Friday, March 17, 2017

A Little Bit O' Heaven

                                                  An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                                  10 X 20", unframed
                                                  $300.00, ( plus $25.00, to pack and ship )

                                                       ( click on image to enlarge )

     The title of this painting, is taken from a line in a very, very old, popular, Irish-American
song.  I realize that by doubling up on that word "very", I risk sounding like Donald Trump,
trying to hide from the truth, by bolstering his falsehoods with doubled-up adjectives, in an
effort to sound more emphatically persuasive and believable, but in truth, I doubt that the
old song has been heard on any major, broadcast network in well over sixty years or
     I have not done an internet search on that old song, so I do not know who wrote it,
but I do know why. The song was written to satisfy the market for songs which appealed
to the nostalgia and the longing, which the Irish-Americas felt, for the land they had to
leave behind.  It may not even have been written by someone of Irish heritage: that was
not a prerequisite on tin-pan alley.
     The song is the story of all the various ingredients, which went into creating that
perfect land, across the sea, including that bit of heaven, which were all then gathered
and somehow blended, until finally "They called it Ireland".  The song was a standard for
Irish Tenors, who sang it on music and variety shows, on radio and television, right up
through the early 1950's, until the ratings system destroyed diversity in broadcasting.

     The painting is probably as much of a cliche as that old song.  We like to think of
Ireland, as a land of picturesque, green hills, dotted with charming, white-washed,
stone cottages, with thatched roofs,  and also somehow, the eternal folk-tale of the
pot-of-gold at the end of the rainbow, always becomes a part of the mental image.
( Did any treasure-hunters ever stop to ask which end of the rainbow, was the
correct location of the gold? )
     But, of course,the true picture of Irish history is a much sadder tale.  I don't know
where that old expression about the "luck of the Irish" came from.  In all the dark
years of the past centuries, good luck rarely visited that land.

     This painting is now available custom framed, in a richly toned, molding, with a
fine, white-linen liner, for $360.00, ( plus $30.00, to carefully pack and ship ).

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Tale As Old As Time

                                                   An original acrylic painting, on canvas panel
                                                   10 X 8", unframed
                                                   $250.00, ( plus $9.00, pack and ship )

                                                          ( click on image to enlarge )

     The vast majority of mankind's art and literature, created in the last twenty five
hundred years, have not survived the ravages of time.  Much of the treasury of wisdom
and beauty which was created in ancient Greece, in particular,has come down to us
only in pieces or fragments.  They suffered through too many centuries when such
creations were deemed unworthy of preservation, or deliberately destroyed by the
forces of ignorance and religious intolerance.
     One of the better survivors, was the collection of fables, written by a slave named
Aesop, who is thought to have lived in Greece between 620 and 564 BCE.  Perhaps
his little tales survived all through the years, because they fit the long tradition of oral
story-telling, in the days when most people were illiterate.  Some of the succeeding
story-tellers, even began adding some stories of their own, so that, now, scholars
have classified which of the tales actually came from Aesop's time, and which ones
came much later.
    With the invention of the printing press, the popularity of Aesop's Fables bloomed
and spread around the world.  They have been told and retold in all the art forms,
including drama, song and film, in endless variations.  One of the tales, the fable of
The Tortoise And The Hare, is cleverly depicted in a little Italian figurine, which I
sometimes use as a subject for still-life paintings, such as this one I have posted
     The old story of this improbable foot-race between two such unequal contestants,
still rings true for many of us.  The over-confident rabbit has a good time, enjoying
himself with all manner of distractions, always thinking he would have plenty of time
to get to the finish line before his pathetic opponent, while in the end, it is the
 slow-but-steady tortoise who wins the race.
     As we all grow older, the more we all come to realize how short is the time
 of our race, and how very close we are to our own finish-line, looming up ahead.

     In my last post, I mentioned the use of over-lapping planes, in the composition,
to create depth of field.  So, I am posting this painting, to show how something as
simple as a pile of old books can accomplish that, because of all of the different,
rectangular shapes, receding from the picture-plane. A book pile can also be a
useful subject for drawing practice.  It can be a challenge because of all the
perspective complications, with so many different vanishing-points.

     This painting is now available custom framed, in a handsome, heavy, hard-wood,
molding, with a fine, linen liner, for $325.00, plus $30.00, to carefully pack and ship.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Forgotten Quest

                                                  An original oil painting on primed panel
                                                  15.5 X 25.5", unframed

     Some viewers of this blog may find this painting interesting.  Others may find it odd.
Perhaps we can say that it is oddly interesting.
     When I pulled this painting out of storage the other day, I hadn't looked at it for many
years. The major reason I thought that it might be something interesting to post, was a
story which I recalled as I was wiping some dust off of the painting, in order to get a
better look at it.  That simple task triggered the memory of a story told by David Douglas
Duncan, ( the American photographer ), from the time when he had his arrangement with
Pablo Picasso, to publish a book of Picasso's previously unseen work.
     Evidently Duncan had permission to roam freely through Picasso's villas in southern
France, looking into the many rooms which were packed full of Picasso's work, in order
to choose which paintings he wanted to photograph.  As he was in one of the rooms,
sorting through the stacks,he found a bold, black and white piece he wanted to use, but
which was so dust-covered that he couldn't get a clear photo.  So, he gave it a simple
wipe-down with a dust-cloth, and to his immediate horror, he saw that he had ruined
one of Picasso's own original Picassos, because it was done in charcoal and had not yet
been fixed.
     Duncan's fearful apology to Picasso, must have been accepted, because the incident
didn't seem to destroy their friendship, and the publishing collaboration was successful
for Duncan.
     As for this painting, it is from a time when Abstract Expressionism was in its supreme
ascendancy, and the art critics were embracing the modernist masters with enthusiasm.
Literal, figurative works became passe, and sensitive landscapes were dismissed with a
sneer, as "calendar painting".  That art tyranny has eased now, but abstraction remains
a strong influence, and rightly so.  Artists need to constantly explore new approaches
to expression and composition, or they risk repeating the same painting, time after time
like simple, craft work.
     This composition was an attempt to create depth of field by the use of overlapping,
translucent planes, on which there could be progressive figurative or botanical images,
in varying degrees of recognizable form.  However, it was never fully developed.
As it is now, it would only be worthy of note by the critics, if my name had attained the
monumental fame of an artist like Picasso.

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.
     We should make it a practice, to put our love in writing on a regular basis.  Elizabeth
Barrett Browning said it dramatically, with her poem How Do I Love Thee ?, but we
don't have to be poets.  Life will be sweeter for those who will simply and sincerely
write what they feel, and give those little day-brighteners to their own, true loves.
Those little love-notes mean more than we know.

     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 of these
written expressions of enduring love.  I'll leave the rest of the story to the imaginations
of the viewers.


     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!