Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ah Christmas Memories

Well the gifts are all open, the turkey is now soup and it’s almost time to put away the decorations for another year.

It’s been a different type of Christmas this year. Usually we go to my sisters on Christmas Eve and my dad’s on Christmas day, unless we travel to New England to spend the holidays with my wife’s family.

This year, we met with Dad early, and we aren’t going to see Sis until next week. So we had a mostly quiet week at home with the kids.

It was a really wet week, especially for the desert. One thing I did not plan on doing this year was meeting the town Swift Water Rescue officer, who by the way, they call Scuba Steve. That should give you an idea how wet it got. Let’s just say the puddle didn’t look that deep, and that Jeeps don’t float.

I should probably explain, I wasn’t in the Jeep, I was watching from the “shore” as they tried to get my son and my Jeep out of the flooded street. In his defense, he was just trying to get to work and had tried two other streets that had been blocked off. This one wasn’t blocked, the water didn’t look very deep, and so he gave it a try. Unfortunately there is one big dip for a drain right in the middle of the road. Had he been going East instead of West, he most likely would have made it through, but he didn’t.

By the time they got the vehicle hooked up to the tow truck, the water was up to my son’s backside, but they asked him to stay in the Jeep and steer as they pulled it out with a winch. They managed to pull it out, the boy is ok, but the Jeep is in bad shape.

Water pours out of the door of the rescued Jeep.

With all the commercialism and hype about the Holiday Season, it’s times like these that make you remember what is really important, it’s not the cars, the toys or the shiny baubles, it’s the family and friends that we should cherish.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turn, Turn

Although I’m no connoisseur of fine wine, I have heard how wines and beers are described by those who proclaim to have superior knowledge of such things. They use terms like smoky, nutty and describe a plethora of fruit tastes associated with a particular vintage.

While I’ve been working on projects for Christmas, I have had the pleasure of working with several types of wood in the turning projects I’m working on.
I’ve noticed that each type of wood has its own fragrance; the cinnamon notes of Burmese Rosewood really are what caught my attention.

Rosewood, Cocobolo from Central America, Olivewood from the Holy Land and Koa from Hawaii are among my favorites. They are all “wood”, yet each is distinct in how they perform when worked.

I like to think that the projects I create will have the resonance of a fine wine and grow better with age, if only in the memories of those loved ones who receive them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa's Workshop

It’s getting closer to Christmas, and I’ve been busy on Christmas projects. I’m getting things done, but starting to feel the pressure of the Holiday deadline.

I wonder if they ship tums by the pallet to the North Pole this time of year?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Save Loomis

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to the world of computer animation. It is a skill I have not used in a long time, but have been working with the software once again to create some still images.

I found my skills a little rusty, so I broke out several training videos and books that have been sitting on the shelf for years. One of the videos is on how to build a human head in the 3d CGI world. In the video the host mentions Andrew Loomis and his how-to-draw books. He said that you could find Loomis’ work at

I looked up the site and found it had been taken down. After some searching, I read that “lawyers” had forced the site to shut down.

I remember reading Loomis’ books as a young man. Even then, some 30 years after they were first published, they were wonderful. They simplified the construction of the human figure and explained how to draw in a style that was very easy to understand. When I took formal art classes, the techniques were pretty much the same as the Loomis method.

Even now, as I work with technology Loomis would have considered something out of science fiction; his lessons still serve as a guide on how to draw.

Seems a shame to have Loomis work stay out-of-print.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Still Life

I remember standing in the National Museum of Art in Washington DC and looking at a still life painting by Willem Claesz Heda , “Banquet Piece with Mince Pie.”

I started to think about the great still life paintings and how they all seemed to have a couple of things in common. For instance they mostly have some fruit, a glass, metal plate maybe a candle and some type of meat; such as rabbit or bird.
I wondered to myself what would a still life painter use today for his model?

What I came up with is “Classico vita ancora con il pasto americano modern” or “Classic Still Life with Modern American Meal” a tribute to the Modern American Diet.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fire Good

I thought that not having heat would be a major problem; however we have a great fireplace. It’s actually warm in the house!

Cooler Weather

Well, it’s been a week since my last post. The weather has turned decidedly colder, and I’m sitting here waiting for the asbestos abatement crew to show up. They plan on taking all the ducting out of the attic, but the crew to put in the new vents doesn’t show until tomorrow. This means, it’s finally wintery and cold, and we get to go two days without heat. Thank God for fireplaces.


Nuff Said!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Run of Bad Luck

There was a time when I listened to a lot of country music. But I did not start out as a country fan.

As a teen, I was a true rocker and country and disco music were two things that made my skin crawl.

While in the Army, I crewed helicopters. The control of the radio was in the cockpit, so you either listened to what the pilot liked or you spent hours with just the hum of the aircraft. Most the pilots listened to country, and after several years, I began to actually enjoy it.

I became a fan of Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, among other country stars. What I liked about the music was that it told a story, one that was usually believable, and one that could happen to you.

The last few years, I’ve been listening more to Alternative music, but the last month has made me thinking about at least one country song.

Clint Black has a song “A Good Run of Bad Luck” which is a great description of the last couple of months.

So far, My wife got her car destroyed in an accident (she is fine), the washing machine broke (it cost more to fix than replace) the stove door won’t close (costs almost as much to fix as replace), my roto tiller finally gave up, my truck developed a coolant leak (had to replace the coolant tank), the jeep developed a “death shutter” ($1200 worth of front end work) and we found out we need the heating ducts replaced, but first we need to get the asbestos abated. All this and I haven’t had a paycheck since January.

Now to be perfectly honest, I’m starting to get a little bit down. But there is something inside me that keeps telling me that I’m going to catch a break soon, and this will be all behind me.

There is an old joke that goes; “what do you get when you play a country song backwards?” The answer is: “You get your dog, your truck and your wife back!”

Several of my friends have told me I should write a book about my life, I’m starting to wonder if a song is more in order.

Maybe I can write it backwards.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Compass Check

I’ve been looking back over the posts I’ve made on this blog and realized that I’m not really fulfilling the purpose of the blog.

On day one I said “I plan to write a little about my art, my travels and maybe a little about life.” Looking back, I notice that the only explanation of the art is for the “A Friend of the Family” a painting I did for a friend of mine.

So, I intend to correct that error. Over the next few entries, I’ll talk about what inspired me to create some of the art I have already finished. Maybe even share some stories of the places in the work, or the places where the inspiration began.
One of paintings currently on display at the Redlands Art Association is “il vecchio ponte nel Parco Centrale” or “the Old Bridge in Central Park.”

At this time last year, I was on my way home from a trip I took with my mom (if you want to read the whole story it’s the “Trippin with Mom” blog). We stopped in New York for a few days at the end of the two week adventure, and on the last day mom was feeling pretty sick. Unfortunately we had to check out of the hotel several hours before our flight, which meant we were going to be hanging around NYC with mom being ill. I went to the front desk and asked if we could get a late check out, and was told we could delay it about an hour. After speaking with the manager on duty and explaining to her what the problem was, she arraigned for mom to be able to stay in the room until we needed to leave for the airport (Courtyard by Marriott, I highly recommend the Marriott chain, they are the best).

While mom rested, I went for a walk from the hotel in Times Square to the Metropolitan Museum. It was a typical cloudy November day in NYC; it rained a little, and was moderately cold. I remember feeling pretty good, in spite of the dismal weather. As I entered Central Park, I saw the old bridge. I took several photographs and based the painting on one.

I’ve been to New York several times now, and I have really enjoyed each of my visits, however, this one will always stand out from the rest. When I look at the painting, I’m reminded of the good feelings I had that day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting Schooled

My daughter, her boyfriend and I went to the local high school today. We went to see her old ceramics teacher and get some pointers on how to construct a clay wheel, and find out a little about the kiln that has been sitting on the back porch for a couple of years.
He was great, showed us the wheels they have in the classroom and gave us some pointers on how to make ours.
Turns out the kiln is pretty good, we should be able to fire up to a 06 clay.
I can’t remember the last time I was on a school campus during the school day. I feel really old.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A New Look Part 2

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time redesigning the WEB site. I must say, there is a reason I don’t design sites for a living. Anyway, I’ve made some progress, and I’m pretty happy with the new look. Now I can concentrate on getting more content on the site.

Take a look at

Friday, November 5, 2010

A New Look

Just wanted to change the overall look of the blog. I like this better.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Show

Just returned from the long drive down to the Redlands Art Association. I picked up the “Blade and Rose” from the “Black White and Red” show, and dropped off “il vecchio ponte nel Parco Centrale” for the “Autumn Colors” show.
I worked two days at the gallery during the last show, the day went by a little slow, but we did have a few sales (nothing of mine). If you’re in town, stop by the gallery and say “hi”, There is some really nice work there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Well the last couple of weeks have been tough. I haven’t gotten much painting done, working instead on the marketing side of the business. I hate marketing, but if it doesn’t get done, then I’m doing this for my own satisfaction.
I’ve made some progress, updated the WEB site, just need to fix a few links and upload it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Holy Paint Smear Batman

Got finished with two images for the "Black, White and Red" show at the Redlands Art Asso. Gallery. When I went to put a clear finish on a hard line painting of a young lady, the black paint smeared onto the white.

I ran thru the house, grabbed a cloth and threw the painting into the shower. Needless to say, my wife thought I had lost my mind.

With some quick scrubbing, I saved the work, but now I have to redo some of the black areas.

Oh, well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I have been pondering the results of the portfolio review that I went to Sunday. To make a long story short, most of my portfolio is photography, mostly because I quit painting for 20 years and made my living with photography.

They liked my work; actually the male reviewer said that my work was very good, however “it is after all just photography.” I resisted the strong urge to reach across the table and choke the SOB out, but just barely.

Anyway, I have decided to not put the Grand Canyon painting into the “Day of the Dead” show. I think it might be too much of a leap for people to understand how it relates to the theme. Instead I am going to put in “A Friend of the Family” a painting a friend of mine requested I paint. It is my take on a painting in the home of the “Adams Family” from the TV show. I modified it to reflect the personality of my friend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get Er Done

Made some good progress this week. Needed to complete a portfolio for Sunday and I did make it. Finally got done with the "Il Gentiluomo e la Femmina Malvagia dall'Inferno" or "The Gentleman and the Evil Bitch from Hell."

I feel good about the work, and I’m really glad to have it finished.

Maybe I can make some progress on the other 18 paintings I have started.

Monday, September 6, 2010

True Art

Someone once told me that a true artist bleeds over his work. I believe I made a joke about stabbing oneself with a pen.

Karma is a bitch, and you never know how long it takes to catch up with you.

Working on the helmet yesterday, I cut my hand on a burr on a steel plate, wore a blister on my middle finger (which I did not notice until it burst), scraped my leg on the support for my anvil.

So I decided to paint instead. I cut my toe on the fridge while getting something to drink.

So I have officially bled over my work.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Work in Progress, Day of the Dead

Today I’m working on projects for the “Day of the Dead” show at the Eclipse Gallery. The show is in October.
The first piece will be the Grand Canyon painting. Since the DotD is about honoring your ancestors, I think it works to have Grandpa in the show.
The other piece is a Samurai Helmet. From what I have read, the Samurai would cut off the head of a vanquished warrior and mount the head and helmet as a trophy and to honor the defeated warrior. So, I’m working on a sculpture of a skull with a full Kabuto, the armored helm of the Samurai. I don’t usually work in 3-D projects so this is kind of fun.
BTW got a response from Great Uncle Joe, he thinks it’s cool that I’m finishing Grandpa’s work.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Work In Progress and a Message from Uncle Joe

Working on the Grand Canyon painting. So far, so good. It’s interesting trying to figure out where Grandpa was going with this image.
At this point, I’m really just trying to get the work back to where it was when he stopped working on it. I cleaned it as best as I could. The canvas is much rougher than what I’m use to. I don’t know if that was just how canvas was made 50 years ago, or if I use more gesso on mine than Grandpa did (it really seems like he didn’t use any at all).
Pretty funny, the other day I got a facebook invite from my Uncle Joe, Grandpa’s brother. I accepted. He read my post about the “Lost and Found” show at the gallery, and commented about how his brother painted. I told him what I’m working on, but haven’t heard back yet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So, I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Life has been interesting.
I’m working on several new pieces, just finished two for the “Lost and Found” show at the Eclipse Gallery, here in Apple Valley.
I’ve started working on what I’m going to call my generations’ project. My Grandmother gave me several paintings my Grandfather had started before he passed away, with the idea that I could finish them. I have had them for at least 15 years, and until last week haven’t touched them.
I re-stretched one; the others seem to be ok. I cleaned them as best as I could, and have started to work on one of the Grand Canyon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the Late Late Show

Just got home from a taping of tonight’s “THE LATE LATE SHOW with CRAIG FERGUSON.” I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.
Got the tickets a couple of weeks ago and took the kids tonight. The warm up man is great. Craig is even funnier in person than on the television.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stuck on Stupid

Working on several paintings. Unfortunately, I’m really stuck. I really hate having a mental block. I keep looking at the photographs of my trip to Italy, Greece and Croatia, but I’m having a real difficult time transferring the visions in the photos to canvas. Hopefully the next few days will bring some insight.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Prints

Today I went into LA to pick up some giclee prints of my painting “il vecchio ponte nel Parco Centrale” from the fine art printer I use. They do an incredible job. If you ever need to make prints look them up at:
Stopped for lunch at my favorite chain restaurant the “Yard House.” You have to love a place that claims to have the largest selection of beers in the world. Great meal as usual.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A nice day

Just got home, went to the West Point Society of Los Angeles Founder’s Day Brunch. It was a really a nice event. It was at a country club in West Lake CA. Great traditional art work throughout the facility. I didn’t look closely enough to notice any of the signatures, but the still life’s were outstanding.

We left there and headed to Disneyland and spent a couple of hours there.

Unfortunately was not able to go to the artist reception at the Redlands Art Mini Multi-Media show. My artwork did not get selected, but my friends Thom and Bruce both did.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New Beginning

So this is the new blog. I plan to write a little about my art, my travels and maybe a little about life. I have been working on my art more lately than I have in the past. You can see the latest on my site at .