latest paintings

Latest Paintings

It’s a new year and it’s time for some new paintings! I cleaned off an old palette, liberally squirted out a bunch of colors and got to it. So far, the results have been encouraging.

It began in Madrid

The latest paintings that I’m working on started out as some sketches I did in Madrid’s El Retiro at the end of 2021. I spent an afternoon just killing time there one day, wandering and looking around. I finally sat under a huge monument on the edge of the lake and sketched. Here’s what I wrote in an email:

I finally hit up El Retiro during the daytime. Located across from the Prado, El Retiro is a gigantic park with tons of pathways, arches, statues and trimmed shrubbery and beautiful trees. I put on some music and walked through almost every pathway there for hours. I ended up at the lake in the middle, where men were rowing their ladies around, ducks were ducking, and the sun glistened on the light waves of the water. It was a great day. I even bought myself a double scoop cone and had to eat it fast on the warm day.

As messy as it is sometimes, art and life always find a way of overlapping, and today was no different. In the middle of El Retiro there is the Crystal Palace, and it was filled with an unbelievable installation of art by a Phillipines artist, Kidlat Tahimik. It was part of the Reina Sofia Museum’s programs, and was a standout and a good way to end my day.

– Madrid, December 3, 2021

Lots of sketches included couples in boats, ala the scene in Chinatown taking place at Echo Park Lake. I was already working on a series of drawings/paintings that included shipwrecked boats, so the motif was in my head. Some of my sketches went into a weirder, more mythical realm, with Charon, assistants, and viking funerals.

Painting Again

I started a couple of 40″x50 paintings not long after I got back. They were relegated to the backburner as I had other paintings take precedence. I vowed to return to them, and after a long holiday trip home this year, figured the time was right. I wanted to just mindlessly throw paint around. These canvases afforded me the opportunity to lose myself in the paint, with liberal use of the palette knife and some thick, Cezanne-like brush marks.

The first couple of paintings came along fast, as the color schemes just kinda escaped my head and landed on the canvases. I ended up painting into the middle of the night, effortlessly, just lost in some familiar music and the smell of mineral spirits and paint.

Over the next few days, I dug through my sketchbooks and found a couple more sketches, and soon, a couple of 40″ canvases found themselves covered in paint as well. I worked through similar themes and visuals – funerals, viking boats, the river to the afterlife. While I don’t feel they’re exceptional downers, there is a certain down vibe to the work.

While none of these are quite finished, they will remain pretty loose. I don’t want to overwork them, and feel the brushmarks and jots of color are what make them. So I’ll skip the mind numbing details and let them rest on their own sensibilities.

Charon painting