Virtual Exile (From "Our Deserted Country")

by Edward Traub

Wendell Berry writes:

"The digital devices are recommended or required in order to prepare for 'the world of the future.' The cost of this expensive preparation is virtual exile from the present world that is available at no cost outside their front doors. And so they spend their liveliest years mostly sitting and looking at screens."

I am, as most folks are, living into this lifestyle. The allure of the screen is a constant. I'm typing this little post from my phone, in fact, because apparently for my work to have a fighting chance as a business, I must be active in this world through a blog, a Facebook page, a website, a Twitter feed, an Instagram account...

...but I want to engage what's REAL. I'm growing weary of trying to keep up with the world of the future.

Berry writes further, "when people begin to replace stories from local memory with stories from television screens, another vital part of life is lost." I propose we take the time today to touch something real and linger and consider the irreplaceable gift of life. Get dirty, skin your knee, play.

Substance of Redemption

by Edward Traub

I painted "Substance of Redemption" (see below) years ago, I would say sometime between 1998 and 2001, my father-in-law, Jim, and I were hired to do a unique project near Hamlin Lake (Ludington, MI). We were going to plant trees!

I don't recall what type of trees, and I don't know how the plot of land was cleared before hand. However, we planted saplings around which we wrapped translucent plastic tubes to aid in the gathering of sunlight and in order to protect the little trees from the deer.

Looking back now it may have been some of the most fascinating work I've had the privilege of doing (it tapped into what would eventually become my future agrarian interests as well). The site was secluded not far from a bridge Jim and I would later replace connecting two two-track "roads" for Hamlin's seasonal residents. [as an aside, that bridge project was where we were when the 911 attacks took place] However, our tree-planting work was meant to bring vitality back to a bare piece of land. To this day, and perhaps in part because of 911, that time, that work, and that place linger as a place of rejuvenating, concrete practice.

But the painting is also part of that story and that place. While we were working, I noticed another mature tree in the corner of the plot. A walnut, I think. It had the most unusually distorted form. It wasn't straight, but instead had what was a 90 degree jog from which it then went straight up into the canopy. The tree wasn't a runt, it seemed to be thriving, but it was not typical.

I decided to take my sketchbook to the site the next day and did some drawings during breaks in our work (Jim was always supportive of my artistic pursuits). What emerged was this painting. Further still, what I realized was what I think happened to that tree sometime in its history.

That walnut was wounded. It had been struck down or fallen upon by another tree. It may have been struck by lightening. Who knows for sure. It occurred me that the tree had overcome what, for some trees would have been a fatal blow, but it somehow grew back up and looked just fine other than the obvious "jog" in its form. Although abstract in color and feel, what is depicted in the painting is true to the form and dimension of the actual tree.

It is a symbol of redemption.

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Soil

by Edward Traub

"This thing of soil conservation involves more than laying out a few terraces and diversion ditches and sowing to grass and legumes, it also involves the heart of the man managing the land. If he loves his soil he will save it."

- Henry Besuden; quoted by Wendell Berry in his essay "A Talent for Necessity"

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Galal

by Edward Traub

ArtPrize piece coming along.

"Galal" means "to roll" or "roll away" in Hebrew. More on that soon.

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Old work

by Edward Traub

These are pieces my brother Mike (in Denver) still hangs in his home. It's a rather surreal experience to see them again. Almost forgot about them, to be honest.

So good to see them again and remember.

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Pentecost

by Edward Traub

This painting is a piece based on my reflections uon Pentecost. So many words are spent on subjects like these...this visual window is an opportunity to meaningfully reflect.

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Sensual & Spiritual

by Edward Traub

"And, what is more, in Christianity God appears to [humanity] right in the midst of worldly reality. The centre of this act of encounter must, therefore lie where the profane human senses, making possible the act of faith, become 'spiritual', and where faith becomes 'sensory' in order to be human."

- Hans Urs Von Balthasar

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My agrarian roots

by Edward Traub

Visited the farm that my dad has run for our family for many years now. My boys and I enjoyed walking parts of it, and have been reminded of our roots. I've not been a farmer by any stretch, but in the coming months my "art" will include some work at this place. Here are some shots of our day.

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Hospitality for my work

by Edward Traub

Glad to share artwork in my friend's homes. Here is "Lake Effect" in a perfect spot.

P.S. it's still for sale, just on "consignment."

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The One and Only Ivan

by Edward Traub

"I've learned to understand human words over the years, but understanding human speech is not the same as understanding humans."

- Ivan