Sunday, June 29, 2008


This time of the year I walk my dogs early, usually around 7:30 AM, give or take 15 minutes, and every morning I see a new neighbor sitting on his porch with coffee and newspaper. We have never formally met but have exchanged pleasantries every morning for the past 2 months. This morning he chided me - in a quite friendly manner - about my routine, and how he avoids them. I thought he was kidding, but when I pointed out that sitting on his porch every morning certainly was a routine he looked surprised; he never thought of it that way. He thanked me for my honesty as we both laughed. About 15 minutes later, walking along the river park, I saw him approach me on his bike. He passed by and told me he was breaking out of his routine.

I have several routines, none of which I am inclined to surrender: I usually get up about one hour before Patience and the dogs and spend that quiet time on the computer (e mail, news, etc.) and writing in my journal: I eat lunch every day at noon, you can almost set your clock on that: At 5 PM, weather permitting, I am sitting on our front porch with a glass of wine and some reading material: And if I’m cooking, it is almost always with a glass of wine at hand.

Sadly, I also have some routines (not very many!) that I would love to abandon, but that is another story.

How about you?

Clay mono type...Utter Chaos..30x14... the opposite of routine $500

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I won’t swear to it, but I think I saw a muse peeking in a studio window a few days ago. It is getting to be about the time when they reappear so I’m doing what I can to be ready.

I have been using this time to make some changes in the studio, creating some much needed space by removing one of my two large drafting tables. This will create more open space and room for the two easels I work on, which I’m always dragging across the floor to make room for one thing or another. The space will prove to be important for both ergonomic and psychological reasons.

My new watercolor work station is set up and ready to rock and roll. For the past 2 days I’ve been looking through old photos and slides and making some thumb nail sketches of possible compositions. I can feel the some stirring in the “lets make art” part of my brain.


work in progress

New work area

New water color work station...formerly Harvey's work area. Now that he has arrived in San Diego I can begin to use it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The turmoil and demands of the past few weeks have taken their toll on both my art and my blog, leaving me with little enthusiasm for both. Our children and grandchildren’s visit was worth all the effort. We enjoyed a wonderful visit in spite of all the food and wine!

On a sadder note, we shared our last meal with the Tilkers last night, and despite everyone’s best efforts, an air of sadness and fatigue prevailed as the reality of their move hit us all. There were no dry eyes when we said our final goodbyes at the front gate.

The muse’s leave of absence (which actually started several weeks ago) doesn’t concern me; experience tells me they will return. In the meantime I intend to embrace this bit of sadness and find some comfort in knowing that it will soon shepherd in a new day.

Early Light Oil Pastel 10x10

Saturday, June 21, 2008





I can't believe it has been five days since my last post. But I have a good excuse...we have been preparing the house for a visit by 2 daughters, husbands, and 4 grandchildren. Beth and clan arrived late Wednesday, and Amy and her family mid-day on Friday.

Thursday we spent several hours in the studio making clay mono types.




Monday, June 16, 2008


How could we miss, a Jew from Brooklyn and an Italian from New Jersey. And if more was needed, a retired clinical psychologist and a retired physician, or, how about a shared passion for food, wine, and art. The bottom line...Harvey and I were meant to be best friends, and we are. For the past 5 years we have enjoyed each others company in a relationship that is equally comfortable in silence, conversation, or laughter. We have shared endless hours of each in my studio where Harvey had his own work space until a week ago. Sadly, he and his lovely wife Jeannie are packing their household in preparation for a move to San Diego later this month. I am having a difficult time imagining life in Paducah without his companionship; we have so many shared memories.

He is a friend, who on 24 hours notice, joined me on a spontaneous 5 day trip to the southwest because of a dream, a trip that taught us a lot about our friendship.

We traveled to NYC for 3 days to attend trade shows, and spent 2 days, in Atlanta on a similar mission.

Harvey accompanied me to Chicago twice, first on an overnight trip to learn about the One of Kind Show, and several months later to help me “do the show” over a five day period.

We’ve made numerous trips Nashville where he has shown me the best places to eat and shop (the Noshville diner - an authentic Jewish Deli, Provence for coffee, and Whole foods, formerly Wild Oats, where I can get broccoli rabe.) . Besides the food we shared the less than delightful experiences of Prostate ablation at the hands of Dr. M at Vanderbilt University, (not simultaneously I should point out) something we both prefer to forget.

The Tilkers and the Renzullis shared at least 3 meals a week, either at our house (chateau coo coo) or at the Tilker"s elegant loft downtown. I don't know what I enjoyed more, cooking pasta for them or partaking of Harvey's Borscht or Jean's pop overs, a pure breakfast delight.

And I would be remiss if I failed to mention that it was Harvey and Jean who introduced us to dining at the bar at Cynthia’s. I would like to describe us as a couple of wild and crazy guys, but the sad truth is, sitting at a bar we talk more about our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and how many times we have to get up to pee at night (None since visiting Dr. M.!) than anything else.

I will miss sharing my life with him...friendships that are so easy and comfortable are difficult to establish, but they are the ones that can prevail despite time and distance. On a positive note, I now have a very good reason to travel to the southwest.

We laughed a lot!

But we were always serious!

Jean and Harvey Tilker. Patience and I will miss them dearly.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Yesterday the Lowertown art district held its monthly Second Saturday Gallery Walk. I planned for a low key reception at Gallery 5 for the Skyscapes exhibit, posting it in our local media and on line networks without a postcard mailing to my mailing list. My expectations for a low turnout were woefully off the mark much to my delight. From 5 to 8 PM there was a constant turn over of visitors, an equal mixture of friends, neighbors, artists, as well as first time visitors to the gallery.

Fortunately there was enough wine, chips, and dip for everyone, but the hands down favorite drink of the evening was the bowl of home made sangria compliments of our lovely neighbor, Valerie. I should point out that everyone in our community goes out of their way to support one another by joyfully drinking their wine and eating their food. Is there a better way of saying I love you?

In the six years that Gallery 5 has been open I’ve averaged 2-3 opening receptions a year and I don’t know that I have enjoyed any of them as much as I did last night.

3 important women in my life! Never far from the food and wine.

Fine art, sangria, and wine, inspire high brow conversation.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Ever since I selected a new screen saver I have been spending more and more time on my laptop, always finding some excuse to be looking at it. Can you blame me?


with just 2 of the loves of her life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


A Perfect Pair Clay mono type 14x8

No, I'm not calling anyone a nasty name in Italian. I'm hosting a small dinner party tonight, and two of the guests own and operate their own restaurants in Paducah, both well known for their great food! You gotta I crazy to think that I can serve anything that will impress them? But I have two things working in my favor. First, I know that all of my guests are VERY fond of eating, and second, I will serve them Aglio olio crudo!

Aglio olio crudo is a remarkably simple but elegant pasta dish. The ingredients consist of pasta (linguine, spaghetti, or angel hair are my preferences), several cloves of finely chopped garlic, olive oil, finely chopped fresh parsley, and 1 or 2 pads of butter (optional).

Preparation is even simpler. Remove the cooked past to a large serving dish and drizzle with the olive oil, about 1/3 to 1/2 a cup. Add some of the pasta water to provide some liquid and mix in the raw (crudo) garlic and parsley, tossing it well, adding butter if desired). Drizzle once more with olive oil and serve immediately. The amount of the specific ingredients is a judgment call that becomes easy to make after preparing this dish one or more times.

There will be a second course of course: Sausage cooked with portobello mushrooms in white wine and onions, and broccoli rabe sauteed in olive oil with garlic. I'll post these "recipes" another time.

For a bit of color I'll add some sliced raw tomatoes (E Coli free) and of course the chianti.

My fingers are crossed. Wish me well.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Another reworked pastel. This painting has moved through several different lives. Initially a simple pastel, and later overworked with more pastel and an encaustic varnish. Yesterday I decided it looked too harsh, and began still another application of pastel.

Autumn in Pastel aprox 12x28 $500

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I have always enjoyed rummaging through old work that has been lying around for 1-2 years or more to see if I can find something worth trying to resurrect. The other day I came across this pastel, done during my very black stage about 3-4 years ago. In the initial painting the entire sky, and its reflection was completely black, but whatever appeal it had for me then was no longer there and I went to work making some changes.

Here is the result. I wonder what I'll think about this 3 or 4 years from now?

Night or Day Pastel on illustration board aprox. 14x18 $400

Saturday, June 7, 2008



Cultivate a relationship with yourself...make it your goal to learn all that you can about who you are, to understand your feelings and your thoughts, to identify the real person, the true self that is you. And while you do this, a process that never ends, embrace the self that you discovered and dedicate your life to enabling that person to become all that he or she can be. Listen closely to the songs and poems that arise within you, both the happy ones and the sad ones, and trust their quiet messages. Trust your dreams, your aspirations, and your imagination, for these are of yourself, and that alone makes them worthy of your unwavering trust.

For some individuals this admonition may sound very narcissistic, and of questionable merit because it runs counter to the belief that we need to place more emphasis on service to others and to our communities. What they fail to understand is that by taking the time to understand ourselves we are better prepared to reach out and serve others. To borrow from the words of Elizabeth O'Connor, we journey inward in order to journey outward.

Friday, June 6, 2008


For the past week I’ve been coasting through one of those familiar periods when nothing appeals less to me than picking up a brush or pencil and confronting a blank canvas or board. I have learned long ago to recognize the ebb and flow of the work of making art and am comfrotable waiting for the muses to return. Usually I can find enough “desk work” to keep me busy. The past several days have been spent putting together a small portfolio of my work for a dear friend who will soon be moving to San Diego.

Harvey, about whom I will have more to say later, has been working with me in the studio for the past 3-4 years doing what he does best...creating awesome mixed media art with his special flair for design. Using discarded clay mono types of mine, he created a wonderful line of one of kind greeting cards that eventually expanded into more elaborate work. Here are a few examples of his work:

A Trail of Tears

Woven one


Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have been remiss in not doing this sooner...posting some of the work of one of my three very talented daughters, Sara Jo. Sara is accomplished in many mediums, and her work can be seen on her web site,

Oil on paper



Is there any wonder why I am so proud of her?

Monday, June 2, 2008


I seem to be stuck in this recycling mode:

First attempt on this 24x48" canvas was a scene from downtown Paducah. It started out with a great deal of promise, but in the end I was not satisfied. I put the canvas away without showing it and several weeks ago decided I could salvage the sky, which I liked by overpainting the lower half with this landscape.

This was better, but still fell short of the mark. I liked the sky but the rest of the painting was rather uninteresting.

In the end I thought this piece was just OK, and kept it on the easel for awhile. Eventually I decided it needed more work and after several unsuccessful glazes and other subtle changes I went bonkers with the palette knife. The result:

acrylic 24x48 $2500
This is it. I'm finally finished, or am I?

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Yesterday my wife showed me a flyer she picked up at her recent visit to her gynecologist’s office. It was a standard sheet of paper with multicolored flowers and butterflies listing all of the “specials” available from a “health specialist” in the office. These included, among other things, botox injections, laser hair removal, and a variety of treatments for wrinkles, sagging chins, and cellulite. What bullshit!!

When did wrinkles and sagging chins become a health issue? And who is the “health specialist” that administers this ....whatever. I can’t bring myself to call it treatment. (How about cutaneous intervention?)

I refuse to relinquish my belief in what the practice of medicine should be...a noble profession providing the physician with the privilege to serve. The flyer my wife showed me was not about service, it was about exploitation. Sadly, I have come to expect this from the plastic surgeons, but now it appears even the Ob-Gyn folks have climbed on the money express. Far too many physicians today are more concerned about maintaining their inflated incomes than about the service they provide.

posted 6-1-08