Leon Rooke has always been an inspiration and a muse. He has written some of the most delightful short stories I have ever read. Also those truly amazing novels Shakespeare’s Dog and A Good Baby, which, if you haven’t read them, you have to read (I have written an essay on the latter, which you can find in my book Attack of the Copula Spiders). And then, late in life, as if he hasn’t done enough damage already, he takes up painting and turns out passionate, sensual, witty canvasses that exude desire, subversion, irony, and an acute adoration and attentiveness to the feminine — unapologetic, insouciant, even scabrous. Oh, Leon! A man who follows the electric current of creativity wherever it leads. A model for us all.
Beale Street Memphis, 2013 (oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.)
The Manicurist, 2012 (oil on canvas, 30 x 20 in.)
Beach Girls 1, 2013 (acrylic on canvas, 8 x 10 in.)
Sirens, 2013 (oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.)
Brideshead Revisted, 2012 (acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 in.)
Red Hair District, 2013 (oil on canvas, 18 x 24 in.)
Untitled (Holland), 2013 (oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in.)
The Magistrate, 2013 (acrylic on canvas, 48 X 60 in.)
Leon Rooke exhibits his paintings at the Fran Hill Gallery in Toronto. He has published more than 30 books, including novels, short story collections, plays, anthologies, and “oddities,” and more than three hundred short stories. Rooke’s many awards include the Governor-General’s Award for Fiction (for Shakespeare’s Dog, 1985), the Periodical Association of Canada Award for the English-Language Paperback Novel of the Year (for Fat Woman, 1982), a Pushcart Prize (1988), the North Carolina Award for Literature (1990), and the Canada/Australia Literary Prize in 1981, for his body of work. Also the W. O. Mitchell Literary Award, for his writing and his mentoring, and the ReLit Short Fiction Award. Rooke has taught at more than a dozen Canadian and U.S. universities. He lives in Toronto.
I needed a burst of joy, color, and sensuousness at just this moment. Thanks!
From the Facebook discussion:
I love these, Leon! Glowing, bright and red.