Mahaloness

Contemporary artist specializing in full spectrum painting, mural, animation and digital hybrid art.


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moose sign 

I went to the mountains recently for some film work, my other passion, and found myself amidst the wild ones. In this case a juvenile moose presumably wondering what we were doing in his home. I try to imagine this animal watching us, observing the director and the DOP, wondering why the AD is always calling action and cut, and why these humans are moving around lights and bounces. The mountain air is always fresh unless of course there is forest fires, thankfully this time of year most of the fires have gone out. I am fortunate to work in this space fairly regularly either on a mountain top or in its valleys. I have come to realize the importance of stepping outside the studio so as to get some fresh perspective. Whether it is for work or pleasure being in the mountains raises my stoke and gives me strength. I also learn to appreciate life more, and not take any of it for granted, it is truly a gift to be here. Slowly and patiently, I am getting my magnificence back, each breath, each step, that much closer. There is beauty everywhere, you just have to look for it, and when you find it a lightness and a sense of belonging prevails. 

Presently, I am back in the studio and thinking of an animal painting to make. I am torn between a bear and a moose, and I have tiger on the mind, funny enough. Perhaps all three in one… at any rate running into a moose was a good sign. So now please enjoy my images and minimotion, sharing some of the magic of the good ol Rocky Mountains. 

hälts minimotion 

‘moose’ with soundscape ‘where the wild ones roam’ featuring some scenes from a recent film job I was on. 

fotoMahaloness

moments of bliss 

onwards…
back to the studio 

Its been high activity in the studio, working on my newest painting ‘sacred place’ which received some decent inspiration from my mountain time, priceless, thank you Earth. 

hälts hybrid art featuring a detail from ‘sacred place’


faded past 

an old public art space I worked in, I made the mural first it’s called ‘creator’ and the painting on the lower left was a live art piece called ‘the helaer’ which I worked on over a few months, it was a great room, lovely people and the experience remains a deep part of my being. 



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Solitude 

I have heard the desert is a place of stillness. It is somewhere one can go to find solitude, and once there even loneliness fades away as memories lose their reference. Here the imagination can be whatever it wants to be, unhinged, it floods the desert with a magical whim. Perhaps this is why I am a painter, the need for solitude and stillness.

When I sit and paint it is a requiem, an act of rememberance to honour those who painted before me, the brave souls who sacrificed all sorts of life comforts, guided only by their voice, their craft, their art. When I paint I am in a place of stillness, peace, and contemplation. In this place I can breathe how I want to breathe, which is slow, and long. Sometimes it takes a whole day to find that zone and by night I go for as long as I can before exhaustion sets in. There are days when I don’t want to work and it can be a fight to work through it. As soon as my hands get to work the idea of not working fades away into oblivion. Everyone has their way of doing things, and I suppose I am no different. My art has been my own invention, albeit I have borrowed and taught myself techniques that are far from new. I have managed to put them together uniquely in my own way. Painting is an experience, a process, some trials, some errors, frustration, anguish, joy, peace, zen, and without a doubt there will more paint required. One can learn techniques and process, however the subject of the art and what I’d call the fuel is something one has to discover for themselves. I have discovered that art is a bridge, so whether or not I am making a surreal painting, or I am making something realistic, my focus is in how to establish a connection with the viewer. I am not entirely sure whether these insights interest you or not, I am not the best at talking about myself.

 I do find it fascinating that I am in the eyes of science very close to being a chimpanzee, a matter of a few different strands in my DNA, isn’t that something, and yet I am also close to something beyond the physical world that which I cannot see, yet sense and feel as being everywhere, omnipresent, and sacred. I honour the sacred in every painting sesshin, that is perhaps why I love painting, it is a slow process that makes me aware of subtle rhythms and movements, even though I am in my solitude, I do not feel alone when I am in the zone. 

hälts minimotion 

‘new adventure’ 🚀 hälts minimotion with soundscape ‘chimp love’ featuring my day working on ‘sacred place’ and you know what it went pretty f⚓️🌜king well all said and done, still got some work to do, what’s new.




fotoMahaloness 

stages in process

hälts hybrid art featuring a detail of ‘sacred place’ and painters tape and paper.

zig zags, going back to the beginning…

hälts painting zone, sacred space


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fall

Q: Do I wish I could reverse time? 

A: No. 

Time is what happens to us, life changes, our friends change, our family changes, our planet changes, everything we know changes. This is what life is, a process of change, a movement, a dance, a song, a painting, a leaf that turns orange, a slow river that meanders into the distance, a candle that blows out on a birthday cake. 

and now a quote that I came across recently….

Because we don’t know when we will die 

We get to think of life as an independent inexhaustible world

Yet, everything only happens a certain amount of times 

And a very small amount really

How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon in your childhood

Some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being 

that you cannot even conceive of your life without it

How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? 

Perhaps 20

Yet it all seems limitless. 

-Paul Bowles 

fotoMahaloness

documents from fall that include both my art and some moments from a BC sojourn to see my elders. 

‘sacred place’ hälts hybrid art

in life there is death, I found this Robin in the yard and laid her to rest in a peaceful ceremony, honouring her life.

a fall scene

I want to be a cloud

just a beautiful tree on a sunny fall day

the garden continues to transforms

a grouse I befriended

my dad is a courageous man, he has lived a full life and without him I would not be here making art, photographing nature, writing blogs, and experiencing this beautiful life, thank you and happy birthday, job well done❤️

‘fall hiatus’ 🍁 new hälts mininaturedoc with soundscape ‘5 elements’ featuring some magical BC moments 🌜 and goodnight 


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hey Zeus 

I have always had the fantasy of being struck by lightening. Come to think of it perhaps it was the movie ‘The Great Outdoors’ that spawned  this fascination, or perhaps it’s was Frankenstein. At any rate lightening is in my veins, even though I have never been struck, I have come close. When I was a kid I had little to no fear, I chased storms around, and would sit on my soccer ball and watch them roll above me, lightening forking through the sky, to which my father would eventually drag me inside, much to my chagrin. For a large part fo my life I was obsessed with windsurfing, a total shred head, sailing in many of storm winds, flying across the water while my sail mast begged for a bolt, it never happened. I have made love in storms, which is the best. Occasionally I have been caught in storms along my travels, and never got struck, nevertheless what a beautiful experience to behold. Not long ago I tattooed a bolt on the inside of my forearm of my dominate paint hand. It represents a time I got my spark back, and has reminded me ever since to never let that charge go, even amidst those times when life creeps up, and will all know it does, those rogue waves that throw us off our balance and send us over the falls. Yet, I paint on, letting the electricity course out through my brush onto the canvas. 

Enter Zeus in my most recent painting WIP called ‘sacred place’. He is there and yet only ever so slightly behind a thin veil of white paint, waiting for me to forget so he can to throw that bolt down my way. The story with this new painting is that it was an old painting. It was a portrait, from a time when I was living the bohemian lifestyle, no worries, fancy free, at least that’s what I told myself. I went to a lot of festivals and did live art in many places. This portrait is of a girl who caught my eye in my travels, or so I thought. I painted it from memory however as I painted it at least seven people morphed into her. They were people who I met that I had no intention of painting, and yet there they were one after the other, entering the painting in way or another. Memory is an extraordinary thing. This leads me to my newest painting foray. I decided to paint over that portrait but not really, I am leaving subtle reminders of its presence like memory, subtle and enduring. The following images show the stages of my newest WIP which is called ‘sacred place’. 

fotoMahaloness and 2 minimotions (mini documents of my artistic endevours)

painter man’ 💫 late night hälts minimotion with soundscape ‘drop it in’ featuring some clips working on a new painting WIP ‘sacred place’ including the ever so satisfying tape pull and a sky timelapse from the other day.

coffee and a bolt of lightening at the Ro, my fav little coffee shop in Calgary


​’dedicated to my dad’ 🕯this minimotion is for my dad, it was his birthday recently so I dedicated this sesh in his honour, he is a courageous man and I am sending him all my love ❤️

Well friends that Where I am at, I have been keeping a lot of other stuff at bay, including a new website, in order to finish this painting in a reasonable amount of time, while thinking about the next one that will be getting a transformation. 


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where you been?

Everywhere. 

On that note it’s been a while since I sat down to write, I really haven’t had much to say, or write. So to break that spell I have decided to share some moments from the last few months, bits and pieces of adventure, art and revelations. It’s been a year of change for me, as life does what life does, serving up surprises and some things not so surprising. The course I have taken is a necessary one, albeit difficult. I did attempt to run away from a few things, including winter, this never really works out, I’ll explain that in a post to come. While I was travelling I came face to face with some demons which I had been wrestling with. I think it’s safe to say that I am not the only one and many of us experience these moments. The general response is to fear them and if caught off guard they can really rattle one’s cage, or meat sack, depending on how you look at it. No one wants to walk into dark forest on their own naked, and for good reason. However in order for me to come to terms with some of these things I had no alternative. My experiences have taught me to have faith that it will work out, and everything does, just not always the way we’d like it to. It takes courage to see these moments through, and that’s where I am at, building the courage to see it through. After a bunch of disappointments I find myself brushing off the dirt, and putting one foot forward at a time. 
fotoMahaloness

Metaphors and moments in Mexico, where hälts travelled to in late spring and would spend two months on a exploration of self, life and art. 

detail of the shaman skate by hälts, a great way to travel to the other side, and a metaphor for this story

surfboard packing, however I didn’t need of bringing the fish, fixed fins and a bunch of layovers to Mexico was enough to leave her at home, next time.

flight

transport options are wide in Mexico, the metaphors begin

16, I saw this number numerous times, it is a good number for hälts

There must be a party, I didn’t get the invite but I known where to go.

Worn down rocks and an ocean, there is a metaphor in there somewhere….

a new wall that I would paint, fresh canvas incognito

‘Spirit of Oaxaca’ hälts watercolour WIP


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SLO winter 

So ​I was away for a brief time, apologies for the the disappearance. It happens when you’re a painter, which tends to be a very solitary discipline that requires long periods of time concentrating on one thing, or in my case about 5 or 6 things. So it’s not big surprise that Mahaloness has been a little neglected. I also encountered the disappearance of my domain, which is somewhat foreshadowing of what’s to come for this here blog. I am currently the process of developing a new website, which will act as a store, a gallery, and blog. An all in one, a dynamic website that will be replacing Mahaloness. I will say Mahaloness has served my artistic journey well, however I am ready to for the next chapter. Before that happens I will be posting here when I can and providing updates with respect to the new online shop and site for those interested. I do want to thank all who have cruised my blog, and hopefully you have gotten some things from my posts and my art. 

Now time for the Winer Blues…

It is has been a long cold winter here in the Northern hemisphere, with very little reprieve, endless, non stop, won’t stop. This has been a mixed blessing, on one hand it has been a very productive time in the studio, and on the other hand cold and miserable weather is taxing on the constitution and makes for some less than cheery moments to say the least. Thankfully painting and art process is a reliable antidote to the dreaded cabin fever, and somewhat reasonable response to the winter blues. So praise the paint gods for that! Although to be honest I am over it, and I think a lot of people would agree with m here. 

fotoMahaloness

Me chilling with my painting WIP SLO 


For most of the winter, I have been working on my series ‘SLO’. I am a slow painter, not to say I haven’t made fast paintings, I just prefer to take my time, and letting the paintings dictate the pace, slow and steady, sans deadlines. These are not commission paintings and I have been working on some of them for months, and even years.  I find a lot of art tends to go with trends, this is fine if that’s what you want to do, I just don’t think they have lasting power…. trends they come and they go. I am more interested in making paintings that take their time revealing themselves to you. They are not statements, they are not a protest, and they are far from pop art. They are contrary to life’s pace, I have found no alternatives that would adequately suffice to speed the process up sans the use of performance enhancing substances, which is not an option, nor would I ever recommend it, and I do speak from experience. I think these days everyone wants to enhance their brain, and energy levels, and they will go to any lengths to make that happen. In fact studies are starting to show that this may not be that effective, more than likely the long term effects are not good. In fact substance abuse has been a part of arts history and how many great artists have we lost because of it, too many to mention. 

A painting has its own rhythm. 

Detail from ‘Pink Dragon’ also part of the SLO series (acrylic on recycled cardboard)


 The translation from idea to painting takes time and has its own rhythm. Once I am in paint mode I tend to work with my intuition, thanks to a lot of hard work developing my painting skills. Some days are easier than others, when physical, mental and spirit are balanced, the work flow is effortless. Other days it seems that Gravity is heavier, paint brushes are heavier, things spill and spirits get worked. This does not stop my process and I have disciplined myself to work through it, however there have been times when it’s not so good on the constitution. In my weaker moments artist rage can erupt. When this happens I do not try to stop it. Instead I try to redirect this energy back into process and in most cases it can be effective. Occasionally it just doesn’t work and I will bounce onto something else, or even better go for a walk. 

Life experience has shown me how negative energy can be a detriment to quality of life and process. This is somewhat paradoxal to the idea that artists require suffering to make great art. I think suffering is a given in life, there is always some form of suffering from the little stuff to the big stuff. This goes for everyone and that’s all I will say about that for the moment. However artists such as myself have our days, and things can get a little overwhelming when it is just one person getting things done. Lately I have been getting some help with my marketing and business side of things, something of which I have either ignored or never delegated the proper time for. This has been a weakness, and a good friend of mine worked on me for months, to get me to sit down and talk about my strategy. It was a struggle. I have come to realize that it’s as important as is the process of making art itself, and this what led me to rethink Mahaloness and how I do things. 

 Lastly, always listen to your gut! The gut don’t lie. 

and now a minimotion special feature 

‘deep see’ 🎥 new hälts minimotion with soundscape ‘gone painting’ featuring a few recent sesshins on my WIP ‘SLO’ and a window into my artistic practice. 

Below is one of my little notebooks ‘notes from the underground’ which refer to the fact my studio is in a basement, this is where I put down ideas and work out chess moves, with regards to my WIP paintings. Generally speaking this signifies that I am in the last phases of production, and by writing things down I clear my head in order to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed, which works most times….


SLO WIP in hybrid art format, mixed media

Sometimes I go horizontal with SLO

Below is SLO with an image superimposed behind which is me working on my first indie mural ‘Hillhurst Hardware’ although years apart I think every mark I make informs my work to come, it adds to the layers, and nothing will ever replace content like that of life experience. 

I still use the palette knife that was originally my grand fathers, it has a great feel and keeps me connected to my past.


The eagle, the scarab, the horse, animals and bugs are a part of my art experience. 


Once and a while I like to do something diferrent.

There is something special that happens when I body paint someone, especially if it someone I know, I see them in such a new and unique light, I think that’s pretty cool, I look forward to continuing this aspect of my art.


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the artist journey 

“An ideal is always a judge, you are not as good as your ideal, you always fall short”.  -C. Jung    

I never went to art school and the only art training I had was what I learned in grade school, long ago in the days of my adolescence. It’s funny to to think that painting found me, we just kind of bumped into each other and many years later I find myself still in love with the process. It has been a journey to say the least, countless hours with paint and god knows how many canvases, in all shapes and sizes, it’s difficult to comprehend. If it weren’t for a stubborn resolve I possibly would have thrown in the towel long ago and at no point in my early life did I think, I want to be an artist. It literally found me and ever since I have managed to do it mostly my way, albeit a few hiccups along the way. 

the road less travelled


I possess a healthy dose of what you would call ambition, I wanted to be the best damn painter I can possibly be, probably due to the fact I spent a good portion the first quarter century of my life in some kind of competitive sport. When I started painting I had a tiny amount of life experience. I guess it was enough to know that art was something I liked and although the promise of success was very low I made the decision that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I spent a little time in the gallery system and found it didn’t jive well with me, it seemed constricted, clique, and limited. Instead I chose the solo art pilgrimage, which I want to point out is very much a life long journey. And like any journey there are times when things are calm and ordered and there are times when chaos reigns. I have found that both have their advantages and disadvantages and it’s a fine line to tread, you can interpret that however you like, it is meant as a cautionary warning. 

a bus mural I painted, it was total chaos, three months of it, I didn’t think I was going to finish, and miraculously I did.


Over the years I have learned to develop a system, one might say ‘rules’, to produce my paintings. Despite the flickers of brilliance that come out of the chaos it is a zone that I do not recommend one stay in. I also appreciate calm, stillness and the solitude of a good paint session. No doubt I like to be on the fringe which includes the subject matter I work with, the projects I choose to do, and in some cases the projects that find me. I think the difference between now and then is I have moved towards a balance, a combination that has proven to work well and ensures that I will be doing my art for as long as possible. 

‘easty westy’ a painting by hälts from a chaotic period in his life, living in Toronto in the early 2000’s


 

 Q: What is the ideal? 

A: That’s not for me to answer, however having experienced the chaos side of things I think there is something to be said about the advantages of having a foot in order and calm. 

fotoMahaloness 

And now a gallery of fotos featuring moments from the winter season inside and out of the studio. 

winter beach scene

unintentional artefacts, these form by paint drying on my paint tube spouts, I have been collecting them for a future artwork, I try to not waste material, it’s a golden rule.

‘blue Tara’ 🔹 hälts Hybrid art featuring my first Tara painting reimagined in the digital realm

‘SLO’ hälts painting detail low angle foto (the medium is acrylic)

I have been selling prints now for many years, this is ‘the Healer’ hälts Fine Art Print with custom frame, I used my drop cloth as a background and the client was thrilled

I have been working on a series called ‘recycled art’, this particular painting is on cardboard and is called ‘pink sun’, this is a series of works that explore the recycling of art, ideas and a materials.