Monday, March 22, 2010


Merillo, 60" x 40", oil/panel, (click to enlarge)

This posting shows three new paintings that will be exhibited in Montreal on July 31, 2010 at Gallerie de Bellefeuille.  I will have a small exhibition there consisting of seven new works.  My new techniques have made smaller exhibitions the norm.  The time to complete each painting has more than tripled in the last two years.  That's OK, because the extra layers and drying time are worth the effort.  I have been able to achieve a richer luminosity.

Where Redwings Sing, 2010, oil/panel, 24" x 24".

There is a wetlands area a few miles from my studio.  I like to ride my bike over there and stop on a small bridge over the stream.  I get off my bicycle and stand very still for a while; just being there, soaking it in.  Often the sound-track for this experience is the sound of redwing blackbirds declaring their nesting territory.

High Valley Near Chama: Pond, 2010, oil/panel, 24" x 48"

Last summer we drove from Taos to Pagossa Springs in Colorado.  The trip was over a mountain range with a high valley.  Stopping for a picnic lunch, I had time to look at a small pond under a clump of trees.  This painting is based on my memories of that day.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Anahata, 24" x 24", oil/panel, (click to enlarge)

These two new paintings will be shown at the upcoming Art Chicago 2010 fair on April 30th - May 3 in the Tanner Hill Galleries booth.

Many thanks to Washington State artist Kent Lovelace for his kind appreciative words about my art in the latest edition of Southwest Art Magazine (April 2010).  The magazine printed an article about him based on a studio visit.  The writer asked about artists whose work he admires.  Kent remarked on his admiration for my sense of light and mastery of surface.

Mohawk River, 24" x 24", oil/panel

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gerald Roach

I'm so pleased to have been able to acquire a painting by Gerald Roach.  He was my first painting teacher at Dawson College in Montreal for the 1974-76 years.  I was pretty new to serious art making then and Gerry was kind enough to take me under his wing.  The struggle to learn the fundamentals was fraught with difficulty and frustration for me.  Where other students seemed to have little trouble, I struggled.  But Gerry kindly spent lots of extra time going over my efforts and correcting many bad habits.  The best day of my studies at Dawson College occurred when he told me I was "becoming a top flight drawer and painter".  His encouragement and patience made all the difference.

Gerald Roach suffered a stroke a few years ago.  He passed away last year.

September Mountain, 1968, oil/panel, 24" x 36" (Gerald Roach)

Roger H. Boulet wrote the following for the Art Gallery of Pentiction's Survey Show for Roach in 1993.  "Gerald Roach emerged as an artist in the early 1960's. Upon his graduation from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Roach produced some non-figurative works which were highly praised by critics and colleagues alike. While these works were inspired by nature, as was much of the 1950's and 1960's abstraction, figuration returned to his work, a development that was greeted with dismay. These works, which Roach describes as the products of his 'scabrous' period, share some of the characteristics of figurative artists working in Eastern Canada at that time... Phillip Surrey, Goodridge Roberts, John Snow and John Little among others. What these artists shared in common was an interest in humanity and the city, typical of the Regionalism which prevailed in North American art during the 1930's and 1940's.

When Roach moved to Montreal to work for the National Film Board in 1968, after a number of years working at the restoration of Louisbourg fortress on Cape Breton, he changed his style again. Whatever influence nature had had on his work vanished in this urban environment. The great figurative tradition in European art history became his principal source of inspiration and led to a series of works on apparently religious subjects. A closer examination of these works reveals that it is the artistic tradition that is being quoted and the spirituality in the works belongs far more to a humanistic tradition than to a religious one. The figures come from Cape Breton, harsh peasants familiar with pain and suffering that has hardened them.

Roach left Montreal in 1980 where he had been teaching drawing and painting at the Montreal Museum School of Art and Design and at Dawson College. He returned to Cape Breton. Quite wilfully, he isolated himself in the harsh Cape Breton highlands, without amenities, and turned to painting full time. This could not have been a more emphatic return to nature. Now landscapes became the principal focus of his work. Roach responded to nature in much the same way that the Romantic painters had done more than a century before. The powerful emotion generated by the contemplation of nature is transformed in the ecstatic representation of landscape."

Tucumtara Plains

TucumTara Plains, 36" x 48", oil/panel (click to enlarge)

This painting extends my investigation of single trees in a very spare landscape.  I have formalized the presentation of these tree paintings by simplifying the environment down to sky, clouds and distance.  I like to do this in order to emphasize the presence of the tree form.  Eliminating all other distractions encourages the viewer to perceive the tree as a living presence.