Affordable Housing, South Long Branch (Toronto) – developers need not apply

IMG_2472This log cabin style home brings a bit of the country into the city – and it features a modest upstairs apartment.

More affordable is this older model home. It’s basic in construction but it has housed several happy families in the past, keeping everyone snug and comfortable. IMG_2479Those interested in some more adventurous architecture will enjoy the Rose A-Frame model, on a large, well-treed lot.IMG_2482And yes, for those who enjoy the condo lifestyle, Long Branch has something for you too. This small condo, with an attractive “barnboard” facade, is conveniently located near a rail line, and features 10 deluxe apartments.IMG_2484


Salad bowl banjo update

Back to work on a project I should have completed in the summer. The magnolia bench project took up much of my attention in August and September and so progress on this banjo slowed right down.

Today I completed the basic shaping of the neck.

IMG_2465IMG_2460IMG_2467On the neck itself I need to do the finishing work, and as well I have to drill and ream 5 holes for the pegs. I’m using violin pegs. I’ll have to shape those some, and I have a handy-dandy device which resembles a swanky pencil sharper and quickly sizes and shapes the ebony pegs. The holes have to be shaped as well to match the taper of the pegs, and to do that I have another handy device called a reamer.

The other thing missing on the neck is the nut. This is a piece of bone which I’ll shape to fit at the top of the the fingerboard and slot for the strings with tiny files. After that, the next step is to fit the “dowel stick” portion of the neck construction through the salad bowl. After that, all that’s left to do is stretch the skin on the salad bowl, fit the tail-piece and finally string it up.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. This banjo is one of a pair of banjos for which my friend Jamie is turning the salad bowls and shaping the tail-pieces.

Dancing in your Head

I was writing the previous post about my experience of painting, and I thought of Ornette Coleman. He came to mind because it occurred to me that when I’m working in the studio I rarely think about the work of other painters (it does happen from time to time – for instance I named a recent painting after Asger Jorn because I saw something in one of my paintings that reminded me very much of his work). I do however sometimes think about music and musicians when I’m painting.

Ornette Coleman by Eugene Knapik, acrylic and acrylic spray enamel on canvas

Ornette Coleman by Eugene Knapik, acrylic and acrylic spray enamel on canvas

At one point in the late 90s, I fell in the habit of listening to Ornette Coleman CDs while I painted. There is something about his approach to jazz that feels right at home with my paintings. I not so sure anybody else sees that, but it is something that was intuitively obvious to me. In fact I even named a painting Ornette Coleman back in 1997.  I’m still very fond of that painting, one which happily has a good home.

So since he’s on my mind, let’s listen to some Ornette Coleman. Here is the Ornette Coleman Quartet performing Dancing in your head in 2010

Painting by numbers

A friend of mine was surprised when I mentioned the other day I had 8 paintings on the go in my studio. This in not an unusual circumstance for me – I’ve worked this way for many years. I don’t do this to make more paintings as some kind of production strategy. In fact, these days I’m a fairly slow painter. I may work on several pieces at once, but those paintings can be in play for a very long time.

Denizens by Eugene Knapik

Denizens by Eugene Knapik (from Paintings from the Lost Forest, at Yumart, May 2014)

I work on paintings in groups and in every session I make changes to most or all of the works in the group. Along the way I’ll pull paintings out of the group, either because I think they’re finished or because I’ve hit some kind of creative cul de sac, or because there is something about a painting that is intriguing or vexing me but I can’t yet figure it out.  When I pull a painting out, I often add another in – sometimes a painting I had earlier abandoned and at other times a clean canvas.

I’ll work on a painting and I come up with some motif or idea or direction and I’ll try variations of that idea on a few paintings. Other times, an idea will emerge while I’m working on a painting that I can’t find a place for in that picture, so I move over to another painting and try it out. Surrounding myself with an array of dynamic images in play helps me improvise. It also reminds me to not get hung up or stuck on a particular motif or image.

The result of this approach is that I often have several images in flux at the same time. When things aren’t going so well in the studio this can seem hopeless, like all my paintings are mired in my own muddy ideas. On the other hand when it’s going well, several paintings can fall into place at once. This happened last winter with the paintings I exhibited at Yumart. I struggled with a group of paintings for a very long time, and then in late fall and winter there was a kind of inevitability about my paintings, and I found myself completing painting after painting.

This  phenomenon is magic to me, and maybe it’s the magic that drives me to continue making paintings. It’s difficult to describe this experience. I suppose it is an exaggeration to say it is an ecstatic experience, by which I mean being outside of myself. I think maybe it is more about achieving a state of mind in which painting is thinking in a really direct way. When Ronald Bloore was my teacher many years ago, he often said painting is thinking but I think it took me a very long time to understand what he meant.

Right now there are 8 paintings on the go – all oil paint – and after this morning all wet. Now I’ll let them dry for a week or so and maybe when I do the next session I’ll add two fresh canvasses into the mix.

Honky Tonk Morning

Let’s take a little trip to Bakersfield…..Buck Owens and the Buckeroos performing Buck’s Polka

Wouldn’t if be fun if everybody dressed like Buck Owens? Just imagine going to the grocery store and all the cashiers and the customers have these Nudie suits happening.

Rome wasn’t built in a day….

Sometimes I just need a little dose of Nick Lowe. He’s one of just a handful of performers I can honestly say I’ve been listening to for 35 years.

Check out these beautiful, sparse performances. Damned near perfect (at least in my tiny little brain).

I remember like it was yesterday, going to Massey Hall back in the late 70s to see Mink DeVille followed by Nick Lowe and Rockpile and Elvis and the Attractions. That still stands up for me as one of the top music shows I’ve ever seen. Later I tired of Elvis but Nick Lowe has captivated my attention through the years.

Remember “I knew the bride when she used to rock ‘n’ roll?”

As for Mink DeVille, what can I say?

As a side note, I do believe that is Paul James on guitar on this performance of Spanish Stroll. Mr. James has a special place in our hearts – The Paul James Band rocked our wedding when Tuffy P and I got hitched back in the day.


I’ve got a paper in my shoe….

Here’s the late Boozoo Chavis and the Magic Sounds….just because we need more accordion music around this joint.

New Look for 27th Street

That’s better.

Regular visitors know that I get restless with the look of my little corner of the the cyber-universe and change it up from time to time. On a whim, I’ve done it again. I hope you like the fresh paint job. If you find anything isn’t working, let me know.