Brick

This arrangement was inspired by promises made to the hungry, the kind of promises politicians make to get votes. If you vote for me I’ll bring back your jobs and roll back all of your taxes and make all education free for your children. Promises that cannot be fulfilled.
The hungry do as they’re told for the promise of a better life but are left no better than they were. Read more

Three A.M.

The twins are a year old now and no longer wake up three or four times during the night as they did when this painting was begun. It was my role to fetch them both (even if only one woke up) and deliver them to their mother for food. They had to be on the same schedule so she had to feed them together. Then I would take them, one at a time, clean and return them to their cribs.Read more

The Door Stop

I live in a very old house with very crooked floors and hardly a door that stays shut without a heavy door stop to keep it from falling open whenever a mouse runs by and the floorboards creak and groan under its feet.Read more

The Dutch Door

Between larger, more involved work, I have been painting little canvases of snippets of my house. This one, my kitchen door, was an opportunity to work with Adobe white, a grayish white the Brooklyn-based paints maker Robert Doak sent me to try.Read more

American Icon

This is an unfinished painting. A black child (my son, Axel) is lying on a large American flag, clutching a toy Superman. The child is naked, a symbol of innocence and vulnerability. Superman is what he must become to be accorded the same dignity promised by the flag. Today he lies naked on it. I hope that tomorrow the flag will cradle him as its own child. I began this painting a few days ago — much too late — and haveRead more

Axel with His Mother’s Viola

I began this composition on the day my son discovered his mother’s viola case buried behind canvases in my studio. He became fascinated with it, quickly discarding his toys to spend nearly an hour playing for his parents. We had been reading Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, so music was very much a thing of much interest around the house. The toy car at bottom-left is missing its left-front wheel, a prop I added to the composition to remind him many yearsRead more

On My Easels

I typically work on multiple canvases at the same time, although, at the moment, I have spent much of the past three weeks on a composition with my son Axel playing (or trying to play) his mother’s viola. He discovered it recently and has become obsessed with it. I was inspired to paint this scene partly because it will make a good companion to one of Karen with her viola from about 16 years ago. That one isn’t quite finishedRead more

A Window on Bocca de Piazza

I began this canvas in 2005 during a trip that started in Venice, through Slovenia and ended in Vienna. I was reading Hopper at the time and no doubt was drawn to this scene because it reminded me of the kind of canvases Hopper created of his wife Jo in urban, yet intimate settings. While interested in the woman at the window gazing out into the street below, I especially wanted to paint her surroundings, the discolored and crumbling plaster of a centuries-old VenetianRead more

A Student at the Workshop of Jim Ellis

I recently chanced upon the workshop of the blacksmith Jim Ellis (Barnstable Village) and was struck by the play of light on the many metal surfaces scattered about — an anvil, harmers, pliers, clamps, all a subtle melding of cold blue hues, greys and blacks, juxtaposed against the dull orange glow of a slow burning blacksmith’s furnace.  I could not resist starting work on this small study, a close-up view of a student (jewelry maker, Norah Bourbon) shaping metal. My interest is reallyRead more