Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Under the Pavilion
30x40, ink and water-colour, 2015
I have taken a break from the Tarot card project the last few days. I am getting a limited edition printed. The edition will feature 60 different cards.
In the mean time I have been enjoying some spring weather from our deck, where we recently set up a patio or pavilion tent. This is a view from it, looking at the back yards and river of Herre.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Glyph Party is inspired by the glyphs of the ancient Maya, one of the most interesting pictographic languages. When looking at Mayan glyphs I am often struck by their immediacy; they sometimes seem contemporary, with a cartoony aesthetic. Other ancient hieroglyphs don't have this same feel--they are more stiff and formal. My rendition of glyphs celebrates a zany or informal feeling.
Survivalist Hermit is partially inspired by the classical Chinese genre of monk and hermit paintings. It is also a response to the rugged individualist notion that survivalists have about themselves. The card is tongue-in-cheek, mixing Buddhist otherworldliness with materialist paranoia.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Great Grandma is from an early 1940s photo shot probably in Gillette, Wyoming. To pose in front of the car was very common at the time--it seems that all my ancestors were doing it.
Sun Dial Room comes from the increasing importance that weather, the seasons, and especially the sun plays in my life. I am more or less confined to my house, so I am always positioning myself to absorb sun rays through windows. This card is an architectural or engineering fantasy involving a piece of furniture turning into a mobile railroad car on a circular rail, a kind of clock.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Naked Granpa is painted from a small, off-center Polaroid taken in the early 1970s. My grandfather is bathing in a lake near Como Bluff, Wyoming, where the family would often camp in the summer. The scene is idyllic and nostalgic, showing a farmer's tan and a tenderness. This prairie lake was a very special spot, an oasis in the high desert. In the decades since, cattle ranching has fouled this lake, so it exists only in memory and art.
Family Tree is a fun fantasy about family lineage and the unpredictability of decedents. Family trees tend to be documents of reverence, so I enjoyed turning it into a comical scene.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Gear Head deals with my interest in gears as shapes, and as symbols. The gear head depicted here is strangely flexible, able to keep the machine going, regardless of gear size and axis.
Sea of Memory is about cultural icons and their transience. The sea coast often plays tricks on the mind, what with the weather and stone shapes, which coax the imagination to see faces and figures. In the foreground is a profile of JFK, mid ground Chaplin, background, the Sphinx. In the extreme foreground are poles from a vanished quay, a harbour that might be hard to dock at.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Air City comes from a fantasy I've always had about a community of parachutes, both buildings and individual people. Are the people weightless within the buildings and platforms? It's a leisurely place, held in equilibrium, easy to glide between houses. The city is several kilometres wide and tall, but not dense, with plenty of space between parachutes.
Moon Dog Knight came from listening to an old recording of the outsider musician/composer, Moon Dog. His style was unique, somewhat out of time. Blind, he roamed around midtown Manhattan in the 50s and 60s. The recording was live, performed in a hall of the Knights of Pythias. It was percussive and enigmatic, and it called up a vision immediately, especially because I have long been fascinated by the secretive fraternal order of Pythias, which seems to have expired. I have a collection of old 1920s/30s era certificates from the Knights of Pythias, which I got from the attic where I lived for a time (the building had long been occupied by other businesses, the Pythian artefacts forgotten.) The ornamentation and mystery of these certificates, coupled with the mystery of the almost forgotten Moon Dog, evoked a sudden vision that I had to paint.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Treasure Hunt depicts prospectors or scavengers feverishly looking through a dumpster deposited in New York's midtown. There's no telling what you can find dumped by the landlord or tenant, quickly moving on.
Earth Giant is inspired by the eroded badlands of Hell's Half Acre, a mysterious desert canyon in the middle of Wyoming. Different strata of hard and soft stone have left bizarre, living shapes.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Tool Mates depicts a tackle box upon the seas. It symbolises a journey where old tools remain lifelong friends, familiar and helpful. Each tool is also nostalgic, calling forth the era it was attained. I was often given them or inherited them from others, so their previous owners live on every time they are used.
Foamy Frenzy depicts a fishy scene from a dream in an old journal in which it was roughly sketched. My brother and I have been reading these of late, and this strange scene somehow warranted a card rendition.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
The Hoarders is a little surreal, having some recognisable objects collected within the old house, while many of the shapes are more fluid, comprising a kind of interior anatomy. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of hoarding, and how much it is the same as collecting.
E Pluribus Unum-- the Latin phrase, Out of many, one-- adorns the Great Seal of the U.S. The regularity of bricks morphing with upper courses into individual bean-like shapes, eventually forming an individual silhouette… it seemed to call out for this title.