With such a long very cold winter, where it is so cold you begin to feel trapped in your home, one becomes a bit ansty and hopeful for change. Each morning, coffee in hand, I look out the front room window which faces the rising sun, hoping to see the snow melting or some sign of respite from the cold. What I do see is about 30 inches of snowpack and the edge of the woods.


On the edge of the front yard is a large majestic Bur Oak tree. In the morning on occasion the sun rises behind the trees. That's what this painting is all about: The big tree, the sunburst, and the snow.


Bur Oak, in the Front Yard edge of the Woods, 20 x 20 1.5 inches, oil paint sticks on an acrylic pumice base.



Zen Buddha Meteor is a large acrylic, pumice, and gel painting. This canvas had gone through many changes and permutations. It began as a portrait, inspired by Frank Auerbach's work, but it never took, never looked right to me. I was not happy with it. Hanging in my studio for a couple of months, disliked, the canvas became the catch-all for leftover paint from my other works.


When I was done painting for the day, and I had paints in my tray or on my brush, I would turn to this canvas and literally throw the paint at it. After a few weeks, the canvas became something else, transforming but still I had no direction. Then one weekend, I went at it with white, black and red paint.  I painted the meteor which became the Buddha.


There is a lot of paint on this canvas. It weighs a few pounds, for sure. It is 38 inches wide by 44 inches high on 1.5 deep inch stretchers.







Let's Bowl is an oil paint stick painting on an acrylic base. It is inspired by bowling shirts and the funky Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. BLB is a good place to grab a craft beer, a great meal, and some bowling, if you are into that. Lots of dreads, mohawks, tattoos, purple hair, etc in a 1950s decor bowling alley. A great place to hang out.


Let's Bowl is 16 x 20 x 1.5 inches on a gallery frame.



My son Zeb is the lead singer and writer for a heavy metal band called JonnyallenThe band's first CD, with the working title "Moment of Repose", will be released later this year. The band may use my art for the CD cover. Zeb asked for something dark, not too much color, so I came up with this Picasso-knockoff, from Guernica.

This painting uses oil paint sticks entirely, 20 x 20 x 1.5 inches on a gallery frame.




I did this painting titled Teacher for myself, but Jonnyallen may use it for their CD cover, also. This painting is inspired by elementary student drawings from back when I taught in the classroom. Teacher is 22 x 30 x 1.5 inches on a gallery frame, oil paint sticks with acrylic and pumice.



"Winter Scene" is my second painting using oil paint sticks exclusively. The painting is based on a 19th century painting by Alfred Sisley, the great but relatively unknown impressionist painter who died in poverty in 1899. Sisley lived in France and was close friends with Monet and Renoir.


bg_31721391967090.jpgWinter Scene, 2014. Oil paint sticks on acrylic pumice. Barry Scanlan.



I am drawn to how Sisley laid paint on a canvas with thick broad strokes and heavy splotches. When I saw his painting Snow at Louveciennes (1878) I immediately wanted to paint in that style. I especially liked how his painting seemed to use only grays, whites, and browns. Since I only had five colors of oil paint sticks, I felt I would try to make my own "Sisley."
I used a 22 x 28 canvas that was thick with acrylic pumice. When I applied the oil sticks on the pumice, the pumice tore the color off the sticks, giving the painting a very textured look and feel.
I look forward to experimenting more with this medium. Please let me know your own experience using oil sticks.

"Woman with a Cigar" has been accepted for the group exhibition titled Woman. The dates for the exhibition are April 30-May 17 at the Flow Art Space, St. Paul, Minnesota.


Here she is:


Just finished up this painting "Winter Scene".

28 x 22 on canvas, oil sticks on acrylics and pumice.

Before I started painting I did a zine. It is called True Story! and I have done eight issues, which worked out to one zine per year. After the second or third issue, the Utne Magazine awarded me the 2005 Utne Independent Press Awards for best self-published zine in the US.




The last issue was self-published in January 2010. By self-published, I mean I went to the print shop and printed the thing. Each issue is about 30 or so pages long. Each page is a four-panel cartoon with one story from my life (or somewhere). I gave away many copies to friends, sold some. Here's an example of page from True Story!:


bg_29271389747540.jpgI am not sure if I will do a ninth issue. Maybe, but doing a zine takes time and is some work, no doubt. But when I was doing the zine, I met a number of very good writers and artists at zine conventions and through email. 


Okay, this is enough for now.