By Roz Rogoff
Tour of the ArtsUploaded: Aug 4, 2015
I received an email from Bill Carmel on last Tuesday thanking me for my comment on John Barry's blog about TrAction painting, which I consider to be an incredibly new art form which is inclusive for everyone.
Mr. Carmel went on to tell me he had an exhibit of his art at the Orinda Library Gallery. "May I extend a personal invitation to you to see it in the next few days and coffee or tea before, during or after? The exhibit comes down on Saturday. However I could meet you there on Thursday (10am - 8pm) or Friday (10am - 6pm) if you can make it. John would love to join us. I can promise it will be interesting, at least."
I appreciated the invitation but I don't drive much anymore even with my new slightly used pickup truck. I was finishing up my Art class and grading the 15 final assignments on Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday would have been the best day for me, but with the exhibit coming down I didn't know what time it would be gone.
Mr. Carmel offered to pick me up on Friday afternoon and drive me to Orinda, which was a great solution since I don't know anything about Orinda and tend to get lost a lot these days. He picked me up at one o'clock on the dot. It took about half an hour to get to the Orinda Library. John Barry met us there.
Mr. Carmel had quite a few pieces on exhibit. It took up a whole wall of the gallery. He said this was only a portion of his work. We agreed on a lot of things about art, creativity, and restrictions on creativity by the art establishment. Below is Bill's painting named "Dragon Breath." It's my favorite of the works he had on exhibit in Orinda.
That was something I had just covered in my class on the Impressionists. What is considered great art today was rejected when it was new. It seems like the establishment is always a few steps behind the real innovators. The painting below is titled, not unexpectedly, "Red Dog."
After I had a chance to view Mr. Carmel's exhibit, the three of us went to the coffee shop at the Library and chatted about art. Bill Carmel said he would send me some photos of his works from the exhibit. I just got them and posted two of them above.
I wanted to see John Barry's full-size TrAction paintings. The photos he posted with his blog cannot do them justice. John invited me to see his house in Danville to see the TrAction paintings up close and full size. He left to go home to prepare for us and Bill Carmel drove us down to John's house where I could see his TrAction paintings close up.
John unrolled some of the paintings he has been working on. Even his deck in the back has TrAction paint stripes all over it. For those of you who have not read John Barry's blog about his art, TrAction painting uses wheeled objects, like inline skates, bicycles, and walker, to move paint across a large canvas on the ground.
John Explained how the skates make different kinds of lines from a bike or walker, which usually has a paint bottle dripping on the canvas and rolling through it. The skates are rolled through paint and then skated on the canvas. The lines are also different depending on the weight of the skater. An adult tends to squish the paint to the sides of the line made by the skate, while a child keeps the paint mostly on the wheel.
I bought one of his pieces at his house. It literally is a "piece" cut from one of the larger canvases and mounted on a wooden frame. The frame is inside the painting instead of outside, and the canvas is painted all around the sides too. I love it! I'm not sure if you can see the different line shapes and widths, but here's a photo of the painting I bought.
John has made TrAction Painting an interactive art for children at his paint camp. You can read about them in his blog. That's what got me so interested in what he is doing.
John is holding a TrAction Event at his house in Danville on August 16th. I'm sure he will post more about it in his blog. I plan to come and bring my walker so I can participate too. TrAction painting is for everyone. Young people on skates and old folks on walkers.