In preparation for the upcoming Small Works show Dec. 1- Jan. 12 at Hope & Feathers in Amherst, MA I’ve painted some small robots.
I found this purple old purple robot at a flea market over the summer. I love the design, and that purple was brilliant.
Next I played mad scientist with two Tomy Rascals, wind-up robots that were everywhere in the 70’s and 80’s. I replaced their mechanical heads with eye-balls. The first one I did sold immediately, so it won’t be on the show, but Eye-Bot 2 will be.
Prints of these robot painting coming soon!
I’ll be in Kittery, Maine on Saturday Nov. 19 for the New England Toy & Record Show with prints and originals for sale. 9-3 PM at the Kittery Lyons Club.
After spending almost 3 months working on defending the castle I needed to crank out some smaller, faster paintings. I do this after every painting that I spend weeks on for a few reasons.
I get so narrowly focused by the end of a long piece that I need to break that narrowed vision into a wider, broader view. Making a painting in a day or two forces me shift my perspective and think about the about a painting in its entirety.
First I started with a painting of my wife from a trip we took to New York in early Sept. I dove straight into this painting without doing a pencil drawing first. Quickly outlining the layout with a brush and then getting straight to work. It helped me loosen up quite a bit from having just spent days working on the tiny details of toy robots and the stones of Castle Grayskull. The graffitied wall and gum covered sidewalk allowed me to use the brush loosely and expressively, while focusing on the figure satisfied the remaining urge to focus tightly.
The next three paintings were much smaller and happened quickly but with some more detail. I’ll post about them next time.
“Defending the Castle” 24”x24” acrylic on canvas From the perspective of a kid playing on the floor, most kids mixed toy lines freely to create new and more epic stories than anything that could be done in an animated television show or even movie.
Villains became heroes, enemies became friends, and vice versa all to serve the ongoing narratives we created in our imaginations. The inspiration for this painting came back in July at a toy show where a vendor had randomly placed Castle Grayskull next to a Godzilla Shogun Warrior toy and I started imagining Godzilla attacking the castle.
I went straight to playing with my toys when I got home and eventually arrived at this set up. He-Man, Luke, Maxx Steele, Jetfire and Optimus Prime defend Castle Grayskull from the massive kaiju, possibly under the spell of Mumm-Ra, Hordak, & Hun-Dred. Are Gaiking and Mazinga there to help defend or are they also under evil control? And what’s up with Frankenstein’s monster?
I began painting this at the end of August. While fun, it was also a hard fought battle to get to the finish line. The past few months have been incredible, and also very time consuming. Painting a bit at a time whenever I can makes it difficult to get deep into a flow, and the more time that passes the less connected I start to feel to the piece. Luckily with this painting, each object has a special connection to me.
My grandmother gave me He-Man for Christmas. My parents gave me Optimus Prime. My mother surprised me with Gaiking in the back of our station wagon when I was 5. I put Jetfire on lay-away at Zayre and paid for it over time with my allowance. I bought the ship, Sky Arrow, from Mr. Big Toyland when it was going out of business in the early 90’s. I never owned Castle Grayskull or Shogun Godzilla, but dreamt of what it would be like to have them. Everything here has a story, one that is connected to me, and millions of other stories connected to so many other kids. Those connections are why I paint what I paint.
Last weekend was the opening on of the 4th annual Fine Arts Exposition hosted by Workshop 13 and Artworks Ware, in Ware Massachusetts. One of my favorite juries shows of the year, I was lucky to have three paintings accepted, “Survival Under Atomic Attack”, “Red Rider”, and winner of Honorable Mention for acrylic “Trust Your Feelings”.
Thursday Sept. 15, 2022 6-10 PM is the opening reception for a super cool art exhibit in Worcester, MA call Bouncy House Time Machine. Two of my paintings will be on display for the length of the show, 9/14-10/6 at Worcester POPUP – 20 Franklin, Street Worcester, MA.
The goal of this show is to let adults feel like kids again with art that brings us back to childhood. Plus, there will be a BOUNCY HOUSE for ADULTS at the opening!!! I hope to see you there!
WAC Social Accounts: Facebook @worcesterartscouncil Instagram @worcesterartscouncil Twitter @worcarts
NEA Social Accounts: Facebook @NationalEndowmentfortheArts Instagram @NEAarts Twitter @NEAarts
It’s been a great and busy summer. As a result I haven’t been able to visit me favorite place as much as I’d like this year. Here are a couple of watercolor sketches I did yesterday sitting on the shore. The seagull, was huge. Prints and originals of my beach paintings can be purchased at the wonderful art boutique Made It, with locations in Plymouth and Provincetown, MA.
“Pick a Prize” 16”x12” acrylic on canvas – If you’d like to own this piece, contact me.
The only part of going to the dentist that I cared about when I was a kid, was getting to pick out a prize from a little treasure chest at the end. I nearly always chose the jiggly monster finger puppets.
This painting is meant to recreate that magical feeling of being able to choose cheap little toy prizes after a semi-harrowing experience. Something to entertain yourself with on the ride home and take your mind off of the sound of that nightmarish drill.
It’s also a bit of a nod to cereal premiums with Cap’n Crunch, and the skull is a even reference to the little glow in the dark skeleton Cap’ Crunch gave away long ago.
Summer is here. We’ll see how much that means I’m indoors painting vs outdoors doing summer things. For now, I wanted to crank out some small 7”x5” paintings on wood panels.
First up was Max Steele if Robo Force. Brought to us in 1984 these robots with arms that grabbed and suction cup bases probably would have been much more popular if Transformers had exploded onto the scene.
Something that I didn’t appreciate when I was a kid was how perfectly they represent the 80’s technology aesthetic that we actually had. He looks like he’s compatible with a Commodore 64.
Next up is a small painting of a jar of eyeballs in some red liquid. Is it blood? Mwahahaha! The eyes are actually ping pong balls that I painted to look like eyeballs. They are front and center in my painting Tonics, Potions, & Elixirs, but without the liquid and there is a lid on the jar.
There’s something fun about painting glass, liquid, and eyes on their own. So having them together made for a fun painting.
Sparking Creature T-Shirts
Ripped from my painting Wind-Up Monsters, Sparking Creature has grown to massive
For almost a year I’ve been going weekly to The Western Mass Pinball Club to play a variety of classic and new pinball machines. I’ve been a big fan of pinball for as long as I can remember and painting them has been on my mind for quite a while. These are the first two pinball paintings.
“Life Savings” 16”x12” acrylic on canvas. I’ve wanted to paint one of the cash register banks for a while. Last month I went to a local indoor flea market and came across a brand new black cash register bank. I got excited for a minute, but I really wanted one with some wear and tear from being played with on it, or what my friend @kevmann42 has dubbed “playtina”. I also wanted something colorful.
Further into the store, in a stall I don’t alway check there was this blue cash register. Score! I grabbed it and continued shopping and thinking of how to use the cash register in a painting. It dawned on me that it was a piggy bank and maybe I could do something with piggy banks.
At that moment, I turned to leave a section and literally bumped into a shelf full of piggy banks. It felt like fate. The only problem was none of them really fit the aesthetic. There was on large white ceramic pig, decorated with painted flowers but it wasn’t right.
I remembered my translucent piggy bank at home, and thought that it would be perfect to find a small blue opaque pig about the same size. Again, I turned to leave the section and this time I was staring directly at the small pale blue ceramic piggy bank at the top of the painting.
Sometimes you choose the painting and other times the painting chooses you.
There was nothing better than opening a full toy box. Except maybe painting one. I love everything thing in this painting. Paintings like this are difficult to step away from because there’s always tiny areas that I could keep working on. At a certain point those changes become almost imperceptible. That’s usually when I know it’s time to move on.
Toy Chest 2 Prints
Signed 12”x16 prints of Toy Chest 2 are now in the shop for $35. They are printed on 100% cotton, acid free, archival hot press paper.
For a limited time you can order Toy Chest and and Toy Chest 2 prints together for
Yesterday I spent the day at The New England Toy & Record Show at the Kittery Lyons Club in Maine. I was invited to share space with Kevin Mann aka Captain Caveman of Kaveman Toys. It was my first time attending an event like this as a vendor instead of as a collector, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
When I started painting again, I thought that if I painted the things I cared about, then the people who liked my work would be the ones who also liked the same things. I know it sounds obvious, but many artists including myself, have struggled with painting for themselves vs painting what they think will sell or please others even if it’s not something the artist particularly cares about.
My suspicions couldn’t have been more spot on. First with my growing followers on Instagram, then into the real world with people like Kevin, a toy seller and overall one of the nicest, most generous people I’ve met, and everyone I encountered yesterday. Fans of the same action figures and toys as me came to look at and buy my paintings and prints. We talked about the art, the toys, and their experiences growing up with them or hunting them down now. A special shout out to Mike who drove up from MA to ME just to say hi and pick up some prints in person. Hearing that he came up to see me, was moving beyond words.
I’m incredibly grateful to be able to make the art that I do, and even more grateful to share it with the people who appreciate it the same way I do. I can’t wait until I do another show, but in the mean time it’s time to get back to painting.
“Tonics, Potions & Elixirs” 12”x16” acrylic on canvas. I’ve always loved depictions of mad scientist labs, witches’ & wizards’ shelves, and sideshow displays… I’ve been collecting these bottles and filling them with things since October. It was finally time to paint them. Glass, liquids, reflections, and shadows are all fun to look at and to paint.