Friday, December 26, 2008

Swift Footed 24x30

Egg nog and rum make for cheery caroling in Catalina. I'm no pirate but I sure can understand why they always had the bottle handy as they chortled like Santa Claus over the seven seas...just not so sure about the egg nog part, they never really seemed to sing much about that. I'm wondering, if I become a connoisseur of whiskey would it improve my ability to appreciate finer things? I've given up on beer as a hobby and try as I might to enjoy the good fruit of the vine I've not been too successful at making myself like wine either. I'm thinking that maybe I'm just to rough to be civilised by the subtle and delicate prodding of these milder drinks and really need some pure straight acid wash to cut to the quick as they say and get down to the nitty gritty. Well, this is hardly the season for taking up a new bad habit and since I weigh about as much as a skinned rabbit I think a little discernment is in order. I will, though, continue to imbibe as much as possible the refreshing draughts of paint fumes and turpentine that permeate everything here. I'll find the kids, from time to time, smelling my clothes or something else that reeks of oil paint with a faraway smile muttering something about how this smells like dad. I won't guarantee that this painting doesn't smell like dad but it should look like a place you want to be. Offered on auction here this week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Canon in D major

Christmas eve morning jog, dog leash in hand, Bob Dylan singing Working Man Blues on the iPod, and an empty bottle of Seagram's 7 in the ditch to my left. Here's how I fantasize. -Out of the corner of my eye I catch the blur of dark fur and fury leaping from the center stripe on Wilds road in Catalina, Arizona. The air is crisp and the mountain snow shimmers in the morning light as the arching creature, fangs bared, hurdles toward the throat of my favorite man's-best-friend. Moments before, my ears caught a glimpse, or you could say I saw out of the corner of my ears through the headphones the growling bark of what I'm sure was a rottweiler/bulldog-mix, bred specifically to maul people like me and dogs like Davey. Normally, my morning-run fantasies are about Davey and I being attacked by wolves (inspired by neighborhood dogs on the loose) I pull out one of my ever-present knives and dispatch the offending cur by deftly placing a well aimed thrust between the third and forth ribs leaving the miserable demon dog to slowly drain on his way, limping back to his home where he should've been kept fenced or tied or...I join Bob on stage to play along with some sweet groove that moves at just the right step with the run. This day, however, no knife was found in my running suit so the Seagram's bottle became the tool of my daring rescue and revenge. I lived and re-lived the various possible scenarios of how the dogs would grapple- I would break the bottle either over the attacking dog's head or on the ground to gouge out his eyes with the broken, jagged edge. There really are a number of ways this fantasy could be played out and it takes almost a whole song (Bob's can be quite long) to get to the end of my fanciful meditation. In all my daydreams I do end up rescuing Davey and coming away with only a few stitches and no lawsuits against me...almost every time.

Well, maybe not what you expected for a beautiful Christmas story to go along with Canon in D major played above in the you tube video. We didn't practise this...I just told the band (Marissa and Ellie) to strike up a tune. It's long and repetitive so I won't feel bad if you don't make it through the whole thing. I wish you well and that you can find / have some good company in these special days.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Catalina Christmas. Everyone is pictured ...the dog's head is cut off (under my hands) and yes, those are the Santa Catalina mountains in the background. The temperature was a frigid 62 degrees when we took this picture a couple of days ago. So, as you see, we can completely identify with and commiserate with any and all who are in the throes of grappling with the long and lonely winter night that is upon us. And yes, there is a smattering of snow on the mountain tops... just to reinforce my point. (It's only supposed to reach 67 degrees today!)
I've not caved (yet) to my wife's pleading lamentatious eyes and her unspoken desires to go to Mexico for the holidays and as long as I can stave off her piercing stares and unrelenting silence on the matter we should be able to pull off a happy and home bound Christmas. Our friends and family south of the border are completely oblivious to our American style concerns about safety in travel, worry about border crossings and recent warnings from the state department about the multitudinous dangers in Mexico. Not that we're chicken mind you. Danger is my middle name after all and I've never been too opposed to staring it in the eye with an unflinching steely glare. It's just that the kids (the boys) don't really like the travel and having to speak Spanish all the time (teenagers)...and we usually do have some sort of harrowing adventure that includes the "D" word above. To the folks south o' da border those concerns are petty compared with the joy of gathering the family for fried fish, tamales, unsalted peanuts in the shell and sea turtle know, your normal Christmas fare. Oh, I forgot to mention that they're butchering a pig just for us...expecting us to arrive on the 26th! Too bad I'm a vegan.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

untitled commission 30x40

I just finished this large 30x40 canvas. I splurged for this commissioned piece and bought a real nice canvas. In a perfect world I would paint on lead primed linen canvases...smooth as babies bottoms and about the most enjoyable surface to move paint around on I've found. I would be tempted to go back to Masonite as my preferred substrate but the springiness and the little bit of "tooth" on a well primed canvas are like a day filled with sunshine, sleeping dogs and quiet children. I do re-work the less expensive canvases I usually paint on. I sand them and give 'em another coat of gesso, maybe sand again and tone the ground with a neutral mix of ultra marine and burnt sienna. Sounds like a lot of work I know but it's worth it in the long run and, don't forget, I have several teenage slaves, uh, I mean kids that help out a lot.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Silver River 12x36

I've a bunch of new paintings hanging around here, the kids are full of menudo, cookies and Christmas cheer, and there's snow on the mountains. One would think that this would provide ample blog-fodder to throw out there with the myriad Spanish/English, English/ Spanish, mexed-up anecdotes I'm known for. Alas, computer woes coupled with apathy, flying time and a few quail hunts make for an absent blogger. Now, don't let my bird hunting references ruffle your feathers. In my world, "hunting" is a convenient term used to describe a lot of things and a quick perusal of our freezer and it's absence of frozen game will undoubtedly enlighten you as to the fantastical ability us multi-linguals poses to moldify, modify and just generally butcher language. So, I've torn myself away from the eternal pot of pozole bubbling away on the stove to put up this cool rendition of the Tucson mountains just west of the studio here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Full On Vacation 24x30

The ornaments are on the tree, the lights are strung from the gable to the mesquite out in the front scrub, uh, yard and my belly has already partaken of it's quota of Christmas cookies for the season. What better way to continue the holiday atmosphere of festivation, cheer-making and joy-giving than to paint a pretty picture of the... Caribbean? ...My thoughts exactly. For all my travels throughout the hinterlands of central and south America I've only had the chance to hang out on remote beaches and islands a couple of dozen times. Many a Christmas I've relinquished my senses to the swarmy breezes as I recline under a palm sipping coconut coolers, plater of shrimp piled hi at my right hand and beautiful naked natives at my beck, fanning giant leafs and catering to my every and sundry whim. Oh how I've suffered...the thought of missing snow and shoveling the drive when an arctic cold front moves in after a storm that left twelve inches of snow and the temperature dips to -27 below. If you've ever had Jack Frost nipping at your nose, if you've ever reached for your car keys (unsuccessfully) with frozen phalanges, if you've ever used a propane torch to thaw your sorrel boots enough to get at the laces, than this reverie is for you.
I'm surprised at how little Ive painted palm trees and beaches...maybe 'cause they're too romantic or too overdone, I've just seen too many renditions of over-romanticized scenes. Regardless, I think I could learn a bit about light and it's play on water so I think I'll try more of these in the future...let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jupiter Moon 12x36

Well, the leftovers are gone and after a week of family visits and much festivating I hope to have the play-doh fun factory, uh, art studio back up and running at full steam. It's hard to paint with relatives looking over your shoulder. After a while and especially after painting outdoors in public you do become a bit annealed to any effect Looky Lous might have on you but lately I've been more intent on sequestering myself in the hidden underground bunker that is my shop. So, I just had to shake off the piercing stares, keep my eyes on the road and play the man.
Turkey is a favorite food...the birds are interesting too, some of the most stupid critters in all creation. If you've ever raised 'em you know what I mean. As dumb as they are they provide some of the best table fare and for that I offer the following ode.

Thanksgiving Turkey

When you hear them coming stomping
And you feel the heartbeat thumping
Then a quiet whisper whispers
A red bird starts to sing

When the fish are just not biting
And the June bugs cease to crawl
On the screen at evening
The porch light says it all

Early dusk late sunrise
Crisp the windy blow
A warming light at evening
Warm the hearth and glow

How they come so happy
Shake the white off boots and brow
Yonder turkey gobbled
Now he lays the table low

He heard the footsteps coming
He heard the cardinal song
He laid his crown on yonder block
He roasted all day long