Monday, March 29, 2010

"Diary Of A Supertramp (Study)"

"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new
experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an
endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new
and different sun."~Christopher McCandless

A study is a small painting or preparatory painting that will later be redone as a larger, more involved piece. "Diary Of A Supertramp", 9"x12", oil on board is a study of a large piece that I have recently started work on.

Christopher McCandless kept a rich and full cache of memories within him. He had many amazing adventures while on his odyssey of self-discovery from 1990-1992. He hitched rides that spanned countless miles of asphalt, he canoed down the Colorado River to the vast stretches of uninhabited coastline by the Sea Of Cortez, he learned the dangerous skill of jumping trains. These experiences, as well as countless other trials all of the mind and body inspired him to record his "greatest adventure" on a belt provided by Ronald Franz, a kind, elderly gentleman that he met in Salton City, California in January 1992.

Chris had given himself the new name of Alexander Supertramp, the pseudonym that he would use in his interactions with many people that he met on his travels. This is why I have titled this painting "Diary Of A Supertramp (study)", because that is how he viewed himself and who he was.

Chris expertly crafted this leather belt with an intricate chronology of his life from July of 1990-April 1992. He carves his friend Wayne's house in South Dakota, his car being flooded in the Detrital Wash near the Grand Canyon, his arrest upon trying to re-enter the United States after spending over a month in Mexico, mountain ranges, wildlife, goals, direction, movement. It is a beautiful work of art in itself. Chris was an artist just like myself or any other creative person who manifests their inward vision outward into the world. His canvas was a leather belt, and you can tell that he put a lot of thought into its design. Unlike a screen on a computer, or even a canvas that you can paint over, he had a finite space, with little margin for error. When I first saw Chris's belt I knew I had to paint it. His photographs affected me the same way. There is a weight to them, a beautiful and expressive weight, and the belt is another part of the equation that makes up the moving and powerful pieces of art that he left behind.

"Diary Of A Supertramp (Study)" is currently available at Abbozzo Gallery in Oakville, Ontario. It is a small section of the entire belt that I am now painting. The larger painting is six feet long, on a 2 by 4 actually. I thought Chris would appreciate the economy in procuring the lumber that would comprise the surface for the large painting:) This small study as well as the full belt painting are going to be available as a part of a body of work inspired by Chris's life and travels in June 2011 at Abbozzo Gallery in Oakville, Ontario. The show runs from June 3-18th! Here is a link

I will have a selection of new paintings which will be displayed in conjunction with paintings inspired by the life and travels of Christopher McCandless. Christopher's story was the subject of John Krakauer's book "Into The Wild", and the film "Into The Wild" directed by  Sean Penn. The exhibition will have its opening reception on June 3rd from 7-10pm. I will also be at the gallery on Saturday, June 4th from 2-4pm for guests who were not able to make the opening reception the night before. I hope to see you there! Have a beautiful day and weekend :)

Chris's Pack, Stampede Trail, oil on panel, 24"x36"

An Aesthetic Voyage:
Painting Inspired By The Life And Travels
 Of Christopher McCandless

June 3-18th, 2011

Opening Reception June 3rd, 7-10pm
June 4th, Artist in attendance from 2-4pm 

If you are interested in any of these paintings you can contact the gallery toll-free at 
1-866-844-4481 or at 

"Chris's Pack, Stampede Trail", oil on panel, 24"x36"

Take care and be well..

"I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world."
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass


Jim Gilleland said...

I follow you faithfully as you know Heath. I think this is one of your best posts. It reflects the passion you feel for your subject. I look forward to seeing the finished large piece of the belt. It'll be another masterpiece I know!

Peggi Habets said...

Very moving. The image says so much with so little. Beautiful.

Peggi Habets said...

Very moving. The image says so much with so little. Beautiful.

Peggi Habets said...

Very moving. The image says so much with so little. Beautiful.