Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Jacqi and I delivered paintings last weekend for a show that I'm having in Lake Charles, LA, and today we hung some paintings for a show that I'm having at the Loophole here in Denton. At both places they asked me where I learned to paint, and I told them that I learned to paint originally from the creative writing courses that I take at UNT, and the response was, "oh, so you are self-taught." Not that they were being disparaging in any way, but I'm asked that question a lot and it got me to thinking.

I explained my feelings that, as far as I have seen, art classes and writing classes cover a lot of the same material, and that in my opinion I have had some excellent art classes -- I just wasn't holding a brush at the time. The terms used are often different, a foil in literature is a term used when two characters have qualities that offset each other and intensify the qualities in each other - like the brave hero of the story who may have a cowardly sidekick. In painting the term of this concept is complementary colors, where one color is in stark contrast to another color and therefore intensifies both -- such as when red is placed next to green. The truth is that if you were to read a book on painting theory and one on writing theory at the same time you might feel as if you're reading the same book.

One thing that I hear over and over again in books on both painting and writing is that you can't be taught how to paint or write creatively. The only way to learn is through doing; books and classes are important because they give you ideas, but the ideas do you no good if you never put them into practice. To me this means that everyone is self-taught on a very real level. If a person could master material by just signing up for a class then every student would be an expert in every class that they attended. We know that this is not true, that to make a good grade you have to put in the effort. I think that sometimes people get confused and feel that that the school is more important, but I feel that it is the effort that is most crucial.

I have another problem with the idea that in order to excel in something you have to be taught it first, and that is when someone is doing something completely new. If I had to wait for someone to teach me to paint I would have waited a lifetime. There are no visual arts schools for the visually impaired, at least not yet. I think that instruction is important, I plan to teach someday myself, I just don't think the emphasis should be on the teaching, but rather on the learning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I have just finished my first series: Perceptions; it is a journey that took me a year to make and has completely changed the way I paint. Individual paintings are very much like short stories; they make a statement that begins and ends with a single work. It takes me on average two to four weeks to complete a painting. This series has taken me nearly a year to complete and to me is much more reminiscent of a novel where you can look at a single theme from many different perspectives.

In the series the paintings center around eyes because when most people first think about perception the concept that pops into their mind is the idea of vision. When I first began the series I wondered if there would be enough material to merit an entire series, but I soon discovered that this particular well runs deep in that how we perceive the world is central to everything we do. I could go on and on talking about perception, but don't worry I won't. I will say this though, I believe that the way we as people understand the world around us is far more complex and more emotional than we ever realize.

If I were to look at my mother, for instance, I do not have the perception of just one thing. I perceive the love that she has for me, the love that I have for her, all of the birthdays and holidays that we have shared together, the arguments, the apologies, and the thousand other experiences and memories that we have together. All of these single events have a purity of their own and combine together to form the singular ever-changing form of my mother. In my painting of this series I have tried to recognize this concept by separating each color so that they stand alone in the paintings but come together to form one image.

Understanding, I believe, is when one person's perception matches another's. Frustration comes from this rarely happening, the miracle is that it happens at all.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Let's start at the beginning...

Hi, I'm John Bramblitt and welcome to my blog.
I suppose you're wondering what this blog is about, I don't really know I've ever had a blog before - there will definitely be some art, some writing and other things like that going on. I'm expecting some guest appearances from my wife, family and friends- perhaps even some people that I don't know will pop in. Who knows? This is my first time, but we should really get started.
All we need is a beginning, just something to get the ball rolling. Anything really - just some sort of ramble. Doesn't even have to be that coherent just so long as it’s short -- we are the TV generation after all. Just something that goes on and on about nothing at all. Some sort of rant that just lets people know that we have started, that the blog in fact has begun... you know like in those old black-and-white movies where the father would walk up to the fireplace and put his foot up on the hearth and his arm on the mantle while the family gathered round him gazing up expectantly waiting for the words of wisdom that were sure to follow... OR how the hero in an action movie who may have only spoken five words in the last two hours turns his blood spattered face to the camera and explains how all he wants is peace.
Something like that...
Nope, I'm drawing a blank; maybe we'll start this thing later.