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.
Typewriters are all about ideas and writing. They seem to spark the act, I think it’s because of the physicality of them. They make this amazing noise, your words literally express themselves vocally as you tap away at the keys. You have to immediately concentrate, your whole mind and body becomes involved. You focus.
These two typewriters are a great contrast to one another – the Corona with its sleek black curves and stately design, the Royal with its crisp blue and modern edges.
I have these typewriters in my collection, and when they’re out of their cases they invite anyone around to sit down and type.
For the most part, being a painter is a solitary experience. One spends a great deal of time focussing and concentrating on making the paintings, then things turn completely and you find yourself sharing the finished pieces with everyone you possibly can. It can be a little jarring to go from solitude and privacy to a public, open space.
But I’m very happy with the way the paintings turned out. And I think the gallery did a great job of displaying the paintings.
The gallery is also showing a few sculptural pieces by John A. Peralta. These exploded camera and projector pieces are fascinating. I see it as a deconstruction / reconstruction way of looking at things. Viewing these exploded objects has the same effect as my paintings – they make the viewer slow down and really investigate the object.
John’s construction of these sculptures is absolutely meticulous. True craftsmanship.
Another quick glimpse at one of the paintings I’ve been working on.
I’ve spent a great deal of time working on the shadows and highlights on this piece.
As with all my work, looking at it on your screen – a computer, a phone, an iPad – it’ll look far more tight than it does in the flesh. When standing in front of the actual painting you’ll see several think layers of paint.
Putting the finishing touches on this vintage 16mm Ampro film projector. This will be for my solo exhibition at the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles, which will feature a dozen new paintings starting on May 21, 2016.
I have a little over a month to finish up the work, so I came up for a quick breath and then I’m heading back down to focus on finishing the paintings.
Above is an early evening view of the easel as I shut down after a long day of working with tiny brushes on the details of these vintage cameras. I like seeing the paintings in different light, I grabbed my iPhone and took this quick snap as the light faded.
For over a month now I’ve been flowing along in the studio, working on numerous paintings that will be heading to the George Billis Gallery in Los Angeles for an exhibition running from May 21 – June 25, 2016.
The paintings I’ve been working on are complex and full of details, so all my focus and energy has been on the paintings. By the time I’m done a painting session I find myself a bit mentally exhausted. Retreating from social media is important when I’m focussing on painting. There seems to be this pervasive pressure to constantly share what one is up to in the studio, but honestly, I find it easier to just rest instead of coming up with something put on Facebook or Instagram.
Dream Days, a little alarm clock with brass bells sits on a small stack of books, all on blue.
I started painting these clock and book compositions a few years ago. I find the combination to have a calming effect. The shapes are so simple and recognisable. They have an orderliness about them that speaks to me. Read more
I find it remarkable that I was able to make any new work at all, considering how insane the last 8 months of my life has been.
It all started when we prepared our house for sale. We decided we were going to move 1,000 miles to a warmer climate. It’s no small undertaking to downsize your belongings after a decade of life in a house. With kids. While you’re still trying to make paintings. But we did it. We sold our house in a mere 3 days and then had to prepare to move. Another massive undertaking with more downsizing.
We hunted for a home, under the impression that we’d simply sell our beloved home and find its equivalent 1,000 miles away in a city we knew little about. Instead we ended up hunting for a suitable place to rent. Finding a place to rent wasn’t as hard as we thought and renting meant we could learn about our new city, make friends, relax and casually look for a home to call our own.
It didn’t happen that smoothly. Although the house we rented was great, the other tenant who lived in the ground floor suite was one of the worst possible tenants anyone could ever imagine living near. It shocked us. I’ll spare the gory details, but if there’s one thing I learned with the experience, it’s that you never, ever want to get on the bad side of an activist call girl (“luxury companion” as she referred to herself as) and her drug dealer boyfriend. It was bad. And my innocent, wonderfully naïve family had some major life lessons we didn’t ever expect would come our way.
And then we found a home. In a quiet, safe, wonderful neighbourhood. With a great big studio. And everything turned around. And we’ve made wonderful friends and found out things can be just as good as you once imagined.
So we packed up and moved from our interesting rental. Again, upending everything in our lives. Yet I managed to find time to do what I do best. Time to sit in my studio and quietly work on my quiet paintings.