Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Red House"

10x8" oil on canvas panel

My mom's husband saw this painting hanging in my hallway and asked "what the hell happened with that one?" You may be asking yourself the same question.

I'm in the process of deconstructing my approach to painting. I have no idea where I'm going but it's probably going to be a bit bumpy.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Fire Hydrant"

10x8" oil on canvas panel

This was done with one brush, a Utrecht #6 filbert of some sort.

I'll start by saying hydrants are difficult to draw. This is my second attempt, I couldn't live with the drawing on the first one. What's the point of painting a hydrant? Good question. I'm not sure. I will say that the hydrant, perhaps overlooked and unappreciated by all except dogs, would surely be seen as a thing of great beauty if one's house were on fire.

As a painter I think I was attracted to the pattern of light, the colors and the challenge of drawing an oddly shaped structure.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Watering the Lawn"

8x10" oil on canvas panel

Here's another one hour study. I'm finding these 8x10's rather small but I've had limited time lately so they'll have to do until I can afford to spend more time at the easel.

I'm currently rereading "The Moon and Sixpence" by W. Somerset Maugham. It's about a fictional English painter named Charles Strickland. The story, inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin, is about a man who leaves his family and career as a stockbroker in order to become a painter. He's forty years old, has no painting experience and in the view of most people, no talent. Naturally everyone thinks he's mad, and perhaps he is.

The fascinating thing is, he doesn't care at all what people think of his work or his seemingly insane decision to reject his comfortable life. He paints what he wants in a primitive style with no thought or hope of selling anything. As a result he's broke and often hungry. After he dies however, he is appreciated as a great artist and prices for his paintings skyrocket.

What I think Maugham is suggesting here is, in order to achieve greatness an artist must create without the influence of the marketplace or the thought of pleasing an audience. They must follow their creative instinct without thought of fame or financial success.

Obviously this is not easy to do. In some ways artists like Strickland who face technical challenges are at an advantage. The artistic direction of a painter with "talent" will often be determined by the marketplace. It's very hard not to paint what buyers want when they're at the door, money in hand. The technically challenged painter, with little hope of financial success, is potentially free from this temptation.

I find this subject fascinating for obvious reasons. I think all artists who sell their work are faced with this challenge. I've watched "talented" artists churn out variations on the same painting over and over in order to maintain sales. I've also watched their financial success fade as the marketplace eventually deems their work passe and moves on. Any artist that doesn't evolve will eventually find their work out of style.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying the book. Strickland is hardly someone to model yourself after, he's pretty horrible, but the book is an entertaining and thought provoking read.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Used Cars"

10x8" oil on canvas panel

Back to experimenting with big brushes. I only had an hour to paint today so I quickly chose an image and got started. An hour goes by pretty quickly when painting but I like to work fast, it forces me to be spontaneous.

Friday, March 22, 2013


12x12" oil on masonite - sold

Here's another from the show at the Mercy Center. I think they're planning a reception for sometime in April, I'll post the time and date as soon as I get the info.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Tunitas Creek Road"

11x14" oil on canvas panel - sold

This painting was done on location in June of 2010. While painting I kept hearing a strange bird call. It was really loud and unfortunately, not at all pleasant. I was putting on the finishing touches when a large peacock walked by and continued on down the middle of the road. I didn't even know we had peacocks in Northern California.

This is one of 25 paintings hanging in my first solo show, currently at the Mercy Center located at 2300 Adeline in Burlingame, California. The paintings will be up through the end of April.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Good Humor Man"

12x12" oil on masonite

I remember when the ice cream trucks changed. Before 1977 there was the Good Humor Man, after 1977 there was a guy named Al in a truck covered with stickers selling everything from Doritos to Bubbleyum. He used to allow kids to buy on credit. A kid in my neighborhood racked up a $20 tab before Al gently cut him off. Finally the kid's mom came to the truck one day and paid his debt and the boy was back in business.

The Good Humor Man couldn't compete with Al. The ice cream was good, but there weren't that many choices. I really loved the Good Humor strawberry eclairs, but most kids were more interested in Bomb Pops and Italian ices from Al. I liked Italian ices too, but I loved the whole Good Humor style. The heavy chrome handled refrigerator doors. The white suit. The incredibly cool shiny change dispenser he wore on his belt. I was very impressed by the whole presentation. It seemed like a special event when the Good Humor truck pulled up ringing its bells.

On the other hand, Al was a heavy guy in his late fifties who wore old t-shirts and always seemed to need a shave. His truck didn't look any better than he did, it was pretty beat up and endlessly blasted Pop Goes the Weasel. The truth is, Al was a decent guy. He actually became friends with the kids and would stay and talk and laugh. Everybody liked him despite his ragged appearance.

I'm sure there were Good Humor men that had a similar rapport with their regulars in earlier times, but by the mid seventies most of the Good Humor men seemed cautious and reserved. Many of these men were in their late sixties, clean cut and clearly from a different time. I don't think they had much in common with the long haired ragamuffins that seemed to have taken over the parks and playgrounds. I can't say I blame them for being a bit nervous around this new generation.

I don't recall seeing a Good Humor Truck after the summer of 1977. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, change is inevitable and I suppose I liked the infinite choices Al provided. It was nice to be able to buy a Sugar Daddy if I wasn't in the mood for ice cream, but part of me really missed watching the man in white open his little refrigerator door and reach in through the frosty air to get me a strawberry eclair.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


8x8" oil on masonite - sold
Studio Gallery, San Francisco

I've received a few emails asking about the natural wood floaters I've been building so I decided to post a video, you can check it by clicking on the link below.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"TV Dinner"

8x8" oil on masonite

Now this is what I call a meal. I don't recall ever eating a TV dinner in front of the television but if I did, it was most likely while watching Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons. 

TV dinner memories anyone?

I just delivered "TV Dinner" and 22 other paintings to the Studio Gallery for "Delicious", which opens this week. The reception is Sunday March 17th from 2-6pm. I can't say enough about this gallery so if you're in SF be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"The Lobster Pot"

8x8" oil on masonite

I've finally finished my food related paintings for "Delicious" at the Studio Gallery. I'll be posting them over the next week or two. I've been working all day on the frames. My favorite frames are natural wood floaters which happen to be incredibly expensive so I build them myself. 

The painting above is of The Lobster Pot in Provincetown.