Archive for the 'Painting' Category

24
May
14

I’ll be showing new paintings at Brian Marki Fine Art starting June 27th

Blog announcement

10
Apr
14

The World Looks Different When Traveling Alone

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"The World Looks Different When I Traveling Alone" 30" x 48" oil on linen

“The World Looks Different When Traveling Alone”
30″ x 48″ oil on linen

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I’m now nine months into grieving the loss of my wife and in some ways, it’s gotten lighter. I’m generally hard on myself but I will give myself credit for working hard to try and grow from this experience. As I’ve said before, Leslie died without a second of self pity and that made it impossible for me to slip into that mud, even though it seemed likely, given my inclinations.

I’ve also written before about the courage Leslie showed in facing her death. She accepted it and walked toward it willingly and proudly, knowing she’d lived a wonderful life. She even joked on the way to death’s door. Although the experience was profound, it wasn’t heavy. We shared a lot of laughter during her last days. She showed no fear and, although we cried at our becoming separated, she approached it with dignity and grace. There was nothing sad about her death. It was magnificent and miraculous. It is her absence that causes me pain.

I’m often confused about my feelings and suffer very strong emotional waves. Sometimes it feels like I really can’t endure another wave but they keep  coming. I never know when or where they’ll hit. I’ve learned to strap on my seat belt and observe my thoughts as they surge through me. Sometimes the longing to feel loved and connected to someone overwhelms me and I reach out to some unsuspecting friend with a heartfelt outpouring of gratitude and love. I worry that I sometimes overwhelm people with my urgent need for connection. Then, of course, I suffer over that.

In recent weeks, Ive felt myself start to turn away from my reverie over death and try to find something in life that I can engage myself in. I’ve felt some moments of acceptance and even feel satisfied for brief moments. As I turn back toward life, I realize that I have an opportunity to remake my life in any way I want to. Currently I feel consumed with the idea of having my life be used for something worthwhile.  I’m aware that I’ve been through these periods before and they’re fragile and shatter easily. I’m doing my best to stay as grounded as I can while still believing in the possibility that I can be useful, maybe even inspiring.
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"Two Dogs attending in Hospice" ink and watercolor in sketchbook

“Two Dogs attending in Hospice”
ink and watercolor in sketchbook

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I want to share this poem by the great John O’Donahue, who my friend Eithna Joyce introduced me to.

For Grief ~ John O’Donahue
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

03
Apr
14

“Tali” two versions

A friend and I were trading pictures of our dogs via text messaging and I had fun doing these small studies of her Australian Shepherd Tali.

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"Tali" 8" x 6" oil on panel

“Tali”
8″ x 6″ oil on panel

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"Tali" watercolor in sketchbook

“Tali”
watercolor in sketchbook

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18
Feb
14

Madonna and Child

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12" x 16" oil on archival paper

12″ x 16″ oil on archival paper

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4 1/2" x 6" watercolor and ink

4 1/2″ x 6″ watercolor and ink

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08
Feb
14

Psychotic reaction

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Psychotic Reaction 8" x 10"  oil on panel

Psychotic Reaction
8″ x 10″
oil on panel

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Wow, rough week! Just when you think you’ve entered calm waters, out of nowhere some kind of psychic wave crashes over you.

There have been three or four watershed events, in my life,  that have radically changed how the world occurs for me. The first was my first experience with LSD. The fact that everything appeared different to me, while under the effects of the drug, opened me to that there may be things beyond my perception. Leslie’s death has jarred me that way, although not as pleasantly.

I’ve made a lot of mental maneuvers to try and make sense out of what’s happened or, rather, to construct some kind of meaning. Holding that all together is more work than I realized and a seemingly insignificant event shattered it all in a second. The illusion of meaning I had so cleverly duct taped together crashed down on my head. leaving me feeling foolish and deluded.

Fortunately I have friends who impossibly manage to tolerate these manic episodes. They listen calmly and stand at a safe distance until they can get close enough to put their arms around me and say, “Deep breath.” “You’re OK.” “You’re held closely and dearly.” “I consider it a gift each time you choose to share your staggering”.

I’m OK, I’m OK. I think I’m OK.

Thank you J.E and E.R

 

 

 

 

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06
Feb
14

Hero

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9" x 16" oil on archival paper

9″ x 16″ oil on archival paper

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I’ve trying to get at something and not really succeeding. I keep trying but what I’m trying to convey may be beyond my capabilities.

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28
Jan
14

Still Life with Overturned Glass

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Still Life with Overturned Glass 10" x 12"  oil and pencil on panel

Still Life with Overturned Glass
10″ x 12″
oil and pencil on panel

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I’ve been enjoying drawing back into the wet paint with pencil or whatever else I have at hand.

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26
Jan
14

Pear on a Blue Plate

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Pear on a Blue Plate 8" x 10" oil on panel

Pear on a Blue Plate
8″ x 10″ oil on panel

Richard Diebenkorn is always in my mind when I paint still life. Does this pear look angry?

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14
Jan
14

Still Life Show at Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River OR

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Still-Life-Show-blog-post-i

I will be participating in a group still life show at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River OR. Please stop by if you’re in the area.


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11
Nov
13

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Last Days At Home 11" x 14" oil on panel

11″ x 14″ oil on panel

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29
Oct
13

Still Life with Syringe

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Sill Life with Syringe 8" x 12" oil on paper

Sill Life with Syringe
8″ x 12″ oil on paper

It was pointed out to me that this image could be interpreted to mean that I might not be doing so great. There is no cause for alarm.

The syringe is one that my wife used to measure some of her medications. I always thought it would make an interesting still life object and dropped it into this setup.

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26
Oct
13

Cows at Coon Point (ala Roos Schuring)

I went out painting with a friend last week and came across a small herd of cows lounging in the sun. They were the same type of cows that I often see in Roos Schuring’s paintings. She’s a fantastic painter in Holland. I wrote about her back in Aug 2012.

Check out her site here.

So I decided to see if I could paint these cows ala Roos Schuring.

Cows at Coon Point 9"x12" oil on linen panel

Cows at Coon Point
9″x12″ oil on linen panel

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22
Oct
13

Trying to make some sense

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to express my current conundrum visually. Thinking is usually not the best way to get at this kind of thing but I’m afraid of making work that is trite or exploits or cheapens this and I’m especially wary of this since it’s not only my experience. Many people loved Leslie and may have feelings about how or what I express. That being said, I’ve been making some drawings and trying to find a way to start.

I’m sharing a couple of the drawings here.

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6" x 7" gouache black and white ink on paper

6″ x 7″ gouache black and white ink on paper

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9" x 6" gouache black and white ink on paper

9″ x 6″ gouache black and white ink on paper

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As I start this, I realize I could explore this for a long time.

19
Oct
13

Pear on a Blue Plate

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Pear on a Blue Plate 9" x 12" oil on panel

Pear on a Blue Plate
9″ x 12″ oil on panel

I bought this pear quite a while ago then got distracted working on a different painting project. It’s pretty ripe and I knew it wouldn’t last long under the light.

I’ve got several projects going on in the studio, which is where I spend almost all of my time, when I’m home. It’s getting difficult to move around in here without tripping over something.

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16
Oct
13

Sketchbook spread

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2-portrait sketches-10-12-13

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09
Oct
13

Wicker Lunch Basket and Medicine Bottle

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Wicker Lunch Basket and Medicine Bottle 14" x 11" oil on linen panel

Wicker Lunch Basket and Medicine Bottle
14″ x 11″ oil on linen panel

Some more of Les’ things here. She didn’t use the basket but she bought it for our daughter to use for school, when she was very young. The cloth she used to wear as a kind of wrap around skirt at the beach, when we first met and the house is full of these brown medicine bottles. Les loved alternative medicine and up to the last day she was conscious, she used the stuff in that bottle.

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15
Sep
13

Miki And The Red Coat

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Miki and the Red Coat 21" x 14" oil on linen

Miki and the Red Coat
21″ x 14″ oil on linen

I’ve had this and another on the easel for a while. I’m not sure I’m finished. I want to let it sit for a while. Sometimes when I get to this point with a painting, I decide it’s better to just start another than to continue to worry this one. I’ve painted a few versions of this scene now, each a little different.

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28
Aug
13

My Show at Brian Marki ends on Sept 4

There’s one more week to catch my show at Brian Marki Fine Art.

"Betsy Arntz Barge Under Construction" 30" x 40" oil on linen SOLD

“Betsy Arntz Barge Under Construction” 30″ x 40″ oil on linen
SOLD

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and especially for those who will take home a painting next week.

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22
Aug
13

Remembering Good Times in Ireland

Les-in-Ireland--5v2

Leslie on Omey Island
gouache 7″ x 10″

Thinking back to our family trip to Ireland in 1996.  Good times.

03
Aug
13

Opening Reception

Last night was the opening reception for my show of paintings at Brian Marki Fine Art. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. Thank you to everyone who came out.

Brian did a really great job of hanging and lighting the work. I hardly recognized the paintings.

The most frequently asked question was, why are they called dolphins? To which I responded, why are the sides of a boat called gunwhales? I do not understand nautical terms.

Here are a few pictures from the reception. The show is up until the end of August. If you’re nearby, please stop by and let me know what you think.

IMG_5705 IMG_5714 IMG_5731 IMG_5716

IMG_5727

30
Jul
13

Artwork delivered

I delivered the paintings for my first solo show in many years to Brian Marki Fine Art yesterday.  I have one more piece I’d like to finish for the show, if Brian doesn’t mind hanging a wet painting.

21" x 27" oil on linen panel

“Building a New Life From the Wreckage of My Old Life”
21″ x 27″ oil on linen panel

The image above is the piece I’d like to finish for the show, in it’s current state.  It still seems a little chaotic but that is true to my current experience. I don’t usually put a lot of thought into titles. They’re mainly just for me to keep them straight in my mind but, given recent events, this piece  has begun to occur for me as a view into my life. I need to reconstruct a new life out of what appears to me now as the wreckage of my old life and this painting expresses that for me. It may not be pretty but it holds promise.

I have to say that, in spite of the fact that I’m not often referred to as a real “up” kind of person, I have been surprised at my ability to find positive meaning in my wife’s death.

For one thing, it was such a privilege and relief to be able to see Leslie on to a peaceful and meaningful death. It was the perfect completion of our relationship. Four years ago, when Leslie’s cancer became metastatic, the primary purpose of my life became to see to it that Les was taken care of and had a good death and I lived to fulfill that promise. So many women have to go through this alone. I am grateful that Les was loved and cherished and nurtured and adored to her last minutes. Well beyond her last minutes, in truth.

I have also been overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family. My relationships have been enriched by Les’ passing.  I have made new friends who have made profound contributions to my life.

Leslie continues to nurture me even in death. I was rooting through the freezer and found a treasure. Two containers of Les’ wonderful beef stew.

My stomach and heart are both full of love. I miss Leslie’s physical presence but I feel her with me all the time. I’m a very fortunate man.

30
Jun
13

BFF Anniversary

Yesterday, June 29, was the 34th anniversary of the day I met the best friend I’ve ever had, my wife, Leslie Robinson. We married 2 years later and drove across the country from Eastern Long Island, NY to Portland OR. Leslie was a singer/songwriter and I was a painter. She gave up her singing career when our first daughter, Emily was born, in the hospital we can see from the deck of our little house. I quit painting when Les bore our second daughter, Clair in the front bedroom of that house.

Leslie now lays dying, surrounded by that family in the living room of that house. Although my heart is breaking, I feel privileged to be able to help her complete her life and make a safe crossing to whatever is next.

Les hated posing so I don’t have a lot of paintings of her but, on our adventures, she usually wore a red coat that I loved painting.

Leslie-in-the-Snow-wtrclr-10x14

Les was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. She chose to do an alternative therapy instead of chemotherapy and radiation. After treatment, Les remained symptom free for 9 years. When the cancer recurred, she did radiation and hormone therapy, which gave her 4 more years with relatively few symptoms. She tried chemotherapy a few months ago and just couldn’t stand the side effects, so she chose to stop treatment.

We have been very fortunate to have had so much time together. Les and I knew this was coming and are as prepared as anyone can be for such a thing.

I have found solace in the book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rimpoche, over the years and have begun reading it again. …

Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries what fury what despair!…

To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of it’s strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind than death … We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”  ~ Michel de Montaigne, The Essayus of Michel de Montaigne

06
Jun
13

Plein Air in Ranier, OR

A friend and I drove out to Ranier, OR to paint at the defunct Trojan Nuclear Plant (now a park) but there was not much there we were interested in painting so we drove on into the nearby town of Ranier, which is right on the Columbia river. These 2 paintings were done from a parking lot in the town.

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"The Mary B"  9X12 oil on linen panel

“The Mary B”
9X12 oil on linen panel

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"Docks in Ranier" 9x12 oil on linen panel

“Docks in Ranier”
9×12 oil on linen panel

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31
May
13

Head

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11" x 14" oil on linen

11″ x 14″ oil on linen

I try to do a self portrait every year around my birthday (My birthday is in March and you can look back through the archives to see other entries in the series). The project started around an assignment I was given in college to do a self portrait as I was then (20-ish years old) and then another predicting how I thought I’d look at age 60. I turned 60 this year so it’s sort of the completion of the project but I’ve been having a hard time producing the painting.

This painting was not intended to be the official yearly selfie but I offer it now until I get serious about completing the project.

The actual intention of this painting was to paint it over again pushing it as far as I could before I got bored with it. I repainted over the same canvas over the course of 6 days and this is where it ended up. Below are photos of the canvas at the end of each session

self-5-4-13   self-5-4-13-2   self-5-4-13-3   self-5-4-13-4  self-5-4-13-5 …  Click on each thumbnail for a larger view

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27
May
13

Under shelter at Union Station

I went with a friend to paint at the Portland Train station – Union Station. It was supposed to rain so I proposed we meet there and paint from under the cover of the overpass across the street from the station. It worked out pretty well. It rained hard and I only got a little wet (from a drain in the overpass) This is the resulting painting.

"Outside Union Station" 9" x 12" oil on linen panel

“Outside Union Station”
9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

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16
May
13

more painting outside – a little farther from home

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The hunting season is over on Sauvie Island, and I headed over to paint last weekend. Unfortunately, when I was half way there, I realized I had forgotten to pack any panels to paint on. This is the second time I’ve done this. I suppose age is catching up with me. Rather than turn back, I continued on knowing that I had my watercolor paintbox and sketchbooks along.

"Multnomah Channel" 7 x 10 watercolor

“Multnomah Channel” 7 x 10 watercolor

I went to a part of the island where I haven’t painted for several years and found a nice spot along the Multnomah Channel ( a narrow side channel of the Wilamette River, and started the piece above as several sailboats and fishing boats came and went. While I waited for the colors to dry on this one, I started the one below, of the same subject.

"Multnomah Channel sketch 5 x 8 watercolor and ink

“Multnomah Channel sketch
5 x 8 watercolor and ink

I moved on down the road and did one more from a spot I painted a few years ago. It’s a view of the famous  volcano, Mt St Helens, across the cow patures.

Mt St Helens from Sauvie Island gouache

Mt St Helens from Sauvie Island
gouache

I was hoping for some cows but they didn’t show up until later

IMG_5613

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12
May
13

Painting outside

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Deck-Chair-4-2013-2

“Deck Chair”
6″ x 8″ oil on panel

The weather has been especially wonderful in Oregon this spring. Although I’m tied to my home office during the work week, I’ve stolen enough time to do a few little studies outside. These two were painted from the deck of my office.

"Shrub" 6" x 6" oil on panel

“Shrub”
6″ x 6″ oil on panel

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18
Apr
13

Beacon

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"Montgomery Park On a Wet Night" 37" x 48" oil on linen

“Montgomery Park On a Wet Night”
37″ x 48″ oil on linen

This studio painting was painted from sketches I’ve done over recent years. Montgomery Park dominates the night sky with it’s neon sign. It is a landmark that can be seen from many view points around the North West neighborhoods of Portland.

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02
Apr
13

South Park Blocks

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"South Park Blocks" 18" x 24" oil on linen panel

“South Park Blocks” 18″ x 24″ oil on linen panel

This relatively new neighborhood sprung up seemingly overnight on the South West shore of the Wilamette River in Portland. The most prominent resident is the Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital. The main hospital is on a hill overlooking the river and the two campuses are connected by a tram (not pictured here).

I’ve done some sketching from the upper campus, looking down to this one. Here is one I did in 2010, when there were fewer buildings.

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24
Mar
13

New vs Old

The old building in the foreground seems to be one of the last in the quickly gentrifying Peal District of NW Portland.

Pearl District Nocturne30" x 30" oil on linen

Pearl District Nocturne
30″ x 30″ oil on linen

Feeling a pull to the dark side with this one.




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