Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 5 Music Inspirations

Music sure can get you in the mood.  To paint!  To paint!  It can probably get you in the mood to do other things but that's not what this blog entry is about.  This blog entry is about what music gets me in the proper mind frame to start working.  For the most part I lean towards ethereal/ambient sounding music, it seems to get the juices flowing.  It isn't always the case, though.  Sometimes something absolutely jarring does the trick, gets the brush dancing.  Here are the Top 5 musicians which are in heavy rotation at the moment.

1. Youth Lagoon

2. CocoRosie

3.  Coil

4. Crystal Stilts

5.  Death in June

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

November 4, 2011: The Wall & Other Paintings

Portrait of Jean-Paul Sartre
12 x 12
Mixed media on panel

I'm excited to be participating in my first solo show at Launchpad Gallery, a gallery dedicated to emerging artists.  I've been working non-stop for about two months on the show and have completed nearly twenty works for the show!  I think I've got at least three left in me.

The shows title, "The Wall & Other Paintings", is a riff on a book of collected short stories by Jean-Paul Sartre.  I chose the title mostly for the protagonists dialog during the course of the story The Wall, whose focus is their untimely execution the following morning and the ramifications of facing certain death.  Other elements pertinent to the story are littered throughout the show, wartime imagery, communication, alienation..

The opening reception is November 4th, 2011 from 6 PM - 12 AM.  Jedadiah Bernards will be also be playing for a portion of the evening!

I hope to see you local folks there!

P.S. There's beer on tap for you Portlanders.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Narcissus Mutilated

Mirror Pond
2' x 3'
Acrylic and charcoal on panel

This is another series I'm exploring, central themes being groups of men and water.  The series started out as swimmers floating in space, evolving into a means of exploring group psychology, and is now evolving further, I guess into nebulous realms, at least I hope so.

I don't know what the paint means anymore, it use to be a tool to achieve photo-realism but I find that less and less (and less) appealing as times goes on.  Now it seems like a tool for experimentation and I am concerned about the variability of paint, thick/thin, washes and gobs of paint, brush strokes..

Bombs (away)

4' x 4'
Acrylic and charcoal on panel

Part of an ongoing exploration of airplane bombers.  They are ominous, powerful bits of metal and screws  flying through the sky heralding widespread destruction with the click of a button.  Sometimes I think about things while painting:  with this painting the airplane became a symbol of technological advancement as means of destruction of those less technologically advanced.  If I didn't have such a penchant for history I'd probably be painting robotic weapons.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Excerpts from a sketchbook, Cont'd.

Some excerpts from a sketchbook on a recent "Urban Hike" with some friends to the Shakespeare Garden in Washington Park.  The first sketch is some blind contour drawings of people who came to the park to view the gardens, it was amazing how many people occupied the space in the 15 - 20 minutes that spanned the drawing (temporality).  The second is some Jewish women sad over the deaths of loved ones, with Elmo running around in the background?  I guess I haven't tired of gluing trash into my sketchbooks.  Oh, trash..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vague and indecipherable. Mystery.

24 x 24
Acrylic and charcoal on panel

I don't know what to title my paintings anymore, maybe I just don't think it's important.  I kind of like it vague and indecipherable these days. "Mystery".

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Charlie's Girls

Excerpt of a drawing titled Charlie's Girls
Mixed media on paper

Monday, June 6, 2011

Janet Julian at the Bathtub Art Museum

You know you're in Portland when you go to a friends art show and it's at a, uh, museum in a bathtub.

Fun and funky and Janet Julian for sure.  You crawl into the bathtub, in the middle of which you stand up in to have half of your upper body in a treehouse-like building where you find the art!


Janet's work is great, it's got a sense of whimsy, maybe absurdity, and it's always a little crazy (in the good way).  I imagine Janet in her workspace staring at something wondering how it will be completed and then a light turns on and she runs around looking for something and glues it in place!

Janet's one of my favorites.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sleeping 7
4 x 4
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

The one's available over at House of Travis!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Old Boys Club

Old Boys Club
24 x 24
acrylic and charcoal on panel

Another recurring theme, houses on fire, this time replete with a bunch of men standing around not doing a damn thing. While The World Burns. Some have suggested that the houses on fire are due to an experience in my youth, my family's duplex burned. I guess that could be partially true. The burning houses are about the sense of "home" being lost. I think there are parallels with economic collapse as well, mother nature taking her toll, ..

I don't know if this painting is complete yet. It feels like it's almost there but needs some refinement however I don't want the refinement to come at the cost of the immediacy of the painting. These are the dilemma's one faces!

Shirts, Skins, Wieners, Pee

Shirts, Skins, Wieners, Pee
24 x 36
acrylic and charcoal on panel

Part of my continuing obsession with riffing on vintage yearbook photographs.  Identity: group dynamics, gaining something, losing something.

Emasculating men.

Do you know the quickest way to scare way an average heterosexual male?  Point out a man his age peeing himself.  He'll laugh at his discomfort and saunter on.  True story.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Dunce Boy
8" x 25"
acrylic and charcoal on panel

Say hello to this months obsession, boys in dunce caps!  I'm really fond of the way the chalkboard on this painting turned out, love those rapid brush strokes with a bristle brush.

Somebody asked me at last months street gallery show if my paintings were photo-realistic, I said "no" with a wry smile and beamed "they're too messy to be photorealistic!".  I then explained my process of drawing out an image with charcoal, painting a sloppy underpainting, refining the underpainting, messing up the painting by making it sloppy again, and then completing the painting with final refinement.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Etsy, A Venture Adventure

Stalin and Company
4" x 4"
Mixed media on wood

I've been spending a lot of time getting my Etsy shop going.  Check out House of Travis.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketchbook Excerpt

I've been doing some comic strips in my sketchbooks for fun.  It's an easy non-commital way to express myself. Rene Rodriguez is partially responsible due to his insistence on napkin drawings at a trashy Chinese food dive a few weeks back so he could submit the drawings for a show.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Donald Sultan

Don't you love thumbing through dated art magazines and stumbling across an artist you love?

 Burning Cross (Against Seduction)
oil, tar, spackle, watercolor and graphite on tile on wood
96 x 48

 Forest Fire
tar, watercolor, oil and spackle on tile
96 x 96

Early Morning
latex, tar, and tile on masonite
96 x 96

I wonder what happened?  I want to ask him why his exploration of fire turned into pop flowers, form, content.  I guess, stripped down.

White Flowers
tar, enamel, black flocking, spackle on tile on wood
72 x 72

Who knows, maybe the flowers are as grim and potent as an early morning fire.. or it's as simple as a change in outlook, or an exploration comes to an end.  One must amuse one's self.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

House of God

House of God
24" x 24"
Mixed media on panel

I'm trying to pictorialize the end of God.  I will likely pursue this endeavor for some time to come.

No Exit

No Exit
16" x 24"
Mixed media on panel

No Exit, detail

This is a painting I did for the Facing Fear show at Launchpad Gallery. It's an homage to one of my favorite philosophers, Jean-Paul Sartre. I wanted to capture an existential crises, subtly.

The young boys are caged in a prison (life). They watch a fire, frozen in awe (the fire represents a finite existence, burning however brightly for limited duration). In the background, faintly, soft smoke curls out of a furnace (certain end, a fire goes out as fires do). In summation, they're contemplating their own mortality, death hanging over them.

Psychic Resonance of Dead Friendships

Psychic Resonance of Dead Friendships
12" x 12"
Mixed media on panel

I did this painting for a friend of mine who, through circumstance, is no longer a friend of mine. After the friendship ended I got to thinking about magic and psychics. Some people talk about psychic residue. Connection. ESP. Ghosts. They all went together in this painting.

This was intended as a study but I believe it's better than the larger piece. I think I'll chuck the larger piece in the trash.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011