Bill Drawings

Bill Work

A good long time ago a spent a couple of years making drawings, paintings and sculptures as a method of softly poking fun at a professor I had a CWU (Country Western U) and then using the work as a device to think about the whole dynamic of the pupil/teacher relationship and how frequently that power structure can be incredibly imbalanced.

Bill (William Vance Dunning) wore the same orange vest every single day, was obsessed with the paintings of Mark Rothko (claimed he had a religious experience standing in front of one of them), made a point of discussing color theory frequently while making sports analogies out of the other side of his mouth and was said to light devotional candles to painter Willem de Kooning every night. He was our painting instructor but in all honestly not a single painting of his own can be called up in memory. Undoubtedly his worst offense was incessantly bumming cigarettes from his impoverished art students (CWU did not attract trust fund babies), even though it was acknowledged he had quit.

The series was a great way to explore color and pattern and cartoon-like figures.  The resulting charcoal drawings are  honestly the only ones I actually live with on my own walls after all this time.

I’ll be posting a few selections over the next few days.

All drawings below are charcoal on paper, 28″ x 20″.







[Ashcan 1]







Robyn O’Neil at the Frye

May I recommend between now and July 30th that you stop by the Frye Art Museum, and spend a quiet moment with Robyn O’Neil’s work…? I would particularly recommend you do this if you have any interest in drawing to see what the humble hand and a graphite pencil can do.

O’Neil’s work, depicting imaginary scenes of humanity is profound in that she allows the characters she has invented to be more than just evil or compassionate. As noted in other writing about her work, groups of “lumpy track-suited men” and their dogs depict cruelties on each other and nature. In other pieces they grieve for what they have done… or at least some of them. The stark use of only graphite on expansive white paper contrasting with the small barely decipherable characters do lend themselves a bit to Bruegel. For those of us who like to draw, and often find ourselves bobbing in the sea of conceptual trickery so apparent in today’s modern world, this exhibit is a wonderful relief.

The titles add a layer of seriousness to her work that cue you into the emotional intent of the author. The one I that impacted me the most, which I had to leave the room and come back again for a last look is titled: As my heart quiets and my body dies, take me gently through your troubled sky.

O’Neil lives in Houston,Texas. Houston’s Glasstire site has written a nice piece on her here.

In 2003 she received the Artadia Houston Award, and noted what she would do with her new found resources:

” I’ve been working in my tiny apartment driving myself crazy. I plan on getting a studio immediately. This is something that was simply not possible before I got this grant. I will furnish my studio with a table large enough for me to make my drawings. This grant will aid in the proper packing and shipping of my work which is very delicate.”

O’Neil’s work can regularly be seen at NYC’s Clementine Gallery and Chicago’s Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery.

New Drawing exhibit at Highland CC


After travel all day on Tuesday, a life of airports and shuttles, I touched down in Seattle finally. Very glad to be home!

Yesterday, after finding the drawings I had sent from North Carolina actually were in the vicinity (there is no such thing as overnighting anything from the Post Office there even though the Express Mail posters are hung front and center), I spent the day hanging my work at Highland CC, which is great as it is not often you punch out a new body of work and have the opportunity to exhibit it right away. The show will be up through July 31st.

Tuesday morning, sitting on my friend Harry’s porch before he took me to the airport, we were both trying to wrap our minds around the entity called the South. A friend of ours James who is from Kentucky used to spin the wildest tales about growing up there, I see now he was not using any exaggeration, I’m glad I got four weeks to try to decipher it for myself. In the mean time I came home to a garden fully in bloom and lots of peace and quiet.