2014 Don Haggerty
Why Do I
I paint because I love magic. And I love to watch it in the making. It
begins with a gift from “somewhere”. Call it The Muse, or The Source, or
God, or The Universe. Whomever or wherever that “somewhere” is, that’s where
my art comes from.
What does it take to receive?
An open heart.
A mind cleared of clutter.
Belief in mystery.
A ready canvas.
Through frequent visits to
museums and galleries, as well as through personal study, I’ve been highly
influenced by the works of Monet, Klimt, N.C. Wyeth, J.W. Waterhouse, Bill
Cumming and John Singer Sargent. Also included in my repertoire of
influences are Asian brush painters, Australian dot painters, sculptors such
as Alexander Calder and Henry Moore, as well as artists like Marcel Duchamp
and the Abstract Expressionist painters. It’s been through the works and
ideas of such artists that I, in turn, have gained permission to create
freely in my own style.
I’ve also learned much about painting and the art life from the writings of
such great teachers as Robert Henri (The Art Spirit), Julia Cameron (The
Artist’s Way), David Bayles and Ted Orland (Art and Fear),
Charles Hawthorne (Hawthorne on Painting) and
Osvald Siren (The Chinese on the Art of
certainly, growing up in Taiwan (1957-1970) has played significantly in the
art I make to this day. It was there that the deep appreciation was
born and nurtured that I feel today for the beauty and power of a finely
executed brush stroke.
It's a mystery.
I paint subjects I feel passionate about. The passion may be sparked
by a single compositional element, or perhaps a gesture, or the dancing line
of a twisted torso. These are the gifts I speak of.
And after receipt of the gift and the discipline of starting a painting,
knowing when to say “finished” is perhaps the most important decision I have
to make. The point of “finished” is different for every painting.
I love the quote,
Manet from the point of view of Bouguereau the Manet has not been finished.
Judging a Bouguereau from the point of view of Manet the Bouguereau has not
been begun. (from Robert Henri’s, The Art Spirit)
from a simple palette and in a simple studio environment. Rather than
using an easel, a canvas hung by a couple of screws directly on my studio
wall suits me fine. A simple approach seems to make an elegant outcome
that much greater a reward!
Unless the wand is waved,
Can there be magic?
Unless the paint is squeezed,
And the brush is dipped,
No surprises await you.