The big red Acorn gum machine’s little blue brother. As I have lamented before, I wish everyone looking at this on their screen could see it in person. The colour, the detail the subtle texture of the painted surface, all these vanish and flatten with the backlighting of the device you’re viewing.
I traveled to New York to attend the opening reception at the George Billis Gallery for my current exhibition. My son came along for a few days of site seeing. He turned 15 on the day of the reception and I’m glad to say both he and I had a great time.
Receptions, for me, can be a bit of a nerve rattling experience. As a studio painter I spend all of my time in solitude and concentration. Focussing on square inch by square inch on each painting. This is, of course, exactly how I want it. It’s why I’m able to make as much work as I do. I like working toward the deadline of a gallery exhibition. It gives me something to aim towards.
So after spending so much time alone with each painting, it can be an exhilarating experience to see them hanging and lit in a large gallery space. I am especially proud of the way this exhibition turned out. But it can feel a bit exposing for there to suddenly be dozens of people looking so closely. These paintings invite this close scrutiny.
The best part about the receptions is connecting with people who make it a point to come see the paintings in person. I always say that I wish everyone could see them in their natural habitat instead of on a phone, tablet or computer screen.
In 2009 I painted this big red Acorn gum machine – so it was time to visit it again. My motive to paint this is obvious – it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Also, Wayne Thiebuad painted gum machines and he’s an inspiration.
I’m more confident with details and relaxed with the time that it takes to focus. In 2009 I intentionally only painted a few gumballs. There is also the darker atmosphere. I have a much brighter studio now and the result shows in the paintings.
At once these paintings are both simple and complex – like a metaphor for all things in life.
The elements I strive for in a painting: a sense of space, light, and atmosphere.
Although my work is realist, it is not hyper or photo realist. All the layers and paint marks are really only visible if you stand before the actual painting and look close. Glancing at it here on your phone, iPad or computer screen will be too brief to see these details. That’s okay, the entire point here is to just introduce you to the painting. If you want to get to know it better, to really understand what it is I’m doing, you have to see them in person. I hope you’re able to do that one day, if you haven’t already.
Books have always been one of my favourite things to paint. And I think the titles, the actual titles, say just enough. I don’t need to add anything else. They speak for themselves and are up for your own interpretation.
Once you add text to a painting, you’ll immediately look at it differently — words transform the subject.
This Remington Quiet-Riter painting is like all of my paintings – simple at first glance, but full of detail once you look a little longer. The straight forward composition is easy to read, but the repetition in the numerous keys creates complexity. The layers of paint to bring the depth of the inside of the case was a joy to paint.
This is the sister painting to the baby blue Royal typewriter in a simple vignette. A red Underwood Standard Portable Typewriter to be featured in my October 2017 solo exhibition at the George Billis Gallery in New York City.
This is another painting that left me very pleased with the outcome. It’s the culmination of years of work and dedication.
This is hands down my favourite painting that I have done in the past few years. It’s a Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter in a simple vignette. It feels good when a painting comes together in all the right places.
This will be one of 18 new paintings showing at the George Billis Gallery in New York City from the beginning of October through to the beginning of November.
This is the culmination of plenty of work and focus. I painted all throughout the summer months and a huge sense of relief and accomplishment has come over me. I have kept busy boxing up and shipping the paintings, but also stepping back from an intense period of painting and now I’m gearing up for the fall months spent following the momentum I built up this past summer.