Monday, January 27, 2014


I did this painting last summer, while we were in Michigan. It came together quickly, I think because I allowed myself to throw whatever I liked into it without wondering too much What It All Means.

That's a good way to kill a piece, over-thinking.

"Shibboleth," 18 x 30", oil on canvas

I had started another piece with the same Delft pattern in it, and loved it so much that I wanted to put it everywhere. Delft is a city in The Netherlands that produced hand-painted earthenware in the 17th century, with its tulip and windmill and animal motifs, all done in that distinctive shade of blue.. cobalt, cerulean, pthalocyanine... my palette can't quite capture it. I can remember seeing plates and saucers and salt & pepper shakers in Delft Blue in my grandparents' buffet growing up, so it has nostalgic value, too.

There's something about painting patterns that is so satisfying for me, despite it also being repetitive and sort of laborious. I love working on tiny details and then stepping back to see how they decorate the whole.

I like how it's all loosely patched together, an arbitrary collage of information. Like a dream, where things are on the periphery, on the tip of your tongue, undefinable but completely understood.


Thursday, January 9, 2014


My friend Naomi has shown up in more of my paintings than any other single person. She modeled for me back in the San Francisco days, when I used to paint on cardboard. I may have been a total amateur then, but I know a muse when I've got one: She has one of those faces that wants to be painted.

She's also a dancer, so she radiates this fierce confidence, even when she's doing nothing more than gazing off into the distance.

If anyone can rock a mohawk, it's her.

I worked from a photo for this piece, like most of my other portraits, but wanted to break out of my literal color rendering and do something bold. She deserves it.