Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Empress Awakens

The Empress Awakens

an original mixed media painting on canvas

24 x 36 x 1 1/2 inches

canvas, card strips, collage, crayon, pencil, acrylic ink, acrylic paints, wash, varnish

a large, vibrant painting that sets the tone of a room

an painting that speaks in texture and colour, with allusions to the archetype of The Empress of the tarot

A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.
― John Steinbeck

See all of this world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
–– Buddha

I called the world of phenomena an illusion, I called my eyes and my tongue and accident, valueless phenomena. No, that is all over; I have awakened, I have really awakened and have just been born today.
― Hermann Hesse

shipped with care –– with masonite board

everything from my store comes with an extra art surprise

ESCAPE THE DREAMING PLANET –– live your life with original art

Friday, January 26, 2018

things at the end of January

PPPPPP; a book art object.

a bady designed winter menu / cigar-tin stories number seventy five

For three nights running there is a big brown rabbit in our back yard. He bounds away to a safe distance when I step out onto the deck, then sits on a flower bed and digs away for something to eat (later, C tells me that she has herbs and mint in that spot). For no reason at all I feel much more benevolent towards the rabbit than I do to the squirrels, who attack our bird feeders in manic raiding parties, four or five of them racing around and leaping from the fence tops in a kind of demonic, fast-forward circus act that makes me dream about the different gauges of birdshot.

The New Guy is thinking (out loud) about buying an electric car. My first response works through the usual things –– cost, reliability, the psychotic ambition of Elon Musk –– but very soon afterwards I realize that it really comes down to one thing: how optimistic are you about the future?

An article in the New York Times about Steve Bezos making a very public charitable donation of 33 million dollars, and how he’s finally “ready for the spotlight”. How fantastic, how lucky for us. He is the world’s richest person, worth over 100 billion dollars. Is that really a number of any significance? It’s a number that belongs in a comic book, or in the vomitorium of a Roman Emperor, or a Mughal Khan. But mostly it’s a number that says more about us than him.

About to turn fifty next month and still making dumb mistakes –– like forgetting to check the flue before lighting a lovely, roaring fire. This kind of thing really smartens you up, as you stand there in the open front door, looking out over winter with watery eyes, and reminds you just how badly fashioned your brain can be.

Last Saturday it was the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump being sworn in as President. To me it seems like people can’t really think about this, not seriously or for any length of time, because the past year has been one of growing disorientation –– not bewilderment exactly but a kind of internal drifting, whereupon certain disquieting aspects of life become untethered, and clouded in thick, green-tinged darkness, signifying putrefaction and sickness, even as events and their signposts slip away from meaning. Really, he’s just a phantasmic crack addict sleeping on your couch –– someone who will do and say anything, and then deny that it’s his fault when dealers come in and murder everyone in the house.

I miss the old days of simple, simmering anger at the giant, brutal, mechanical edifice that was the neoliberal project. That all seems quaint now. But this is what happens when all the people at all the right parties keep telling you that this is the way the world is now, that really it’s for the best, and everything will work out fine, and besides there’s nothing you can do about it. Well, turns out there is. Turns out you can vote for Fat Joker.

Speaking of anger, the Germans still have a lot to answer for, because I almost choke on my cereal when I find Kevin O'Leary, our bizarro version of the Pillsbury Doughboy, on the last page of the New York Times Magazine, talking up his the-market-solves-everything faffle (yes, it does wonders for alcoholics, the homeless, Sears employees, and other damaged people) plus his love of Ayn Rand. A-Y-N  R-A-N-D. Jesus. That’s like admiring Idi Amin because he was hungry. And I blame the Germans for all this because they put Lenin on a train back to Russia, where he orchestrated the revolution, which later confiscated the Rand family business, and ruined her father, which made her hate the communists, and all socialism, and write books extolling the virtues of unhinged self-interest. So, yeah: the Germans.

The day I wrote this I was home with the Queen of the Goofballs, and we were at home because the day before had been a gong show of freezing rain and people driving like kale-and-fart-stinking-Toronto poets trying to get to an open bar (I’m looking at you, UK EXPAT vanity plate), and the driveway like it’s primed and ready for its luge event, and not today, Death.

Soon, very soon, the shadow will shake your hand,

p.s. This is a version of my Tinyletter –– a free personal essay about art and life I send out every Tuesday.

an alphabet for inner panic; collage on wood



Monday, January 15, 2018

the agent from the inner circle

an original mixed media painting on cradled wood panel

24 x 24 x 1 1/2 inches

ready to hang – wire hanger attached in back

sealed and protected with gloss varnish

Soon you will understand: she would not be here if things were going well, if certain plans had not degraded, if certain states were not in decay. She is urgency's pale representative. Skeptical, intelligent, somehow medical. Elegant, too –– in that cream-coloured coat, high at the collar, long to the knee, a swirling heart daubed to her chest. Black-handed, gloved in thin leather. Serious and Staring. A breaker of borders. A carrier of secrets and orders from a distant and unknown centre, saturated with lies and cold authority, a reader of signs, a calculator of efficiency and need, the on-site architect of control, or ruthlessness, or sudden mayhem, in the star-abraded cyan mint of early morning, in the waking light of that-which-must-be-done. Soon you will understand.

Part of a series I am doing on icons, archetypes –– characters that could be expressed on a card, like the symbols in Tarot. 

The horizontal lines you see are string, used to help fix the wood panel to the easel, then primed and painted right into the image. 

I wanted to be a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time. 
~ David Byrne

Let every eye negotiate for itself and trust no agent. 
~ William Shakespeare

If quick, I survive.
If not quick, I am lost.
This is "death.” 
~ Sun Tzu

shipped with care –– with board and wrap

everything from my store comes with an extra art surprise