back to hamilton painting

Gray Decay’s Newest Painting: “Back to Hamilton Ontario”

I call this painting “Back to Hamilton Ontario” because it’s the exact same style of painting I used to do during a certain episode in my life. Consider this blog post the painting’s description, and there’s a long story behind it which makes it mean a lot to me. Now back to the this certain episode. It was only a six month episode of my life when I was eleven-years-old. I lived in the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada with a friend of my parents because they were, for a reason I still don’t understand, flying around the country.

My parents’ friend’s name was Larry and he just watched sports on TV all day. He was really nice though, and gave me permission to use all of his deceased grandma’s painting supplies because there was nothing else for me to do there. As an eleven-year-old boy painting from old paints that hadn’t been opened in decades was exhilarating. I remember feeling like I had stepped into a fantasy land. I didn’t know how to paint well back then though, at least not as well as I do now.

But this painting I call “Back to Hamilton Ontario” is purely imitating the work I was able to do back then when I was eleven. It’s even painted on a piece of square cardboard the same size as the originals. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the originals surviving, because they were lost years ago while moving. That’s mainly why I painted this, because I miss those originals. Every time I look at this painting I’m reminded of so much!

That six month episode of my life is full of colorful and vivid memories, all of them exploring a new city in Canada. I remember so much! I thought it would be best to put it all in a list. So here is that list:

My Memories of Hamilton Ontario when I was Eleven-Years-Old

my “back to hamilton ontario” painting
  1. Arriving at the Hamilton airport with my parents.
  2. Driving down streets I’ve never seen before.
  3. Seeing a red mailbox with a lady walking a dog.
  4. Reaching Larry’s house for the first time.
  5. Petting Larry’s cat.
  6. Watching the dryer get repaired.
  7. Seeing all the cool parts inside of the drying machine.
  8. Wondering if I should become an appliance repair man when I grow up.
  9. Eating at a 50s style diner.
  10. Seeing clowns at the neighbor’s birthday party.
  11. Getting ice cream with Larry.
  12. And last but not least, painting many colorful abstract pieces of art on cardboard that Larry cut into squares for me.

More memories come to mind the longer I stare at this painting. The strange thing is I’ve never been to Hamilton after that experience but having this painting now makes me feel like I live in that city again or at least have been there for long enough to know it like the back of my hand. I remember walking to the ice cream shop with Larry and seeing all the buses. It was a rather non eventful point in my life, except for the fact that the paintings I did and the memories around them have changed my life forever.

Make of this painting whatever you want. It’s only special for me because of my childhood memories. Everyone will see something different when they look at it and that’s what I love about abstract art, even if it’s rushed or amateur. Often I think amateur abstract art is some of the prettiest but I’ve been painting for man years. I’m in the middle between an amateur and a professional, I would say, but I was pretending to be amateur when I did this so it would look similar to the ones I did when I was eleven in Hamilton. Now let me tell you about my most vivid memory of all.

My Most Vivid Memory: The Dryer Repair Event

The only faces I remember besides that of Larry’s and his neighbors’ is that of the appliance repair man’s. When he let me look inside of the gutted drying machine I was amazed, and I truly do remember wondering if I should follow the same career as him when I grew up. He was a really cool man, or at least I thought so when I was eleven. He showed me all his tools and I remember being amazed by how heavy some of them were. I’m glad I never grew up to repair appliances for a living and every new painting I make now reminds me of that as I have this one hanging on my wall above my work station. Then again, though, it wouldn’t be that bad to work in Hamilton for a living. I could work for Appliance Repair Hamilton Ontario or something, and fix ovens instead of paint all day. From my memory I bet that old repair man really had a great life there, but I’m happy here painting. It’s amazing what the imagination can conjure when rambling too much. Now you should already know why this painting is so important to me. It brings so many thoughts to my head. I could talk about it forever, but, for your sake, I won’t! But by far that memory of seeing the dryer repaired is the most vivid. I almost want to say I know how to fix a dryer now, but I probably don’t… I hope you got a laugh out of that because I did.


If you want to see more of my paintings in the future, check up on my covid-19 isolation blogging adventure because I have a lot of time to paint! Hit me up with what you’ve been painting while in isolation and I’ll consider sharing it on my blog!