Boots, yellow crotch, yellow heart - watercolor by William Eaton, 2019

My secret dream of learning how to draw

Some people, much as many artists long ago, first seek to learn some set idea of the basics before they try to make art. But, for one, we don’t know what the “basics” are any more. Perhaps the most basic and hardest thing is learning how to let one’s heart lose on the paper? And how do you learn that?

Zombie eyes, self-portrait with poem, William Eaton, 2019

Homme aux yeux mauves

How much of life passes in a dimmer light; / Mid a little bit of hopping, mostly we snore? Image inspired by Picasso’s “Homme au maillot.” As for the poem laid on top—inspired by an aging prostate?

Copy of Rembrandt's Elephant, by William Eaton, 2018

When the new is exhausted or bankrupt what do we have left?

Like Winston Smith in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” we search among the scraps of the past to try to reconnect with what we hope were better times. And thus, for example, in the beaux arts we have Wendy Artin painting watercolors of Roman ruins or of naked twenty-first century models as if they were sculptural remains. We have painters like Balthus using Renaissance techniques, and, in the case, say, of John Currin, doing pastiches of Renaissance works. In the works of artists as diverse as Mark Tansey, Kara Walker, and the Indian artist Indian artist K.P. Reji we have a renewed interest in history painting. At the latest Whitney Biennial we even had young American artists quoting not so ancient predecessors such as Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha.