Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ITALIAN DAYS AHEAD

This may be my last post for awhile. In 2 days Patience and I will leave for a 2 week trip to Italy. I will have camera and laptop and hopefully may be able to post while we're traveling.

Two years ago I suggested to the Renzulli cousins that we have a family reunion in Castlenuovo, the village of our grandparents located in the Apulia region in souther Italy (makes up the ankle of the boot). The idea floated about for a few months, and then gradually took form as folks signed on. Three generations will be present when 21 of us gather at the hotel in the village for 2 days.

Patience and I will be traveling with our daughter Amy, her husband Bob, and our 2 delightful grandchildren, Abigail and William. We will spend the first week in a winery in Tuscany where we can visit Florence, Siena, and Pisa, as long as it doesn't interfere with the wine and food.

Then it is on to Rome for 3 nights where we will celebrate Abigail's birthday with some of our cousins who will be there at that time.

From Rome we will all travel by train and bus to our final destination and meet up with the rest of the clan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

THERE'S A PLACE FOR US


Where in the Hell? acrylic 24x24 $1200

I don't know what to call this piece. It began with the fire like sky. Maybe I should have stopped and left it at that, but I just HAD to put something in the foreground, it is something in me that cannot be avoided. I did not want another tree or barn, and eventually opted for this abstract whatever. I'm always striving for a sense of place, perhaps this should just be called Hell.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

THIS I BELIEVE

I believe that I am the person I am because of my mother and father.

I believe that whatever I have accomplished in my lifetime of worth, and may yet accomplish, is primarily the result of the gifts given to me by my family.

The greatest of these gifts are the sense of self worth and the self esteem which have allowed me to choose some of the difficult paths I have followed in my life. I believe there is no greater gift parents can give to their children than a strong sense of their unique value.
Although as a child I was not conscious of this, looking back I realize I was raised to feel loved and to feel good about who I was. My parents guided me with a gentle hand, placed loosely on my shoulder.

My parents taught me about love; they taught me about tolerance and forgiveness, and they taught me about humility. They showed me that a person of worth treats everyone with the same respect and warmth, and that behavior towards other people is determined by their very humanity and not by their social position or importance. I have since come to realize that to do this one needs that solid sense of self, a self worth not propped up by inappropriate pride, but a sense of self that deflects pretensions.

They never spoke about these beliefs, they simply lived them because that is who they were; that is the only way they knew to be. My mother and father showed me their beliefs and their values by living them, day in and day out.

My parents are gone (My mother died in December, 1991, and my father in the autumn of 1995.), and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them. I believe my life is a reflection of those two remarkable people, and I want it to be worthy of them

I believe it has been my great priviledge and responsibility to live my life honoring my parents' gifts to me, and to pass these gifts on to my children and loved ones.

I believe all of this with every fiber of my being.


Graduation from teh Jefferson Medical College, 1965



REFLECTIONS ON THIS ESSAY

I knew, as a child could know, that I had wonderful parents, even if that knowledge rested somewhere beneath conscious thought. It was only after I left home and began to meet and interact with the vast numbers of people we all encounter in our lifetimes that I realized there were many folks who did not share my experience. The older I grew the more I began to recognize and appreciate how fortunate I was.

Josephine and Spartico were warm, wonderful people, loved by so many nephews, nieces, friends, and especially their grandchildren. It has been easy for me to write about them in my personal journal, which I have done repeatedly. But writing about them for a public readership has always proven to be difficult for me. My computer files are peppered with attempts to do such, rarely lasting more than a few lines, or a paragraph at most. I’ve told myself this is because they have been so important to me...they still are...that I fear I could not do justice to their memories, and that my attempts to do so would only diminish them. Indeed, even with this essay I have managed to avoid the nitty gritty, the specifics and the clich├ęs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

THE LAST INSTALLMENT

For the past week I've been bouncing back and forth between these two paintings, posting each one in so many stages that even I became confused. I can promise you that won't happen again, at least not with these two paintings. I've actually enjoyed the back and forth, with each piece evolving, if ever so slowly. Today I can pronounce them finished, and this is their last appearance. (If, by some mental freak beyond my control, I were to make changes, they will NOT APPEAR AGAIN!!!)



Fence lines 24x24 Sold


Tobacco Barn 24x30 (the pond is gone!)

FINAL STAGE?


Yesterday's painting

I just could not leave like this. I wanted to darken the sky and put in some sign of human presence (don't ask me why.) and if it were a barn I would not be able to face my friend Harvey. The solution...fence posts! My friend karen suggested they be placed just below the horizon. I tested that with an acrylic overlay and liked what I saw. Today I'll have to decide if I want anything to break up the horizontal lower half. Hmmm...who can I ask about that?


Current state of affairs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

WIP...where are we going?


Yesterday morning I started with this.


The day ended with this. I was not pleased with either the composition or the colors and spent the day adding, subtracting, and eventually merging.

I don't know what today will bring; I don't think this is finished as it now stands.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ANOTHER TOBACCO BARN


Tobacco Barn acrylic 24x24 $1200

This is the fourth in this series of western KY tobacco barns. It measures 24x24" and will remain on the easel for a few days to see if there is more to be done with it.

I may do a few more in this series, but first need a break from the subject. Below is my effort at this break. Don't know yet where this is going, but I will keep you posted of it's progress.

Friday, September 12, 2008

DETAIL - THE THIRD BARN



Here is the follow up I promised several days ago, a detail of the Third Barn, with some of the subtle changes I made. I'm not sure the differences are that evident due to the photographic shortcomings.

ANOTHER DO-OVER


Re-claimed acrylic 15x30 $900

It began as a funky, colorful landscape with little resemblance to reality. That was OK, unfortunately it didn't quite work and after kicking it around the studio and gallery for about 2 years I decided it was time for a re-do.

Unhappy with the first layers of paint used to cover the surface I began scrapping it off,and lo and behold, I uncovered an entirely new landscape. Several days later I decided it needed something else to give it a sense of place and yesterday proceeded to "plant" some trees with ink and acrylic.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

THE THIRD BARN

I have been working on this piece since my last post 5 days ago. I thought it was finished this morning, but the more I look at it the more I see a few corrections to be made. This is the third in a series of abandoned barns on a farm in nearby Livingston County in western KY.

I will post a follow up pic after I make the changes, hopefully by tomorrow.


the Third Barn acrylic 36x36 $2500

Here is a follow up on a painting I posted a few weeks ago. I added just a few thin white lines to suggest surf

Surf acrylic 36x36 $2500

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TO BE THE BEST...


Rocco's ink and markers circa 1978 sold

Six years ago I moved to Paducah, this small river city in western Kentucky on the Ohio river, to be part of a soon to be vibrant arts district. My primary goal was to become the best artist I was capable of becoming. To understand this, let me go back just a bit.

In 1981, and again in 2002, I left medical practices, each of nine years duration, to pursue my art. From 1981 to 1993 I worked part time, about 20-24 hours per week, while I launched a new career. In 2002 I retired from medicine completely. In both cases I left behind an office practice full of patients, many of whom had become my friends. These were difficult and painful decisions to make, in spite of my confidence in the choices I made, and thus I promised myself I would pursue art with the same seriousness and commitment I made to medicine. I owed that to the people I left behind.

To be the best I could be was all I wanted. For almost 30 years I had to share my passion for art with medicine, both very possessive and demanding mistresses. For many years I felt I was only working at the periphery of my potential, not having the time to fully explore and develop. This was especially true in the years leading up to my ultimate retirement in 2002. Suddenly, well it felt that way even if it wasn't so sudden, I was free to devote all of my time and energy to art, and I have done just that. For the first few years I was like the kid in the candy store, frantically creating an abundance of art, losing the focus on my goal. In retrospect I see it as a necessary stage in my growth and development as an artist.

To reach one’s fullest potential is a noble aspiration, and yet so easily lost in the demands and problems that every artist experiences. The desire, maybe even need, for critical approval, the need for financial security, and a host of other stresses of daily living all act to obscure even the noblest of goals. I have had to remind myself repeatedly to keep my focus on my promise to my patients even though that goal is unattainable. Our fullest potential is always one step ahead of us.



Betrayed acrylic 36x36 2008 $2500 sold

Monday, September 1, 2008

LIGHT V. DARKNESS


Early Light oil pastel 10x10"

"Enable and nurture; be one who helps other achieve their own selfhood. Act in such a way that others will feel better for knowing you."

(From Have I Told You Today That I Love You)

People can be categorized into two general types, those who shine a light on others, and those who cast others in darkness.

Persons of light, my dear friend the Rev. Hal Owens refers to them as “star people”, interact with others in ways that encourage, nurture, comfort, and support. Their behavior is consistent through all manners of encounters, from the brief and casual to the more involved and formal, and and with few exceptions is directed to all their encounters. Those true to this behavior do not apply it selectively.

Persons of darkness, Owen’s “shadow people, generally cast an air of negativity around their encounters. They discourage and disrupt with their pessimism and criticism, and their effect is to undermine and threaten self confidence and self esteem. In its extreme form this can be very harmful to others. Critical opinions are often necessary, as are healthy reminders of reality, to dampen over abundant and unrealistic enthusiasm, but they can be offered in a positive and constructive manner, without darkness and doom.

I don’t believe people consciously select to be one or the other of these types, rather their behavior evolves naturally into who they are, the result of influences far beyond the scope of this brief essay. But, once the pattern is recognized and acknowledged, I think we are capable of some degree of change if we are willing to make the effort.

I have been blessed with a generous share of star people in my life, beginning with my parents and our extended family. This good fortune has followed me as I traveled the years of my life, and contrary to my earlier views, I don’t believe it was all luck. Without heaping undeserved praise on myself, I have come to understand that we have choices in our life, and some of those choices determine the relationships and friendships we foster.

People of darkness drag others down. People of light lift others up.


Gray landscape oil pastel 10x10"