Painting Is My Livelihood
“Livelihood” is an alteration of the Middle English word, livelode, “course of life,” first recorded in the 15th century. And in that sense, painting is my “livelihood,” my course of life. “When all else fails, I always say, paint a flower,” I like to say. I’ve always loved art, artists, and their contributions to culture but only began working at it in 2004 at the age of fifty-three. I’d always wanted to be an artist –so after ending a long time career as a union organizer, I started painting day after day and night after night. Ten years and thirteen hundred plus paintings later, I’m still discovering creativity in myself that I thought I had, but needed to dig down to, reveal, and express. I am now semi-retired and paint whenever I can. I teach writing part time at Metropolitan Community College, maintain a social/political commentary blog, play my saxophone in an oldies rock and roll band and in a jazz quartet at my church, and sell the occasional painting.
I like living in a synesthetic and creative mix of music, and painting, and writing. Combining mixed media and paint melodies and color metaphors and visual sounds in a silent explosion of color on a multi-dimensional flat canvas satisfies me. With touches of Van Gogh, Matisse, Dufy, Kandinsky, Picasso, Pollock, Lee Krasner, Stuart Davis, Peter Max, Merello, and others, I try to weave together these sensory threads of life into my work.
Living in that place between memory and hope, I continue to explore the desire for meaning we humans experience
Living in that place between memory and hope, I continue to explore the desire for meaning we humans experience—that searching for patterns we can recognize, that comfort zone of the familiar. And yet I find that many of my pieces exist in that world between the recognizable, safe, comfortable — and the illusory, discordant mysteries of structure and form. Some of my works capture the frustrating lack of clarity and meaning we too often witness or experience, but most lean toward the world of comfortable pattern and include the lighthearted whimsy of creation. Sometimes after a long day or week of working on abstract compositions or contemplating the meaning of life, the relativity of perception, the inadequacies of language, and the devaluing of knowledge, I need to paint a flower or a sailboat on the ocean, a happy dog playing a saxophone, a chicken, an abstract world-scape, or go play a round of golf.
I like to say my work has been exhibited at Joslyn Art Museum, and it was, but really it was just a one night only fundraising silent auction dinner in the Atrium! Nevertheless……….
Bud Cassiday graduated with M.A.in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1976. He has exhibited his work at several fine art galleries in Omaha and Eastern Nebraska. Bud has been a guest artist at The Omaha Community Playhouse Stage Right art auction. The Backwaters Press has featured Bud’s work as the cover illustrations for two of its poetry publications. Bud’s sketch of the Durham Science building at UNO has been featured on the cover of several UNO Algebra textbooks. Bud regularly donates his art for non-profit fund-raising events.
Bud was an honorary judge for the YWCA’s Children’s Art Against Violence contest in 2007 and 2008. Bud’s art was featured in 2012 at the UNO Criss Library H. Don and Connie J. Osborne Family Gallery and in 2013 at the Dr. Joyce Norene Wilson Gallery at Bellevue University. Bud’s work can be seen at UNO’s Criss Library, Midlands Hospital in Papillion, Ne., as well as corporate and non-profit organizations including Zaiss & Co., The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation office, and The Nonprofit Foundation of the Midlands. Bud’s liturgical art hangs in the sanctuary at First Central Congregational United Church of Christ at 36th and Harney in Omaha. Hundreds of Bud’s paintings are in private collections.