Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Island of Winter

Inspired by the Isle of the Dead (below), here is a meditation on winter. Painted on a small piece of plywood from the craft store, the wood grain is very visible, which gives the piece a very strong texture. I've also uploaded a digital version, done in Photoshop.

The Island of Winter, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 5" x 6".

Island of Winter, digital edit

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Small Monochrome Medusa

I was going to use this small (6" x 6") gesso panel from the art store, the last one I had left in this batch, to make something vaguely festive to put up here. That didn't work. Instead, I found myself with this Medusa painting, which came out quite well, I think. One of my rules of painting/making art is that if you keep on going long enough, something worthwhile usually appears. I also did the microwave oven trick to dry the paint quickly, but I don't really recommend that—on a small piece that I don't care too much about it's OK. With a small work like this, it doesn't take that long to paint in the areas available, so rather than waiting 10 minutes or so for the paint to dry naturally, 30 seconds in the microwave cuts the time down a lot. I've heard of art bursting into flames with excessive microwavage, but 30 seconds seems safe (for me) on a piece this size. If you're going to do this (& probably best not to), proceed with caution. Happy Holidays!

Festive Bonus Link: More Medusas

Small Monochrome Medusa, 2016, acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Isle of the Dead

After the Maximilian Pirner-influenced The End of All Things, here is my version of Böcklin's Isle of the Dead. This is a very small painting (5" x 7") done on hardboard last night. To accelerate the process, I gave each coat of paint 30 seconds in the microwave oven to dry it out. I don't necessarily recommend this (I've seen other artists use hair dryers to speed up an artwork when on deadline), but it worked out pretty well in this case, as far as I can tell. If, years from now, the painting disintegrates, that will be sad. But unlikely. I did this from memory, and I omitted the boatman, as you can probably see. It came out quite well, and retains something of the air of mystery of the original(s)—of which there are four still in existence (one other was destroyed in Berlin in WWII).

Return to Böcklin's Isle, 2016, acrylic on board, 5" x 7".

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The End of All Things Redux

Inspired by the Maximilian Pirner painting of the same name, I decided to create my own version (homage) of the piece as part of my series, A Warning (which can be seen in its entirety at the link). My version is much simpler & monochrome, but I think it retains at least a little of the power and energy of the original. I don't often quote other artists this directly, so this is a little bit of an exception for me.

The End Of All Things (homage to Pirner), 2016, acrylic on board, 14" x 11"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Favorite Paintings: The End of All Things by Maximilian Pirner

This is a painting I stumbled across recently by a fairly obscure (to me, at least) Czech artist, Maximilian Pirner (1854-1924). Pirner, like Böcklin (whose Island of the Dead I also greatly admire), seems to be something of a "one-hit wonder". As far as I can see (& maybe I'm wrong), his other work was not as impressive as this piece, with its epic yet intimate scale, dramatic otherworldly (apocalyptic) lighting & sweeping composition. Pirner also uses themes that I myself utilize—apocalypse, mythology, medusa, angels(?), and Death himself makes an appearance. At once dark & illuminated, heavy and weightless, filled with death & filled with life, this is a one-of-a-kind work (I'm tempted to say 'masterpiece', but that might be overdoing it) that should haunt the world for eternity.

Finis - The End of All Things, 1887, oil on canvas, 100 x 130cm

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blinded By Rags

Another new monochrome acrylic painting, from the new series tentatively entitled "A Warning"...more to come. Watch this space.

Blinded By Rags, 2016, acrylic on board, 14" x 11".

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


I just made a (digital) triptych out of these three recent small monochrome paintings. I realized, when I placed them side by side, that they more or less lined up to make a new, composite image...this was an unintentional, unexpected benefit.

Triptych: They All Struggle To Retain Their Humanity/They All Embrace The Leader/The Wall, 2016, acrylic on board, each panel is 16" x 12".

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Alchemist's Dream

Another small monochrome acrylic painting, painted over an earlier & similar image. Also, I did a digital remix of this one, presented below.

The Alchemist's Dream, 2016, acrylic on hardboard, 14" x 11".

The Alchemist's Dream, digital remix.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Cry for Humanity

I've been away for a while...concentrating on family stuff & also I had a busy summer making new work & felt like a rest would be good.

Here is a new small monochrome painting. Could be a new series. I bought four tinted hardboard panels from the art shop yesterday...stay tuned, as usual.

Cry for Humanity, 2016, acrylic on hardboard, 12" x 9".

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Some paintings of clouds

I was working on a few small paintings of clouds today, not from observation.

A Bank of Clouds, 2016, acrylic on MDF, 9" x 6.5".

Figures in the Clouds, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 2.6" x 5.4" approx.

Cloud Study, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 4.5" x 3.5" approx.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Soul Boat

Back in a rectangular format...a small painting on a theme I've visited before.

Soul Boat, 2016, acrylic on MDF, 6.5" x 9"

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Radiant One

This one I was working on for several days, as you can maybe see from the texture of the paint in the photo & the visible layers. The eyes are not quite to my satisfaction, but I think the piece works. I either hit a wall on this one, or went through a door...
The Radiant One, 2016, acrylic on MDF, 9" diameter.

In situ with leaf

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Heaven & Hell Revisited

A short while ago I uploaded 2 small circular paintings (tondos), one with tiny figures (Doomed Souls), the other more of a "landscape" scene (Blue Heaven). It bothered me that they weren't more equivalent in nature, so I've made a new "heaven" piece (All the Stars in Heaven) as a replacement for the previous one. I hope this doesn't confuse anyone...
Doomed Souls, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

All the Stars in Heaven, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Attack on Babel

I've recently started painting on MDF (medium density fiberboard) since I discovered 9" diameter circular (and other shapes/sizes) surfaces useful for painting made out of the stuff. Here is another Babel variation (of many) for your perusal. More paintings of this style in the pipeline, most likely.

Attack on Babel, 2016, acrylic on MDF, 9" diameter.

Attack on Babel, work-in-progress.

Monday, September 19, 2016

From the Spiral Sea

I always wanted to draw (or paint) the Renaissance hair, as seen in works by Botticelli or Leonardo (and others of course), the flowing, curling, spiraling hair...this is my attempt to do that. Not too bad, I may do some other pieces in this direction...

From the Spiral Sea, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".

Digitally contrast-enhanced version

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Forest Series

This is a series of 4 drawings and a small round (tondo) painting from this week, all on the "forest" theme.
In the Forest, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".
Queen of the Forest, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".
Child of the Forest, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".
Soul of the Forest, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".

The Forest, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Little City of the Red Night

Just a throwaway, more or less. I've been doing a lot of fairly detailed drawings, so this was a little painting as an antidote to that. Came out quite well, considering, & contains a Burroughs reference just because.

Little City of the Red Night, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter, approx.

And the digitally altered (faux woodcut) version:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Heaven & Hell

As promised (previous post), here is another pairing related to Good & Evil, Heaven & Hell. They came out less as archetypal iconic images, which was the original intention, but more as quirky, off-kilter personal meditations on the themes, which might actually be a better result...

Blue Heaven, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Doomed Souls, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Good & Evil

I've always liked to tackle the big, eternal subjects (war, death, human rights, 7 deadly sins, etc.), so here is another one: good & evil. Twin small tondos (maybe I should do larger versions?), done over the course of 2 or 3 days, so they went through a number of different phases. Next: Heaven & Hell...

Good, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Evil, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter approx.

Friday, August 19, 2016


A new small tondo (round) painting, this one took quite a long time to create, as you may be able to tell from the density and layers of the paint. It's a nod in the direction of Fernand Khnopff, the Belgian Symbolist.

Bejeweled, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Maid of the Mountains

Another new ink drawing. This time, I'm taking the size of the piece down a notch, which makes it slightly easier to complete in a timely fashion.

Maid of the Mountains, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 24" x 18".

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


A new drawing of four figures. I don't have much to say about this one, though hopefully it has much to say for itself.

Four, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 28.5" x 22.5".

Reaching for the Edge

Another new large-ish drawing. The figures are becoming a bit looser, I think (which I'm happy about).

Reaching for the Edge, 2016, brush & ink/wash on paper, 28.5" x 22.5".

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Ancient Tomb

With this small acrylic tondo I was aiming for a Bocklinesque (the painter of the Island of the Dead) atmosphere...evoking a nocturnal, haunting sense of mystery, with suspense and yet tranquility. Whether I succeeded in all of that or not, I think it works as an interesting piece.

The Ancient Tomb, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.


This is another tiny tondo (circular painting) I've done recently. This one is a little grotesque, but because it's so small, has an endearing quality. I'm presenting it below in simulated actual size (depending on your monitor resolution, etc.) and in a larger version. I think the larger one holds up pretty well.

Spidery, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 2.6" diameter, approx.

Spidery, enlarged version.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tiny Babel

A miniature version of the Tower of Babel, which struck me as amusing. This took a couple of days to complete, as it went through numerous changes. I scanned this into the computer directly...I think it actually looks better in real life, but was too small for me to take a photo successfully. I have presented the piece on this page at around actual size (on my screen at least, your mileage may vary).

Tiny Babel, 2016, acrylic on plywood oval, 3.25" x 2.25" approx.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Fall of the Tower of Babel

Another version of the Tower of Babel (I have done quite a few), this one in small tondo form. Inspired by the Pieter Breughel version, as most of my Babel images are. Painted on plywood that was only lightly primed with white acrylic, so the paint was absorbed quite fast.

The Fall of the Tower of Babel, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.

The Skies and Seas of Heaven

Another small tondo painting with angelic, mystical qualities.

The Skies and Seas of Heaven, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Head in Profile (The Doge as a Young Man)

Another small acrylic tondo of a head, this one in profile. It reminds me somehow of Bellini's Doge portrait, which is something of an iconic touchstone for me. More heads coming...

Head in Profile (The Doge as a Young Man), 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.

The Man With the Painted Face

A new small tondo (circular painting) of a man's face, intended for submission to the Limner Gallery's "Show of Heads" coming up soon...I'll mention on this blog if this or another piece is selected.

The Man With the Painted Face, 2016, acrylic on plywood, 6.75" diameter.

New Background Image, from "Return to Babel"

I've just given my blog a makeover, including changing the template, color scheme, & putting in a new background image, excerpted from my monochrome painting, "Return to Babel" (which you can see in its original state here). I colorized the painting in Photoshop to give it a subdued greenish hue. I'm making this image (below) freely available, if anyone wants to download it for use on their own blog or desktop wallpaper or whatever (non-profit uses only, please).

From "Return to Babel", 2016, original painting on plywood, 20" x 37.5" approx.