Saturday, December 31, 2011

Penultimate Supper

Many years ago when I was living in Mt Pleasant, MI, I heard a sermon about Mary breaking open an alabaster jar to wash Christ's feet with the expensive perfume therein. Guess they didn't have twist off caps yet. I was inspired to paint the scene ... and thought that this must be the Penultimate Supper (as referred to in a Monty Python skit ... "If there was a last supper, there must have been one before that!), because the next supper that we are told about was the "last supper". Although, it's all a matter of how you look at things, anyway. It was another week or so after the "last supper" when Christ was crucified. Surely, even the cruel Romans gave the Lord something to eat in his cell -- certainly they wouldn't want him to die before they nailed him to the cross.
All of that's beside the point, really. Anyway, I ran across this charcoal that I did for my interpretation of the washing of Christ's feet, and I have been preparing a surface to begin the next phase ... an oil study for a bigger piece. Hopefully I'll get that started in the first week of the new year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

It's that time of year again ... no, not necessarily the holiday thing, though, true, that is here and it's always a nice thing to reflect on all of the ghosts of Christmas past, but it's also the time for great introspection and reflection. Perhaps I do it a little much at this time of year, but I'm constantly taking stock in where I am, what I'm doing, and how it measures up to what I thought and where I was. It's a little more apparent near the end of the year because it's easier to remember what you were up to last year late in Dezember.

In the next week or so I'll try to put together something a little more comprehensive along this thread of thought. In the mean time, here's a gander at a package that I decorated for Christmas ... because, well, we all know that nothing says Christmas better than a Giraffe. After all wasn't it the three wise men who rode giraffes through the desert from Detroit to bring gifts to the newborn King? Or, wait ... no, that wasn't it ... they were bringing gifts of gold, frankfurters, and giraffes. Uh, I may be wrong there, too.

Okay, I just dug out the New Testament, and neither of the four accounts of the birth of Christ even mention Detroit or Giraffes. Seems that they were coming from the east ... so, probably closer to Boston ... and no mention of a giraffe anywhere. Maybe I have a different translation. Someone just told me that they rode camels. Camels? As if. I didn't see anything about a camel either.

At any rate, it makes a nice decoration for a present. I thought about putting a santa hat on him or maybe some jingle bells around his neck, but, let's try to remember what the season is really all about, right, and not muck it up with penguins and Santa's claws.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Didn't make the cut

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I came up with what I thought to be a perfect entry for this year's Renaissance Art show in Yosemite. It's notoriously difficult to get into this national show because -- well, I don't want to get into the reasons. It's biased and unfair, but, well, what isn't anymore -- and if I make a big complaint I'll only sound like I'm jealous or crying 'sour grapes'.

My entry was a tribute to the Buffalo soldiers who were some of the early caretakers of the park back in the 1800's shortly after the Civil War. Although I've been winning a lot of contests around here lately (just won another one for a self portrait done in Del Gish's studio) my large charcoal of the black soldiers didn't even make the cut in this year's show. Well, my hat's still off to them (reveling my balding head). And ... I'll try again next year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


When I was going to Central Michigan University, I painted an 8' x 5' painting of Christ in the storm on the sea of Galilee - which was actually a multiple self portrait allegorical painting. Shortly after the BFA show I had to put the painting into storage ... where it remained for about a year until I returned to Michigan to collect some of the stuff from my storage area. Unfortunately, a box had fallen onto the canvas and put a big dent in it. I hauled it to Washington and tried to fix it with limited success. Another move found me pulling the canvas off of the stretchers and rolling it up. A few years, moves, and storage sheds later, and I pulled it out to show Belinda and her folks. That was last summer, just prior to the Sierra Art Trails.

The canvas was creased where something had fallen against it while it was rolled. I thought that I might as well hang it from one of the rafters in the garage to help block some of the storage area during the art trails so that I could show off my printmaking area. The heat in the garage for the last few months has helped the material to relax and most of the creases have dissolved.

Last week I bought the lumber and made a new stretcher for it. I cut off about a foot on one side and maybe a little more than that on the top - allowing it to stand up in the studio. I also attached stilts to the back so that it's not touching the floor while I'm working on its restoration. While restretching it I caused an injury to my eye ... thought that I put that sucker out for a minute ... but that's beside the point.

Anyway, the painting restretched much better than I thought it would. It still needs a lot of work ... more stretching and some repainting in places. While thinking about the whole thing, though, I had an interesting idea. Since all of the figures - the disciples - are self portraits, why not redo some of them as I am now ... and maybe a few more in the years to come -- an ongoing project?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Charcoal

Yesterday, at the Gertrude Schoolhouse, where the YWA portrait group meets, our model was Cheyenne ... a native American woman. She's very beautiful and I was sorry that I was going to have to leave early. But, since I was going to have a shorter session, I opted to do a charcoal drawing, rather than a painting. I seem to be on a roll with that lately anyway.

I really enjoyed the experience. It had been a few weeks since I'd been to the group and I appreciated the camaraderie.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Still Wet

Here are a couple of paintings that I'm working on ... well, I'm actually not 100% sure if I'm done or not ... and I'll continue to pick at them for a few more weeks. The Sunflower painting is a little bit frustrating in that the flower itself is quite dead now. That was a real shame ... I should have worked on it when I had a little more time to devote to it instead of having a break of even a day. It was one of the most impressive sunflower heads that I've ever seen. The thing was huge! It's been tough working on it without the flower itself. I'm trying to make it a little more about how I feel ... about emotions ... about the essence of the thing. It sounds hokey, I realize ... but it's been interesting work. Although ... I keep looking over my shoulder for the guys in the white suits with the butterfly nets.
This ballerina painting is also still in progress. Each time I finish working on it and consider it done, I pass it a few hours or days later and know that I have to work on it a little more. Wish I had the model on hand to pose for me, but I took the photo at a performance that was going on at the Civil War Reenactment that I went to see a few months ago.
With this one I'm also trying to work without the references so much - relying on my instincts, memory, and how I feel it should look. I may try a few more of this sort of thing ... but probably a little looser. Perhaps I can find live models from which to work; I always prefer that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Sale

Happy Thanksgiving!The Timberline Gallery in Oakhurst, CA is having a 50% off sale tomorrow - Black Friday. Come on out, bring your check book!These are a couple of the paintings that I'll have in our "parking lot sale" - both 8" x 10" oil on canvas.

YWA Portrait Show

A few weeks ago the YWA had its annual portrait show and sale. We set up displays and had a very nice show of all of our work done from the models that we've had every Friday for the last year. We had a fairly good turn out and some good food. Sales were light, to say the least, but it was really a good time seeing all of the work and interacting with my fellow artists, the models, family of both, and all of the other patrons that came through the old schoolhouse. It was a great time. This shot was taken before we had the whole thing up (dang, I forgot to take one later), but this was at the entry -- one of my charcoals on the left, someone's watercolour in the middle, and a photo of me on the right by another one of our members - I posed in my fencing gear one Friday.

I didn't make any sales, but I did one of my little w.i.m. s (woodcut, intaglio, monotypes) when things got slow. I went out beside the schoolhouse and did a sketch of the old pumphouse. Then I sat and resketched it on a small pannel, and then scratched the image in with my stylist. When I got back to the studio, I made several prints of it ... and I've sold a few of them since.

Most of the paintings that I do at the Gertrude schoolhouse are on recycled materiel such as ceriel boxes, etc.
These were actually done on canvas (top) and canvas boards.

More canvas boards.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gallery and show

Recently I have joined another gallery ... the Sierra Artists Gallery in Mariposa, CA ... so, now, if you're in the area ... there are two choices of galleries where my work can be seen. Well, for the time being, you actually have four choices. Besides the aforementioned Sierra gallery, you can see my work at the Timberline Gallery in Oakhurst, where I've been a member for about six months. I also have a painting ... "Akt mit Cello" (Nude with Cello) at the "Nudes in November" show at Sorensen's gallery in Fresno (which took a 1st in the oil painting category), and a painting at the Stellar gallery in Oakhurst, where I have a painting of Pulpit Rock at Zion National Park in the "Our Wild Lands" show - which won an honorable mention. Both of these shows come to an end in the next week.

A portrait of Brenda Gish with a violin was also in a recent show (at the Sierra Artists Gallery - before I joined) and won a best of show award - and I had another violin painting in a show last summer (the Tri-County Show, put on by the Yosemite Western Artists association) that won a 1st place. Woo hoo. Getting my name out there ... hoping that it helps my sales (cause it's not really all that fun entering these things).

Last year I entered the Yosemite Renaissance art show -- and didn't make the cut. When I went to see the show ... well, to be honest, I was disappointed (to be very nice about it).

I recently just sent off my entry for this year's contest. The piece that I entered is a bit unusual in subject matter and medium; it's a large charcoal (22" x 30") of Buffalo Soldiers (as the black soldiers were referred to back then) in Yosemite. I won't know about its acceptance until near the end of December ... and won't find out if I got any kind of prize until February! I don't expect much -- I'll just be happy if it gets accepted (if it's not accepted into the show, ya think I should I pull the race card? har - har).

Thursday, November 17, 2011


In August or September I did a printmaking demo. Until then I hadn't really done much with my press since I moved here. That demo kick-started me back into printmaking mode. I've made quite a few of my woodcut/intaglio/monotypes since then and have sold quite a few. I've sold enough prints now that the press has finally paid for itself -- in fact, it's more than done so, since the demo was a paying gig!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Father Christmas

Today our model at the Friday Portrait Group was Father Christmas. I had stretched and tinted a sheet of 18" x 24" Reeves BFK printmaking paper yesterday. I tinted it with some burnt sienna-ish acrylic paint - and then, today, before I started, I also gave the tinted paper a coat of charcoal. This way I could work both lighter and darker.

Sometimes things just seem to go smoothly, and today was one of those times.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


This is one of the Friday Painting session models. In early November we are going to have a show/sale of the paintings that we've done at our Friday morning sessions. Come on out ~ bring your check book.

Here's one of my "Green" paintings ... done on a Tony's Pizza box ... or some such thing ~ my way of recycling. Strangely enough, this work actually sold durring my open studio weekend.

My little sunflower garden in the middle of the summer. Some of these things got up to 10 or 12 feet high. I also had a bunch of red ones. Wish I'd done a few more paintings of them.

This was a quick oil sketch of Belinda as she was knitting. It's a tiny piece and was a blast to do. It was so dark in the room, though, that I wasn't sure that the colours were even close. As it turns out, they weren't, really, but it still worked for what it was.

Lately ~ meaning all of the time since the last post on this blog ~ I've been doing a lot of painting, entered lots of art shows, had an open studio (Sierra Art Trails), and have had a lot of success with making prints. And I haven't been able to update any of this on the blog because of computer issues.

Here are some random images:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back from the Edge

It's been a long time since I've had access to the internet. Sorry, it's just one of those things. I've done a lot of painting (mostly small pieces) ... lots of drwaing ... an inking or two, and a whole lot of adventuring. My son, Ben, came over from Michigan for a two week visit and we had a blast in San Francisco and did some hiking in the park. Here are a few pictures of some of the things that I've done recently.

Also ... the dvd of "The Ward" came out two weeks ago. I was happy to see that my sketches had some good air time and I got double billing in the credits ... first for the sketches, and second for the paintings that I provided for the background walls (they used my company name - Itinerant Artist Productions). It was great to finally see the finished project.

Next ... I'm getting ready for the Sierra Art Trails exhibition at the end of September. I'll have tons of people (hopefully) touring my studio. Yikes! Lots to do for that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Out There

Lately I haven't been able to post very much. Sorry to all of you faithful readers ... both of you. It's not that I haven't been working, it's that I have been doing a lot of hiking, exploring, painting, and also, the new studio -- and gardens -- have taken up a lot of time. Currently I have about five paintings in various stages ... not including three or four plein air pieces that need a lot of help.That's me at Lost Lake; that's the back of Half Dome in the distance. If this lake is lost, what does that say about me?

I worked on two plein air pieces in one of the Sequoia groves -- neither of which I thought were very good ... I also did one of Yosemite Falls that's particularly mediocre ( I do have some great excuses for that one ... but, really ... yecccch). I also used one of my "dipped" boards ~ made in Medical Lake a few years ago and I'm just now getting around to using it ... and still have three more ~ at the Friday painting group a few weeks ago. When I did it, the portrait seemed to jump right out and it was quite exciting ... however, now I like it less each time I look at it. Into the pile leaning against the wall in the garage it goes.

And so it goes ... it's always a struggle with the id as much as anything else. Part of it (the struggle) is the fact that I've been going through boxes and boxes of stuff that I've done over the years. Sooo much stuff. Some of it is really quite nice, some of it is good, a lot of it is mediocre, and there's a lot of pure fecal matter in there as well. It all comes together to make an autobiography in a way.

That's all well and good, except, since my Dad's passing, I've got a different kant to my view of life. It's not quite the "what is it all for?", or "what does it all mean?" thing; it's more of a "who really gives a rat's ass" kind of thing. My Dad was meticulous about keeping records of things and numbering and dating everything. He was keeping a notebook of all of his artwork back when he started into it when he was around 35 or 40. He has a book that lists all of his paintings, when he did them, who bought them or who he gave them to, how much the purchasing price was, the number of the painting, etc. He did over 1,700 paintings. He also kept track of all of his other collections and his travels and adventures ~ and put together an autobiographical sketch in short pieces called "My Anecdotal Life".

The thing is ... as amusing as his stories are ... and as good as his record-keeping was; he's gone. It's not that people don't care or don't miss him, or anything like that -- it's that people have their own lives to live. The hurt and loss pass, and all of the work is set aside and forgotten -- or, maybe not forgotten, just only important for a few minutes at a time. It will never be as important to anyone else as it was to him.

I look around at all of the crapola that I've shoveled at the world in the last fifty years -- and I've got boxes of it -- and I ask "who gives a rat's sphincter?" I have about six or eight boxes of journal notebooks ... the last nine years written in code ... they have drawings and stories and all kinds of crap in them. But who is it all for ... what was it all for? And I come round to that validity question for myself again. Why do I write all of this stuff down? WGARA?

There are only a couple of reasons that I keep doing it: the first is that it's a great exercise for my mind and to keep in the practice of writing, another is that I've done it for so long (more or less steady since the late seventies), and for another, every now and then when I stop to look back at them, it's entertaining -- mostly that I can look back and wonder what the heck I was thinking. Mostly, though, I suppose that I do it because my memory is so faulty that I have to write everything down. If I ever get Althimers, I'll never know it, because I can't remember anything anyway (including a close enough spelling so that the computer can figure out what I'm trying to spell). The most beneficial part of keeping a journal, though, is that it helps me to work things out in my head. Lots of people have to talk to other people to work things out -- which is great in some instances -- but I've learned how to deal with things without bothering the crap out of my fellow man.

All this being said, I still kind of wonder about the validity of the thing! And painting? Drawing? Etching? I guess every artist asks these things of themselves. The thing is, it's not like any of us could just stop doing the thing that drives us, can we?

Okay, so, now that I've dumped all of that -- I'll try to get some pictures of my recent projects ... and maybe some of my new studio on here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Painting at Olmstead Point

Yesterday I drove up into the high country to do some work from Olmsted Point. I love it up there and wish that I could go more often. The road is closed most of the year, though, due to the great amount of snow that they get up there. In fact, there was still snow up there yesterday.
It's only about ten or twelve miles from the cabin ... maybe less, as the crow flies. But it's a tough hike; crows don't have to worry about all of the switch-backs on Snowcreek trail. It takes a good hour or so to drive up there on Tioga Pass Road. I think it was 45 miles. It's well worth the effort to get there, if for nothing else than the cooler weather!
I ended up having to fold up my easel before I was finished as it was very blustery and began to rain hard. I had quite a few visitors and met some real nice people. There will definitely be more painting outings up to that area. The view of distant Half Dome raising its head above the valley so far away is only one of the great sights one can see from up there; Tenya Lake and the numerous peaks around it are also amazing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Painting Half Dome

Yesterday I accompanied Tara and Jeremy up the approach to their climb on Washington Column. It was a nice hike and I even challenged myself to go up the fixed rope at the base of the wall. Oy! Heights! After they had ascended out of sight, I turned and went around the base of the column, heading north. There was a faint climber's approach trail there and I followed it up and around until I was on a precipice high above Tanya valley on a trail that was no wider than my foot.

For the experienced climber, this would probably seem like a well-paved freeway ... but to me ... nyet! I may not do nearly as much daring climbing as experienced climbers, but, in my way I may just get more of an adventure out of it because of my sheer terror of ledges. When I could smell the fear in myself, I pushed myself a little farther ... until I realized, once again, that I was spending a great deal of time at it -- and no time painting. I was loosing the shadows on Tis-Se-Yak (the native American word for Half Dome) as it was.

So, with this great excuse not to risk my neck any more, I turned 'round and went back to a shady spot on the talus of Washington Column and sat down to paint. Just as I was finishing the small study, the shadows on the face of Half Dome vanished.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Wow, it's near the end of June already!
The first week of June I headed up to Spokane to pull all of my stuff out of storage. It was a lot of driving and it was good to see all of the people up there that I haven't seen for a long time. Sadly, Del and Marge were down in California while I was up there. I thought that I might be able to hook up with them in the Sacramento area on my way back ... but, that place is crazy with traffic and I went through at a real bad time, too.
Since I've been back ... I moved out of my old studio into a much bigger one and have spent a lot of time up there (where I don't have Internet) trying to get it into order. For the first time in a long, long time I have most of my stuff all in one place (with the notable exception of my motorcycle -- just couldn't swing that). That's so cool on the one hand ... and, yet ... now I have to figure out what the heck to do with it all.
I've been to the old schoolhouse for the Friday painting session a few times since returning ... but have no pictures of my final works to show ... but here's a look of one in the process ... with a look at the inside of the Gertrude and some of my fellow artists.
The new studio is quite a project. [I'll post pictures when I've got it in better shape.] I'm going to make it accessible to the public and have entered the annual Art Tour - called the Sierra Art Trails - which takes place at the end of September - early October, where the local studios are open for the weekend and the public tours the area perusing all of the wonderful art and visiting the artists in their natural habitats. Even though it seems like a long time off, summer is one of those slippery seasons that passes more quickly with each year. Hope I'm ready by then!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday at the Old Schoolhouse.

Last Fritag we had Kori model for us again. She dressed in a 40s-ish dress a month or so ago. Friday she dressed in a kimono. She did a standing pose -- not the easiest thing in the world to do. It was a good opportunity to do some figurative work ... although it was tempting to just do a portrait because the lighting was nice and she has such a striking face.

I was glad that I had brought a canvas board ... but wished it was a little bigger (it was 11" x 14"). The thing is, though, it's tough to get a bigger canvas covered in such a short amount of time. I have worked on some of them a little from photos when I got home ~ but I'm not a big fan of doing that.
Anyway, it turned out okay. One of my fellow painters suggested that the shadow on the wall looked like a pair of wings. "Maybe you can turn her into an angel", she said. Hmmm. Well, she's a bit dark to be an angel, I think -- and I wouldn't really want to call her a dark angel, because she's a sweet girl. But I do like the thought that she has wings. Perhaps I'll title it "Winged Woman" or some such thing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Latest model

Another fun painting day at the Gertrude Schoolhouse with the YWA on Friday.

The lady that posed for us, Alisa (?) is the mother of the girl who posed a few weeks ago as a Heinamachafrau ... okay, I'm horrible with names. She was another good model.

I should have picked up a canvas, though,; I worked on a prepared piece of cardboard (actually, the cover of an old charcoal pad). Even though I put several coats of gesso on it, the absorbency kinda worked against me ... even working with no solvents.

Ah, well, maybe I'll pick at it again, later.

Lilacs again

There's a nice lilac bush in the back yard at the studio and I clipped off a few ... put it in an arrangement with some new crockery that I got at a thrift store ... and did a little 9" x 12" painting. Fun. It was painted under artificial light, though. I need to do some rearranging at the studio so that I can paint still lifes in the preferred natural north light.

Repairing the Old Guitar

Eldon Bartholomew, and his wife, Kathie own the little studio that Belinda and I rent just outside of Mariposa. They are always doing nice things for me like bringing me flowers to paint (or just to enjoy), watering my garden when I'm in the park for several days, watching Meecah from time to time, or - like this morning - Eldon rototilled a little spot in the back yard for me to plant my sunflowers and tomatoes. So, I did this little (8" x 10") oil painting of Eldon working on his guitar as a way to say thanks. It was a fun little project, and I made the frame for it from the old fence that they took down at the cabin in Yosemite.

Last year I had hand dug a small spot and wished that I'd been a little more industrious with it. This year I'm hoping for some nice sunflowers to paint, tomatoes -- maybe some cucumbers, eggplants .... who knows what all I will attempt to grow. Of course, eating them will be nice ~ but, really, the most important thing for me in most things, is their asthetic quality.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Diana the Huntress

The model at the YWA last Friday dressed in a Renaissance outfit and had a quiver of arrows and a bow.It was a good session and I had a blast working along side of all of the great people that show up to paint every week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Still Life Paintings and Frames

One of the things that I'm indebted to Del Gish for is making frames. Okay, I'm not a master frame maker ... not even close ... but I have been able to save a ton of money on frames since he showed me some of the finer points.
Recently, the old picket fence that was around the cabin in Yosemite was pulled up so that they could replace it with one that is practically just as worthless. The great thing about it, though, is that the wood from the old one was very weathered and rustic looking. I was able to use some of it to make some frames for a show at the gallery called "little wonders". Some of the parameters of this show include having no dimensions of the work be over 10" - including the frame ... and nothing over $100.
I've been working on several small pieces and decided to frame them up for this particular show. I was able to borrow a miter saw from Eldon and put together three or four this week. They turned out okay ... saved me some quan, too.
Actually, a funny thing happened on my way to the gallery ... I took the pieces into the Gertrude painting session to show them the frames ... and I sold two of the paintings! Nice. It was a profitable day for me.

Back at the Gertrude

Today we had a beautiful young woman pose for us at our Friday morning painting session. She posed as a Heinamachafrau. She did a great job, especially for such a young model ... in a standing pose! I wish I had a better photo of it, but I sold it before I left.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Still Life Paintings

The day before I left Connecticut (last Thursday), I still had a pallet full of paint from the still life that I did as a tribute to my Dad. So, I grabbed an 8"x10" canvas and sat down to paint a pot of flowers, which I left for Diana. In the process of painting it, I had to reload a few of my paint piles, and Judy (who had been making such wonderful food for us the whole time that I was there) suggested that there was enough paint left to do something for her. So, I let her choose some items and we arranged them together and I worked for a few hours on that one, too. Judy is a fine artist in her own right and I was happy to do this for her.

All three of the paintings that I worked on were on canvases that my Dad had tinted blue. He worked mostly on landscapes and tinted the canvases blue so that he was a step ahead when it came to the sky. It was an interesting change, as I usually tint my canvases a warm colour before I work on them.

Again, they were done with the "water mixable oil colour". Even after working with them all week, I never really got the hang of them. They dry at a much faster rate than regular oil paint and, oddly, they don't mix real smoothly with linseed oil ... at least not as smoothly as one would think. They felt more like acrylic paints to me ~ although they didn't dry quite that quickly.

They were fun little pieces and I was happy to leave them for Judy and Diana.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Faithful Servant

Right after my father's funeral last week I began a still life using a few of the flowers from one of the many bouquets that were given to the family. The idea was simple; I started with a few flowers and a candle holder that was shaped like a tea pot. The symbolism didn't escape me, but, as I added things to the composition it became quite apparent that this was going to have many symbols in it. The basic composition was a triangle of light against dark - an obvious, strong and common one to use. When I laid out the flowers, they, too, were in a basic triangle ... but there wasn't much to that, it was just kind of logical, since I wanted them laying down. I didn't really see how many triangles there were until I was actually finishing the work.
The idea to use the largest and most noticeable triangle of the flag didn't come to me until halfway through the work when I realized that the design needed something else.

The teapot candle holder has holes in it that are part of the design and the light illuminates them in a very beautiful way when it's lit. The candle, obviously, just as the light of Dad's life, has gone out. I included the smoke rising, though, to signify that his influence still goes out into the world, even as it rises into the clouds. Christ admonished us to "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) And so he did, and he passed that light to many, many people throughout the world.

The cloth on which the still life rests is one which his wife Diana furnished for the project. It turned out to be very fitting, as, while I was working on the painting, she put on a CD of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" - a biblical story which Dad would know well, and had probably included in a sermon or two.

The flowers are kind of a play on words. The Iris has been tweaked a little to the blue spectrum rather than the violet that they were ... as Dad's Irises were blue. And the Tulips ~ for one thing, they are Dutch in origin, which is an obvious tie-in to his wife, Diana, who is from New Zealand, but of a rich Dutch heritage. But, also, two lips ... my little play on words as symbolism for Dad's life as a dynamic orator - one of the best that I've ever had the privilege to hear. I know, I'm rather biased, but I've heard it many times from people who were not.

The sketch of Dad represented here, was done during the summer of 2010 when I had the opportunity to visit with Dad for a week. I had begun sketching him while we were talking in his living room one afternoon. He wasn't exactly a willing model, though, and I abandoned the drawing. When we went on an excursion, though, to the Nautilus submarine one afternoon, I took a bevy of photos of him. One of those was a very similar pose to the one that I'd begun earlier and I stayed up a little later than usual that night working from the photo to finish the sketch.
The day that he died, I posted the picture on Facebook. Diana asked for a larger version of it, which I emailed to her. The original was in black and white charcoal on a brownish paper. When I put it on my computer, I manipulated it, heightening the contrast and warming up the whole thing. She printed it out onto small cards with a brief bio of him on the back, which she made available at his funeral service ... a very nice touch, one which I'm certain that he would have appreciated.

Under the portrait is the program from the service which was a photo of clouds upon which was written: "Well done, good and faithful servant!" The clouds also tie in to the rising smoke from the extinguished candle ... and the field of stars in their "azure halls of heaven" from the flag which had been used in his funeral service and presented to Diana by the honor guard. In the flag, unseen, are the casings from the 21 gun salute.

The lace on which the candle rests, is symbolic in that we are all tied together in a pattern which God has created, and we may not see this pattern clearly until we, too, know death's sting ~ and see the light of God's face.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Water Soluable Oils?

This is the first time that all of my brothers and my sister have been together since 1989. We're having a lot of fun catching up and telling stories ... just wish it were under other circumstances. Back row left to right: Bob, Chip, Tim, bottom: Mark, Susan, and Jack. I set up a still life yesterday ... and worked on it for a few hours then and a couple of hours today. The natural light has been very poor today, so I'm hoping for better light tomorrow. I'm using the materiel's at hand; my dad switched to "water mixable oils" a few years ago. They're strange to work with but not too bad. I hope to finish it and share it tomorrow.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in the Air

Yesterday Belinda, Meecah and I hiked the old stagecoach road. I love that hike. Nobody else usually on it. I love to let my imagination take me back about a hundred years to see the old buckboards, stagecoaches and equestrians riding down into the valley on one of the only roads in. It's been over 60 or 70 years since it was last used and rock slides are slowly obliterating it.

Now, a day later, I'm sitting in the Fresno airport, heading back east to join the family for my father's send-off.