Friday, July 26, 2013

Oilcan Gothic

You know Grant Wood's "American Gothic" right? Dour woman next to somber man with pitchfork? Standing side by side and all serious about life. I was reminded of that painting when I put these oilcans together.

Not that I'm comparing! But, I can make a sort of connection.

Wood's "American Gothic" has been described as a "depiction of the American pioneer spirit." Well, I'm from New York so it's not quite my pioneer spirit. Pitchforks? No. Oilcans, definitely.

My Dad was a pilot, but he was, above all, a master tinkerer. There wasn't anything he couldn't repair or improve. His pioneer spirit included inventing ways to make tasks easier. And we kids were part of his team: building, digging... whatever. There was never any thought of hiring someone to do a job. Just figure it out. So I guess that's why old tools trigger nostalgia for me.

Working on this painting I thought about his many projects and all the supplies we fetched: "Workbench. Left side. Third shelf. In the back. I'm counting to ten." Tasks mixed with the scent of oil and sawdust.

Adding more personal meaning is the 200 year old beam - it's from my basement. Such character in old wood! The oilcan on the left was lent by a friend. I found the blue one in an antique shop and it was love at first sight.

Don't they make the perfect couple? She: elegant in a silvery, Cinderella gown. He: tall and handsome in dress blues (use your imagination, people). Clearly, there's nothing they can't handle.

Quintessentially American Gothic of the workingclass/workbench variety!

"Oilcan Gothic" ©Dorothy Lorenze.  oil on linen  11x14"


  1. Definitely eye riveting. Amazing colours. Wish I could be standing in front of the actual painting.


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