February 28, 2012


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

This is Hammie, the pot-bellied pig. He lives in Hampstead, MD with a menagerie of his friends. He is the lone pig among a host of llamas, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens and cats - lots and lots of cats. Hammie has a face only a mother could love (and his human mother does, dearly - in fact this porcine portrait is a surprise birthday gift for her so those of you who know her please keep it to yourselves), but as the saying goes, "He has a winning personality." Indeed, you might call him a stupendous pig.

February 24, 2012

"Amy smoking"

Oil on linen mounted on wooden panel - 8" x 10"

It's ironic that that act of lighting up a cigarette has been elevated to fetish status. It wasn't that long ago that "smoking or non-smoking?" was a question asked before being seated in restaurants and on airplanes. How times have changed.

(This was another painting that didn't photograph well. It is quite nice in reality but the subtle hues in the flesh are lost and the glare in the hair spoils the piece. Arrrgh!)

February 21, 2012

"Tujaque's Sazeracs"

Oil on linen mounted on panel - 6" x 8"

In honor of Mardi Gras, I have painted the bartender at Tujaque's Restaurant on Decatur Street in New Orleans mixing up one of the Big Easy's most famous cocktails - the Sazerac. Made with rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe, it is an acquired taste. I just happen to have the ingredients on my bar so I may just have to make myself one. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Sazerac cocktail:
  • 1 cube or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
  • Splash water, about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • Splash Herbsaint (or Pernod), about 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  • Ice

February 15, 2012

Tools of the Trade - Diana Moses Botkin's Art Challenge - February 2012

"Tools of the trade - Bartender"
Oil on museum quality ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 8"

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am flattered to have been asked to join the Diana Moses Botkin's Art Challenge Group. The February subject was "tools of the trade." Since it need not have been one's own trade, I choose the tools of a profession I very much admire. Having the proud distinction of having a cocktail named after me at The Dogwood, one of Baltimore's best restaurants, I have had occasion to see these tools put to good use. The drink is the "Mark Adams" martini:

Mark Adams $11
spicy and dirty: Serrano pepper-infused
vodka, shaken and served up and dirty, garnished
with olives and pickled okra (not for
the faint of heart)

Also, as a Harley guy, I am partial to chrome. There is a biker saying (which I don't subscribe to): "Chrome won't get you home!" After a few of these a cab will get you home.

Here are my fellow challenge artist works for February:

"A Painter's Handful" 10"x8" oil
©2012Mary Maxam

Barber's Tools
6"x 8" oil on hardboard
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

"Paints" 6"x6" oil
©2012 Becky Joy

"Bluebird En Plein Air"
oil on panel, 4x4"
©Vicki Ross

"Tool of the Trade"
Oil on canvas
©2012 Suzanne Berry


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

As you will see in my next post - I have become a new member of fellow daily painter Diana Moses Botkin's "Art Challenge Group." Challenge groups like these are very beneficial in exercising the little grey cells. Once a month a new subject is chosen and explored. The finished works are kept secret from the other members of the group until the day they are revealed and posted. This month's topic was "tools of the trade." As you can imagine, some of the group did not venture past the tools at hand in the studio. A wealth of material is there to be sure. I guess technically I, too, did not leave the confines of my workspace, but how many artists have a fully stocked bar in their studio? It's a good thing there is no Guinness on tap or I would get even less done than I do.

What does all this have to do with little Ruby here? I'm glad you asked. I almost used her as my "tools of the trade" painting. You see, Ruby was a tool of the trade, a casualty of a puppy mill. A retired breeding bitch, she was cast off and sent to a shelter after her usefulness as a breeder was gone. Her teeth are non-existent. Her jaw was broken and poorly set. Her tongue, with no teeth to hold it in, hangs from her mouth in a sad, but smile inducing sort of way. (I painted her "good" side, but she is adorable on both) Weighing in at a mere 8 pounds, even for her breed she is tiny. The shelter reached out to an Italian Greyhound rescue group and my friends down in Texas fell in love with their first Iggy. Ruby could not have asked for a better forever home.

February 2, 2012


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

I still had a bit of paint mixed up from the previous night's session and thought I could put it to good use. Whoever it was that gave me the tip about freezing the palette to retard drying - thank you, thank you, thank you!

The leftover pigment was used to paint this piece. Have you ever known a standard poodle that was afraid of the water? Well, I have. His name is Louie (or should that be Louis?) Whatever. Anyway, Louie has the same enthusiasm for the water as I have for boats. He'll fetch a tennis ball all day, but throw it in a pool, river, stream or estuary and all you get is a quizzical look, as if to say "Surely, you don't expect me to go in there and get that!" This day, my friend was determined to show him how much fun it is and gave him a little(?) nudge into the pool. He was not amused.

The photograph of the painting is not particularly too good. I didn't post it last night, thinking that a wash of north light might help. It didn't. Like people, some paintings just don't photograph well. Here it is nonetheless, just to prove I'm still stroking away.

February 1, 2012

"Tennis anyone?"

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

I wanted to have a bit of fun tonight so this seemed appropriate. I like the abstract quality of the water. The local pool welcomes dogs to come and swim on the last day before closing for the season. There were a lot of happy pups enjoying the day. This guy was no exception.