Saturday, May 31, 2008



Love between a man and a woman is an illogical, irrational phenomenon that is far beyond my ability to describe or explain. I would strongly recommend the seventh letter in Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. (I recommend that you read all of those letters.) Having said this let me off er just a few observations on the subject.

Love is hard work. Falling in love can be quite easy; it is maintaining that love that demands our time and energies. Don’t expect it just to happen; people can change in significant ways over the years, and if left unattended, love can be victimized by these changes.

Love should be gracious and spacious, allowing ample room for individual growth. One of the most important responsibilities in a loving relationship is to enable one another to become the person they are intended to be. Love exists for us to serve others, not for us to be served.

This is not without some risk. One partner may out grow the other, but there is a greater risk both to the person and the marriage if growth is stifled.

There is absolutely no place in love for oppression, and restriction. To love someone is not to possess them.

Apply these same principles to your relationship with your children. Respect and trust your child for the individual person that he or she is. Drench them with love, guide them with a consistent but light hand, allowing them to make mistakes. They will anyway, and it is always easier for them if they can count on your love, understanding, and forgiveness. Love does not preclude other signifi cant relationships. One person cannot be expected to be everything to the other. A strong, loving relationship is not threatened by other relationships.

You can never say, “I love you” too often or too loud.

Friday, May 30, 2008


In recent days I have been struggling (unsuccessfully) with an abstract painting on a 36x36” canvas. Working on series of black, white, and red paintings my goal was to move from landscapes to total abstraction. For some reason I have been weighed down with the notion that this was necessary for me to really be an accomplished contemporary artist. This was not my first attempt at abstraction. Of course none of my abstract paintings ever succeeded, but I worked on, undeterred by my failures even as I grew suspicious of my motives. Yesterday'
s failure changed everything.

Why it has taken me so long is beyond my understanding, but today it is clear to me that I have been trying to be something that I am not. I am not an abstract painter. I want, need, desire, crave, (take your pick of words) at least one thing to keep me grounded in realism. For most of my work it has been the horizon or something of the built environment. What I really want to paint are landscapes, either rural or urban, where I can stretch reality and objectivity to any degree I choose, as in this last of the series of tree lines

White Tree line acrylic on canvas 12x48 sold

Regarding that 36x36" canvas...consider it a work in progress to be posted soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


A few weeks ago I came across an old painting, a small, unsuccessful attempt at a collage, and immediately covered it with gesso. Afterwards I applied and blotted multiple layers of acrylic washes until I had a "background" that satisfied me. Then once again I began the mental search for a subject, and once again I settled upon a tree. The first rendering with charcoal and one color pastel was OK, but lacked oomph. It was improved with a lighter color on the foliage but still fell short, so I tried some oil pastels that resulted in disaster. My last act was to apply a turpentine wash which to my great surprise and satisfaction produced the image I was seeking.

This modest mixed media painting affirms for me that making art is as much fun as it is stressful.

mixed media 11x14 $275

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Black at sunset acrylic on canvas 10x30" $600

After creating the red-orange background I spent the next several months staring at this canvas not knowing what to do next. Then, as soon as I completed the treeline I posted on yesterday's blog I had my answer. Once again my goal was to create interest with bold colors. Keeping the composition simple allows the viewers to create their own impressions.

I have one more canvas with a similar bright red background (12x48) sitting in a corner of the studio so maybe there will one more "treeline" in my future.

Monday, May 26, 2008


For the past week I have had several canvases "in play", one of which I posted yesterday. The painting today began with a textured white-gray background, waiting for an idea for the foreground which eventually materialized as a black treeline with bits of warm color coming through. I've used this approach in previous paintings, but in this case was striving for a stark B&W impression.

B&W plus acrylic on canvas 24x36 $1500

Sunday, May 25, 2008


This is the fifth and largest in a series of "skyscapes" I'm planning to show in the gallery next month. like the others, I started by filling the canvas with sky. Only after this stage was complete did I think about what I would be adding to the foreground.

first stage

Skyscape V acrylic 30x24 $1500

Saturday, May 24, 2008


My studio and gallery are 3 houses to the left.

Until yesterday, the only place to buy art supplies in Paducah has been Michaels, hobby Lobby, and the various online catalog stores. Jonathan and Cindy Hobson have changed that with the opening of the Canvas Room, a art supply store located in their home just 3 houses away from me here in Lowertown. Jonathan, also an artist, has taken the time to carefully inquire of each Lowertown artist what his or her needs are in an effort to serve our community as well succeed in a tough retail environment.

Whether the Canvas Room can meet the discount prices of the major art supply catalogs is a moot point. Being able to walk a half a block away for my canvases, paints, or whatever trumps any price differences. This is Lowertown at its best. Did I mention that just one block away is an artist-picture framer?

Friday, May 23, 2008


Here is the evolution of this painting:

First stage-

second stage-

At this point I thought I was done, but neither my friend Harvey or my wife liked the, after considering their input I decided to make these changes...

final? stage-

Urban landscape acrylic 40x30 $2500

They were right. The trees just did not work. What would I do without these critical eyes?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I can’t wait to leave, and I can’t wait to return. Since moving to Paducah 6 years ago I have returned “home” 3 to 4 times a year, each trip lasting 5-7 days. Most of the time I made the 15 hour drive alone (Patience remaining home to care for the dogs.), but age and gas prices have made air travel from Paducah much more appealing. And the pattern is always the same.

The closer the day of departure draws, the more anxious I become to leave, and after 3-4 days away my feelings reverse and I become anxious to return. Thinking about this I realize this simply reflects an attachment to both “homes”, my 6 years in Paducah’s Lowertown holds its own to 18 years in New Jersey, 18 in Wilmington Delaware, and 17 in Elkton Maryland.

Adding an exclamation point to this, Paducah was featured in the NY Times spring travel magazine on Sunday, the 18th.

On my day in Philadelphia I managed to see some old haunts.

Rittenhaouse Square...One block from the Sande Webster Gallery where I have my work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Photos from East of the Bay Gallery - Susan Websters and yours truely.

The bold, colorful art of Susan Webster

Saturday, May 17, 2008


It has been a long day...a lot of standing around, small talk, and wine, but worth all the effort. This reception is sort of a homecoming for me; the gallery is located a few miles from our former home, the farm where I spent 17 years painting and practicing medicine. I was delighted to see several former patients and old friends, and even more delighted when, at the end of the evening 4 paintings were sold.

Someone purchased the three oil paintings: "

Summer, Fall, and Winter Oil on canvas, each one 6x36'

And another couple bought this acrylic which I recently posted on this blog.

I have photos of the gallery and will show them when I return home and can download them into my computer. (I lost the camera usb cord)
Up Stream acrylic 16x20"

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Yet to be named...acrylic 20x16 $650

Skyscape V 40x30 work in progress

My recent working "groove" will be interupted when I leave later today for a trip to Maryland-Pennsylvania-Delaware-New Jersey. (Sounds like a lot but all of these states come together so one can travel about 15 miles in any direction an be in any one of them.) There is a reception at East of the Bay Gallery in North East MD for a 2 person show that I am part of. This Gallery has been showing my work for about 8-9 years and we have been doing a one or two person show every 2-3 years with modest success. I will return next week to begin planning for my show of the recent skyscapes in Gallery 5 in June.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Who would have thought that my plea for help would bring out so many friends offering to take some of my paintings to relieve my congestion. I have been moved by such selfless generosity and will take all of these kind offers under consideration. In the meantime I will continue my lonely struggle for space in my place.

Today I would like to take you from the gallery into the studio. First with several views from the gallery:

studio from galley - left

studio from gallery - right

Next, looking into the studio from the opposite side, breezeway to the house:

studio from breezeway - center

from breezeway - right

from breezeway - left

Finally, several miscellaneous views"

On a more serious note...I realize how very very fortunate I am to have these facilities and believe me, I do not take them for granted. There are few things that can compare to the satisfaction I have experienced in the hours and days that I spend here. This studio and gallery are my dreams come true. For the past few years I have had the good fortune to be able to share this space with a very dear friend. Sadly he will soon be leaving Paducah (AND I WILL HAVE MORE SPACE!!!- less serious note) and Patience and I will miss Jean and Harvey severely.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I am in danger of painting myself out of working space. Yesterday 3 large canvases from a recent exhibit by Lowertown artists were returned to the gallery. They are still in the carton because I don’t know where to put them; my options are quite limited. I also have work in two other shows that will eventually be coming home to roost, unless they all sell, which is highly unlikely. Adding to this is the work that I continue to produce, at a rather proliferative rate. I have been entertaining the idea of taking a “holiday” from painting, or at least slowing down significantly, but the simple truth is...I won’t because I can’t. Painting is what I do, it is who I am, and it cannot be denied or turned off. The most I can do, the most that I want to do, is to slow down a little bit, and even then, when the muses call me, I will respond with all my energy.

From the opposite diredtion...paintings on the walls and floors, some of them stacked behind others.

Looking into the studio...paintings in bins and boxes.

As for the space problem, I’ll find a way around that. It has never stopped me before and won’t now.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Here is the latest in this series, the fourth one in the 30x24 size. I've enjoyed doing them and may have at least one or two more hanging around in the "idea" compartment of my taxed brain.

SKYSCAPE IV acrylic 30x24 $1200

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Barbed Sky acrylic 14x28 $800 sold

This painting began life as a clay mono type, printed on s synthetic woven fabric which I stretched and fastened to a canvas stretcher. In time I became dissatisfied with the work and covered it with several coats of gesso. It will now become part of my "sky scape" series that I plan to show in the gallery next month.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Patience, Fat Charlie, and Giacomino (bottom dog)

It is my nature to be introspective and reflective, an affliction that is both a blessing and a curse. Last evening my attention was directed at, or responsive to, Giacomino, our very old whippet. Giacomino (“jocko-meeno”) is 14 years old, quite ancient for a whippet, and was one of our first rescue dogs, a rescue that I like to believe I played an instrumental role. He is every bit Patience’s dog, as are all of the others with the exception of Delia, and under her expert tutelage has won more honors than my non-dog mind can comprehend. But what I do understand, and do so with painful clarity, is my emotional attachment to this dog. I cannot look at him without remembering the 10 week old, skinny puppy with the worried face, the face that has never left him, and feel him tugging at my heart.

He is now quite wobbly, and his worried face often shares an amusing look of confusion. He moves slowly, needs guidance on our stairs from hell, and finds it a struggle to simply lie down. Yet in spite of his age and infirmities, he always maintains an air of dignity, and I can’t help thinking that he wants us to relax and stop fretting. He knows he is old and that his future is limited, but hey, isn’t that what life is all about. He is not concerned, and neither should we be. He certainly doesn’t feel sorry for himself, why should he? As I see him enjoy what he still has and what he can do, with no trace of self pity or regrets I wonder if I would be capable of the same.

That I love this old dog, more than any other cannot be denied and I will cry when he is gone. But I will not feel sorry for him.

Friday, May 9, 2008


If at first you don't succeed.....well you know the rest. Earlier this week I definitely did not succeed with my first two attempts at this painting and was forced to reconsider my approach.

botched canvas after I smeared and rubbed all the paint I had applied.

work in progress - beginning to feel there was hope for this piece.

Finally there. Acrylic - 24x48". (Having some difficulty capturing the blue-black sky in all of these photos.) But I'm quite satisfied with the results of the painting.

My next task is to start a new canvas and make another attempt at creating the image I originally planned on.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


First let me say that I have recovered nicely from Tuesday, and I have been working on the "botched"canvases for the past two days. Hopefully tomorrow I will have something to show you.

In the mean time, I don't think I have posted all of my Paducah watercolors from last falls show. If I'm repeating apologies.

How did I get here - watercolor on 300lb arches paper- about 12x18

What do you expect, it's an alley - watercolor on 300lb arches - about 6x10

Jeremiahs - watercolor on 300lb arches - 20x30

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Overwrought- clay mono type (this was the actual title I gave this piece when it was created 5 years ago.)

How do you spell Tuesday? D I S A S T E R! That defines yesterday for me. I awoke yesterday morning anxious to get to the studio...having just finished reading ART AND FEAR, a most affirming book about making art, I was prepared to go to work claiming my own art. Instead the only thing I claimed was two botched canvases!

The biggest botch job was the 24x48” canvas on which I was planning to create a deep, dark moody sky for the “skyscape” series I’ve been working on. After the first failure to achieve my goal I took a break from the canvas and applied what I thought would be the finishing touches to a smaller piece. Camel poop!!! It didn’t work and in fact ruined the whole piece; the entire foreground would not have to be re done. So, it was back to the big one and a chance to redeem myself. But that was not to be, and the second attempt ended up no better than the first. In frustration I smeared the entire canvas with the remaining paint on the palette with a large palette knife and did what any reasonable person would do...walked out of the studio and did not return for the rest of the day.

OK, I am in the house with my coffee and a pile of reading material where I will simply chill out for the rest of the day. But that too was not to be. Patience calls me to say the upstairs smoke alarm is chirping - the battery needs to be replaced - one of my least favorite things to do. It means hauling the ladder up our mean spirited, winding staircase and climbing to the very top to reach the alarm on the 11 foot ceiling. The older I get the more I do not like heights, and this ladder is now at the top of our staircase, so from the top I can see all the way down to the first floor, which surely must be 50 feet away and just waiting for me to fall allllll the wayyyyy down, a feeling that gets stronger with each rung I climb. But, thanks to my steely nerves I safely reach the alarm, remove it from it’s mooring, and replace the battery to stop the incessant chirping, only to discover that at least one of its wires has become disconnected and there is no way I am going to fix that. I should have stayed in bed!

Monday, May 5, 2008

MORE 12X12s



The only problem with these small canvases is coming up with appropriate titles. There are only so many ways to describe these small, imaginative landscapes, and after a while they all seem to run together. Without a photographic record to help identify them I would be lost. I have yet to come up with names for these two. Anyone have a suggestion?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Currently working on a series I'm calling skyscapes...where the focus is on, of all things, the sky. My plan is to show the work in my gallery next month during our "Second Saturday" gallery night.

Here is the most recent piece in the series.

Skyscape III 30x20 $1200

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Urban Landscape acrylic 30x40
The painting has taken me this far. I suspect it is finished but will reserve final judgment for several days. I'm not completely satisfied with this photo and will try getting a better shot today.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I've been a busy little bee in the studio...missing yesterday's post...and here is what I have to show for it.

Skyscape, or for the birds II 30x20

An urban landscape in progress. 30x40. An imaginative cityscape based on several unrelated NYC photos.