January 30th, 2018

You know, the body really is a perfect healing machine. Designed that way. We just have to keep out of its way. Too many people get in its way. Some trip all over themselves getting in its way, and it’s a crying shame. Others see to it that it stays that way. Makes you want to believe in damnation.

Merry Merry!

December 25th, 2017

 

My work surface cluttered with cards in process.

 

November 15th, 2017

It’s that time of year when I urge you to “take note” of the card sets featuring some of my collage artworks, (now including Cherry Balm). They’ll be available during Danville’s upcoming Holiday Market at the Arts Center, which opens tonight. It is shaping up to be a unique local kick-off for the gift-giving season — live music, cash bar, and an assortment of holiday treats for hungry shoppers. Begin your year-end activities in earnest!
 

Holiday Market at the Arts Center ~ Community Arts Center, Danville, Kentucky ~ November 17 to December 23, 2017
 

Note cards by J A Dixon featuring details of ‘Cherry Balm,’ collage on canvas

Cherry Balm (details)
assorted vertical-format note cards by J A Dixon
4 blank cards, 1 each of 4 cover images
5.125 x 7.75 inches, folded
available for purchase

October 23rd, 2017

“You think there will be fewer insecticides sprayed on farmlands around the globe in the years to come? Think again. It is the most uncomfortable of truths, but one which stares us in the face: that even the most successful organisms that have ever existed on earth are now being overwhelmed by the titanic scale of the human enterprise, as indeed, is the whole natural world.”

Michael McCarthy 10/21/17

October 11th, 2017

Junger still understands what it is to be a journalist. These honest professionals still exist, but there are fewer and fewer of them.

35 years!

September 11th, 2017

“As a husband, you have to remember the crucial importance of three little words — ‘I was wrong.’ That will take you a lot further than ‘I love you.’”
— Charlton Heston
 

After pondering what to do with my stash of birds for far too long, I decided to start a new series that I describe as “Crafted.” Here is an example — a 35th Anniversary present to my indispensable partner and dearest friend.
 
That Red Boot ~ J A Dixon

That Red Boot
collage miniature by J A Dixon
5.375 x 7.25 inches
collection of Dana Dixon

August 26th, 2017

“Our congenital distrust of authority and suspicion of history were born in the Enlightenment and it informs us all, progressives and conservatives alike. It is what makes America great and exceptional, but in too big of a dose, it becomes lethal. Letting go of the past is the great American curative for all manner of European social and political pathologies. But letting go is not the same thing as forgetting, and forgetting is not the same thing as hating. The progressive push to erase the past has gone from being a remedy for social resentment to a cause of social resentment.”

Jonah Goldberg 8/25/17

August 15th, 2017

“Madam, do not train up your children in hostility to the government of the United States. Remember, we are all one country now… Bring them up to be Americans.”

Robert E Lee

August 13th, 2017

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

George Orwell, 1984

July 16th, 2017

Martin Landau, RIP

Martin Landau
1 9 2 8 – 2 0 1 7
an actor’s actor
R
I
P

June 17th, 2017

“Liberalism of the 1950s and ’60s exalted civil liberties, individualism, and dissident thought and speech. ‘Question authority’ was our generational rubric when I was in college. But today’s liberalism has become grotesquely mechanistic and authoritarian: It’s all about reducing individuals to a group identity, defining that group in permanent victim terms, and denying others their democratic right to challenge that group and its ideology. Political correctness represents the fossilized institutionalization of once-vital revolutionary ideas, which have become mere rote formulas. It is repressively Stalinist, dependent on a labyrinthine, parasitic bureaucracy to enforce its empty dictates.”

Camille Paglia 6/15/17

Farewell, Wallace . . .

May 14th, 2017

After a rapid decline, Wallace died this morning. Tomorrow I shall bury my fourth Yorkshire Terrier. Dogs have been with humankind from the time we deserved to be called people. Perhaps they had something to do with us becoming more than the clever devils we must have been. Dogs are perhaps the purest form of love, and Yorkies are another order of magnitude. Somebody once said that we are doomed to outlive all of our dogs — except the last one.

May 9th, 2017

“You’ve got to pick the right girl in the first place. And much more important, as a husband you have to remember the crucial importance of three little words — ‘I was wrong.’ That will take you a lot further than ‘I love you.’”

Charlton Heston

May 3rd, 2017

 

Brendan’s Birthday Comic Strip Artifact
collage artifact by J A Dixon
12 x 7.375 inches
collection of B C Adkins

four days in late April

May 1st, 2017

Thursday ~ Cared for Mombo at the Hall, and she was trying to shake off some cold symptoms. Joan got home as early as possible, so I could get back to Danville for drinks and dinner with the visiting brothers Andrew and Rory from South Africa, along with local friends (Lee and David with granddaughter). The owner of the Bluegrass Pizza Pub invited us to draw on the wall with chalk, but only Zoey and I took him up on it. I cannot remember ever being uncomfortable with a piece of chalk in my hand, which stimulates a direct, electromagnetic current to my imagination. Nor can I recall life before my chalkboard career, as a matter of fact. Like clockwork, Scott V turned 65 first today, but, for some reason, I haven’t reached out yet.

Friday ~ Spent a lot of time monitoring the stock market and setting up trades. Made a trip to Minuteman Press to arrange for the printing of the Carol & Bob portraits. The happy image was taken by someone at a Band Fest picnic years ago, but I have no recollection who it was — a total mystery. We watched the first disc of The Wire, Season Three. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any new ground being broken, but it always fascinates me to observe Dominic West’s acting, and the way he projects different characters without saying anything. I am still reading the new biography of Heston (Hollywood’s Last Icon), and the same basic sense of the great man is reinforced. Loaded with photos from his family archives. The first time I immersed myself in Heston, I was influenced by his values and principles. This time I am struck more with his stubborn refusal to allow personal, professional, or societal obstacles to remain unchallenged. Late in the evening I spent time on the phone with both Marty and Terie, trying to defuse another domestic flare-up. I believe they have exhausted their ability to live with each other at this point in their lives, and I can only trust them to resolve it and not let it spill over to affect those who love them.

Saturday ~ Up at 6am to go get a free load of compost from the city (out at their farm off Standford Road). Spent the rest of the morning working on the Town House yard, fueled by Subway’s new Keurig unit. Not a bad way to spend my birthday so far. We had a relaxing afternoon with early drinks, hot baths, and general sweetness. And then it was time to head to Lexington in search of Moules et Frites. We were early (imagine that), so we stopped into a pub to have a Belgian Red Ale. I was pleasantly surprised by its refreshingly dry, tart, slightly apple-vinegar quality, and it hit the spot better than a typical brew. Dana was still hobbling from her basement-stairs mishap, so we were moving a bit slow, but all went well. The moules marinière at Le Deauville were perhaps the tastiest mussels I have ever enjoyed, enhanced by an exceptional New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I had crossed the line of no return into Medicare and hit the pillow hard when we arrived home.

Sunday ~ We had our typical brunch-with-morning-political-news-shows, and the exasperating scene in Washington, DC continues. Politicians are unwilling to forge anything balanced enough to anger everyone in the country, except for the few who remember what a compromise actually looks and sounds like. The problem is that most citizens who care are convinced that compromise will not actually solve anything and they want their side to hold sway. It hardens the polarity and ensures another pendulum swing. It is a pathological state. The rhetorical downtrend deepens. And, of course, many troubling problems such as health care only get worse. Later in the day we drove to Lexington to attend Drew Robertson’s graduation celebration. Dana was adequately ambulatory, but still treading very cautiously. It was a pleasant backyard bash. Mingling with extended relatives, plastic cup of iced Buffalo Trace in hand, I lost track of time and jeopardized our getting to Costco before it closed. Still feeling in the “birthday zone,” I treated myself to socks and underpants, and we finally had that misbehaving tire on the Avalon fixed.

hopelessly a reader

April 22nd, 2017

“He had a strong sense of his life being upon the turn, between two seasons, as it were, with the certainties of the one no longer valid for the other. He was not a fanciful man, but for some time now he had had an indefinable sense of chaos following order, of impending disaster; and it oppressed his mind.”
— the thoughts of Captain J Aubrey
   Treason’s Harbour by Patrick O’Brian

I am swept up in the riveting climax of my ninth O’Brian novel, and must finish it off within hours. The library purchased the new Charlton Heston biography in response to my request, so I shall be taking a break from my esteemed Stephen Maturin to immerse myself — one more time — in the life story of “Hollywood’s Last Icon.”
 

 

Constrained Collage

April 21st, 2017

“Every athlete, every musician practices every day. Why should it be different for artists?”
— Christoph Niemann

Creating a collage within constraints is one of the more enjoyable activities within the medium, because it is necessary to throw oneself upon the mercy of pure intuition. I was in the middle of a care-giving day at the Blue Bank Hall yesterday and assigned myself this exercise:

Complete one full-page collage in my journal during Mombo’s two-hour afternoon nap, using only ingredients found in the recycling bin.

I am constantly experimenting, because I find it difficult to pluck a coherent idea from a “cold start,” and so I cultivate a habit of collage experimentation to preserve a state of receptivity and to invite the uncanny “synchronicities” from which a more rational concept can be refined. Naturally, my journal is the perfect place to conduct such exercises. I take what I learn from the small format and bring it to larger artworks. What is it that I learn? That, too, is primarily a matter of intuition. I hope to internalize the creative response that each experiment reveals and keep my collage process as subjective as possible. For me, nothing bogs down the making of a collage more than too much rational thinking.
 
Untitled (first cause) ~ a collage miniature by John Andrew Dixon, Danville, Kentucky

Untitled (first cause)
constrained collage exercise by J A Dixon
9.5 x 13 inches

heading into March . . .

March 1st, 2017

I was stumped about an idea for Gwen’s “225” show about Kentucky’s history until I turned off the radio on a drive to the farm. Dana had suggested Star of Abraham, but I figured I needed to revise and extend it somehow. Near Hustonville it hit me: Lincoln’s noteworthy declaration, “I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.” I got down a flurry of thumbnail concepts in my journal when I arrived at the Blue Bank Hall. It was barely necessary to ever look at them again, because the development of the final idea took on a momentum of its own. Tonight I finished the home stretch of the artwork when I finished painting the lettering with acrylics, assembling the components for a photograph, and making the midnight deadline with a half hour to spare. As I enter into March, my thoughts are concerned with my annual exercise. Now that I have “I Must Have Kentucky” under my belt, I am committed to a series of low-stress improvements in my collage studio and work pattern. If I also complete some new experiments, that will be icing on the proverbial cake.

February 6th, 2017

“Mr. Trump has overloaded all circuits. Everything is too charged, with sparks and small shocks all over. ‘Nothing feels stable,’ I mused to a longtime Washington media figure at a dinner the night before the Prayer Breakfast. ‘Nothing is stable,’ she replied. Earlier, on the Hill, a veteran conservative member of Congress, speaking of the president, got a puzzled look: ‘There’s no calming with him. It’s Look what I can do now!’”

Peggy Noonan 2/2/17

2017 is here . . .

January 30th, 2017

An update on my current exhibitions:

HAVE A SEAT: Chairs by Kentucky Artisans

NEW YEAR NEW ART

ORDER & CHAOS

Empress of Wings ~ John Andrew DixonDreams Aligned ~ a collaborative collage construction ~ Kentucky artists John Andrew Dixon and Robert Hugh HuntDiamonds in the Rough ~ a collage construction by John Andrew Dixon, Danville, Kentucky

It’s showtime, America . . .

January 27th, 2017

It occurs to me that if the Trump presidency is overly problematic, it can in many ways be transcended as an aberration, but Hillary Clinton was an embodiment of everything abhorrent in the existing political class, and that is why so many considered him the lesser of evils. This entire notion is beyond the typical progressive. There are times when things boil to a point more critical than political agendae. Things were due for a major disruption of the status quo. It looks like the new administration sees the first order of business to be a striking of as many blows as quickly as possible in the culture war (from political correctness to the distorted role of the media; from American exceptionalism to traditional constitutionalism). It will be interesting to watch the convulsions and to see if more good comes out of this than bad. I long for the viewpoints of Heston, Kemp, and Snow, but I’ll just have to think for myself and stay clear-headed about what is proving to be a very complex dynamic.
 

Merry Christmas: to be continued . . .

December 25th, 2016

“It is by logic that we prove, but by intuition that we discover.”
— Henri Poincaré

December is the time of year for making hand-crafted holiday cards. By and by, I return to variations on the theme of a Christmas tree. Perhaps some of the collage miniatures are more “successful” than others, but the point of this ritual (other than sharing joy with dear ones, of course) is granting free rein to an intuitive response. Exercising this capacity is at the heart of collage as a medium. How important it is to give the imagination a blank check and invest no concern in the lack of a preconceived approach! Choosing a simple pictorial theme conveniently jump-starts an experimental process. What follows is pure discovery.
 

29 collage greeting
cards by J A Dixon

variations on a
Christmas theme
2001 – 2016