Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Chameleon Mosaic
Acrylic 46x76 2014

This is from the ghost sign series, inspired by brick wall signage. I recreate the rough texture of bricks, inscribed in relief. It's an alternate history, depicting a sign that could be, or could have been.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


acrylic on canvas 70x60, 2014

This Fall is unusually warm, and it is still pleasant to work outdoors. I'm taking advantage of the good weather to experiment with some new techniques, which are greatly helped by being outdoors. I've dusted off my Iwata airbrush, which I bought two years ago, but haven't used much.

As any airbrusher knows, doing the actual "airbrushing" is only a step in a process of planning and preparation. First I had to figure out how to get a smooth, flat surface. This means stapling the canvas to plywood and applying several coats of gesso, which can be sanded down (nice to be outside when sanding.) 

As long as I had to do so much prep work, why not begin "painting" during the prep work? So I applied layers of black and gray, which resulted in an interesting texture when sanded. The sanding became part of the artistic and design process. Though I had a visually textured surface, it was smooth enough to apply the finicky fisket film, which masks areas during the airbrushing. The result is a surprising combination of texture and smooth gradients. It's "airy" but also physical.

I've painted this motif several times already; perhaps this is the final version, the Skap that is meant to be.

Monday, September 15, 2014


River Path, Fall
oil 40x30 2014

The warmest Fall I remember pushes me into summer habits, painting another river scene with a palette gearing more toward Autumn.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Self Portrait MIB
oil 40x30 2014

I did this self portrait as a watcher or Man in Black. It's a nod to the bald men from Fringe, but also to the original incarnations given us by the paranoid and special contactee, Albert Bender. Folklore has it that these men in black were either government agents or extraterrestrials, or beings that needed a default look and suit.
Somewhere I read that Albert Bender was an artist. I will take a leap and propose that he might have been inspired by the original man in black, Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. The artist chose this outfit for his persona, and depicted men in his paintings who wore such "default" suits. Hence, I include a Magritte cloudy sky.

Greenpoint Watercolor

Greenpoint Empire
watercolor 30x40 2000

This was rescued by my brother, who found it recently among a pile of paintings stored in rural Pennsylvania. Miraculously, this work on paper shows no mice nibbles or foxing, despite years in a damp trailer.

It was painted from the roof of my loft in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Huron Street.) I have framed it without a matt, hanging.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Queens Clock

Queens Clock
oil 70 x 99 2014

This painting has been lying around the studio for around four years, so it is a young chicken compared with some of the paintings I have occupied myself with. These have inceptions way back in the later 20th Century!

In any case, Queens Clock deals with time figuratively and literally (it has a working clock embedded into it.) The sky has a craquelure that I consciously developed (I would not recommend this technique as it requires ridiculous patience.)

It was inspired by a NY trip where we stayed in a Long Island City hotel near the Seven line. This part of Queens is one of my favourite parts of the city, which looks magical when one rides the high-up, elevated train, the spires of Manhattan ahead.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Empire Watercolor

watercolor 70x50 1992

When my brother retrieved some old paintings recently I began thinking of framing some watercolors. This one is pretty large. It's not dainty and intimate, so I am building a frame more like the type I use for oil paintings, skipping the matt.

The scene shows a raw time in NY, when old Union Square still had some decaying signage of local stores. Empire was then abandoned, showing layers of eras, a 3-D ghost sign (see earlier post.)  I wonder if one could find such a view these days.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


oil 70x90 2014

Recently my brother sent me some half-done paintings that have been stored in a trailer in rural Pennsylvania for 15 years. These are inspiring me because their surface is so thick. Before he sent them I had already begun exploring paint in a more concrete or matter-oriented way. So it was natural to finish some long-dormant works, returning to a thick paint style.

This is one of my ghost sign series, where I depict wall advertising of different eras. The wall is a palimpsest, a surface reused, which has traces of what lay before. Over time the newer layer merges with earlier layers as the surface degrades. It's a pop-art vanitas, inviting the viewer to reconstruct traces and reflect on the transience of trends and consumer culture.