A Lost Forest painting not in my spring exhibition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Paintings from the Lost Forest exhibition this spring at Yumart featured oil paintings with a high level of impasto.  I tried to make full use of a variety of surface qualities and textures as I built up the images over time.

However, there is a painting called Lost Forest from 2011 that has a much different feel, a different language, that used different materials and techniques. Like some of the later paintings, this one is a small diptych, but in character it is much different than the others. I make no apologies for making some paintings that may seem like anomalies within the larger body of my work.

This painting was built in layers over a series of sessions just like the others, and while there are some textural elements betraying some of the history of the image, it was mostly built with layers of acrylic paint thinned with water. In fact I recall painting it with a brush in one hand and a spray bottle in the other. There is no medium or varnish applied on top of the finished painting and it has a surface that is matte but still has some depth about it.

I was reminded of this painting last weekend, foraging for mushrooms in the drizzling rain in a drenched forest at Go Home Lake. Perhaps it was a case of life imitating art. The forms are obscured, dripping. They seem to me to be on the cusp of becoming something else, but what exactly I can’t say.

This painting is an orphan. It’s one of the Lost Forest pieces, but anybody playing “which of these  pictures doesn’t belong” would pick this one from among the others in a flash. I like it because it’s an orphan and because I used different tools and techniques within the same kind of thematic backdrop. I have this one here at 27th Street. I don’t know if it will ever be exhibited – although perhaps one day I’ll do an exhibition of paintings that don’t quite fit in.


Rocket 88?

Anybody else notice a sharp increase in crazy aggressive drivers lately?  This morning, I pulled into the left lane on Eglinton preparing for a left turn ahead, when some firecracker roared up behind me, getting right on my tail, inches from my bumper. Next thing I knew he swung over to the right lane and roared past, just missing my car, then swerved in front of me, surging ahead to ride the bumper of the next car in front. In seconds this guy wove a path ahead of everyone in sight. I only hope when this guy goes out in flames he doesn’t take anyone with him.

Keep on Drinking

David Bromberg has had two music careers – he took a break for something like 22 years. I loved his music back then and since his re-emergence, I’ve been hoping for a chance to see him perform live, because he’s even better today. Here he is with Larry Campbell on mandolin performing Keep on Drinking….

Mr. Bromberg is coming to town October 30 at Hugh’s Room. We’ll be there!

Ottawa Valley Old Time

I have a soft spot for old time music from the Ottawa Valley. Come on in and join me for bit and let’s listen to some fantastic Canadian folk music…

That was Mac Beattie and his Ottawa Valley Melodiers. Mr. Beattie’s fiddle player was a fellow named Reg Hill. Here’s his Madawaska River Breakdown…

Let’s hear one more fiddle tune, if you don’t mind….it’s Ward Allen performing Frenchie’s Reel

Finally, here’s Hank LaRiviere – AKA Hank Rivers, performing Maple Sugar Sweetheart. He took the melody from Ward Allen’s Maple Sugar and added lyrics – that mention Allen of course.


Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.09.09 PMI’d like to feature a blast from the past tonight, a painting called Ephemerata, from 2001.  I don’t have the size in front of me but I remember this to be about 3′ wide.  A lot is lost in the photograph, in particular certain textural elements and some of the surface quality as well.

I painted this one in the late fall of 2001, in my so-called Secret Lab behind our place on Blackthorn Ave. I had just converted this over-sized garden shed into a very functional little studio. Tuffy P and I were recently married and bought this tiny house, and I had a head full of ideas and painting energy to spare.

Fall/winter 2001 into 2002 were one of my most prolific periods as a painter. I recall that I started this particular painting by gluing on some cut-up bits of an older acrylic painting. I decided early on that I wanted to keep traces of this older picture in the final painting and you can see it in two areas. Maybe you can pick them out.

At the time I was working on several paintings at once (not unusual for me) and I was working quickly in sessions. I’d lay a few paintings on the floor, hang some on the wall and I’d work furiously on as many of them as I could handle. A day or two later I’d go back in the studio, perhaps replace one or two with others, hide a couple away, maybe scrape some paint off one or two. Sometimes I would obscure parts of some of the paintings by taping paper temporarily over selected areas.

These paintings were in constant flux. I recall painting them very clearly. It was all very fluid, and it felt like every session was an adventure. How do you get to that second in space and time when all those ideas, blobs of paint, accidents, blunders and inspiration come together to become a painting?

Several of the paintings from this period still hold up very well (at least in my little brain).  Some others were more or less disastrous efforts. I still have a few from this series in storage here at 27th Street.


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