Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicago Skyline and Little Birds

End of August's joyful jaunt to Minnesota found Carmen and I  recharging our chlorophyll powered batteries and filling our yearly quota of lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, streams and puddles viewed. I think the desert was jealous. The tales of  "water, water everywhere" (and cold tap water) were a metaphorical  babbling brook of non-stop spring-flow that bubbled and poured with gushing praise every time I parted my erstwhile sun-dried and cracked lips in a mouth-watering description of the land of 10,000 reasons to thank God... for agua. It seems that my effusive bragging on the wonderful water-founts of the north country  was just too much for the dessicated dust dwellers to stomach. They ordered a full load of H2o just to shut me up.   Almost four inches of rain gully-washed down on us here in Catalina this past Tuesday. (That is a million-year record) The usually dry creek bed that borders our little burnt piece of real estate flowed with a wild rage that effectively cut us off from civilization for ...a few hours anyway, and gave us the riverfront property I've always wished for.  It was / has been beautiful and the vengeful actions of those who ordered the rain just to spite me turned into a lush and verdant blessing of thirst quenching solace for the raisin people of the southwest. I tend to see the glass as half full as you can tell.  The birds pictured here (if you got the e-mail notification you might have to open the blogspot link to view images) were painted by Marissa. They are small ACEO paintings but they are clever and colorful and should be collectable. The Chi-town skyline was an new inspiration...gonna be messing with some cityscapes in the future so be prepared...and feel free to make requests or send photos of your favorite town. I don't have a lot of pics of cities.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three new little paintings inspired by a multitude of car breakdowns in California.  Well, actually it wasn't so much a multitude of breakdowns as it was a variety of mechanics that were needed to fix a series of problems that set the stage for our summertime fun along the wild west bank of America.  Great views (and pics) of the coast and a good time with the kids and old friends were highlights.  Lots of disturbing evidence of gangland anarchy in the golden state was the tarnished and  nasty reminder that we were a long way from "the old pueblo" (Tucson... where men sport bolo ties and six shooters... just for fun) Available on-line for your listening pleasure here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ere The wind Blows Heavy 12x12, The Tree Within 20x16

I feel like the old Amish who purposefully created a defect in an otherwise perfect piece of hand made furniture. The thought is that nothing is perfect but God Himself.  So, after over 3500 transactions on eBay  the past 11 years there is a flaw in my feedback.  Not that I was aiming at perfection, it's just that I have grown accustomed to great art patrons that really make up for some of the greatest customers a business could ever hope for. Alas, I am  learning to embrace the negative along with the good ; Keeps one humble and ...makes for a reason to break my summer slump of almost no blog activity. The "new" paintings I offer for auction on ebay are definitely new...and fresh. Turns out someone didn't like the fact that the paint smelled fresh. Well, I was duly reprimanded, my proffers for peace, rebuffed and my erstwhile perceived-to-be-good name dragged through the mud, besmirched and defamed all at the same time with the anonymous pen wielded by the faceless stranger.  Easy to do I guess in this techno-age.  Anyway, here are some very new and freshly painted little wall treats. They are available on auction here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three Moons to the Wind

Which one of these is not like the other? My question for the weekend. Moons are happening here as well large paintings. The big ones are made on black gessoed canvas.  The dark surface is real fun to approach and a bit less intimidating than the stark white of normal gesso.  Look for sales on framed 8x10's  coming up. Enjoy these for sale here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fire Starter 28x24, "Here Kitty" 7x5

I had a picture of my new guitar to post here but I thought it was too vain. Cool but vain.  So, the cat made the cut instead. Marissa and I worked on this together.  Basically I just threw away the little fine-toothed combs she was fiddling (painting) with, slathered some oil paint on the palette, loaded up a big old one-inch brush and finished it off.  The painting above is title "Fire Starter"...on sale this week here. The kitten might be made available on etsy coming up.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fresh from the sea! Two of these pictures were caught off the leeward side of the Catalina mountains.  The bottom picture is a group shot of a tasty pile of corbina that were caught off the northernmost reaches of the sea of Cortez.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Big Red Lightening Sunset 30x24, Guitars, Jinete y Caballo

After a week of high seas adventure neck-deep in the Sea of Cortez, this is what we came home to.  The boys and the band had just finished a little jam sesh on the front porch. See picture above. Missing were the "fat tele" telecaster guitar and the new blond MIJ 1980's Fender telecaster...also a couple of banjos and my favorite Washburn guitar.  I guess they weren't using those. Marissa got to ride a horse in her first home town of La Aduana, Sonora Mexico as well. That kind of rounded out a nice little Easter week in the old country.  We smuggled my in-laws back with us and almost crossed the border with no problema. Turns out that grandpa likes his oregano. It grows wild in southern Sonora and, well, since he enjoys making his famous seafood surprise when the family gets together it just makes sense to take along some special ingredients. No?  The wait was relatively short.  Sometimes the line at the border can be hours long.  We pulled up to the Mexico/American line of demarcation after getting the green light to give us our turn and the border agent promptly asks if we're all citizens.  With a "no" I hand her our passports and visa papers (for the smuggled in-laws) and notice the Rambo style survival knife strapped to her leg along with various gadgets meant for stopping, killing, maiming and ...cutting open boxes. She asked if I would open the back hatch on the mini van. I complied by pressing a button to release the lock. She moved around to the back of the vehicle. I watched her in the mirror. She opened the hatch. I saw, in slow motion,  a very large plastic jar filled with oregano come tumbling out onto the pavement in the cool shade of the late April international-smuggling-capital-of-the-world border crossing. The agent and her armored friends shared a quick smile, opened the lid, took a whiff and...returned the herbs to their place over the luggage. They wished us a good day and we drove on. Nothing like the time they caught me with a bunch of bullets, or the time they found the rifle I was smuggling into Mexico. Those stories are for another time.  Meanwhile, enjoy my new painting..."Big Red Lightening Sunset. It's available on auction this week on the 'bay.

Monday, April 7, 2014

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

Vermilion Flycatcher 12x12, Lesser Goldfinch 5x7

Now that spring is in the air we've got birds on our brains. Marissa painted these two little fellows.  They have been happy companions here in the studio.  The flycatcher has already found a home.  They are fun to watch as they hover and tread water waiting for a little gnat or mosquito.  They must be territorial because I often see one in the same place deftly and  acrobatically snatching bugs out of the air during the mid-morning jog. The finch, well, we have several kinds of those around here. They are welcome visitors of course but their song is not too remarkable. Enjoyable nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Where Buffalo Roamed 12x24, The Bounty

Dear Abby,
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

Coquille, Spring Cometh

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

Paco y Carmen en mexico, Golden Rill 16x10

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

Sound of Surf, Through The Looking Glass 10x16

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

Come Together 16x20, Big Valley 20x24

Two new tree paintings from the studio. The first outdoor drawing from life I did was of trees.  More specifically, stumps and bark...then I branched out and started drawing limbs. You might even say my roots go back to those first artistic seeds sown in my little heart. I had an art teacher in 5th or 6th grade that took an interest in me.  Mr. Rice encouraged us to draw and paint from life as much as possible. That was during frequent trips to his apartment swimming pool while riding in a jacked-up orange and black 1970 Dodge Charger. I hated the sound of the Rolling Stones blasting through Jensen Triaxal speakers mounted on the rear dashboard but that teacher was cool and a swimming pool in Minnesota was a big deal back then. Thanks to art teachers and mentors for their unwavering devotion to little budding artists (who in later years, inspired by those same Rolling Stones' licks would take up guitar and harp and paint more trees than you can shake a stick at)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

They're Gonna Land 12x8, Three Cows 18x12

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

Bare Naked Trees 24x12, Thought of You 24x24, For The Love Of The Marsh 12x24

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 merry little Christmas

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.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Fall Paintings

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

Sailing Pheasants

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 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.