Gratitude, a two way thing.

With my visual art’scape barren, I’ve been writing a lot, having finished a trilogy of adventure stories for ‘grown-up children’ (that’s my category, so not, definitely not, ‘children’s fiction’) and writing mainly environmental poetry (some here) in which I find great solace away from the ravages being wrought on our poor little lonely planet by warmongers, wildlife abusers, religious zealots and industrial powerhouses… oh, let’s call that ‘civilisation’ shall we?

So, with my studio being dismantled (‘wrecked’ would be another word) and with little thought of painting especially since my portrait of the ‘February Girl’ was rejected for the summer exhibition by the Westward Ho! & Bideford Art Society, I was hit for six by finding I’d sold six paintings in one week; or rather, to be strictly truthful, sold 3 and bartered 3 (for a new studio roof, oh, I love bartering!). The three sold went to a collector in California – who already has one or two of my works.

Feb head, Oil on hardboard 41x30cm (2)            Feb head, Oil on hardboard 41x30cm (3)
Rejected Portrait of the February Girl, Oil on hardboard 41 x 30 cm (detail right).

I find it interesting that the three sold were from my last days in Cornwall, with the three bartered ones being more recent.

One of the sold ones was very dear to me, and I’m grateful it’s gone to a good home somewhere far away across the Atlantic – over which that studio looked – almost! It is ironic that literally right now, 20 years later, I’m having to destroy another studio, this one next door to Cornwall in Devon! Oh, life’s little ironies.

After receiving them, my Californian collector wrote the following words – which I quote with his permission. I’d like to share them because, a) it’s so rare for buyers to be quite so complimentary, and b) if his words help encourage other struggling non-standard artists to carry on so much the better. By ‘non-standard’ I mean in the sense of objective technique (knives, no brushes, wet into wet quickly) and not subject matter – which I accept (very happily) is as old as art itself.

These pieces are better and deeper than words can convey, though I will indeed attempt that task.
Thank you!
I wept at seeing them and then again at seeing them on my walls.
I had removed a few of my own pieces and put yours up.
God, they are just perfect!
I love them.
I adore them!
I can’t stop looking at them!
How much for the shipping?
Forgive me if you’ve already told me, but I don’t recall and want to get the total right.
They inspire me to collect more.
Thank you for letting me acquire these. They are magnificent. Their detail enthralls me.
These words are genuine. No fraudster or self-aggrandising artist would dare say such things about their own work, would they? When I thanked him and mentioned problems of work being assessed too hastily, he replied:
BTW, galleries are lame!
They don’t know poop!
ANY real curator will immediately see the importance of this work.
The fact that you’re getting rejected is good news! Eyes of the day CAN’T see important work. It takes heralding from pioneers. Remember that critics of the day crucified Jesus and assassinated Gandhi.
I will be writing more on your work over some great wine.
The three paintings he bought are here in small format; visible here in more detail.

If anyone is interested I’ll show and talk about the three bartered paintings another time. Do let me know, also anything else on ‘Leave a reply’ facility so that others can get a different perspective. I’m always really pleased to hear – it’s a lonely old business this.

Thanks for reading. I’m as grateful for DKN’s comments as he seems to be for the actual paintings, hence the title of this piece.



6 thoughts on “Gratitude, a two way thing.

    • Thanks Sarah. The purchaser has now commented further, and so enthusiastically it’s difficult to know how to respond, and I don’t know whether I should publish his comments or not even though I have his permission.

  1. I wish I could post here the audio pieces I composed to your work.

    For those reading, I am artist and very harsh art critic. I do not like many pieces that are passed as great art these days. Meyer is great artist. If you are reading this, you are confronted with a very rare opportunity that does not cross many people’s occasions. Here is a living artist, with pieces that are available for purchase at prices affordable. This is a very rare short window that is open to you now. If you let this pass by, your grandchildren will lament your choice.

    These three pieces, for me, create pareidolia. I see so much in these works. For me they trigger shape making that my mind puts together to teach me of my past and bring enjoyment to my present. They speak. Their voices express something new with every gaze. I look at them daily.

    They triggered creative spurts where I capitalized, opened my piano and spontaneously composed a piece after which I played back and entered into an automatism of my subconscious to bring forward words the painting triggered.
    If I could post it here, I would.
    Maybe Richard can share?

    As an artist who creates my visual art uniquely with palate knife, I recognize this genius of Meyer, maybe more so than most, but to achieve such detail and perfection of composition with thick applications is really something to laud, deeply appreciate and enjoy daily.

    For me, these pieces represent the eternal malleability of the moment. Are these snapshots of beauty taken out of time and preserved in a way that could never be duplicated? Our eye continually views something so vastly unique that we take it for granted. Meyer’s work can remind us to appreciate this moment and how we are moving through time creating eternal snapshots of beauty of our own, but without the skill to pass them along to others to view.

    In today’s world are the Richard Meyers given their due for what they contribute to our society? Why not? This is for each of us to answer. To whom do we listen to tell us what is good? Why?

    I have much more to write about these questions, but shall leave it open.

    Derek K. Nielsen

  2. This last summer of 2019 I received these 3 paintings and was moved to write words that I sent to Richard. He is much too modest to post them here, so I will.

    On 21/07/2019 06:12, Derek K. Nielsen wrote:

    My brother in creation,
    Your work continues to astound me. Trust me, I do not say that lightly. I am a very harsh art critic. I gallery hop weekly and visit SFMOMA quarterly and am very harsh in my words of pieces that pass for art. I have a very good trained eye and your work is astounding.
    Your detail achieved through palate knife rendering has me enthralled, looking at them continually. I do not like minimalism, because there is nothing minimalist in nature nor reality as I have perceived it, but a complexity beyond focus, above comprehension that will allow infinite contemplation on the minutest of details as they continue ad infinitum. Your work does that. Your paintings have captured that realism in an abstract way that mimics nature yet is landscape original!
    God, landscape is so overdone, so trite, yet you have achieved an originality that remakes it in a method that transcends the landscape to meld mindscape into depth of complexity that forces a new creation of the soul. Every time I see these pieces I am forced to create references to the past to create something new in the moment. Paradolia assured, for I see so much. Just as I hallucinate in nature, making shapes out of the landscape, your paintings force a creation of my mind. I get lost in these pieces. They reveal stories of my genealogy. They speak!
    I shall share their words with you.
    I feel that maybe we should record our meeting for the internet. More deserve to enter into this dimension of creation with us. I feel that there is a large audience for what we are creating here.

    Thank you!

    You are one of Earth’s elite painters!
    I am so honored to have the luxury to see these originals every day. I feel blessed by the gods of creation to share in these masterpieces.

    I have studied the landscape.
    I have painted many landscapes and declared the landscape a banal, trite expression of art to be abandoned as what true originality can come from copying. But now I have to eat my words. Now I must recant my judgement and admit that I was wrong.
    Richard Meyer is the artist busting paradigm of the landscape transcending it, making it new through true creation. Bravo!


  3. Derek, your words astound and humble me. I don’t know how to respond to your generous and thoughtful words. I am a self-taught floundering fellow, I feel my only talents are perseverance and dogged insistence on a personal visual truth. I paint with palette knives and sticks etc because when I started, back in the 70’s, I couldn’t handle brushes and keep them clean. I ruined so many good quality brushes that something had to change, then I discovered and, I think, mastered the use of tools I could keep clean so that the colours remained pure.

    Then I mix the colours ‘wet-into-wet’ on the support with little recourse to the slab of marble I use as a palette. My favourite is a square-ended quite stiff knife – to which I owe a debt of gratitude (another!) to the late René Halkett (1900-83) – last of the Bauhaus students who trained under Paul Klee; and Kandinsky; he became a good friend and I much miss him. There’s more about Tools and Methods here

    Derek, I’m now without a studio but hope to get another soon. Life’s been tough lately, having lost a lot of money (£15k) to a building firm which collapsed but I’m blessed to have no ambition.
    As Sherlock said “The work is reward enough”, this doesn’t mean to say that I’m not eternally grateful to you and one or two others who support me so magnificently, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I will share your music, if I can find a way. I’m as untrained in IT as in painting! It’s all learnt by intuition and empiricism. Go well.

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