Thursday, October 01, 2009

Red Cart

24x32 oil on wood
The unground parking at Target on Colorado in Pasadena has yielded three paintings for me. I spent a little time making this one a little more finished out as I was trying for a real subtle light effect. I gave the shopping cart a golden moment as a way to make a painting technique serve as a droll comentary.
Many contemporary modern artists don’t realize that painting skills give you more of an expressive artistic vocabulary. They have bought the lazy idea that good technique is somehow makes you a more limited artist… How did that idea take over the art world so completely? I'll do my favorite artist thing later.

See you there



Blogger Sally said...

'o hail to thee o divine shopping cart!' ha ha. i love the way you can snazz up a totally boring subject into a star performance!! I often pop in to drool at your great little paintings. you are so right about the need for artists to learn their painting skills.

3:46 PM  
Blogger LuisNCT said...

that one is amazing! I like a lot the use of colors to strenght the composition

5:25 PM  
Blogger Billy Guffey said...

I like it Bill. Is the golden moment your artistic license? Or was the cart in the sun when you photographed it? Or did you place there and then take a pic?

I agree about the skills.

Teach us Obi-Wan...

5:42 PM  
Blogger Cafe Observer said...

Underground parking...R U talking about the new or old Target on Colorado Bl?

btw, Good painting!

6:32 PM  
Blogger Perry Brown said...

Those carts have that thick plastic basket texture, so the way it casts a shadow must have been a huge challenge which you obviously handled with skill. Urban still lifes caught in the moment-nice work again, William.

3:47 AM  
Blogger Vicente Herrero said...

The style does a lazy painter.
This phrase is your?
Have I understood well your words?
They are a few very intelligent words.
Good work.

4:17 AM  
Blogger billspaintingmn said...

I like the way you capture a
moment. I love the way you express
yourself. Thanks for sharing!

10:21 AM  
Blogger William K. Moore said...

I remember the other renditions. This ode to cart covers pretty much all skill sets... and the most important (for me) is it's a pleasure to view.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Very nice!

1:41 PM  
Blogger Felipe Postigo said...


3:07 PM  
Blogger Drake Brodahl (pumml) said...

So many beautiful things large and small going on in this one. It might very well be one of my favorites among your oil paintings.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Catherine Jeffrey said...

Love the playful witty humor in this painting. One expects the shopping cart to accept an award and start making a speech.
I think it can be difficult to break out of learned or developed skills. For example, If a painter does realism for a long time, everything else seems unfinished. I always say "be careful what you paint" because you might be painting that style forever, sometimes for fame or financial reasons etc. It takes a brave artist to say, "this is me, and I don't care, I'll paint what I want" I often see your comments re: this is too tight, too finished etc. Where do YOU want to be? Does naivete in art account for anything?

6:19 AM  
Blogger Shawn Escott said...

Beautiful painting! Great sense of light and atmosphere, and I love the reflected light!

7:24 AM  
Blogger Родионов Евгений said...

мне это по душе/ i like it

8:23 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Catherine Jeffrey : Does naivete in art account for anything?

I often like good simple art with charm vs. a surface realism. Bad realism is often more naive to me that the simplest cartoon. I believe that photo-realism when used, as a technique to hide a lack of drawing foundation is a very limited approach. Skill sets from the most naive folk art to the old masters have value. Artists of all of are types that have been born with a creative artistic seed that will grow at different speeds depending on the amount of fertilizer (self- education or schooling) they apply. No category is inherently better than the other, it’s if the artist are gifted and honest at what they do. Sadly many artists can go to school forever and never get better. It is the individual.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Jason Chalker said...

The light is really beautiful on this one.

11:01 AM  
Blogger tonypetersart said...

Nice dramatic light, and I love the blue and orange complimentary colors.

It is indeed unfortunate that the idea of good craftsmanship and skills as a painter makes one "limited" as an artist. Granted, great ideas are more important than skill, but that doesn't mean that skill should be tossed out of contemporary art all together.

The skill is what makes us pay attention to a great idea in art.

12:04 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

The thing is in today's art the ideas are not that good either. It's the worship of the non- idea. A decorative use of shiny objects out of context of their mundane function, shuffled, then put together to attract the objective critic who can form hypotheses of meaning on a backbone of nothing. Here's an idea: go to a prison. Glue all a prisoners’ stuff down in his cell. Have that cell cut from its foundation, placed on a truck and sent to a museum. A famous artist of your choice calls it art and it sells it for 2 million. For 60 years art has been dominated by magic tricks done for a hundred millionaires who are told it's a great investment. The art would sells tricky things to investors who underhand the concept in the cynical ingestion of nothing like toxic assets.

12:50 PM  
Blogger BoneDaddy said...

LOVE IT. I love how the shopping cart demands my immediate attention before letting me look around it at the cast light and the stairs.
There does seem to be a little "heaven/hell" going on (in my eyes). RED cart cast in a divine light, but unable to ascend the steps itself to the source of the light...blah blah blah either way I love it. You have a great knack for illuminating what seem like simple subjects and taking the "boring" right out.

1:28 PM  
Blogger sandy said...

How is it possible you can take such a mundane subject and make it fascinating and intriguing. wow.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Celeste Bergin said...

I get the commentary and completely agree

8:50 AM  
Blogger Leslie Sealey said...

I think this is the best rendition yet! I love the punch of the red cart, and that's followed up with subtle reflected light and just the right amount of detail. Perfect!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Erik van Elven said...

Very surreal and totally awesome lighting.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

It has the affect of Matisse goldfish, glowing red in a structure of black and whites with a simple color chord. But done in a more impressionist brushstroke and space.

Ideas and theories are simply starting points, not goals. Like in scientific method, one starts with a hypothesis from known data and results, experimenting as one works in the real world, the canvas, and resolving arising contradictions to create a living thing, a reflection of truth. It is a organic theory arrived at through exploration and working through problems. Not a preconceived idea that has no basis in anything but academic conjecture and limited aim. Thereby not dealing with reality, that of humanity and life experiences.

Your work has a huge advantage by simply going out into the world we live in, not limited to the sterilized walls and theories o academia and white walled galleries. Studios are not places of learning. They are protected cubes, and the daycare centers of art can never arrive at works of human experience, natures variety, and gods creative power. Your shopping cart glows in what is greater than the things shown.

creative Art. Nice work, whens your next show?
art collegia delenda est

8:34 AM  
Blogger Cooper Dragonette said...


5:01 PM  
Blogger Tatevik Avakyan said...

Beautiful work!

11:36 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Sally-- they try and get around it. An example on my art rave blog

2:33 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Thanks Luis

2:34 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Bill it was all there but I did move the cart slightly...

2:34 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

CO--the current one.

2:35 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Perry it was a bit of work yes...

2:35 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Vicente-- Yes I'm talking about the artist who think painting skills serve no legitamate function in todays art world. It's a curse to paint. Better a monkey than a "craftsman"

2:38 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Bill, Wk, Jeb, Felipe...

2:39 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Pumml-thanks I was hoping this one was somehow a little better that the typical one.

2:40 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Shawn and Dozhony

2:40 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Jason, Sandy, Celeste,Erik!

2:42 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

BG yeah one of my earlier views of the stairs will more carts was thus titled: Stairway to Heaven.

2:43 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Leslie!

2:44 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Donald I'll be in a group show the 17th at the Newbrerry gallery check the link.

I don't totally agree with you, but respect a lot of your feelings on this abused subject we call art.

2:47 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Cooper and Tatevic

2:47 PM  
Blogger William K. Moore said...

Take a guy like Duchamp.. the guy was a killer draughtsman and master painter. Look at his early work. He is famous for a urinal as art object among other ready-mades and of course nude descending a staircase. He had the right in my book to put 2 popsicle sticks together and sell it for a bag of cash... why? because he earned the right to do it and was an innovator in his time. Does he stand the test of time... check your local art book store. I don't worry about phoney artists... they always seem to get their just rewards all by themselves.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

Each work must have its own life force, be relevant to humanity, and justifiy its existence. Just because Duchamp made maybe three excellent paintings doesnt give him a pass. And his drawing was at best soso. He was smart and understood what others had done, the futurists like Carra and especially Boccioni did much better than Duchamp did.

But his latter stuff was just games, pulling the leg of the art world, which he was bored by. He got bored easily, and probably a sociopath, of whom there are far more than most realize, espcially in the arts, though narcissists rule. Didnt really give a damn is all. Preferred playing chess to interacting with life. And gave a way for art academies to market mediocrity as a standra, and so sell degrees as the Salon was rebuilt. Along with Balthus and Dali, they overcame the beating they had gotten at the ahnds of the post-impressionists, especially Cezanne, and early Moderns. Picabia and even Leger fell into the academic mindset, placing career over creation.

duchamp gets no bye, actually, should get the blame for the weakness that has now overwhelmed the art world, and weakness is considered essential. Self expression is for children, adults explore and seek truth. Not games and absurdist entertainments.

art collegia delenda est

12:28 PM  
Blogger William K. Moore said...

This is too good... I can imagine Duchamp would be quite pleased to shoulder the blame for the weakness of 20th & 21st century art. Over and out --

2:38 PM  
Blogger Donald Frazell said...

Only in the contempt era, 1960 on, or from when an ad artist suddenly became touted as creative, just showed the lack of imagination in marketing. No one really gave a damn about Duchamp before then. Emptiness gives a way for thousands of academics to write absurd treatis and promote career, they are but illustratons of bad ideas, not of life.

And all now going into the trash heap. People are as sick of it as they are of anorexic models being put up as beautiful women, when they are truly just equivalents of young boys, the true taste of those in charge of advertising, fashion, and bad art.

His time is over, and yes, I am sure he would be amused. Sociopaths are like that.

5:14 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

It took more that DuChamp to burn down the art house, but he did eventually become a kind of art history poster boy for the nothing artist. I don't know that much about him other than he reminded me of Salvador Dali in the sense they were court jesters of sensationalism in the "art world". Treating it all a big joke, as perhaps it deserved to be, who knew it would lead to total annexation of real art? It's debatable how good he or Picasso was academically, but at least they had some foundation to de- construct the form. Today's they don't learn anything other that how to decorate a window display with bundles of sticks and cheese snacks tastefully glued to a plate.

7:52 PM  
Blogger david said...

this is great. Whether you intended it or not it's a perfect statement on the lure of consumerism...Bright red target shopping cart in a depressing parking lot. I immediately knew where it was from too. Sadly, i like shopping at target sometimes.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"To the Alter of Excess". Quite a commentary. And the cart is empty too.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no comment, amazing...not find words to talk about your work.

11:00 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

David your right on the money! (pun intended!)

7:03 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks for posting Celeste and Einah

2:09 PM  
Blogger Bret Taylor said...

"Magic tricks."

No kidding. God forbid people might actually learn something...

1:24 AM  
Blogger Dahlia's Blog said...

The red cart painting is wonderful, as are so many of your little paintings. Please notify me if ever you do a workshop or decide to give some classes. I would love to sign up.

Dahlia Riley

1:32 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

dahlia-- Were are you located?

3:21 PM  
Blogger calmclam said...


7:49 PM  
Blogger calmclam said...

the plepler!

7:49 PM  
Blogger william wray said...


2:01 AM  

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