Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Three Blind Mice

These three paintings inspired and reminiscent of this past summer's journey through California and Oregon.
The painting of the Jay bird below (Phainopepla) is posted as an homage to the ridiculous movie I let myself be drug to this past week.  I'm thinking of making a spoof that will rival the Robertson's "Dynasty" show. We'll call it "Mockingduck Part I"  Marissa painted it last summer.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Elkhorn 24x8, Adequate 12x8, Backyard 12x8

Three little friends to brighten up your day.  The top painting titled Elkhorn is from a beautiful area along the Umpqua river near Elkton, Oregon. The other two were derived from inspirationious photos taken this summer in California and Arizona.  (One of these was from my fone camera!...( I say that in a whisper so the new hot-fallutin' Canon  doesn't get wind of it)  'Been working on a few commissions lately so there might be a small quantum-lapse in blogposts this month and next. Rest assured that there has been some rattlesnake wrangling and duck calling going on around here...just finding it difficult to kick-start the old iMac to put it all in writing.  These are available for sale on the bay.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Playfull Clouds...

It had been a long time. How long you ask? Well, I'll tell you. On a scale of one to ten it had been a very long time.  The truck, rumbling towards us, entering the intersection with no headlights became visible just in the nick of time.  I was making a left turn. When the last oncoming vehicle with headlamps burning cleared the way I floored it and started to crank the wheel. Here's where the futile, obsolete reflex kicked in as I jammed on the brakes. My ring-finger glinted in the flash-second it took the unconscious limb to reach for and grab for the ubiquitous headlight switch.You know, that common knob on the dash to the left of the steering wheel that you pull and push to activate your running lights and headlights? You know, the way you do to flash your lights on and off at another driver to let them know they're riding around in the dark without their lights on? Yeah, well it's probably been over thirty years since I last drove a car with a push-pull headlight switch. I might as well have kicked a hole through the floorboards trying to find the button to dim the high-beams for all the good it did me.(I have done that too) Now how does that even happen?  Why is that an automatic reflex after all this time?  And after how many hundreds of thousands of miles and how many thousands of on-off switchings in newer autos is this even possible? The day I answer that question is the day I paint my masterpiece. Till then, I will keep working at it.  These attempts are available for sale here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Clouds on my horizon...

I'm happy to be sharing these pics with you as the monsoon season is spectacularly showing her good side around these parts...making for good inspiration and entertaining sky-gazing. Summer is coming to a close even here in the desert. The tails and trails of moisture-laden clouds spinning off both pacific hurricanes and northwest Alaska-spawned storms have been making their way into the old southwest and thus, onto my canvases. (via my new hot rod camera!) I'm gearing up for another video How-To series that will feature the ABC's of cloud making and maybe a mountain scene or two. Also, stay tuned for more info. on the painting I will be giving away around the holiday season.  Everyone who makes nice comments and shares my blog posts and video links will be made eligible.  (Let me know what subject matter would be good for the painting give-away)
PS. The coyote was captured by said "hot shot" camera about 100 yards from the house right as we were looking for Trigger the happy puppy with 4 inch legs.  They didn't catch her!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Chicago Skyline and Little Birds

End of August's joyful jaunt to Minnesota found Carmen and I  recharging our chlorophyll powered batteries and filling our yearly quota of lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, streams and puddles viewed. I think the desert was jealous. The tales of  "water, water everywhere" (and cold tap water) were a metaphorical  babbling brook of non-stop spring-flow that bubbled and poured with gushing praise every time I parted my erstwhile sun-dried and cracked lips in a mouth-watering description of the land of 10,000 reasons to thank God... for agua. It seems that my effusive bragging on the wonderful water-founts of the north country  was just too much for the dessicated dust dwellers to stomach. They ordered a full load of H2o just to shut me up.   Almost four inches of rain gully-washed down on us here in Catalina this past Tuesday. (That is a million-year record) The usually dry creek bed that borders our little burnt piece of real estate flowed with a wild rage that effectively cut us off from civilization for ...a few hours anyway, and gave us the riverfront property I've always wished for.  It was / has been beautiful and the vengeful actions of those who ordered the rain just to spite me turned into a lush and verdant blessing of thirst quenching solace for the raisin people of the southwest. I tend to see the glass as half full as you can tell.  The birds pictured here (if you got the e-mail notification you might have to open the blogspot link to view images) were painted by Marissa. They are small ACEO paintings but they are clever and colorful and should be collectable. The Chi-town skyline was an new inspiration...gonna be messing with some cityscapes in the future so be prepared...and feel free to make requests or send photos of your favorite town. I don't have a lot of pics of cities.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three new little paintings inspired by a multitude of car breakdowns in California.  Well, actually it wasn't so much a multitude of breakdowns as it was a variety of mechanics that were needed to fix a series of problems that set the stage for our summertime fun along the wild west bank of America.  Great views (and pics) of the coast and a good time with the kids and old friends were highlights.  Lots of disturbing evidence of gangland anarchy in the golden state was the tarnished and  nasty reminder that we were a long way from "the old pueblo" (Tucson... where men sport bolo ties and six shooters... just for fun) Available on-line for your listening pleasure here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ere The wind Blows Heavy 12x12, The Tree Within 20x16

I feel like the old Amish who purposefully created a defect in an otherwise perfect piece of hand made furniture. The thought is that nothing is perfect but God Himself.  So, after over 3500 transactions on eBay  the past 11 years there is a flaw in my feedback.  Not that I was aiming at perfection, it's just that I have grown accustomed to great art patrons that really make up for some of the greatest customers a business could ever hope for. Alas, I am  learning to embrace the negative along with the good ; Keeps one humble and ...makes for a reason to break my summer slump of almost no blog activity. The "new" paintings I offer for auction on ebay are definitely new...and fresh. Turns out someone didn't like the fact that the paint smelled fresh. Well, I was duly reprimanded, my proffers for peace, rebuffed and my erstwhile perceived-to-be-good name dragged through the mud, besmirched and defamed all at the same time with the anonymous pen wielded by the faceless stranger.  Easy to do I guess in this techno-age.  Anyway, here are some very new and freshly painted little wall treats. They are available on auction here

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three Moons to the Wind

Which one of these is not like the other? My question for the weekend. Moons are happening here as well large paintings. The big ones are made on black gessoed canvas.  The dark surface is real fun to approach and a bit less intimidating than the stark white of normal gesso.  Look for sales on framed 8x10's  coming up. Enjoy these for sale here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fire Starter 28x24, "Here Kitty" 7x5

I had a picture of my new guitar to post here but I thought it was too vain. Cool but vain.  So, the cat made the cut instead. Marissa and I worked on this together.  Basically I just threw away the little fine-toothed combs she was fiddling (painting) with, slathered some oil paint on the palette, loaded up a big old one-inch brush and finished it off.  The painting above is title "Fire Starter"...on sale this week here. The kitten might be made available on etsy coming up.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fresh from the sea! Two of these pictures were caught off the leeward side of the Catalina mountains.  The bottom picture is a group shot of a tasty pile of corbina that were caught off the northernmost reaches of the sea of Cortez.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Big Red Lightening Sunset 30x24, Guitars, Jinete y Caballo

After a week of high seas adventure neck-deep in the Sea of Cortez, this is what we came home to.  The boys and the band had just finished a little jam sesh on the front porch. See picture above. Missing were the "fat tele" telecaster guitar and the new blond MIJ 1980's Fender telecaster...also a couple of banjos and my favorite Washburn guitar.  I guess they weren't using those. Marissa got to ride a horse in her first home town of La Aduana, Sonora Mexico as well. That kind of rounded out a nice little Easter week in the old country.  We smuggled my in-laws back with us and almost crossed the border with no problema. Turns out that grandpa likes his oregano. It grows wild in southern Sonora and, well, since he enjoys making his famous seafood surprise when the family gets together it just makes sense to take along some special ingredients. No?  The wait was relatively short.  Sometimes the line at the border can be hours long.  We pulled up to the Mexico/American line of demarcation after getting the green light to give us our turn and the border agent promptly asks if we're all citizens.  With a "no" I hand her our passports and visa papers (for the smuggled in-laws) and notice the Rambo style survival knife strapped to her leg along with various gadgets meant for stopping, killing, maiming and ...cutting open boxes. She asked if I would open the back hatch on the mini van. I complied by pressing a button to release the lock. She moved around to the back of the vehicle. I watched her in the mirror. She opened the hatch. I saw, in slow motion,  a very large plastic jar filled with oregano come tumbling out onto the pavement in the cool shade of the late April international-smuggling-capital-of-the-world border crossing. The agent and her armored friends shared a quick smile, opened the lid, took a whiff and...returned the herbs to their place over the luggage. They wished us a good day and we drove on. Nothing like the time they caught me with a bunch of bullets, or the time they found the rifle I was smuggling into Mexico. Those stories are for another time.  Meanwhile, enjoy my new painting..."Big Red Lightening Sunset. It's available on auction this week on the 'bay.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ok, well, I'm over the fighting cocks. On to my next hobby.  A birthday bash at the house was the forum and format for this little video...wish you could've been here.  Of our own kids Marissa and Eli played along with me; an assortment of friends joined in the merry musical melee as well. The next fiesta is scheduled for May. Marissa graduates from college with a GPA that would make any parent proud. Too bad I'm not in to pride and all that 'cause I sure would have a reason to brag on this kid. But I refuse to indulge myself on this point. In fact I won't even mention nothin' about 4.0's or anything like that.
Marissa is on a Yamaha keyboard, Eli plays the "fat tele" telecaster and I'm playing the "cherry picker" (Epiphone es-335) in the video below. The paintings pictured were made during birthday week at our house. Eddie, Eli and I all have birthdays at the end of March.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I wouldn't say I missed my calling in life but... if there was a fork in the road and one side was closed with a skull and cross bones on the sign and the other said "enter here to live the life of someone who raises gamecocks for a living" I just might have to take the path less trodden.  I've photographed, painted and owned not a few little red roosters in my time and I must admit I love to see them get their hackles up. I've never been to a real cock fight. I'm just saying that "IF" I had to raise them roosters for a living, under duress and coercion, I would.  This past weekend I was in Mexicali, Mexico, home, epicenter and gateway to Northwest Mexico's best  Wild Wrestlin' Roosters. There was a little soiree planned (birthday party) and it turned out we stayed in the house of my favorite horse surgeon, Paco. His wife Edilia is good friends with Carmen. In fact, we go way back to when Paco and Edilia would chaperon us (Paco and Carmen) on our Sunday evening walks around the old Sonoran capital of Alamos.  They were young teenagers in love and needed looking after. We were twenty-somethings and, well, Carmen was in love with me then too. Anyway, Paco is now a world famous veterinary and equine surgeon. There were a few cages full of  game-chickens at his house.  He's sort of watching them for a client and hatching out little chicks of various breeds known for their prowess in the ring.  I fought roosters as a fun pastime while teaching in a small town in rural Mexico.  I would do it with the kids in town.  Of course we never really made any monetary wagers and no birds were really ever hurt. That's the way I like it.  I want my fried chicken alive and I want to eat it too.  I'm not interested in watching the gallos eviscerate each other down at the palenque but I am fixin' on painting a few of these beautiful birds soon. The guitar I'm playing in the picture above was as beautiful as the bird in Dr. Paco's hand. I forget the brand but it is hand made in Spain.  The rooster is an American Gamecock.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Vermilion Flycatcher 12x12, Lesser Goldfinch 5x7

Now that spring is in the air we've got birds on our brains. Marissa painted these two little fellows.  They have been happy companions here in the studio.  The flycatcher has already found a home.  They are fun to watch as they hover and tread water waiting for a little gnat or mosquito.  They must be territorial because I often see one in the same place deftly and  acrobatically snatching bugs out of the air during the mid-morning jog. The finch, well, we have several kinds of those around here. They are welcome visitors of course but their song is not too remarkable. Enjoyable nonetheless.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Where Buffalo Roamed 12x24, The Bounty

Dear Abby,
My youngest son Eli just got his driver's license.  He will be 19 in a couple of weeks. So, yes, he waited a lot longer than his siblings and father did to get theirs.  He has had to renew the driver's permit several times over the past three years.  Several times we have been close to haulin' him up to the old DMV and just making him take the test.  He hasn't been all that motivated (obviously) and each time we get close there is a scramble to get in a few evenings of practice especially parallel parking. Finally he succumbed to the pressure both internal and external, as you can imagine, and went ahead and did it.  It was no problem. Two nights ago a friend of ours was over at the house.  Maria is Chicana having grown up mostly in America with two cultures.  Well, obviously she missed out on the slice of Americana that says you teach your kids to parallel park before the drivers' test.  Her 16 year old daughter just got her license  too so I asked  how it went and especially about the parallel parking. "Pues" she said, "I jus put da car into da curb and she(the DMV tester) say its ok just don tell no one and I will pass you the test"  I am not even trying to kid you! My son had just taken the test the day before at the same place and was warned that if he even touched a cone or the curb it was automatic failure.  Maria just laughed when I asked her if she had even tried to teach her daughter how to parallel park and she didn't even know what that was. Now, I'm not here to fault the Chicano community for not teaching their kids tried and true passages of life in America but I'm about 2 inches away from reporting that test giver lady down at the DMV.  What do you think I should do.
Signed: Angry Bird Father

PS These paintings are available for purchase here.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Coquille, Spring Cometh

Always be prepared. That is the motto of khaki-clad youth everywhere. So, as I disembark, the first real post-flight  necessity is to acquire a pocket knife to go with my desert tan britches.  I travel light with no checked luggage. I find in recent years that for some reason I am no longer permitted to carry on-board all my normal preparedness accoutrements. This makes for disturbing agitation and awkward groping as I am constantly reaching for the imaginary side-arms I'm so accustomed to carry.   I feel quite naked without my little knife waiting at the ready, snugly clipped into the right front pocket.  That has been how I roll since childhood. Apparently some people would want to hinder my ability to rescue victims and save humanity but just give me a smart phone and I'll find that nearest Walmart sporting goods counter as soon as we land and once again the world can breathe easy. On the way from Eugene, Oregon to the coast (post Walmart stop) the road winds and wends it's way through verdant vales and parallels and crosses turgid rolling rivers.  The coastal sky-bluster, grey and wet, is filled with geese and ducks. Small herds of Roosevelt elk nibble and chew and watch the passing cars on the lonely curves between moss-grown fir and ash and alder trees. Carmen rejected the Dairy Queen dip cone proffered by her loving husband.  It was a small indulgence which I deemed as highly deserved after the humiliation of the emasculation endured for three long hours previous. Anyway, as we came upon a curve in a deep and steep wood, a man appeared in the middle of the road waving for me to stop. I looked to my left as I pulled over on the dangerous stretch, noticed a tall  pine tree leaning over in the valley below from whence emanated tendrils of smoke and billows of steam. Larry and Carol's late model silver suv clung precariously to the muddy embankment, pierced through with various sized sticks and tree trunks.  The whole engine was exposed having had all the outer body stripped of metal as it appeared the vehicle speared itself into the thick woods at full speed.  We had to cut Larry free with MY ALWAYS-AT-THE-READY new (thank you Walmart) pocket knife.  Carol had to be extracted later by paramedics. I was able to rescue Beka the little dog from her kennel in the back.  Thank God for air bags 'cause that car looked pretty rough.  I was covered in mud and blood but Larry and Carol and Beka will be fine.  Soon after the above described events we were all cleaned up and interestedly perusing the Historical Museum in Florence, Oregon. I got a lot of great shots of the Oregon landscape. The painting pictured above ("Coquille") was made from them.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paco y Carmen en mexico, Golden Rill 16x10

I've never done a self portrait. This is as close as I've got. We were in ol' Mexico a couple of weeks ago. I flew in an ultra light at 5000 ft. over my old stompin' grounds, took in a some opera at the Ortiz Tirado festival in Alamos and ...sat for a portrait with Carmen.  She looks a little like Julia Roberts in the picture but the artist deftly captured the essence of my throw-caution-to-the-wind aura if you ask me.  The titanium leg pictured above was tempted to sever the guy-wires that attached the wing to the lawn-mower-in-the-sky we were riding but I thought better of it when I realized the handle for the emergency chute was out of reach for both the pilot and me. We landed safely on a private landing strip and to my surprise were not immediately surrounded by AK-47's. So, another adventure to the hinterlands was pulled off and some more inspiration for paintings and portraits was gained.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sound of Surf, Through The Looking Glass 10x16

What's the deal with leaving the Ben Gay next to the toothbrush holder near the sink?  Didn't anyone realize how much like a tube of toothpaste that thing looks and weren't they aware that the minty aroma that hits your nose as you bring the brush to your mouth bares an uncanny resemblance to Colgate or Aquafresh? Well, I submit they did not. How else can it be explained?  To be fair, I might have been tipped-off by the extra soft and creamy consistency but as I recall, viscosity wasn't really on my mind last night as I prepared for beddy-bye time. So, now I know something not many people can claim to know; the taste of deep muscle relief cream and ...a new breath freshener that makes your tongue tingle with a delightful and mildly intoxicating sensation. Maybe I could paint with it too.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Come Together 16x20, Big Valley 20x24

Two new tree paintings from the studio. The first outdoor drawing from life I did was of trees.  More specifically, stumps and bark...then I branched out and started drawing limbs. You might even say my roots go back to those first artistic seeds sown in my little heart. I had an art teacher in 5th or 6th grade that took an interest in me.  Mr. Rice encouraged us to draw and paint from life as much as possible. That was during frequent trips to his apartment swimming pool while riding in a jacked-up orange and black 1970 Dodge Charger. I hated the sound of the Rolling Stones blasting through Jensen Triaxal speakers mounted on the rear dashboard but that teacher was cool and a swimming pool in Minnesota was a big deal back then. Thanks to art teachers and mentors for their unwavering devotion to little budding artists (who in later years, inspired by those same Rolling Stones' licks would take up guitar and harp and paint more trees than you can shake a stick at)