For the past few months, I have been working on these larger, more complicated pieces and commissions — which keeps me thoroughly occupied and entirely away from sharing the work as I progress along. It’s very nice to be able to vanish into the paintings.
This particular piece is like painting three paintings in one. Layers of paint and lots of time for each to dry before I can add more and get the balance right.
This piece was quickly snatched up by a collector in Virginia before it had a chance to see the gallery wall.
I have been sharing my work on the internet for twenty years in all the various incarnations of websites, blogs, apps, social media, platforms, etc. And if there is one thing I know for sure now, it’s that no matter how dedicated you are to a particular service or application, it will, without any doubt, completely change or even vanish entirely.
The personal website, like this one, have been around since day one. So my work gets to live here for anyone to come and see at any time instead of being washed away in the ever-growing flood of new images that flash past your eyes on Instagram.
The only advice I would give other artists about their careers is to set up and maintain a good website. Instead of pouring all your energy into things like Instagram, focus on a website. Because after 20 years or more, you’ll see it is worth the effort.
August, ugh — consistently the most challenging month for me to focus on work. To sit and paint all day long doesn’t work for me in August. The sun is at the wrong angle, making the studio’s light so harsh and brutal. Like so many other parts of the world, the days in my area are hot and dry. So dry. The entire region looks haggard and worn out, tired from the long hot summer days coming to an end.
I focus on preparing canvas for a burst of creative activity in the fall; when the light changes, the temperature cools down, and clouds return to the sky, diffusing the light, making the shadows softer and calmer.
I am back home in my studio after a journey to New York City to attend the opening reception for my exhibition that runs through to June 11. On the evening of the 26th, I had the chance to meet with and talk to collectors — and send some paintings on their way to new homes where I know they’ll be appreciated for ages to come. Sitting in a studio working on paintings can be a solitary experience, so it is redemptive to meet people who share an interest in what you do and are enthusiastic enough to talk to you about art for a good half hour.
When asked to come to New York, I jumped at the opportunity. I would treat it like a pilgrimage to the art galleries; my mission would be to meander at my own pace. I visited The Museum of Modern Art, The Frick Collection, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I went back to the MoMA and The Met twice; I wanted to get my money’s worth. I clocked nearly 20km a day on foot as I took guided tours and spent much time soaking up the atmosphere. These galleries also offer self-guided audio tours, so I listened to many curators and art historians talking about numerous artworks. I came home feeling fulfilled and satisfied. It was a good trip.
The remainder of my summer will be in my studio, working on a commission and four new large paintings for upcoming art fairs in Seattle and The Hamptons.
I am happy to share the news that I will be exhibiting some new paintings in New York City — the paintings go up from May 24 to June 11, 2022. The George Billis Gallery has a space at The High Line Nine Gallery at 507 West 27th Street for the summer.
If you are familiar with my work and have been following the progress for some time, you’ll see a new direction in some of the paintings. It would be about 14 or 15 years ago that I painted in “black” — and I have to say that I find it refreshing to take my favourite subjects and breath new life into them.
My exhibition in Los Angeles is done and I have run through the full cycle of emotions after completing a large body of work and exhibiting and promoting it. I have found over the years, that the best way to battle the expectations and anti-climactic feelings is to just jump right back into making new paintings. So that’s what I am doing. I just put the finishing touch on a dozen clocks, shown here, and now I’m on to the next piece.