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Current Paintings: 2020-2021
INCLUDING THE 2020 COMPANY SERIES GRID

 

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.  

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COMPANY: WISH YOU WERE HERE   (A SERIES OF PAINTINGS) (FULL GRID)

In spring of 2020, right as the Coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic was shutting down the world, I began work on what became this series of paintings. The more I worked, the more I thought I was painting "company" -- visitors we were not allowed in lockdown in many states, but with social distancing neither required nor desired.

 

 

Newest 2021 works -- (#2030-2128)
Many works are India ink on paper, 30x22 inches or 22x30 inches. After #2083 they can also include elements in oil.
Click on all for enlargements.

#2100 Big
oil & enamel on canvas, 16x16 inches

#2122 Running Home
Oil, enamel, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48x60 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2105 Evening Would Know Our Reverie
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches




#2126 PLAN B (Forgot the Damn Rocks!)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

#2125 It's All Been a Self-Portrait
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

#2128 Scrimshaw
Oil, enamel, acrylic and ink on canvas diptych, 46x84 inches overall

 

#2133 The Main Event
India ink on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2097 We Do Not Tire of Painting (Sunset)
India ink, oil & acrylic on 2 paper panels, 30x45 inches overall

 
     A new investigation of adding abstraction to figurative works, making diptychs...

 

 

#2103 Save-On, Whitehorse
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT


#2062 Down and Across
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
  

# 2089 Escape From Crown Hall 
India ink, oil & acrylic on 2 paper panels, 30x45 inches overall

#2123 Off To College
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

#2114 Path
India ink & watercolor on paper, 22x30 inches

#2116 Log
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

  xxxxx 

#2127 The Journey (Pike's Peak)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2119 The Day Could Not Have Been More Perfect to Tell Him
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2112 The Upper Hand
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2121 Pike's Peak
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

#2104 Full Sail
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2120 How to Build Cathedrals
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2115 Dog Day
India ink & acrylic on 2 paper panels, 30x45 inches overall

 

#2094 Friday at 5
India ink & oil on paper, 30x22 inches

     

#2098 Over Some Rainbow
India ink & oil on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2113 Right and Left (or, Left And Right)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches


#2124 Test Line
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

zzz

#2078 Day Job For the Night Sky 2
Oil and enamel on canvas, 20x24 inches

zzz

#2122 Running Home
Oil, enamel, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48x60 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 #2107--1861--1645 We Fill Each Page
(oil & ink on canvas, 20x16 inches)

 #2106-- Headlands --Bluff
(oil & enamel on canvas, 20x16 inches)

  

#2109 IN(ter)DEPENDENCE DAY (In Question July 4, 2021)
India ink on paper, 22x30 inches


#2111 Some Calendar Page
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2086 A True StoryI
ndia ink & oil on paper, 22x30 inches

#2102--1527 Study for Sleeping Bag
India ink & acrylic on paper with collage, 30x22 inches

 

#2087 Pavilion
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

   

#2084 I Never Knew I Was Lost (Until I Was Found)
India ink & oil on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2076 Names Change
(oil on canvas, 20x16 inches)

                    #2093 Picnic
                   India ink & oil on paper, 30x22 inches

#2080 TOP
(oil on paper, 19x15 inches)

 

#2077 ENSV
(oil on canvas, 20x16 inches)

 

#2081 JETTY
(oil on paper, 19x15 inches)

 

#2092 Memorial Revision
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

#2083 Some Days
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2079 SNAG
(oil on paper, 19x15 inches)

   

 Jack Balas, 2021
WHEN THEY SPOTTED ME (#2085)
oil & India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

When they spotted me and realized I was taking their photo, his buddies laughed and turned away. But he stayed, froze, actually. Click. Turned a bit, froze. Click.
Turned, froze. Click.
What would they say, sixteen years later, of today's painting?

 

#2071 Our Hero's Rose Eros Shore
India ink & oil on paper, 22x30 inches


#2064 Boy Leading a Picasso
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2091 Float
India ink & oil on paper, 22x30 inches


#2085 When They Spotted Me
India ink & oil on paper, 22x30 inches


 

#2043 Way Bigger Than
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2049 Story: Write It Down, Bring It Home
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2062 Down and Across
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches



#2090 We Arrived Ready to Paint the World
India ink, oil & acrylic on 2 paper panels, 30x45 inches overall

  

#2036 Back Story
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

#2055 Screen
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2037 He-Art
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

  

#2057 Thirteen Years Later (Mom)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 
   xx

Jack Balas, 2021;
LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI (BACKFLIP) (#2063);
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

 

LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI was not on my reading pile the day I set out on my bike from my Illinois town to the river, two days there and two back, my junior summer in college. Hills, corn fields, little towns I'd never seen. Met two brothers running a gas station across the road from their house, and wound up staying with them that first and last night. The night close to the river a farm lady let me sleep out on a chaise on her front lawn, sloping down to a view of cows. She even brought me a blanket. I made it to Savanna, crossed the long bridge to Iowa dodging the toll booth & then back, even met another kid on a bike from Michigan going cross country. He was amazed my bike was only a one-speed. Life is good.

  

#2065 First Day Spring
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2061 Site
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2060 This Year in Jerusalem
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2038 Best Picture
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2051 Synecdoche
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

#2073 That Age Old Story
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2063 Life on the Mississippi  (BACKFLIP)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

#2056 Crossing the Rubicon
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2048 Wall - All
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2030 Summer Count (Study 1)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

 

#2039 Team
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches

  

#2059 Self-Portrait after 50 Years of Painting
India ink & acrylic on paper, 30x22 inches
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

 #2044 Spot
India ink & on paper, 22x30 inches


#2053 Old Map, New Step (The Journey)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

  ZZ 

#2046 Story at Sunset (Boxers)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

   

#2045 Contemplate
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

   

#2054 This is Where
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches


#2040 Skies Are Blue 
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 vvv 

#2047 Alphabet at Sunset (Cowboys)
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches


 

#2058 Stitch
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2042 Whisper
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 

#2052 Test
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

mmmm

#2082 Patient
oil on paper, 15x19 inches

 

#2041 Hot Bed
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

v

#2051 Synecdoche
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches


#2050 That Book We Never Write... Until Now?
India ink & acrylic on paper, 22x30 inches

 


2020 works
(January-March, before the COMPANY series)

 

2025 CATCH
(But the story is the one that got away...)

 (from the COMPANY series)

FOUNTAIN


LA PARED, NOGALES

Permanent Collection Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ.

COMPANY (Series)

 

PLOT TWIST

 

PALACE

2010 I'm Possible

(from the COMPANY series)

 



SERIES: MUSE / MUSEUM
ALL YEARS

 

CATS N DOGS

ON THE BORDER

LA FRONTERA (OR IS IT?)

   

THE DRAWING ROOM

 

 

   

Jack Balas, 2020; CACTUS FLOWERS (#1892); Watercolor, acrylic and India ink on paper, 22x30 inches

text:
The cactus flowers are coming out, pink and lemon and tangerine skins swarmed by bees and protected by needles. I've been doing what I call Corona walks, what with the virus going around this last month keeping everyone at home or inside. I'm out on a street I've never walked down before, looking at these flowers and small brick houses and trunks of palm trees, when there on one corner are two college boys shirtless in the morning sun, working out with weights and a bench in their front yard, doing dips on the chainlink gate. I had to laugh at myself, how all my thoughts got short-circuited. The university has been closed for a month and students were asked to leave town if they could, but here were two left, and I made myself ask innocent questions about their gear as I passed, and careful to swing by around as I went home. But today I had to go back to prove it could be done, and sure enough they were nowhere to be seen, so I was able to return to looking at houses and tree trunks and even cactus flowers, equally stunning and just as untouchable.

 

YOU NEAR NEW YEAR

FOUR BRIDGES (Study)

CACTUSHEAD:
AS WE HAVE BEEN TRAINED

POLAR ROUTE

CACTUS FLOWERS

 

ORBIT

THE BIG QUESTION (ZIGGURAT)


FULL CIRCLE

 

COMPANY SERIES GRID (March-December 2020)
A series to figuratively "keep me company" while the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the world.
Presented in order (numbered) as they were begun. All pieces are dated 2020, India ink and acrylic on Arches paper, 30x22 inches or 22x30 inches. Click on each image for an enlargement.
(A few works are yet to be finished.)

 

1895   Guy'd

x 

1882   Swirl

 

1884   a Head

 

1891   the Talk

     

1893   Lester Street

1894   Black Yard

 

1897 Hunter (Thinking of Winslow and those Adirondacks

         

 

1898   Poetry (O Try)



1899   Lieutenant

NUMBER 1900's

 

      1907 Guard

     

 

1900 Minotaur

   

1902 The Met (MUSE-MUSEUM series)

    

1903 Backwater

         

   

1904 Frame Fame

  

1905 The Net

   

1906 Cairn

1908 And to All a Good Night (Friday)

   

1909 When It's Time to Write Your Story,
This Will Be the Cover

         

NUMBER 1910's

  

1910 First Mate

  

1911  Growl

 

1912 Woman with Stars and Fireflies

 

1914 Harbinger (Igloo)

         

 

1918 Black Sun

  

1913   The Count

   

1915 Fin

   

1916 Company

 

  

1917 Cat

  

1919 Game's Up

NUMBER 1920's
         

1920 Graduation

1922 Wish You Were Here (wrestler)



1923  The Late Hour

 

1924  Home Land: The Javier

  

1925   Hoops

         

 

1926  Home Land: The Ernesto

1927 Backyard

 

1929 Rain Down On Me

 

      1933   Dog (The Vastness...) CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

     

NUMBER 1930's

 

1930 Siren

 

1931   No Words Work

         

 

1934   Flag Dayze

  

1932  Box of Books

 

1935   We The People

1937 Flying the Flag

     

 

1936   Permission

 

1938 Roil

1939   First Day of Summer

         

NUMBER 1940's

 

1940 To Be Continued?

1941  Discover America

   

      1945 That Youth Hostel in Canada    CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

     

 

1943   Out

 

1944 (Not Yet Titled): Tiger

  

1946 Preface

         

1947 Ship to Shore

1948 The Pedestal

1949    Home Land-- The Tom

NUMBER 1950's
 

1950   Home Land: The Shane
         

 

   1954   Roll

1951  Home Land: The Dave

 

1952  Home Land: The Kenny

1953  The Prudential Building

     

  

1955   Promises, Promises

     

    1959 Blackout 1

 

1956 Swath

1957 As The Clock Ticks

 

1958 Gumball Chute

 

         

 

1960 Blackout 2

 

1961 Campout

 



1963 Eminent Domain

 

1964 The Long View

  

1965 Summit

         

 

1966 Ladscape

  

1967 The Wave

       1970 Bull's Eye

   

1968 This Rich Narrative


1969 Poets Will Be Named

Private Collection

         

1974 Study, Eakins Swimming Hole    CLICK ON IMAGE FOR TEXT

 

1971 Roofline

 

1972 Merit Badge

 

1973 Birthday Boy

     

NUMBER 1970's

1975 Floor of Sky

1976 Refill

         

 

1977 Portage

   

1978 Now Open

  

1979 Some Other Time

NUMBER 1980's

1980 Mario

         

1981 Treasury
(War Memorial, Honolulu)

1982 Homecoming

1983 September Morn

1984 Moby Dick

1985 Young Man in an Old Story

         

1986 Able Baker

1987 At the Center of All Beauty

1988 Theme Song

1989 Message

NUMBER1990's
         
 
   

(Left:)
1996 LittleLeague

 

When I was ten my parents went and signed me up for little league as a surprise. I refused, and never regretted it.

Until lately...

There will be another spring.

Today is Sun. October 18, 2020.

1990 All Day, All Dave

1992 Letters From Honolulu

   

 

1993 Hints of Defiance

 

1994 Bricklayer

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

 

1995 Percolate

   

1998 Same Boat, Same Guys

 

1999 Open Book

   NUMBER 2000's

  

2000 Great Wave Off Waikiki

Private Collection

         

 

   2001 My Book

 

   2002 Election Day 2020

2003
(In progress)

 

   2004 Every Word, Every Letter (2)

 

   2005 Siempre

         

2006 Looking Back

 

2007 We Play With Abstraction Every Day

 

   2008 Pilot

 

   2009 Holy Land

NUMBER 2010's
         

 

2025 Catch
(But the story is the one that got away...)

 

2010 I'm Possible

 

2012 Let's Drop In

Private Collection

   

 

2018 Cat (Dog)

 

2019 Dog (Cat)

         

2011 Antarctica

  NUMBER 2020's

  

2020 Twenty-Twenty (Sprue)

  

2021 Twenty-Twenty-One (Next Year)

2022 The Uncertainty of the Poet

         

  

2024 I Still Love Horses

2026 Some Happy Arms



2027 In Progress

2028 The Silver Lining

 

2029 Next Year In Jerusalem
         


EARLIER
YEARS'
PAINTINGS

> > >

 

 



PAINTINGS 2017-2019


 

PAINTINGS 2015-2016

 


PAINTINGS 2013-2014

xx

  

PAINTINGS 2011-2012
         

 

 

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