Jan 10, 2014 57 Comments
There’s a list in my head at any given moment of the pieces I’d like to finish, the pieces I’d like to start, and, when I dare whisper it to myself, the pieces I wish I was making. As I was sorting through the usual mix of work - some motorcycles, a commissioned landscape, planning out the whale painting (yes, whale!), some pieces to send to a new gallery, etc - there was one other subject talking to me.

On an afternoon walk, I’d spotted a beer bottle in a paper bag under a neighbor’s bush. This, unfortunately, isn’t an uncommon sight in our corner of urban Portland. As unassuming as anything could be, I was struck by the texture of the crumpled paper against the hard gleam of the bottle, and imagined story of how it ended up under that bush in the dirt, and how that fit into our fast gentrifying neighborhood. I picked up the clandestine bottle of cheap distraction and set it aside not sure if it was interesting enough to paint.

The bottle in the bag sat on a shelf for a couple months. During Open Studios, more than a few vistors cocked their eyebrow. Between other thoughts, I’d think of that crumpled bag and what the painting would look like. But I had other pieces to finish and get out the door. And really? A bottle in a paper bag? I don’t mean to overplay this, but I have my ambitions and never did “I need to paint some garbage” strike me as a goal. But there it was buzzing around the edge of my mind.

It took several tries to get the painting rolling but once it started…

Swaddled, 11” x 14”, Oil on Panel, Principle Gallery ~ sold

limited edition prints available

My expectations were never too high, the subject being what it was. Better yet, expectations never played a role. In all that percolating, an image had come together and I simply had to chase it down. I was too busy scratching an itch to worry about the quality of the outcome. Finally, surprised by what I’d made, I took the bottle out of the bag and this time it was perhaps best that I’d had other expectations. Instead of some cheap beer, I found an IPA. Welcome to Portland.


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