Monday, May 31, 2010

A Satisfied Mind 30X24

Memorial Day 2010, when contemplation is good. You might have assumed that I'm given to bouts of melancholy, strange fits of passion and frequent flights of fancy. And right you might be if not for one small caveat. I have the attention span of a multi-level marketing scheme. No, these ills are more closely associated with those who dedicate themselves to pondering overmuch about things they can't do anything about. And except maybe for the flights of fancy part, I have no real connection with the above. My internal queries are more along the line of deep questions with multiple choice answers. Sitting at my bowl of porridge this morning Eddie and I wondered aloud as we grappled with the oft-thought of but rarely voiced conundrum-"Which is worse, getting your undies in a bundle, your nickers in a knot or a bee in your bonnet?"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cow & Yearling 18x24 LaJoya 24x18

All Quiet On The Western Front. Have you read it? It's not often I revisit a book. The copy we have is old and tattered. Pages fall out in clumps, ten or twenty pages at a time. When I finished I think there were no less than ten pieces of yellowed paperback tenuously stuck together by the dried-out binding and haphazardly strewn throughout the house in various reading nooks and reclining areas. Credited as the best (?) book on war ever written it's an autobiographical styled narrative filled with gripping imagery and poignant despair. (To put it mildly) The setting is WWI trench warfare in France. I don't remember when I first saw this book. I think I read it sometime before all the kids showed up. Anyway, the re-read left an impression. If you're in need of a little sobering up than I would recommend it. If you find yourself in the middle of present-day trench warfare, then I would say this might help you through another day. Of course, as far as recommended reading goes, it's not at the level of the Psalms of David or the Proverbs of Solomon. But for the purpose of healthy contemplation, (how do you get that from poignant despair?) it's a good start.

Friday, May 21, 2010

RIP Davey The Dog 1999-2010

I'm not sure how he wormed his way into my heart. He was supposed to be the kid's dog. My years of fighting off wild dingos, desert foxes and Los Lobos in the dangerous and deadly outback of Latinamerica should have been enough to anneal my rocky hard heart against growing fond of anything canine. Alas, Davey did what all others of his kind were unable to do since my favorite childhood companion Flop, the black and white spaniel mix, died at 14 in 1980. Oh, except there was Max the great tri-colored sheltie (made Lassie look like a rebellious mongrel) and Bluey the tiger-striped Mexican dog bred for sleeping and eating tortillas and, of course there was Amy, another Mexican hybrid who was golden yellow but could not come to America (no green card) with us and a couple of others that only had half my heart in their paws. Anyway, I would like to believe that a dog is not good for much 'cept breedin' fleas and cleaning up table scraps (and fetching ducks and pheasants and shoes and balls). And believe me, I have seen some pretty mangy curs in my travels and have had enough experience with these fanged friends to know better. After all, they are only dogs and there is nothing in the world more tedious than to have to listen to people carry on about their stupid pets and all the human-like characteristics they ascribe to them. The thing is. Davey would literally cry with joy when I would return home from a long absence, his big brown eyes pooling up and melting everything in sight. That's it. That's how he wormed his way in. No more crying dogs for me. And please don't tell me about yours and how he is smarter than your kids and neighbors.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forever 24x24 Sandman 30x24

Both of these are new paintings. I built these over time with some fairly extensive glazing. There is a bit more planning involved in the process I use for these "Master Series" paintings, as I call them. I'm not trying to blow my own horn, (I'll reserve that for my more redneck pursuits.) it's just that the time involved in letting the paint dry is more reminiscent of the old Masters' style than the direct-painting approach employed by on-location (plein air) or direct painting techniques. This is how I go about making commissioned work and all the pieces that go to the galleries. These differ from my other "alla prima" paintings in a couple of ways. I usually start off with a ground of gessoe which is colored with a warm, thinned wash of something like burnt sienna or a more neutral burnt sienna/Prussian blue mix. I do this with most everything anyway but I make sure it is on the substrate for these layered paintings especially. Once I get an under painting established I build heavier and brighter layers of paint, making sure to let it dry between coats, till complete. This really does give a luminosity and depth to the image and as much as I like the spontaneity and expressiveness of alla prima work these little bad boys really glow. They are both available for a thrifty sale price in our eBay store. See link at top right of page for more viewing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Belief Suspened 18x36

There are things people ought to do, at least every once in a while, to keep themselves anchored in reality. Eating a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s is one of them. It’s the perfect way to stay connected to humanity and you might even gain a little insight into why some folks resort to NASCAR for entertainment. Just don’t order any sides ‘cause that $2.99 special will soon turn into an Olive Garden sized ticket if you do, thus mitigating the true benefit of the au natural Denny’s experience.
I’ve been mulling over an idea lately. A kind of anti-goal to-do list whose objective would be simply this - to keep a person honest. Of course by honest I mean down-to-earth, humble etc. Mind you, this isn’t a list of noble goals and accomplishments meant to garner praise and adulation upon successful completion. No, these would be almost the reverse of that. Ignoble and mean they would serve the purpose of taking from you any real bragging right and casting you in an oblique light that would be anything but flattering. Maybe you can come up with some of your own but here’s a few quick ideas to help you on the path to ignominy and …reality.
1) Walk around with oil paint smeared all over your face.
2) Put a bumper sticker on you car declaring your child’s bad grades.
3) Fire a shotgun in your backyard on occasion.
4) Get kicked out of the local grocery store’s dumpster.
5) Shoot your TV set (in the living room)and post the result on You Tube.
6) Kill your own food once in a while.
7) Mess with a nest of Africanized bees till your face is an unrecognizable swollen mass.
8) Sit through an entire black & white movie (in Spanish if you can handle it…no subtitles)
Does it sound like I’m speaking from experience? Well, I won’t cop to any of these but I will say that should any of them be true of you, the healing, therapeutic benefits would be undeniable and you will be the better for it…or not.(It kind of depends how far you take this)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Marsh 18x36

I'm letting this one go on auction without a reserve. Is it better than an investment in silver? Well, you must decide for yourself. I know it's a hard choice but sometimes you're on your own with these kind of difficult decisions. At some point we must all walk that lonesome, deep dark valley road alone and make up our own minds. No one else can do it for you.
A friend just forwarded a promotional you-tube add touting the benefits of silver- as in you need to buy piles of it. He must think I've got piles of priceless paintings laying scattered all over the studio here just waiting to exchange themselves for piles of bullion. Hey, wait a minute. I do have piles of paintings here. I think I'll do to them what my erstwhile uncle with the strange and impish sense of humor would do. Just change the word woman with paintings in the following lyric and you can imagine me on my merry way to the nearest silver dollar dealer. " ...feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet, put her in a wheelbarrow and wheelin' her down the street." Bob Dylan Things Have Changed
Too bad the wheelbarrow is already full of hungry kids and the grocery store is on the way to the Easy Money Market.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Solitary Man 30x30

Why Some People Are So Aware of Their Surroundings That They Can Hardly Stand It. This was the title of a "news" program to be aired on NPR last week. I, for one, am so aware of the media creating and managing "news" that I can hardly stand it. Maybe a more appropriate title for a program should be, Why Our Tax Dollars Are Spent To Fund Nonsense. It seems that there is nothing better to do than for our media to report and create and twist news for the sole purpose of fomenting fear. If it's not the bird flu (two years ago) it's the swine flu (closed thousand of schools and borders), if that weren't enough you've got half the nation stirred up over Arizona's new immigration law. What they never tell you is that half (or more) of our border patrol, sheriff deputies and police officers in the state are Latino. It seems every issue is framed in terms designed to create the maximum amount of fear and hatred. I suggest that the above painting be framed with hope and love...and a nice hand-milled antique black frame made right here in my little mexed-up studio in the Arizona desert.

Friday, May 7, 2010


There is a fine line between being a do-it-yourselfer and being a loser, between independence and rebellion. I suppose I have danced that blurry slim strip most of my life. It's like an old chalk line on a sandy field after a few games have been played. You're not always sure if your last hit was a superbly placed line-drive to the corner resulting in an in-the-park home run or a foul ball. Of course the independent side always has an excuse when there comes the need to fudge things a bit but it gets complicated when one needs to instruct one's own offspring. My kids are all old enough now to analyze my fish stories from a variety of angles driving habits. Lucky for them they have a mother who is as true and faithful as the day is long. Not too unlike the painting pictured here. Happy mother's day to all the moms and especially to all the great men who made them mothers in the first place!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"Full Luster" 24x36, "Breezy" 18x24, "A Wry Turn" 24x30

Estos tres bellos paisajes fueron pintandos por el gran "Pintor de Nuves" de Ebay. Obviamente. Se ofrecen por venta de subasta. El del medio, "Breezy," se acaba en menos de dos dias. No se pierda esta oportunidad. O, si prefiera "A Wry Turn" o "Full Luster" le asegura la hija del artista, quien los a visto con sus propios ojos, que estan igual de hermosas como las fotos.
Ademas, les asegura la hija del artista, que se empacaran con todo el cuidado de una madre empacando a sus hijos. Quien sabe porque una madre empacaria a sus hijos, pero asi se hara.
Guest blogger Marissa Hawkins
We now return to your regular programming.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"This Isn't Rocket Surgery" 36x24, "Three is a Magic Number" 24x18

Why all the outrage? After all, if I lived in the neighborhood with the Family Food Store on the corner I'd be delighted at the handy convenience. Wouldn't you? Well, the subtitle on the signage says it all. "Snacks, cigarettes, beer, liquor". I mean, what more could our quaint little community ask for? Yes, it is a flippin' drive-through liquor store disguised as "The Family Food store"! It's on the corner of La Cholla and Ruthrauff roads, a peaceful residential area with grade schools, churches and lots of lotto ticket stubs scattered around in and amongst the prickly pear and desert scrub. Now Arizona has even more to get riled up about.
PS. The imagery described was not used as inspiration for the above paintings