Monday, November 23, 2015

Gallery shots at PCC

Here's some shots of my show at Portland Community College, "A God in the Hearth" which will be up until Jan 8, 2016.

To see titles and info on specific pieces go to my website.

the show is a registered event with ARTCOP21: a global festival of cultural events around climate change.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A God In The Hearth

Fire Study #20 oil on paper  12" x 16"
I first began to think deeply about the relationship between human beings and fire in October of 2013 while at the Playa Artist Residency Program in eastern Oregon. The residency lies at the foot of a steep escarpment called Winter Ridge on the shores of the shallow alkaline Summer Lake. It is a wide open high desert landscape, populated more by cattle than people and not many of either. All along the steep slopes of the ridge stood dead juniper and ponderosa pine, the blackened remnants of the Toolbox Complex Fire in 2002, one of the worst in the nation that year. Many nights at the residency I sat in the common room enjoying the warmth and light of a large stone fireplace while snow whirled and blew outside. The contrast between the wildfire that had swept this landscape (and which had come very close to destroying the property on which I stayed) and it’s comforting cousin in the hearth before me, became a focus of contemplation. 

The paintings in this exhibit are the beginning of an ongoing visual essay exploring our deep connection to fire and the impacts of fossil fuels. Without fire we would not even exist. Cooking food allowed our guts to shrink enabling us to walk upright, and our caloric hungry brains to grow ever larger. Using fire we became like it, sweeping across landscapes and transforming them utterly. In it’s varied forms we simultaneously love fire and fear it. But all too often, at our peril, we take it for granted. To make matters worse the fires that fuel modern life are largely hidden. For millenia the hearth fire was the center of social life, a source not only of nourishment but of light in the dark and warmth in the cold. But now most of our fire is locked away in engines and power plants, sealed up like a genie in a bottle and made to do our bidding. 

"Burn (Cascade Creek fire, Mt. Adams WA 2012)"  48" x 114"
These paintings compare traditional fires and fireplaces to the hidden fires in engines and power plants. Comparisons are also drawn between coal and wood, a reminder that fossil fuels are essentially fossil landscapes from a time eons before human beings existed. One ironic result of their use may well be an increase in wildfires on today’ s landscapes, especially in the American West. The work as a whole is meant to remind us of the primacy of fire in our lives, and to make us consider both the necessity and the difficulty of weaning ourselves from this dependency. For as our hidden hearths blaze merrily away the climate of the planet is changing as a direct result. 

Just because we don’t see the flames doesn’t mean the world isn’t burning.

October 2015
"Four studies of the Coal Fired Power Plant at Boardman OR"
oil on paper  12" x 16" each

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fire and coal plant studies at PGE

I just found out I'll get to hang some small paintings from my series "A God In The Hearth" at the offices of Portland General Electric. Those making it happen get the irony. So good for them. Oregon only has one coal fired power plant in operation. It's owned by PGE. But is scheduled to stop burning coal in a few years. So good for them. Now if only more states could follow suit.

Diptych #2 (fire and engine)

Diptych #5 (firewood and coal)

Four Boardman Coal Plant Studies

Thursday, August 20, 2015

More new diptychs about fire

A few more small pieces on paper paired up with old fire paintings and a smaller diptych on a sinlge sheet:

Diptych #8 (Fire and Forest) oil on paper  12" x 16" each

Diptych #9 (Fire and Slash Pile)  oil on paper  12" x 16" each

Outlet and Coal  oil on paper 16" x 12"

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Now in storage

My painting "Burn" is back at the gallery for now. "The World on Fire" is currently residing at my secret storage facility somewhere in the American West:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Triptych!

I painted these together and realized as I did so that they simply went together. Very happy with how these turned out.

"Triptych no.1"  oil on paper  12" x 16" each

Fire Study #20

Boardman Coal Plant Study #6

Log Pile #1

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"A God in the Hearth" now scheduled... twice

My show "A God in the Hearth" has now been officially scheduled. Twice.
The first showing will be at Portland Community College in the Cascade Campus gallery this November and will run through early January. Then the work will be shown at Betty Feves Gallery at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon from February into March of 2016. The first show will be a slightly smaller version than the second due to space limitations, but not too much smaller. I'm excited to experiment with the presentation as well, possibly including some installation work and a few choice quotes on the walls from my written essay on the topic like the one above. New work will be posted here soon.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The World on Fire

"Imagine the World Is On Fire. Because It Is"  oil on canvas  50" x 78"
A central image for my show on fire and fossil fuels. The idea here is to remember that all those lights shining on the dark side of the planet are in fact fueled by fire. Two thirds of the world's electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. Every gas and coal plant contains massive amounts of flame. There is fire burning inside every car and truck driving down the road. The world is engulfed in flame even if we don't see it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The work so far

For my own amusement I wanted to see some of the work I've done so far for my visual essay, "A god in the hearth" all together. The first iteration of this project centered exclusively on fire and was on display at Attic Gallery in September of 2014. The first version of it to include the engine and coal plant paintings will be shown at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon next February (2016). It will also include three more monumental paintings, one of the coal plant at Boardman, hopefully one of the coal mining operation in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming where the plant's coal comes from, and one of a satellite image of earth at night. And more small studies and diptychs like these.

Burn (Cascade Creek Fire, Mt. Adams WA 2012)  oil on canvas  48" x 114"
Diptych #1 (fire and engine) oil on paper  24" x 16
Diptych #2 (fire and engine) oil on paper  24" x 16
Diptych #3 (fire and engine) oil on paper  24" x 16
Diptych #4 (firewood and clearcut) oil on paper  24" x 16
Diptych #5 (firewood and coal) oil on paper  24" x 16
Diptych #7 (coal plant and brush burn) oil on paper  24" x 16
Boardman Coal Plant Study #1  oil on paper  12" x 16"
Boardman Coal Plant Study #2  oil on paper  12" x 16"
Boardman Coal Plant Study #3  oil on paper  12" x 16"
Boardman Coal Plant Study #5  oil on paper  12" x 16"

Friday, June 5, 2015

Two More Studies

Boardman Coal Plant Study #5
oil on paper  12" x 16"

Engine Study #7
oil on paper  12" x 16"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Three Boardman Studies

Here's three new Boardman studies based on my trip to the coal plant in Boardman Oregon this February.

Boardman Coal Plant Study no. 3 (Boiler Feed Pump Turbine) 
Boardman Coal Plant Study no. 4 (Burner)
This is just one of 32 burners that spew coal dust into the plant for combustion.
Boardman Coal Plant Study no. 2 (Ash Hopper)

Monday, May 11, 2015

People's Choice

My painting Burn in background at the West Coast Biennial in Redding CA.

This weekend I drove down to Redding California to pick up my painting "Burn" from the West Coast Biennial at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park Museum. When I got there I was told, "By the way, congratulations. You won the 'People's Choice' award".

I was and am incredibly touched. There is often a huge chasm between the aesthetics of the fine art world and the general public. What curators, museum directors and art critics pick out as noteworthy is often completely alien and incomprehensible to the individual who is likely to say, "I don't much about art but I know what I like." Personally I never saw any reason why one couldn't or shouldn't try to engage both audiences. The fact that Bonnie Laing-Malcomson, the curator of northwest art at the Portland Art Museum selected my piece to be included in this show was enormously gratifying to me. Winning the "People's Choice" award is equally so, and gives me hope that my work can occasionally bridge that yawning chasm.

"Burn (Cascade Creek Fire, Mt. Adams WA 2012)" 48" x 114" oil on canvas

Monday, April 20, 2015

Expressions West 2015

I delivered two pieces for "Expressions West" at the Coos Art Museum this last weekend. The show opens Friday, April 24 and runs through June 27. If you can't make it, no worries. I can't either. Coos Bay, Oregon is fairly remote from the big cities of the west coast, somewhere between Portland and San Francisco. But the museum there is a beautiful space in a beautiful part of the world. I really appreciate being a part of this show in part because the juror was the talented Brian Hoover. I was blown away by the this painting a while back when it showed up in an issue of New American Paintings.  Go explore his website:  You'll enjoy yourself.

artwork by Brian Hoover

When somebody whose work kind of knocks your socks off picks out your own work from among a crowd for some special attention it feels really really good. Thanks Mr. Hoover.

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Boardman study

Here's the first small study from the photos I took of the coal fired power plant in Boardman, Oregon.

Boardman study #1 (Steam pipes to generator)  oil on paper 12" x 16"

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The more I work on these small studies for my ongoing project about mankind's deep relationship with fire and the impacts of fossil fuels (a god in the hearth) the more I'm convinced I will eventually present them in this kind of format, framed together in pairs or diptychs (or possibly occasionally in threes, triptychs). There will be a lot of material to mix and match by the time I'm done.
I put these together for a residency application this week, which includes a few new pieces I haven't posted before.

Fire study #10 and Engine study #2, oil on paper, 12" x 16" each

Firewood study #2 and Clearcut study #1, oil on paper, 12" x 16" each

Firewood study #4 and Coal study #1, oil on paper, 12" x 16" each

Fire study #19 and Engine Study #5

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A show and a sneak preview of prints!

Attic Gallery in Portland asked me if I'd be willing to have a show of my older work that is still available. So of course I said, "Why not?" I also have a few small new pieces I'll be bringing down to include in the exhibition this April.

But it got me to thinking. There are a lot of older sold pieces that people still ask about. Recently a friend asked if she could have a small print of one these. She did a little research and found an awesome place here in Portland that specializes in fine art reproductions. I had two prints made for her and they came out great. So in addition to the older original works in the show I'll be selling affordable prints of some of my favorite images from years past. I haven't yet decided on how many or which ones but they will definitely include these three:

"The Playhouse"


"The Fox"

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A visit from paintings past

I recently received emails from a couple of people who purchased paintings of mine back in the late 1990s. My work has changed a lot since then. I was still new to painting but I rather like these still. It's always nice to see where they end up and know that they have happy homes!

"Psychodrama"  oil on board  32" x 48"  1997

"My Geppetto" oil on board  48" x 64"  1998

"The Colonade" oil on board  32" x 48"
Some people think you should never show old work. After all someone may like it better than yout new stuff and want you to do that again. Well, I can't go back and I won't paint like this any time in the future. But I always enjoy seeing other artists' older work. It gives you an idea of where they came from, what they worked through to get where they are. So there.

Anyway, thanks to the owners for sharing!