Tagged books

Off to France

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.

Underwood No. 5 with Books / 24 x 36 inches / oil on canvas / 2021 / on the easel

The Art of Real Happiness

“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

A work in progress. On we go.

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!

On We Go / work in progress

Little Bouquets of Pencils

New work available at the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles.

Red Pencils / 16 x 12 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

One of the best parts of elementary school was always getting a set of new pencil crayons at the beginning of the year despite having perfectly good ones previously.

HB Pencils / 16 x 12 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

Losing Connection

I have said it before on this blog, but the subjects that I choose are more than just neat objects that happen to be old. I use them as symbols more than anything.

Despite there being such easy ways to stay connected to people now, it’s remarkable that we still let some essential relationships fall to the side. The other day I was driving in my car and noticed someone walking on the street who looked remarkably like someone who I was once very close with and saw regularly. It was an uncanny resemblance, but it was not the person in question when I got a closer look.

Long Distance IV / 18 x 36 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

For the rest of my drive, I was stuck recalling memories of time spent with this person who has faded from my life. How and why did we drift apart and lose touch? It is almost as though we all chose to leave our phones off the hook.

Long Distance III / 18 x 36 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

These paintings are on view at the George Billis Gallery in New York City until October 24.

The Lindstrom Chair

I’m calling this The Lindstrom Chair. It belonged to my wife’s Great Grandfather Lindstrom and we are lucky to have it in our possession. It’s a great piece of furniture, sturdy and made to last. The painting just completed its journey across the continent and is now at the George Billis Gallery in New York City.

It’s a large painting, with a strong presence. This chair with books has been used a few times over the years, but never have I had a composition like this included in any of the five exhibitions I’ve had in New York.

I have now been shipping paintings all over the world for just over 16 years. Hundreds and hundreds of paintings handed over to various courier services. And every time I still get anxious while they are in transit.

Lindstrom Chair with Books / 48 x 36 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

I would rather be reading.

I spend most of my time in the studio working inch by inch across the canvas, adding layers of paint to several paintings that surround me. Of course, I take breaks — I step away from the easel countless times throughout the day. There can be difficult passages and frustrating details to work out on a painting, and I know that a few minutes away from the canvas can be a quick reset. But there’s a trap door that is easy to fall through, and like everyone, I find myself taking a wrong step, during these quick breaks I pick up my phone and down I go into whatever app steals my attention and steals my time.

Teal Chair with Books I / 48 x 30 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

I recently deleted all the apps on my phone that lure me away with their alerts. The irony, of course, is that I do have to sit myself down in front of my computer in order to share these images with you. The trick is to not get tangled in the weeds of social media or the news, or the horrid hybrid of social-media-news that we now have to live with.

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Teal Chair with Books II / 48 x 30 inches / oil on canvas / 2020 / on the easel

I picked up a well-used old copy of The Lord of the Rings and that’s where you’ll find me when I’m not painting, or doing the other work related to my painting such as packaging these up to ship to the framers in New York City before they’re delivered to the George Billis Gallery.

Brave New World

I collect almost everything that I paint, including these vintage Penguin Classic books.

I’ve had this piece hanging just outside my studio door for the past two years. I read it about fifteen years ago. A visual reminder of the way things were, the way things are, and the way things will be.

Brave New World / 24 x 20 inches / oil on canvas / 2018

Psychological Experiment

As they write the books on this era in the future it would be interesting to know what they’ll figure we got right and what we got wrong. It’s almost like we are in the midst of a planet-sized psychological experiment.

Just finished this piece and I’m on to the next.

Work in Progress / Manual of Psychology

A Little History

Every subject I paint has a built-in history. This Kodak Petite camera was made from 1929–1933, precisely during The Great Depression. The little pocket camera is sitting upon a stack of paperbacks from the same time and leading up to WWII. I always find myself thinking of the people who used these objects and what their world was like. Perhaps they were not so different from us.

This painting will be part of my upcoming September exhibition at the George Billis Gallery in New York City.

Work in Progress / Kodak Petite

Conversations

Almost always I work on two paintings in tandem and they have a conversation of sorts.

These two paintings illustrate this in the most obvious way. The dishevelled books in the first painting make me feel tense, scattered and hectic. The second painting is calm, organized and relaxed. States of being.

Chair & Books I / 48 x 30 inches / oil on canvas / 2020

I found this chair a few years ago at Everything Old — an amazing antique shop on Vancouver Island. It was white and obviously sat in a shed or garage for a few decades. I cleaned it up and painted it black — the simple and basic design has set a perfect contrast against the wall, the varied golden pages of the books pop out.

Chair & Books II / 48 x 30 inches / oil on canvas / 2020

Royal FP

A fresh 30 x 48-inch painting just off the easel is on the way to The George Billis Gallery in New York. It’s a sturdy Royal FP typewriter from the 1950s. You can take a closer look at it → here.

I have been working on my upcoming exhibition for the gallery’s Los Angeles location and have made major headway, so I am able to send this one to New York for clients to see.