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Current Paintings: 2022

SEEKING QUESTIONS TO LIFE'S BIG ANSWERS

When I painted landscape imagery and the constructed environment years ago, I liked to talk about formal concerns: painting as map or diary or arena linking visual and verbal, conceptual and material, fact and fiction, abstraction and representation; not to mention a blend of styles and a viewer building bridges between disparate ideas. While all this remains true, with the paintings today I would say that, given how many images we are all bombarded with every day via the media, I am simply interested in making memorable ones.

The figure has taken center stage since the early 2000's, and there are perhaps four different levels on which one can consider the work: 1) on the beauty level, by which I mean the combination of painting media (watercolor, oil, ink) and styles (abstraction, representation) in a complementary tension that augments the imagery involved; 2) on a political level, in that my goal with the guys who dominate the images and constitute my muse is to populate an art world with them-- an art world where the female image, nude or otherwise, is about as normal as a burger and fries, while the male image continues to be considered, by some, suspect, and is thus in short supply; 3) on the textual level, presenting titles that can be read in varying ways and short stories that are written before or after the images come along, but in any case are springboards for the reader's imagination; and 4) on the transcendent level, an attempt to depict a thoughtful, if not vulnerable, Everyman, reaching beyond the fleeting surface idealization associated with youth and hopefully going far in terms of metaphor, poking around such timeless ideas as: truth, beauty, faith, time, the infinite, what we learn and what we know.

It may seem questionable indeed these days to even concern myself with such unanswerables, but in an era when political and spiritual leaders assert that they in fact have the answers for us all, I think that art has the capacity to imagine otherwise, to offer some transcendent spark to bridge the gap between intent and form, between idea and the evidence of our lives. Muse indeed.

Note: At times my focus is on paper works in series, for instance the MUSE/MUSEUM watercolors and TATTOO DETOUR drawings from Honolulu. Therefore, select images from these series have been incorporated onto this page along with the "usual" canvases. More images from these series can be found on their dedicated pages.  

 

 

2022 works

 

 

 zzz Jack Balas, 2022; SOME GUY'S DECALS (#2367); India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

text:
Some guy down the street has covered his car windows with decals-- for cities, countries, national parks, ski areas, brewpubs, whatever. I had a suitcase just like it growing up-- states I'd been to, or wanted to see, places, a real steamer trunk like from the movies. My reflection in the glass today made me think of it differently, though. I haven't see it in years. (Sat. Nov. 12, 2022)

 

FIRST DAY BACK (#2357); India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 zzz Jack Balas, 2022; OUT OF HAND (#2366); India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

text:
I was looking for something to paint and Wes was doing some sunsets, so I thought I'd try my hand. Things got quickly out of hand. This may be a good thing.

 

 


IT WORKS BOTH WAYS (#2359); India ink on paper, 22x30 inches
text:
It works both ways: when I'm at the museum I think about the beach, and when I'm at the beach I think about the museum.

 

 

 zzz Jack Balas, 2022; MY CROSSING GUARD (#2368); India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

text:
My crossing guard always wanted to fight, but he never let me cross alone. We were each other's favorite. I still want to be like him. (But what were we crossing to?

 

ON NO DAY DOES THE PIER DISAPPOINT (#2358); India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2362 CALL FOR ENTRIES
Ink, oil & enamel on canvas, 32x48 inches

 

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#2365 HEADED TO MAINE
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2300 SO HONORED
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2299 TODAY'S CHOICE: RED STRIPES OR U.S. MARINE AT WAIKIKI
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

xxx

#2361 ON APPROACH
Oil, enamel & ink on canvas, 44x60 inches


#2360 NAVIGATION
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches
Text:
We are only three miles out but have no idea where.
We realize this could be a good thing.

  



#2290 ONE WAY OR ANOTHER
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 

 

  

#2296 THIS IS MY DAY JOB?
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2289 BIRTHDAY BOY
India ink and oil on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 

 

#2295 THE JUMPING CASTLE
India ink and oil on paper, 22x30 inches
 

Text:

These boys were in Kapiolani hammering stakes for a blow-up jumping castle. When they saw me taking a photo, one ran over with a business card. I said, "I'm taking you guys to the art musuem." They laughed, "Us?"

Bird says: "Castles are a matter of opinion."

 

 

#2297 THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 

 

 #2287 LAUNDRY DAY
India ink and oil on paper, 22x30 inches.

Text:

Monday was laundry day next door to where I lived in college: sheets and towels and whatnot put out like clockwork, flapping in the breeze from an Andrew Wyeth painting in the side yard of an Edward Hopper house. That view from my window was the best watercolor I ever did in those days. On the other side was a bunch of college kids like me, and I could look down into their yard too. They liked to sit out, but they didn't seem to do much laundry ever.

 

#2279 THESE ARE THE DAYS
India ink and oil on paper, 30x22 inches

 

  


#2298 CHRIS BURDEN: WHAT MY DAD GAVE ME
India ink and oil on paper, 30x22 inches

FROM THE MUSE / MUSEUM SERIES (click here for page)

 

 

#2285 START
India ink and oil on paper, 30x22 inches

 

 

   

 #2282
BRANDON ON THE GYM BARS
India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

Text:
Brandon was working out on the gym bars in the park when I walked by. I'd been looking at a book on ancient Greek sculpture that morning, and the Eye of Horus tatt on his back was a good reason to ask for a photo. "I'm trying to think of something for my front, though," he said as he shook my hand like being caught in stone. "How about page 18?" I asked, "or even page 31?"

----
Today is Tues.July 12, 2022 (the painting, not the story.)

 

#2277 EVENING WOULD KNOW MY REPLY; oil and enamel on canvas, 44x76 inches

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#2261 OUR VISIT TO TOLEDO (i.e. FRANCISCO)
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2276 MUSEUM PIECE
India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

#2284 SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

#2275 TALISMAN (TELL THE WORLD)
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2264 Untitled (Pie)
India ink & gouache on paper, 10x12 inches

  

#2260 AMAZING
India ink, gouache & watercolor on paper, 19x15 inches

#2258 WE HOLD THE RIVER
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2266 Untitled
India ink on paper, 12x9 inches

#2257 HUCK AND JIM SEZ: WE READ ABOUT A RIVER,
AND WE HEARD ABOUT A RAFT;
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches


#2249 WE BUILD THIS
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2256 AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE
India ink, watercolor, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
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  #2270
POETS WILL BE NAMED
oil and enamel on canvas,
46x42 inches

 

 xx  #2273--464
NOW IN PAPERBACK
oil and enamel on canvas,
40x48 inches

 

 

#2271 EDWARD HOPPER: HOUSE BY THE RAILROAD
India ink & gouache on paper, 30x23 inches
from the series MUSE/ MUSEUM

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#2238 BEYOND THE PAIL
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

    

#2242 PINK AND BROWN
India ink, watercolor & gouache on paper, 30x22 inches

#2263 Untitled (MAST)
India ink on paper, 10x12 inches

  

#2259 STRINGER
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2253 IN THE SISTINE...
India ink, watercolor, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

 

#2248 THE NEW COLOSSUS, STILL
India ink, watercolor & gouache on paper, 30x22 inches

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2260 AMAZING
India ink, gouache & watercolor on paper, 19x15 inches

  

#2244 MORNING SURF
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2240 WRITE OF SPRING
India ink & gouache on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2227 DUST
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2241 WHEN SO LATE BECOMES SO EARLY
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2236 GUSHER
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

  

#2221 HOT HOUSE
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2243 THE DRIBBLE
India ink, watercolor & gouache on paper, 30x22 inches

 
 

 #2269
SOME DAYS
oil and enamel on canvas,
46x42 inches

Text:
Some days I just want to paint but I don't know what. So I just start. Somedays it can be a sky. Today it's the ocean. Some days I add something, then I can figure it out. I'm glad there's a lot of some days.

#2251 HORSE POWER (A Better Metaphor Could Not Be Had)
India ink, watercolor, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2252 ALPHA
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

#2228 MOON SHOT
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2267 Untitled
India ink on paper, 11.5 x 9 inches

 

#2219 AND WITH AN ESSAY BY SOMEBODY ON SOMETHING; India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

   

#2234 WALLPAPER FOR BOYS
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22X30 inches

     

#2239 MOUNTAIN TIME
India ink, watercolor & gouache on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2244 MORNING SURF
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

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#2224 FRIDAY, 10 P.M.
India ink, & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

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#2215 WAIT ROOM
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

   

#2231 SEND FOR NO INFORMATION
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

  

#2230 THE PRAYER
India ink & watercolor on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

  

#2218 ON THE ROAD
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2229 OUR NEW FISHING BUDDY
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

   

#2247 HOOK
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2214 STILL LIFE WITH APPLES AND
MEXICAN TIN CHICKEN
India inK on paper, 19x15 inches

 

#2220 NIGHT GAME
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

  

#2232 IT'S ALL CONNECTED
India ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 zzz 

  

   #2219 AND WITH AN ESSAY BY SOMEBODY ON SOMETHING; India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

  

#2216 FLAG
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22X30 inches

#2254 BLUE AND YELLOW (For Ukraine)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2235 AND TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT IT (A TRUE STORY)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

  

#2226 I WANT TO TELL YOU A STORY
India ink on paper, 30x22 inches

zzz

#2255 BETA
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

#2222 LANDSCAPE WITH TREE AND BASKETBALLS
India ink, gouache & acrylic on paper, 22X30 inches

 

 

   

 

 

 

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2021 PAINTINGS

 

 

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