Saturday, January 31, 2009


clay mono type 10x10"

Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be righteous, moral, honest, loving, compassionate? Does the belief in a God provide one with a set of values that connote be otherwise obtained”. If so, whose God should one believe in?

For the sake of this narrative I am defining a believer as someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ and accepts the bible as the word of God. A non believer is one who accepts neither of those propositions. Agnostics straddle the fence and may or may not accept part of those beliefs. (There are also the “Christian agnostics”, but that is another matter for another time.)

Beyond the obvious difference in a belief in a higher power, how does a nonbeliever differ from a believer? Are there apparent character traits or behaviors that makes a nonbeliever easily identifiable as such? Do nonbelievers live and act differently? Just how do you tell them apart?

One could point to church attendance and participation, but for years I attended church and was not a believer. I’m willing to bet that there are many others who have, or are, sharing that experience.

What about personal values, a term that has been so misused and thrown about that it has become almost meaningless; do they offer a clue to a persons belief system? Consider the following:

love as demonstrated by how others are treated,
compassion and forgiveness,
moral and ethical behavior in private, public, and business life,
tolerance and respect for people and ideas that differ from our own;,
respect for ALL life, including criminals and "collateral" civilians,
honesty and integrity,
respect and commitment to family and friends,
acceptance of responsibility to self and to family, friends, and work,
willingness to share and help those in need,
respect for the planet.
love and service to country.

Is it possible to know someone demonstrating none, some, or all of the above values and be able to predict their “believability level”? I think not, and that is what infuriates me when I hear or read that without religion we have no moral compass, no sense of responsible, ethical behavior. There are people who believe that a nonbeliever is not fit to serve this country. Believers do not have a monopoly on moral and ethical values. Behavior defines us far more than our beliefs do.,

Thursday, January 29, 2009


struck Paducah and western KY I managed to get one more day of work in the studio. After that we lost all electrical power for 2 days. We were fortunate to be on the small list of folks who got their power back this morning. Unfortunately my studio heater has gone out and I cannot make myself work in 48 degree temps so any further work on the farm scene will be on hold until ???

Here is the latest version of the painting, with the foreground and some of the architectural details in place.

And, I thought I would share with you some of the Paducah landscape seen in the past few days.

The view from the front of our house

the same tree, seen by my gallery

me cooking in an unheated kitchen...but the pasta was great. (Linguini with an aspargus, proscioutto, mushroom and blue cheese sauce.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


After reworking aan refining the, the foreground and a few architectural corrections.

Monday, January 26, 2009


WIP acrylic on canvas 48x60"

This is what I'm looking at today. The architecture has been given more definition, both in form and color. There are some changes needed, especially in the shadow side of the building on the far left. Before I can go any further with the colors and values I will have to complete the foreground since this will be reflected, ever so slightly, in the buildings. Yesterday I applied the very dark foreground to serve as an under painting for what will be a lighter foreground. Today I hope to add to the foreground, as well as work on some of the architectural details.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


In the past several years I have painted five 48x60" canvases, which is the largest size my cramped studio and gallery can handle. I've sold one, leaving me 4 of these behemoths to show and/or store, not an easy thing to do. In addition there has been a 6th canvas, untouched, sitting in the storage rack. I like working large, the size presents challenges unique to its scale, but for reasons stated above, it is something I've been avoiding. A few weeks ago it hit me, like a brisk slap on the head, not painting on a fresh canvas in my storage rack because I have no place to store it is kinda...well...just plain stupid!!! And, inspired by a recent pastel farm scene, I dragged the canvas out into the studio, arranged for my easel to accommodate its size, and began to paint.

First, here is the pastel that is serving as the inspiration for this piece.

And here is the work in progress. Before going any further with the architecture I will work on establishing the colors and values in the foreground since it will have a direct effect on the final appearance of the buildings.

Using the retrospectoscope I think the buildings should have been smaller, but the deed is done and I have no desire to start over.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


still burns brightly in my heart. After weeks of staring at the photos, and later the drawing on the white paper, I overcame the inertia that I could not understand and began painting.

Castelnuovo watercolor 14x20

One of these days I will learn how to loosen up my approach with watercolor. I envy the wc artists whose blogs I follow who paint with such free abandonment.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I painted my first acrylics. I was tired of spending so much money framing pastels and clay mono types and decided to work on canvas. Reviewing pics of the the early work and I was struck by the similarities of my first 2 paintings and the last 2. I guess we don't always change as much as we like to think we do.

From 2004...

Sunlight 24x24

Bright horizon 12x28

See my last two posts for the most recent work

Friday, January 16, 2009


before I turn to the light. I used a recent pastel painting as the starting point for this acrylic on panel. The photo is blemished a bit by some glare that I could not eliminate, but gives as overall impression of the piece.

First, the original pastel.

And the acrylic.

Un-named barn acrylic 24x24

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I could fill a gallery with all of my paintings of stormy skies and streaks of light. I suppose there will be a time when I will grow tired and uninterested in this recurring theme, but until then...well, I will approach each painting with delightful anticipation. I love the power and the mood that the strong, conflicting values produce when the darkness makes the splashes of light jump off the canvas. (Geez, I'm beginning to sound like an art critic!)

Yet to be named acrylic on canvas 24x48"

Saturday, January 10, 2009


It ain't gonna work, and no amount of trying will fix it. That was the conclusion I reached 2 days ago with this painting. It already had at least 3 do overs.

A disaster called the Brooklyn Bridge acrylic 24x48

So I painted the entire canvas with two coats of black gesso and started over.

I can already hear my friend Harvey saying..."what, another black sky! That will be mild compared to what he'll say when I add the treess and barns.

FYI...the sky and clouds were rendered with a wet paper towel. The foreground with a palette knife.

Friday, January 9, 2009


a phrase I often use to describe my work to visitors to my gallery. I greet all visitors by introducing myself and explaining that all ot the art in the gallery is mine, and I can see the disbelief and/or skepticism in their faces as they take in the wide range of art on the walls. On the left, they see this,


on the right they see,


and straight ahead they see,


In addition, there are the watercolors, pastels, and clay mono types.




I have posted before about this being a source of anxiety for me, especially when it comes to choosing what art I want to submit to galleries for their consideration. I have also questioned myself as to whether I would develope more skills and growth by narrowing my focus. But, in the end, I have chosen not to change, and I am pleased to say that my anxiety about all of this has lessened significantly. The more I work in the different mediums the more I appreciate how each evolves into a style of its own.

Underlying this issue is the elemental problem so many of us face, balancing the need to be true to our creative callings with the need to pay the bills and survive as artists.

I would appreciate hearing what others think about this and how you deal with these conflicts.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


This last piece reflects a childhood spent on a working farm, one with 10,000 egg laying chickens. We also had, at one time or another, a family cow, sheep, pigs, and one pony. But the chickens dominated everything. Eggs had to be collected 2 or 3 times daily and feed distributed twice a day. The hours spent cleaning four chicken coops at least once a year are stained into my memory. Needless to say, at least a part of my childhood was spent in a dusty gray-black environment. In spite of this, I would not change one minute of my time on that farm. For a small boy growing up it was heaven. I consider myself truly blessed by those years.

Self portrait #4 acrylic-collage 24x24 $1200

Self Portrait #4 detail

Self Portrait #4 detail

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The next two "self portraits" reflect on my days as an emergency room physician, using images from my sketch book.

ER acrylic-collage 14x14 on canvas $400

ER detail

Chest pain acrylic-collage 12x12 $300

Chest pain detail

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


it was not possible to stop after one or two. After completing the first three "self portraits" I went on to do 4 more. The series has evolved into an exercise of creating art using graphic biographical material, as well as making a statement about my art. This is a departure from my usual work, and I'm not sure if I should offer an explaination for each piece. My inclination is not to do so, and let the viewer reach, or not reach, their own conclusions.

The Artist as a very young man acrylic-collage 12x12 $300

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I have broadened the definition of the self portrait to include biographical and other personal characteristics beyond just the physical appearance that define who and what we are. To accomplish this I am using photos, old drawings and paintings, and other picture resources, and trying to incorporate them into a cohesive work of art. The intent is to "say something" about myself and my art. As might be expected, some results are more successful than others, at least to my eyes.

Self Portrait #2 acrylic-collage on panel 24x24 $1200

Saturday, January 3, 2009


when an idea will strike. For me it is often in the middle of a shower, as it did several days ago. I have no idea where it came from, but suddenly there it was, clear and distinct...I would not do the acrylic triptych on the three 24x24 panels, but on the large 48x60 canvas that has been sitting patiently in the storage area for almost 6 months. But, before doing that I would begin a series of "self Portraits" on the 3 panels. Self portraits?? Where in the hell did this come from? In my 30 plus years of making art I have done only one self portrait over 15 years ago, and have not thought about it since. In any event, as many of you know, it is not wise to ignore the muses, so, for the past week I have been busy working on what I now think of as a series of biographical paintings. It will be fun to see where this takes me.

Here is my first effort, an acrylic-collage on a 24x24" hard wood panel. More will follow in the days ahead. (I have put the pastels away for awhile.)

Self Portrait #1 $`1200