Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Raven Was Resolute

                                          An original acrylics painting, on gesso-primed masonite
                                          16 X 13", unframed
                                           $400.00, - ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                     ( click on image to enlarge )

     One of the most famous poems, in all of American literature is, The Raven, by Edgar
Allen Poe.  In the poem, the grieving narrator mourns his lost Lenore, and all the while, his
lamentations are eerily echoed by the ghostly, avian visitor, who cries his unrelenting call
of "Nevermore!".  

     During the past year of 2017, America has been lamenting the loss of many of the
ideals which we have long valued, as a nation of common principles of decent behavior.
We have suffered a general loss of respect, dignity, and honesty in our national
discourse, all of which were fueled by our failure as voters, to select the most worthy
candidates for public offices. We should remember that, just as we are known by the
company we keep, we are also judged by the people we elect to represent us.
     Since this is the time of year when many of us are making our New Year's resolutions,
to make changes in our lives, isn't it time that we make a vow to be more thoughtful, in
choosing those candidates for public office, who will best represent America's ideals?
Why don't we stand up and say a resounding  "Nevermore!", to all of the self-serving
frauds who only seek public office as a way self-enrichment or self-aggrandizement,
rather than as an opportunity to serve the public?  Let us resolve to have "Nevermore",
serve as our new mantra, for a new beginning, this new year.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who always prefer lying to telling the truth, as
a way to boost their own egos, even though their lies are often transparent falsehoods
to everyone who hears them.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who publicly proclaim themselves to be great
protectors of women, while in private they like to brag about their history of predatory,
sexual aggression.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who do not believe in the factual truth of science,
and willfully cling to to their own ignorance, rather than accept the unassailable proofs of
scientific evidence.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who pollute our environment and destroy our
natural heritage, just for the financial gain of corporate profiteers.

          Nevermore will we vote for racist, xenophobic hate-mongers, who try to make
us think that all our troubles can be blamed on people who can be labeled as somehow
different from us, or not "American" enough.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who proclaim that they are great, patriotic
statesmen, even though they have avoided military service themselves, by the use of
fictitious medical excuses.

          Nevermore will we vote for wealthy men who have demonstrated their total
lack civic responsibility, by admitting that they don't pay income taxes, and saying that
tax avoidance makes them "smart", meaning that those of us who do our part of funding
the government, are stupid.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who hold themselves up as great examples of
business leadership, but who have a long history of business failures, bankruptcies,
and fraudulent, business enterprises.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who attack our good, investigative journalists,
for doing the important job of providing necessary information to the American public,
about the ineptitude and crookedness of our elected leaders.

          Nevermore will we vote for men who advocate the election to public office, of
a hypocritically, pious candidate, who has a long history of pedophilia, as a way for
that executive official to gain a political advantage for himself.

     The list of offences to our national self-respect and ideals, continues to grow with
each passing day.  No doubt, anyone who reads this blog-posting, is well aware of
many additional examples.  Please feel free to offer your own pledges, to these vows
of  "Nevermore"!


The Raven ( preliminary drawing )

                                            An original ink drawing, for an acrylics painting
                                            16 X 13", on gesso primed, masonite panel

     Some paintings seem to flow directly from one's imagination, onto the canvas
in an almost ready-made composition, while other seem to require a much more
thoroughly detailed preparatory drawing, in order to carry out the idea of the
painting, to a fully satisfactory conclusion.  Perhaps some blog viewers may like
getting to see this example of a more detailed, preliminary drawing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cardinal Red, Spruce Green, and Snow White

                                           An original acrylics painting, on canvas panel
                                           10 X 8", unframed
                                            $100.00, ( plus $10.00, pack and ship )

                                                                 ( click on image to enlarge)                                                            

     It is usually around this time of the year, that I begin to look around the studio, to
choose a suitable painting to use as the cover art, for my annual, holiday greeting-cards.
One option this year, could be this little, impressionist study, of a cardinal in a snow-
laden, spruce grove.  One drawback to choosing this painting is that, as subjects for
Christmas cards, cardinals are as common as snowmen.  But on the other hand, the
painting is composed of the traditional colors which are used for the season's decor,
a custom which has it's origins clear back to before  the Christian celebration, at this
time of the year..
     The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a
twelve-day, winter-solstice holiday called Yule.  Our modern Christmas traditions,
such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the yule log and others, are direct
decedents of yule customs.  I am reminded of that when I hear carolers singing of
bringing in the evergreens and "the holly and the ivy", with the bright green leaves and
the red berries, which are such cheerful emblems of the holiday season.
     Some of the beautiful simplicity, of decorating with evergreens has been lost, now
that we have electric-lights displays, and gold and silver metallic paints, which set many
of our homes ablaze with the glitter and dazzle of a Los Vegas casino.  But are we willing
to return to the simple joys of an evergreen tree, decorated only with edible treats and
other, small hand-made gifts?  No, unfortunately, we are probably not willing to deprive
ourselves of indulging in the yearly, seasonal madness.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An Unwelcome Visitor

     I'm sorry to have to report that life has not been running smoothly, here in
The Kingdom Of The Animals, and that discord is particularly true in my own,
disrupted neighborhood.  For over a year now, the angry bickering among the
various species has been growing louder with each passing day and night.
     The problems have all been created by an annoying and repulsive newcomer,
who burrowed into our neighborhood last year.  I am referring, of course, to the
tantrum prone creature known to his burrow-mates as Donald John Skunk,
( or as he likes to say, Don Juan, because he considers himself irresistible to the
opposite sex ).   I haven't said much about him lately, because I try to avoid
seeing or smelling or thinking about him, as much as possible.  But avoiding him
is impossible, because he is a constant plague of self-aggrandizement, as well
as contempt for anyone who disagrees with his opinions, even though he is
hopelessly inept.  He even goes around in the night, chirping out his favorite
bird-calls, but of course the birds never believe them, because the calls are never
     Those of you who are familiar with this blog, may recall that my little, thespian
friend, Horatio Hamster, came by a couple of times last fall, to warn of the unknown
consequences of allowing a skunk to become an entrenched resident here. The
first warning, which he delivered, in his role as western law-man, Horatio Hopalong
Hamster, fell on deaf ears, furry or not.  He gave us a second warning, when he
stopped by, dressed for his role in Dickens's Christmas Carol, at the local Quadruped
Playhouse.  Donald John had been chosen to play the lead role as Ebeneezer Scrooge,
because the rest of the cast members assumed that such a naturally, self-centered,
mean-spirited and greedy individual, would fit the role perfectly.  But of course,
Donald had failed miserably, because of his lack of experience on stage.
     Donald leaves his stench behind him wherever he goes, so I have tried to avoid
contact with him, as much as possible.  I have kept my doors shut and locked,
and I don't respond if he rings my bell.  But, unfortunately, on a nice warm day
recently, I made the mistake of leaving my studio window open, and along came
Donald, poking his head in, to deliver some more of his tiresome rants and raves.
I was glad that the window was high enough off of the ground, that he couldn't
crawl inside!
     At first I thought that he was going to ask me to paint his portrait again, a request
which I have resisted previously, because I knew that I couldn't stand to spend that
much time in the same room with him.  But still he persists, because he loves to be
portrayed in a flattering light.  He considers himself to be quite the dapper skunk-about-
town.  He seems to be especially proud of his strawberry-blond beret and his extra-
long, red neckties, because he never leaves his borrow without them.
     But instead of making the expected request, he said that he was just stopping by
to set the record straight, about what he called some nasty rumors going on about him.
And thus, without pausing for questions or rebuttal, he launched into his endless tirade
about what he viewed as all the injustices in The Kingdom Of The Animals, beginning
with the obvious question of his personal odor.

          "All those stories going around, that I stink, and that I behave offensively toward
     those of the opposite gender, are all lies, told by crooked, lying, lie tellers!......None 
     of them are true!........I'm the only one who tells the truth!......Believe me!......They 
     should all be locked up for spreading false stories!.......I"m going to sue all of them....
     as soon as I find the time........and get them locked up!...... And we need to build 
     more jails, for all these foreign, thieving animals that are sneaking through our fences
     and into our neighborhood!.......Committing all kinds of crimes!..... Those chipmunks 
     down the street, for example, coming into our yards, and taking all our acorns!.......
     You can tell they are bad hombres, because their stripes are the wrong color!.......
     And what about those roadrunners?....We need to get them back across the road, 
     where they belong!.......Along with these ducks, flying into the neighborhood, from 
     who-knows-where, and using our ponds, and stinking up the place!.......We need 
     to get them out of here, and make the neighborhood smell great again!........ "  

     That was about the time that his stench was becoming so unbearable that I had to
shut the window while he was still talking.  But I could see that he went right on with
his rants, even after I could no longer hear what he was saying.   Don Juan Skunk is so
infatuated with the sound of his own voice, that he often neglects to notice that no one
is listening to him.



Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Mermaid's Quizzical Friend


                                                       An original acrylics painting, on canvas
                                                       12 X 16", unframed
                                                        $ 350.00, ( plus $25.00, pack & ship )

                                                         ( click on image to enlarge )

     In a number of my previous postings in this blog, I have shown paintings I have done
using fountains or fountain sculptures as subject matter.  This study of a time-mellowed
mermaid, is one of the pair in a painting I called Do The Mermaids Bring The Storms ?,
which showed them on a misty evening, by their fountain pool, in a well-known, up-scale,
shopping district, in this area. I explained something of their history and the reason for
 that title, in the posting I wrote for that painting.
     In this little painting, it is the addition of the ever-busy and curious, chickadee, which
provides a teasing bit of life and animation to the subject of the forever frozen mermaid.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Old, Stone Trail-marker

                                                     An original acrylics painting, on canvas panel
                                                     18 X 24", unframed
                                                      $1,200.00 - ( plus $35.00, pack and ship )

                                                            ( click on image to enlarge )

     When the early frontiersmen in our country first began to push their way westward,
to settle the fertile lands beyond the mountains, it was fairly easy for trail blazers such as
Danial Boone, to mark the route through the Cumberland Gap.  There were plentiful
stands of trees on which they could leave their ax-marks, to show the way.
     Decades later, when the U.S. Army was charged with taking control of the wide-open,
prairie lands, in the middle of the continent, the new trail-blazers had to find different ways
to mark their routes.  The absence of trees often meant resorting to some more
traditional, Native-American methods of trail marking, such as the stacking of stones.
One stone stacked on another might be considered accidental or natural, but a stack of
three stones left no doubt that it was done with purpose.
     One of the early scouts who helped the army mark routes across the plains, was an
Indian-trader by the name of Jesse Chisholm, the son of a Cherokee woman and a man
of Scottish decent.  He had a trail which led from his southern trading-post on the
Red River, to his northern trading-post near Kansas City.  After the Civil War, the
Chisholm Trail became legendary, as the route used by Texas cattlemen to drive their
cattle to rail-heads in places such as Kansas City, Abilene and Wichita.

     This painting is intended to represent a view out on to the wide-open prairie, unfenced
and unplowed, where the Chisholm Trail might well have crossed the land.  The old,
broken slab of field-stone is not intended as a specific marker, with a specific purpose.
Its history can be left up to the imagination of the viewer.  The question of its purpose
helps to add a bit of mystery.  The stone could possibly mark a trail, or a land claim.
Or, on a more melancholy note, it could mark the final resting place of a wagon-train
pioneer, who was destined never to reach the promised land.  A  loved-one who,
sorrowfully, had to be left behind by his or her grieving family, knowing that there was
little chance that they could ever make a return journey to that lonely place on the trail..

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Hay-wagons Don't Come Here Anymore

                                             An original casein painting, on illustration board
                                             11 X 14 inches
                                                This painting is in a private collection now

                                                     ( click on image to enlarge )

     My last posting on this blog. was about a casein painting ( Racing The Hoop ),
and while I was looking at it again I was reminded of other paintings in the files, which
were done in that medium, that I still enjoy using, and which I should use more often.

    I have not seen this painting for years.  The photo above was a snapshot which was
emailed to me a couple of years ago, so the photographic quality is low, including some
light-reflections in the image.  However it was interesting to see the picture again. The
painting seems to have held up fairly well over the years, but it could use restoration
touches in some areas.  Perhaps I should have used a bit more protective varnish on
the painting, or else had it framed it under glass.

    The subject of the painting was an old barn which I used in a number of different
paintings, in a variety of different mediums.  Looking back through this blog, I see that
I have previously posted a picture of one of those paintings, done in transparent water-
colors, as a winter landscape, when the old barn was dressed in snow.   That painting
was called Awaiting The Thaw, and it may still be available, but I would have to check
to make sure.

    That old barn represented a period in America which we all tend to look back on
with a good deal of nostalgia, the time when our country was still an agrarian society,
with millions of small, subsistence farms.  In those days the barn would have been
echoing with the sounds of horses and squeaking wagon-wheels, as the farmer and
his sons filled the loft with loose hay, to provide winter fodder for their livestock.

    Those days are long gone now.  Even as far back as the late 1950's and early
1960's, when I painted that old barn, it was no longer in use, as its builders designed
it to be used.  Horses and horse-drawn farm-implements were things of the past,
and the tractors which replaced horse-power, often did not find accommodations
in old barns.  The small, family farms were already being absorbed into the large,
mono-culture agriculture businesses we have today.

     The barn was destined to be demolished and the surrounding land redeveloped
by an expanding university.  Nothing ever stays the same, of course.  Change is
inevitable, but I am often left with the question of whether or not some of our
redevelopments are actually true improvements.