boxing is easy, love is much harder


boxing is easy, love is much harder; a book art object, front and back covers, 6 x 9 x 1 inches.

I have three quotes for this one

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
~ Lao Tzu

Boxing is smoky halls and kidneys battered until they bleed.
~ Roger Kahn

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Snowing today, which means I have a push-shovel workout waiting for me at home.


guys who die at sea


GUYS WHO DIE AT SEA –– a library card art set connected around the theme of doomed naval men. The titles in this set are:

An Introduction to Naval Court Martial Procedure by Arthur Dyce Duckworth (1943)

Early English and French Voyages by Henry Sweetser Burrage (1923)

Naval Courts Martial by David Hannay (1914)

Histoire de l’Atlantique by Jacques Léon Godechot (1947)

No Place to Hide by David J. Bradley (1948)

You can read more about them here.

And then it was 2018. Most of us (?) went back to work today even while the office buildings remained sullen and half empty from desperate trips to Florida or diabolical viruses. Right now my coworker is barking like a dog. I thought more people would be here today, she coughs and coughs.

three library card art sets

These make up a set called “math and physics things” –– algebra, aviation, networks, relativity and combustion processes. With the science cards I just draw what I please, as life is short and one only has so much time to invest in an illustration for “Introduction to Modern Algebra and Matrix Theory”.

This one I call “SOCIOLOGY AND CULTURE LIBRARY CARD ART SET” –– economics, elites, social reality. This theme allows more in, given the endless expressive nature of the human face and form.

A set on writers and writing. Now we can be a bit more specific: Heroic Poetry, by Sir Cecil M Bowra; The Penguin Book of American Short Stories; Ezra Pound, by GS Fraser; How to Write Short Stories, by RW Lardner; The Poetical Works of P.B Shelley.

With all of these I’m just trying to assemble something varied and lively. You can see more of my work here.

a video snapshot

I’ve started to create videos as another means of showing what I have in my online studio store. They’re great for showing detail, for hovering over the work in a close-up way that highlights just how textured and intricate the work can be. Ironically, it’s a two-dimensional means of showing the best three-dimensional aspects of the work. A video of what’s current also helps to clarify where I’m at with my work.

… but the sky is empty.

large paintings in my studio

A short video of large paintings in my studio (and online store) as of August 1st, 2017. I want to make more of these kinds of things, as much for my own memory (it doesn’t take long to forget what I’ve done, what I’ve sold where) as anything else.

The title of this post comes from a Sylvia Plath quotation: “I talk to God but the sky is empty.” It fits well with the first painting I’ve done since getting back from holidays ––and back into the studio this past Sunday, called The Doubter.

The Doubter; mixed media, 24 x 30 x 1.75 inches, cradled wood panel.

In Dracula, Bram Stoker writes: “I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.”

I doubt almost everything these days. I turn on the radio and hear impossible things – Los Angeles actually wanting the 2028 Summer Olympics (please see the smoking economic ruins of Athens, Rio, et al) or the son of an American president taking hotel-room meetings with Russians. What to eat, what not to eat (right now fasting seems to be a thing), how to exercise, what to read, what to wear, how to get rich. As I get older I seem to have embraced a kind of blankness, as if the noise of the world was smoke, and the only real thing behind it is the idea that I should stick to my own plans.

But I did have a good holiday, in that crooked little cottage overlooking the Northumberland Strait. Two weeks was enough: I read four books, took innumerable naps, walked in the ocean, hit golf balls with a wedge from sandbar to sandbar, up and down the shore. But I always fill up with schemes and intention while on holiday, so it’s good to be back, and we’ll see how we do.

The heart of a maiden is a dark forest.



The Maiden; mixed media on cradled wood panel, 18 x 24 x 1.75 inches.

Second blonde in a row for me, while still on this kick of icons (martyrs, idols, demigods, characters more poster than real) in a larger format. But the ideas for working small are creeping in, too.

Strange times. I look at the news and see spidery arrangements in lies and advertising. Of course the broken centre of this is the president of the United States, a character so blurry and appalling as to not seem real. Which, in a way, he is not. It seems even within the confines of his own skull he is not. The cultural historian Patrick Wright once described him as

A smudged deadbeat left over from the Reagan era … and propped up in a temporary kind of way by ailing US and Japanese banks that couldn’t afford to let him expire completely … If Trump was in the White House which, as he was rash enough to hint in those undiminished days, he might well be before too long, then he could follow the examples of Presidents Reagan and Harding, and look for astrological anchorage in the stars.

Or Twitter. That was in 1991. I guess this is the logical wreckage of neoliberalism, of the the triumph of markets and money and branded individualism above all. Trump speaks the language of reality television, which is really very simple: promise anything to anyone, and otherwise say whatever you need to say to confuse the issue, while advancing spaces in your mind. Even on TV this is sometimes dubious.

My attention to this is sporadic, at best. All I can do is work. There are really very few things I am any good at. I hope painting is one of them.

june is no summer at all



Or at least it hasn’t been –– just gloom and humidity, with intermissions of wind and rain. An impression of weak sun, here and there. WAKE UP.

Summer is hard on the artist. Rounding the corner into July, which announces itself as SUMMER in the same way that Godzilla enters a room –– no matter what the weather, YOU WILL HAVE FUN, YOU MUST BE HAVING FUN –– one can almost feel the psychic descent that takes place, as all plans go out the window, and the notion of work becomes a mannequin heaved to the sidewalk. All around you, all the time, nothing is getting done.

But art doesn’t like to be picked up and discarded at one’s convenience. Certainly, there are ebbs and flows, but ‘breaks’ have a certain price tag attached –– muscles not used, imagination in decay.

For me, the fact that I have a studio that I pay for exclusively with proceeds from my visual art and writing demands that I use it consistently and effectively. It means discipline. It means going in there regularly and making something from nothing.

I have two weeks coming up where I should get to do a lot of work in a hurry. Wish me luck.