Friday, December 30, 2011

"Highway Meadow"; 6x6; oil on board
Today, I debated for awhile on what to write was a toss-up between a conversation I had with my wife concerning "common-sense" and an incident I observed while standing in line at Starbucks for what will likely be my last Gingerbread Latte of the year (I have a problem and need to police myself).

In the end, the two actually went together in a weird way....but I chose the, latter.

First off, you should know that I don't generally spend an inordinate amount of time "checking out" members of the opposite sex. For one thing, I'm happily married to my beautiful wife Kim for 17 years and secondly, I tend to be somewhat absorbed in my own little world as I move around the planet with most of my energies being focused on not being a nudge to everyone else. This is just as true in art as it was in music....

Anyway, back to the story here....I was standing at the barista counter waiting for my latte to be completed and happened to glance over at the order counter. In a rare moment of awareness, I noticed what was undeniably a very attractive young woman ordering -- what else -- a soy latte, sans Ginger-anything. Taller than average, very shapely, and wearing the tightest of skin-tight tights. Ironically, this Venus only held my attention for minute -- it was the yutz behind her, thoroughly engrossed in the text message he was reading/writing that demanded my notice. So immersed was he that this post-pubescent hormone factory didn't even notice the scantily clad girl eighteen inches in front of him.

REALLY?!? Even I saw her.The female barista saw her. Half a dozen guys walking through the store saw her. The soccer mom behind the yutz saw her -- and stared daggers into her back.

But not this guy. Why? Because he was texting...TEXTING.....

Is it possible that the combined cabal of Apple, Verizon, and Facebook/Twitter has figured out how to undo half a million years of reproductive instinct with the wave of an emoticon?

Or is it just the death of common sense?

painting count: 15

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter blues.....

"Winter Blues"; 6x6; oil on board
Did I not just say that I'm beginning to dread opening up Facebook.....Christ, not again....anybody listening up/out there...enough is enough for awhile. I don't have another elegy in me....

I'm shocked and saddened at the news that my old roommate and friend from college, Scott Rademacher passed away suddenly yesterday. Scott was one of our original saxophone class at the Univ of North Florida and such an innately talented and soulful player. Even though our lives grew apart many years ago, I greatly admired his musicianship and spirit. The world is a bit more empty without you, brother Scott....

painting count: still 14 (one sold today)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First steps......

"First Tracks"; 6x6; oil on board
I almost dread opening up Facebook and my email these days.

In the last week, I've lost two of my musical mentors, Bob Brookmeyer last week....and now today came the news that the great Sam Rivers passed last night.

Sam was a force in music like no other. Throughout his long life (he played like a wildman almost up until his final day), his music touched countless numbers of musicians in all genres, from rock to free jazz. For all too short of time, I was granted the privilege of being in Sam's nurturing presence as part of his RivBea Orchestra.

If Bob Brookmeyer opened up the door to new schools of harmonic thought, Sam blew those doors apart, picked them up and then shredded them to pieces with a frightening kind of knowledge that is referred to as genius, but more closely approaches inhuman.

Sam was the one who stood behind me and gently shoved as I took my first tentative steps into the world of the avant-garde, and then showed me the path.

I will be forever grateful for those fleeting moments of Sam's friendship.

Love to you and Bea, always Mr. R.....

painting count: 15

Friday, December 23, 2011

...only in my dreams....

"If Only In My Dreams"; 6x12; oil on board I really feel like I missed the mark yesterday. Trying to redeem myself somewhat today.

-- painting count: still 11

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The return of light.....

"Solstice"; 6x6; oil on board
"I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood." -- Bill Watterson

painting count: 11

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Alizarin Chronicles...

"Winter In The High Desert"; 6x6; oil on board
As I mentioned before, a friend recently got me thinking about substituting Alizarin Crimson for Cad Red on my palette....something I do occasionally....but haven't for awhile...


Painting count: 10

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


"Checking The Fences"; 8x6; oil on panel
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming....

A recent acquaintance asked me about a particular color I had used in the background of one of my still-lifes. I had to apologize for telling her that I had no real idea what the color was or even how I got to the color in the course of mixing it. Using a three color palette, it's pretty common (even desirable) that you're going to arrive at similar colors differently each time you mix. Even having done extensive color charts, often you're still winging it...especially in the heat of the moment.

Regarding that specific painting, all I could really ell her was that instead of Cadmium Red, I had probably used Alizarin Crimson.

Which of course, got me thinking........

painting count: 9

Bob Brookmeyer...

"For Bob"; 6x8; oil on panel
Two posts today, gang.

The first is a tough one. I learned that this past weekend, the great jazz composer and musician Bob Brookmeyer passed away. Bob was an enormous inspiration to me in my musical life. His approach to composition and orchestration directly influenced my initial interest in those disciplines and eventually left it's indelible mark on my pursuit of them. Only Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington and John Williams were in my mind as much as Bob whenever I sat down to write.

Moreover, he was the consummate artist. His music spoke to his vision of what it meant to be a composer and like Duke, used the orchestra as an instrument to convey his intent. Never one to bow to idiomatic conventions, his music could be enormously challenging and technically taxing without ever being pretentious. But he was also capable of producing achingly sparse and subtle passages that took me months to dissect and understand.

In parallel to the visual world, Bob got the music down with a brush or knife, stick or trowel....whatever worked the best to convey his vision.

"The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence. In such moments activity is inevitable, and whether this activity is with brush, pen, chisel, or tongue, its result is but a by-product of the state, a trace, the footprint of the state." - Robert Henri

RIP, Mr. Brookmeyer

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fifty by Fifty.....

"The Other Side of the Parkway"; 8x6; oil on panel you might have suspected from the previous post, the plan is to complete fifty small paintings in fifty days....each painting taking no longer than fifty minutes. Of course, the trick is to try and have the paintings not look like they were done in fifty minutes each.

Most of the paintings will be available on DailyPaintworks

-- painting count: 8

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011


"Breaking Through"; 6x8; oil on panel
I've been playing with some new techniques over the last few weeks. These quick little sketches are perfect for working it much so...that I've decided to try and do a certain number in the next 8 weeks.

I'm hoping I can make down....

....actually, if it's okay with everyone, I'm going to include a few of the preceding ones in that number...

stay tuned

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


"Away From Vermillion"; 6x6; oil on board
The area between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs on the border of Arizona and Utah is a truly amazing spot....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


"Snow Days"; 10x12; oil on panel

Snow days are upon us.....time to fire up the heater in the camper......and in the fingerless gloves...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sketches, sketches.....

"Trio"; 10x12; oil on panel
Fast sketches...

One of these days, I'm going to turn these into studio pieces.....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


"Before The Snow"; 8x10; oil on board
An artist friend of mine recently sent out a newsletter discussing the idea of challenging oneself to try new things as a way to avoid dwelling on down times. I couldn't agree more. This latest series of paintings I've been doing is exactly that. It's not that I've been dwelling on anything negative -- I've actually been feeling much more upbeat and optimistic despite recent life challenges. Perhaps avoiding mortality does that...thank you Dr. Faulkner

Trying to push myself out of whatever comfort zones I've found in the short time I've been on this journey, I've been playing with different brushes, surfaces, subjects, different techniques, new color palettes, more simple structures, trying to have more fun (is that possible?!?), striving for immediacy, attempting to not think too much, learn from mistakes....whew....put like that, sounds kind of......challenging. I better get to work.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


"Across The Pond"; 6x6; oil on board
click here to bid on this painting

With regard to my previous post: the last item refers to a general group of people who like to talk more than answer to them is, as always, "shut up and paint."

Hopefully, I didn't inadvertently offend any of the multitude of tremendous artists that I respect and admire out there....

Peace all....

Monday, December 5, 2011


Things that make me close and lock my studio door:
-Rude tourists


-Terrorist Attack

-Petty, condescending, self-important "arteests" (sp.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A new direction....

"Save Some For Me"; 6x6; oil on board
click here to bid on this painting
I'll get back to still-lifes shortly, but....

For months now I've had something in my head that I've been trying to get down on canvas. I love Tonalism. Ever since I started this journey, I've known that I wanted to eventually wind up in some kind of tonal/impressionist/contemporary world where I could throw all of the painting styles I love into a big pot and let my imagination mingle with the real visual world.

Ironically, one of my pet peeves in the arts is the obsession with "finding a style." I dealt with it for years in music. I fought it by telling myself not to worry about it and just absorbing everything I could and working my a** off. Coincidentally, that is essentially the message Richard Schmid, Robert Henri, and Edgar Payne convey(ed) to their students. Being on this self-guided tour of becoming a painter, I was incredibly lucky to have happened upon the writings of these great teachers almost by accident with a gentle nudge from a couple of generous artist friends.

With all that in mind, I simply set out (often blindly) and started painting as much as I could. First ragged contemporary attempts, clumsy still-lifes, immature landscapes....then plein air, which I know I will continue to dance with the rest of my life. Finally a couple of things started to click to the point where I didn't want to burn every canvas within days of finishing them.

Mind you, I still feel like things are very clumsy....but I do see glimmers of light here and there that also make me feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

Four weeks ago, I wound up in the hospital (apparently a little less than 24 hours from shuffling off this mortal coil). It's odd, I didn't know you could be grateful and depressed at the same time...but there I was....I made a deal with myself to work even harder once I was healthy. I also told myself that I was REALLY not going to worry about style and just enjoy the process.

To be continued......

Friday, December 2, 2011

Still Life continued....

"Trio Tipsy"; 8x10; oil on panel
click here to bid on this painting

For a few short days my studio was invaded by these unruly - and some might suggest inebriated - pears.

Nevertheless, they were easier to work with than some musicians I've known...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still Life......

December 1st....winter is definitely coming

Good time to stay warm with a still life