Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Raven Was Resolute

                                          An original acrylics painting, on gesso-primed masonite
                                          16 X 13", unframed

                                                     ( 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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Racing The Hoop

                                           An original casein painting, on heavy watercolor board
                                           20 X 24 inches
                                                     This painting is in a private collection now

                                                      ( click on image to enlarge )

     The past several postings on this blog have featured paintings that included birds
which live on or around water.  Birds have always served as subjects for artists, from as
far back as the frescoes and wall paintings of the ancient world, right up to the paintings
of the modern masters.  Waterfowl in particular, both domesticated and wild, have always
played a big role in our lives, as a food source which also had beauty worthy to be painted
and enjoyed.  That memory reminded me of this painting, from several decades or more
ago, of a boy and his pet duck.  There must be millions of paintings of boys with their pet
dogs, but the boy and bird relationship is probably much less frequently portrayed.

     Most people are aware of the fact that animals and birds imprint on humans, if they are
raised by people from birth, and they may often become inseparable from their human
parents.  I had an aunt who once had some geese on their farm, including a gander which
was a gentle pet with her, but which was an aggressive watch-dog with anyone else.  And
I recall an elderly, neighborhood couple in the city, who had a pet duck which patrolled
the inside perimeter of their fenced yard, and quacked with territorial authority at anyone
who passed by.on the sidewalk.

     This hectic electronic age, which rules our lives, may make it difficult for some people
to think back to a much simpler time ( even before radio ) when children's toys were
nothing like the expensive electronic gadgets which kids play with these days. Hoop
rolling was a popular game, which most likely would have occurred often, on fields
next to schoolhouses such as the one in this painting.  I chose to depict the little, frame
schoolhouse where a famous,New England school-teacher once taught children, before
the American revolution.  ( I hope the school still survives.)  That teacher gained fame
because of what he said, shortly before the British hanged him as a spy.  His statement
was, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country!", and his name was
Nathan Hale.  Perhaps Nathan's patriotic words were echoing in the boy's mind, as he
and his duck raced the hoop down the hill.

    The photo of the painting is old and blurred, but perhaps it still conveys the essential
elements of the diagonal actions in the composition, intended to provide a feeling of the
movements of the wind, the clouds, and the boy with his duck.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Twilight Enchantment

                                               An original acrylic painting, on gesso primed masonite
                                               15 X 17", unframed
                                               $600.00,  ( plus $25.00, pack and ship )

                                                   ( click on image to enlarge )

     There is no more graceful image in all of nature than that of a mute swan, gliding
effortlessly across the still surface of a lake, during a perfectly silent, evening sunset.
That quiet interval of tranquility, as the diurnal world prepares for sleep, and the
nocturnal world begins to awaken, can be trans-formative for appreciative observers.
     This painting was an attempt to capture a feeling of that magical wonder, as the
glowing, red ember of the sun is just dropping below the horizon, but is still casting
its final, fading rays.

     I was somewhat reluctant to post the photo of this painting, because it is not
accurate enough to give viewers the full sense of the painting.  Digital photography
of paintings, which have a high degree of contrast between a very light subject,
and a dark background, are particularly difficult.  The light, subject matter often
turns into a formless, white blob, and the dark values become washed-out and
     In this instance, the photo failed to capture all of the feathery detail of the
swan, as well as missing the full depth and richness of the darker passages.
However, perhaps the photo does at least, convey a feeling of the original image.


Monday, June 12, 2017

An Evening At The Teahouse

                                                   An original acrylics painting on canvas
                                                   16 X 20"
                                                    (This painting will not be available from this site
                                                      until it is returned to me from an exhibition, but
                                                      as with most of the paintings in the blog, giclee
                                                      fine-art prints are available. )

                                                   ( click on image to enlarge )

     The structure of this painting's composition is based on strong, opposing, diagonals,
which are intended to create the feeling of a figure in motion.  The heavy lines of the
geisha's kimono are a bit of an homage to Van Gogh and Gauguin and the other post-
impressionists, who admired and collected Japanese, wood-block prints, which also then
influenced their own work.   The glow of the lighting of the scene, is intended to convey a
feeling for the look of a geisha performing in the light of lanterns, as they would have done
in the old days.

     I seldom document the progress of my paintings as I am working on them, however I
did have a camera at hand while I was working on this one.  So I did take a few pictures
along the way, starting from when I first laid out the bones of the structure, and then on
through several shots of successive layers of color overlays and glazes.  For those
viewers who may be interested, I am now adding a few of those quick snapshots to this
posting.  They may help to reveal more about the early stages of creating the painting.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Storm Chaser ( Gull #4 )

                                                  An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                                  18 X 22", unframed
                                                  $400.00, - ( plus $35.00, pack and ship )

                                                      ( click on image to enlarge )

     This is the painting which was completed as a scene of an American herring gull.
The bird is portrayed flying into the wind, as if on patrol over the shoreline, while a
passing, summer squall is moving out to sea.  These sharp-eyed scavengers never fail
to spot a freshly, beached oportunity to grab a meal.

Ivory - In The Headwind ( Gull #3 )

                                         An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                         18 X 22"

                                                     ( click on image to enlarge )

     In my previous posting, of the seagull on the beach, I talked a bit about the problem
of trying to create a genuine feeling of movement, to the birds in paintings, especially
when the birds are painted as if in flight.  All too often, the birds appear to be simply
suspended, as if on wires.   This painting may have a little of that feeling of suspension,
but the use of the very active sky and sea as background,  helps to convey a general
feeling of a bird aloft, sailing on the sea winds.

    When I did this painting, it was my intention to paint an ivory gull, and keep it as such,
because it seems to me that there is always something more symbolic about white birds.
However, most of the people who live in the lower forty-eight states are not familiar with
ivory gulls.  Far more are only familiar with the American herring gull.  So, I finally gave in
and changed the bird to a herring gull.  That is the reason that this version of the original
painting is not available.

     For those who enjoy the image of the ivory gull, giclee, fine-art prints of the painting
are available, as is the case with most of the paintings I have posted on this blog.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Racing With The Waves ( Gull #6 )

                                              An original acrylic painting, on gesso primed masonite panel
                                              20 X 16", unframed
                                              $350.00, ( plus $35.00, pack and ship )

                                                          ( click on image to enlarge )

     Anyone who has ever watched the feeding habits of shorebirds, scavenging along
on beaches, is familiar with their patterns of movements.  As the waves are receding,
the birds hurry onto the wet expanses of sands and pebbles, in search of freshly
exposed tidbits of marine life.  Then, as the next waves advance, surging back up the
beach, the birds hastily retreat, to avoid the incoming breakers.  And so, it continues
in endless repetition, to the rhythm of the waves.

     This painting of an ever-hungry gull, was an attempt to capture some of that
feeling of observing the active movements of birds on the beach.  As I look at the
painting now, I would call it impressionist, but with expressionist aspects.  The
vigor of the paint application, has a freshness and spontaneity which helps to convey
that feeling of movement.  When I was painting the bird, I also made a very conscious
decision to have the tips of the wing and tail feathers extend just slightly beyond the
edges of the picture-plain, which is also an attempt to create the impression of an
active bird, moving quickly forward.

The Day The Earth Shook ( Lost And Found # 24 )

                                                       An original mixed-media, on illustration board
                                                       5 X 7", unframed, ( mat size, 10 X 12" )
                                                       $110.00, ( plus $15.00, pack and ship )

                                                           ( click on image to enlarge )

     Sooner or later, for each and everyone of us, the day will come when we experience
a life-threatening event, which becomes a sharp reminder of our individual, human
mortality.  For me, that event was a combination of a couple of heart-attacks, followed
by difficult, open-heart surgery.
     After my stay in the hospital, I was brought home, and as i was emerging from the
car ( moving very slowly ) I happened to see two small objects which had been washed
down the street by heavy rains, while I was away.  They were a small, plastic figure of
one of Disney's Seven Dwarfs, and a single well-used die.  That trivial discovery seemed
somehow prophetic to me
     During my convalescence, as I tried to avoid moving as much as possible, I worked
on a series of miniatures, which included those two, found objects, along with other things
which had once been treasured, but then long-ago forgotten and lost.  I called those
miniatures my "Lost And Found" series, which is perhaps symbolic of the fact that, in
the end, we are all destined to lose everything, but that we sometimes receive a bit of
an extension or second chance, before we have to say goodbye.  My extension has
lasted for several years now, and I am grateful for each new day.

     The little painting which I have posted here, from that series, was the one which
included an old, broken pocket-watch, that I found shoved to the back of a drawer,
where it had remained since the 1940's.   The hands of the watch are set at five
twenty-nine, which was the exact moment of the detonation of the first nuclear
weapon, on the morning of July 16, 1945, in New Mexico.  Ever since that earth-
-shaking day, life threatening events have been multiplying for all of humanity.  The
question now has become, not one of our individual mortality, but one of whether
or not the whole, human race is going to survive, especially with all of the unstable
people who now have control of nuclear weapons, including our own chief executive.    

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Little Bit O' Heaven

                                                  An original acrylic painting, on stretched canvas
                                                  10 X 20",
                                                  ( This painting will not be available from this site
                                                     until it is returned from an exhibition, but giclee
                                                      fine-art prints are available.)

                                                       ( 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.

    The structure of this painting's composition is based on several very broad "S"
curves, which intersect at the center of interest, where the old road descends into
the valley and to the hills beyond.

     This painting is now custom framed, in a richly toned, molding, with a
fine, white-linen liner.

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.