Tagged underwood

On Painting Typewriters

Underwood Leader / 30 x 30 / oil on canvas / 2018
Underwood Leader / Detail
Underwood Leader / Detail

Typewriters seem to embody ambition. They represent the tools to document thoughts, ideas and stories – you literally hammer your words on to paper.

They’re familiar to us, but distant enough to be obsolete. As with all the man made objects I use as subjects the compositions are simple and straight forward. But they become more complicated with the repetition of the keys and the mechanics of the machine.

I’ve painted many typewriters and without fail, every time I start working on the keys, I think “what did I get myself in to?”

Above: Underwood Leader
Below: Remington Quiet-Riter II

Remington Quiet-Riter II / 30 x 30 / oil on canvas / 2017
Remington Quiet-Riter II / 30 x 30 / oil on canvas / 2017

Profile of a Typewriter

24 x 30 / oil on canvas / 2008
24 x 30 / oil on canvas / 2008

This is a big departure from pears. Much more complicated, but a blast to paint. It’s an Underwood #5. Gigantic and heavy. My wife found if for me at an estate sale. It’s useless and entirely broken, but you can’t tell in painted form.

I once came across a piece of computer software designed for writers that has the intention of trying to somehow eliminate the plethora of distractions the computer offers. The idea is that if you’re a writer, sitting down to get some work done can be difficult when everything in the world seems like an easy double-click away.

Once upon a time writers had only either a pen and paper or a simple typewriter. A blank page was a blank page. Judging by the way things are now, it would appear we’re losing our ability to focus. Sitting in front of a blank page with no browser icon to double-click would have required tremendous focus.