Dad's Drill

18"x18" oil on canvas. I do not want to go all mushy on you, but this is an extremely personal painting for me. It may not have been obvious, but I think you might have been able to detect that tools are important to me. They are important to me because they were and are important to my clan. They are what fathers and sons shared, talked and joked about, and, as in my case, were some of the first things handed down to me when I launched into my adult life. Yes, I know they are just objects, but for us—people, who when they need things, make them and for whom family is everything—they are much more. I have not been able to paint a portrait of my late father—this is the closest I have ever come. This drill was not handed down to me, I earned and paid for my own and my father would not have handed it down to me anyway, because better was available. It is a funny little drill with a stubby awkward grip and puny chuck, but it is the drill I used in my childhood and it was so cool. For those of you who know about and used these old drills, you know that something is missing from this painting and that something is the chuck key dangling from the cord on a leather strap. My father swapped out the leather one for a better, but uglier orange rubber thingy later on. It messed with my painting and didn't remind me of anything, so I omitted it. This painting did not sell at the last Beverly Hills Show, even though I made a pretty cool frame for it and I am kinda happy it didn't. I want it hanging around in my studio for a while.
Posted November 2, 2011


  1. Oh yes, that is a personal painting, Raymond. My father gave me an old but strong drill, too... perhaps more to his son-in-law so that we have a nice collection of tools now. However, my father has still at least 3 more drills... collection, you know O;-)
    A great idea to paint our old one...
    Thanks for showing us this personal piece.

  2. Don't worry about mush. We are so, so fortunate to be able to put into paint our feelings and memories. I have painted my dad's mahl stick and my college brushes he sawed off so they'd fit in my art box. They're in my studio for inspiration. Maybe you should keep this one?

  3. Beautiful painting and heart felt text, you old mush ball you!
    We had a similar drill - circa 1975. After I got my long hair tangled in it, while trying to mount a towel bar in an awkward spot in the kitchen, my husband banned me from using power tools. During that maneuver the drill died and (fortunately) all that happened to me was I temporarily down some hair!


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