I did some paintings in the 50’s that were good enough to give away but I never thought about selling them. Painting in those years was only a hobby. I was making my living with a camera. If a friend said they liked a painting it was theirs. I don’t even know where those paintings are today.
When I look back at that work it is easy for me to see the first instances of what I ended up creating in sculpture and today’s paintings. I rarely used a brush. Most of the work was done with heavy oils and a pallet knife. In retrospect I loved texture then as I do now. I liked the “accidents” that happened with color when the paint was smeared with a knife. or my hands, or some tool I found in a hardware store. That part has not changed.
I’ve said before that until the last 15 years I hadn’t done a painting in oil since 1957. I discovered sculpture in 1958 and didn’t paint seriously again for 30 years.
I kept the last 2 paintings. This one and the one of the boys were actually stuck away in a closet and they didn’t get framed until I moved to VA. Both are on canvas and it’s amazing that they never got damaged.
I first met Capt Joe when I stayed at his inn on the beach at Cape Cod in MA. He had a great gimmick. At 3PM he would go out on the deck with a bull horn and yell “ Cocktail spree at 3”. By the time the sound reached the beach it sounded like “ Cocktails FREE at 3” and his bar would get loaded. We became friends over a period of time and he asked me to stop in at his bar in Nassau, Bahamas next time I was on the island.
That turned out to be an “interesting” visit. The Junkanoo Club, then on Bay Street, was something I had never seen before, I was there every night and It was there I met Peanuts Taylor who later became a legend on the island. The band featured Peanuts on the bongo drums. Before I left Peanuts had taught me how to play. Not well.. but enough to have fun with them when I got back to New York .
This was one of my many photographs taken In the Bahamas. I remember painting it. The bicycle basket and the stone column are literally sculpted in paint. There’s not much I can say about the boys . i never talked to them but I was captured by the younger brothers expression and the way they whole thing came together.
As a photographer I was more of a realist in those days. When I started painting again I realized that I could create realism better with a camera than I could with a paint brush and I moved into abstract, form and color.
I’ve never shown either painting. They are a part of my history.