Story: Imagine, by John Lennon is an iconic song for me. Our world hasn’t learned how to make peace.
Our best leaders continue to try and bomb people into submission in the hope that we can own the whole pie. The idea of sharing is lost every time. There are lots of fancy words used. I am aware that he wasn’t perfect. But in his song “Imagine” ………….. he got it. That’s what I like about John Lennon.
Story: I was thinking uniform and buttons. I always liked the way Rembrandt painted the buttons on peoples jackets. At a distance they appeared shiny, polished and detailed looking buttons, but when you look at the brush strokes of the painting up close, the buttons are amazingly abstract.
It was a very cold morning at sunrise and Amy played Eleanor Rigby on her cello. She was a good sport to stick it out for a couple of hours until we got the drone shots of her and of the site. I created the painting listening to Amy’s music in the studio. Samuel Houston’s sculpture is in the centre of the labyrinth where Amy is seated.
This is George Harrison’s song and apparently he composed it on a day he escaped from one of those boring business meetings of the Beatles. It is a positive song but it also has a dark side. Or at least it does to me.
I can’t help thinking of the worries at the time of a nuclear war and the sun having another meaning. This is why I’ve also included the lines “Over and Over Again” up the side of the work in the black area.(Eve of Destruction: Barry McGuire ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfZVu0alU0I
Exhibiton “LOVE”, at Art Works Gallery in Vancouver, BC., Feb 12th, 2016
Story: This song hits the bullseye in every way for people around the world who believe in the idea of Peace. I feel it points to possible alternatives to creating a better world. Lennon didn’t always stick to the right path or say the right things. He made mistakes like all human beings do. But it is a start in the right direction and gives many of us hope that their are answers to some of the difficulties facing countries in conflict.
I had a lot of fun doing this large painting. The process is mostly something I have in my head after thinking about it for several days or even weeks. So when I am working on creating the peace garden at Woodwynn farms, moving wheelbarrows of soil etc., I’ll be thinking about the song and moving ideas around in my head. When I actually start the painting, I just go with my instincts and shove the paint around as my feelings direct me. I made a video of this painting as I worked on it and I will add it here by the end of January.(2016) The painting process might be interesting to artists who like to paint or people who collect my work.
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Story: Everyone just loves this song by Ringo and so do I.
Once again I was interested in the back story of how Ringo came up with the idea in the first place. Apparently he needed to get away from the hum drum of meetings,legal stuff and nonsense that often filled their lives and so he went fishing instead. While out on the boat he learned about octopuses and how they gather bright, colourful objects and lay them out around their little cave.
Ringo was on Peter Sellers’ motor yacht,the Amelfis, when he wrote this song. The name of the boat tells us something about Peter Sellers because “Amelfi” means, you like to make your own decisions and to be the master of your domain. What a great name for a boat. That’s why I put it up the side of the painting. I felt Ringo fitted the same description. He always struck me as being master of his own world. I really liked how he did so many different things and just had fun.
3 minute video: “Changing Our World One Corner at a Time”
Title: “Back in the USSR”
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Size: 24″X 36″
Story: I always loved this song because of my experience in the former
Soviet Union. I was fascinated by the changes about to take place there
and felt that the world might have a chance after all. Mikhail Gorbachev
described how the Soviet Union system was not working. He also said that
the west’s capitalist system also needed change.
The Soviet Union went through radical change. The west on the other
hand, simply announced victory.
Paul McCartney said that he loved how young people could always reach
out to other cultures…..”hands across the water” he said, and I
included that thought in this painting because I agreed.
Title: “The Beatles”
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Story: When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early sixties,
the world went mad.
The names of a few of their songs have been written across the surface of this
painting because it often only takes the title of one of their songs to
have memories flood back. Some bring joy. Some, such as, “Yesterday”, bring a sadness.
Certain colours do that for me as well.
I also wanted to include their parents names because the idea of
honouring generations is important to me. Ringo was 10 lbs when he was born. I just tossed that in for fun.
3 minute video “Changing our world one corner at a time” https://youtu.be/Bm5DIIpYmAE
Title: “I want to hold your hand”
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Story: When I start work on one of the Beatles songs, I always play
around with ideas for a couple of days in my head.
I used the same approach for “I want to Hold Your Hand” painting and
headed up to my studio to start work on it. But just before I was going
upstairs, I had seen something in a documentary about cave art and for
some reason I switched out my original idea and started work. I decided
to use my hand prints on this painting and I heard my wife rummaging
around downstairs and so I asked her to come upstairs for a minute. And
so I asked her to place her handprints onto the canvas along with mine.
It was just one of those spontaneous things that happen in my work.
Things are spontaneous but also have a thread running through them in
the form of peace, love, and conflict.
From 2013 to the present, a main project has been the Woodwynn Peace Garden at Woodwynn Farms, a therapeutic community for the homeless. The Peace Garden includes a labyrinth with herbs, fruits and vegetables incorporated.