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Shore Leave - 2015. Oil on Canvas 69cm x 59cm

Inspired by Tom Waits' 1982 song of the same name, this still life is a gathering of elements from within the lyric (artistic license). The songs' protagonist aquires a list of items, upon disembarking  from his ship for a period of shore leave.

"Some gum,

A lighter

and a knife.

And a new deck of cards

with girls on the back."


  The gum was easy, though I couldn't locate a wrapper label that would fit the late fifties, early sixties asthetic, in which I intended to cast this picture.

  A design classic, The Zippo lighter was a simple choice. The high gloss brass variety provided me with an excellent reflective surface to play with and create a picture within a picture.

  Various knives presented themselves; a pareing knife, a switz blade and flick knife, before finally deciding upon this lock knife. The choice was made by clasping the knife. It felt like the kind of knife a sailor might choose to equip himself with in a far eastern sea port.

  The Puruvian pin up artist Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez  provided the design for the playing cards and being very collectable, is very unobtainable, however enough examples of his works were available online for me to recreate a pseudo deck of cards, albeit with girls on the front.

  In addition to these items a long sleeve shirt with horses (on the front) is purchased. After trawling around both on and off line, I finally decided upon a shirt (with dragons) that my 5 year old daughter had given to me. Though it has short sleeves (and no horses) it fitted my purpose far more artistically than any horse could, dragons being far more prevulent in the far east. The additional fact that Waits' salior "has a cold one, at the Dragon..." finalised my decision to include the garment as backdrop.


What is Shore Leave? It is both universal and personal. It is our time to be, to do, once the man requires no more...until the next time.

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