Thursday, January 31, 2008


After 23 paintings I feel it is time to move on. The series is losing its freshness and I am losing my enthusiasm. I have had to push to complete the last few paintings and I suspect that shows in the work.

I’m anxious to get back to some more traditional landscapes, as well as exploring other ways of marrying my interests in representational painting and abstraction. I have several ideas fermenting in my mind, some of which will borrow from my experience with the window series. Time will tell!

Here are the last of the windows:

Distant Peaks (Window #24) acrylic 12x15

window #23 acrylic 12x24

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Farm at Dawn acrylic 24x48

I love to eat good food, and even more, I love sharing the food, wine, and table with friends and family.

I also love to cook. Well, let me qualify that; I love to cook pasta. Which is fortunate, because we eat pasta a minimum of 4 times a week, not counting leftover lunches, something I attribute to my upbringing. In our home we ate pasta faithfully every Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, and before anything else on holidays and special occasions. It was not until later in my life that I realized how much I missed out by not talking more to my mom about her cooking and getting her “recipes”. The few times I did ask about how she prepared something she would reply, “Billy I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have recipes, I just add a little of this and a little of that...” I never pushed it.

I understand now what she meant. She cooked with whatever was available, simply mixing and matching to create the most wonderful meals. I can still see my father, sitting at the table leaning on his elbow with hands clasped in front of him and emitting such a satisfying “ahaaa”, as my mother placed a dish of spaghetti in front of him.

Both parents are gone, and here I am, 68 years old, and trying mightily to recreate at least something of my mothers kitchen. I’ve learned to focus my efforts on pasta, and if i can’t re-create my mothers dishes, I can at least follow her process and learn to cook with what is available. There is no doubt that this interest in the food and cooking is an attempt to hold on tomy familie’s heritage, knowing that in another generation only small remnants of it will remain.

I read recipes in the few cooking magazines I get, and in our small collection of cook books, and will occasionally prepare a meal from them. But mostly I look at them for ideas about what foods, seasoning, herbs,etc.,can be combined. I have no culinary background, and like my art, I am self taught. I am guided by my taste and smell. (I rarely taste food while cooking; I use the aroma as a guide.)

All the prepping and cooking is done on the large Island in our kitchen where 5 people can be comfortably be served. Friends and family sit here with wine and cheese while I prepare the meal.

I have a routine of sorts, depending on the choice of sauce being prepared. First and foremost, I glass of wine for the cook; it is not possible to prepare a good meal without a bit of sipping wine nearby. If no meat or seafood is involved, the first thing I do is sauté garlic and onions, with a dash of red pepper flakes, in olive oil. The aroma alone makes this all worthwhile! If the sauce is to have meat or seafood I will brown it in the olive oil first, remove and set aside, and de-glaze the pan with wine before adding the garlic and onions. Beyond this point all routine breaks down and I proceed according to the ingredients involved.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Window #22 acrylic on canvas 36x24"

Still another variation of the theme. I don't know how much longer I will keep this up. (Haven't I said that before?) This image is not the best, I coudn't get rid of the sheen on the right side. There is one more in progress, and after that, who knows.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


or...What am I doing sitting on this pile of trash in an empty city lot?

It was a Thursday morning around 9 AM, sometime in the spring-summer of the mid 1970s, a time when I should have been attending Medical Grand Rounds at the hospital. This was a weekly presentation by the medical residents of interesting case reports to the rest of the house staff and attending physicians. It was, and perhaps still is, a weekly ritual, one that I had been attending faithfully for the past 6 years.

So what was I doing sitting on a stack of empty mattresses in the middle of an empty city lot? I was drawing the back of a row of dilapidated houses, entranced by the texture and shapes of the scene before me. I was in the process of discovering the artist that had been tucked away somewhere deep within, a process that would take about 4-5 years. To say it was pure pleasure would be less than true; guilt and insecurity where right beside me on that mattress. My lines of thought went something like this; “what am I thinking, sitting out here when I should be at Grand Rounds? This is ridiculous, thinking that I am an artist, or could become one. All I can do is draw small sketches with this Parker 45 fountain pen, shit, I can’t even paint!” And on and on, you can get the point.

But, guilt and insecutity were not enough to pull me away, and I found myself spending more Thursday mornings in the city streets with my sketch book than in medical grand rounds. I carried a small canvas shoulder bag holding my sketch book, papers, pencils, and always, my faithful Parker 45. Within a few years of that experience I began cutting back on my office hours to create more time for my art.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Windows #21 acrylic on canvas 12x48


Iit only took a few days before I knew what I was going to do with this. I wonder why an "idea" waits several days to happen?
This is a slight variation from the other windows - not very much- and I expect they will continue to evolve. The painting currently in progress varies a bit more.

For all who have asked, I am feeling well, overcoming physical stresses that a lesser man could not have done. OK, so that may be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but I am feling much better, thank you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


detail from oil pastel - Distant light

Yesterday I surprised an old friend with a phone call. It has been at least 15 years since we last saw one another and it was oh so grand to hear his voice again. Pat is one of the few people I know that can make me laugh just by thinking about him. I love talking to him; I know I will laugh and that he will, in turn, bring out the comic in me. I think we share a gene for a specific sense of humor, or perhaps we simply disarm one another; whatever the reason, it is impossible to talk with Pat and not feel good ( similar to my experiences with my high school classmate, Stanley).

One day, while working in the ER, I called Pat and told him to come down to see me. I had a poster I created of our local Italian Festival that I wanted to give him. He did, and during our talk he mentioned the chest pain he had been experiencing. The more we talked about it the more concerned I became, and eventually I urged him to sign in as a patient so I could run a few studies. Fortunately the EKG and blood work were normal and we both felt relieved. I saw him a few weeks later and he said “...Jesus Bill, that free poster cost me over $300.00 in ER bills!”, and we both laughed. At least I THINK he laughed.

Our relationship was limited to doctor-patient and work place encounters. The friendship did not extend beyond that. Thinking about it now I realize what I may have missed out on, the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with a person I liked and admired. And more than that, to have as a dear and close friend someone who makes you laugh and feel good is truly a blessing. Friends like Pat and Stanley should never be taken for granted. I am grateful for the time I have been able to spend with them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


In progress acrylic 12x48

Unless I have a specific scene in mind, I well often start on a new canvas by selecting a color and value scheme. In this case it will be another of my "window" paintings, but I would do the same with a landscape by choosing a sky color and value. This is as for as I've gotten with this piece. The close, light values makes it a bit of a challange. I painted the background almost 2 months ago and only yesterday decided on the windows. I'll look at for awhile and trust that the rest of the painting will make itself known to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Two years ago a gallery responded to my submissions saying they liked the work, but did not carry artwork under glass (I submitted a CD of my pastels). That, along with my growing problem with framing costs, was enough to make me do what I had been talking about doing for years...begin working on canvas with acrylics and oil.

I started with acrylics, thinking I could do with them what I was doing with the soft pastels, but soon found out that was not the case. I was working on panels and canvases, 24x24 and smaller and as I gained some facility with the new medium found a process that felt comfortable. Here is one of the early pieces.

Stormy Sky canvas 18x22

Soon I felt the itch to work larger, 30x40, 24x48, and eventually 48x60. It was with my first attempt that I learned that working larger required a looser and more intuitive approach, and I began using the palette knife more than the brush. My landscapes became bolder, more colorful, and incorporated abstract to semiabstract elements.

Dark Forest 30x40 the first large canvas

Somewhere Else, the first 48x60" canvas

I now work in all sizes, from 5x5” to 48x60 (the largest my studio can accommodate) and am enjoying the freedom to explore a wide variety of techniques, depending on the goal of the painting. The smaller work is generally tighter and more literal than the larger pieces.

Monday, January 21, 2008


acrylic on panel 24x24"

Inevitably, every artist is asked that question about their art at one time or another. My usual answer is I’m not trying to say anything, but the question, and my answer, would leave me feeling unsettled.

Should I be “saying something” with my art? Is that what real artists do, and does that mean I’m not a real artist or a serious artist? As I have written before, living in an artist community has exposed me to endless conversations with other artists about art, its meaning, and most anything else one could imagine coming up in such conversations. For a self-taught representational artist, being submerged in this community of artists and talking about concept art and abstraction was heady stuff. After years of being very comfortable with my art I found myself insecure and uncomfortable and only recently have worked my way back to feeling comfortable and secure in what I do.

And what is it that I do? I paint to create harmony and beauty. Whether it is a pastoral scene, an urban landscape, or an abstraction, my only goal is to create an image that I, and the viewer, can embrace. I am not trying to say or accomplish anything more than that. As a physician my efforts were directed toward helping people feel better; my art is an extension of that work. As every artist knows, some works succeed more than others.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Following is the next page of narrative and the art work in Have I Told You Today That I love You.

from an acrylic on canvas 36x48"

In the course of your lifetime you will come to know and learn much. Your mind will incorporate data from countless hours of listening, reading, and observing, where it will be filtered and stored, all very rational. But there is another way of knowing, irrational or non cerebral, not in the head, but in the heart. A sense of knowing felt deeply within yourself, where it may come to you directly, out of the blue with no previous inclination of such, or it may be something you have known in your head, but suddenly experience at another level, finding yourself saying, “so that’s what they meant when they said...”. What I hope to share with you is what I have come to learn and know, at that deeper level, in the course of my lifetime. I cannot trace its origin, which is far too diverse to remember, but all of it I know, deep in my heart, to be true for me. Reading and remembering this is fine, but only when you incorporate it into your heart, when you truly know it, does it become wisdom by which you will guide yourself. I am not so presumptuous as to believe that I am the only one who can tell you of these matters. You will read and hear from others much wiser and learned than me. And of course you will live through your own experiences, folding into your own body of wisdom those which you choose. I write this because I have often been helped by the words of others, and perhaps, in some way, these words will help you.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The initial impetus to start this blog last fall was to create a venue to promote my book, HAVE I TOLD YOU TODAY THAT I LOVE YOU, and, over the life of the blog I have posted excerpts from time to time, along with the artwork. But I have never really explained or described the genesis and the purpose of the book. I would like to do that today.

For the first 35 years I lived my life on the surface, fulfilling expectations that I, and others, had for me, without much deep, critical thought on my part. They were good years, and I was very satisfied and happy with the choices I made: college, medical school, marriage, residency, and eventually private practice. But after 4-5 years a growing desire for a deeper and more meaningful spiritual life led me on journey that opened an entirely new dimension to life; I discovered the inner life. A life where we can discover who and what we really are, a life wherein lies our dreams, our souls or our psyches. I believe everyone interprets this “place” from their own unique perspective. In a recent post I referred to it as the “spiritual sweet spot”. What ever we choose to call it, I believe it is all the same.

That journey lasted for 4 or 5 years, during which time I discovered the artist within me, and found the courage and will to set him free. It was as painful as it was liberating, and there were many lessons to be learned. And it is the experiences and the lessons from that journey that I felt obligated to pass on to my children. I want them to live their lives as freely as I have lived mine.

Below is the preface from the book and the artwork that preceded it. (Every page of text has a facing page of art.)


These words come from a place deep within me, born out of times of anguish, frustration, joy and sorrow, successes and failures, and seasoned by liberal doses of anxiety, depression, and self doubt in a spiritual awakening that literally transformed my life. I discovered my soul. Th ese experiences have come together to form a central force that has guided my life, enabling me to navigate a personal journey that at one time was unthinkable. I am indebted to others who, through their writing, have shared the experiences and lessons of their own personal journeys. I hope that I can do the same for those that follow me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

THAT DEVIOUS LITTLE DEVIL aka the voice in my brain

The human body is truly amazing. Mine, or at least parts of it, has rapidly adjusted to this contraption that extends from within the bladder to a bag strapped to my leg. It has quickly gone from a painful and uncomfortable situation to one of minor discomfort and moderate inconvenience, all within 48 hours. And it is not without some real benefits. I don't have to stop what I'm doing to pee, and I no longer have to get up at night am make the trip to the bathroom.

And, for the past 2 mornings my dear wife has brought breakfast to me as I sit most comfortably in this recliner here in my study. That is a treat that I could really get used to and the devious devil that from time to time finds his way out of my cellar begins asking, how can we extend this perk for a few more days? What if I shuffled across the room, wincing and sighing when I sit down or get up; would that be enough to convince her that I'm still disabled and in need of ongoing sensitive care? After all, Patience is the ultimate care giver. Her caring skills are unmatched by any others I have seen. Wouldn't I be doing her a great service, giving her the opportunity to exercise one of her many special gifts?

However I am happy to say that the devious little devil has been denied his fantasies and forced back into the cellar where he belongs. Today I will make my way to the studio and try to work on a a painting in progress, and tomorrow morning I will get up and fix my own breakfast. (maybe)

Thanks to everyone for your kind word and well wishes. And the painting for the day is:

Forgotten Morning Clay Mono type apox 14x24" circa 1999 (not all of my clay mono types have been abstractions.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Purple on Purple Oil Pastel on Acrylic background on panel 11x14

I read or heard somewhere that "all art is derivative". Well this proves it. Looking into older images for something to post (to keep the Villager happy) this morning I found this oil pastel. I did a series of these pieces about 3 years ago. All were done on top of old clay monotypes which were printed on a non-woven fabric, thus the deep texture. Late in the series I mounted several on panels with an acrylic background. I was working in the "Windows" series 3 years ago and didn't know it!


Boys and young men can write their names in the snow. Middle aged+ men must generally be satisfied with initials, and men 60 and above are just grateful if their shoes don’t get wet. Sadly, I am in the last category, and only with the help of medication have I been able to keep my shoes dry. But the writing was on the wall (no pun intended), and the time had come for more drastic intervention.

Enter the age of “TUNA”, transurethral needle ablation of the prostate. Actually not the entire prostate, just the rim of tissue so inconveniently compressing the urethral outflow. Sensibilities prevent me from going into the details of this procedure, only to say that they do things that civilized people should not do to one another. Probes, needles, catheters, and radio waves are employed in the most creative manner. The good news is, it was over in an hour. The bad news is a catheter remains in place for a week.

Fortunately when it comes to pain and discomfort I am a tiger! Did I mention that yesterday? OK, so I felt a little faint when I got off the table after the procedure, but even tigers get a little woozy at times. But during the procedure I cried for ONLY 3 minutes when the good Dr. injected my prostate with lidocaine. And during the transurethral treatment I did not scream and kick him more than 3 or 4 times. Well, maybe 5.

My dear wife Patience drove the 2 1/2 hours home, and since then, with her tender care, aided by my very infrequent doses of percocet, and her wonderful soup, I have been on the mend.

Now if only I can get rid of this damn catheter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Did this painting the same time as the 2 recent "windows"...I like to have several pieces in progress simultaneously.

Orange Grandeur Acrylic on canvas 24x30

Monday, January 14, 2008


OK, it's time to lighten up a bit. Here are the 2 latest Windows. In the first, I abandoned the tree, but not for long. It quickly returned, and I expect it will be around for awhile.

Window #19

Window #20 (aka the return of the trees)

A bit of outpatient surgery tomorrow, so I don't know if I will have a post, but, being the tiger that I am, I am planning on one.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


And this is one of those days; I walk around the studio and into the gallery, looking at all the work, and I just don’t know. What am I doing and why am I doing it?

There is no firm ground on which to stand. Just when I think I have found the place, it shifts beneath my feet throwing me off balance. My head tells me...this is the way it is, this is the journey, and the destination is secondary. I know this, and yet. There is always an “and yet”; the heart simply cannot keep up with the head, or is it the other way around? The heart being one or two steps ahead?

I have completed 2 new paintings, and neither has any enthusiasm that shows. Another is in progress, and I am excited about the prospects, and yet...the nagging question...why am I doing this.

Often, writing about something will lead me to an understanding, if not an answer. But I don’t know if that will be the case this morning. I hope so. I really want to find that that center, that place where everything comes together, that spiritual sweet spot.

I cannot stop thinking about David, my parents, Cathy, and all of the gentle people I knew, and all that I never knew. Some have gone before their time, others in their time, and thinking about them makes me sad. I thought I wanted to be happy today, to paint freely with loud music bouncing around the studio. But perhaps I really want to be sad; maybe this is one of those days when we feel the need to quietly wrap ourselves in a soft blanket of melancholy and remember the ones we loved and lost. This doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, maybe we have to do this periodically to keep our balance in life.

I Think I will listen to Jerry Orbach, Luciano Pavarotti, Johnny Cash, and john Denver, celebrating their lives, even as I mourn for David, my parents, and Cathy.

Sometimes you just don’t know where writing in a journal will lead you.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Within 1 block of our home are 9 artists. Walk another block and there are 7 more and in another 1-2 blocks there are another 16. (this is an unofficial count-I’ve probably missed several writers and muscians.) Every second Saturday 25+ galleries and studios are open, and usuallly there is music at one or more of the venues. Our neighborhood coffee shop has live music on weekends, and hosts a writers gathering several times a month.

I am not exagerating when I say it is a great place for an artist to live and work, surrounded by an inspiring community of artists that freely shares ideas and techniques and supports each others endeavors.

And regarding that “dream house” of ours. Well this is what it looks like now, with an addition on the back for the studio and gallery. And have I mentioned that we have nine whippets living with us? That is Delia, my constant companion, standing watch at the gallery door. She was one of the gang of 9 until 2 years ago when she suddenly decided she was meant to be my dog, and has been with me, everywhere, since then.

Here are the "after" pictures of our dream house.

Friday, January 11, 2008


from my journal, 1-10-08

The 2 young men walked into the gallery for the first time about 2 years ago. As I do with all visitors I welcomed them to Gallery 5, introduced myself, and learned that they were members of the 101st Airborne stationed in nearby Fort Campbell. They were interested in art and were visiting the Lowertown galleries for the first time. They were quiet, but not shy, and spent a great deal of time looking at all the art and seemed to enjoy just being in the gallery and studio. Yes, they had served in Iraq and were glad to be back home. I remember being impressed at how nonplussed they were about that, as if it was all very routine. I also remember the uncertainty I felt trying to understand what appeared to be a contradicion, 2 young, very professional appearing soldiers so interested in art.

I told them I would take 50% off the price of anything they wanted, and Richard bought a small clay mono type. David told me how his father would enjoy seeing my work since he worked creating art for the major studios in Hollywood.

Over the next 12-18 months they returned 3 or 4 times, each time spending no less than 30-45 minutes looking at the art and talking about how they enjoyed the opportunity to do so. David spoke frequently and fondly about his father who obviously instilled in his son the appreciation of art.. They were both anticipating returning to Iraq in the fall of 2007 with their now familiar casualess. David’s wife accompanied them on these visits, and on their last visit his dad was with them. He seemed to enjoy the art just as his son said he would and that visit lasted well over and hour.. When they left my last words to them were, “take care of yourselves and come back to see me”. I admired them for their uncomplaining commitment to their tasks as soldiers, simply doing what was expected of them.

This morning the studio phone rang and the caller ID listed an out of town number I did not recognize. As soon as David’s dad identified himself, his voice flat and halting, I knew, and the tears began as he told me that “David fell”: he was killed by a sniper’s bullet while on patrol 2 days ago. The pain and grief in his voice was palpable. My own grief was immediate and uncontrollable, made worse when he told me how much David enjoyed his visits to my gallery and would I please send a copy of my book to David’s wife, and one to him. It seems such a small thing to do for such a great sacrifice.

That was early this morning. Now my sadness is accompanied by anger. I am angry that we are told we are at war, and yet nothing is asked of us. Our military is at war, the thousands of young men and women who are in Iraq, and those that have been there are at war. Their families, parents, spouses, children, and other loved ones are at war. Richard is at war and David was at war. David’s death has made the war personal for me.

An “I support our troops” bumper sticker doesn’t do it. All americans should be sharing the sacrifices that these young men and women and their families are bearing. It is the responsibility of our leaders to show us how. Instead we are not allowed to see and feel the tragedies of war, it is hidden from us, presented only in a sanitized form. And that is a disservice to David, his family and his comrades. My anger is not about whether or not this is a justifiable war, it is about the way in which it is not allowed to truly enter into our collective consciousness. It is about the leaders who are afraid to ask the country to make any real sacrifices because we have this wonderful all volunteer military, and they can do it for us.

(I will complete the Paducah artist relocation program tomorrow)

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Domes on Broadway pastel 24x38

In February, 2001 we commit ourselves to the program and in the fall we purchase our “dream home”. Construction begins early the following spring, and by August of 2002 we are in our new home in our new neighborhood in our new town.

During this time Mark Barone and the city were busy little beavers, receiving numerous inquiries and visits by other artists from all over the country. By the time we arrived Charlotte and Ike and Freda were already here, and shortly afterwards we were joined by Mark P. and Denise and Craig, and the Lowertown art district began to have faces and names! Others soon followed: Nancy and Charlie, Paul and Louis, Lorrie,and Marta and Joel.
The community grew exponentially, far beyond what anyone honestly anticipated, and it was exciting to be a part of that experience. (The artists mentioned here, and those that followed, can be found on the programs web site, The city of Paducah and the folks at Paducah Bank welcomed us warmly, as did the residents of Lowertown who persisted through its difficult times. Since its inception 60-70 new residents have moved into the neighborhood, most of them artists (painters, printmakers, photographers, writers, scultpers, architects, and potters.)

Freda's home and studio-later moved her studio to Studio Miska

Marta & Joel-home, studio, and gallery

Nancy and Charlie, home and studio/gallery

Lewis & Paul, home, studio, and gallery

The city was doing more than recruiting artists; the new River Heritage Museum was completed and included the Maiden Alley Cinema, the home of the Paducah Film Society, and construction began on the 40+ million dollar Performing Arts Center, to be the home of major performing artists, local presentations, and a series of Broadway shows. (Jerry Seinfeld is appearing tonite and tomorrow.)

Next- 803 Madison St. and Gallery 5

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


After a leisurely breakfast at the B&B we met Mark Barone who preceded to give us the “tour” and the soft sell, or was it a hard sell? Mark is an artist who lived in Lowertown and was the driving force behind the relocation program. At this point I don’t remember the order in which the day unfolded, but in its course we toured the lowertown neighborhood, and met the directors of the American Quilt Society Museum, the River Heritage Museum, the Yeiser Art Center, and the Market House Theater. We met the city planner, several city commissioners, and had lunch with the mayor. It was their energy and enthusiasm for the program and the city that impressed me more than anything else.

As far as Lowertown was concerned, well, I really was not that impressed. The neighborhood of approximately 24 square blocks is listed on the national registry of historic places and consisted of a very eclectic mixture of homes, apartment buildings and abandoned store fronts. There were pockets of well maintained lovely victorian homes and cottages, but these were outnumbered by derelict structures in need of severe attention, as well as some forlorn buildings that begged to be demolished. To call them “fixer uppers” was a real stretch. Their greatest appeal was their affordability. Rehab cost was another matter.

As usual, my wife was right, and even though I wouldn’t acknowledge it to myself, and we would return soon for a closer look, there was a place within me that had already made the decision. It doesn’t surprise me since this is the way in which I have made so many of the major decisions in my life.

We returned to Paducah two months later and found our “dream home”, hoping we could buy it before it was demolished.

803 Madison St. Our dream home!

Me and 803

Demolition order on 803

When P’s friends, who were already upset at my taking her so far away from them, saw these pictures they threatened to take out a contract on me

The back yard at 803

Interior of what would become our dining room and kitchen.

I will have more to say about Paducah, our new home, and the artists that would soon be joining us in future posts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


A bit of Paducah WC aprox. 12x30

Seven years ago this month Patience and I visited Paducah for the first time. I saw the small ad in Art Calendar that read, “Artist Relocation Program”, Paducah Kentucky. It was eight years after opening our new medical practice on our farm and I was growing increasingly anxious to return to my art, looking forward to be able to give it all of my time and energy.
As a result, I was quite susceptible to anything that might promise me that opportunity.

We decided to visit in January, thinking we should see the town in mid winter when everything looks bleak and forlorn, putting it to a rather severe test. It is a long 14-15 hour drive from our farm in Maryland to Paducah, and we arrived outside the town just after dark. We were both somewhat anxious as we approached the city from the south side loop, and became very quiet, keeping our skepticism to ourselves as we drove by the cement plant and the large fuel tanks on rt. 60 just outside of town. I thought to myself, “what in the hell are we doing here”, and was certain that P was thinking the same thing. Our anxiety was heightened by a bit of confusion caused by my navigating; I thought we were entering from the west side (Park Ave.), and drove through town twice before figuring this out. We had reservations at the Harbor Plaza B&B, and by the time we turned onto Broadway we were both pretty “wired”.

We were greeted by a quiet downtown street, illuminated by festive Christmas lights and lined with well manicured turn of the century buildings, everything my urban loving heart desired after 17 years of farm life. I loved it! We located the B&B and met Beverly, our delightful hostess, who led us to our room, a warm and wondrous highly Victorian cocoon that eliminated the last remnants of our anxieties. Next on our agenda was dinner, and for this we walked to the end of the block to Jeremiah’s, where we enjoyed our first meal in Paducah.

We had plans to meet Mark Barone in the morning who would show us the city and tell us about the relocation program. But P is convinced that as soon as I turned onto Broadway she knew we would be coming to Paducah.

next post...Lowertown and more

Jerimiah's...(restaurant on the right) WC 22x30

Monday, January 7, 2008


My show has closed and the work is now hanging in Gallery 5. Here are several more watercolors from the show.

Why did I wait so long 7x10

What am I doing here aprox 30x18

If I stand here 8x15

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Those of you who have been visiting this blog know of my fondness for architecture. I have written about recyciling paintings and painting in series. Today I thought it would be interesting to look at three paintings of the same subject, each created with a slightly different approach. The structure, which looks like it belongs in the plains of the midwest and/or Canada, actually sits in the middle of a small farming community in rural southern New Jersey, just a few miles from my hometown. I love this building because each side reveals a different set of clutter and texture.

This was the first painting, pastel on illustation board, and my first piece accepted into the PSA's anual juried show.

My second effort, a mixed media on panel which is currenly in my gallery.

The third effort, pastel on illustration board.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I have deliniated the shapes/spaces by enhancing the colors with pastel. One of the difficult parts of working in this manner is knowing when the work is done. I am inclined to think this is finished, but will keep in on the easel to look at for a while before making the final declaration. I confess there is an inclination to place some small, dark object somewhere in this piece - NOT A TREE - so Aynex can relax.

Friday, January 4, 2008


In Progress 30x40

I'm still working on this piece, allowing it to direct itself. This is the shape it appears to be taking at this time. I'm working with only 3 colors, red, yellow-orange, and purple, applied in repeated loose washes. The geometric shapes emerged yesterday. I don't think it's finished, and am considering adding soft pastels to enhance the colors.

A recent pastel, completed last week. 20x30

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Some memories never fade, but retain their same intensity over many years. Was it really 30 years ago (3-78) that I wrote about the death of this sad man? While so many other faces have long since left, his face and his voice remain with me, along with a handful of others, to remind me of a life I have left behind. On the few occasions when I write about patients I have cared for, I change the name to maintain their privacy. But I cannot make myself do that today because I feel it would be a disservice to this man who for so long felt so alone and angry.
Mr. Santoro died today.

May he find the peace and love he felt denied to him while he lived.
I’m sorry Mr.Santoro, truly sorry that I could not make your life a happier one.

You are peaceful now, I have never seen you look so tranquil...
Your face so relaxed.

It is not the face of a dead man.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


I’m always amazed at how often I fail to appreciate the most obvious. I recently commented about the muses leaving me for awhile, but the truth is, I LEFT THEM. I left my comfort zone when I began pushing at the boundaries with my window paintings. Suddenly I find myself facing large fields of color and texture, but with no horizon to define sky and foreground, and no specific subject. For a landscape painter, this is a little unsettling.

Somehow the abstract work I’ve done with the clay mono types is not helping me now. I have just completed this large piece, (30x40")using thin acrylic washes of red and diazoxide purple on coldpress illustraton board, and have spent the last 48 hours looking at it, not knowing what the next step will be.

I see two options:
1. proceed as I normally would and work on the board with pastels, creating a landscape, with or without windows.

2. proceed in an entirely new direction, which includes stopping now and considering the piece finished, or, experimenting with other options.

It helps to think of this exercise as a test that artists periodically impose on themselves, consciously or unconsciously, to probe their comfort zones and push at their borders. It does not necessarily mean that change, dramatic or minor, is needed. The result my simply be to reinforce one’s current work, and that there is more to do and learn where we are.

I will let you know how I resolve this issue.