Monday, November 30, 2009

Falling Leaves (Autumn on the Umpqua) 11x14

I stopped on a bridge to take a picture of this scene. Actually, I stopped on both sides, dodged rural traffic and took a series of shots while the gray getaway car idled in the grey early light of a misty morning in Elkton, Oregon. Carmen became the look-out man. And we did get away with a bag full of stolen's the result. I am framing some of these smaller pieces and making them available at what I hope are affordable prices...all ready to hang and cover that fist-sized hole that happens to be at the perfect height for viewing and coincidentally, is the level of a teenager's head! (?) Check them out at our eBay site / store. We're hoping to come up with some more economy-sized pieces for the coming year for all our art-starved friends and the drab barren walls that hem them in. So, keep your eyes peeled (ouch!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Harmonium 24x18

With callous candor the clandestine cattle cavort carelessly through fields of clover. Do I like the letter C ? Well, not particularly but the cumulus clouds cast cautious shadows covertly while conspiring to conquer the cow's conscience. At least that's my theory. Anyway, enough of that! It's just that there's a blow outside that's bringing in a system
and we're all excited hoping for it to paint the mountain tops white. The trip to Oregon really got my attention and seems all I can think about these days (besides my normal contemplation of things divine) is duck weather and getting wet. This picture is being offered for auction. Feel free to bid it up to the value of a whole side of beef...for conscience' sake. (theirs not ours)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Geese In Grass 14x11

Slighted goose, dismissed gander
Left for naught, forgotten fowl
What ‘ere you wrought on this thy brow
Hath plagued thee now Hath brought thee slander
Little we considered thee
In downy coat so hard to pluck
Nary a thought it’d come to this
Thy rich dark breast Thy taste of duck
Now that which craven palette yearns
For on this day of memories murky
Is not the swamp and eel and frog
It is instead our festive turkey
We pulled off a thanksgiving feat of extraordinary proportions. Four families fully feted, rubbing their turkey-stuffed bellies chortling and cackling like a yard full of happy hens...all them strangers to each other just hours before! No, I didn't even ply them with rum soaked eggnog, though I did consider it. We spent a happy afternoon with new friends around the big ol' table and spilled out onto the porch as the afternoon wore on and pumpkin pies were devoured. What could have been an uncomfortable and awkward gathering of disproportionate personalities turned out to be a most memorable thanksgiving. All this punctuated by an earlier rendezvous where, once again, I proved my sandlot prowess by being on the winning side of an impromptu football game...(I'm feeling it today) A nice prayer of thanksgiving was offered and I think we all sensed a genuine gratitude to our Father in heaven for His constant care for us, His careless kids.
The poem was inspired by the painting of the geese above (Rickreall, Oregon) and our conversation around the table yesterday. I had proposed to Carmen that we add quail and fried rabbit to the pleasant bounty. With a foreign gesture and a sigh she dismissed my salubrious suggestion for wild game . I later proffered the idea to my guests. It met with the same result. I tried to convince them of the succulent and savory attributes of wild no avail. I for one would welcome the return of Christmas goose, tasty turkey notwithstanding.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cloudmeister 18x24

The other night my alter ego met Emiliano. He's a pitcher for the Seattle Mariners from Columbia. His Tex-Mex girlfriend is a friend of Carmen's. The girls meet periodically to celebrate each other's birthdays. They are all Hispanic so you can imagine the riotous good times they have breaking pinatas and eating tons of hot sauce. The men were invited to this last party and since it was Lupita's fiesta and Juan Pablo was going to be there (my ex-neighbor and favorite auto mechanic) I put on my vest and boots and went out as "Paco". It was a great "pachanga" and we passed a food and fun-filled evening remembering good times and taking lots of pictures to commemorate this one. I calculate that 33-55 percent of my average, daily, verbal output is Spanish. That might come as a surprise to some folks but it has been that way for a long time...about half my life. It is as if we have lived a double life. Sure, there is a lot of Chicano mixing up of cultural stuff here in the Southwest. But that aside, we have two distinct circles of friends -- those who speak Spanish and those who speak only English. And since both groups are basically monolingual they really don't mix much. With both of these communities we have a long history...old friendships, adventures and shared heartbreaks and joys. We have pulled this off to such an extent that there are people who have known me for many years that don't even know my real name! I'm actually kind of surprised that Homeland Security hasn't tried to recruit me for some clandestine activity that involves slipping under chain-link fences and inconspicuously posing as El Guapo the trumpet player in a Mariachi band somewhere in Sinaloa. There are secret recipes I know of, and have privileged access to, that not even the most savvy, baja-traveling, Mexican-bullfight-attending, Puerto-Vallarta/Cancun-beach-going gringo has ever laid eyes on. Unlike my mexed-up life, the painting pictured here can be appreciated equally by people of both cultures.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water & Sky

You value what you do...and do what you value. This handy little maxim is one of the many yokes I've had hung on me. I, in turn, like to put it on unsuspecting passersby whenever I get a chance. The oblivious bovine bask in their ignorance above...or is it that they truly value grass eating over staying dry? Many a man is right in his own eyes declaring himself to value certain virtues and beliefs. But does he do them? That is the question. Do you value money?...then save it. Do you value your religious beliefs? ...Then pursue them with your whole heart. Family?... Spend time with them. How about food?...then hoard and eat as much as possible. Wait, scratch the last one. Anyway, you get the picture.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Muscle Car?

I really didn't expect them to put the super-charged V8 HEMI in the rental car but I was still disappointed. It was used to crash the bachelor party on Friday night in Salem and as gutless as the "economic" six cylinder was the important effect was the cool and sinister profile we struck while cruising around in the charger. Greg and I kidnapped his son (the groom to be) and held him for ransom. I never knew if anyone paid it but we had a good laugh and goofed on them young guys pretty good. I stood up during the dinner and began a solemn discourse about the wiles of women and how difficult and important it was to get them figured out before it was too late. I went on to say that my vast experience, gleaned over many years of marital bliss had been deftly expressed and condensed into a nice little book that I was gifting to the groom. It was titled Everything I know About Women and had all kinds of glowing recommendations printed on both covers. The eager up-turned faces of the twelve or so young single men nodded in reverent anticipation as I expounded the book's attributes...all of them agreeing that they needed and wanted to read it too. As you might have guessed, as soon as I handed it to them they realized...the pages were blank. Yes, the book contained all of man's cumulative knowledge of womenfolk and Greg and I were joyfully accepted into the fraternal order of mindless young bucks who know next to nothing about the most important things. The next day the charcoal grey dodge was designated the "limo" and Carmen and I got to drive the happy newlyweds honkingly through the streets of Salem late into the misty northwest night.

'Tis The Season

If this video (link below) doesn't capture the Chistmas spirit I don't know what does...well, actually, this is the matter/anti-matter version of Christmas cheer-something I will play from time to time over the next few weeks to keep us merry and thankful for all the creepy things that aren't in our lives.

Happy Birds In Oregon

Here we are in Newport. Can you tell we've just had our fill of a seafood medley? Sorry Oregon but as multitudinous and melodious as your scrumptious culinary offerings are, they don't hold a candle to Sonoran coast fare. The incorrigible, non-PC side of me had a serious hankerin' for a good sea-turtle stew. All the while, our eyes and ears told us that we were being feted with the West Coast's best from the should have been enough. Craven hearts (and taste buds) are never are satisfied but, short of selling my kids to swing the deal, my eyes had me convinced that the splendiferous beauty of western Oregon should be the site of our next homestead. I hope to post some pics in the next few weeks that depict it's land as I see it. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big Mountain River 36x24

The supply of left-over Halloween candy is getting low. You know what that means. Correct, our favorite holiday is just around the corner and it's time to start putting on the weight in earnest. If we're to make it through the winter we'll need as much extra insulation as possible. With that in mind we have began preparations painting large. I use large brushes and a very large palette. It is placed directly in front of the easel-makes for efficient stand-up painting. I rarely sit to paint. Sometimes I get pretty wore out and just to rest weary legs I'll sit and paint but I find I dabble way too much when seated. Dabbling at paint is not good...kind of like running out of Halloween candy. The trick is to stay decisive, think hard about each stroke and its placement. This is best done (for me) while standing...especially at a large painting. The simple landscapes I make lend themselves to large presentations. I hope to make some more wildlife / figure paintings soon. They will be smaller and more intimate pieces. This great Alaska mountain near Homer is available in the studio. See link at top right of page for link to available work.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Montana Moonrise 24x48

The Y2K thing for me was a real yawner. As much as I would have loved to have glomed on to the hype and horded all kinds of stuff I never really gave it much thought. Plus, I really wasn't too keen on the idea of having to kill off my neighbors to save a few months rations of oats and lentils. But now I'm ready. The extreme multiplication of rabbits in our neighborhood has me thinking that we'll be set come hell or high water. I don't know how long we can live on Hasenpfeffer but I definitely have warmed to the idea. The friend that built a silencer for his Kalashnikov has moved away so I'll not be tempted to borrow that to fend off scavenging stragglers wandering through after the next Y2K. No, there should be enough to go around and if/when they run out there are always plenty of pigeons ...and we all know how good I am at catching pigeons. This great Montana landscape comes courtesy of photography by Mike Mahoney-artist and writer. It is available for sale in the studio.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sheep Cow Bear

The sheep and cow are from Oregon, the bear hails from Alaska. A friend's son is getting married this week in Oregon. Carmen and I plan to attend...and had planned on sight-seeing, fishing and hiking and photographing every beautiful sun-drenched vista we could find. We were warned that it would probably be rainy and bring slickers and galoshes. To which warning we scoffed and guffawed and cackled and giggled amongst ourselves. You see, to us rain is only a rare and valuable event-something to be savored, measured, photographed, written about and passed down as legend from one generation to another. Imagine greed-crazed starving Texans dancing in the spray of "black gold" around an oil gusher after they struck it rich. Well, that's us when it rains in our little world. To think of days on end with no sun or moon in sight...they forecasted this for us months ago!...makes one shiver with fear for the end must be near. So, I have looked at the weather channel predictions for the coming week...Oregon, you're in for more of the same. The good news is that all this precipitation portents well for the upcoming ski season...and might just make for some unique inspiration this week. If we make it back alive. These paintings are all available in the studio here...can be seen on-line at our eBay store.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Glowering 30x24

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson.

I ran into this quote the other day. It amazes me how your perspective changes with age. Add a few kids to your life, several years (decades) of marriage, a failed business or two (or three or four or five) the attempted conversion of a couple of countries full of infidels and you have the makings for a closet capitalist. The lofty ideals of youth love to point at the "rich" and curse. Little did we know that a house full of hungry mouths would lead us down the path of hard work and (not pointing). And not to the government but rather to others...out of the little bit of goodness that hides deep inside every craven heart. To volunteer and give, ...yes, just like your parents did. That's the soothing salve that can cure a lot of wounds. The Lord Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive. He is actually quoted by Paul the apostle as saying this...It's not found in the gospels. Interesting, huh? A lot of our well sounding arguments about making the wealthy pay their fair share have turned out to be nothing but mean-spirited vengeance...the same thing most third-world countries' constitutions are based on. And what does it get us? A mouthful of bitterness and cursing and an entitlement mentality that leaves little room for giving. It is so easy to aim stones at the giant on the hill and claim how "unfair" it is for him to have more than me. Well, we are learning...the true high road is to give rather than to receive. And the real and startling and counterculture inconvenient truth of the day is that Americans give a higher percentage of their wealth to help others than anyone else in the world. (Check out this article) This ain't no bragging. It's just that we realize more and more that Uncle Sam doesn't exist to take care of me...or anybody. That's not its purpose. But that's not what we're often lead to believe. Redistribution of wealth-taking by force from the productive(capitalists?) and giving it to the unaccountable (government) is called...socialism-responsible for millions of uncomfortable deaths in the last 60 years or so. Well, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about isms...rather an encouragement for us to look to give rather than to get. I'll end this with another famous quote..."He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliot, martyred missionary

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tail of The Monsoon 24x36

Sometimes I mix too much color. The sky here is a good example. This was left over from another painting, added to and ultimately helped inspire the late-sky feel that this painting went for. Turns out my vision (and photos) jibed with the previous color just fine but that ain't always the case. It's a sad day when the palette is piled high with unusable colors. One of the disadvantages of painting large is that generous amounts of pricey cobalts and cadmiums get squeezed out at regular intervals. I've been tempted to find some use for them before they skin over but have left off the practise in recent years. No, they don't make for good frosting...or eye shadow. This semi-magnificent cloud getting winked at by a flirtatious moon is available here at auction.