When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

"Color! What a deep and mysterious language..." (Paul Gauguin)

Archive for December, 2008

Salish Whorl Chair finished

Saturday, December 20th, 2008


Salish (Pacific Northwest) Wooden Whorl Replica chair - finished detail of 29H x 29W x 29D inches 1960s Chair and mixed media

The original Salish Pacific Northwestern Native Wooden for spinning yarn, about 6 x 6 inchesAbout the chairs: Art on Art on Art – A Tribute to Creativity

Each functional, comfortable 29 x 29 x 29 inch replica of ancient Art or artifact re-utilizes vintage plastic lawn chairs that were considered Art during the 1960’s. The original structures, damaged or unusable were refurbished by a process of weaving canvas strips along with white glue paper-mache style over the entire plastic top and bottom, and multiple layers of drywall compound sanded in between coats. Designs are drawn with graphite, painted with acrylics and a few coats of varnish for durability, then waxed to finish and enrich the colors. Two more Solaire chairs and other styles of chairs are in various stages of completion yet to be embellished with historic Art themes from other cultures. Other styles of chairs are also in progress.

Salish NW Pacific Wooden Whorl Replica Chair, 29 x 29 x 29 inches, Vintage chair, canvas strips, plaster, acrylics, varnished and waxed; durable, functionalThe skeletal structure of these chairs, called Solaire chairs, were manufactured during the 1960s and 1980s. Art in their own day, these particular ones were unusable; in poor condition they were bound for the landfill sight. Originals designed by Fabiano and Panzini, a French Canadian team, the Solaire chairs are now collectors items, some selling for $500.

The first chair to be up-cycled was a large replica of a Mayan bowl. The Mayan culture (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras, 900 B.C. – 900 A.D. Common Era)  developed a very complex written language using pictographs. Many of these were facial expressions and hand gestures. The bowl displays the birth of the Maize God, and along the top edge the name of the bowl’s owner is written, as well as possibly what it was used for.

Salish Carved Wood Whorl
Eve Spinning, 1170 A.D. Illuminated manuscript from the Hunterian Psalter (book of Psalms)Whorls are weights that stabilize used for spinning yarn. The yarn in this case would have been wound just above the whorl. Spinning yarn and weaving fabric are some of humankind’s oldest technology. Left: example of a spindle with whorl,  Eve Spinning Illuminated Manuscript c. 1170 A.D.

Historically everywhere wood has been used for tools, utensils and everyday items, they were often carved. The original spindle whorl that was the inspiration for this chair was used by a Salish Northwest Pacific coast community living south and east of Vancouver Island. Here a central human figure holds two otters. A Kwakiutl (also living in Vancouver Island territory) prayer to a Cedar tree prayer was very much a part of the inspiration for this chair. It reads: “Look at me friend! I come to ask you for your dress, since there is nothing you cannot be used for. I come to beg you for this, Long-life maker”.

Cured plaster, acrylic paint over graphite, and carving started    Salish Wooden Whorl Chair - rubbing off paint to create carved effects. Finished chair is varnished then waxed.

December 18th: Finishing details, further definition with acrylics and two coats of varnish, waxed. Decided against the decoupage of the Kwakiutl prayer to a Cedar tree because it does not look as good as hoped. December 16th: Carved the plaster in areas then inlaying purple for contrast rather than black. Purple glazes also make yellows much richer.
The back and under-side of the chair is painted to look carved. The undercoat of yellows shines through succeeding layers, and carved wood textures are created with varnish leaving raised brushstrokes, and am trying whatever else I can think of to make it look like wood! More modeling with plaster and light sanding, then redrawing with graphite, and the design is continually adjusted.


$2,000.00          Buy Now Using PayPal


New chair started: Salish Wooden Whorl

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


1960's plastic lawn chair, woven canvas strips, glue, plaster

Salish Spindle Whorl replica started, layers of woven canvas and plaster, dried and cured, then 1st graphite design outline

This functional replica of a Salish Carved Wood Whorl re-utilizes a 1960’s plastic lawn chair, 29H x 29W x 29D inches that was considered Art in its own day. The refurbished chair has woven canvas strips and white glue applied paper-mache style over the entire plastic top and bottom. Multiple layers of wall plaster are sanded in between coats. The design is sketched with graphite then painted with acrylics, and drawing is continually adjusted as layering of materials continues.This is the second chair of four in the historic Art-themed series. The other two chairs are in the earlier stages of progress.

First coats of Acrylics paint and texturizing with varnish Layering more plaster then redrawing and adjusting the design

Approaching Winter

Sunday, December 7th, 2008


Approaching Winter, top half detail, 60 x 40 x 3 inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas $1,100

Approaching Winter, bottom half detail, 60 x 40 x 3 inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas $1,100


 Approaching Winter finished today,  60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas. More contemporary than my usual work, thought I’d try a new approach to painting…with more attention to editing rather than overworking. Shown in two detail images above, and full view shown in right thumbnail. Large paintings don’t show as well on computer screen, so there are two detail images that were sharpened 2X to reveal the actual texture as it is close up. Post-dated note: on exhibit at Oxide Gallery in Denton TX until February 28th, 2009.Approaching Winter, 60 x 40 x 3 inches Acrylics on wrapped canvas $1,100Cold Lake, Alberta. Canada - photo courtesy of Ray Muskego

Dec. 6th: Colors mixed with matte medium: Ultramarine, Pthalos Blue, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Pthalos Green, Sap Green, Unbleached Titatium, Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red Deep, Mars Black (rarely use black). This morning I scrubbed and washed away a lot of paint in areas then reapplied more. Trying to stay with the less is more principle. Hope to wrap this one up by the end of the weekend if not before.

Dec. 5th: Stage 1, first coat of Ultramarine Blue and matte medium, very watered down, then applied thick in places. Inspired by photos taken by my good friend Ray Muskego in my home town, Cold Lake, Alberta during sunrise December 4th as misty fog drifted off the lake.

Behind The Scenes

Friday, December 5th, 2008


 The frames are custom built. Canvas is stretched across a beveled edge. Frames are built with highest quality clear spruce. Corners are reinforced with plywood. Large frames have at least one sturdy support bar across the width.

The brush swishing against the taut canvas makes a music of its own.. gentle drumming sounds. Priming the canvas is a soothing task. It’s purely a sight thing, straightforward, doesn’t need study or thought. There are so many small efforts toward the creation of a painting. The process of defining a scene on the front is probably 40% of the entire amount of work considered.

 The extra canvas is folded, keeping the back tidy. Frames are typically 2 or 3 inches deep. Sides are painted, and when finished have narrow wood trim; clean lines. Hanging apparatus: sized according to weight of paintings, metal sleeve crimped over #4 guage wire looped through D-rings screwed into solid wood.

We’re result-oriented, but details matter: the materials underneath the paint, the quality of paint, to frame or not to frame, tidiness, cleanliness back and front, hanging apparatus…these are just a few of the details behind my scenes.