Boston Globe
His painting provides plenty of satisfaction
Bookmark and Share

By Mark Shanahan, Globe Staff

Dressed in a scarlet shirt, black jacket, and jeans, Ron Wood looks very much like a Rolling Stone. His rooster 'do is suspiciously dark for a man of 58, but the guy's still got vibe. (And the cool quotient only compounds when you consider that, before joining the Stones in 1976, Wood was an original member of the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces.)

What you may not know is that rock 'n' roll isn't his only gig. When Wood isn't holed up in a studio or embarked on yet another world tour, he puts down his guitar and picks up a paintbrush. This week, with the World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in residence at Fenway Park, a collection of Wood's portraits are on display at Newbury Fine Arts, a gallery on Newbury Street. It was there, on a leopard-pattern chaise lounge, that we sat down with Ron Wood while he talked about his art.


Q. Welcome to Boston.
A. Ah, Mr. Globe, how are you?

Q. Good. Tell me about this show of yours?
A. What, the art?

Q. Yes

  Ronnie Wood in Boston

A. Well, my youngest son, Ty, is my art representative, and we've got my [art] agent Danny here, and a whole crew, really.

Q. see Peter [Wolf] is here.
A. Oh, yeah, we always hook up when we come Boston way. I'm still looking for my friend, the Master Blaster. He's a good old DJ friend of mine.

Q. How long have you been painting?
A. Oh, it's something I've done ever since I was that high.

Q. And how high were you when you started playing guitar?
A. That high, too. [Laughter]

Q. Which do you prefer?
A. The music is a group thing. The art is a more personal

Q. There are portraits of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, and also Jimmy Reed, Marvin Gaye, and Rod Stewart. If you come down on the price, I might buy the Jimmy Reed.
A. OK.

Q. Do you have any favorite paintings of yours?
A. Well, my new [Bob] Marley I quite like. We'll probably be playing his song "Get Up, Stand Up." When we played it at the little club gig in Toronto, it went over real big.

Q. Charlie [Watts] went to Scullers on his night off.
A. Is that a jazz club?

Q. Yes. Do you go to museums?
A. When I'm not run off my feet I do. At the moment, I haven't even had a chance to turn around what with sound checks, set lists, and art exhibitions.

Q. How do you get these famous folks to sit for you? Like Jack Nicholson.
A. That I got from a particularly cheeky photograph, and he was the first one to buy it. He bought the original.

Q. What do your band mates think of your art? Does Mick complain about how you paint him?
A. They've gotten used to it. They used to take the [expletive] out of me, and say, "Ah, [expletive], just play the guitar." Charlie was in my room yesterday, and he saw the Marley and a new Stones one, and he said he really liked it. That's quite a compliment coming from him.

Q. How much time do you spend painting compared to playing the guitar?
A. It's roughly 50/50, but when we go on the road, and I'm in the music mode, painting takes a back seat. I do have my paints in my room, and when I get a chance I do some views from hotel windows. Where we're staying at the moment, I have a view over the Boston. . .

Q. Common?
A. Yeah, the Boston Common. I painted it last time, and I was thinking of carrying it on.

Q. Do you collect art?
A. Yeah, I buy William Orpen. I'm the biggest collector of an Irish artist named William Orpen.

Q. Tell me about him.
A. Well, he was in an exclusive school of painters along with Augustus John. There was a whole gang of them, really, a bit like the Impressionists. They all hung out together and went to France together, and shared a bit of the Impressionist experience.

Q. What sort of stuff is it?
A. He's a fabulous oil painter and a watercolorist. I have lots of his original oils, and all of his letters and drawings.

Q. How'd you get interested in him?
A. I found [his work] at an auction. I sent a representative, and the [asking price] was between $7,000 and $12,000. Well, my guy came back and said no one bid for him, so I got him for rock bottom -- $7,000. Since then, I've been offered by the National Gallery in Dublin $100,000 for the painting. I thought, "This is interesting. I think I'll follow up." I started to get more and more of his stuff.

Q. Sounds a little like collecting records.
A. You'll have to ask the Wolf man about that. [Laughter]
Q. Do the other members of the band have talents we don't know about?
A. Yeah, Charlie's a line-drawer. He's a good artist, but Charlie keeps his art secret. He'd never show it. It takes an arm and a leg for him to show it to me.

Q. What sort of stuff?
A. He draws really weird things, like his bed, or the leftovers from his meal, or the instructions on the wall: "Leave your valuables at the front desk." He does all these weird drawings
Q. And never shows them?
A. No, I've tried. He's a bit like Bob Dylan that way. Bob draws all the time. I've got an original of Bob's from when he came to Ireland, and we recorded some stuff. Bob's great. I did a gig with him in Kilkenny, and before we went on, his band said, "Which song is Ronnie coming on for?" And Bob said, "Just give him the key, and he's on for the whole set." [Laughter]

Q. Is it important to you to be taken seriously as an artist? A lot of folks buy your stuff because it's by Ron Wood.
A. But a lot of them like the way I paint, too.

Q. So that is important to you?
A. Very important. Obviously, it's a big stumbling block being in the Stones.

Q. A stumbling block being in the Stones?
A. Well. [Laughter]

Q. Say, could I bum a smoke?
A. Absolutely, Mr. Globe. Here you go



image preview
image preview
image preview
image preview
image preview
Manchester News
Saint Petersburg
Irish Independent
ValueRich Magazine
Evening Standard
The Independent
Shanghai Daily
China Daily
Boston Globe
Entertainment Daily
Art Business News
Art Of England
Boston Herald
Sunday Times
Rolling Stone
Christian Science Monitor
Las Vegas Journal
Los Angeles Mag
Las Vegas Sun
This Is London
Rocky Mountain News
Canada News
Los Angeles Times
Item Magazine
The Independent
Somerville Journal
Hello Magazine
Plain Dealer
Art Business News
New York Times
Ronnie Wood Age 13
Limelight Agency RSS Feed Limelight Agency Twitter Limelight Agency Blog Limelight Agency Facebook
Limelight Agency
Ronnie's email list