This painting is at the George Billis Gallery in New York. It’s another in a series of paintings I have been doing by revisiting my portfolio and applying a new technique to subjects I have painted in the past 17 years.
The first time I painted a fan, I had a quick technique and was finished the painting in a few hours.
I think being a young father with a 2-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter may have had something to do with how little time I had to paint. We had also just moved in to a new house that needed major work and I had a job at a university.
I have distinct memories of feeling this crunch of getting a painting done, racing to the finish line, before my son woke up from a nap. I also painted in the evenings for several years, tired and beleaguered.
I am completely on the other side now. Teenaged kids who require no nap times and they occupy themselves marvellously. I left my job and paint full time in a house that needs no work. Goals achieved. I have the next several decades (hopefully) to paint uninterrupted.
Thirteen years ago I painted this phone for the first time. It was when I began seriously building my oeuvre. I would paint fast and furious, thinking that a quickly rendered, expressive way of painting was what I wanted to achieve. It never really felt like a natural way for me to paint, but the subject always felt like the right one.
I was painting with acrylics, and if the painting wasn’t done after an hour of work, then I felt like I was taking too long.
Over time I slowed way, way down and focused with an indirect painting technique. A very slow building of layers in oils. In person my paintings are still far more painterly than they appear on the screen before you.
Over the past several months I have experimented with paintings and tried a few different approaches. I’ll still do such experiments now and again, but I have decided to look back over the last 17 years of my paintings and will simply re-paint my own work with my new approach and technique. I want to copy my own portfolio, I want to see if I can make the paintings better, I want to see if I can learn from my own work.
In 2004 I signed up for Flickr where I have archived 740 of my paintings. Most of my works is there, including work done in 2000 as a student. Anyone who wants to see, warts and all, is welcome to browse.
I found this little blue table at Everything Old Canada and figured I would use it to inject some texture and colour in to a few paintings. It is a bit of an experiment, a study to see if this is something I would want to pursue in other paintings.