December 19, 2008

"Down the tubes"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 8”

Every time I go to the John I  am reminded of Wall Street. Why do you think that is?  I guess we are all concerned about our nest eggs being flushed down the loo.   I was in New York last week at Bond 45 for lunch. Nature called and I answered. While I was attending to the business at hand I found the plumbing intriguing. Hope you do, too.

December 18, 2008

"Champion Piper's Roman Gladiator"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 8” x 8”

I deleted this by mistake so I am posting it again.  Be sure to look down for todays painting which is underneath this one.  It's a shame I lost this to cyberspace, there were some very lovely comments attached that I will miss.  BTW - this is another of Anne Stark's dogs.   You can find them at:

"Wilt on a Cold Day"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 8”

As you can see, I am still in Dog Mode. Not that there's anything wrong with that. What appealed to me about this reference, other than the fact that he looks like Michael Phelps after winning his second gold medal at the summer Olympics, were the red and green blankets - quite apropos given the season.  City street lights, even stop lights, blink of bright red and green.  There is something magical about this set of complementary colors that isn't present in blue/orange, violet/yellow or other spectral variations.  If you read my tag the other day you may have noted that I am mad for hot food.  On a recent trip to New Mexico I was dining in a Tex-Mex restaurant and ordered some enchiladas. The server asked if I wanted my sauce, "red, green or Christmas?"  Christmas, of course, meaning both.  This little guy looks like he's plopped down on a plate of Christmas chile sauce.  I have always been a Christmas kind of guy.  In fact,  I'm starting to look like a bit like Santa.  By that, I mean I'm letting my white beard grow long, though I have been working harder on that bowl full of jelly than I should!  Heck, I named my daughter Holly.  Speaking of the holidays.  I may be very busy this coming week; making lists and checking them twice, etc., so this may be my last post for a while.

December 16, 2008

"JJ upside-down on a hooked rug"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 6”

I had an e-mail from a friend the other day who complained that I had been remiss in my blog duties, that I have not fleshed out the posted paintings with my usual amusing stories and bon mots.  I'll grant you les mots justes have not been readily at my fingertips.  Perhaps it is laziness on my part or is it that I have spent my creative energy on creating the painting and have nothing left for the blog?  I usually tell myself that I will do the write up in the morning when I am fresh. Sometimes this happens but more often than not it doesn't.  Gene Fowler said "Writing is easy: you just stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood appear on your forehead." 

Henceforth I will try and give the paintings a little background.

JJ brought me a little present tonight; a live mouse he found in the basement.  He was plainly pleased with himself, since he isn't allowed outside and has hitherto only had various faux mice to play with.  His delight turned to frustration when his treasure made a break for it and wound up behind my bookcase.  JJ is in there still, biding his time.  

December 8, 2008

"Rover and Moe"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 8” x 10”

I didn't get too much of a back story on these little guys. I know that Rover (on the right) has gone to join the morning stars and his owner misses him terribly and wanted a posthumous portrait to commemorate his short life.  Short in stature only.  Judging from his grey muzzle he had a long and happily life.  His notched left ear is a complete mystery.  I should follow up on that.

December 3, 2008

Getting the Blues

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 8”

I was at the art supply store yesterday and finally decided it was time to replace the ancient tube of Cerulean Blue paint that I've had in my paintbox since high school. I needed a dab of it the other day and found it lacked a certain youth. I also bought a tube of Cobalt Teal on impulse. (Cobalt Teal? Who knew?) I have been impressed with some of my fellow daily painters pool/ocean paintings and wanted to play with the genre. Splashing around in all that blue paint was totally foreign to me. My early palette layout was decidedly Dutch, with just a touch of Ultramarine keeping the earth tones company, to cool down the shadows. Although Salvador Dali disapproves of the pigment in his book "Fifty Secrets to Magic Craftsmanship," I also keep a bit of Prussian Blue on my palette. Laying on the paint in such a free manner was cathartic. It is good for a realist painter to remember what the medium is capable of. I didn't wait 30 minutes after eating to jump into this painting. I'm happy to report that I did not get a cramp.

"Maryland Steamed Crab"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 8”

There is a song that is popular around this time of year called “[Oh, I want] Crabs for Christmas.” You may think that crab season is long gone. Au contraire, mon frère! Some of the best crabs we have ever had were consumed in the winter. Granted they were brought up from Texas or Louisiana but they were meaty and delicious. This little guy was the last of the local Chesapeake Bay harvest. Small, but fat and sweet. A pitcher of Natty Boh (National Bohemian) is the perfect accompaniment to these delightful crustaceans but sadly, at our favorite crab house we have to settle for Coor’s Light. It is visually identical to Boh, so use your imagination. Cheers!

December 2, 2008

"Tally Ho"

Oil on museum quality, archival ampersand gessobord™ panel - 6” x 8”

I have attended the Blessing of the hounds at St. John's Episcopal Church in Glyndon, Md for the last couple of years.  The church is a charming neo-gothic cathedral nestled in the heart of horse country.  It has always been pet friendly. For instance; my wife and I often attend Christmas morning service there where our dear friend Father Frederick Hannah has been the guest rector. I grant you it is a tiny church but I can only surmise that the bulk of the congregation was in attendance on Christmas Eve since the 10:00 am morning service never boasted more than two dozen or so parishioners.  One Christmas morning, as we knelt at the alter awaiting communion, we notice a tiny nose poking out of the jacket of the man next to us.  He had a tiny puppy with him.  Father Fred gave the man the host and blessed the little dog, he did not let the puppy drink from the common cup.

I don't normally cut off heads in my compositions but this painting cried out for ambiguity and abstraction.  The negative spaces, the pull of red and green, and the free brushwork came together to form a very pleasing painting (at least to me).