Friday, February 17, 2017

The Box of Old, Love Letters

                                         An original acrylic painting, on gesso primed panel
                                         10 X 13", unframed
                                          $200.00,  ( plus $20.00, pack and ship )

                                                   ( click on image to enlarge )

     This is traditionally the month in which we declare our undying love for our spouses
or our significant others, although the expressing of our abiding love should really be
demonstrated every day, rather than waiting until the compulsory day arrives.  After
Saint Valentine's Day has passed each year, I tend to wonder how many people were
fortunate enough to receive a hand-written declaration of love, from the most important
person in their lives.  In this fast-paced, electronic age, such letter writing is a dying art.
So, the various commercial interests profit greatly from our reluctance to spend the time
to express the depth of our feelings. The florists tell us to "Say it flowers.", the candy
makers tell us to "Say it with chocolates".and the jewelers tell us to "Say it with diamonds."
 (The word "it", in all these promotions, presumably stands in for the words "I love you".)
And then, for the last-minute, frugal or desperate valentine, there is always the heart-
-shaped, greeting card.

     This painting looks back to a different time.  Someone who long ago, had received
love letters on a regular basis, and then carefully locked them away, has now opened
the box, to read them again, and relive treasured memories of true love.  Although the
pages may be yellowing with age, and the ink may be fading, the words can still warm
the heart.  The painting doesn't offer any clues as to whether this was a lost love, or an
unrequited love, or a love which became a life-long union, with many more, written
expressions of enduring love.  I'll leave the rest of the story to the imaginations of the

     This painting is also now available framed and ready to hang, in an attractive, gold
molding with a linen liner, for anyone who would like to "Say it with fine art".

                              The price with frame is $250.00, ( plus $30.00,  pack and ship )

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Season Of Long Shadows

                                         An original acrylics painting, on gesso primed panel
                                         12 X 15", unframed
                                          $210.00, ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                            ( click on image to enlarge )

     This painting was done in a fairly impressionist style, to try and capture a loose,
fresh feel of new-fallen snow.  There is a special beauty to this season when the
earth sleeps beneath a cold, white blanket, but as we get older we fail to find winter
as enjoyable as we did in our youth.  We tend now, to wish for an end to the bitter
season, and yearn for the brighter and warmer days of spring, as soon as possible.
     Groundhogs have nothing to do with advancing spring for us, of course, but the
sun is indeed returning from its winter solstice, and heading north toward the equator.
     Every day now, the shadows across our landscape grow shorter and our days
grow brighter.  Unfortunately, the same can not be said about the rough days ahead
for our nation and the world.  Without a wise and thoughtful captain at the helm of
our ship of state, the shadows grow deeper and darker, and I fear we are facing
many stormy seas and disasters ahead.

     For those who prefer to buy art framed and ready to hang, this painting is now
available custom framed, in a wide-contour, weathered-molding, which compliments
the painting, and is appropriate to the subject.  Framed as shown, the cost is
$300.00, plus $30.00, to pack and ship.

     As with most all of my work, which is shown in this blog, prints are also available.
A fine-art, giclee print of this painting, on archival, 8 X 10" paper, is $15.00, plus
$8.00. pack and ship.


Some Cheer Amidst The Chill

     There are a couple of hibiscus plants here which are so old they are more like potted
trees with strong trunks, rather than tender plants.  I don't recall exactly when they were
acquired, but I am guessing it must have been about forty years ago.  They are more than
just hardy, they are true survivors, because they have suffered much neglect over the
years. It seems like I am always too preoccupied with  multiple other things, to give them
the kind of proper watering and feeding they would need to flourish. And yet I don't
discard them, despite the fact that it has become more and more of a struggle for me to
carry them outside every summer.  I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be able
to continue the yearly moves.
     The double-flowered blossom shown here, is from the plant which produces variegated
peach-toned flowers with red-violet centers.  It has been continuing to bloom this winter,
even though I had to cut it back very severely last fall, before I brought it back inside.
     A simple thing like a blossom, with its miracle of design and color, can sometimes help
to lessen the gloom of winter, and take one's mind off of all the regressive, political turmoil
going on in the nation and the world now.
     Perhaps that is why I continue to keep the hibiscus.  The blossoms are a reminder that
I am still alive, with things to accomplish, and things to enjoy.    Like the character George
Bailey, in Frank Capra's classic film, It's A Wonderful Life, who has been shown what a
dismal place his world would be if he had never been born, but then he finds his little
girl's rose-petals in his watch-pocket, and realizes that he is still alive, with all of the good
things in life to still be appreciated.
     So, perhaps the hibiscus trees and I will make it through another year together.  But
who knows?  Only time will tell.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Lost Gift Of Christmas

                                                   An original mixed-media painting
                                                   18 X 24", unframed - ( mat & frame, 24 X 30")
                                                   $70.00,  ( plus $25.00, pack & ship )

                                                            ( click on image to enlarge )

     There are a number of small, English villages, known as "Picturesque" villages, which
are deliberately maintained without any modernization, to look much the same as they did
a couple of centuries or more ago.  They are a big draw for the tourism business.   But
during the height of the tourist season, they are much less picturesque, because the
narrow, crooked streets become jammed up with tourist buses, cars and people with
cameras, snapping photos in all directions.
     In this painting, looking up a street in a village called Bibury, I tried to imagine how the
village might appear, as a soft, fluffy snowfall began to coat the roofs, streets and shrubs,
creating a scene which would be something like gazing into an antique snow-globe.   I
hope it conveys the feeling that one of Charles Dickens' characters, or Dickens himself,
might imminently come down the street, whether by pony-cart or carriage.
     It would be easy for a wrapped gift to get jostled off the back of an over-loaded,
horse-drawn cart or wagon, and then soon become lost in the falling snow, as I depicted
it, lying there, waiting for rescue.  So, what would you imagine is in the lost Christmas gift?
I'll give you my answer
     It is the same gift which has been getting lost every year, in every village and city, and
in every country, all around the world.  The gift was first offered a couple of millenniums
ago, when a thoughtful, young reformer, stood up to all the entrenched religious and
political powers, which controlled everyone's lives, and offered some words which could
bring peace to all.  "Love thy neighbor as thyself!" he said.  But they were not ready to
change, and his words cost him his life.
     So, when will will of mankind finally be willing to hear the message?  Change will not
come until everyone is willing to stand up and say that no one has the right to impose his
beliefs, or his religion, on any one else, or suppress their rights of freedom of speech, or
deprive any one else of life, liberty, property or their own, personal pursuit of happiness.

     What is in the eternally lost, Christmas gift?  It is love and peace!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Visit From Horatio H. Hamster, as Bob Cratchit

   My little friend, and sometime model, Horatio, has popped up again, wanting to take this
opportunity to wish me and all the blog viewers a Merry Christmas.  He arrived in his new
guise as Bob Cratchit, because this month, he has been playing that part in the annual
production of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, at the local, neighborhood, Quadruped
     Today he says that the middle initial in his name stands for Holiday, as in "happy",
not as in "Doc", the western gunslinger of O.K Coral fame.  I told him that I doubted  that
any of the blog viewers would mistake him for a gunslinger of any species, human or
otherwise.  And then, since he was in a hurry to get to the theater for the evening
performance, I thanked him for his good wishes, and sent him on his way.
     I have been glad to see that he has received some critical praise for his roll as the
kindly father of Tiny Tim, praise which has not been quite so glowing for all the cast
members.  But he still feels that the show must go on, despite the lack of talent and
intelligence of some who are not capable of carrying out their parts.
     The critics have all been particularly vocal in pointing out the ineptitude of Donald
Skunk, who was cast in the leading role of the production.  It did seem like the choice
of Donald Skunk to play Ebeneezer Scrooge, was perfect type-casting, since he is so
naturally odious that his very presence pollutes the air around him.  But it soon became
evident that he was completely lacking in the ability to act, in any role of importance.
     On the other hand, Barack O'possum has received high marks from the critics, for
his performance as the Ghost of Christmas Past, perfectly illuminating those days when
kindness and caring for our fellow creatures was more important than personal greed
and the accumulation of excess wealth.
      Then there was also another bad casting decision, when Vladimir Piglet was
picked to play The Ghost Of Christmas Present.  Evidently Vladimir constantly hogs
the stage, gobbling up anything he happens to see, and carrying off anything which he
wants.   And, all the while, he never seems to properly acknowledge the reality of all
the poverty, disease, death and destruction happening in, in the world around him, as
his role requires.
     Sadly, for Horatio, during most of the performances, by the time of the entrance
of the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come, the critics and most of the audience have
already left the makeshift, old, barn theater, which the Quadruped Players call home.
So, the play usually stops before there is a satisfactory conclusion.  Still, Horatio says
the show must go on, and he keeps on trying.  Next year perhaps he will have better
luck with casting.  We can only hope!

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Last Pumpkin ( Composition Study )

                                             An original oil painting, on canvas panel
                                             20 X 16", unframed
                                             $600.00,  ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

      I pulled this still-life from storage, to post on the blog, because it seemed like an
appropriate choice to show on Halloween.  The title of this imagined setting reflects the
idea that this pumpkin, and its ornamental-gourd companion,  may be located in an old,
farm fruit-cellar, awaiting their final destiny, after the rest of the bountiful, autumn harvest
has already found its way to the dinner table, in some dish or other.  The light, filtering
down from a broken window-frame or doorway, reveals two things which are always
guaranteed to be found in such ancient cellars: dust and spiderwebs.  So, all-in-all, it is
not the kind of painting which most people would like to have hanging on their walls.

     But actually, the subject matter of the painting was not what was important to me,
at the time that I was painting it.  The subjects might as well have been bottles, or jugs,
or boxes or any number of objects.  What was important to me back then, was the study
of the dramatic use of light and shadow, which some of the Renaissance masters used
so effectively, called chiaroscuro.   And, although this painting, and others from this
series, will never achieve the status of a Caravaggio, they still hold up fairly well, for the
simple studies that they are.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Sayin' Howdy For Hillary

( click on image to enlarge )

Introducing Horatio H. Hamster III Esq.  You may have seen Horatio before.  He has appeared on my cards and in a number of other works, but this is the first time he has had a blog posting all his own.  I don't know what name his middle initial stands for; whenever I ask him, he always seems to come up with a different answer every time.  He has a way of sneaking into my drawings at unexpected moments.  I think that is a part of his attempts to talk me into making him the star of a new book, but that possibility remains to be seen.

     As an artist's model, Horatio is often seen wearing a variety of different hats.  When he is feeling Lincolnesque, he wears a stovepipe hat, but he is a bit too vertically challenged to carry off that roll convincingly.  At other times, when feeling in a Dickens mood, he may shorten the top-hat and add a long, woolen scarf to his ensemble , to evoke the spirit of Bob Cratchit, asking Mr. Scrooge for the whole day off, on Christmas Day.  And there are some days when he appears with a deer-stalking hat and meerschaum pipe, as if inhabiting the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, investigating a mysterious crime.
     Now he has popped up wearing a western, marshal's cowboy-hat.  I admired what I called his "ten-gallon" hat, but he has corrected me, saying that his hat is the "ten-ounce" model.  Today he informs me that his middle name is Hopalong, and that I should call him by that name, which was also the nickname of a famous, Western film hero, Hopalong Cassidy.  When I asked him if he had ever known Mr. Cassidy, he said that he had not known his namesake personally, but that he had a mole friend who once lived in Mr. Cassidy's front yard, and had therefore seen the star regularly, so he felt that there were very few degrees of separation  between himself and the cowboy hero.
     I couldn't help but notice that the marshal's badge on Horatio's hat was covered by a card with a political emblem I had seen before, and I asked him what it stood for.  He then replied, with soul-stirring emphasis, that it stood for the call to "Make America intelligent again !"  He then went on to express his concerns about the upcoming, national election, and to make an appeal for everyone to go to the polls and vote for only the most qualified, competent and thoughtful candidates for high office.
     I was a bit surprised by Horatio's knowledge of the high-minded candidates who are running for office, and his ability to recognize which candidates were just greedy, self-serving frauds.  But his ability to distinguish between the good ones and the rotten ones, probably derives from his very unique perspective. Horatio happens to be well acquainted with the crude characteristics of the more destructive varieties of rodents, and he has noticed that there are a number of such vermin seeking public office, from the top of the ticket on down.  For example, he says that the candidate at the top of the ballot, who represents the party of the wealthy and the banking and insurance interests, has been exhibiting the kind of manners which are more commonly associated with those of sewer rats, as well as the the lack of intelligence which is more commonly associated with suicidal lemmings.
     It is hard to argue with someone who has such an intimate knowledge of the behavior of the despicable classes of rodents.  Horatio is certainly convincing me.  Perhaps everyone should hear his appeal to common sense, and then vote wisely.

                The original, mixed media drawing of Horatio, in his "ten-ounce" cowboy hat,
                is on illustration board, and it measures seven by five inches.  It is available for
                $45.00, ( plus $8.00, pack and ship )

                A giclee, private-edition print of the drawing, also seven by five inches,
                is available for $10.00, ( plus the $8.00, pack-and-ship charge )