Category Archives: Featured Painting

This category shows the featured painting of the day with a brief description or story to go with it.

“Ebiza Memory”

My beautiful picture

I lived in Ibiza Spain in 1961. The winters where mild

the summers warm. The rents were cheap also the

food and drink. Bob Thompson was on the island

to. We had many a good time together. My rent

in town was $35:00. I moved out to a farm,( Finca)

and paid $20:00 a month. Glory days. Bob and I

bought dry colour and mixed our own paint.

We both lived there about two years. My wife

and I produced a son, Joshua. They were happy days.

I understand why people go to Florida in the winter.

Ah the bliss of the Caribbean.
The colour of the water the beauty
of the sky and the pink colour of
of the gentle coral sand that embraces
our knurly feet The wind that whispers
in ones ears and lures one to the
azure waters that harbor gentle
waves. To have the pleasure of a
full moon night and the plankton
sparkling around your toes.

But alas here I sit in the frozen
north with nose aglow and signs of
snow and winds that freeze one’s
ears and toes. With darkness that
never seems to leave.

Oh I enjoyed my days in the warm
winter sun in 73 74 75 and squirled
away fond memories of those old
St Barth’s days to warm me in such
times as now. Bleak winter.

For information on my work call 610 330 9925.
or www.billbarrel@hotmail.com

“All ways start the New Year painting.” For info: leave a comment

I always remember back in 1960 going to a gallery in NY City and seeing a giant Franz Kline. It’s title was ” New Year”. Apparently. he did not go out to party on New Years eve but painted instead. He was a great painter. Met him a couple of times . Actually I worked for him when he bought a house in Provincetown. He had two refrigerators. One for food the other for Black Label beer.. He would take off for New York and he would say, ” Help yourselves to the beer ” . I had a gallery at that time and he came by with a jug of cheap Tavola wine. We stood around chatting and taking slugs of wine right from the bottle. It was a funny scene. Everyone’s lips were purple.

Claus Oldenburgs ” Bag Flag”

Happy New year one and all. My site went flat this week. Thought it was the holidays, but no, my annual payment was due. So here I go again into the New Year. Here is an Oldenburg that I have owned since 1960. I took over the Sun gallery and he was one of the artists I showed. It was his first show. He had gone to the dump and constructed about a dozen small works. On the day of the opening he hung and rehung his work. We opened at 7. We liked to surprise viewers as to what we were showing so the windows were covered. People were beginning to assemble on the street. It was about five minutes to seven and Claus had all the work down on the floor. I told him he had five minutes.He got it all hung again in time and we opened. Many years later I realized he was a performance artist and would have enjoyed hanging the show with the viewers in the gallery. Each work was $200.00. We did not sell a single work.

Later when I closed the gallery this work slid out from behind the desk. Many years later I bumped into him in coming out of a cleaners on Downing St in the Village. We had a long chat about old times and I told him about this work. He said ” send me a picrure of it and I’ll give you a letter of ownership. He sent a beautiful signed letter and even gave it a name. Bag Flag. It is 6 x 8 IN

” Angel and devil”

My beautiful picture
There seems to be a constant struggle between good and evil. One always hopes good will win out. Right now in this country, USA , there is a tremendous struggle going on between the two. The tax bill is close to passing. The poor will suffer and the rich will get richer. Why you may ask. Well wealth is power and the rich have undermined the system with money buying of senators and congress people. Every other industrial country in the world takes care of it’s poor. The US has taken away a safety net for the poor. Children will suffer from health problems and their education will be endangered. The problem is greed. The Us prides it’s self on being a Christian country. How come the Christian right wing can be so cruel. They seem to have lost their way when it comes to empathy for the have not’s. I am not a religious person. I went to Sunday school as a kid. The one parable I remember clearly and practice is the story of ” The good Samaritan.” It is time for todays Christians to read a few of those parables and put them into play.

” Dianne the huntress “

My brain is worn and torn from all the news. I get relief by going into the studio, the problems in painting are less wearing than Trump mania. I rummaged through some old work and rested my worn out brain on ” Diane the huntress” she had her problems but not political.

I was recently given a catalogue of a show of paintings by Marcia Marcus. Her daughter Kate Prendergast helped put the catalogue and show together at the Firestone gallery. She is a fine artist and has been under appreciated for years. She come from the same period as Alex Katz and the same teacher Edward Dickenson. Both her work and the work of Katz is flat. But what we have to remember is that all painting is two dimensional so I feel flat is not the correct description. All painting is two dimensional and over the centuries artists have used all kids of approaches like perspective to achieve space. But space in painting does not exist. You want space look at sculpture. So for Marcus’s work to be called flat is wrong.
Hans Hoffman used the term ” Push and pull” Now that does not work to make a work three dimensional it, is optical in effect that brings the work to life, but not optical as in op-art that makes ones eyes jump all over the place. Push and pull makes not just the eye work but also the senses. Marcus’s comes to life through bringing a moment to life by catching a moment in time a moment we can all share.

I was working on a hotel roof over looking the dunes with a bunch of guys in Truro Cape Cod one summer day in 1958. One of hose guys was my brother Terry. It was a bright sunny day and across the dunes came a woman striding like a goddess with two Russian wolf hounds There was some hooting and whistling. Terry looked and said that’s gonna be my wife. He jumped from the roof and took after her. They met and they did get married and had two beautiful daughters Kate and Jane. My work here reminds me of that occasion though I did not paint it with that in mind. Women at one time where seen as Goddesses. With the current situation with women that time may be coming around again.

Three years in paradise. ” Bread and sand”

Just two and a half weeks and it begins to get lighter. Winter is a tough time to get through and I can understand why people head south in the winter. In 1973-4-5 I spent winters in St Barths. It was a different place in those days and we camped on the beach. There where very few cars. We walked every where. There are seven beautiful beaches there, we lived on one, St Jean, the rest we walked to. One of the great things was we had no newspapers, magazines, TV. cell phones or computers. Once in awhile. we would get a Time magazine from a tourist and find out what strange things were taking place in the world. It is a changed Island now, a hideout for the super wealthy and the harbor is full of mega yachts. I did a lot of earth works there as it was not conducive for painting.

My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture

“The long journey”

Keep trucking. Old sixties saying.
There is no retiring from painting. I am old and parts of me are worn out, hands. legs. Standard for old age. But still I paint on. Not like in my younger days when I built and stretched canvasses endlessly. The spirit is still there. I think of Matisse and Picasso painting on. The difference is that they had assistants. de Koning when old would paint all day. then leave his studio, come back in the morning and all of his brushes would be clean and if he needed a canvas they stood waiting for him. Lucky guy, but he had known hard times also. So we paint on regardless of our fortunes. I consider myself lucky to still be working and searching for the elusive truth that once in awhile lands before you, captured in paint.

” Black Angel”

” Black Angel” Not sure how that title came about. Always think of angels as being white, I like to see them as multicolored now, as if they ever existed. I recall a church in Italy that was festooned with paintings. Most of them were about hell. Demons all over the place poking and prodding naughty people with long pitch forks and spears. These painting are aimed at the church goers reminding them to stay in line and behave. I am not a religious man, though as a child I went to bible class and many of the parables stayed with me such as The Good Samaritan. One does not have to be religious to be kind. The painting in the church catered to those who could not read, which was common in the old days. The priests could give a fire and brimstone sermon on a Sunday but as the old saying goes” A picture is worth a thousand words” And so we paint on and on. The Leonardo Da Vinci sold for four and a half million bucks a few weeks ago is a puzzling thing. We all ask why.