Thursday, January 31, 2013

China Tree Seed-pods, and Old China Cat

                                                An original oil painting, on canvas panel
                                                24x18", unframed
                                                $2,000.00, - (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     Some years ago, I had a few clusters of seed pods and dried leaves of a china tree,
which I used as subjects for still-life drawings and paintings, such as this one which has
been in storage since that time.  The trees, also commonly called varnish trees or golden
rain trees, are native to China, and are now considered an invasive species in Florida,
but they are not so plentiful in the middle-west.  The pods are rather unusual, little,
three-lobed, lantern shapes, with paper-thin husks, which makes them interesting to
draw and paint.  I wish I still had some.
    The ceramic cat figurine in the painting, is one of a pair which have been in the family
since at least as far back as the 1940's, when most of the ceramic figurines which were
flooding into the country were made in Japan.  I have used them in paintings a number
of times, changing their color as needed to suit the compositions.  Looking at this
painting now, I'm wondering if it might be time to add a ceramic mouse.  That seems
apropos, since just about any little, ceramic mouse we can buy today is most likely
made in China.

                                                           (click on image to enlarge

     Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

Weathering The Storms

                                                  An original mixed-media painting, on paper
                                                  18x24" unframed, (mat size, 24x30")
                                                  $1,800.00, - (plus $25.00, pack and ship)

     The wonderful old barns which defined us as an agrarian nation during the 19th
and early 20th century, are rapidly disappearing from the landscape, but it is not
the storms which are sweeping them away.  They have fallen victim to farm
consolidations and changing agricultural methods, as well as suburban development,
such as the subject of this painting.
     Some decades ago, when I spent an afternoon doing this expressionist study
of this particularly fine old specimen, with its high, gambrel roof, ventilation cupola
and extended bays, the structure was still standing, shimmering in the gusty wind and
the heat of the sun.  Now it and the grain fields are long gone, consumed by an ever
expanding, suburban sprawl.  

                                                         (click on image to enlarge)


Splashes Of Light

                                                   An original mixed-media painting, on toned paper
                                                   9x12" unframed, (mat size, 15x18")
                                                    $300.00, - (plus $15.00, pack and ship)

     One way of summing up the art of painting, is to say that it is our various attempts
at using paints on canvas, to capture the effects of light falling on a wide range of
surfaces.  From everyday, simple objects, to faces and skin, to landscapes and clouds,
or anything that we see, it is all defined by light.  And, it is the manner in which we
choose to express what we feel or want to say about what we see, which tends to
define the "style" of art we produce.
                                                           ( click on image to enlarge)

       This little expressionist or semi-abstract still-life, is from a series of limited palette
experimental studies, which I have referred to in previous postings, such as the one called
Sweet Cream And A Salty Pig.  As with the other pieces in the series, the subjects are
an unrelated selection of items gathered from the kitchen, offering several different types
of light-reflecting surfaces, from the ceramic pitcher, to the gleam of the metal vase, to
the square-faceted, pressed-glass, salt shaker with a metal lid.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Littlest Angel and The Christmas Card

Dedication - For all of the littlest angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School

                                            An original acrylic painting on gessoed Masonite panel
                                            8x10", unframed
                                            $350.00, - (plus $12.00, pack and ship)

     In many homes across America, remnants of our recent Christmas celebrations are
still in evidence, waiting to be discarded or put away again until next year.  Items such as
the Christmas card and small, bisque, angel figurine in this painting, are still decorating
many fireplace mantels, quietly offering a final moment's opportunity for us to to reflect
on the true meaning of Christmas.  But sadly, their messages of love and peace, always
seem to get lost somewhere amid the the many conflicts and stresses of our daily lives,
and on some days it seems that there is little hope that love and peace can exist in our
merciless, violent world, where even the most innocent among us often pay the price
for our senseless hubris.

                                                         (Click on image to enlarge.)

       Giclee fine-art prints of this painting are available.

     And now that I have opened the subject of one of the most contentious issues
facing congress, I might as well make my position clear, even though few will read or
care about what I write here.
     Automatic and semi-automatic, military, assault rifles, with large ammunition clips,
are designed for one purpose --- to kill people in large numbers, as quickly and
efficiently as possible!  That is why we want our soldiers to have such weapons, in
order to provide them with as much protection from enemy fire as we can give them.

     These guns were not designed for the love of sport;  hunters get along perfectly well
with hunting rifles, and target shooters have a choice of thousands of different weapons
which can be used for target practice.  These assault rifles are collected by people who
desire to own the weapons with the greatest possible killing potential and lethal force.
They enjoy the macho image of being able to say "Look at the power I have! See what
I can do with this!", and describe the shooting as "Awesome!", or "Cool!", or other
proud adjectives.  It is as senseless as buying an expensive sports car, with enough
horsepower to achieve speeds which are several times greater than the legal speed limits.
It's all about image, not necessity!
     We have reached such a perverted sense of personal freedom in this country, that
when we write out our daily shopping lists, along with the butter, milk and eggs, we
may include a military assault rifle with enough loaded clips of ammunition to kill an
entire community, children included.  That unlimited freedom is based on an amendment
to a document written over two centuries ago, when our guns were muzzle loaders.

     We have all heard the arguments of the gun lobby and the opponents to the appeal
for sensible restrictions on civilian ownership of these weapons of mass killing.  They
say that crazy people will always find some weapon to use in fatally attacking innocent
people.  The answer to that blind lack of reason is, "Why do you insist on making it so
much easier for single, deranged individuals to commit these multiple horrors, on such
huge numbers of victims, during just one bloody assault?"  

     It is the gun manufacturers and gun dealers who reap the lucrative, monetary rewards
for this insanity.  (No doubt, if it were legal to sell rocket-propelled grenades to the
general public, there would be some who would be willing to profit from the business,
and many eager customers willing to pay the price.)  Unfortunately, it is much too often
the innocent civilians who pay the much higher price to these merchants of death.