December 23, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

One of the saddest things
that I am asked to do this time of year is paint a posthumous portrait of a beloved pet. Having been there myself, I know the pain of losing a longtime (and sometimes not so longtime) friend. This is Buster, who crossed the rainbow bridge this past October.

This may be the last piece I create in 2009. I promise the new year will be full of new, exciting and consistent work (fingers crossed).


December 15, 2009

"Chase" (not dp)

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

This sleepy little guy is, or should I say was, Chase. Sadly he has recently joined the morning stars. I can only assume that his appellation was derived from what terriers are prone to do - chase things. Squirrels, cars, cats, people, even their own tails are all fair game. Of course it is possible that he had a brother named Sanborn which would have been apropos since terriers as a group seem like they have had one too many cups of coffee. Then again his owner might have used his Chase credit card to purchase him from the breeder. Oh well, these speculations are profitless. God speed, Chase.

December 2, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

As promised - this is Jake's friend Abbey basking in the afternoon sun. I had mixed feelings about included her intense red collar but I think I like it.

November 30, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

It's that time of year when my plate is piled high with commissions from people anxious to get in that last minute Christmas portrait of their favorite four legged companion. I hesitate to post these as some are obviously meant as surprise gifts but I was assured that the wife of the commissionee of this pretty marmalade tabby doesn't look at my website (sniff). Anyway this is Jake, one of two cats belonging to my friend Earl. Look for Abbey tomorrow.

November 17, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Early this year I was asked to donate a pet portrait to the Humane Society. Anyone who adopted a cat or kitten during the spring and summer was entered into a drawing for a painting of their newly adopted companion. The winner was the owner of this pretty girl named Bridgett. Her ice blue eyes and interesting coloration would have compelled me to paint her even if there had been no contest. Her beautiful party colored markings and sweet demeanor guaranteed her a place in someones heart and home. I hope they like the painting. My fashion roots came out and I gave her the stark grey seamless treatment made famous by Francesco Scavullo, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

November 10, 2009

"Ella with Hydrangeas"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 10"

The cat formerly known as Dino (before we realized he was a she) is part of the rat pack of kittens we adopted last spring. She has turned into a real love and is quite smitten with JJ. She dogs his every waking (and sleeping) moment, much to his consternation. I call her Ella because she reminds me of the paintings in Robert Motherwell's Elegy series. I fear we will never be able to have flowers inside again because the rat pack seek and destroy any flora (and small fauna, i dare say) that comes into the house. Ella got a chance to check these pretty hydrangeas out before the tempting bouquet was sequestered in the powder room for the night.

November 4, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

"I'm baaack" Yes I finally put brush to panel for the first time in the new studio. I couldn't find my maul stick, paint rags, turpentine, and miscellaneous other painting accouterments but I managed to get something on the easel. Schatzi is my friend Beth's wire haired dachshund. She's a real schweetie and reminds me of Alfalfa from the little rascals with her cute cowlick (Schatzi, not Beth). Hey, it's a start.

September 26, 2009

Still in Limbo

Just a quick update -

Still digging out. I don't have internet access yet so I am not able to keep up with e-mail and such. I am finding wi-fi where I can and checking in now and again. Hopefully things will calm down in a week or two.

September 13, 2009

Drum roll please!

Here is the new house. The landscaping is still a work in progress but the house is 99 percent finished. Thanks to all who haven't given up on checking in. New art is just around the corner.

Here is the new studio:

August 24, 2009

Move update - (ndp)

Just in case you need visual proof that I am indeed in the throws of moving, here is a shot of what was the studio. JJ and the kids are having a ball playing in the habitrail that is now my home. We move out on Thursday and Friday. Unpacking will be just as laborious so don't get your hopes up for any new work just yet.

July 16, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Dear old Sprocket was the American Bulldog belonging to my friends Lauren and David. Every dog has his day and sadly his has come and gone. He was always a playful pup who got his way - no napkin was safe on your lap nor shoelace left tied. This was Sprocket in his later years - ear thrown back, gums flapping in the breeze, that unmistakable grin. I'm sure Saint Peter is throwing him that slimy kong right now (and missing the tassel on his robe.)

July 6, 2009

Please Stand By... (ndp)

As predicted, packing and moving is taking its toll on my creative output. Right now the studio is in shambles. I have kept out the bare essentials for painting, just in case I can summon up the mindset and time to lay brush to canvas but I fear that may be a pipe dream for the next month or so. Its a pity, too, because I just saw a wonderful exhibit; “Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life" at the National Gallery in Washington and came home full of inspiration. If you live in the area, you should try and see this show. The man really knew his onions! His elements were few and oft repeated in varying compositions rendering glass, copper pots, bread, and a plethora of fruits and vegetables with amazing skill. I was impressed.

June 26, 2009

"Fabulous 5"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Although my idea of having a few "black and tans" normally takes place at my local Irish pub, this motley crew also put a smile on my face. The image was sent to me recently by Anne Stark, breeder of champion dachshunds and whippets. She seemed to think I could have fun with this and she was right. Her pups can be seen on her website "Piper's puppies4u."
Thanks for the amusing reference, Anne.

You may ask why the blue eyes? The original reference of these pups was most assuredly made with a flash which reflected back as blue. I toyed with the idea of making the retinas black but I liked the cobalt accents dancing around the panel. I think it livens up the painting.

June 18, 2009

"Paris Carousel"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8 1/4" x 10 7/8"

I've been picking at this painting for a couple of days, not quite sure of how I wanted to play this. The subject is so colorful that I had intended to splash on the paint loose and free but my realist roots kept the piece in check. I think I'll sleep on it and see if I need to throw on some more highlights in the morning.

June 10, 2009

JJ - "bunny pose"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

It has always been hard for me to get back into the paint after a hiatus of a week or more. All those self doubts rear their ugly heads and I stand before the blank canvas wondering if I can still make the magic happen. JJ, my constant companion in the studio, has once again been my inspiration and my familiar back to the muse. I'll never understand the mystery of the creative spirit. Ours is not to reason why.

May 29, 2009

"Recharging my creative batteries"

I am heading out on my annual pilgrimage to Lake George, New York for the Americade rally. As some of you know, my other passion is motorcycling and I look forward to this event like a little kid anticipates Christmas. Billed as the largest touring rally in the United States, it has much to ofter - great roads, old friends, demo rides from almost every manufacturer and the largest collection of touring rider vendors assembled in one place called the tour expo. If you ride and have not gone to Americade you are missing a good time. It doesn't get any better than riding through the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes. I will be gone for a week so there will be no new paintings posted for a while. I am having some doubts about the intense red of yesterdays painting and may tone it down with a glaze when I return. Let me know it you concur with this observation.

May 28, 2009

"German Shepherd"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

More on this painting tomorrow.

May 19, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

I thought I was the only one still looking like Manard G. Krebs these days, that is until I saw my friend Stephanie's tiny toy poodle, Mac, wearing his ever so beat, black turtleneck sweater. Poodle cut? No way! This dog is one cool cat! I'm certain he has a black beret stashed in his kennel somewhere.

May 14, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

Meet the new kids on the block. You may recall my dear Anna was called home back in March. This opened the door, literally and figuratively to bringing the feral kittens that we had been looking after since last summer into the house. Anna was too set in her ways to tolerate three new kittens into her world. She had stoically declined JJ's constant invitations to play. This would have been too much. I must say that I, too, was not prepared for 24/7 living with feral cats in the house. At first it was like having live squirrels inside. They would run and hide if you made a sharp noise, had shoes on your feet or made a sudden move. I am happy to report that we are going to need a bigger bed as Ella and her brother, Sammy, have discovered the joys of the electric blanket and the comfort of snuggling with humans (a.k.a. the big pink monsters). I don't have the heart to tell them the season is changing and they will have to wait until November to feel its warmth again. While they were still living outside we put a litter box out for them and they all caught onto it right away, so all is well in that department, although policing 4 boxes does take more time. Shirley is still very much afraid of everyone and everything - except JJ. She is in heat right now and we are very careful to not let her escape. She seems to think JJ can help her out, but he is not up to the task, if you catch my drift, nor is her brother Sammy. From this painting one would think that Ella, formerly known as Dino before her femininity became apparent, was a bruiser. She is actually quite demure. Her slender body and tiny stature are almost ferret-like. She can squeeze into the tiniest spot and gets into more trouble than the Beav on an outing with his friend Whitey. Ella is her nickname, by the way. Her full name is "Elegy to the Spanish Republic Number 57" because she looks so much like that Robert Motherwell painting. I hope to paint her brother, Sammy, very soon. Stay tuned.

May 11, 2009

"Oyster Plate"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

"The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork" - Oscar Wilde

May 7, 2009

"Holly and Jonahven"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

I'm sure by now everyone has given up on me, but for those still checking in, I assure you I am fine and still creating art. I have been working on a commission that ate up a bunch of time, then I left for the West coast to visit my daughter, granddaughters Sonny and Willow and my new grandson - Jonahven Infinity. They live in Ashland, Oregon, the epicenter of hippydom on Earth. The town is an exciting amalgam of art, theatre, music and strange interesting characters. It's a pity that it is so difficult to get to, as I would love to be able to visit more often, not only to see my daughter and grandchildren but to experience the Shakespeare Festival that it is home to. Every year 600,000 people make a trek to this quirky little town to see some of the Bard's plays performed on an outdoor Elizabethan Stage patterned after the Globe Theatre. As it is, one must fly into Salt Lake City and catch a puddle jumper to Medford or fly into Portland and drive five hours. Ugh.

The first Wednesday of the month the Daily painters group that I belong to has a theme challenge. This month it was "Celebrating Mom" in honor of Mother's Day. The work was supposed to be posted yesterday but I had other fish to fry so here it is, better late than never. My granddaughters attend the "Willow Wind" school which had a May Day celebration complete with May pole and floral wreathes. Quite apropos, given the populace. This is a painting of my daughter Holly and with her new little boy. Perhaps I've seen the Lord of the Rings too many times as there is an elfish quality about them, which is rather fitting, seeing as Holly's middle name is Lórien. Oops, my early hippy roots are showing.

April 23, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 8" x 10"

As you can see, I am going through a brindle phase right now. Blue here, belongs to my landscape designer. He brought him over today to model for me. Sporting the typically gorgeous Australian Shepherd coat, his eyes are particularly unusual, in a Marilyn Manson sort of way. One is half brown and half blue, the other pure ice blue. He is also a sweetheart (except to groundhogs, I've been told). His coquettish sidelong glance is endearing.

April 15, 2009

"Bigger Big"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Mr Big belongs to my friends Debby and Fran. I painted him last year as a lark, to see if I could portray his great stature on a small 6" square panel. Although I was happy with that painting, I really wanted a bit more space to capture his wonderful brindle coat. On a recent visit Mr. Big acquiesced to another model session. He is a bit grayer in the muzzle but is still a magnificent beast.

BTW - I didn't say which Wednesday, did I?

April 2, 2009

Out of the Studio

I'm headed down to New Orleans for a few days. Look for new work on Wednesday.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

March 31, 2009

"Out of the Box"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 6"

Perhaps I should have called this "Out of the sand box" The name is derived from the monthly Daily painters challenge - Out of the box, meaning paint a subject or in a style or medium that you are not familiar with. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I loath boats and I am not altogether thrilled with going to the beach either. That alone would fit the criteria for the challenge. Blue paint would be another element with which I am ill at ease. My early years as an artist, as I may have stated before on these pages, were spent immersed in the study of the Dutch masters. I may have used the tiniest bit of ultramarine blue to cool down the shadows, but that was it. No cerulean, no cobalt, no Prussian inhabited in my palette. I hesitated to put this painting on the blog but what the hell. It actually has more going on texturally speaking, than one can see from this photo. Suffice it to say that I have new respect for the seascape painters out there.

"Rufus in the garden"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 6"

As an artist, I am frequently (very frequently) asked to donate work to various charities. I wish that I could accommodate every worthy cause that asked for a painting but sadly, more often than not, I must decline. I recently took our two feral females to be neutered at the Baltimore County Humane Society's Spay and Neuter Clinic. The young receptionist saw my blog, loved the work and asked if I would donate something to her fund raiser. She must have caught me at a weak moment and I acquiesced. Rufus here is her Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Of course now she has to decide to donate a portrait of her dog to the cause. Tee hee.

March 25, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 6"

I don't always have a back story when reinterpreting someone else's reference. I just really liked this guy's Walter Matthau impression. I was surprised to discover that Roscoe was a Maine Coon, given up for adoption at 6 months of age due to the fact that he didn't have the classic long thick coat. I've been told he does however have all the other typical traits of a Maine Coon, from being a one person cat to "chirping." His "Grumpy Old Man" look has been Roscoe's look all his life. This cat was born an old man. Roscoe is also well traveled, having lived abroad for a couple of years. He is 13 now and Diabetic.

March 23, 2009

"Blessed are the cheese makers"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

The cheese portrayed in this painting is a small sampling of the selection presented to us in Paris at Restaurant Guy Savoy. To try and describe the culinary experience of that night in mere words on these pages would be futile. Suffice it to say that it was the most amazing, decadent (and expensive) meal I have ever had.

March 18, 2009

"Anna" - R.I.P.

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

I suppose you've been wondering what happened to me. Had my muse run off to Monaco to play baccarat? Had I shuffled off this artists life and joined a monastery? Not quite. Sadly, I had been nursing my dear Anna who was battling two powerful foes - cancer and old age. She finally succumbed to their one-two punch yesterday and I had to intercede on her behalf. Not the way I would have chosen to celebrate St. Patrick's Day I assure you. This kind of intervention is not conducive to the creative process. Perhaps if I were a watercolor painter my work would have taken on a Grace Hartigan quality. Salty tears make for some interesting effects while working in a wet medium. I was able to steel myself to paint a commemorative portrait today. God speed, Anna. I hope you are frolicking with Vincent, Theo, Marco and your mom. At least you are no longer in pain. I wish I could say the same.

March 11, 2009

"Art Nouveau Harley-Davidson"

Oil on Canvas 27 1/2" x 42"

This piece has been knocking around the studio for quite a while. Intrigued by Alphonse Mucha's use of heavy delineation to flatten the figure, I decided to see if I could update it with the help of my Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson and my model Stephanie. The painting was quite a departure for a staunch realist like me. It is certainly unique. That 1997 wine berry and charcoal paint scheme on the bike was a knockout. I learned, too, that I am way too lazy to own a bike with white walled tires.

March 9, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

What is it about Jack Russells that make them so endearing? Who among us has not been amused at Eddie's antics on the TV show Fraser? An interesting factoid: the dog who portrayed Eddie was named "Moose", an odd name for a little terrier. The few Jacks that I have crossed paths with have been a bit on the nervous side and would shake uncontrollably if I so much as looked at them funny. Yet they all, without exception, had sweet dispositions and although they looked rather fragile, were tough as nails. This old gal belongs to my friends Tom and Dave.

March 4, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

This little guy is named Lochi or is it Lockie? It is short for "Low Key."
How he would spell it is anyone's guess:

The naming of cats is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games
You may think at first I'm mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three different names

First of all, there's the name that the family use daily
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them are sensible, everyday names

But I tell you a cat needs a name that's particular
A name that's peculiar and more dignified
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular?
Or spread out his whiskers or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo or Coricopat
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum
Names that never belong to more than one cat

But above and beyond there's still one name left over
And that is the name that you will never guess
The name that no human research can discover
But the cat himself knows and will never confess

When you notice a cat in profound meditation
The reason, I tell you, is always the same
His mind is engaged in rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name

His ineffable, effable, effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular name
Name, name, name, name, name, name

T.S. Elliott

"Vodka Martini with Three Olives"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

Scotch whiskey and I are old friends. We go back years and years and I still like a wee dram in the evening, after I have put the brushes down, of course, and am reflecting on the day. The peatier the better. I could easily retire to Islay and drink Laphroaig when I'm near the end. Lately however, I have embraced the dirty, spicy vodka martini as my drink of choice. Last year dear friends of mine gave me a bottle of home infused pepper vodka. They are master gardeners and pepper heads and grow some very interesting and uncommon varieties of hot peppers like "Biker Billies" and "Chocolate habaneros." Let's just say the stuff would put hair on your chest. It was not for the faint of heart but right up my alley. This year they gave me a bag of assorted capsicums and I took them to Lars, my favorite mixologist at the Dogwood restaurant in Baltimore to infuse with one of his organic Vodkas. He keeps it behind the bar for me to have with my short rib meatloaf special on Thursdays. I doubt mere mortals could touch the stuff. It really is wonderful in a dirty martini. This is one of Lars' concoctions.

February 24, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Baltimore has long been called "the land of pleasant living" in advertisements for National Bohemian beer. Natty Boh being the proper drink of choice to wash down a dozen steamed crabs. Tossed unceremoniously on brown Kraft paper or on yesterdays news, these steaming hot crustaceans are what makes living in Maryland so special. In New England, arthropods are treated more upscale, often accompanied by a tenderloin filet and a fine Cabernet. The French take seafood to yet another level, pun intended. Their "plateau de fruits de mer" is a thing of beauty. Assorted shellfish and crabs are artfully arranged on a tower of ice filled splendor. You can find these in just about every brasserie in Paris. I hated to deconstruct these glorious edible works of art, although they were delicious.

February 23, 2009

"Olive and Friend"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

Have you ever wondered why some words are invariably coupled with a particular qualifying adjective? For instance, have you ever heard pride described as anything but foolish? It's always "foolish pride." Olive drab is another. Why are olives drab, I ask you? I painted this painting of Anne Stark's Whippet, Olive, to prove not only is this Olive not drab, but she is quite vibrant. Well OK, perhaps her companion is the vibrant one but I say guilt by association. All that pink reflects well on her.

February 19, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 6"

I'm not sure why I was reminded of the menu of the late lamented Hausner's Restaurant in East Baltimore when I was working on this. Possibly because the restaurant was brimming with late 19th century art and on the menu cover was an image of a particularly sentimental but sweet painting of a little girl and a Saint Bernard from their collection. RibN, my friends Marianne and Steve's Australian Shepherd bears little resemblance to a St. Bernard. Perhaps it was the bits of pink hinted in his snout that jogged my memory.
My mother was a product of German immigrants. She was what you might call a "disinterested" cook. Her limited culinary bag of tricks was distinctly 50's - no herbs, no spices (except Adolf's meat tenderizer, S&P (not freshly ground pepper- Heaven forbid!), maybe some dried oregano to throw in the spaghetti, canned vegetables, and then cook the hell out of everything (sorry Mom). Although her father was a professional pastry chef, I'm afraid the apple fell very far from that tree. To be fair, my mother was a diabetic and an ex model and actress, so I guess food wasn't high on her list of priorities. Thankfully for me, my boyhood friend Keith's parents allowed me to tag along when they went to Hausner's. My palate, dulled by years of bland cooking, was desperate for new experiences. Imagine a 14 year old boy tucking into his first plate of hasenpfeffer...Yum!! Did I mention that Hausner's was known for their strawberry shortcake?

February 18, 2009

"The red coats are coming!"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 5" x 7"

I probably should have painted this a bit larger as the detail in the tack and coat required the use of my trusty opti-visor. I am not Jean-Leon Gerome by any stretch of the imagination but once upon a time I painted a lot of miniatures. There are only 27 Vermeer paintings in existence. There is a reason he wasn't a daily painter. I tried to have some fun with the paint and keep the background loose and free. I should have channeled Degas. He could have knock this out in 20 minutes.

February 12, 2009

"Three Foxhounds"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

The last few days have been most illuminating. Recently my painting lamp gave out after years of faithful service. I didn't think much of it at the time, I just assumed that I could go to the hardware store and get another one. Boy was I wrong. In their zeal to save Mother Earth, merchants have pulled from their shelves any flood lamp over 75 watts. Their intentions may be good but how am I supposed to see what I am painting? I bought one of those new-fangled curlique floods and it was passible but not great. My old reveal floodlight bathed my palette and canvas in lovely natural light. This new one bare lit up my work. I went back and bought a clip light and a 40 watt mini flood to light my palette and the Kelvin temp is close enough. I did find a source on the internet called Bulftown that still had some 150's so I may be back in business. If your neighborhood hardware store has any high wattage bulbs you may want to stock up while you still can.

February 9, 2009

"Salsa - the early days"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 6"

February 5, 2009

"We're all in this together"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 6" x 8"

I went to Centerstage on Tuesday and saw a fine production of Lynn Nottage's "Fabulation, or the re-education of Undine." A line from the play that stuck in my head was, and I paraphrase - "I dreamt of fish last night. That means I'm comin' into money." I, too, dreamt of fish that night, but for a completely different reason. When I started this painting, it seemed to be a fun little exercise in color and texture. It roughed in well, but soon I was lost in the myriad of iridescent hues and glistening reflections that had my head spinning. Each little fish had its own subtle character. Some seemed happy, (as happy as a dead fish can be) and others sad, or at least resigned to their fate. Sheep may all look the same, except perhaps to the shepherd, but I am here to tell you that all mackerel are not created equal. The variances in hue and shape caught me by surprise. Painting one was a challenge; painting a dozen soon became overwhelming. I fought the desire to do a wipe-out and the resulting painting turned out fresh and colorful. Lesson learned - push on though and try and come out on the other side. I'm glad I did.

February 3, 2009

"Eat Bertha's Mussels"

Oil on Canvas 15" x 20"
It is amazing how much time and thought goes into building a new house. Extreme care must be given to the choosing and placement of the smallest detail. As we get closer to being "under roof" the decisions about plumbing and lighting are coming fast and furious. Not wanting to make a mistake, we are spending hours and hours perusing lighting books and the Internet for that perfect sconce, just the right farm house sink, etc, etc. Sadly, my head is spinning from all this and I have not been able to concentrate. I did stand at the easel today but it just wasn't there. The painting laid in nicely but I couldn't see it through. I am going to freeze the palette and try again tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a painting a did in'05 that hasn't been posted.
There is a bar/restaurant in Fells Point called Bertha's which is famous for their steamed mussels. It is not uncommon to see their ubiquitous "Eat Bertha's Mussels" bumper stickers all over town. In one of the little side rooms, in a room painted chalk board green, is a table that has what I consider to be the perfect light for a portrait. I took my model friend Stephanie there one early afternoon for lunch, hoping my special table was unoccupied. It was and this is the result. They have excellent mussels by the way, if you should find yourself on the waterfront in Baltimore.

January 27, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"
When Piper had her kittens last summer we named the litter after the rat pack. Although perhaps not politically correct, the little black one was obviously named Sammy, the black and white one we named Dino and the little girl we called Shirley, after Shirley MacLaine. Dino's black and white spots are more Robert Motherwell than Dalmatian. I was more open to the abstract expressionists back in my youth. I remember going to a Halloween party dressed as Motherwell's Elegy to the Spanish Republic number 57. It was during the mime years so I had ready access to grease paint. I wore my beatnik black and painted Motherwell's painting on my face. No one at the party knew who I was supposed to be, imagine that. Then it occurred to me that I had painted the painting using a mirror so the image was backwards. Did I feel foolish. We had a couple in inches of snow today and Dino is really enjoying playing in it.

January 26, 2009

Stage Makeup

Oil on museum quality ampersand Gessobord panel 5' x 7"
One of the nice things about moving, if you are a pack rat like me, is you have an excuse to look through all the boxes and storage bins in the basement, attic and studio once again. It really is like Christmas. Phrases like "Hey, I've been looking for this," "Oh wow, I forgot I had one of these" etc., etc, spring to the lips. I am getting marginally better at editing out the true dreck from the "I might find a use for this someday." While foraging in the bowels of the cellar recently I came across a treasure trove of old photos from my theatre days. I thought it might be fun to stroll down memory lane and paint a mime once again. This is a young Tom Casciero from the Towson Mime Troupe putting on classic white face.

January 23, 2009

"Two horses with braided manes"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 8"

One of the most challenging things about recording the pageantry of the Blessing of the hunt held every Thanksgiving in Gyndon, Maryland is the intermingling of the hoi polloi and the hoity toity. The bucolic landscape of the valley is littered with petters in sweaters, mothers with strollers, teens with their iPods and photogs with tripods. Trying to get a clean shot is nearly impossible. Thankfully, as a painter, I can often just edit them out in the composition. While it might have been nice to include the quaint St. John's Episcopal Church in the background, there was something pleasing about the simplicity of this painting. The focus is on the magnificent beasts and the intricate harnesses and not the scene wherein they play in. I chose to use a simple blue into green gradient although not without trepidation. I had a back-of-my-mind fear that it may come off looking like the colored tissue paper that folks in the 50's put over their black and white TVs to simulate color; blue for the sky, red for the people and green for the grass. My fears turned out to be groundless, no pun intended, and the gambit paid off. The tack and harnesses proved to be much more labor intensive than I first imagined, but I always look at my reference and think I can lay it down in an hour and 6 hours later I am still pushing paint around. I may have to paint some fruit or oysters tomorrow just to prove to myself that I can paint a sketchy painting.

January 21, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand Gessobord panel 6" x 8"

I am posting this late tonight and hope to write a bit more tomorrow afternoon. This is Cleopatra, a long haired Eastern German Shepherd. She was 13 weeks when she posed for this painting. Sorry about the huge file. I lost photoshop when I lost my computer and can't figure out how to resize things in lightroom.

January 14, 2009


Oil on museum quality ampersand Gessobord panel 6" x 6"
The intensity of color got lost in translation on this portrait of the late Dabasir. I haven't had a chance to paint many birds. It was fun to have a new texture to play with after all the fur I've been painting lately. Dabo was 40 when he passed and hopefully he is flying high among the morning stars.

January 13, 2009

"Monet in a cable knit sweater"

Oil on museum quality ampersand Gessobord Panel 6" x 6"

I've been spinning my wheels since the break-in, trying to recoup my lost images and data. I did order a new computer today and am looking forward to my shiny new PC. Yes, I have returned to the dark side. I'm sure Macs are fine for some but I never really loved mine. It did have a beautiful monitor but it was like riding an Italian motorcycle; pretty but full of quirks, and what's with the CD drive? That alone kept me from getting another one.

Monet here was a fun little piece to help get me back to the easel. It reminds me of a George Rodrique blue dog painting.

January 8, 2009

Strange request (ndp)

An artist friend of mine made a strange request the other day. He said "Mark, I tried to paint a painting of my daughter's dogs and it didn't turn out well. I know you paint dogs. Do you think you could touch this up?" I, of course, was flattered but had never over-painted someone else's work before. I said I would see what I could do. It had quite a thick impasto of white on the panel which had to be removed before I could proceed. The original reference was of Kate, Emmie and Bandit laying on a white fur rug, which was probably taken at a Petsmart or some such place. I applauded my friend's artistic licence in creating the landscape instead of laying in the backdrop used for the photo and left it in, feathering the "snow" up to it. It's ironic that my first painting of the new year isn't really mine. It was an interesting exercise and a good way to get my hand back in it. How many of us have lost a painting and would have the nerve to ask someone else to save it? Of course he may not be thrilled that I posted this. Oops.

Here is the scraped down original so you can get an idea of the challenge:

January 6, 2009

"Self portrait with Vincent"

Oil on Canvas 16" x 24"
Tomorrow the theme of the daily painters is self-portraits. I was really looking forward to doing something fun with it until the robbery. Today was spent dealing with insurance people and data recovery so I didn't get into the studio to paint. To tell the truth my heart just wasn't in it. The other problem is I look kind of weird right now (er, more weird than usual). To celebrate my birthday we had a few folks over for a 50's themed dinner party. Since I was halfway there already, given my propensity for black turtlenecks, bongos and berets, I decided to go full beatnik daddy-o. I trimmed off the Santa beard and left the goatee which I dyed dark brown. To add to the authenticity I had my copy of Allen Ginsberg's Howl in my pocket in case an impromptu poetry reading was called for. I fear I may look like one of those sad men who use Clairol "just for men" a bit too long. I thought it would wash out but this stuff is good. I cut what was left of my beard really short and the grey is just starting to peek through. Before you know it I'll be getting the senior discount again.
I did this painting in 2005 after my beloved Vincent went to join his brother Theo in the morning stars.

January 5, 2009


Ah! 2009 - Time to put all the bad stuff that happened last year behind us and look ahead to a bright new year. So what happens on day 3 of this bright new year? Someone breaks into my house and steals my iMac computer. Yes, the one that has taken me 9 months to finally get used to. Did I back up all my reference material that was on that machine? Yes and no. I had an external hard drive that automatically backs up the mac every hour and the perps left it behind. The trouble is that my auxiliary laptop is a PC and cannot read the data. Since I have to get a new computer anyway, I am going back to a PC. I never really loved the iMac other than the beautiful 24" screen.

Stay tuned. New work is coming, I promise.