by Nina Baldwin

cloud catcher*dream maker*artist

"Art touches the soul...art is communication...it reaches out from the canvas and passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint of beauty that can make the spirit sing."
Nina Baldwin ...

Welcome to Artscapes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Let's Save Paul Coze's Artwork for all Generations!

I want you to know that I am not writing about Paul Coze because I knew him so well, for, unfortunately, I did not. I am writing about him because you need to know about him…and his artwork deserves to be appreciated.

It has been a great disappointment to me to realize that so many of his public works have been torn down or altered over the years, some even during his lifetime. I would see them around town and, at my young age, almost took them for granted because there were at one time so many of them. Didn’t all cities have beautiful artworks, tributes to their societies, just like Phoenix? It took me many years of maturing to realize that although many cities do have public art, Paul Coze's artwork was unique! It was dynamic! No other artwork could possibly replace it. Please, let’s save whatever is left of Paul Coze’s artwork for us, our children and our children’s children.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PAUL COZE's Public Artwork

Mr. Coze’s work was foremost in the eyes of Phoenicians in the 60’s and 70’s…his artwork was huge in concept, rich in symbolism, adornment in the fullest sense, springing forth from the spirit, embracing the beautiful, paying homage to the past…the precious history of our peoples, our land…acknowledging the great strides in technology and the sciences in what was then the present time (in the 60’s and 70’s), and also the infinite possibilities and great hope for the future...for in his art we see the passage of time and place, and the hopes and dreams of a people who stood in wonderment at our own ever evolving potential. His artwork was the best of us.



As you can tell, Paul Coze’s artwork touched my heart profoundly. I don’t believe any other artwork has done the same for me. Do we not see that Coze’s public artwork represents us? I can look at a landscape painting and appreciate the beauty of it, or see a still life and admire the techniques used to paint it. I can be astonished at the highest sky scraper and its architecture or be dumbfounded by the latest in technology, but nothing can compare to the feeling I have when I see a piece of Coze’s creativity…for it is us…his art is who we were, who we are, who we will be, if the good survives.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

PAUL COZE - Public Art - Phoenix Airport, Terminal 2, St. Thomas the Apostle

I have always admired Mr. Coze’s artwork. I can remember the first time I saw the Phoenix rising out of the ashes in front of the Town & Country Mall in Phoenix. I was enchanted by it. I had never seen anything like it before. I was just a kid, but every time we drove past it, I would look for it, staring, trying to take in as much as I could. His artwork was like that for me…jaw-dropping, earth-shattering. It touched my spirit. Even at my young age, I wondered how anyone could accomplish anything that big, that remarkable.

I can remember when the Phoenix Airport, Terminal 2 now, was brand new. And I can remember feeling great pride in not only the building, because it seemed so elegant to me at the time, but also in the huge artwork created by Mr. Coze. There was a sense that his artwork belonged to all of us who lived in Phoenix…that it was our story…I think the whole city was in awe of it. It was located over the way to the concourse, as I recall. I can remember our family making a special trip down to the airport just especially to see it. Even now when I see pictures of it I feel a thrill. Last year while visiting the area, I made a trip down to Terminal 2 just to see if the artwork was still there…it was! I can’t tell you what that meant to me!! I hope that it will be cherished always, saved for many more generations to see and appreciate.

I was in close proximity to his artwork also while I attended grade school at St. Thomas the Apostle on 24th St. and Campbell Rd. Paul Coze was commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross for the new Church. They were not the usual plaque-like structures I had been used to…they were actual paintings on canvas. One stands out in my mind. The Seven Deadly Sins…let’s see if I can remember them…sloth, greed, (I’m already having trouble remembering them!) wrath, envy (I’m grasping for them now!), pride, lust and gluttony…(oh, ok, I had to look up the last three!!). But what a painting!! Mr. Coze had painted 7 hands each representing a different deadly sin all grasping at a cloth, as I recall. Oh, my gosh!! It was exquisitely done! You wouldn’t think that 7 hands could be that different, but you actually could identify each deadly sin just by their appearance. I guess that is one of those things that is etched in my mind…his art touched my soul even as an elementary school student!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Meeting PAUL COZE

It was while I was at Phoenix College that I met Paul Coze. I was looking for part-time employment. The student placement office contacted me to let me know that there was a need for an artist.
I dragged two huge boxes with all of my artwork from 3 years of high school art classes out to his home/studio. I can remember sitting there going through every piece of art as fast as I possibly could! He patiently looked at each piece...at the end, with a little wry smile on his face, asking only if I didn't have more artwork to show him...of course, he was kidding! I had just taken up a half hour of his day to see every single thing I had ever drawn, painted, stenciled, silk screened, inked, formed and glazed...it was more than enough!!
He was looking for a helper for his newest project…large public artworks for both the outside front entrace to the building at the new Indian Hospital, as well as the inside of the main building. But the federal funding for the project had not come through as yet, so I actually ended up helping him with small projects and “gophering” for his art classes…a great experience in itself!
I remember on one occasion while at his studio Mr. Coze shared some cake with me. He had had a dinner party the night before for some dignitaries and visitors from France. The cake was delicious! He told me that it had been made with beet sugar... something I had never heard of. The taste was delicate...not nearly as sweet as cane sugar would have made it.
His art classes were always interesting. During one class a friend of his dropped in to allow us to paint him. He was a Native American Chief. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name. I still have that painting I did.
Paul Coze was a great mentor. I have often desired to have that same special relationship with another artist/mentor since then, but I think those opportunities are very rare...I don't know why the art gods decided to bless me with that time in my life with him, but I am so very grateful they did! I have memories from then that I will cherish always!
...to be continued...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Westward Ho!

Born in the East, I was brought up wearing bobby socks, tweeds, wool and plenty of navy blue. My first exposure to art was really through the beautiful classical religious art portraying the saints, Mary, Jesus and Joseph.


In the early 60's my family and I moved to Phoenix. Moving so far from the formality of the East was, to say the least, culture shock in many ways! Suddenly it was OK to slip into sandals…with no socks!! Tweeds and wool were unheard of in Arizona…and navy blue no longer was in the color palette. No more getting dressed up just to go to the A&P! “Anything went” in “Paradise”…swim suits, shorts and tops and sundresses were the most you wanted to be in! And color…the hot temperatures of the desert were the perfect excuse to wear the colors of citrus, mangos and papayas.


Perhaps the biggest surprise was the art…of course, you still found the traditional old masters’ works in the church, but outside the doors was a land very influenced by the proximity to Mexico and the heat of the desert. Bright colors and primitive folk art startled me into appreciating an entirely different look, not only in clothing, but also in art.

,,,to be continued...

Tapas of my Life-how I met Paul Coze

FYI...tapas are little savory bits of food to delight over with apertifs...

My family and I moved to Phoenix in the early 60’s. We moved from Michigan to the “land of manana”…a place where time didn’t really matter…if you called for a service repairman and he said he’d be out on Tuesday, you learned that he really meant the Tuesday three weeks away…and you learned that was OK.

It was a land where, at the time, just three or four cars would pull up to a stop light…not a mass of traffic like today. It was a time when huge packs of dates hung from the towering palms, and cooling in homes was of the swamp type, if you were lucky enough to have it.

We arrived in August. I can remember stepping out from our car into the hot, swampy noontime sun and feeling like something had just slapped me across the face…it was 118 degrees in the shade, something a Michigander had never felt. I remember all of us felt sick for about the first month there while we adjusted to the heat.

...to be continued...manana, manana...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Creativity and Art Quote for Today

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kandinsky and His Theories on Abstract Art, Color and Music

Wassily Kandinsky was a deep thinker. He developed theories regarding art. He was fascinated by color as a child. In later life he pursued color psychology and symbolism.
It is said that on a trip to a region north of Moscow he was deeply touched by the decoration used on the outside of the houses and churches in the area. The shimmering colors gave him a surreal feeling as if he was entering a painting. He enjoyed the folk art of the region and their use of bright colors on a dark background, which is reflected in his earlier work.
Kandinsky believed that creating music was very much like creating a painting. "Music is the ultimate teacher." "Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammer, the soul is the piano with the strings."
Kandinsky was also spiritually influenced by Theosophy, a theory that postulates that creation is a geometrical progression, beginning with a single point, a descending series of circles, triangles and squares...this gave Kandinsky's artwork a feeling of hieroglyphics floating about in his geometric compositions.
In my reading, I can only begin to try to understand Kandinsky and his theories. I have read about his belief that pigments are pure color, of his desire to create vibration in the eyes of the viewers of his artwork and of his concern with creating a spiritual resonnance and communion in both artist and viewer. His theory, "Inner Necessity," speaks of his devotion to the spiritual...inner beauty, fervor of spirit, and deep spiritual desire...all central to his being and his art. His writings speak even more of his thoughts on art. They are quite lengthy, but are excellent reading if you want to further understand what made him tick!