Ok, well, I'm over the fighting cocks. On to my next hobby. A birthday bash at the house was the forum and format for this little video...wish you could've been here. Of our own kids Marissa and Eli played along with me; an assortment of friends joined in the merry musical melee as well. The next fiesta is scheduled for May. Marissa graduates from college with a GPA that would make any parent proud. Too bad I'm not in to pride and all that 'cause I sure would have a reason to brag on this kid. But I refuse to indulge myself on this point. In fact I won't even mention nothin' about 4.0's or anything like that.
Marissa is on a Yamaha keyboard, Eli plays the "fat tele" telecaster and I'm playing the "cherry picker" (Epiphone es-335) in the video below. The paintings pictured were made during birthday week at our house. Eddie, Eli and I all have birthdays at the end of March.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I wouldn't say I missed my calling in life but... if there was a fork in the road and one side was closed with a skull and cross bones on the sign and the other said "enter here to live the life of someone who raises gamecocks for a living" I just might have to take the path less trodden. I've photographed, painted and owned not a few little red roosters in my time and I must admit I love to see them get their hackles up. I've never been to a real cock fight. I'm just saying that "IF" I had to raise them roosters for a living, under duress and coercion, I would. This past weekend I was in Mexicali, Mexico, home, epicenter and gateway to Northwest Mexico's best Wild Wrestlin' Roosters. There was a little soiree planned (birthday party) and it turned out we stayed in the house of my favorite horse surgeon, Paco. His wife Edilia is good friends with Carmen. In fact, we go way back to when Paco and Edilia would chaperon us (Paco and Carmen) on our Sunday evening walks around the old Sonoran capital of Alamos. They were young teenagers in love and needed looking after. We were twenty-somethings and, well, Carmen was in love with me then too. Anyway, Paco is now a world famous veterinary and equine surgeon. There were a few cages full of game-chickens at his house. He's sort of watching them for a client and hatching out little chicks of various breeds known for their prowess in the ring. I fought roosters as a fun pastime while teaching in a small town in rural Mexico. I would do it with the kids in town. Of course we never really made any monetary wagers and no birds were really ever hurt. That's the way I like it. I want my fried chicken alive and I want to eat it too. I'm not interested in watching the gallos eviscerate each other down at the palenque but I am fixin' on painting a few of these beautiful birds soon. The guitar I'm playing in the picture above was as beautiful as the bird in Dr. Paco's hand. I forget the brand but it is hand made in Spain. The rooster is an American Gamecock.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
My youngest son Eli just got his driver's license. He will be 19 in a couple of weeks. So, yes, he waited a lot longer than his siblings and father did to get theirs. He has had to renew the driver's permit several times over the past three years. Several times we have been close to haulin' him up to the old DMV and just making him take the test. He hasn't been all that motivated (obviously) and each time we get close there is a scramble to get in a few evenings of practice especially parallel parking. Finally he succumbed to the pressure both internal and external, as you can imagine, and went ahead and did it. It was no problem. Two nights ago a friend of ours was over at the house. Maria is Chicana having grown up mostly in America with two cultures. Well, obviously she missed out on the slice of Americana that says you teach your kids to parallel park before the drivers' test. Her 16 year old daughter just got her license too so I asked how it went and especially about the parallel parking. "Pues" she said, "I jus put da car into da curb and she(the DMV tester) say its ok just don tell no one and I will pass you the test" I am not even trying to kid you! My son had just taken the test the day before at the same place and was warned that if he even touched a cone or the curb it was automatic failure. Maria just laughed when I asked her if she had even tried to teach her daughter how to parallel park and she didn't even know what that was. Now, I'm not here to fault the Chicano community for not teaching their kids tried and true passages of life in America but I'm about 2 inches away from reporting that test giver lady down at the DMV. What do you think I should do.
Signed: Angry Bird Father
PS These paintings are available for purchase here.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Always be prepared. That is the motto of khaki-clad youth everywhere. So, as I disembark, the first real post-flight necessity is to acquire a pocket knife to go with my desert tan britches. I travel light with no checked luggage. I find in recent years that for some reason I am no longer permitted to carry on-board all my normal preparedness accoutrements. This makes for disturbing agitation and awkward groping as I am constantly reaching for the imaginary side-arms I'm so accustomed to carry. I feel quite naked without my little knife waiting at the ready, snugly clipped into the right front pocket. That has been how I roll since childhood. Apparently some people would want to hinder my ability to rescue victims and save humanity but just give me a smart phone and I'll find that nearest Walmart sporting goods counter as soon as we land and once again the world can breathe easy. On the way from Eugene, Oregon to the coast (post Walmart stop) the road winds and wends it's way through verdant vales and parallels and crosses turgid rolling rivers. The coastal sky-bluster, grey and wet, is filled with geese and ducks. Small herds of Roosevelt elk nibble and chew and watch the passing cars on the lonely curves between moss-grown fir and ash and alder trees. Carmen rejected the Dairy Queen dip cone proffered by her loving husband. It was a small indulgence which I deemed as highly deserved after the humiliation of the emasculation endured for three long hours previous. Anyway, as we came upon a curve in a deep and steep wood, a man appeared in the middle of the road waving for me to stop. I looked to my left as I pulled over on the dangerous stretch, noticed a tall pine tree leaning over in the valley below from whence emanated tendrils of smoke and billows of steam. Larry and Carol's late model silver suv clung precariously to the muddy embankment, pierced through with various sized sticks and tree trunks. The whole engine was exposed having had all the outer body stripped of metal as it appeared the vehicle speared itself into the thick woods at full speed. We had to cut Larry free with MY ALWAYS-AT-THE-READY new (thank you Walmart) pocket knife. Carol had to be extracted later by paramedics. I was able to rescue Beka the little dog from her kennel in the back. Thank God for air bags 'cause that car looked pretty rough. I was covered in mud and blood but Larry and Carol and Beka will be fine. Soon after the above described events we were all cleaned up and interestedly perusing the Historical Museum in Florence, Oregon. I got a lot of great shots of the Oregon landscape. The painting pictured above ("Coquille") was made from them.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
I've never done a self portrait. This is as close as I've got. We were in ol' Mexico a couple of weeks ago. I flew in an ultra light at 5000 ft. over my old stompin' grounds, took in a some opera at the Ortiz Tirado festival in Alamos and ...sat for a portrait with Carmen. She looks a little like Julia Roberts in the picture but the artist deftly captured the essence of my throw-caution-to-the-wind aura if you ask me. The titanium leg pictured above was tempted to sever the guy-wires that attached the wing to the lawn-mower-in-the-sky we were riding but I thought better of it when I realized the handle for the emergency chute was out of reach for both the pilot and me. We landed safely on a private landing strip and to my surprise were not immediately surrounded by AK-47's. So, another adventure to the hinterlands was pulled off and some more inspiration for paintings and portraits was gained.
Friday, February 7, 2014
What's the deal with leaving the Ben Gay next to the toothbrush holder near the sink? Didn't anyone realize how much like a tube of toothpaste that thing looks and weren't they aware that the minty aroma that hits your nose as you bring the brush to your mouth bares an uncanny resemblance to Colgate or Aquafresh? Well, I submit they did not. How else can it be explained? To be fair, I might have been tipped-off by the extra soft and creamy consistency but as I recall, viscosity wasn't really on my mind last night as I prepared for beddy-bye time. So, now I know something not many people can claim to know; the taste of deep muscle relief cream and ...a new breath freshener that makes your tongue tingle with a delightful and mildly intoxicating sensation. Maybe I could paint with it too.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
The new year comes in with some animals. I'd like to capture on canvas the wildcats eating my chickens but so far they've been elusive...or dead. Three am and I awake with a start, an exclamation and a "whoa, what was that?" A big fat hen being pulled through 2x4 ranch wire makes a horrible sound to wake up to. I put on my boots, grabbed a light and an old shotgun. You might think that nine pellets of 00 buckshot from a 12 gauge cartridge would permanently solve the problem but the poor sacrificed chicken I hastily and groggily threw on the ground wasn't there when the sun came up. It seems the midnight marauders hunt in groups and in spite of the thunderblow that echoed under a diamond-encrusted winter sky did little to dissuade a fanged feline teammate from coming back for more. Such is the common experience of those who raise stock in this neck of the woods. They say that early rising is good for you and on some level so must be the discharging of small canons that could wake the dead. There is a certain cathartic effect to it that I will recommend...along with viewing animals in art. Enjoy these latest, they will be available on auction in the days ahead.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Simple compositions, strong contrasts and muted tones of vibrant colors...these are a few of my favorite things. Also, watching a dog run on two legs. I had our little black lab Sunny out in the desert the other day chasing birds. There are a lot of stickly and prickly cactus-like thorny pokers all over the desert. It seems every 5 minutes she is lifting a paw for a few steps. Every ten minutes she needs to come over to get unstuck from an unwelcome tenacious hitchhiker. The cholla cactus are the worse 'cause as soon as you get them out of one toe they're back on you and they sink deep and hurt and make blood to flow. Anyway, a slight limp or raised foot ain't too much to be concerned with usually but when Sunny was all of a sudden lifting two legs (on the same side) and starting running I believed I was witnessing a miracle...kind of like I feel when watching the sunset on my favorite marshland (bottom picture). These will be available soon on auction forever to be reminders of the two legged dog.
Happy new year!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
A wet Christmas morning for Sunny after chasing ducks through water and wood. No one stirred at the pre-dawn call to watch the sunrise and look into the stockings hung with care on Christmas morn so Sunny and I had to answer. We were home before the cock finished crowing and no one was the wiser (till they went to the larder and spied the Christmas goose (ducks in this case). I have turned down the thermostat on painting the past few weeks to get some cabinets built in the old shop. Sawdust and slivers have been the fashion around here lately but come middle of January I think I will get crackin' on some backed-up commissions and get some new work posted for sale on the bay and etsy. Here's just a little heads up to let you know I'm still alive and wallowing in mighty grace from God. I wish a merry Christmas and happy holiday to all my friends and patrons...looking back on this year I see that wallowing has put me in good stead. The Savior is kind and full of promise and old legs full of titanium still kick, eyes still see for hands to still paint. Mighty grace from God in like manner to you and yours.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Fall is here, there's a crispness to the 78 degree air that's circulating 'round the old studio this week and pictures come over the news feed of snow and tornadoes in far away places. (How else could Tucsonans appreciate the seasonal dissidence?) As well as shaking up the palette from time to time with new colors I continually add new brushes. This practice is brought on by necessity as much as inventiveness. Brushes wear out and got too nasty to use. So, I experiment with new tips every so often, having my old stand-byes waiting at the ready in case something fails with the news ones and there's an explosion. The precipitous drop in temperatures this past month and new paint brushes are responsible for the paintings shown here.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
There are things you are born with. They are as inescapable as your own DNA and love for your mother. That is how it is with my fondness for ducks. One would think you could take the boy out of the swamp, place him in a dry desert land for thirty years and the marshyness would dry up right out of his blood. Well, not so. The dynasty band has jumped on my wagon and I'm not too happy about it. I have been bog slogging once again (not to be confused with blog sogging which is what I'm doing now) and the wetlands are awash with wannabee fowlers and they are testing my patience. The true love of the duck is an inherited trait passed down from generations of royal blood imbued with the rankness of rotting cattails, mud, and muskrats and a heart that beats in rhythmic syncopation with the wingbeat of every wild goose flying south for the winter. You do not become a waterfowler by watching uncle Si on Wednesday nights. I need to paint a bird or two to get this out of my system. The tire swing pictured here is part of my therapy...also I am selling off part of my duck herd. I have too many beautiful Black East Indie ducks. Seven are for sale. If you're interested in either you can find more info. here.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Beautiful brace of ring neck pheasants. Ahh, reminiscent of days gone by. It has been too long since the savoryness of upland game from the north country has graced my table. These two fellows were persuaded to sit as models for my still life painting sometime back in 1995. As I recall, these were hanging just outside my shop door in Billings, Montana. Of course it must have been in October or November of that year...the founding of my unsuccessful catch-and-release hunting club. I came about this long lost painting through a series of unfortunate events. But like a faithful boomerang it came back to me...one of my very first oil paintings. The long painting of slippery sloops is a brand new effort. It will be made available for purchase here.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The weather change has been nice. Warm days with dry cool breezes and fresh evenings make for open windows, no air conditioners or swamp coolers and... happy paintings. We went to the Getty museum a couple of weeks ago, swam in the surf, and thoroughly enjoyed Los Angeles' traffic-filled freeways.
I've picked up a new tube(or 2) of pricey oil paint and, as I've mentioned before, it's always nice to change things up with a new color on the palette. Two of these are sold but the others are presently available here.
With the recent inspiration from the J. Paul Getty and my near-death-drowning in the surf at Huntington beach stay tuned for some fall colors.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have a guitar once owned by Roy Rogers and an original water color painting by Edgar Payne. I think that wraps up the list of stuff I own that once belonged to famous people. A scorpion (a large one) greeted me as I entered the shop two nights ago. I don't know why I was carrying a flashlight but I was. I was barefoot and almost stepped on him but since the episode with the parachuting spiders I've been a little leery of just traipsing into the studio at night with my mouth open. My first thought was that I should be wearing something on my feet. My second thought was; "Oh, there's my flip-flops, I'll just grab one and use it to smash the little death-tailed monster".. I did, he's in the trash ...next time I'll throw him to the chickens. Here's a couple more paintings that remind me of famous people and spiders and scorpions.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
A nice eery illumination cast blue flickers of light as I sat staring at the computer screen late one night. Oftentimes spiders will dangle from the basement ceiling, silhouetted in the monitor's rectangle limelight. They put on a little show till a quick squeeze between my fingers puts them out of sight. This night however there were a number of the little parachutists dropping in for a midnight invasion. I could see their streamers soft and white glowing in the half light and then...I could feel them all over me. I pulled at the thin strands of web, for by now they were many. When I attempted to brush them off it seems to have dislodged a whole nest of thousands of mite-sized eight-leggers. They fell to my right and hit the ground with an audible thump... But not before half landing on my right shoulder and hand. They would have nested in my hair or carried me off had I not thought fast to produce an always-at-hand trusty bottle of spider spray. We do indeed have a lot of creepy creatures around here and especially this time of year. The tarantula pictured above is a new friend. Him and his pal come out every night on the pool deck to creep us out as we go for an evening dip. I found their nest and dug this guy out of the ground yesterday to take a picture of him. They vary quite a bit and this little beauty with his rich colors reminds me of the paintings pictured here. I hope you enjoy them...and that they don't give you nightmares.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
My coolness factor just plummeted...or I've just been given another goal for my life. I'll decide later. I've read most of TR's writings and several biographies about him. Lofty ideals abound in this studio thanks to Teddy but the evasive masterpiece still looms somewhere out there on the horizon. These two new ones incorporated the use of a palette knife and some new tube colors. They are available for purchase here.
Monday, August 5, 2013
My brushes with celebrity are only rivaled by my brushes with death at the fang and claw of dangerous creatures (and rivers). Twice I've fallen through crystal ice into frigid waters up to my neck, far from warmth and rescue; once into current that nearly swept me under its icy coffin lid into darkness and the watery nether-world. Actually, I've really not encountered celebrities as much as I've come into contact with their stuff, ...stuff of legends mind you. You can see below in ancient blog-posts references to Elvis' sunglasses, Bod Dylan's furniture, Eric Clapton's guitar picks and Janis Joplin's rock-n-roll hall of fame trophy. This, not to mention that BD is my adoptive uncle from the Iron Range where I spent many a youthful hour picking thimble berries (almost always while avoiding a mild mauling by black bears) and courting a girl (girls) from the north country.
None of this compares, however, to the magnitude of joyful delight and drama that the daily routine of a hot cup of tea early am brings me. I sit outside watching the ducks hop around their pen, splashing away with nary a care and I contemplate the Scripture passages laid open on my lap ...and the next attempt at a masterpiece. This sunrise view of each day never fails to portend something new and exciting. THE masterpiece hasn't been achieved yet and the mouth of a big-mane lion has yet to clamp down on my right thigh. Until then I will keep seeking the lost chord (the Moody Blues really didn't find it) and the other lofty goals mentioned here. The paintings pictured are another feeble attempt...but they're coming along. Available here on eBay.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
My friend Jack is a Hungarian, German actor/musician (famous in Europe). He has these cool shades that were given by Elvis to his body gaurds and band mates. This pair was found in Graceland shortly after his death (not long after I saw him in concert) I can't quite remember the story on how Jack came to acquire them but they were from one of the band members. They are gold and make you feel like a king...kind of like how I felt while making these latest two paintings available here for your viewing and purchasing pleasure. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Three new ones. The 20x16 might go to the Colorado gallery...They're all available here for purchase consideration. I have been using the same old, chisel-on-stone (cuneiform) technique for years now, both for my studio uploads and landscape / sky photography. I think with the onset of monsoon season a new camera is in order...something that will take great sky shots. I'm sure there will be a marked improvement in the work to come so stay tuned.