Saturday, April 25, 2009


I’m punning about the actual color of the ocean water here in south Florida. Just look at this selection of photographs from our many visits to the beach. The color(s) change depending on the wind direction and its velocity, time of the year, and sunlight. I’ve taken thousands of these photographs, and I’ll take thousands more. I might take ten to twenty images of a particular subject before I find the one that is perfect. The others I trash. I never know what colors I will find to photograph when I visit the beach.

The photographs themselves serve as guides for my pastel drawings of beach, ocean and marsh though I never use a single image to draw from. Instead, I take several and choose elements from each to incorporate in the drawings. Often I use Adobe Photoshop software to meld these photomontages together seamlessly. That way the original individual photographs remain independent of the drawings, works of art in their own right.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Art, Politics, and Life the Past Week

Just as confounding as the artwork, “Swimming Pool” by Leonardo Erlich at PS1 MOMA, is the article about it on line at The sub-headline for the exhibit states, Swimming Pool will be on view from October 19, 2008 to October 9, 2009, but the article itself states that the exhibit was over on April 13th of this year. I personally hope that the artwork will still be on exhibit when I return north this summer because I like the absurd humor of the piece. *


I see that Sarah Palin is still, and constantly in the news (Thursday, April 16, 2009 address, right to life diner, Indiana) with her lambasting of Obama for his stand on abortion and stem cell research. * I guess - if she were to be elected president in 2012 (Ye gads!) - we would have another rescinding of a past president’s pronouncements, and a return to the Bush era medieval domestic policies, including torture. That last because Obama promised this week that no legal action will be taken against those who did actually torture. *2

Thus, Erlich’s clothed people walking around dry on the bottom of a swimming pool full of water (above) doesn’t seem so farcically humorous when compared to actual politics here in the good old USA.

Scotch Singer’s Artistry

Isn’t it amazing that Susan Boyle, a beautiful person, is suddenly unveiled where most were able to see only farce seconds before – when will we learn always to look below the immediate surface?

*Leandro Erlich, Swimming Pool, (2004) masonry, swimming pool ladder, laminated glass and water, 20 x 9 7/8 x 10 feet (600 x 280 x 300 cm) © Leandro Erlich, Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, Photo: Matthew Septimus. Courtesy P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Viewed 10:00 AM EDT, Friday, April 17, 2009.

*2GOP watch: Palin hits Obama, Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:21 AM by Domenico Montanaro, Filed Under: Republicans at, Viewed at 10:18 AM EDT, Friday, April 17, 2009.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meditation on Ancient Reef and Sea

Literally, the figure in the middle ground sits upon and meditates on the ancient reef. I like to think that she has lost herself in the immensity of ocean, sky and beach just as I often do on those days my partner and I make our visits to the beach. I’m pleased with the end product, though sometimes I wish I did not have such a terrible compulsion to do labor intensive work with the thousand marks-per-square-inch technique, and almost photographic detail. Also, I ran out of steam the last three weeks, and finally took the pressure off by reassuring myself that these drawings are - at least some of the time - an act of slow and deliberate contemplation.

It seems such a terrible admission, to write here that three months were spent working on this pastel. I have a few excuses, but I’ll not offer any here.

Suffice it to say, “shame on me!”

Friday, April 10, 2009


Some days the Atlantic Ocean looks more like a big lake, with lazy wavelets washing gently against the careless arm of land that arches north and south to the horizon. Instead of a roar, she whispers to us in soft sibilant susurrations. On such days we take long slow walks at waters edge. My partner often stoops to examine a shell or to pick up a stray piece of frosted sea glass, encomium to ancient technologies on the plastic littered beach. I carry my camera firing the digitized mechanism and bagging sea, beach and sea grape encrusted dunes.

I have photographed this particular giant piece of gnarled driftwood as it materialized, vanished and resurfaced at various locations on the beach after each wintry northeast blast of algid and damp wind. I shot it from every direction, up close, and far away at various times this past winter and spring. I like the way the tortured wood looks against the serene backdrop of languid water, sky and beach because it captures our feelings during weekly beach escapes from the turmoil of our loud and crazed contemporary culture.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Commodified Blog Versus this Journal

I have resisted commercializing my journal since the inception of Isaac Stolzfuts in 2003. Originally I wanted more readers, and thought I might be interested in publication in book form - a sort of Postmodern style tomb with Isaac and myself and/or other narratives running backwards and forwards through the pages simultaneously. However, in the newer (2006) The Artwork of John Bittinger Klomp I haven’t placed a counter, nor sought mutual links, much less advertising. The journal is about art, my art, philosophy, my politics, and religious beliefs. It is not about the American commodified lifestyle that has proven to be so problematic for us (this “Great Recession"). I have tried not to confuse personal identity with non-essentials, such as the acquisition of material things and / or the identification with them.

In the real (reads, actual) world I have to seek venue for the presentation of my art production. In the real world I have to worry about the price of, and sale of my artwork. In the real world I have to worry about the expense of framing and art supplies. In the real world I find myself upset when galleries that have installed and presented my work to the public have gone belly up. In the real world I have to worry that the persona I present is just too ordinary compared to the Modern and Postmodern image of the artist as eccentric. In the real world I create two separate kinds of art, photo-montages “gay male art,” and the art for everyone, pastel drawings of ocean and marsh. In the real world I am so lost in the surface of the ego as to worry about these kinds of things constantly. However, in the virtual world of cyberspace I refuse to do more than write about and be tied to those things that are actually more important (The exception being politics). Thus, I create a dichotomy between actual diurnal existence and the virtual space of my journal that seems to be a reversal of that which moral and/or religious judgment might dictate. It is also a reversal of how the world, virtual and/or actual seems to function, and that is a good thing.