"The world is all gates, all opportunities,
strings of tension waiting to be struck."~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have certain places and friends that I always enjoy painting. Places and energies that just bring out creativity and make for a successful reference-hunting trip. On this particular day I traveled to my dear friend Gayle's 1840's home to shoot reference. She was busy. We had 20 minutes. I had to act fast. I asked her to have a sheet and a step-ladder on hand.
Gayle's house and property are a refuge from the hectic pace of metropolitan life and the constant thrum of suburbia. Her house is perched on a pretty hill north of Burlington. When I am there I forget the rest of the world. The fact that my mobile phone doesn't get reception there only adds to its Avalon-esque appeal. Gayle and I have our routine down almost to a science. I know the walls and corners of her house like I know her...trusted, dear, honest, and a pleasure to paint. I feel free there, and freedom is necessary for anyone, let alone a painter looking for new ideas.
And so "Gayle, Waiting", oil on canvas, 60"x30" came to be. She seems to be almost a spectre passing through the doorway. This painting haunts me. I liked the idea that she might be waiting for someone to return, someone dear, someone special. That she, in these moments, might pace the old floors waiting, with silence as her companion in those quiet hours.
At first I found the size of the canvas intimidating. But then I reconsidered my perception and viewed it as a larger opportunity to tell a story. The small object near her feet is a sculpture of a rabbit. We laughed when I was there previously and asked about the rabbit. She said "That's Ken Hall". I thought she meant that was the name she had given the rabbit. No, that's the ARTIST's name she explained. I thought it would be fun to incorporate 'Ken Hall' into the painting.
I also enjoy the idea that Gayle will always be between two rooms, two places, two realities. It serves to scratch an existential itch for me. But again, it is all subjective, and in the eye of the beholder. The question is...what do you see?
I hope that you will be able to see this painting in person during my upcoming exhibition at Abbozzo Gallery in Oakville Ontario.
Have a beautiful day!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
"Happiness depends upon ourselves."~Aristotle