The Art of Fred Martin
Homepage      Art      Exhibitions      Art Histories      Essays      Classes      Publications

A selection of paintings,
The Carpenter Series, 1966-67.
Unless otherwise noted, all paintings are distemper with soft pastel accents on oatmeal paper, 24 x 36  inches

Images marked ** are described in the catalog for my 2003 Retrospective at the Oakland Museum of California. 
Click the
** to go to the description.

Scroll down for the paintings, click the image for a larger view.



In 1965-66, I did nothing but draw and etch that place I called Beulah Land. By Summer of 1966, I had worn out the imagery and my hands were cramped and my arms stiff as sticks.  What to do next? 

On the long Labor Day weekend of 1966, I went to the studio and with the words from a then popular song—“If I were a carpenter, would you follow me anywhere, would you have my baby?”—set out to paint like a rough carpenter using his arms to hammer together the studs and rafters of a house… and to have whatever baby my art might give. 

I made hundreds of these paintings.  The cannons of the phallus, the pyramids of Egypt as the granaries of Joseph (an old myth I had read), and the far mountains whence spring the four rivers of paradise (from a sixth century mosaic at Sts. Cosmas and Damiano in Rome).  Those mountains and rivers have stayed with me forever.