Monday, September 29, 2008

"Fresh Out the Oven"

This past weekend I finished three paintings. This gave me an even greater revelation concerning what I learned about painting from watching my mother, Marjorie McRay, prepare her culinary delights. Anyone who has attended one of my early studio events can testify, my mother is an expert cook.

Often, I'm asked, "How long does it take to make a painting?" My common response is "I work on several paintings simultaneously. It's like cooking." As a child, I'd watch my Mom cook our daily meals with one hand tied behind her back and her eyes closed. She made it look so easy. She's talented, disciplined, skilled, tireless, accomplished, and especially passionate. She loves her family and she loves to cook.

Henri Matisse, the twentieth century master was constantly criticized because of the surface simplicity of his drawings and paintings. Thus, he was often asked, "How long did it take you to make that painting?" Matisse's response, "a lifetime." His life was dedicated to artistic excellence. Matisse labored and labored over his paintings, but to the public, he made it look easy.

Back to Mom. Family holidays are like the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Final Four of cooking for her. Observing her prepare a holiday meal is like watching Michael Jordan leap down court with his tongue displayed. The next thing you know, "Wham!," a slam dunk. He's Michael Jordan. You don't expect any less. My Mom is like Jordan, but shorter.

She's poetry in motion. In the oven, a moist and delicious turkey is cooking. Her secret blend of cheeses are being mixed with macaroni to make, guess what? Simultaneously, homemade rolls are laid out on a baking pan. Collards are cooking, too. Cakes and pies are already on display. We all wait with anticipation.

Like Mom, I multitask. A long line of commissioned portraits are lined up to be completed. I'm preparing for gallery and museum exhibitions. New canvases are drawn upon. New under paintings are slashed out in a Van Gogh like fashion. Details are added to another set of paintings. Finishing touches are added to another. Eventually, like this past weekend, I add my signature to some. Hopefully, collectors wait in anticipation.

Recently, I heard a humorous rumor. "Eric McRay has a machine that makes paintings." I laughed! I wish it was that easy. I'd turn my painting machine on and then go to the beach with my kids and come back later to great paintings. And I bet that rumor weed cooks her Thanksgiving dinner in a microwave!

I'm a disciple of Marjorie McRay. Like Mom, I'm "Old School." We believe in working smart, working hard, multitasking, remaining optimistic regardless of the circumstances, expressing passion, loving our family and loving what we do. We make it look easy. And by the way, I have three new paintings, "fresh out the oven."

Bon Appetite! -Eric McRay


Bryan Turner said...

I'd love to see these in person. I don't feel that photos always give art the justice they deserve. I'll be looking forward to first firday!

Iris Chen said...

Yey Eric IS a painting robot! Who would have suspected?! I'm sure you can't wait for your mother's Thanksgiving dinner or awesome :O

By the way, the new paintings look awesome too XD even if they were done by a robot!