Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” 
― Kurt VonnegutA Man Without a Country

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nuanced color for Harbingers

Getting ready to move to a new apartment makes me think about valuables; what to keep, what to toss, what to wish I could get rid of. I am so practical! Rather than adding personal value to my artwork by spending time creating new items, I am revisiting items that while they reflected my ability four years ago can be much improved with new understanding and technique. I am therefore revising this painting: Harbingers. This was a popular item at Open Studios, provoking the most interesting comments I received. If I can pull the artistic technique into a higher category it will be a much more satisfying piece for me to look at. The parts that have non-nuanced color will hopefully be ushered into a new era which will make me cringe less and appreciate my own work more.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Open Studios May 2012

Perfect. My own little private wall on the upper floor in the corner on a darkly lit painted brick background. And the Somerville Armory has got to be one of the coolest buildings to show your artwork in. Well, per my taste anyway. I did lots of eavesdropping on the visitors. Since I do not sell work, the best thing they can give me is their words.


Re: Harbingers- "That is funny, how the dark cloud is happening right over the crows or what kind of birds are those?"

Re: Hawthorne- "That's awesome!"

Generally: "These are quite different."

Generally: "These are inter... these are cool."

                                                                            Re: Hawthorne- [talking to his kid] "Do you notice how spoooooooky this guy is?"

Re: Yaldabaoth: "I like this face."

Re: Hawthorne: "You know who would like this?" Nods. Takes photos.

Re: Creation Myth- "Are you Maggie? I am enjoying your work. Have you read the book Raising the Stones? it is a sort of Sci-fi novel. Your painting reminds me of it. In the book the gods are born out of the earth. I like how this one and the serpent one balance each other, one is dark one is light."

Re:Yaldabaoth- "Oh that's kinda cool." "Yeah it is."

Re: Harbingers- "Oh look at these. I love that. Very haunting."

Re: Harbingers- [I approached this guy because he was gesturing and taking excitedly] "Are you McNeely? I brought my wife to show her what I found most impressive. And I hope I don't offend you by saying this but it is not the technique (though Harbingers has more of that) it is the concept behind it. I am not looking to buy anything right now, but how much is that one?" [I don't sell, I juts brought it here to get comments on it] "That is exactly what I wanted to hear. Nice to meet you. Good luck."

Monday, April 23, 2012


Thursday, March 15, 2012


This is the only art form I have ever experienced personally that feels more like praying than painting. All sense of ego slips away and by replicating these old symbols one is working alongside all mystic mark makers throughout time.

These above are a twist on Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs which originated in Germany. From the late 18th through early 20th centuries it was very common for the "Fancy Dutch" (i.e. not those who came to be called Mennonite or Amish) to have symbols painted on their barns that were protective and created blessings. The six petaled florette is among the oldest and most traditional designs.

My grandfather, who has some Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, cut these wooden wheels for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Intro to Oil Painting Class

Lets get some discipline, people!

What I have done up to now has been largely accidental and without rules, except improvements by experimentation. As in oops, I mixed a great or bad colour. Or, Oh, it is supposed to look like light is hitting it from a certain direction and has a certain color effect? During my current intro class I was kinda surprised that even though I had classes in which I painted in high school and even one in college, we had never been made to do these important exercises. We did them in drawing of course, but shading and light and shadow in color and with paint is a totally different game. Sheesh. Did they really just give us paints and tell us to have at it? I am curious to know what others have to say about this.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012