Friday, February 27, 2009

Angel with Magic Hands

“Angel with Magic Hands” is painted on canvas, which I gessoed to double thick mat board and floated atop a masonite background, then framed under glass using a spacer to create a shadowbox effect. I made several paintings like this- they had an intimate appeal, a looking-glass window into my very big imagination. Also, I’ve always loved mixing media and experimenting with materials.

When I made “Angel with Magic Hands” ten years ago, I was freshly new to St. Louis, a young man with big ideas, hopes, and dreams. Now I sometimes wonder. I was selling these down at Archetypes, then a few doors down from Vintage Vinyl on The Loop, along with a variety of shrink-wrapped prints of my paintings and some other paintings, etcetera … had a good little run down there for awhile. It seems like a lifetime away, ten years. I scarcely remember my inspiration for this one, though I had made a couple paintings of “St. Michael”, and I’ve been known to use the bible for material. He could be some version of the Biblical Avenger of Heaven, readying to deal retribution. Every artist worth his salt must deal with God/Religion/Mortality sooner or later, if not in his work, in his life. While I am somewhat skeptical of people claiming unbending faith in their religion, I am equally suspicious of those who say a “higher power” is myth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Cry" and "Fallen"

Two more on cut carboard for you- “Cry” and “Fallen”. May I say that there are many varying types of this “substrate”- these two were made on a double thick variation with a softer, more paper-like surface, which was harder to cut with presicion, and difficult to staple down to my workboard with ¼” staples. They soaked up the paint and varnish like a sponge too, which made the colors really deep and “waffled” the surface a little more. I prefer the single-ply with stiffer covering, but I’m still pleased with them, “Cry” in particular. At some point I need to try to show some of these together if possible… like, out in public, with other people looking at them, wine and cheese, etcetera…

Monday, February 23, 2009


Another one on cut cardboard- the ideas just keep coming, faster than I can cut them out/paint them. It rained pretty good the night I created “Storm”, though I was already well into it before night brought the weather. As I was finishing cutting it out, the sky opened up and an earthshaking thunderbolt cracked outside, like a moment right out of Frankenstein- IT’S ALIVE! Ha! Seriously… I’m not even kidding. So, that was fun…
I can’t wait for spring- I love painting at night with the door open while it’s raining. It brings me great peace, listening to the Earth take a big drink… knowing that soon the sun will warm the land, flowers will bloom, and everything will again be reborn.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tony Renner... in cut cardboard.

Tony Renner
acrylic, corrugated board, varnish
16 x 20"

I'd been toying with the idea of doing a portrait on cut cardboard for a couple weeks, in the same fashion I’d crafted the birds.  I have one of Tony’s smaller paintings (painted on an index card), a portrait of Miles Davis, 1975, which I have framed hanging over my nightstand so I can see it every day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Accidental Mysteries and Confluence City both posted old photos today, and this set me to looking at some of my old pics from photography class at the University- so I dug some out and scanned them. I would never claim to be a great photographer, but I thought I’d share a few. There are some really great photographers in our great city of St. Louis- I enjoy Ken Konchel, Bob Reuter recently shot some awesome pics of my friend Leslie Sanazaro, and I recently purchased a piece from Missy Sue Hanson.
Sorry about the crappy scan job- the originals look better. I was shooting with a manual Canon AE-1 back in 1995, which I still have, and developing/printing them in the cramped darkroom with all the other students- Old School! My professor actually said I had decent technical ability, and I was somewhat prolific, though he thought they were a bit sentimental. I couldn’t help that much, due to the nature of the subject matter: I was teaching preschool to make ends meet while I studied art education, and so these children seemed like an obvious choice. He gave me a "B". Of course I quit school and ran off to St. Louis to be a famous artist and musician  :D

While some of them seem staged, the truth is that my kids became so accustomed to my ever-present camera that they soon forgot I was shooting rolls of film of them almost continually. There were the token movie stars/comedians/actors who would ham it up for the lens though, that is true. Looking back I now see I was not only documenting their day-to-day, but also my own development as a young man and artist. I learned a great deal from these little people- watching them draw really loosened my creativity, and watching them live taught me to care about someone more than I cared about myself. So yeah, they  sentimental.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

World of Love

“World of Love” isn’t about romantic love, it’s about the kind of love that is all around. A funny thing happens when you start to concentrate on how you are planting that seed of real love in the every-day instead of trying to find someone to love you: you begin to see more clearly what’s important. Did someone let you down, break your heart, or reject the love you tried so hard to give? Have you been misunderstood and ridiculed for only trying to be friendly? That’s ok- it happens a lot... just ask me sometime.