Monday, June 29, 2009


Wild, woolly, west and windy. That was the working title of this painting. The boys and I just returned from a wilderness journey the like of which would have killed Survivor Man. Well, he might not have died actually. In fact, he would have had his fill of small-mouth bass and catfish so Giardia from drinking the river water on the Apache Indian reservation and subsequent dysentery would have been his main concern...and ours. We saw abundant bear sign (was that the reason why Scott insisted we all pack heat?) and some looked to be from enormous creatures. I don't think we had any real reason to worry though. The last bear attack in the southwest happened about four hundred years ago and it only took about 50 yards of carrying my 300lb. pack to realize the .40 cal semi-auto with two extra clips strapped to my belt was superfluous. Strange how men find comfort in firearms. It's not as though I've ever really needed to shoot attacking marauders on any kind of consistent basis. There's only several that come to mind and those I probably could've just as easily dispatched with a crossbow or a small spear! Guns are way overrated if you ask me. I'm happy to report the kids caught fish, I ate them, we slept under the stars and save for some mild sunburn and a sore back made it back to civilization unscathed and ready for more.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Earth N Sky 24x36

He held her hand and bowed to kiss
The up-turned face and remembered then
The little one so quick to learn
So soon to fly, time stood still
You can’t conceive all the colors
You can’t believe the songs that seem
To ring so true yet leave you longing
For yesterday…oh heart be still

It’s not from wisdom that you speak
When looking back to yesteryear
And times gone by as if they were
Better then, oh time stand still
Mark the passages and no regrets
See her chestnut hair in light
Glowing bright pearlescent eyes
Fly by night oh whippoorwill

My favorite bird, the whippoorwill
She’s an angel of the first degree
My favorite girl her hand in mine
Sings of Christ my favorite King
The King bequeaths the blessing now
To little birds and girls that sing
And to every child of nature’s own
Tomorrow’s song they will bring

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Star 30x24

This is the view we had coming up and out of San Diego last week. A bit of frolicking in the surf and some good times with some old friends were had by our little clan. The heavy atmosphere of the Cali. coast just inspires painting...everything glows with an ethereal luminescence and everywhere you look there seems to be a painting just waiting to happen. I'm sure that's the same thought the man we met at Laguna beach had. That's where our similarities ended. He was painting on his little french easel and we stopped to bother him a bit. Really no bother I thought 'till he began to unload on my boys about the video games (which they hardly ever play) that are ruining their lives and are the sole cause for the ruination of our world. Not that I'd wholly disagree but he kept staring into our eyes as if to uncover some secret sin and cry "ahaa, caught ya". We just stared back at him with a benevolent condescension and pried ourselves away as graciously as possible. Well, my kids are almost too respectful. I was secretly hoping for one of them to "accidentally" tip over the guy's masterpiece. I shudder to think of his fate had he encountered kids like us at sixteen. Lucky for him we were fresh off a Disney vacation and the strains of "It's A Small World" were still ringing in our ears tempering our actions and thoughts and any proclivity we might have towards harmful mischief.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

He's Not Alone (The Hanging Tree) 36x24

After a full week of cranial pain and torment, the like of which I'm sure was never even close to being experienced at Guantanamo Bay, I was recovered enough to dance the night away. We met at our neighbor's house for a dessert and to let the kids cavort around the desert a bit. There was a whole pile of 'em (kids) and once the parents got involved... all bets were off. We grooved to the sweet soul sounds of ...the Macarena, Cotton-Eyed-Joe, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting, YMCA, and a dozen others. Now, I didn't really think we were much for dancing in our family. Sure, I've been known to cut a rug or two from time to time but my wife is shy and the kids..well, they're teenagers. All that presumption was thrown out along with every inhibition and care. All of it tossed straight to the wind! The following day there were sore necks from the head-banging antics brought on by the Stones' version of Get Off My Cloud and both Van Halen and The Kinks', You Really Got Me. Well, it was worth it and we vowed to make dance night a monthly get-together. The working title on this painting was The Hangin' Tree. A beautiful live oak, old as the prairie wind, punctuates this glorious cloudscape.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Green Glow 36x24

I made a new enemy this week, and a new friend. The friend's name is Mr. Vicodin. He really helped my attitude towards my new enemy, Dr. Root Canal. You know, the one who works at the local dentist's clinic. Well, Mr. Vicodin ran out on me and I suppose that's a good thing. I was getting too used to the foggy stupor of pseudo-happiness punctuated by excruciating, throbbing head pain. After a week of writhing in pain and repenting of sins unknown to even the most acutely agitated consciences, I can almost declare myself healed and the demons of my past fully exorcised. On the fumes of euphoric psychedelia I was able build a few new cloudscapes this week. Seems these were all that really came to mind as providing enough inspiration between bouts of pill popping and waiting for the arrival of my new friend. I've been enjoying these clouds lately and wondering if it wasn't about time I got good at painting them. I'll consider that and maybe make a real artist effort to stretch a bit. To that end I have added another couple of new colors to my palette...and retired a couple of others.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How The West Won 15x30

Can we chalk up the distinctives to such a simple analysis of our past? Well, you be the judge. Jamestown aside, the Pilgrims that landed on Plymouth Rock, inspired by their reading of a newly printed (and made available in common language for the first time since the third century) Bible, knelt on the sand and dedicated their lives and government and new land to God. Subsequently they loved their Native friends and one another as best they knew how and governed themselves with an integrity not really found anywhere else in history (The real Thanksgiving story). Abuses and atrocities abounded in the new world but, so did corrections of those wrongs, more often than not by the same Bible-reading founders of this nation- Something also not found anywhere else in history to such an extent. Contrast that with the Spaniards that had no Bible and the lands they conquered, (in the name of their religion) and in all but a very few instances the legacy they left was only that of greed, slavery and murder. Today, Latin America still reels under the cruel and heavy hand of oppression, greed, vengeance law. Rule of law is a big deal. It's where Blind Justice gets her blindfold. It comes from where King David said "...Blessed is the man who swears to his own hurt and does not change." As I write this my friend Dan is languishing in a concrete cell somewhere in the bowels of a Mexican prison. Accused of crime that had nothing to do with him he writes...
The way the law works here is very different than the way it works in the States. In Mexico, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence. The problem is that there is very little that you can do to prove your innocence when you are locked up in jail. All common sense is thrown to the wind.

The lawyers will often do you more harm than good on purpose, because as long as you are in jail, you are a source of income for them. It is a wicked thing for sure! On top of all this, the judge never has to see you in person. The judge has clerks who look at the files and make recommendations based on what they see.

Just so you have an idea, as of over a week ago, my file was over 1200 pages long. Now, just imagine reading 1200 pages of legal mumbo jumbo to find the one page that really has any information at all about you and your case. No witnesses to cross examine, no judge to look at you in the eyes and try and determine if you are like the 85%, or more, that are lying, no jury of peers to hear the evidence and decide. You are simply one more case of thousands with so much paper surrounding you that it's a miracle if you are ever even heard.

This comes from a man who has given the last 30 years of his life to help people in rural Mexico...inspired by the Words of our dear Savior who... "Came to seek and to save that which was lost" Many orphaned children and oppressed poor have found encouragement and a home at Dan and Ana's house, not to mention the gallons of blood, sweat and tears (and $) poured out on their behalf . Now, he's being held, indefinitely, in conditions that most of us have only read about. I've been to jails in Mexico and they are anything but cozy. More typically they are like a scene out of "Midnight Express". So, pray for Dan and his family...and for us please. In a round about way, we and our adoption(s) are being threatened by the same people who put Dan behind bars; all because the CPS workers (Mexican gov't. officials) and lawyers apparently tried to circumvent a certain judge. Why'd they do that? We don't know but the result has been pretty alarming and uncomfortable, to say the least. This would all take on a very different flavor if it was about a person that was really guilty of something, if nothing else than by association. But we all know Daniel and the very same police detectives that called to subpoena us to testify (with threats and menace and hot salsa) all but admitted the government's own fault and complicity in their inter-government corruption, calling us the victims but, "oh, by the way, can you pay for the call?" They called again last week wanting to know if we would sign an official letter absolving them from any wrongdoing or responsibility so when the new administration comes to power they won't get hanged! Sad but true stories from south of the border.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Esperanza 24x36

I was trying to school the young girl at the Block Buster counter on the merits of James Tiberius Kirk and why the character he displays was worthy of emulation...traits she should look for in a man. Well, it was all lost on her. She had never seen an episode of Star Trek and William Shatner was relegated to the level of Price Line Negotiator, in her mind. Unfortunate for her but you can bet my kids have been brought-up right. Ample helpings of the Cosby show and Bones and Spok helping our dear uncle Kirk defeat foes seen and unseen have been pretty much the only things they have ever experienced. I keep them locked-up in dark rooms being "homeschooled" - Dylan music is piped-in between re-runs of my favorite two shows and they are fed periodically...when the chores are done. Now that's education! I'm sorry but I almost jumped through the phone the other day when the fellow called asking for my support in begging more $ for the schools. I know 99.9% of everybody is on board with funding public education but really, when did money ever translate into brains? A little common sense, a sharp pocket knife and lots of chores are all most kids need (and don't have) and their education will take care of itself. I'm reading a book written by Shatner on the making of the Star Trek movies...had to go out and rent one. Seems like yesterday that they made those doesn't it? It was 1979!!! Wow, you're getting old. This all might seem a bit incongruous to the painting pictured above but it's part and parcel to what goes into the making of skyscapes. The desire to...go where no man has gone before, least visit those places vicariously through Kirk and maybe a Vulcan mind meld or two.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Medio Alborotado 24x30

It's high time I use this space to spin another yarn of high adventure and courageous calumny...but I wont. Not today anyway. My reputation has suffered enough with all the true and outrageous deeds done in dastardly fashion and without my retelling of the tantalizing, ear-tickling tales. But there are others (albeit few) who have stories to tell that rival mine and merit telling. In this painting it's the trees who have a tale to bear, witnesses to the daily display of spectacular celestial extravaganza and aurorean streams of otherworldly goodness. The cows would have been privy to this too but since they're not good at communicating (except in Far Side cartoons) we left them out. This is being offered on auction...see the link to available work at the top right of the page.