A Van Gogh!

A Van Gogh!
From the artists at ArtWorks945

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

That is the name of my latest trade.

The artist’s name is Gregory Dolnikowski. He is a nutrition professor at Tufts University; and he paints in his spare time.

Gregory learned to paint when he was young from his mother who was an artist. (Among other things, she painted the background scenes for displays in the Boston Museum of Natural History.)

Gregory is quite an active artist. He regularly displays his art around Boston; many people commission his paintings; and he even paints at parties. His work can be seen here:


I had a lovely chat with Gregory before Christmas. Nature often inspires his painting: for instance, a rainstorm that beat down upon the windows in his studio inspired The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.

Listening to Gregory talk about his painting definitely made me want to paint. He clearly finds immense pleasure in the act of painting. He told me that he sometimes loses himself in music as his brush swirls around a canvas. And he particularly enjoys painting at parties, which I must admit sounds like a lot of fun. Best of all, he has a regular job and so doesn’t have to starve like Van Gogh.

Trading for Gregory’s painting was a great way to end the year. I really do feel like that the universe has given me a Christmas gift.

Maybe next year, the universe will give me a Van Gogh for Christmas.

Of course, to get a Van Gogh, I need to make some trades.

So, just to help the universe along a little bit (especially now that I feel as if it is actively on my side), I can’t help but announce:

I want someone to trade for The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow
I want someone to trade for The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow
I want someone to trade for The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

If anyone wants to trade for a Dolnikwoski original, let me know.

You can reach me at: pstudtmann@gmail.com

Friday, December 24, 2010


Peter Smith is a curious artist.

It seems to me that there is a continuum of attitudes about art: On one extreme it is all about the process and/or beauty that comes from making art. On the other extreme it is all about the product, which inevitably comes along with the painter’s reputation and a price.

Peter Smith stands on the far end of the first extreme. He avoids attention; he does not show his art; and he does not even sign his art. He simply likes making works that he thinks are interesting and hanging them in his house.

‘Akrasia’ means weakness of the will. Smith’s painting is chaotic and yellow. It barely coheres. In fact, except for the figure on the top left, it seems random, as if forces entirely indifferent to painting produced it. Even the color does not in some sense of these words ‘make sense’.

And yet it is visually intriguing and demands attention. My eye vacillates between the turtle-like (in a post-modern way) figure on the top left and the blobbish slightly phallic red figure on the lower right. It then wanders over to the ghoulish looking figure that is emerging from the red blob. And then it returns to the post-modern turtle.

Were I to be potentially foolish and pronounce on the meaning of this painting – potentially foolish, because paintings don’t obviously mean anything; but then again, maybe they do – I would say the following: Akrasia is a glimpse into utter weakness of the will, a condition in which nothing makes sense and everything has a yellow tinge.

But how much is it worth? I don’t know. Like I said, Peter Smith has never tried to sell a painting. So maybe I traded Blow to Life for a complete clunker.

But I like it.

And even better yet, at least one other person likes it too. How do I know? Because he wanted to trade a painting for it. In fact, when I return home from Christmas at my girlfriend’s parents’ house, it should be waiting for me.

It’s almost like a gift from Santa.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Who would have thought? I made a trade.

I have been posting to the artist section in various cities on Craisglist, trying to drum up interest in the Van Gogh project. And it finally worked.

The painting is called: Akrasia.

The artist’s name is Peter Smith. He lives in Miami and paints in his spare time.

Peter claims that he liked what I did to Ode To Life. The nails, caulk and the board give it a tangible edginess. (Those were his words.) And he liked the title.

We had a lovely chat on the phone. Interestingly enough, Peter, like Boo, does not show his work in public. People have told him he should try to sell his paintings or, barring that, at least have a show. But he finds the pathological need of artists to gain the admiration of the public a revolting display of petty narcissism. (His words again.) So he just hangs his art in his house.

I asked Peter why he was willing to go public with his work by participating in the Van Gogh Project. And he said he liked the idea that his work would eventually be compared to one of Van Gogh’s.

So there you have it. Call it the power of the internet if you like. Call it the power of luck. I prefer to call it the power of the universe.

In my next post I will describe my reaction to Akrasia.

Until then, however, I can’t help but give the universe a little nudge:

I want someone to trade a painting for Akrasia.
I want someone to trade a painting for Akrasia.
I want someone to trade a painting for Akrasiae.