“In the Light”

“In the Light” Acrylic on canvas, 139 x 123 cm (54¾” x 48½) Unframed

With a contemporary approach to a cllassic setting, the cold and solid stone walls, nearly a millennium old seems impenetrable if not for a small humble window, yet sufficient for life and warmth to pass. Once inside, the light awakens the room with life.

The connection between figure and light lends significance to the light, so perfectly defining the beauty of the figure as it competes with the light itself for the viewer’s attention.

“Light… and the Darkness”

“Light… and the Darkness” 65 x 130 cm (26″ x 51) Acrylic on canvas. Unframed.

… and the darkness I recognize, because I have come to know it all too well–making it difficult to hold on to self worth, self respect, motivation and even a joy of life. That’s darkness the way I experience it, and it’s my battle in life.

Then there’s light

When in the depth of darkness, light becomes a treasure—pushing back a darkness so intense as to allow no light, suffocating all life, even existence itself. But, the must be darkness for light to truly shine.

It’s easy to forget how light changes almost everything. There’s a renewing power in light, it brings hope encouragement, strength—and life. 

Living in Scandinavia, summers are short, sun and light is appreciated by most—myself included—it just feels good and in light there’s beauty. This makes me look to the light for so many reasons… and visually—well, light is essential and while fearing to repeat myself, beautiful.

The light so perfectly defined the pure lines of the figure that I stopped everything and immediately asked the model to hold still— to which she promptly replied that she was quite comfortable where she was. The sun was nice and warm and she figured she could lay there all day—besides, she said (tongue in cheek)… it’s a nice little break away from the kids.

Wanting to remove all distractions and to make the light stand out more clearly, I toned down all color— essentially to the point of the composition being monochromatic, nearly without any middle tones. This left everything almost drowning in overpowering darkness, with just enough light to draw our eyes to the clearly defined contours—though sufficiently lit in contrast to the surrounding darkness to allow an innate yet intangible light to remain, and shine. 

… and, that’s the light.


“Maestoso” Acrylic on canvas,130 x 90 cm (51″ x 35 ½”) Unframed

Spring is all about the return of light, and that deep warmth of the sun, once again bringing hope and rejuvenation after a long winter.

As we emerge from hibernation, reclaiming our gardens, it’s difficult to resist that life-giving light of the sun as it seems to warm our very souls, bringing fresh colors and beauty to our surroundings, making it nearly impossible to hold back a little smile.

A relaxing day in the sun . warms not only our bodies but also our hearts, reminding us how much we’ve missed the strength found in light.

This piece is to celebrate spring, as we recover from a long and cold winter, the universal inclination to step outside, embrace the returning light, feel the warmth—to fully take in the  rejuvenating rays of the sun. 

It’s about simply about feeling the warmth of the sun, light–and the joy of Spring after a long dark Winter.

“Saturday Morning”

“Saturday Morning”130 x 90 cm. (35.5″ × 51.2″) Acrylic paint on canvas. Unframed 

While I can never come close to create anything as beautiful as the human form, I try to share my perception in such a way as help the viewer see that same beauty in a different light, with a different set of eyes. 

I was impressed with how the bright sun becomes its own aesthetic, defining the figure while adding an almost marble-like tone to the skin and I’m rather pleased with the result. Much to the models surprise, I gave her red hair in this painting but it just seemed the right thing to do?

My admiration for the figure  should never be misunderstood as ambition to imitate the function of a camera, and why should I?The camera already does accurate depictions expertly, much faster and without compare. 

Instead I merely aim to share my respect and admiration for the endless variations of beauty I see in people around me.


“Adagio” 80 × 131 cm. (31.5″ × 51.5″)Acrylic paint on canvas. Unframed

Sunny days allows us to better see color, perhaps more so after a long dark winter but with color comes impact. Strong colors might dominate and become a distraction—I had to quiet down the colors, hoping to bring attention to the more ethereal qualities of light itself, while including the feeling of that deep warmth of sunlight as it reaches even your innermost core.

Then as if this moment was made just for this particular model, the light and the model came together in a perfect symbiosis, stretching and posed to express both the relaxing warmth of sunlight and that deep inner lift from being in the sun—the feeling that everything is just right.

Soaking in the sunlight is a marvelous feeling, and I wanted to share that feeling, the energy found in light—a warmth that goes right to the bone, fueling life itself.

It’s a good day in the sun, easy to enjoy—relaxing and recharging. It’s is really all about that feeling of being just you in the warmth of the sun, with no disruptions or distractions.

A Conscience of Civilization.

“Die Menge” by Magdalena Abakanovicz

The lithograhic print “Die Menge” by Magdalena Abakanovicz consist of large dark mass of people, passing through the middle of a drawing, of which you (the viewer) could be a part. You see only hunched backs and their bowed heads. Using perspective, this group is indicated to be walking away from the viewer. The mass of this group divides the image in two nearly identical symmetrical halves. The background consists of what appears to be a wall of people, depicted by drawing their heads only, without the use of any perspective.

 I was unimpressed when I first came across the print “Die Menge” by Magdalena Abakanovicz. I at first thought the exhibition to be that of students. I had in fact walked by the piece previously and thought it to have poor composition, elementary perspective and an uninteresting use of symmetry. I did not take time to identify the black mass as people, the name of the piece or the name of the artist, and I went on to where I was headed.

I gave this piece no further thought until I again was faced with it, only this time I found a different sort of appeal in the piece. For a brief second I thought to myself “But I didn’t like it the first time. . . .” Then I saw the name Abakanowicz. I have seen several of her sculptures; they often involve barbed wire, large groups of hunched backs that seem burdened or in deep inner pain. I am not particularly fond of her work, but it has caught my interest before by its stark use of the kz — camp symbolism (Abakanovizc was born about 1930 in Poland.)

Once the imagery has been somewhat decoded, it becomes more interesting. The hunched (or burdened, possibly by pain or embarrassment) group somewhat absorbs the viewer, who then can sense the weight carried by this group. Then your attention is drawn to the outside crowd, outside because they are intentionally separated by not being depicted in perspective as is the main group. This other group is not going anywhere, they are to busy watching you with their mindless little eyes; mindless as they all do the same repetitive act. They have nothing going on in their lives other than watching you in your pain, shame or embarrassment going to a destination that you never chose, otherwise why drag your feet?

I was born fifteen years later than Abakanovicz, and not in Poland, but rather in Denmark. Yet I was feeling the consequences of war in a country that recovered much faster than Poland. I had aunts and uncles that were enemies until their death over events taking place during the war, I have family that fought in the Danish underground, was caught and lived, only their nerves and minds were no longer intact. I to this day often have the thoughts when entering Germany “this country (and many of its present day people) took up arms against my country and my family.” Poland is just now starting to recover their freedom, and the work of Abakanovicz appears to me to have some of this longing for freedom, as it might be felt by her fellow countrymen. Another possibility is the constant overhanging threat of the now defunct Russia. There is however no doubt in my mind where Abakanovicz gets her symbolism and that has my deepest respect.

Picasso’s Bulls

When I visited London some time back, I also had the good fortune to see the Picasso (1881 – 1973) exhibition curated by Sir John Richardson “Minotaurs and Matadors” at the Gagosian Gallery. It’s woth noting that Richardson holds some knowledge on the matter of Picasso, having authored several biographic volumes on Picasso (as displayed for sale at the exhibit) and as longstanding personal friend of Picassso.

Despite having seen many of Picasso’s works exhibited before (an entirely different and much more impressive experience than seeing them in books or online) this once again allowed me a grand experience. Here I saw Picasso’s series of bull drawings, a sequence as if made specifically for use in teaching the process of reduction in art and design. 

While an excellent instrument for teaching, there’s perhaps more to be understood from this series of drawings than a few concepts of design and reduction. Picasso often made it clear that he identified with the bull, making his bull drawings particularly interesting when the choices made in this reductive process is entirely Picasso’s. 

To better understand Picasso, his choices and works, it helps to consider when he was born: In 1881 Brahms was still doing concerts,  Edgar Degas organized and opened the Sixth Impressionists Exhibition in Paris–showing his sculpture “Little Dancer,” Billy the Kid escapes from a New Mexico jail, Sitting Bull surrenders, there was the now famous gunfight at the OK Corral, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell formed The Oriental Telephone Company (landline telephone,) Barnum & Bailey Circus debuts at Madison Square Gardens—bullfighting was alive and well, even popular and not yet considered offensive. 

In Picasso’s homeland Spain, the bull was a prominent part of their culture and while difficult to imagine today, bullfighting was entertainment. Bullfighting was a part of life and if Le Petit Picador (1889,) painted by Picasso when barely eight years old, can be any indication— bullfighting already made an impression on the young Picasso.

Picasso’s fascination with bullfighting continues and becomes a factor impossible to ignore, right from the blood and gore of bulls and horses of the bullfight, to when the bull meets its end—as dealt by the matador. 

Returning to Picasso, metaphorically identifying with and relating to the bull or better yet–the minotaur as half man, half bull said “If all the ways I have been along were marked on a map and joined up with a line, it might represent a Minotaur.” In Picasso’s world, the bull portion of the minotaur was ultimately destined to fight for its life and die fighting–while the man portion of that same minotaur still tries to make sense of it all. 

It could seem that every element of the bullfight held metaphors for Picasso, perhaps helping him to see his person in a more objective light—as the bull with all its gesturing, charging, huffing and puffing rarely wins but always fights a fight worthy of respect. 

With all the cheering and commotion at a bullfight, Picasso would sit quietly through it all—as he identified with the bull, perhaps all too aware of its impending fate. For the bull it’s a fight for life and death, for the matador it’s for show and for the audience, entertainment, even with all its grotesque gore—and Picasso is the bull in his very own bullfight, to give the performance of his life and to personally pay the ultimate price. Even the horses often sacrificed in a bullfight takes on meaning, as Picasso himself sees them as a metaphor for the woman that became victims of his choices and life. 

In his bull series, Picasso takes on his usual role as the artist to expertly select which elements of the bull to include or exclude, and where to draw the focus of the audience. As the number of drawings increase a progression begins to show, as detail gives way to form and design–all with the intentions of finding those essential elements of art in the subject. Picasso’s search for form and design, dissecting this subject (a bull, likened to himself) to find the art, is at this point not so different from a philosopher’s search for truth in the essence of a concept.

While the process involves an obvious reduction of elements, what’s barely noticeable at first is the price of this reduction—as the process nears the end. Intentionally or subconsciously, it becomes more apparent that art has a price.

 As is frequently seen in design and icons, the bulls head is often used to symbolize unstoppable strength, mind, mentality and tenacity—clearly identifying the idea of a bull. 

For Picasso, the symbolism of a bull’s mask was enough to suggest himself a bull when wearing it, as he would do but in the last image of the Bull Series, the head is as near to being completely gone as it can possibly be—hence reducing its symbolic significance.

As can be concluded when viewing the Charging Bull of Wall Street sculpture other parts of the bull also has great significance. The genitals of bulls are often used to refer to the character and traits inherent to the masculinity and strength in a bull, just like people in some parts of the world compare themselves or parts of themselves to that of a bull. 

Surprisingly, in a final stage of reduction—as if to make the biggest statement yet in the last drawing, Picasso almost completely castrates the bull by now drawing the genitals so small as if no longer of any significance or use.

The drawings are indisputably Picasso’s recorded expression as he chose every step of the way, which brings me to question if this was a statement on more than elements of design and abstraction, intentionally or unintentionally? Was this a commentary on art in general, the art world, or was it personal reflection, a visual autobiography (Picasso was never a man of many words?) Did Picasso perhaps feel burdened and/or drained from his own success, as he inescapably became a greater celebrity, seeing his identity, real strength and artistic freedom reduced to the point of being almost removed?

“Your Song Is Not Yet Written”

“Your Song Is Not Yet Written” Acrylic paint on canvas. 80 x 80.4 cm. Unframed.

To me, beginning a painting brings both anticipation and uncertaintity–ideas brought to life on a canvas often turns out to be reflection of an inner self that you might not yet be aware of. I don’t know if this then becomes a call for inner peace, a moment without the stress, turmoil and pressure that seems to have become a part of life?

I tend to base my expectations on what’s to come on what’s already been. The adage that not knowing history is a sure way to repeat past mistakes does hold some common sense but it also holds some inherent limitations–leaving less room the for life’s little surprises. If the past was scary, an uncertain future can be even scarier for the unprepared–so while I’ve taken countless risks, I tend to think a lot in a vague hope to not repeat the stupidities of my past. That brings me to the theme attempted here, the tranquility found in quiet solitude, leaving our minds and hearts with the inner peace needed for contemplation–and preparation for what might be next.

Whether in trembling fear of what’s to come, relieved with an outcome or elated over the unexpected triumph—the  sadness, relief, gratitude, or perhaps even a sense of newfound purpose—can be overwhelming.

In honest reflection and its accompanying turmoil, reality is unavoidable—bringing new clarity, allowing the mind to calmly race through memories and reflections, searching for meaning and understanding, maybe questioning your very direction in life.

Yet there’s solace in the quietness. Embracing this stillness opens the heart to the experience of life—bringing the peace needed to heal. Truly listening to the heart will reveal the strengths needed to get through life’s many challenges.

Your song is not yet written, be your own songwriter.

“Rainy Day Monday” (details)

“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych (detail #1,) acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.

I wanted to show the nature of the canvas, taking it to the extremes as in life’s highs and the lows. Colors, some more pleasant and harmonious and others not so much—almost in random chaos, like those events around us that color our days, with sometimes bright cheer and other times rather undefinable hues—yet still following those forever unavoidable, highs and lows.

My attempts at trying to control my photos of this piece soon became a loosing battle, that instead served to show its true nature, with form and chroma both struggling to dominate. The tension in the fauve colors demands to be seen, though constantly suppressed by the multifaceted canvas, ready to reflect any incidental light. Depending on available light, the composition migh insist that you see form over color, making the experience entirely dependent on where and how it’s displayed.

I added a band of subdued yellow, that all depending on the viewer can hold a multiple of meanings. But, no heart or set of eyes are the same, as are no two lives—our difficulties vary, as does our hopes and needs.

“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych (detail #2,) acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.

Using close-up details of “Rainy Day Monday,” I wanted to share the experience and dynamics of this piece, changing my angle of approach as much as possible from photo to photo. For the sake of authenticity and honest depiction, I used daylight lamps (5500/5600 Kelvin) and allowed the light from my garden window to blend with the light of the lamps, still the colors varied from photo to photo? It may seem unlikely but I’ve used no altering filters, to fully allow viewing to be as natural as a camera possibly can.

“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych (detail #3,) acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.
“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych (detail #4,) acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.
“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych (detail #5,) acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.

The colors of detail # 4 and 5 are the closest to how I see them myself in the painting, I hope that helps?

“Rainy Day Monday”

“Rainy Day Monday” Diptych, acrylic paint on a 3D canvas.

When I first photographed this piece in the garden for my Instagram account, it quickly became a matter of timing, wiping off drops of rain and rushing to take more pictures before the next drops began to fall. I finally thought we had succeeded and posted the pictures, only to find that the painting still had traces of drops, some partly wiped off and others not so much. After all the work preceding my rainy day photo session, a few drops of rain ended up giving name to the piece.

Before I had to fight the weather to photograph this piece, it had to be formed, first in my mind and then in the studio. I wanted to free myself from the conventions while still using conventional tools to do so, and what could be more conventional than paint and canvas in art–so that’s where I began.

The canvas, often referred to as ground, typically given a barely mentioned passive role and stretcher bars, discrete supports for the ground, could instead be called on as media, all working together, not to just carry a medium but all be equally significant media.

Much thought and experimentation came before the actual conceptualization of my idea but I wanted paint, canvas and stretcher bars to be media–all merged into one expression. For canvas and stretcher bars to be considered of value, their characteristics had to be considered and properly displayed to qualify as media.

But, with multiple media there must be a balance and when both stretcher bars and canvas explode into view, demanding attention, the painting must be equally explosive.

Photographed under different circumstances, away from the rain and using in-house lighting, here is my first realization of what began as merely an idea, challenging myself, wondering if in bringing out the characteristics of canvas, how far it would stretch–and still not rip or get wobbles (the rips and wobbles are maybe for another painting, another day.)