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Charlotte: Life? or Theatre?

 

 

In the Dutch city of Haarlem, in 1982, my friend Eva Durlacher excitedly presented me with the massive book “Charlotte: Life? or Theatre?”, which I eventually carted back to Canada. It was pretty clear that she considered this to be more than a book- it seemed to be more a way of looking at the world, for her. The book contains 769 gouache paintings by Charlotte Salomon (chosen from 1279 painted over the course of two years), a woman killed in a concentration camp in 1943 at the age of 26.

After Kristallnacht in 1938, Charlotte was sent from Berlin to the south of France to seek shelter and protection from a family friend. There her grand-mother committed suicide, and Charlotte learned that her own mother’s death when she was nine years old had also been a suicide. Her mother’s sister had killed herself four years before Charlotte was born- in fact, as she learned, two men and six women in her family had killed themselves over the previous three generations. Charlotte felt that she “now had the choice of taking her own life, or doing something undreamt-of”. She chose the latter.

It was revealed in 2015 that Charlotte poisoned her grandfather some months before she was taken to Auschwitz, and drew him as he died. He apparently had a habit of trying to bed her, saying “I’m in favour of what’s natural”. I think it’s safe to say she didn’t like him too much.

The gouache paintings are the story of her life, and are in many respects a precursor to, or perhaps in a way the first graphic novel. All the paintings are accompanied by text; the book can be read from start to finish like a novel. Some paintings show one scene; others show a progression of scenes or actions, or sometimes just a series of talking heads. The paintings are intense, emotional, and immediate. Not to mention beautiful.

 

Here is a recent article from The New Yorker: The Obsessive Art and Great Confession of Charlotte Salomon

From the Jewish Women’s Archive: Charlotte Salomon

Apparently she has a facebook page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giclée Prints!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would like the world to know that I am offering giclée prints. Giclées are inkjet prints using pigmented inks (rather than dye-based inks) for longevity and quality of colour. The scan taken of the original artwork is highly detailed, collecting far more information than is standard for a digital print, and the paper used is archival (acid-free). A good giclée print is practically indistinguishable from the original work.

 

Some of my giclée prints are 16X20 inches and cost $125.00 each; some are 13X17 inches and cost $100.00 each. 

16X20 inch prints at $125.00: Amy Winehouse, Etta James, Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits.

13X17 inch prints at $100.00: David Bowie, Nina Simone, Iggy Pop, Joni Mitchell, Prince, Sarah Vaughn, Sharon Jones, and Thelonious Monk.

 

Please take a look at my shop, here.

And if you’d like to sign up to receive blog posts when they appear, please go here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodrow White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had been following Woodrow White on Instagram for quite a while before I realized that he was the son of one of my favourite artists, Wayne White. On Instagram Woodrow White is doing these amazing drawings/caricatures of politicians currently in the news in the U.S. of A. – they are hilarious and devastating. But before he started doing those I was in love with his paintings- I wish I could paint like that. The colour, the assuredness, the looseness. Take a look at his Instagram AND at his website… strangely he is not yet as popular as he should be, in my unesteemed opinion.

Woodrow White’s Instagram

Woodrow White’s website

 

 

 

Legacy Magazine

 

 

“Brain Scan No. 7” was used to illustrate an article by Anne Mullens in Legacy magazine. Legacy magazine is “a progress update of the accomplishments of the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative”, and the article, which you can read above, lists four traits in youth that could make them more susceptible to alcohol and substance abuse. A training program called Preventure has been developed to identify such children and provide them with cognitive behavioral techniques that can help mitigate potentially problematic behaviours. MORE POWER TO THEM.

 

 

Brain Scan 7 – 2016

 

 

 

 

Prince Rogers Nelson – June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prince died one year ago today. I was shocked and upset for quite some time, surprising myself. I didn’t own everything he’d ever released; I didn’t know his oeuvre back to front. I knew “Sign of the Times” and “The Black Album” and most of the hits, but that was it. Still, I found myself googling pictures of him and articles about his death, and crying, for weeks.

I’ve been sitting here for some minutes now trying to think how best to describe what he (and the music of his that I loved) meant to me, but I’m not coming up with anything terribly brilliant (apart from the fact that it was FAR TOO SOON). I’m going to let Michael Chabon, who posted the following on Instagram the day Prince died, do it for me:

“I came of age feeling drawn to the borderlands. I felt like I did not belong anywhere except wherever nobody belonged, and that I could not, would never want to be defined except as someone who instinctively rejected definition. It was exhilarating but it was lonely and confusing. You looked for people who seemed to be walking the tightrope between This and That (or This and Not-This) with grace, confidence, an appearance of fearlessness, a wanton disregard of gravity and physics. Between “high art” and “pop.” Between “black” music and “white” music. Between white and black, straight and gay, male and female, cool and nerdy, genre and mainstream, rooted and uprooted, old school and avant-garde, commercial and arty. Between synth-bass minimalism and a shredding Telecaster solo. Between anyplace they stuck you and everywhere you knew you had the right, and the desire, to be.

He surfaced like Aphrodite in a fizz of synth foam with his second album, when he was 21 and I was 16, and at once became my surest guide. Nobody ever walked that tightrope between the Approved Categories with greater heedlessness, verve, aplomb. He wasn’t lost, drifting, incapable of choosing. But he also wasn’t choosing nothing. He chose never to feel the need to choose. In a culture debilitatingly addicted to labels and categories, Prince gave them all the Slip.

No one else could have felt, understood, expressed so perfectly the quantum state of identity that Prince folded, set to music as tightrope-walking as any he ever recorded, into the lyric: “If I was your girlfriend Would U remember 2 tell me all the things U forgot When I was your man?” When he sung these and all the rest of the lyrics to “If I Was Your Girlfriend” (on Sign O’ the Times, his masterpiece of the Slip) he was not just posing a rhetorical or cute question. He had thought about it. He had imagined it. He had wanted it. Being someone’s girlfriend was something that on some level he knew he could, maybe even should, do. Or, at least, that no one was ever going to tell him he couldn’t.” -Michael Chabon, April 21st, 2016.

 

The week after Prince died, I painted several portraits of him (above). They’re all pretty loose; some resemble him more than others. Some I will never show. The ones I’m going to post here are all for sale and will soon be in my store (this weekend I hope… work continues on the website): they 15X21 inches, ink on paper, in 18X24 inch frames- $650 framed, $600 unframed.

Please feel free to contact me.

 

 

 

100 Days on the couch and the floor

 

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Two years ago I was smack-dab in the middle of The 100 Day Project, painting a portrait a day from Marco Anelli‘s book “Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramović“. Anelli’s book is comprised of photos he took of each person who sat before Abramović during her three-month long performance piece at MoMA in 2010- “The Artist is Present“. I fell in love with the Anelli‘s book and decided to use it to participate in The 100 Day Project- something that happens once a year whereby people choose something they’re going to do each day (art, poetry, dance- doesn’t matter), document it, and post it to social media.

The photos above were taken by Wendy Nesbitt, whose blog you should check out. Sure, why not lay around on the couch and on the floor surrounded by my 100 paintings? Far be it from me to refuse my chance for glory, or “15 minutes of fame”, or anything I can get. My millions of followers can attest to what a hype hog I am. (Uh, did I just coin a new term…?)

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WALLPAPER!

When I was ten my bedroom was to be painted, and I was allowed to choose the colour and choose wallpaper for a “feature wall”. I chose MAUVE, and the wallpaper was also mauve and sported “mod” girls in miniskirts who appeared to be caught in suspended animation while dancing. I remember that one of them had a “pixie cut” (as I did) and hoop earrings. My bed was against that wall so I stared at that wallpaper quite a bit- you could see that the paper had manually been printed upon because there were inconsistencies and parts that were slightly goopier than others, and was as flat, unglossy, and chalky-looking as could be. This is *not* what it looked like, but this is generally the style:

 

 

 

 

 

The colour mauve, generally speaking, now makes me want to dry heave, but I do remember how much I loved that colour and that wallpaper at the time. Take a gander at a short video about Secondhand Rose, a woman with a deep smoky voice who sells vintage wallpaper in NYC. Apparently the store has been closed, but you can order online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearse

 

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Hearse is a Victoria, BC band comprised of J. McLaughlin and Grayson Walker, and I get to paint their portrait! They came over for dinner and a photo shoot, and there was revelry. This was not a shock.

The general consensus, from all of the photos that worked out, is that the first photo shown here is the one I should use. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.  I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to test it out yet, and I have other things to clear off my plate before I will get to it.

Comments, people?

 

Check out Hearse!

Their WEBSITE.

Their FACEBOOK PAGE.

 

 

Johnny Winter for Christmas

 

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I painted Johnny Winter for my brother for Christmas, because I know he loves him, and he’s been hinting for a while that he wanted a painting. It turned out to be the only painting I’ve squeezed out in the last few months, but it was a good’un because it did the trick- my brother was “gobsmacked”. I’ve added Johnny to my series of “Loved Ones“, though truth be told I don’t love him like my brother does. My brother loves the BLUES, and he loves guitar. And I love my brother, so………… Johnny Winter.

 

 

Dolly Parton, Help Me

 

 

Here’s the story. I haven’t been able to do artwork for a few months, and I’m trying to get back in the saddle. It’s always a bit dicey. I’m rusty, and at the same time I’m determined that I simply must try to do something new and different. (Sigh. Always with the “musts”). I’ve been posting a lot of my older collage work on Instagram and it got me thinking that I’d like to try to combine my portraits with my collage. I’ve done lots of painting on collage in the past, but not the portraits per se, and not with black ink dripping and/or spreading-into-the-paper. If you follow me. It was usually very tight line work done with white ink on top of the collage.

So I got started, and I glued some pieces from an old map to the paper I usually use for ink portraits. Then came the question… who do I want to paint? I have a cache of photos of people I want to paint, but none of them felt right. Frankly, I wanted someone with a lot of hair, and I came up with Dolly Parton. She’s never been a particular favourite of mine… she just happened to fit the bill. Sorry Dolly.

Yesterday was Day 2 of working on Dolly, and I decided I should just finish the damn thing as I wasn’t going to get the results I was after. I thought I would listen to some Dolly Parton on my computer while doing so. I wanted to listen to her bluegrass recordings, but the first thing I came across was a clip where I discovered that Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You”, which I only knew as a Whitney Houston hit. I watched Dolly Parton explain that she had written it for Porter Wagoner when he was being a dick about her leaving his TV show and breaking out on her own, then found a clip of her singing it on his show in 1974. I was surprised! New respect for Dolly!

I then went back to searching for bluegrass recordings, and found a playlist. But you know how youtube playlists can be. It started out with bluegrass, but soon I found myself listening to some seriously melodramatic schlock, and discovered that Dolly has (or developed?) a habit of falling into whispering at pertinent junctures, ie, when she wants to point out that “here is where you should start to cry”. And I simply cannot abide by that. I continued to paint for a while, but with loud exclamations of “Oh my God! NO!” For some reason, as an antidote, I switched immediately to Perfume Genius.

What a roller-coaster ride! Respect for Dolly! Disdain for Dolly! Surely the truth lies somewhere in between. And she did help me out with the hair and all.

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And maybe for good measure I should throw in the collage of Dolly I made back in the late eighties. Just to come full circle. Circle of what, I couldn’t say.