist Statement

The inner and outer worlds of an artist often collide with an uninterested public. So it takes some will to push on with ideas. The artist ego inflates so we are bold enough to make something out of nothing. And in this swollen state of mind we are certain the profound inner meanings of such work is the result of magic… Which we reveal in an artist statement. With this profundity in mind…the following poem was made with such magic…

Writing An Artist Statement

The composition of an artist statement
contemplated by one occasionally by two
often read by fewer, when done.

Each revision reduced
skinned to show bone
distilled to a trace of sweat.

Until maybe… just maybe
the final version says,
“So what?”

Gregory Zeorlin 6/6/2014 (10:45am)

You can read my real Artist Statement on my website.  Read Artist Statement

"Gone" (detail view). Mixed media painting

“Gone” (detail view). Mixed media painting.


Creating a World

(This blog entry is longer than what I usually write.  Since few read anything taking more than 20 seconds to finish this post is mainly a note to myself.  But you are welcome to read this 550 word reflection).

Articles on ways to change ourselves appear regularly in newspapers, magazines and on-line.  The frequency of these articles confirm most of us are stuck spinning in place.  Some articles feature new medicines we can ask our doctor to prescribe.  There are studies about grains, fruits and vegetables we can eat in some ratio to fix us.  And there are conferences by gurus, sages, ministers, talk show hosts and bestselling authors all promoting a book and a promise to heal what ails us.  Sometimes it seems our goal is not to change but to learn how to function adequately in our assorted broken states.  We don’t mind addressing various habits as long as they are not our own.

Some things we incorporate into our day become habits.  Some of the habits are beneficial and help define who we are.  Others harden into physical and mental dependencies forcing us to live in ways we never intended.  Even when we realize we are stuck we often avoid initiating change.  This results in discomfort, unhappiness and illness.

What we often lack is the willingness to live creatively.  We’ve allowed the creative part of our lives to be directed by others.  We expect to be fed and not make the creative “food” ourselves because this requires preparation.  So we get by watching television and clicking around the Internet equating this as a creative act.  Television and the Internet have a place in our lives but neither should replace our creative world.  Living a creative life is not about being entertained or being entertaining.

Allowing ourselves to live in a creative place is not complicated.  It starts with examining how we use our time each day.  This lets us discover how we’ve buried ourselves under routines.  We do not need an art studio to establish a creative way of living (although I love my art studio  We don’t have to go to go to art school or live near a museum.   A creative world develops anywhere time is allowed for it to happen.  This is frightening because we may experience less managed blocks of time where we go for walks or sit and idle somewhere.  It’s easy to think such behavior is a waste of time.  But look at how much time is lost by viewing screens crammed with U-tube, Facebook, Tumblr, Pintrest, television programming, Pandora and more.  These distractions keep us from having a creative life.  (Now look at me, criticizing digital social media while utilizing the same social media platform).

If we want to change (physically, mentally, spiritually) we need more time to nurture a life of curiosity.  We have to understand which routines are necessary to get the mundane things done.  This awareness lets us change or eliminate other habits.  Eventually our lives become engaged in an evolving creative world while the junk in life (food, TV and other screen viewing) diminish.  We start becoming creators of content which makes life more meaningful.  But we still have to have some fun “junk” knocking around in our lives.  I’ll admit I write things like this after tripping over all the junk in my own daily life.  The painting titled “Incense” relates to this article and the chaos, logic, mystery and order that forms a creative world.  (And if you actually read all the way to here, thanks for taking the time.  I welcome your comments and questions).


Incense. 2012. Mixed media painting. 24" x 30".  Gregory Zeorlin

Incense. 2012. Mixed media painting. 24″ x 30″. Gregory Zeorlin

The Cost/Quest of Higher Knowledge

Another year of college has ended!  But the criticisms about it continue year round.  Current students, graduating students and paying parents complain about the high costs, lack of jobs after graduation, the price of books, the challenges of coordinating travel to distant campuses, etc, etc.  Anyone who reads this blog entry could add to the list of troubles.  Many are willing to make lists of complaints as long as we do not have to change our own behavior.  We are always the exception.  We prefer to deny that many problems associated with college are self-imposed.

Don’t complain about the years of debt following graduation from a $50,000+ a year school that someone in the family elected to attend.  No one was forced to take a school loan or postpone saving for retirement.  Sure that school had a nice cafeteria and a coffee lounge that beat out many other college eateries.  Plus, the dorms were spacious and the university apartments were even better. Cable TV, pool side community parties, cleaning services and more! And if you didn’t like the apartment’s exercise center you could always go to the state-of-the art center on campus.  But it is true, the gelato on campus doesn’t compare to the choices available during the study abroad adventure.  But don’t worry, if you can’t find a job your parents will pay for a return trip to Europe while you wait for an upper management position.  And you can get that gelato again!  Remember how crazy it was to drive a rental car in France?  It was even more challenging back on campus when parents realized how hard it is to find a good college town mechanic who works on that BMW (Mercedes, Audi, etc.) you drove.  But you made it though the challenges and got a new car at graduation!

This is a partial list of complaints from the continuous loop of distortions encircling the pursuit of knowledge.


College Graduation

The Ending (of college life)



The Democratization of “Good” Design

I recently read about the latest software application promising to put good design into the hands of all.  But do you ever wonder who determines what is “good” design?  Certainly there are general rules that are broadly applied to theories of design.  But as we know, sometimes the theory results in homogenized designs.  A design trend develops and nearly all business graphs, charts, ads, architecture, autos and more become too familiar. Does this come to mind when you think of a certain nationally franchised coffee shop? (I will not name it but it is on nearly every other block in larger cities).

The interior design of this coffee shop chain has “inspired” updates in many homes with the goal of having a cool coffee shop feel and look.  It’s actually too bad when this happens. Individuality gives way to a corporate look.  Such ubiquitous good tastes becomes bland.  We are constantly sold on how to look all the way into our homes.  So, think about good design means to you.  Design is not an adjustable rubber stamp.  Design should show an individual’s tastes and not corporate branding.

It’s time to wake up.  Go ahead and make some design mistakes. Find out what fits you instead of trying to fit into another “good design” theory of the decade.  Many home remodels will happen once the current design trend for coffee shop style and color moves on.  And some will have to buy new art and decoration for their homes since they followed design trends and not their own tastes.  The last thing you want to do is buy art based upon trendy good design theory.  So next time you change your home or buy art figure out what moves you instead of chasing a trendy design.

Blue Apple

Blue Apple