December 23, 2010


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

See - I'm not dead, although my old hard drive is. What a nightmare trying to salvage my images and reload all my programs onto the new drive. Although I have a huge 1T external hard drive, I had become lax about backing up. Lesson learned. Back up your work every day or at the very least once a week. It is also a good idea to keep your program and driver disks in one handy place in case you have to reload them. I have been painting during all this mess but most are Christmas presents and I didn't want to post them for fear of blowing the surprise. This is one such painting, but I doubt the recipient is aware of my blog. I was not told his name but he reminds me of Tramp from the old TV show My Three Sons.

This just in: "His name is Dallas and he's a rescue dog...he has a new family in Ellicott City."

November 16, 2010


Oil on linen mounted on wood panel 8" x 10"

This portrait of Roscoe differs from my usual daily paintings in that it is painted on a linen covered wood panel. I was a little apprehensive about working on a textured surface on this small of a scale, but my fear was groundless (no pun intended). The beautiful 1/4 inch birch wood SourceTek panel took the paint beautifully. The real challenge was getting a good photo of the finished painting due to the constellations of reflected light splattered across the textured surface. I finally got a decent shot this afternoon using the natural north light in my studio. It was a particularly bleak day, weather wise, which also softened the light. Once again my faithful beat-up bristle brushes came in handy to capture Roscoe's course fur and soft muzzle.

November 4, 2010

"Centreville Carousel Horse"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 7" x 10"

I spent some time in Toronto this summer and came across a wonderful old carousel on Centreville Island. Built in Germantown, Pennsylvania by the G.A. Dentzel Steam & Horsepower Co in the early 1900's, this hand carved wooden carousel is one of about 30 left in existence today. It contains 52 animals 3 abreast, 36 of which are jumpers. There are also 2 chariots. The accompanying band organ is a Wurlitzer. I thought I'd have a little fun with this one. I felt the menagerie around him was a bit distracting so I isolated him from the ostriches, bunnies, pigs and other whimsical creatures dancing in the picture plane. I still wanted a sense of color and motion so I kicked up the vibrancy and kept the paint loose (for me). Does it work? The jury is out.

October 28, 2010

"Mardi Gras Bloody Mary"

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

And now for something completely different!

Something that one sees around Jackson Square in New Orleans is a form of naive folk art using familiar icons of the area. Often done with ordinary house paint on found planks of wood or shingles, these colorful objet d'art are cheerful and amusing. I thought it would be fun to try my hand at one using a subject that is near and dear to me - Tabasco. I probably have over 100 bottles of hot sauce of various stripe in the pantry and in the fridge (much to my wife's chagrin) but the one that gets utilized the most is the ubiquitous Tabasco. Nothing else tastes like it. I dare say you could make a Bloody Mary with Jamaica Hell Fire Sauce but it wouldn't be the same. I further embraced the New Orleans theme by using purple, green and gold - the colors of Mardi Gras, to really sink it home. I thought the black outline gave the painting a clumsy folksiness. I told you I was going to have fun.

October 20, 2010

"Sammy with pumpkin"

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

It's raining cats and dog...well, OK, just cats, in the studio lately. Hey, can I help it if I have a ready supply of willing models at my beck and call? Alice Thompson's Calypso Moon Art Movement has challenged us to paint a Halloween themed painting this month and my Sam seemed like a good fit. He has been unhappy with J.J. getting all the attention lately and was an eager model. Well, it helped that I sprinkled the pumpkin with catnip. He implored me to paint out his little white bib and white underbelly but I couldn't do it. It just wouldn't be Sammy if I did.

October 19, 2010

"Administrative assistant"

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

My wife Susan occasionally works from her home office and is often visited by unsolicited I.T. support in the form of J.J. He is highly skilled at sending e-mail and types in some form of code that only cats can read. In keeping with my new more painterly approach to the daily paintings, this piece was a study in contrasting colors. The ubiquitous "windows" blue playing off the warm oranges of J.J.'s fur. I am still on the fence as to whether this one works or not. I was close to wiping it down along the way. I'll know better tomorrow. J.J. is thinking "Now where did she put that mouse?"

October 13, 2010


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

Like ordering a Cosmo at a bar, it takes a truly manly man to paint puppies and kittens. I really wasn't going for the cheap shot with this piece - honestly. I was grabbed by the Tissot-like back-lighting on this little imp. My friends Sherry and Joe just adopted two sweet sisters from the S.P.C.A. These gregarious girls, Cleo and her litter mate, Iris, couldn't be cuter if they tried. Cleo was clowning around on the landing stairs and her aura of light and amusing expression was something I deemed paint worthy, if just a silly bit of fun.

October 6, 2010


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

These cold fish have been on ice in my queue since my last trip to France, which, as many of you know, was quite some time ago. Fresh in my mind these many months, they have resurfaced to remind me of why I started painting in the first place - because it's fun! At least it's supposed to be. I seemed to have lost sight of that fact recently. What started for me back in '07 as an experiment in "daily painting" - a new art movement with the sole mandate of completing a small work of art every day, became something quite different. I must admit that I seldom attained the stated goal, but I was content with 3 or 4 per week. Trouble came when I felt compelled to make the work tighter and tighter. Not content with small, quick oil sketches, I wanted to do something that would wow people. The diminutive panels ceased to be mere little studies and became polished works of art. The praise I got from these little jewels was like a drug. I lived for the comments on my blog. I spent way more time on them than I could ever possibly justify, given the monetary ceiling of the internet marketplace. I started using the opti-visor more and more. Frustration set in and I began to resent them. That, my friends, is my long winded explanation for why I have not been posting. I recently made a pilgrimage to the Corcoran Museum in Washington to see an exhibition of Chuck Close's prints. That man knew how to have fun. His "fingerprint" works are a stark reminder that we should have fun in the process. Embracing this revelation, I allowed myself to once again feel the support - to scratch and scumble and toss the paint. This piece may not be great, but it was fun and that's a start. I feel like I'm swimming upstream.

September 14, 2010

"Asta la vista, baby"

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

For those of you still out there, who were wondering what became of me - all I can say is I have been (once again) wrestling with my muse and that lady has been hitting the gym. She did allow me the best two out of three falls and I am happy to say I won the bout. I am picking up were I left off, with Asta as an ersatz canine Bacchus. I have been implored to create a wine label to be used in a fund raiser for the Humane Society at the Dogwood Restaurant in Baltimore. In all honesty, it did not take much pleading for me to take on this project, as the Humane Society is a charity near and dear to my heart. The study of Asta, which I did before the freeze-up acted as a service dog to guide me back to the easel. Good boy, Asta.

August 12, 2010


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

This piece is much nicer in reality. Try as I might, I couldn't get the subtle coloration to come through. Perhaps It is the late hour. That said, I won't be writing much about this piece tonight other than to say that Asta is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met. He is the canine equivalent of JJ and that is high praise indeed. He is also the top dog at my favorite restaurant - The Dogwood in Baltimore.

August 4, 2010

"Spotted Llama"

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

I visited the farm of two dear friends over the weekend and they have, within their vast menagerie, some two dozen, wildly varied, llamas, Sadly, I got lost in all the names of this one and that one. No, there was not a Dahlia llama nor a Fernando llama. For all I know this guy was named Spot, the Wonder Llama. I am certain to find out his true appellation when they see this post. Aside from the glorious wool that comes from these sweet creatures, another perk is llama poo which is better than miracle grow. I used some on my herbs and you could practically see them growing, like Jack's bean stalk. It's really good sh*t.

I painted one of their llamas a few years ago and was told that when they put their ears back they are wary or nervous. This fellow seems to be saying "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

July 29, 2010


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

I was channeling my inner Matisse tonight with this painting of Bella. The jury is out on the contrasting colors and vertical stripes. Again I wanted the paint to show so I didn't get too fussy with it. I may be horrified in the morning. Hitherto I had not painted a vizsla, so it was a challenge on many levels.

July 21, 2010

"Oh Lucy!"

Oil on linen mounted on board 6" x 8" got some splainin' to do! Actually I've got some splainin' to do. Today's painting was an experiment with painting on a more textured surface than I have been using for these little studies. I had an e-mail from someone who liked my work but preferred a more textured surface than my usual ampersand panels . Oddly enough, I find the brushwork is more pronounced on a smooth support, as the stroke has no place to hide and is there for all to see. I'll grant you that you do get an evening out and diffusion of light reflected off the surface of a cloth support but on such small work it is tantamount to painting on burlap if you scaled it up. I personally like the bit of tooth that ampersand panels have.

I met Lucy last week at a friend's house. I assume her appellation was derived from a certain wacky redhead that we all know and love. She is a sweetheart.

I've had to begin comment moderation as I have been getting a lot of spam on the comment page lately. Sorry about that but your feedback is still important to me so keep 'em coming.

July 14, 2010

"Drink Me"

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

Before you say "Jeeze, Adams can't paint a round bottle to save his ass." let me say that this particular vessel has the weirdest shape. Flat on two sides with square diamond nipples, then ridged on the adjacent sides with a slightly curved front. Curiouser and curiouser; could this have been the model for the little bottle Alice found on the table in wonderland?

" ... round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words `DRINK ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters. It was all very well to say `Drink me,' but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. `No, I'll look first,' she said, `and see whether it's marked "poison" or not'; for she had read several nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked `poison,' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.

However, this bottle was not marked `poison,' so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice, (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast,) she very soon finished it off.

Until recently, painting a still life was as unfamiliar to me as being 10" tall was to Alice, and sometimes just as frustrating. I have great respect for my fellow artists who can render inanimate objects with precision. That is not where my heart lies. I am much more comfortable painting organic subjects, be they fish or fowl, man or beast. I thought I would step out of my comfort zone to portray this little medicine bottle, which is on loan to me by some dear friends from Virginia. They brought me a treasure trove of miscellaneous brick-a-brack to inspire me during my recent creative malaise. I think it is safe to say they have the largest collection of cobalt blue glass on the East Coast. This panel may be another "unique" as I found the painting of this somewhat tedious and I am afraid it shows. Hey, at least I was swishing paint.

July 13, 2010


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

For some perverse reason I wanted to try and paint my sister-in-law's dog, Carmel with a single worn out bristle brush. I was mostly successful, with the exception of a small sable brush for the detail in the eyes. I kinda scrubbed in the oriental rug rather than get too fussy with it. There is some fun greens and blues in her fur. According to my niece's facebook page, Carmel, whom she lists as a sibling, is spelled "Carmel" although I think she was named for the candy (caramel) How does one pronounce caramel anyway? Is it like that town in California or does it have three syllables as in Car-a-mel? This burning question (even more than TP - over or under?) has plagued me for years.

July 12, 2010

"Leo in the sunshine"

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

Here is Leo once again in happier days relaxing in the morning sun. Sadly he recently crossed over the rainbow bridge after nearly two decades as my friend Stephanie's constant companion. I have been sitting on this reference for a while, waiting for the right time to use it. I've been in an artistic funk (again) and he has helped me through it. Thanks, Leo!

July 8, 2010

New Orleans Horse and Cart

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

So much for coming back tanned, rested and ready. Oh, well. I've always felt a little sorry for the poor horses in front of the Saint Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. It can't be fun in July and August pulling a cart full of sweaty tourists around the French Quarter. On the bright side - it is relatively flat and they know the drill so maybe it isn't that bad a gig. Speaking of sweaty tourists - we set a record here in Baltimore yesterday - 105 degrees! Woo hoo!

June 15, 2010

"JJ with Sunflowers"

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

What, you were expecting a motorcycle piece? That would have been the logical choice but as you know, I am not a logical guy. I like to keep you guessing and JJ was lobbying for some face time. He was channeling his inner Van Gogh and I thought it only fitting to oblige him. The cerulean blue ribbon dissecting flora from fauna amused me.

June 5, 2010


"Old mad Baggins is off on another adventure..." It is that time again - my annual trip to Lake George for the Americade rally and not a moment too soon. Creating a new living space has really drained the creative battery and I need to recharge. With luck I will come back full of inspiration. Farewell and may the the blessings of Elves and Men and all free folk go with you. May the stars shine upon your faces until I return.

May 27, 2010

"Neptune Oyster House Oyster"

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

The terrible headlines about the eminent ruination of the Gulf Coast has got me thinking and worrying about my beloved Gulf Oysters. Plumper and sweeter than their East Coast brethren, I would hate to think I may have had my last taste of them. Yesterday I painted a cat named Bean. Today a blue point oyster from the Neptune Oyster House in Bean-town. Coincidence? You tell me.

May 25, 2010


Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 8" x 12"

Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone - first landscapes and now interiors. I have had this commission in the queue for months and finally decided to tackle it. The intense light and fauvist color allowed me to have more fun than usual. Bean was my friend Kim's longtime companion and was once given an opportunity to spend some time in the Virginia countryside. Once home, being a city girl and not free to roam, all she could do was wistfully dream of her days chasing butterflies from her SoWeBo windowsill.

May 24, 2010

"Adirondack Stream"

Oil on canvas 24" x 36"

This months artists Calypso Moon Artist Challenge - "the Secret Garden," gave me an opportunity to do something I almost never do - paint a landscape. Aside from the occasional outdoor setting of a dog or equestrian portrait, I just don't paint landscapes. It is not in my creative repertoire - my bag of tricks. It's not that I don't like them - on the contrary. I could get lost in of one of Gustave Courbet's landscapes for hours. Twenty years ago I was commissioned to paint the above painting which depicts a stream in the Adirondack mountains. Until recently I didn't have a slide of it. I thought it was apropos to post it now as I am leaving soon for my annual trip to Lake George. The Americade Rally is the largest motorcycle touring rally in the US and riding in the finger lakes never fails to free the spirit.

BTW - I was painting today but didn't quite get it finished. Look for something new on Wednesday.

May 19, 2010

"The Mark Adams Martini"

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

For those of you following this blog, you might think that I have fallen into another artist malaise, and you would be right. Perhaps not as severe as in the past, but a ripple in the force none the less. We all know by now that the only way through is to push ahead, experiment with new things or play with old familiar, tried and true things to reacquaint yourself with the Muse. Glass has always been an amusing challenge to paint and since I have recently had the honor of having a drink named after me at my favorite restaurant - The Dogwood, I thought it might be a good place to start. Master mixologist Mike, the bartender at the Dogwood serves up a killer dirty martini with a twist (no pun intended). They start with organic vodka and infuse it with Serrano chilies. Shaken, not stirred (of course) with olive juice and garnished with pickled okra and olives, it is a thing of beauty and quite tasty if I do say so and I do, as I am having one at this very moment. Sláinte

May 14, 2010

"Secret Garden"

Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel 9" x 12"

This month's Calypso Moon Artist Challenge was to paint a "Secret Garden." It could be anywhere you go to seek solace from the trials and tribulations of everyday life. As luck would have it, I needed to look no further than my own back yard. My wife Susan and I are avid gardeners and we would love to lay claim to this magnificent design but the credit goes to Master landscaper Bob Jackson and his merry men for coming up with this lush oasis. Planted just this past fall, the landscape looks like it is has been here for years. In the early evening we look forward to a "walkabout." Grab a glass of French Rose' and circumnavigate to grounds to see what new and wonderful things have sprung up. Can you have too much statuary? Well, yes, but to paraphrase the young Mozart in the movie Amadeus when the king questions whether his concerto has "too many notes" - "Just the right amount, your Majesty." I bow to his retort. This little guy used to live right behind the studio at our old house. He is now nestled in the woods, backed by some lovely Ligularia Dentata Desdemona, a wonderful plant with deep green and purple leaves. Here are a few photos of the garden. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy!

May 5, 2010


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

This painting was commissioned by a friend and I didn't get a back story so how about a parrot joke to go with it?

A lady is walking down the street to work and sees a parrot in a pet store. She stops to admire the bird. The parrot says to her, "Hey lady, you are really ugly." Well, the lady is furious! She storms past the store to her work. On the way home she saw the same parrot in the window and the parrot upon seeing her says, "Hey lady, you are really ugly." She was incredibly ticked now. The next day on the way to work she saw the same parrot and once again it said, "Hey lady, you are really ugly." The lady was so furious that she stormed into the store and threatened to sue the store and have the bird killed. The store manager apologized profusely and promised the bird wouldn't say it again. The next day, when the lady walked past the store after work the parrot said to her, "Hey lady." She paused, scowled with an icy and deadly stare, and said with a hoarse voice, "Yes?" The bird, strutting back and forth on its perch in a cocky manner, said, "You know."

April 28, 2010

"Fruit Tart"

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

The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day;
The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and
vowed he'd steal no more.

It was hardly a summer's day here in Baltimore today. Those foolish enough to have been lolled into thinking that frost was a thing of the past and have planted tender annuals are busy lighting smudge pots or kicking themselves. I entertained the idea of planting the herb garden last week but thankfully thought the better of it. After the worst winter in 200 years we all want to put that behind us but Mother Nature has a way of reminding us who's boss. I decided to have some fun swishing paint today and get away from the Opti-visor for a while. Enjoy!

"Big Yawn"

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

My wife isn't the only one who objects to the ghoulish nocturnal creative hours I keep. J.J. plainly feels that my time would be much better spent in bed, with the electric blanket on high and him under my arm under the covers. Clever cat that he is, I may adopt his suggestion in short order. Just when I got use to spring, winter has come back to Baltimore and there is a real chill in the air tonight. I'm sure I will miss this weather during the dog days of summer but now - not so much. It could be that J.J. is merely bored with my artistic pursuits. Hopefully he will perk up when he sees himself starring in the blog tomorrow.

April 22, 2010

"Two Fox Hounds"

Oil on linen mounted on panel 8" x 10"

April 19, 2010

"Oyster with Three Lemons"

Oil on canvas textured ampersand panel 6" x 6"

April 17, 2010


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

To those patient people still checking in daily, who thought perhaps I was stuck in some Northern European country waiting for the volcanic ash to settle, I apologize for not posting more often. I was traveling earlier this week, although thankfully not abroad. I was in Boston on a three day culinary tour. Talk about food that is delicious and bad for you! Scup's in the Harbor, Craigie on Main, Gibbet Hill Farm, Neptune Oyster House and Barbara Lynch's new restaurant Menton were a feast for the eyes and the soul. You will be seeing some food art in the near future. In the meantime here is a fun painting of my friend's Basset Hound - Harvey.

April 7, 2010

"Lobster with drawn butter"

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

Alice Thompson's Calypso Moon Artist Challenge this month has us painting delicious food that is bad for us. She was very specific that it not be healthy food. Beyond that, the world was our oyster. To that end, I choose lobster with drawn butter. Without chemicals my cholesterol would be sky high and I probably should stay away from anything drenched in butter, but I can't help myself. My doctor gave me a choice a few years ago. He said "We can do this with diet and exercise or I can write you a prescription". Tough choice - Duh! Gooey desserts have never held much fascination for me. I grew up with a diabetic mother and two diabetic sisters and sugar-free jello was often the Dessert du Jour in our house. I never got use to eating sweets. Oh, I'll indulge in a hot fudge sundae now and then but I would really rather have a nice hunk of Roquefort than a piece of cake any day. Besides, lobsters are as much fun to paint as they are to eat. How we suffer for our art!

April 4, 2010

"Sammy in the Sunshine"

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

Sammy has probably been thinking 'Hey, what am I chopped liver,?" since, hitherto, he has not been represented on this blog. J.J., Ella, and even little Shirley have all made it to stardom, but not Sam. It's not that I didn't think him worthy -far from it. Painting a black cat presents an artist with an interesting challenge. More often than not they are just a big black blob with piercing green eyes. Sitting in the sun changed that perspective and all his subtle coloration came to the fore and he positively glowed. Like Sammy says - "I gotta be me."

April 1, 2010


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

I've been painting a lot of fur lately so I thought I'd have a go at some feathers for a change. My friend Deb gave me a very faded photo of her long departed yellow nape Amazon parrot Vezzie a while back to see what I could do with it. It was one of those old Polaroid photos which had faded and color shifted. After some internet research, I think (at least I hope) I came close to her original coloration. I really liked the contrast of the greens and the reds. Why Vezzie you ask? According to Deb - "She was named after a heroine in a Victorian novel by Trollope. That character had broken her hip and walked with a limp. She was so vain that she refused to walk in public after that and was carried everywhere in a sedan chair, Of course, pet parrots don't walk or fly - they're carried everywhere. And, pet parrots can be incredibly vain - my beautiful Vezzie certainly was. So, that's where her name came from. She was also wicked smart. She could break out of her cage, in-spite of the fact that it takes several actions taken at the same time to get the cage open. She was a really good talker and could imitate me perfectly. She was my special bud."

March 29, 2010

"Ella and Friend"

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

A normal nightly ritual at the Adams' household before lights out is usually a game of "stick" with our four resident felines. Stick is played by sweeping and wiggling a felt mouse with 5 leather tails attached to a stick enticingly back and forth for their (and my) amusement. Shirley and Ella insist on it, Sammy pretends not to care and hides under the bed until a hidden paw lurches out to get in the game. JJ would like to play but is over-matched by his younger cohorts and usually sits on the sidelines and watches. Two nights ago no one showed up for the game and curious, we went to find out why. What could be more important than "stick?" Well, I'll tell you. How about a real live mouse? All the players, even JJ, had cornered a mouse in the studio and were standing guard. He had taken refuge under the bookcase and they had no intention of letting him saunter off. Normally our bed looks like NFL tonight with a pile of cats and us vying for a comfortable spot. Once settled in, trying to extricate oneself in the middle of the night can be a challenge. Even more so is working yourself back in once they have spread out. Even with a king-sized bed, they take up a lot of real estate. Sometime late that night Sam and JJ crept back to bed, leaving Ella to continue the vigil. By lunchtime all but Shirley were back at it. By this time the poor mouse had become resigned to his fate and would scoot across the studio floor pursued by his tormentors who, too, were exhausted from their all night antics. At one point I think the little guy figured out that if he didn't run, they wouldn't chase him and he actually almost curled up with Ella, who was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open. I grabbed my camera and snapped off a few shots of this tender scene, got a box to put over the mouse who was no worse for the wear and let him outside - much to the kids chagrin and all was back to normal the next night. This scene with Ella and her new friend reminded me of the saddest Christmas carol I have ever heard, which always makes me well-up when I hear it. It's called "The Cat Carol" by Bruce Evans.

The cat wanted in to the warm warm house,
but no one would let the cat in
It was cold outside on Christmas Eve,
She meowed and meowed by the door.

The cat was not let in the warm warm house,
And her tiny cries were ignored.
'twas a blizzard now, the worst of the year,
There was no place for her to hide.

Just then a poor little mouse crept by,
He had lost his way in the snow.
He was on his last legs and was almost froze,
The cat lifted him with her paw.

She said "Poor mouse do not be afraid,
because this is Christmas Eve.
"On this freezing night we both need a friend,
"I won’t hurt you - stay by my side."

She dug a small hole in an icy drift,
This is where they would spent the night.
She curled herself 'round her helpless friend,
Protecting him from the cold.


When Santa came by near the end of the night,
the reindeer started to cry.
They found the cat lying there in the snow,
and they could see that she had died.

They lifted her up from the frozen ground,
and placed her into the sleigh.
It was then they saw the little mouse wrapped up,
she had kept him warm in her fur.

"Oh thank you Santa for finding us!
"Dear cat wake up we are saved!"
..."I’m sorry mouse but your friend has died,
there’s nothing more we can do.

"On Christmas Eve she gave you her life,
the greatest gift of them all."
Santa lifted her up into the night sky,
and laid her to rest among the stars.

"Dear mouse don’t cry you are not alone,
you will see your friend every year.
"Each Christmas a Cat Constellation will shine,
to remind us that her love’s still here."


March 28, 2010


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

I find Facebook an interesting Internet phenomenon. One can lurk in the shadows and yet keep abreast of one's friends' and family's goings on. I personally have no idea or care about what happens in Farmville or what all those hearts and gold stars that all my Facebook "friends" bestow on each other mean. What I do care about is when I read about something extraordinary - whether happy or sad - that happens to one of my friends. "Friend" is a word that is thrown around a bit too casually these days. I have always counted myself blessed to have so many people in my life that I consider true friends. You know - the ones you can call in the middle of the night when
you have broken down on some God-forsaken country road 50 miles from home and they will rub the sleep from their eyes, pull on their pants and come get you. It's what friends do. Don't get me wrong, I am pleased and fascinated by my Facebook "friends." It's nice to know that even a few total strangers consider me interesting enough to want me as their "friend." But the real point of this is that I recently saw a post about the passing of my friend's friend's dog. I only met the dog's owner once or twice at a party, but I was so moved by the photos of his beloved Muzzy and the touching comments from those who knew her, that I wanted to paint her portrait to honor her memory. She has a regal look about her, perhaps owing to the Elizabethan collar of white fur around her nape. The floral ottoman allowed for some fun brushwork and gave the painting some quiet femininity.

March 11, 2010

"Mardi Gras Beads and Corks"

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

This is my submission to the 2nd challenge of the Calypso Moon Artist Movement. The challenge was to "take only two things that you collect and make an interesting painting that reflects your personality and/or history." This was not an easy task, as I collect lots of things. To the uninitiated I might even be considered a hoarder, which is neither true nor fair. Being an artist, I see the potential in things as possible grist for the creative mill. Corks, wine foils, beer caps, wishbones, cigar bands, hats, fortune cookie fortunes and Mardi Gras beads are but a small sampling of what is in the hundreds of boxes in the basement. I have been saving wishbones since I was 11 and have thousands. I have bushel baskets of wine corks which make great bulletin boards. With the advent of the Stelvin closure, a.k.a. the screw cap, corks are fast becoming a thing of the past (insert Boones Farm Strawberry Hill reference/joke here). I know screw caps are better at preserving wine but the theatrics and pageantry of the sommelier is diminished by a mere quick twist of the wrist. I wonder - if a bad bottle of wine is "corked" is a bad Stelvin capped bottle "screwed"?

The bead collection started years ago when I was down in New Orleans (duh!) for Mardi Gras. My wife and I were walking back to our hotel after the Orpheus Ball, dressed in black tie and gown and we happened on the tail end of a Mardi Gras parade. We later found out that you must get rid of all your throws before the end of the parade, so timing is everything. You want to have enough to last the whole parade but since they reuse the floats, you have to jettison everything in the last two blocks, which is where we were. The revelers were lobbing beads by the gross, still wrapped in their plastic bags. Armfuls of beads came raining down on us. I could barely carry my treasure back to the room. Needless to say I was hooked!

Alice wanted us to demonstrate our creative process, so here are some work in progress pics:

Here is a rare photo of one the larger cork boards I have made. Rare because it is not completely covered with stuff push pinned to it as it will be is a few months time, since we just moved in and I took the old detritus off during the move. Empty vertical surfaces are almost as much a clutter magnet to an artist (at least to this artist) as a horizontal one. Note the wishbone drying in the upper left corner.