Monday, August 31, 2015

Anoka Bridge, Mississippi River Fish, Ford Pinto

 That big ol' nasty river had me in its grip again. I was at the confluence of the Rum and the Mississippi rivers earlier this month. The Champlin /Anoka bridge was within view.  My rust-encrusted 74 Ford Pinto rumbled across it everyday on the way to Anoka high.  Tim and I go way back.  He was my first fishing buddy.  The river was the eastern border of our neighborhood and off limits to all the grade-schoolers we knew. Apparently ours were the only enlightened parents in those early days or, they just knew there was no stopping us. The river consumed our every waking hour...still haunts my dreams. And Tim still lives nearby. He took me out for a little bass and walleye fishing the other day. The big brown temptress gurgles and bubbles and rolls and continues to call my name. I almost dove in right before the Coon rapids dam, never to be seen this side of glory again.  Well, the thought of getting the smartphone wet and not getting to take advantage of the snazzy rental car for the full week stopped my ears to the Siren's song. We did catch a lot of fish though and I got some great pics/ideas for future paintings. Thanks Tim Peterson and to the Mighty Miss.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Three's Company

I've been taking full advantage of the monsoons.  Skies in the desert summer are fantastical! Stay tuned for more and remember to subscribe, share and spread the word that someone is still making fine art available to the humble masses.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Horny Toad, Celia 30x24, Las Nubes Se Alegran 24x24

Is there such thing as a cute lizard? I submit that yes, there is. This fellow was picked up out in the woodshop the other day. They try to escape but their little legs just paddle the ground and their stout little armored bodies go nowhere. This is the season for horned toads and monsoon clouds.  I'm still making seascapes based on pictures from the Sea of Cortez and area around Los Cabos. The new clouds should inspire some great landscapes mixed with cool beach scenes.  I often put together disparate photos.  It can make for exciting references and unexpected outcomes.  Being primarily a studio painter this is a good way to keep the bionic juices flowing. Very similar to the experience of nabbing a horny toad on a desert eve. I highly recommend it!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dead Buried Fish, Grapes 12x24, Entre Amor y el Antojo

We didn't eat carp or sheep's head back then.  They were considered rough fish, not fit for consumption. They were for the compost pile. We caught a heck of those fish. The Mississippi teamed with 'em. I have since learned to savor their meaty muddiness. Muskrats, 'coon and crawdads did not get consumed either. Oh we caught them alright...we just lived too far north to eat 'em. Snow kept certain expressions of  redneckedness  from creeping into our cultural vocabulary I guess. The trick with composting dead fish parts is that you've got to bury them good and deep. (dogs!?...need I say more?) Similar things ought to be done with certain pieces of "art" that don't work out. When it's not fit for public consumption just bury it. Every once in a while, against all wisdom and logic, you will be tempted to dig up a piece after its gone bad and make something out of it.  Be forewarned, you will have to roll in it and get pretty nasty before anything will come of it. Even then it's a 50/50 gamble.  Fortunately these two new pieces came right out of the crystal flow of the river of creative goodness...first cast!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Burn down the hamburger stand. Arsonistic Art

I didn't really intend to "burn down" an icon of our youth.  The old hamburger stand was already condemned/slated for some point. It was boarded-up. I suppose I just helped it along.  Jerry and I had too much Saturday afternoon left at the end of our bike ride and too many matches left in our pockets.  I think this particular arsonistic exploit was my first. It pre-dated the ten speed bikes we rode throughout our teens. I remember riding the red Schwinn Stingray over scraps of boards and watching out for nails so it must have been early in my career. If I had kept (rather burned to the ground) those Coca Cola signs I would have made a fortune selling them on eBay. I suppose had I kept any number of things from back then they could be sold now for a nice profit...or burned in a big beautiful fire! Well, what I do have, besides these fond and sweet memories of childhood innocence, I make available here for your enjoyment.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Human Skulls & Serene Seascapes

A human skull feels weighty in your hand.  Like it could weigh a thousand pounds. But you don't drop can't. Only with extreme effort do you free yourself from the Vulcan mind-meld three-fingered cranial grip and let him go back to his place of rest.   Maybe it has to do with spent adrenaline. You know that feeling you get after you've broken through the wall of the ancient burial tomb-- that moment you realize that the air is still breathable, no gases or poison in the haze that rises and rolls as it reveals radial spears of laser light. The sun's rays penetrate the stifled brown deadness 30 feet below the banyan's roots.   You pull at your sweat-soaked bandana mask and gulp down death, decayed matter and bone dust. I'm not really afraid of snakes but this would have been the perfect place for someone who is, to freak out. Skeletons, some arranged, some scattered, carved amulets of coral and jade decorating the heads and hands. Three thousand years old! I think that predates the Vikings last super Bowl appearance...maybe even their discovering of  Minnesota. Anyway, back to the weightiness issue.  This is much the same feeling I get when I finish a large and difficult canvas.  The adrenaline rush is over, you feel exhausted but before long you have to go back for more.  There are two pursuits in life that result in morbid addictions; grave robbing and ...landscape painting.  Pray that you will succumb to neither for when once you start there is no going back.This nifty 24x24 seascape was the result of our recent foray into old Mexico, ...Baja Sur to be exact, Cabo San Lucas

Monday, June 1, 2015

Playground Knife Throwing, Sheep & Trees

Ah, playground knife throwing games, those were the days. I carried a knife to school almost every day from about 5th grade on. Usually it was a small pocket knife. In junior high school I took to carrying a 6 inch menace in the shape of a switchblade.  It had white pearly handles and a long slender locking blade. It was almost always dull.  It was a good knife for throwing into the ground. There was a small skirmish in 8th grade political science class.  Someone's hand was cut (not mine) and the bleeding kid and I were sent to the principal's office for "fighting". I said I was just trying to reach across the aisle, bring the two parties closer etc. The teacher didn't see the blood (or the knife) nor the humor. We made like friends while being interrogated by the vice principal. The charges were dropped and a lesson was learned. My adversary was sent to the school nurse, his palm was bleeding at a pretty good rate...said something about cutting it on a desk.
 "When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison." Mathew 5:25

Saturday, May 30, 2015


The muted mercurial circle of light on the street corner served as a gathering beacon for mosquitoes, June bugs, night hawks and...vandals. Streetlights don't break easily.  What I mean is that you can't just put the things out with a casual toss of any old smooth stone. No, you've got to really chuck something large and hard.  Probably throw as hard as you can, straight up, many times. That's what it takes. Glancing blows hardly faze those things. You'll need to make a direct hit.  First the outer glass cracks, breaks, begins to crumble and then rain. It takes two or three good hits. Half inch thick shards will fall on your head if you're not careful. Finally, after too many misses to count, a rock (or chunk of asphalt) makes it through to the chewy center and..."pop" it goes.  The sparkling light shower is really something to behold, quite rewarding for all the effort.You only have a few moments to bathe in it's fugitive fusile  glow. Sometimes a painting is like that old streetlight on the corner of 72nd and Riverdale road.  They can be tenacious buggers. But once you get to the core, find the key, it all comes together in a luscious blast that the artist savors but for a moment and then ...runs away before someone calls the cops.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Look Up For Your Redemption Draweth Nigh

Dan stopped by last week. He came up from Sonora. He has lived in ol' Mesico since 1980. Not long after that I started flirting with the southern border myself. A few months here and a few months there, mainly in tropical regions; the backdrop for my first forays into the land of "hot chili peppers and a blistering sun". I finally settled in the southern foothills of Sonora state. I lived with a family of goats on a mountainside in a 300 year old mining town.  We shared a house, built with stones, old mortar and petroglyphs with the Gaxiola family. I taught grade school (yes, rural Mexico in the 1980's, rudimentary Spanish and all) and made plans to capture myself a sweet señorita. Anyway, Dan had something to do with that (the capturing part) and we've been friends ever since. I will add a picture below of my young family from back when.  This is not a canned shot.  We had just got back from picking corn on the steep mountainside with our next door neighbors. Life was simple for us then. Hard but simple. The skies always looked like they do in these paintings too. I think I will go back there soon. Yes, I will get a burro, plant some corn on a steep hillside and grow old with my señorita.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Steelheart 12x24, Megan's Tree 18x24

The bike trail has become my new jogging path. Since the titanium implant of 2010 the nagging and niggling numbness in the left leg has hindered the normal fleetness of foot I'm accustomed to. So, not being one to hang up the cleats too quickly, I have turned to riding a bike for health and... for speed. Actually, speed is the last thing I need at this point. (The cleats are also useless) A pleasant tooling around for an hour or so down the two lane paved bike trail is all that's required these days.  However, I often need to navigate a few miles of road traffic to get to safe bike paths. Tucson prides itself on being a bike friendly town with many designated bike lanes and paths etc. But, truth be told, this place is nothing like real biker cities I've been to. All in all, it ain't bad either and depending on the season you can encounter rattlesnakes, tarantulas, heat stroke, sand storms and any number of other wonderful natural phenomenon that enhance your riding experience. I notice there are distinct categories of cyclist out there.  The  middle aged men dressed like The Riddler (those aerodynamic suits  must shave a whole 10 seconds off their Saturday morning ride), with their $5k road bikes are, true to form, the least friendly of all. You can tell who's gonna give you a nod, a "hi", a thumbs up or whatever as the categorical silhouette approaches.  I've gotten to be pretty good at guessing who is going to wish me a good morning and who is not.  Almost without fail the "Riddler",  somewhere between the ages of 38 and 52, is so absorbed in his imaginary time trial and  in displaying his stretchy, euro-colored, suedo-sponsored suit that he cannot afford the nano-second it takes to acknowledge another human being on this planet. I've noticed too that they exhibit the same cockiness to car traffic. Someday, I can only hope to be so important. Meanwhile, I will enjoy all the other friendly categories of walkers, riders, joggers and strollers that are out there and be glad to count myself amongst them. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

 I finally availed myself of the multi -proffered  invites to fish the sea of Cortez where it meets the Pacific ocean.  We have relatives that live in Baja. They are fisherman of various sorts and backgrounds. For the most part their pursuit of salt water fishies has been for sustenance. I had never been in Los Cabos though we lived right across the shining sea in mainland Mexico for many años. Mother's day was the needed propellant and little Carmelita and I were off to spend the weekend with Mama Carmen and a multitude of nephews and nieces.  Pictured here is Juanito. He knows me as tio Paco.  Juan has wanted to take me out Marlin fishing for years. I thought it was all bluster. I said I just wanted to do some in-shore bottom fishing, catch a few to take home and make tacos. I was explicit. I did NOT want to spend a pile of silver pesos to go out sport fishing. Well, happy to report the later was accomplished without the need for the former. The fishing was off the hook (picture above) and tacos and hot chili sauce and good reunions with old camaradas  prevailed.  I might have to open an art gallery there someday.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Synesthesia Downstream 12x36, NP Winterlude 24x24, American River Revisited 24x30

Here are three new paintings for your listening enjoyment...and you thought I've been saying that in jest all these years.  Did you read the recent articles that have made headlines about synesthetes?  Well, if you are one, then welcome and...enjoy doubly!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Frames & Spring Time

April showers and May's flowers have been happening here in the desert since about February. Spring ushers in changes, as always, and so as not to be found contrary to nature, I have been firing up the old wood shop and making some new styled frames and also some furniture pieces.  The rocking chairs require welding and wrought iron work as well as some fancy joinery and wood carving.  They turn out pretty nice but will be a challenge to photograph. I hope to have some pics of those soon.  I finally figured out a shipping solution  too so they will be made available hopefully soon.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime you can check out what is  available in on our etsy, eBay and soon to be opened 11 Main pages.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Homeward Boys 12x18, Rest On The Shore 6x24, Move smartly 'Cross The Sky 18x12

The big duck left the roost about a week ago.  The attempt at a cross-bred / hybrid between the chickens and the duck did not meet with success, however hard the duck tried to believe he was a rooster. In reality, no one here thought it would work but we let the old Rouen think he was the cock of the walk until it appeared he might hurt the white leghorns and little bantam hen. Plus, he could do little to rally the cluckers when needed if an old sly fox tried to raid the free-rangers in the late afternoon.  The subtle buzzing sound of the drake's "quack" is nothing like the call to flee that a savvy rooster can produce to get his hens to hide from marauders. The paintings above were made while listening to the sounds of egg making right outside the studio door.  Organic, free-range,  pesticide and gluten-free art at its finest can be found here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Entering  the studio after an absence is like opening a new bag of Lays potato chips. There must be an aphorism somewhere out there that aptly describes this...or maybe a euphorism.  Anyway, as the first nano-second of breath comes in contact with the appropriate receptors there is a euphoric rush of gladness and glorious possibilities; the future looks bright. Isn't that how you feel when you open a bag of chips? Well, if it is you understand my feelings when I  walk in to the shop and the first wave of oil fumes slaps me square.  That's what happened prior to making these two little beauties. They are available for consumption here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

James Rockford, Captain Kirk, Bob Dylan & Frank Sinatra

I just like the cut of his jib, as they say.  James Rockford. Is there anyone else like Jim out there? Besides captain Kirk and Teddy Roosevelt I really can't think of anyone. Relatives don't count either so I won't mention my uncle Bob Dylan who, although his jib flies true and grabs the wind like none others', shouldn't be added to the list just so's I won't be accused of nepotimistic leanerings. Rockford is the truest antihero out there and if kids can't be forced to attend a citizenship ceremony in order to graduate high school or read the proverbs out of the Bible everyday or memorize Mr. Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life" then they should at least have to watch a few episodes of the Rockford Files. This would prove a great help to slow the growing tsunami of fatherless males that will eventually and inevitably swell the ranks of stand-in-line-with-their-hand out type folks that...create video games and... vote.  These are just some of the thoughts that swim through the irrigation ditches of my mind while I paint this week...trying to figure out how to save America without using uncle Bob's new album of Frank Sinatra tunes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A roaring rumbling ruckus disturbed my otherwise tranquil state of mental soul sleep. I was staring at the screen benumbed by game number 3,485 of solitaire at 4:45 pm.  Most of the time it's a false alarm. The chickens squawk, a dog barks and a piece of plywood, precariously perched, topples to the floor of the shop with a flutter, a clatter and a bang. Always ready (for that is the natural state of trained operatives like myself) I was on my feet in a flash-bang.  Ten steps in half a blink had me out the door and face to jowl with Mr. coyote who was, as always, looking for a free meal. The chickens (and one duck) had scampered and scattered and, to their credit being now *rooster-less, made it to the front of the hen house. I had left the birds under the watchful eye of guard dogs Billie and Trigger.  My holler, super-enhanced muscle memory speed and ejector-seat propulsion into their world (the world of chasing things) had them on their feet and joining in the chase. The brown fur-clad assailant fled, mouth empty, into the desert pursued by his domesticated and too slow canine counterparts. I counted my chickens, closed the coop and returned to the important work that awaited me at the desk. Thusly, a portion of this past weekend was squandered. O yeah, I did paint a bit too.  Check out new work here.

*Last rooster killed by coyote Oct. 2014 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday morning blues start off with these three new ones that just rolled off the brush this past week. Are you a football fan? Well, neither am I...anymore.  I told my little wifey that if she wanted to make some serious money last weekend she should bet against the teams I'm rooting for.  I guess I should have taken my own advice.  I am pretty much batting 1000 in recent years in my pitiful prognostications when it comes to the NFL playoffs.  Since 1998 I have sworn off allegiance to my childhood home team only to be sucked in to the vortex almost every season when the playoffs come around.  Thankfully I have my little easel, my old guitar and a few happy ducks and chickens to bring me back to the glad reality of the life of an artistical expeditionary. A couple of these are still available for sale or on auction here.