Cold City

Originally posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cold City
Oil on Canvas
42 x 26
When my friend commissioned this painting the only direction I had were a couple of images that caught his eye.  The common factor was a pretty monochromatic piece with an intense blue area somewhere in the painting.  He gave me the perfect amount of input in what catches his eye but gave ultimate freedom  in the end result.  (An aside, I turned down a commission once because the person was too specific on what she wanted, the painting she was looking at except with her husbands yacht in it.  Good lord that would have been a painfully uninteresting piece of shit.)  OK back on track.  The grand idea here is this ominous towering city in a sort of dreamlike fog.  But the city isn't a trap or so oppressive of an environment that you can't escape.  Between the buildings is a wide avenue opening to the breaking dawn just filtering through the fog. 

A couple years ago I did a city scape painting called Rat Trap, which came out of a time in my life where I felt trapped.  (1999-2009 section)    I feel this painting, Cold City, is coming from a place in my life that is filled with a lot more hope in the future.  I think if you could put these two together, eve though the rat trap is more colorful, I feel it is more ominous.  I called this a cold city, but it doesn't mean a city without life.  I see it more as a cold facade but underneath is filled with life and warmth. While I worked on this I documented stages of my process.  I began with a bright orange background for a hidden subtext of warmth, that even when the city seems cold and insensitive there can be found warmth in it's humanity.  The edges, which are unseen in photos, are painted in the orange to refer back to this warmth below the apparent frosty exterior.

Why you don't throw a mistake out

Originally posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013

As funds have been tight for buying new canvas or more resin, I've been finding a lot of inspiration in what were shelved projects, mistakes, or stuff that was pretty much about to be thrown out. Recent examples...

....and this one where I had painted a panel of resin encasing a canvas.  It sat to the side for a long time when I then started to strip off the old paint, and added a picture I really love of my niece and nephew.  

....for this I had a couple plywood panels I'd been paint while out of canvas, but I didn't really know what to do with them.  I liked them fine alone, but just didn't feel they were interesting.  I had these resin castings that didn't really turn out and I didn't know what to do with, then the idea came. Put the resin between the boards making it look sort of like they were being pulled apart. 

At the end of it, what was close to trash has become a couple art projects I'm really quite proud of. 


Originally published on Sunday, April 7, 2013

Self Portal
mixed media
March 2013

This piece I intended to be ready to post on January 1st, seemed like a nice rounded date to say what I wanted to say with it.  That after close to forty years of this life struggling with figuring out my sexual identity I can finally openly admit that yes I am gay.  To the point this morning at church, when the pastor asked how I was doing, I could say that I was hurting because my boyfriend had broken up with me a couple days ago. 

This brings in the point of why it's taken me close to 40 years to come out.  I am also a Christian.  I grew up going to church, my dad was a pastor and a missionary.  Yet from as far back as I can recall I was more attracted to men, and I understood this to be wrong, evil, ungodly.  I was torn up inside, knowing what I felt about myself and what I understood God to be. For years I tried counseling with pastors, therapists, and even ex-gay ministries to cure myself.  I can't recall the amount of times I was close to killing myself because of how much I loathed myself for being attracted to men.  

The question that came to mind continually for me was how can a good, loving and caring God allow me to be this way and demand that I repress and hide it so I can be one of "his children"?  I vividly recall the pastor at a church I went to tell a story about a man who left his family because he was gay, the pastor prayed with the son that if the father was going to be unrepentant that God deal with him.  The story concludes with the father dying suddenly shortly after.  This was seen as a triumph of Godliness. I saw it as a condemnation of my life.  I began praying that if God wouldn't cure me he'd kill me.  

After several years of prayer, study and introspection, I realized the God I thought I knew was not the God I read about in the Bible.  The God I thought I knew was evil, maniacal, vindictive all in the name of holiness.  The God of the Bible is Holy, yes, but loving and gracious.  I began to see that he made me this way not as a curse, or a fell joke, but just as a part of who I am.  And who I am is a blessing, not a curse.  Once I began to be ok with myself, know that I am no worse than any man (to quote Jean Val Jean) and more importantly know truly that God made me and loves me the way he made me, I began to be free to see his love in the Bible.  Only a few months ago I was finally able to say that I am gay without fear, shame or guilt, and once I was able to be truthful, not just to myself but to others, I knew the reality of the verse that says "the truth shall set you free"

This painting is the most personal I have done since my series on suicide (see Tuesday, October 11, 2011 "Self-pitying little whimpers")  It is personal because it's about me trying to climb out of this hole of loathing and self-hatred that I've been consumed by for most of my post pubescent life.  The cost has been heartache and blood, my proverbial and Jesus' literal.  I am out of the hole, and free to live as I believe God intended me to live. A life in truth,community, and love. A life that no longer is condemned to be alone but able to find (as Genesis calls it) my helper suitable, a man who will stand with me, that I can love and share life with and together grow closer to the God who made us and brought us together. 

Abstracted Super Friends

Originally published on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Abstracted Super Friends
Admittedly, I am a bit of a geek.  I have a decided fondness for sci-fi, fantasy, and comics, all those "geek culture" things.  My knowledge in this area is rather scatter shot and no where near to in depth.  This said, I had been watching some of the Justice League animated features on Netflix and they got me thinking about the old Super Friends shows I loved as a kid.  A thought began to grow about doing a series of paintings based on these iconic DC characters.  But did I really want to do straight up portraits?  Which incarnation would I pick?  I kept the idea in the back of my mind for a while, then one day while walking to the Seattle Art Museum it hit me, why not do abstracts of them.  A series of imagery based on impressions the characters left on me.  The result follows.


Originally published on Sunday, November 4, 2012

acrylic on plywood