Sunday, March 28, 2010

Umpqua Muse 30x24


No one should be allowed to play the violin ...until he has mastered it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Glory Be 11x14 At The Moment 36x24



Two cloud scenes for your listening pleasure. Both paintings depict skies. Both have a low horizon. Both of them display some foliage etc. But, they are distinct in a variety of ways... that much is obvious. I want to see my old friend Leonardo. He lives five hundred miles and two worlds away. My daughter will visit him and his family this week. I will send a letter. I need to write him a good one but, what can I say? The last time we met his middle son and I sat on the porch of their little adobe house with a leaky tin roof, one eyed dog and ducks and chickens in the kitchen. Hugo described how he was going to be a different kind of cop, he wasn't going to let himself get corrupted. He had just graduated from the Sonora Police Academy and was waiting for his first assignment. Leona and Nena were hoping it wouldn't be far from their home. They glowed with pride but you could tell they were afraid for him...and they had reason to be. What kind of country regularly finds bags full of dismembered police officers on the courthouse steps? Do not for a minute think that America or the western world is much like the rest of the world. Yes, human nature is just that. There are plenty of similarities on a micro level. But take in a little overview of recent history and you will see a huge distinction between the evolutions of societies. Those that embraced rule of law...have enjoyed much peace and freedom for their peoples. Those that have been continually conquered and governed by despots and dictators that embrace socialism continue to reel under the weight of oppression to this day. The left leaning politicians, activists and, dare I say artists have no idea what they are playing at. These very same "leanings" are the root for much of the oppression most of the world's population is suffering under. No, we are not the same and the more we follow the lead of the world's "leaders" (United Nations etc.) the more we are going to lose the liberties that make America and countries like ours unique. American exceptionalism is real. There are real and concrete reasons why our police officers don't show up in bags. We cannot afford to continue to promulgate the ideas that cause envy between classes or to believe that the government exists to give us stuff. The gov't. cannot create...jobs or...health care. Someone who is productive has to pay for it...and the last I heard the gov't. is out of money. Where do they plan on getting more? To "make the rich pay their fair share" sounds good if you're poor and are looking for a hand out...or vengeance. But in a country like ours that kind of rhetoric does nothing but result in the punishment of productivity and foment hatred for success. Oppression is a real and present evil...it's horrors are unknown to most westerners. That's why I say that those who embrace the well sounding arguments of the left have no idea what they are playing at. Hugo is dead. Leona is crushed. And mild-mannered men are forced to rant like this...and use their pretty pictures to convey dark feelings and ferocious fears.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Up The Hill ...18x24 A River Of Mine 18x24


These are both scenes from last summer's escapades. We traveled north and west...up the coast. The river is the Umpqua in Oregon near our good friend's house. The dry grass view is just up the hill from San Francisco, towards Sacramento. Reminiscent of yesteryear, well, last year, these scenes evoke pleasant memories. Last week we stopped by a local taco stand for some spicy nourishment. Sitting outside on plastic chairs next to the taco mobile, waiting for our order of carne asada with tripita to arrive we were listening to the distorted strains of Mexican Banda music. My oldest son was overcome by a nostalgic zephyr that prompted him to say "This reminds me of the Homeland". I was quick to reply, "Yeah? Well this reminds me of Homeland Security". One place, two generations and two distinct impressions. Eddie is 17 today. He takes after me in all the ways that are really important to a father... all the heavily prejudiced opinions of a snaggle-toothed, jaded old man...a real chip off the ol' block. But, our tastes are very different. My other kid, Marissa, is on her way to Mexico this week. (I told you we were mexed up!) She will glibly travel to the epicenter of crime, corruption and big-hearted hospitality ...will be spending Semana Santa in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. This one shares both my opinions and my tastes...a double chip if you will. Thankfully, both of these have extra large hearts which should keep them in good stead should their opinions be crossed overmuch...which is bound to happen... living with Eli the terrible.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Dream Of Ducks

I instinctively started to quack. We were in the middle of our latest blow and in spite of the rain and windshield wipers flapping I could see the four mallards clearly as they set their wings in a final descent over the flooded wash. Do you dream about ducks? The beautiful teal pictured here was a fun little oil sketch...an ode to my favorite bird (pigeons notwithstanding). I think I will make a series of duck pictures before the next season. As a boy I traipsed around the wetlands that surrounded my Minnesota home in pursuit of birds and bad weather...and muskrats. I found them all...in abundance. My heroes were wildlife artists, Maass, Kuba, Browne and like them, I wanted to paint ducks in all their glorious splendor. Anymore, at this mid-point of life, I'm resigned to dwell in the dry desert and remember with frequent fondness my fowlicious forays of yesteryear and...dream of duck on occasion. I know that the empassioned love of waterfowl does appear to be a somewhat frivolous flight of fancy for a person of my age and responsibilities. Let me just say that once you get duck in your blood, you're hooked. It is a habit, a fowl habit...but I confess... I am addicted to quack!
Ashes to ashes, ducks to ducks.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cloud Medley





When I saw Elvis (In concert...not the taco stand in Alamos) he only sang medleys of his hits. I don't know if it was because he couldn't sing a complete song all the way through or that they were "arranged" that way. I had a sneaking suspicion that his band, which was completely hidden in the dark way to the back of the stage, just followed his semi-coherent musical meanderings while he mechanically flung brightly colored chiffon scarfs to the audience. He stood almost motionless next to a big rack of those scarfs and periodically would grab a hand full and sling 'em over his neck. They were light and fluffy and sailed ever so slowly into the first couple of rows of screaming fans. That image has stayed with me ever since alternately creeping me out (like the times I've spied him in Mexico in recent years) or inspiring me to similar antics every time I find myself alone on stage, front and center. Above is a medley of cloud pictures not too much different from Elvis' song medley referred to here...sans scarfs.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The X Factor



Though I have been working with the diligence of a Roman slave strapped to a millstone, I've been trying my darnedness not to have any adventures lately. It seems to be working. I guess winters were made for hunkering down and riding out the storm. Not to say that the crazy vicissitudes of life haven't thrown the curves they're known for. No, our little soap-operas continue here in the rainy desert but spring is in the air and adventures hide around every bend in the road, whether we want them or not. Just like the sheriff deputy that was sneakily staked out with his radar gun aimed at little ol' innocent me as I flew into the school zone doing 70mph the other day. At first I thought he might be stopping me for not using my horn (enough...or seat belt...or turn signal) as I blew the doors off several cars while passing them on the shoulder of the road about two blocks before the said "school" zone crosswalk. Well, the Defensive Driving School was an acceptable alternative...(to three years hard labor on the rock pile in Florence prison) so I happily attended my "sentence" last Tuesday eve with a room full of Arizona traffic law violators. What a lowly bunch of losers...I fit right in!
Learned...
Arizona is number 1 in red light runners...
Passing on the shoulder is not lawful in Az....
Seat belts do save lives...
They have some serious wicked videos of red light runners causing some serious wicked damage...
I am not going to wear a monkey mask (any more) to disguise my red light running and speeding from the photo enforced zones sprinkled throughout my home town. (This last one I was forced to write on the chalk board one hundred times)



Friday, March 5, 2010

These Three Remain




So, be extra patient with me this month. I have no idea why the paint is taking so long to dry. There must be some sort of conspiratorial agreement between the paint manufacturers, the weathermen and my many enemies. Never has the idiom "...It's like watching paint dry" carried such profound weight and horrible veracity in its ability to convey tedium and misery. I have paintings that have been here over a month waiting to ship. I guess the upside is that I have a pretty healthy gallery going...the down side is that I have would-be art patrons and friends that are getting to the end of their fuse and who knows what will happen when they blow? Therefore...if you read this and have purchased lately...or are contemplating a new little masterpiece for that perfect spot above the fireplace, remember...
Better late than never...
Good things come to them that wait...
A penny saved is a penny earned...
Time is on my side...
Time flies when you're having fun...
Time is of the essence...
A stitch in time saves nine...
Third times' a charm...
Time and tide wait for no man...