About Me

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Oil painter. BFA VCU. 92, MFA TCU. 94. Permanent collections of The Dallas Museum of Art, Art Museum of South Tx, many corporate/private collections in US, Manama Bahrain & London. I've lectured at TCU, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Kimbell Museum & many arts organizations. Numerous solo & group exhibitions in Tx, NM, NY, Va & Ga. Received Best in Show from James Surls, Louis Jimenez, et al. Showing at Wm Campbell Contemporary Art, Galveston by Buchanan Gallery & D.M.Allison Art Houston, Wade Wilson Fine Art,SantaFe. My work hangs in the Captain's Boardroom of the USS Fort Worth Littoral Combat Ship; the Davis&Eugenie Stradivari at the request of The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra to commemorate their centennial gala. See JTGrant and his work in the upcoming release of "Contemporary Art of the Southwest" in late 2013. JT Grant is the sole/exclusive owner of the copyright of all images & posts published on this site pursuant to The Copyright Act of 1976,PL#94-553, Sec102; transfer, reproduction or use without written permission by the artist strictly forbidden. contact: jtgrantstcc@gmail.com or Facebook: Jt Grant

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Man. This is tougher than I expected. I had shoulder surgery in September. They clipped and shortened my collar bone. They detached and moved the tendon that holds my bicep. They used a grinder on the ball joint to smooth the damage of the arthritis I never knew I had. They clipped cartilage and joined tears.

Now it's two months and two days since the surgery and my right shoulder still blazes with pain. I have to lift it with my left arm to rest it on a shelf or reach into the cabinet. It's especially bad while I'm doing the physical therapy exercises I've been taught. But usually, for a few hours after PT I have a blissful break from the pain. They say another nine or ten months lie ahead before normalcy may return. 

I can still only raise my hand and arm to chest level without having a device or person lift it higher. Even then it shakes wildly and the pain is of a depth and intensity certain among us pay big bucks for in Vegas. Hell, even breakfast oatmeal is a comic trial. I bend to chase the spoon with my mouth open like a weak-necked chick trying to meet the dripping gruel  between tremors. I look like a borscht belt slapstick chasing the bouncing, wagging spoonful of mush.  Usually I end breakfast spending unhappy time in the bathroom washing the unfortunate decorations of breakfast from my beard.

And so I wait. I cannot paint. I am making finishing touches to a large skyscape that requires such small and irregular marks that for this small but extremely important process the tremors are actually a useful tool. Maybe. But wide sweeping movements and elegant tiny arabesques are lost to me for months. They say they will "probably" come back. After the atrophied muscles of my right lats re-grow, become more than the stringy, fan shaped film that now stretches uselessly over blade and ribs.  They're there to pull against the tendons of the shoulder and arm, they hold the scapula in place, lock it down to give anchorage to my upper arm and shoulder and make a fulcrum upon which my muscles may lever and raise my scrawny arm.

It is an agon, a trial of devotion and will. I am without my primary tool. My arm. I am filled with images, large sweeping images of shredding grey Tuscan sky and wan figures draped in soiled fabrics, dirty faced. The most extraordinarily beautiful man, a rising rock star drummer has consented to be my Lucifer. Not the lost mangled beast of Christian children's nightmares, but he of eastern legend, the Eastern Star, God's most beloved of the all angels. But I cannot move, cannot flit across the huge canvas making the tiny flowing marks and large, florid arabesques that over time and wild process will weave and meld together into a smooth and sensual surface of intense and lurid, beautiful colors. The colors of passion and desire and longing...and loss and pain and of my once shattered heart, colors more fluent than words.

My beautiful first choice for Lucifer, my adored and magically beautiful Arab pearl is likely gone. He who would've been my Lucifer - and my muse, subject of a hundred paintings - he seems lost to me. Haughty with just reason, handsome and fulsome and achingly beautiful with eyes of black pearl set off by stunningly dark, thick lashes. But lesser beauty, it seems, will have to suffice, perhaps even to bring out greater beauty in paints. Beauty is easy to mimic, finding the beauty within the paint and the text is a greater and richer challenge. At least for now I must pretend it to be so.

But for now they are all nothing more than a codex of unattainable images. The year of hell continues. My own little annus horribilis. Another surgery comes next week. Again a doctor says "Now this is a long recovery. And it's going to be painful." Another month of enforced sloth. Another month or two without holding my brushes and sweeping across the fabric with umbers and cobalts and cads. Sloth is deadly hell for a Scot. 

I feel damned. I feel like Lucifer. Lucifer whose hell is the utter and absolute absence of his lover, I my paints. Whose hell is the sound of his lover saying "Be away from me forever." Punished for something I do not know I have done. Tested? Like Job? Am I to bear with equanimity this curse of having my painting ripped from me? Am I to pretend to be blessed while tears stream from my eyes when the therapist pushes me, urging me to drive through the pain and rebuild my recalcitrant shoulder's ability to move? I don't know. I only know I am tired and I cannot paint. The thing that makes me who I am is cut off from me. I am cut off from my lover - my paints, my canvas.

So it is that it is. "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh" says Yahweh - "I will be that I will be." And so must I. Whether I struggle and wail or go limp and submit to this gentle, brief death I have no choice. I cannot paint as I paint. But I am filled with images and so, later, I will spit them up, vomit them or coax them gently, lovingly up from within me when I am again complete. But now, today, I am tired and I have so much more to come.