Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rear End Year View

Champ the wonder dog sits patiently awaiting the New Year to come through the door.  And feed him.

Wow, can you believe it's time once again to reminisce about the year gone by?  2012 was a year unlike any other. 

Not really.  But I heard that it's customary to say that about departing years.

It started the same way as every other year-- in January-- and progressed through the calendar in usual fashion.  I remember having a New Year's Resolution to achieve world-wide acclaim as an artist, and sell my work for millions of dollars.  I'm pretty close to achieving that goal, if you disregard the fact that I'm still totally anonymous as a painter, and my pictures are traded for Pokemon cards.  But I'm so close, I can smell it...

Looking back through my efforts in 2012, (pronounced Twenty-Twelve) I can see good times and good art, along with mediocre times and so-so art.  But isn't that why we look so eagerly to the coming year?  To start afresh?  To right the wrongs of the previous year?  To grow, and learn and finally achieve our potential? 

Or is it to breathe the same sigh of relief as when we narrowly miss having a car-accident?  You know, "Man-- I'm glad I made it through that!..."

So, allow me to skip through some memories; the sights and paintings of the year, and end the chapter of life that was 2012.

The year started with a trip to Hollywood with my daughter, Leigh.  We were participating in a show about ghosts called My Ghost Story.  I've blogged about it here.  The best part was getting to the Getty Museum with Tess, an old Air Force friend I hadn't seen in 30 years.  Fame is 15 minutes long.  Friends last a lifetime. 

Leigh at the Getty checking out a Medieval pop-up book.

Then it was back to work in Maine.  Here's some stuff from early in the year.

Morning Reflections

Birches-- I've never posted this one.

Appleton Hills

Then I finished up a big one;  After years of 12X16's and 14X18's, at 3ft high and 4 feet long, it was my largest painting to-date:

Horse Pull

Sometime in the Spring, I got interested in doing my pictures vertically.  Before, I always laid down to paint, but then I decided to stand up.  And that made my compositions become vertical, too.

Up River

Noon On The River
The two paintings above show the Eastern River, near my home in Pittston.  The painting on top depicts a lovely spot a short hike from my home.  Below that is a picture I did from the edge of my back yard.  It may not be great, but that one I did plein air. 
Below is one of many scenic spots in the Boothbay Botanical Gardens, in Boothbay, Maine.  
Garden Falls
Garden Falls, and Noon On The River where done plein air in anticipation of the summers plein air events.  At the height of this blisteringly hot summer I hit the road to New Hope, Pennsylvania to a paint-out hosted by the inimitable Howard Cooperman and his lovely bride, Edye.  Howard owns the Bucks County Gallery Of Fine Art, (where I have a few of these pieces hanging) and I couldn't wait to slap some paint with about 20 very admirable artists.
I found this painting along the river, and added some touches before the artist got back..

Wondering where I can get more punch.
On the way back, I had to stop in Stockbridge, Massachusetts to say hello to  my hero, Norman Rockwell:
Let's see.  On to Fall, and more surf and turf:
Sebasco, Maine views
Then I thought, "I know-- let's do portraits!"


But, you know, I also had some fun whipping out the old pencil--

From life


From a photo

And that brings us to my latest picture, and probably my last for this year.  It's called December Fields.  I've wanted to paint a picture of this house since the day I moved here.  I finally got around to it:

So, that's my year in paint and pencil.  I'm really looking forward to what lies in store for 2013. 

Anybody have any Pokemon cards left?

Have a Happy Holiday!


Friday, December 14, 2012

And The Angels Wept

It has been a sad day today, hasn't it?  Mindless insanity in Connecticut has my heart heavy, but what I feel pales in comparison to the horror and devastation that twenty six families are enduring right now. 

I suppose for the next few years December 14 will hit us as hard as September 11, April 20, November 22, or December 7th once did.  But as always, the day will inevitably come when this date blurs in with the rest of the calendar.  Schools across the country will deal with this with more and more security; More lock-downs, more armed guards in SWAT Team regalia roaming the empty halls, more security screening at the barricaded front door, more check-points before gaining access to school campuses.  Schools from Grammar to College will look more like fortresses-- or prisons-- than places of care-free learning.  Many folks will look back wistfully on the days when students were free to come and go as they will, and such precautions weren't necessary, but hey -- it's the world we live in these days...

Meanwhile, it is deemed that nothing can be done to impede the criminal from obtaining the weapon that allows such atrocities to happen.

There may be many who wonder how a just and merciful God could allow such tragedy to happen to innocents.  It is impossible to see into the mind of the Almighty, but I wonder if possibly He is saying, "And I'm going to keep letting this happen until you all wake up!"


Friday, December 7, 2012

Dear Mr. Santa

Dear Santa,

How you doing?  And the Mrs?  Please send her my regards.  Wow!  Can you believe another year has flown by?  I tell you, the leaves of the calendar were dropping faster than my prom dates dress.  Or does that put me on the Naughty List for saying that?  Regardless, this year I've prided myself on how good I've been.  I'm sure it hasn't been lost on you. 

Anywho, I'm sure the elves enjoyed taking a break from making gifts for the good girls and boys.  I mean, this was an election year, after all.  Am I right?  That said, I'm sure your coal suppliers were working overtime!  Hey, anything to keep 'em busy, I guess.

I want to thank you for your present last year.  Remember, it was a T-shirt that said, "Don't Starve The Artist!"  But as you may recall, what I asked for was not to be a starving artist.  Oh well-- I guess it's the thought that counts...

This year, I have a short-- but important list (because artists do "important" things) of what I'd like for you to bring me.  So if you can get the elves working on it, I'd appreciate it.

First off, I've been doing a lot more plein air stuff this year, and while what I've been cranking out is OK, what I really need is a set of Plein Aire Paints.  You know, the ones that have the sparkling blue of the sky, the luminescence of a summer cumulus cloud, and the brilliance of a sunset.  I'm pretty sure you last made a set for Willard Metcalf and Daniel Garber.  Mine must have been made by the "Meh" Paint Company, because they don't shimmer and shine like theirs.  Please have your elves whip up a batch of the good stuff.  I need every color you can make.  Thanks.

Of course, paints are well-nigh useless without brushes-- unless you're Jackson Pollack.  But my brushes don't seem to accurately portray what I'm trying to paint.  So, if you could throw in the Church or Bouguereau set, I'd find a use for them.  It seems to me like every one else has a set.  Just have the elves hold up on making any more smart phones. Aren't there enough already?

One last thing I'd like to see busting out the seams of my stocking is better painting ideas.  Right now it seems like every time I come up with an idea for a painting, I see that someone else has already done it.  And usually better.  What I need is my own brand of unique, not someone else's.  Have the elf that came up with the Chia Pet work on this one, will you?

OK, that should just about do it.  I know you'll be busy enough, soon enough.  I mean, you've got to cram in a whole lot of stuff in one night.  How are the reindeer holding up?  I'm sure the other reindeer are chomping on the bit to finally get a chance to take the trip.  You know, no one ever mentions him, but I heard Rudolph's brother was nick-named "Flashlight Ass"!

Or does saying that put me on the Naughty List again?

Peace On Earth, Goodwill Amen