Sunday, November 10, 2019

Somewhere beyond the horizon

                                                     Thunder Will Come  - an original acrylic painting
                                                     14" X 34", unframed

                                                     ( click on image to enlarge )

      From the day that we are born, we begin our journey to the grave.  That is the final
outcome for all of us; the only differences are the ways that we choose to use the time that
we are given to live on our beautiful but fragile home we call planet Earth.  Some of us
strive to leave our world a better place than it was when we arrived.  Others, who are
caught up in the daily struggle to survive, at least try to do no harm to anyone or to our
living environment.  But unfortunately, there are a number of us who are so self-centered
and unscrupulous, that they spend all of their time using and abusing our planet and
everyone within their reach, only to satisfy their own egos and greed.

     This destructive behavior is particularly egregious when a person of such egotistical
and narcissistic character gains a position of great power, such as the office of president
of the United States of America, which then allows him to perpetrate unlimited harm
in the world, while he proclaims himself to be the greatest person who has ever lived.
What is sadder still perhaps, is that so many thoughtless, uninformed people can be
so willingly duped into following such a colossal fraud, simply because he has some kind
of  "celebrity" status.  Their willful ignorance reminds me of the story of the poor, stupid
children of the town of Hamlin, who followed along behind the Pied Piper, as he led them
to their final doom.

     The painting is a reminder that there are consequences for our actions.  The scene of
an unspoiled section of the American prairie on a hot, late summer day, as an electrical
storm erupts, is an active weather demonstration of cause and effect.  An undeniable
ingredient of the increasingly powerful storms sweeping our planet is global warming.
To deny this truth is suicidal.  The painting has a little reminder about the fatal error of
failing to comprehend the warning signals of the dangers which lie ahead.  In the lower
left corner, is an indication that a lost traveler failed to take heed of the hazards of the
unfamiliar climate.  It is also a reminder to everyone, that the global weather disasters
will continue to grow,  and that no one will find a safe land anywhere beyond the horizon,
no matter how rich or powerful we may be.  The thunder will come to all, even to those
in Washington D.C.                    

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Did someone say Happy Halloween?

     What is wrong with these snapshots which I took this morning?  I probably don't have
to say it. For those of us who live here in the heart of America, the answer is snow.
There is snow on the roses, the hydrangeas, the phlox and all the maple trees, which
were just beginning to change to their fall colors.  There is snow on everything,
and with it came wintry cold temperatures.  That is not normal around here for Halloween.
Perhaps Mother Nature got the holidays mixed up.
     Local fans of the old comic strip called "Peanuts", will probably view this weather event
as the equivalent of the rocks that people always dropped into Charlie Brown's sadly
abused, Tricks-or-Treats bag.  Tonight, the little ghosts and goblins will need to wear
heavy coats over their costumes, when they go out trick-or-treating, or else stay home
to keep warm.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The best laid plans of mice and men....and artists....

     The closing lines from one of Robert Burns most famous poems, which tell us that we have no control over the ultimate fate of our life's plans,  have been frequently quoted and referenced in other literary works over the years, most note-ably as the title of the John Steinbeck novel.  My addition of the word "artists", to the identities of the creatures great and small, who often have their well laid plans go astray, is a reference to personal plans of my own, which recently went badly astray, despite being as well prepared as could be expected.
     Recently, in a vow to continue doing what I have always done, until I am physically unable to carry on, I declared that I would never say never again.  So, with that vow in mind, I spent several weeks or so, preparing to do at least one more outdoor show.  However, the one uncontrollable factor in such plans is always the weather.  We can not count on Mother Nature being in a beneficent mood on specific days.  It is always the luck of the draw, as to what the days will bring.  We cross our fingers and wonder if it will it be fair weather or foul.

     Unfortunately, Mother Nature was in an extremely foul mood on the weekend of the show.  The rains descended in heavy torrents on Saturday, turning the grounds into swampy muck, and then the downpour continued in the night, making it pointless to stay on through Sunday.  So, as a result, I owe an apology to anyone who tried to wade through the mire, expecting to find me there somewhere, still sheltering from the rain and refusing to surrender. I can only say that I'm sorry I missed seeing you this time.  As to whether or not there will be a next time, who knows the answer to that?  As Robert Burns would warn us, don't ever believe that you are in complete control of your future.

     I have a painting which would have been apropos to go with this posting, a landscape of a electrical storm, sweeping in over the prairie, which I called Thunder Will Come.  I will try to get that painting photographed and post it on the blog.    

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Never say never again.


     Last year, in a posting on this blog, I said that I thought I had participated in my last outdoor art show.  There does come that time in life when one feels that he can no longer muster enough energy and enthusiasm  to deal with all the problems of presenting an elaborate outdoor showroom and also have to deal with the sometimes extreme elements of the weather.  But since I said that, I have gradually been persuaded to have some second thoughts.  After being urged to come back again, by the planners of the upcoming UNplaza Fair, I said that I could only try do it again if a couple of conditions were met.  Well, the conditions seem to be in place, so, after due consideration, what can I say but "Here I go again.".   After all, I am still alive, and I might just as well keep on trying, until the undertaker comes knocking, or I become truly physically incapacitated.
     People who choose one of the arts for their profession, tend to hang on to the end, working in whatever capacity they can maintain, in order to remain, at least figuratively, on stage.  Art is what we do, and to stop doing it is to die.  So, perhaps I will never say never again, and just let Father Time make the decision for me.  But who knows?  Ask me again when I'm cleaning up, after the fair closes.

     As things stand now, I will be at the UNplaza Art Fair, in Kansas City, Mo., in Southmoreland Park, just west of the Nelson Atkins Art Museum, on September 21 and 22.  Everyone is invited.  If you are going to be in this area on those days, stop by to say hello.  It would be nice to see a lot of old friends and make a few new ones.

     There is an original, acrylic painting which I thought would be an appropriate one to show with this posting, but it was evidently not photographed.  It is a painting from what I called the "books series", some paintings featuring an opened book, lying forgotten outdoors.  The one I was thinking of showing is titled 'The raven is lost in the garden", because it features Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem "The Raven", and of course because, in that poem, the most frequently repeated word is Nevermore.  I will try to get it photographed soon, and post it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Fading Days Of Summer

                                                       One Last Ride To The Old Schoolhouse
                                                       An original acrylic painting, on gesso-primed panel
                                                        10" X 18", unframed

                                                          ( click on image to enlarge )

     The summer is already in it's waning days, and we wonder again why the time seems
to fly by so much faster with each passing year.  Some of us may have accomplished all
that we had planned to do in these warm  "carefree", fun days, but many of us are starting
to realize that many of our dreams and hopes of summer are fading sadly away, as our
attention focuses on preparations for students going back to school.  James Dent is
quoted as saying that "A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is
blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken."  But chores can't be
avoided forever, and now duty is calling, however unwelcome and loud the sound of
the school-bells may be.  It's time to dust off the books and try to prepare our young
people for whatever disasters are going to be handed to them by our willfully ignorant,
political leaders.

     The painting hearkens back to a time when life seemed much simpler in retrospect.
I have done several paintings of this historic, one-room schoolhouse, in the tall-grass
prairie of Kansas.   I would say these paintings are mostly mood pieces, trying to
capture the feeling of the isolation and loneliness of the little building's windswept,
hilltop setting.  However, in this version, I decided to give more structure to the
composition, by adding the figurative element in the lower left, which creates an
informal balance with the building in the upper right of the painting.

     Perhaps this version also lends more of a story element to the painting, as a
viewer might wonder whether the rider is an older rancher, making a nostalgic
visit back to the school where he learned his ABC's.

     For those who may be interested in having a print of this painting but who
require it to fit a more standard size frame, I believe the central portion of the
painting works fairly well as a print.  As I show below, very little of the mood is lost
in this 8" X 10" print of the painting.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer

                                                     The Summer Goldfinch
                                                     An original acrylic painting, on gesso primed panel
                                                     9" X 12", unframed

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

     The title of this posting comes from an early 1960's, popular-song recorded by
Nat King Cole.  The song itself was not a musical treasure, but Cole had a way of
making mediocre material more palatable for pop-music fans.  It was that song title
which came to mind again during this year's forth of July celebrations, as the thunderous
booming of neighbor's fireworks continued until 3 AM of the following morning, reminding
me that the crazy days of summer have definitely arrived. Those interminable, loud
blasts and explosions are one of the traditional, childhood joys of summer, which loose
all of their appeal as we age.  That song title tells something of our universal, love/hate
feelings about the traditional attractions of the summer season.

     Russel Baker expressed that dichotomy when he said, "Ah, summer, what power
you have to make us suffer and like it."  On the plus side of the traditional pleasures
of the summer season, we can enjoy such outdoor activities as; sports and games,
picnics and barbecues, camping out and watching the magic of the fireflies, going
hiking on woodland, nature trails, wild berry picking, and fishing and going skinny-dipping
in invitingly cool lakes and streams.  And many summer dreamers have fond memories
of backyard evenings spent making homemade ice-cream with a hand-cranked freezer,
or toasting marshmallows over an open fire.  But then on the other hand, we have all
of the discomforts of the summer, which tend to limit or ruin the enjoyment of those
traditional summertime pleasures.  There are always the days and nights of oppressive
heat and humidity, in addition to the mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, and dozens of other
creepy crawlies and pests, as well as the poison ivy, and sticky thorns and burrs,
enough to keep us scratching our bites and wounds for hours after we have returned
from our summer outings.

     The Summer Goldfinch painting, shows a male American goldfinch after he has
discarded his dull, olive, winter wear, and put on his summertime, party plumage of
bright yellow.  This is a good time of year to put some extra sunflower seeds in the
feeder for them.  An then when you are seated in a shaded, comfortable, patio chair,
( while the humidity condenses on the sides of your iced beverage, and makes a puddle
on the patio table, and you swat a mosquetoe or two ), you can watch these flashy gold,
summer visitors and listen to their soft chirping.  Their gentle, little songs are much more
soothing to the soul than the exploding blasts of firecrackers.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

They say that it's always darkest before the dawn.

                                                        On Wings Of Hope
                                                        An original acrylic painting, on canvas panel
                                                        16" X 20", unframed

                                                                    ( click on image to enlarge )

     Last December, in my New Year's posting for this blog, titled On Wings Of Hope,
I said that the painting of that title had not yet been photographed.  I had a recent
reminder that I had still not shown the painting, so I am correcting that lapse today.
I only wish that I had something more encouraging to say about the state of the world
and our nation, than I could see ahead for us last December.  I know that there are
always those optimists who always see the cup as half full rather than half empty,
but considering the regressive ignorance constantly emanating from our nation's
executive mansion these days, I can only see the cup as half empty, and dropping
lower by the hour.  If a brighter dawn is coming, let that truth shine through soon.
But for now, again, on our fragile wings of hope, good luck to all of us.

                                    Exhibition note:
          This painting will be on view at the Buttonwood Art Space in Kansas City, Mo.
    from July 5th to September 26th, 2019.