I’ve had so many typewriters in my possession over the years, so I’ve come to appreciate the good and the bad. And this is good. Really good. This machine is just built better, with more precision, more care to build quality. Everything is just fit and finished and attention to detail. And so, as far as collector’s items go, this one is at the top and, therefore, way out of my price range. However, I was able to borrow it from a dealer and am grateful for the opportunity.
I just put the finishing touches on this commission, and soon it will be off to a collector’s home.
Painting at the peak of summer has always been a challenge. The warmest days make me actually lethargic and groggy. I’m fortunate to have air conditioning in my studio. An addition that came a few years ago. And during this summer, with the extended endless days of hot sun, I cannot fathom working without cooled air at the touch of a button.
Last week, I mentioned that I had spent much time painting typewriter keys in the past few months. So here’s an example of more typewriter keys.
Repetition, continuity, rhythm, symmetry and balance — these are all elements that drive my paintings. But also, they drive my studio practice. For centuries artists have repeated subjects, returning to the same thing repeatedly to improve upon their last iteration.
I have seen artists entirely give up on the idea of a career doing what they love because they get bored with the notion of always returning to the same subjects. The not-so-secret secret, it would seem, is to keep coming back to what you know.
Cézanne paintined Mont Sainte-Victiore dozens of times. The same view, over and over. Monet did a series of Rouen Cathedral 30 times. The precise same position and composition.
And so today, I return to painting yet more typewriter keys and other intricate details of the mechanisms that make these machines so interesting to me.
I wish I were boarding a plane to France, but alas, it is just my paintings that live exciting lives.
This new commission will soon be in the hands of a collector. Over the last several months, I have painted so many typewriter keys.
A recent commission that turned out great — which makes me happy as it is huge at 60 x 40 inches. Crated and shipped off to clients on the East Coast of the USA.
It looks simple enough, but a large amount of white space is several thin layers of paint that took days to dry while I anxiously waited and hoped no specks of dust or marks would ruin the smooth surface I work to achieve. The effect is a luminosity that changes with different light throughout the day and the change of seasons.
Four more in my ongoing series of single-clock paintings. When I began this series at the end of last year, I was moving the hands along as I went… 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and so on. It wasn’t long before I was going around again. So I changed the naming scheme. The hands will stay at 10:10 as the paintings are on 10 x 10-inch canvas.
I have completed several new little clock paintings. After having a pretty good reaction to my 10 x 10 inch paintings that I started sharing at the beginning of 2021 and selling a dozen of them, I found time between commissions to send a couple of new ones to the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles.
The plan is to continue with an ongoing series of these pieces. Going forward, the time will be set to 10:10. Here we have No.3 & No.4.
I have written in a journal for 29 years. Let me tell you if you dig up and read the first entry written by your adolescent self, it’s remarkably revealing. Over the years, the purpose of the writing has changed. It can sometimes be like a daily log, but the business of life means that it is hard to keep up and often pointless. So I have kept it up to write about and document significant events.
There are podcasts and radio programs where people are invited to read their journal entries from their adolescence — in front of audiences, no less. It seems like a mortifying experience, and after recently reading through the earliest entries, I am pondering ripping out a few of the pages.
I am most keenly aware of is how the early teen me conceived the passage of time. At 15-years-old, six months is like a lifetime. And now, in middle age, six months seems just around the corner.
This painting is recently finished. It took me over a month to complete, but I felt no sense of urgency. An urgency that in my 20s was always prevalent.
Continuing with the 10 x 10 clock paintings that I shared at the beginning of 2021, this time with a teal variation. These clocks were among the first that I started to collect about 15 years ago and remain my favourite.
“No age has a monopoly on misery,” and with that quote, the book featured in this painting starts the guidance on how to live an abundant life.
Published in 1950, The Art of Real Happiness is a reconciliation of old-age religious beliefs and modern psychology. I always try to have a book on the go, and I have been reading history books lately, and if there is one theme that is consistent through millennia, it is the collision of “old” and “new” ways of thinking.
It seems as though we are entering a new era where our conflicting ways of thinking, our myriad of philosophies and beliefs are colliding. And as a quiet observer of the world around me, I find myself straddling feelings of excitement and worry.
16 x 16 inches / oil on canvas
What Must I Do To Get Well? And How Can I Keep So? is the title of the book featured in this new painting. A question that continues to plague us, and in the 1890s, Elma Stuart published this book in the hopes to help some find the answers.
A little rant: everything happens in cycles, nothing is new, we are having the same experiences our ancestors did, the only thing different is the phone in your hand (and some other nifty tools like indoor plumbing and refrigeration).
As I flip through the book, I’m amused at how the ideas and philosophies in it can be found in advertisements and influencers that now dominate social media. We have added some more wisdom and inventions along the way, but the gist of it all remains the same as it was 130 years ago.
I’m putting the finishing touches on this painting on what is a very optimistic day.
There have been so many setbacks for everyone, especially in this last year. But it is beginning to feel like we are turning a corner and things will again move forward.
These primary readers from the 40s, 50s, and 60s are sending me the signals. On we go!