Jasper Johns burgled my mind. He took all the thoughts I’ve had about my ART that tumble around in my head, and said them aloud to important curators of important museums and important writers working on important feature essays about ART and artists. Importantly enough, wordsmith gems gleaned and made with humour sometimes not, are now scattered like wind-lofted rose petals. Importantly, they are about his ART.

Jasper Johns, American Artist

Recently, the New York Times published a feature article, written by Deborah Solomon and photographed by Andrew White*, entitled “Jasper Johns Still Doesn’t Want to Explain His Art”. The article points out that now at 87, Mr. Johns is regarded as America’s foremost living artist and currently has a new thematic retrospective at the Broad Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA called “Something Resembling Truth.”**

 According to Ms. Solomon’s article, for the most part Mr. Johns continues to work in his Connecticut home studio keeping himself to himself, reluctantly giving interviews, but finding time to mentor, support and encourage younger generations of artists through his philanthropic foundation.

Nine years ago I included the following Jasper Johns quote during construction of [Jots From A Small Apt] SOMETHING MORE ABOUT page:

 “I have meant what I have done.

Or, I have often meant what I have done.

Or, I have sometimes meant what I have done.

Or, I have tried to mean what I was doing.”

Early on, that particular quote was a right-brain attempt on my part to describe something more about my individual ART and the process. It was also a safe vehicle to describe, using Mr. Johns’ words, how I felt similarly aligned to him as he, too, attempted to describe his ART and the process of moving forward from idea to a final, visual presentation. As the New York Times feature article by Ms. Solomon also states…”Jasper Johns still doesn’t want to explain his Art.”

My artistic-bent hand continues to be raised with Mr. Johns…neither do I.

“ART is much less important than life,

but what a poor life without it.”

Forward movement in ART based upon myriads of mediums and processes, constituted and constructed with patience, trial and error or both, confidence or lack thereof, affirmation or lack thereof and, of course, practice-practice-practice…permit Jasper Johns, myself and many others to execute ideas and projects until ART expression and imagination ceases to colorfully and artistically exist.

“I often find that having an idea in my head

prevents me from doing something else.

Working is therefore a way of getting rid of an idea.”

 Most of the time I’m now at work  in the studio or class getting rid of ideas through sketches, preliminary compositions, colour theory, palette scheme instruction,  reading, experimenting with and in other mediums, executing new processes and finalizing projects.

I’ll be in touch….

Credit: ___*original photograph by NYT Photographer Andrew White.

Note:   ___**Edith Devaney, a curator at the Royal Academy/London, and art historian Roberta Bernstein, helped conceive the Broad show.

___Graphite Drawing, reproduction of photograph by R. Rieder, 2018.



  1. This post has had me thinking for the past couple days. Not having to explain the art you produce allows for a great sense of freedom – and it allows the creative process to continue, to build momentum. Sometimes, having to stop and think and intellectualize what it is you are doing/creating, is enough to disperse the inspiration of creation. I like the quote from Jasper Johns because it shows just how hard it is to explain art with words, it simply is what it is meant to be.

    Your composition is a great example of letting the inspiration carry the brilliance of art ~ an incredible piece R. Wishing you a great day ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So late coming to this particular party….especially after your last post when and and I didn’t have the words to respond to that…either. Seems as if reading everyone else’s words…mine not needed. I think you know all about the strengths, and vulnerabilities, of inspiration leading one to creativity. Yours, in my mind, runs in a deep endless trough. Mine the free flowing irrigation ditch. Fed by survival and sometimes desperation. Consistent to a point. There is a difference. Yours…a teaching tool. I have so much to learn. Thank you for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The artist’s process, be it in visual arts, written, spoken, or music, never ceases to amaze me. The casual observer has no idea how much work, effort, planning, and often heartbreak has gone into a presentation. Thanks for reminding me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You also know, as a writer, how difficult process can be. Support from fellow artists, and inspiration….so important. But you already know that! Nice to see you. Enjoy your historical accounts and descriptions. Kudos for perseverance…to both of us!! R.


  3. Great post, and great queue of comments! Your drawing is well done; I especially like the darkened area behind his head, such a great technique – ways of pushing things back and making others come forward while keeping the tones in the hair and skin light – as needed.

    He has a no-nonsense attitude, is comfortable with who he is and stays focused on what’s important!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa! Nice to see you!!!! Know you have difficulty with your internet server but I hope you read…how much I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I remain a HUGE admirer of your work…and the inspiration you exude (yes, exude) through your posts and ART. Aren’t we a shameful bunch….supporting one another like there’s no tomorrow? How very poor we’d all be without this lifeline of creativity….. Stay safe. Hope you are well and settled in. XOXSista R


  4. March 1982, Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, was may first time seeing a Jasper John painting(s) in person. Killing time before hoping a plane with ragged bunch artist wannabees to NYC for two weeks of gallery crawling in Manhattan’s grunge and of course a visit to CBGB. And that’s all am going to say.

    Thanks for the read and the witchy sketchy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OLA! Mr. Johns played a huge part in my early university education. Abstract Expressionism, Assemblages, Collage’, and a lot other stuff going on at the time…mainly the protests of the Viet Nam war. ART at that time had a great deal of “say”. Worked with the Albright-Knox Museum on a research project several years back…..great experience. How fortunate for you to see Jasper John up-close and personal! The photographed portrait in the article mentioned (taken by NYT Photographer Andrew White) too good to pass up a sketch opportunity. How you be, BTY? R


      1. Aye a bee alive. BTW. Thanks for asking.

        I think, and am not as wise as yourself and others here, John’s influence and others spurred on many artist living in unknown places not just in the US but around the globe, that ART important ART could be made regionally. Little places with lots to say.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So right. Freedom of expression and permission to be free. Sometimes critics (albeit critics at the public’s large), if you will, fail to see the unseen impact.

          “I think a painting should include more experience than simply intended statement.”
          Jasper Johns


          1. and time marched on for paint brushes, chisels and peace signs ….experience vs statement or is it statement vs experience but wait, does one have to make art to call oneself an artist ….can I eat that mushroom or will it’s image kill me….Dylan stopped talking, poets got stuck in code… .yeah you guessed it, back in the day, I kinda grooved to Eva Hess visually and mentally mumbled to Beuys trying to explain art to your dead blue hare.


  5. aFa…..Roses still in hibernation when they should be leafing/budding out getting ready for Portland’s miraculous floral display…in May?…snow again in all mountain ranges throughout the Pacific Northwest. We must be patient! Thank you always for the shout-out. “Getting rid of ideas” seems to leave little time for Tango-time….but my Tango header is still there…and the table top…how well I remember dancing on all those table tops….shhhhh….don’t tell…… XOXOXRRR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. in time, I’m sure the roses will be gloriously blooming. In terms of tango, a friend of mine wanted me to watch Our Last Tango … it’s more of a documentary than a movie, but still interesting and with outstanding dancing … and even dancing on the table top! Here’s another one for you that I think you’ll like. Enjoy


    1. “I have no ideas about what the paintings imply about the world. I don’t think that’s a painter’s business. He just paints paintings without a conscious reason.” Jasper Johns

      Thank you, Carrie.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “It’s simple, you just take something and do something to it, and then you do something to it,
      and then do something else to it. Keep doing this, and pretty soon you’ve got something.”
      Jasper Johns

      Hear hear!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hugh, you probably don’t recall asking me this question: “Isn’t a bird in a bowl worth three in the bush?” What is…Yes, Virginia, a bird in a bowl is definitely worth three in the bush. (Reminder: The Whether Report.) Still my favourite comment that continues to speak to (and for) me!

      AHEM…..The Reader may not know that you are a celebrated author with two published books to your “case in point” credit: PROVOKING THOUGHT and most recently
      ALONE IN THE LABYRINTH. When I finish (nearly there) with PROVOKING THOUGHT you’ve provoked me into asking if I sent you my copy would you autograph the flyleaf…like you did on LABYRINTH…..and say something nice….again? XOXOXR


    1. Anne…I seem to be lost in “getting rid of ideas”, leaving little time for much anything else…hoovering, groceries, etc. etc. I’m sure with your deadlines…you know keeping up with keeping up….slides a wee bit!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The thing is, as the husband of a painter friend of mine once observed: we suffer from OCD – obsessive creative disorder. So get rid of one idea, another comes!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. YES! Living with an endless “slideshow” of images, ideas, colours,….falling dominoes, a turnstile that never stops turning, sometimes landing where all of us fear…the rubbish bin. Yep…I’m with you….obsessive CREATIVE disorder. Thank you Anonymous for your comment.


    1. Michael….I’ve shown you mine. Now you have to show me yours…

      “I think that one wants from a painting a sense of life. The final suggestion,
      the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement.
      It has to be what you can’t avoid saying.” Jasper Johns

      Perfect. Yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Darlin’ Raye. You best be taking It!! And isn’t it grand to surround one’s self with like-minded peeps who encourage us? xoxoDMLRxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

A Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: