Archive for the ‘painting philosophy’ Category


January 29, 2013


How I percieve my own heart or spirt, before and after the military. Diptych painting – acrylics on canvas


Text Message (Picasso Watching)

January 27, 2013


Ben-315Alberta just getting interested…



Portrait of Ben texting in front of Picasso Self-Portrait. Work in progress..(with help from “Alberta”)

Sitting on the Mediterranean

January 20, 2013


A watercolour “sketch” from my notebook, just back from Denia (Espana). What a great place. Left me feeling inspired to draw and paint more – even though I was doing it everyday. Cats in the old part of Denia – interesting and colourful doorways, the Denia Castle and the people of the town.. Love it!

Ranchos de Taos, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago

October 28, 2010

The Catholic Church at Ranchos de Taos is the oldest “in-use” Catholic church in the US. It has also… served as an inspiration for many artists – Georgia O’Keeffe and myself among them. I drove my ’60 Willys wagon there back in the 80’s and spent quite a bit of time around Taos. I had the pleasure of meeting and dining out with the great artist, Judy Chicago. Even took a side trip down to Albuquerque to look in on the silk screen studuio producing her “Birth Project” serigaphs. This image is one of several I created while on that trip. It is a serigraph done in a limited edition.

Catholic Church at Ranchos de Taos - serigraph

Serigraph by Phil Dynan

Collaboration Art

October 26, 2010

Latest painting a collaboration with Anastasia Nelson, “Tehama Cowgirl” was inspired by a local cow and the Dairyville Orchard Festival. Collaborative work is always interesting. In this case we passed both the original drawing and the painting back’n’forth til we were satisified with the final piece. This is one of a suite of six pieces.
Tehama Cow Girl

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

May 1, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

“P.T.S.D.” is one of my paintings that has gotten a lot of attention. It is a diptych in acrylics on canvas. Each piece is 24×36, so when hung it is about 50 inches across.

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Syndrome). It can be related to any traumatic life event – rape, robbery, a beating, auto accident, etc. It can also relate to military experience, combat, or capture experiences. You do not have to be a member of the military to experience “military-related” PTSD.

This painting was originally done for an exhibit of mine in Davis, California.

You can learn more about the exhibit by buying a copy of the Exhibit Book or by viewing the website (click here). For the exhibit I collected work from many other people, including artists, military personnel, civilians and journalists who had been impacted directly by war.

After the Davis show, the piece moved to Pomona (LA area) as part of an exhibit with the Society of Layerists in MultiMedia (SLMM). This Society believes that “all things are connected” (as I do) and explores the many layers of meaning that can be found in a piece of art.

This painting is now showing at the Red Bluff Art Gallery, where a new “layer” has been revealed to me. It seems that local teenagers have made this painting one of the “most viewed” in the gallery. The Gallery Director reports that a teen who had come in more than once, offered “$200” for the painting. I’m guessing that was a pretty big deal – a great offer – by someone with limited resources.

My intention was to show two sides (or stages) of a human heart. The first, in an almost Disneyesque-rendering (and colours) is meant to represent the heart in its state at birth. Here the heart is clearly vibrant and without stress or morbid experience. It soon changes, but the second half of my piece is meant to show the heart at about the age of 20. Here it is distressed, has been ripped out, sewn back together, and now the seams are weakening. There are lines of stress coming from a map of Iraq in the lower corner and where the lines enter the heart, there is some darkness (or decay).

I painted this from my own experiences. Although I arrived at adulthood in the Viet Nam era and served in the military then, I have close ties to the Iraq war as well. My book, Brother Eagle, Sister Moon, was thoroughly researched and based on the lives of real people serving in that conflict. During the research process, and afterwards at book-signings and exhibitions, I encountered the pain of PTSD over and over again in the people I met.

I have since done a TV documentary on PTSD; my Exhibit Book has been useful to social workers and to the VA, and to other Vets. It is a journey that started in 1966 and continues each and every day. That teens also see their own struggles (romantic and otherwise) in the painting reveals to me the deeper levels of consciousness that painting allows me to tap.

Sometimes, as painters, we begin a painting and it takes a life of its own at some point. The energy we may have put into motion, gathers steam and – if we let it – expands our consciousness and understanding of life. Painting is a wonderful gift.



en plein aire

April 20, 2010

plein aire painter Phil Dynan in the Black Rock Desert Plein Aire painting is said to have originated with the French Impressionists.

A few years ago I visited one of the first “en plain aire” sites near Atelier Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne had built a studio on a hill and his favourite painting spot was just a short walk away. During the construction of the studio, he included a large “slit” in one wall, thru which he could pass large canvases to take onsite.

Plein Aire painting means, simply, painting in the outdoors and usually refers to painting the scene you are confronted with – or part of, would be more accurate.

The advantage of plein aire painting is the accurate light that is present and the ability to examine details.

My work reflects my own way of seeing things. My “vision”, slightly too colourful for some people, is the way I actually see things. I am not colour-blind. I am extremely colour-aware.

Have you ever had a photo in photoshop on your computer and adjusted the “Saturation” slider as far as it will go? If you have, then you know what colours are presesnt in your photo – though no one will ever “see” them at normal settings. Well, I SEE all the colours and that is how I paint.

Since I paint in an abstract form, the shapes and lines around me are painted as I “perceive” them, not with the exactness of careful measurement. I may see a praying mantis with a powerful personality and make his legs four times the length they are “in reality”. But my painting shows how the insect “seemed to me” at that moment.

Mountains become harder-edged, or softer; cows seem pointless or bristling with personality…it all depends on that particular moment and my perception.

Blue Men Escaping

April 1, 2010

Phil Dynan paints inside a cat's mind Painting and drawing daily whilst visting with the 20 or so cats that live near the studio has resulted in a series of paintings that explore “the inside of a cat’s mind”. Acrylic on handmade watercolour paper (made by a fellow in New Mexico).

I like to combine philosophy and politics with art. Some people like me to explain what it all means. The Truth is that most of my paintings and drawings are multi-level. They can be seen as a “pretty picture” or could be seen as having deep meanings rooted in Universal Truth. Really, it is up to the viewer. I like to think my work offers something for most people.

What do the Blue Men represent? They are seen in many of my works over the past few years. Something to do with Jean Paul Sartre maybe?  What am I saying here? Is my “consciousness” imbedded in my cat? Or is my cat’s consciousness embedded in my mind? Or am I just an artist with a cat? Think I’ll go ponder this and maybe swallow a great big fuckin’ existentialist aspirin while I’m at it. …or I could keep painting.