Posts Tagged ‘artists


the white goddess: a goodbye to judith bledsoe

Graves” first muse…the first after he articulated his White Goddess theories, was Judith Bledsoe. Judith, by all accounts, was a naïve young girl who found in the older Graves something of a father figure whose intellect and worldly knowledge was appealing. Graves found in her the physical embodiment of the White Goddess. It seems that in the case of Judith, as in the muses that followed, who or what the person might actually have been seemed less important to Graves than what he believed the person to be. And so Judith who at first was clearly enamoured with the attention she was receiving began to buckle under the pressure and, as R. P. Graves reports, Beryl “… took Judith out to lunch alone, and quite calmly asked her whether she wanted Robert or not. To which Judith could only protest, quite honestly, that she loved Beryl and Robert more than her mother and father, and that she had no intention of doing anything to injure their marriage” (The White Goddess, 188). –source,

Judith and RP

judith and the author at the bowers museum, santa ana, california

it has been reported that my dear friend, judith bledsoe, has died. i have tried to reach her children without success so details are not available which makes it an even sadder event; their silence a rebuke of the many friendships their mother nurtured over the past several decades. [on july 5, 2013, i received notes from both of judith’s children which have been posted in the comment section of this post. perhaps i judged them too harshly, but at the time i wrote this tribute i was saddened by their silence. mea culpa.]


m. (the author’s life partner), judith, and the author at a gallery opening, san diego, california

there are several pivotal events in my long career as an art dealer, one of the most vivid is selling my first bledsoe painting to the daniel’s. “blue house at st. pompon” with it’s vivid hues and little black cat sleeping on the railing of the balcony above the street, was not a large painting, but the joy judith brought to it, with her free brush work, layers of colors applied then stripped away, little border of contrasting hues making the whole a polished jewel, touched this young couple so deeply — they stood in front of it — and later sat in front of it in the gallery’s viewing room while i stood and discussed its merits as a work of art; its emotional pull working on me as well as them.


new work, studio visit, paris, 2000–2003

i was new to the business of art, but i connected then to her joie de vivre (it is best said in french, not english, and no, i’m not being a snob, dropping the occasional french ‘mots’ because i believe it elevates this discourse, it is because it best represents who judith is/was), her obvious happiness, her palette filled with colors that pulled at the hem of your shirt like a child wanting attention but too well-behaved to whine, her brushwork a busy intersection in paris, her adopted hometown.


new work, studio visit, paris, 2000–2003

her studio, on rue falguière in montparnasse, had been chaim soutine’s and it always tickled me to think what the ghosts of his tableaux mortes with their sides of beef, the dead fish, the torture, and the pain of his palette and brushwork now thought of the abundance of life that filled the studio. she once told me that she liked to sometimes strip naked and dance in the night, taking “a moonbath” and scandalizing the neighbors.


new work, studio visit, paris, 2000–2003

of course i fell in love with her before i met her, and then fell under her magnetism, her generosity, her lovely crooked smile and self-deprecating humor, and her obvious, but well-hidden delight at being loved for her art when we finally met that first journeyman year of my art career. she had a way of touching you, physically touching you while in conversation that included you in her fantasies and droll humor, as if you were her compatriot in bohemia, the jangle of her heavy north african jewelry (she had a home on the spanish island of mallorca, a family home where she had been when she met robert and beryl graves as a teenager–the white goddess of graves’s poetry theoretics) an undercurrent to the liberation of spirit that bohemia promises to the staid, the square, the suppressed.

after that first meeting, we saw each other almost yearly until the early ’90s, after which my career trajectory changed, but we continued to stay in touch, exchanging holiday greetings (oh, how we looked forward to our card from judith, always hand-made, with her decorated envelopes and loose-handed script scrawled from side to the other–a card from paris!) and quarterly phone calls to get caught up on gossip, art, life, loves, the troubles and triumphs of our lives. we grew closer.

later in that decade, the opportunity came for our careers to cross again, and out to california she came, her doting fans congregating at galleries, restaurants, museums, and our homes. she and i drove down the coast one day and it is a drive i’ll remember more for what wasn’t said than what was, although the life experiences she shared with me were reassuring in their “it happens to all of us” familiarity. it was  watching her look at the passing ocean, the open chaparral, a wistfulness and quietness that settled over her that i’d not seen in her before that has stuck with me all these years later.

she loved liberally and late in life found a soul mate in a russian emigré, sergei, a portrait of whom graces a wall of our home today not unlike the one of him at the top of the three paintings posted here. up until about a year ago, our phone conversations continued to be filled with remembrances, and who, what, when, where. about six months ago when we spoke there was a noticeable disconnect in her voice; she was pleasant, but was complaining that her children “had hired someone to get her from one place to another” which she did not like at all and that they were there now, “cleaning up my apartment” (which of course, more than likely needed it, house-keeping not her ‘thing’), she signed off with a distracted au revoir.

a week ago, a mutual friend of ours called and told me she’d heard that judith had died. a friend and collector of judith’s work had told her he’d seen it on another gallery’s website. i contacted them for details, but they only said they’d forward my message to her children. i wrote to the son using the email address i have, no response; we called her home, no answer, just eerily her recording, “c’est judith. je ne suis pas là…”

ciao, judith, je t’aime.

judith passed 17 february 2013. she would have been 85 this year.


an essential reading list

last night was the Chuck Jones Center for  Creativity‘s 2nd annual Red Dot Auction.  it’s one of those projects that is not only complicated (coordinating artists over a several month period–you know, as they say, “it’s like herding cats in a room full of rocking chairs.” –you’ll forgive the trite platitude or turn of phrase today–it’s 5:20 AM, i worked 14 or so hours yesterday, much of it standing and ‘on’; frankly i have no idea why i’m sitting here at the computer five hours after turning off my bedside light after said very long day, but here i am nonetheless, understand?), but also immensely rewarding (see above parenthetical reference to coordinating artists, rocking chairs, and cats.)

after last year’s red dot auction, i went on record saying that it was one of the most emotional and outstanding art events that i had been a part of in my over 30 year career in the visual arts and last night was no different, perhaps it was even more compelling; we worked with more artists, there were a dozen more submissions, the anticipation from the center’s supporters started early with rsvps rolling in as soon as we had sent out a “save the date” notice and went unabated until moments before the doors opened last night at 6 PM. (more on rsvps, serendipity, and the work featured in the photograph above later on in this post.)

over 200 people filled the Center’s new facility at South Coast Collection in Costa Mesa almost as soon as the doors opened last night–it was, as they (them, again) say, “nature abhors a vacuum”, the glass garage door went up, the place filled up immediately (where did they all come from? there wasn’t even a line…all i know is that one moment the venue was empty and the next moment it was alive with the delightful chatter and banter of people enjoying themselves. i love when that happens.)

we ask artists to donate a work of art created on a specific size of canvas, this year it was a 12″ square stretched canvas. the work can be of any media and design as long as it fits on the provided canvas. each work is submitted anonymously; the artists are asked to sign their work on the reverse. by doing this the bidders at the auction must fall in love with the work of art and not worry about the status of the artist based on who they are and where they stand in the art market. we reach out to artists from across the nation, some extremely well-known with decades-long careers, others, well others with more love in their heart than notoriety in the art world. this year, because it is Chuck’s centennial, we asked our contributors to consider the life and times of Chuck Jones as a theme for their submission.

i wouldn’t consider myself an ‘artist’, my talents lay elsewhere, but i like to create things and have for as long as i can remember. collage suits me; i’ve always thought of it as an archeological dig with much to discover as you work your way through the art, twists and turns revealed the more you look at it. “two roads” (above image) was my submission this year. i was inspired by chuck’s “essential reading list” that his daughter, Linda, had shared with me years ago for another project (as yet uncompleted, but it will be one day, it will be.)

chuck’s library (or a portion of the thousands of volumes) has been a part of our working environment as long as i’ve been working for the jones family — 20 years this october — and i’ve always found his catholic taste, i mean the man read everything, fascinating, thrilling, daunting, and inspiring.  i had thought at first that this work would be a riff on robert frost, utilizing some of my photographs of country roads as a reference to frost’s poem, “the road not taken” (…two roads diverged in a yellow wood…), but as i worked on it, i realized that the ‘essential reading list’ was just as important, so the work turned toward sharing that with the viewer. this collage is composed of hand-colored inkjet prints of photographs i have taken, acrylic paint, oil stick, cotton thread, plastic buttons, graphite, paper, bronze, and copper.  on the flaps (like book covers) that open in the center of the image i have written frost’s poem; the rest of the text is chuck’s essential reading list (which is at the bottom of this post for your enlightenment.)

but what has tickled me so about yesterday is this: at about 9:30 AM yesterday morning, the phone at my desk rings and when i answer a woman asks, “is it too late to rsvp for this evening’s event?” to which i replied (jokingly) “yes, it is.” we shared a giggle and i assured her it was not too late and after taking down her name, i said that i look forward to seeing her and her husband that evening. i added their name to the rsvp list and went on my way with the rest of my day.

as i was greeting guests last night, i introduce myself to a charming couple, “welcome, i’m robert patrick, i’m so glad you could join us this evening,” and she said, “i spoke with you this morning!” and we laughed about our little encounter and i wished them well, directing them to libations, nibbles, and the silent auction. we nodded at each other a couple of times during the evening and shared a conspiratorial grin as they perused the artwork that was part of the auction. the evening slowed down eventually, people were beginning to collect their winning bids and take home the art they’d successfully bid on and my ego getting the better of me, i went over to my painting to see who had bid on it.

that’s right, the woman i had spoken with in the morning, and met just that evening, had won my work of art. the serendipity of it all delighted me, but i said nothing and went on my way with the rest of the night. i saw them collect “two roads” and as they were leaving i walked up to them and said, “i’m so glad you could join us this evening and i wanted to thank you for successfully bidding on my contribution to the red dot auction.” the look she gave me was priceless, “this is yours?!?”

“yes, it is,” i responded, “isn’t it crazy wonderful that our day ended this way?” and it is crazy wonderful when strangers come together to support the arts and serendipitous when that love threads its way through their day. so, thank you mr. & mrs. __________. i look forward to seeing you again and i hope you enjoy “two roads” for a very long time, maybe our “paths” will cross again.

Chuck Jones’ list of Essential Books every literate, English-speaking person should read (at least once, probably more often)

  • A Spy in the Family – Alec Waugh
  • A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  • A Travel Abroad – Mark Twain
  • A Treasury of Science – Harlow Shapely
  • Animal Architecture – Karl von Frisch
  • Anything by Robert Parker
  • Babbitt – Sinclair Lewis
  • Cabbages and Kings – O’Henry
  • Career in C Major – James Cain
  • Cold Mountain – Charles Frazier
  • Damon Runyon short stories (at least three)
  • Double Indemnity – James Cain
  • Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis
  • Farewell, My Lovely – Raymond Chandler
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  • Gamesmanship – Stephen Potter
  • Major Barbara – G.B. Shaw
  • My Life and Hard Times – James Thurber
  • Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
  • Roughing It – Mark Twain
  • Seventeen – Booth Tarkington
  • Short Stories of Somerset Maugham (at least two)
  • Silent Snow, Secret Snow – Conrad Aiken
  • Sir Niguel – A. Conan Doyle
  • Stalky and Company – Rudyard Kipling
  • The Autobiography of Lincoln Stephens
  • The Bar Sinister – Richard Harding Davis
  • The Crock of Gold – James Stephens
  • The Elements of Style – Strunk/White
  • The Gnome King of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  • The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  • The History of Mr. Polly – H.G. Wells
  • The Jungle Books – Rudyard Kipling
  • The Killers — Ernest Hemingway
  • The Little Drummer Girl – John le Carre
  • The Moonstone — Willkie Collins
  • The Poems of Robert Frost
  • The Red Pony – John Steinbeck
  • The Short Stories of Ring Lardner
  • The Short Stories of Saki (H.H. Monroe)
  • The Spy that Came in from the Cold – John le Carre
  • The Touch of Nutmeg – John Collier
  • The Varming – Owen Johnson
  • The White Company – A. Conan Doyle
  • Three Men in a Boat – Jerome K. Jerome
  • Treasure Island – R.L. Stevenson
  • Turnabout – William Faulkner
  • Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh
  • Words at Play – Willard Espy


iris 4 (ego)

my ego is so bruised that its normal color is purple. (ba da bing. thank you, i’ll be here all week, folks.)

what? you say you didn’t know egos had a color? my dear, where have you been? but of course they do. tout le monde knows that (even megadeath does and if they do, why shouldn’t you, i ask?) if you’re ever to have any influence over others, to be a leader, one of the world’s great creators, you must stick your flag in the ground and claim it as your own. think caesar, columbus, hillary (sir edmund percival, not mrs. clinton, although she can certainly hold her own against any of the world’s largest egos, amirite?), kardashian (pick one. are you not surprised that kim is not spelled khim? i’ll wait while you digest that.)

interesting isn’t it, that i didn’t mention a single artist? i suppose i could’ve included the greek sculptor in the 4th cent. b.c. (was it polykleitos?) who made the decision to utilize contrapposto structure to their interpretation of man or maybe someone like da vinci for his truly renaissance genius, exploring as he did all disciplines, perhaps picasso, too, but it may be too soon to tell with him and what list would be complete without a nod to duchamp? none that i know of. possibly when the ‘arts’ section of the newspaper — before its extinction, of course — is the first fold and not the last, then maybe the artists will get their due.

just when i thought i’d conquered my abject need to be universally loved (circa 199_) along comes “social” media and “followers” (i.e., strangers) and suddenly it’s high school all over again with its cliques and outliers and jocks and geeks, a maze of intricate behavior (STOP! NO ENTRY!) and outrageously complicated ritual that now confounds and astounds and depresses me. depresses me because who doesn’t want the love and recognition of their peers — and not just peers, but the dream of the entire world bowing to your brilliance seems so within reach, if only the number of your followers would increase exponentially; and these, your online friends, if they would then just spread the word to all of their followers and ad infinitum, kapow! you’re a star!

and now there’s an application called ‘klout’ (the long-lost kardashian half-sister), that actually tells you how you rank as an influencer throughout your social media universe. gah! i’m doomed — as is my ego.

as a panacea i am posting a photograph of the yellow and white irises that were blooming in our garden this past week when the sun was shining and the sky was so blue you could dive into it like a pool of fresh mountain water (come on in, the water’s fine) and for the moment i cared not a whit about anything remotely related to my ego or the approval of anyone other than myself.


untitled (the past imperfective)

he will always be with you; he left himself in everything he created and in all of those he knew and loved. that action, the act of his creating, of his loving is a continuous loop of film, a helix of time through which we make contact here, and here, and here (and forever. each time we touch it, we may weep, we may flail about in frustration, we may love, and we may choose to speak of his talent, his friendship, his wit, his life.) the confusion of the sudden loss seems unfathomable, it is a question without an answer; it just is. i won’t tell you that it gets better, that time makes it bearable, why should i lie to you? it scares you, his loss is a worry now, a nub, a bead that can be rolled between your fingers, picked at, murmured to; you’ll catch yourself with it at the oddest times. and then, you’ll see him in the crowd at the ________ just out of the corner of your eye, missing him when you look directly in that direction; he’ll cross in front of you and all you’ll see is his shadow, coattail, hair, black eyes flashing. those moments will startle you and calm you. you’ll appreciate their appearance (not that you’ll hope it’s true, but that he was there for just that heartbeat–from his to yours.) although i do not know what took him from you (and you may not either, truly), the actions of the past, those ongoing activities, emotions, events are still alive though and as imperfect as they may seem now, they will always continue to exist in the past and that is the gift he left for you.


notes on this author (shameless self-promotion)

some of you know what i do for a living, others don’t (and may not care), but just to toot my own horn a bit i’ve been interviewed by Aletta de Wal of Artist Career Training and part 1 of the oral interview will be posted on her website on Tuesday, March 6.  it’s accompanied by a written interview as well.

some of you know i have a tendency to prattle on, others don’t (and may not care), but be forewarned that this is part 1 of 2–part 2 will be posted in April.  Click on my name in this sentence to link to the interview this Tuesday, March 6, Robert Patrick.

many thanks to all of you who continue to visit Robert Patrick, i hope you enjoy my musings, ramblings, and other divertissements.


7 stations on the road to the ocean, after hiroshige (day seven)

where were we?  yes, the walk to the ocean, the path, the road, the seven stations (after hiroshige).  you don’t often think of going on a pilgrimage these days, where along the way to your final destination there are shrines (maybe even seven, who knows?) and inns, and resting places, a bench, a table, a place to rest your feet and contemplate your journey.  our lives in this century, this decade, this year, this month, day, hour, minute, second don’t allow for that.  we’re so busy ‘capturing’ the moment that if it weren’t for a handful (can you name them? everyone’s list is different i imagine) of artists of all stripes, we might just miss the whole thing (whatever that thing may be; it could be, as it is for me this week, a walk along the ridge above the ocean, sky above, blue below, oftentimes melding one into the other so seamlessly you could be standing on your head, the world all topsy-turvy (without the anxiety).

the other day i read a writer bemoaning a blogging site that allows for the easy sharing and <3ing of images as if they might define who the person is who is re-blogging and sharing the images; that creatively it is full of empty calories and what is produced on the other side (and they did define this perhaps more narrowly than i am) is an empty soul.  that there is no there there, no substance, and that their lives once they leave this new trend behind will be as vacuous as it was when they started, only more so for the waste of time and lack of personal growth.  now i do think that not everything you participate in needs to make you ‘grow’, sometimes empty calories are just that, empty calories and that there is a place and time for that (television, tabloids, tabbouleh, anyone?  okay, maybe not tabbouleh, but the triple alliteration seemed important for the rhythm it produced and tabbouleh is what flowed from my brain through my fingers typing on the keyboard, so sue me.)

stations, then.  on this particular day, and throughout the week, i stopped seven times on the road to the ocean and thought for a while at each resting place on topics diverse and unrelated and connected and outrageous and sexy and melancholy and thrilling as any thoughts that could be inspired by the blue of the ocean and the blue of the sky, the green of the hills and russet of tiled roofs, the hidden wildlife (a puzzle), and a woman knitting at the last station as she waited for her brood to come back up the path from the ocean.


beardsley made me do it (i swear)



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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