Come Spring

The backyard trees are in bloom. Soon, their bones will be hidden beneath their green plumage. Although it can still snow in NE Ohio in early April, this photo from my kitchen against the background of a peaceful Lake Erie brings a smile,

Almost ready

I put the final toned ground on the linen-cotton blend canvas that I recently wrote about. The canvas is dry, indeed, it was dry the same day I applied the ground, but it still needs to cure for a few days. Dry to touch doesn’t mean really dry. When it’s done curing, I’ll sand it…

President Biden, stay out of Ukraine

My biggest fear about the incoming Biden administration is becoming all too real. The current US administration seems to be hellbent on war. Ukrainian President Zelensky, by singing decree No. 117/2021, has virtually declared war against Russia. US Secretary of Defense Austin, a former board member of Raytheon, promises unwavering US support for Ukraine. Many…

Dreams

When I go to bed, I often try to think about a problem with a painting. Then my consciousness runs another stream in the background. Before I fall asleep, the solution to the problem occurs to me–‘ah ha!’ Sometimes the solution comes in the morning, and sometimes it doesn’t come. However, as interesting as this…

Screwed

I’m screwed. My backlog is out of hand; I can’t possibly keep up. The ideas keep coming. It’s not by my will. It seems like ‘something’ outside of me is making paintings and I’m merely the assistant. It surprises and worries me that the ‘something’ doesn’t care that many paintings do not get finished. I…

Commercial canvas

I spend a lot of time preparing canvases–stretching, priming, and grounding. The process works well for me but it’s time-consuming. I would gladly buy commercially-prepared canvas but my experience with it has been bad. In the past, I’ve paid premium prices for inferior products. The art supply market is filled with hucksters and amateurs. Knowing…

Review: Killing Commendatore

I became familiar with the Japanese author Haruki Murakami during my current fiction-gorging phase. How could I have been unfamiliar with such a gifted author? It’s not an excuse but I go through long periods during which I don’t read fiction. Murakami’s style is first-person intimate heightened with surrealism; all of it served very imaginatively.…

Whiskey was the cause

Perusing Ancestry.com’s records, I came across this Kentucky newspaper article from 1896. During a drunken brawl, a man, Billy Patrick, was stabbed in the head. At the time the article is written, Patrick is expected to die. The perpetrator, my great-great-grandfather Ben Risner, attacked the deputy sheriffs who came to arrest him. During the ensuing…

Family mystery

My great-grandfather Ramey had a fierce personality. Even in his 90’s, he had no time for nonsense, epically from unruly children such as me. My grandmother ascribed her father’s fierceness to his harsh childhood. Orphaned early, his adopted family treated him as little more than a servant. One day, my grandmother’s oft-repeated story went, her…

Winter might end?

Just when I finally lost all hope, we saw the sun. This winter has been harsh with bitter cold and snowstorms followed quickly by more snowstorms. But Lake Erie has begun to thaw as has the Vermilion River. I took my first walk along the river since the first of the year. Here’s a photograph…

I bought manganese violet

Like the title says, I bought some manganese violet. Some artists maintain that they can reproduce every color by using a small collection of paints. While it’s true that you can create a tremendous variety of colors with a limited palette, it’s not true that you can reproduce every color that way. There are a…

Who needs culture anyway?

One of the biggest shocks of my life and one of my biggest disappointments occurred when I went to France for the first time in 1993. France! home of great artists–David, Delacroix, the angelic Ingres, Manet, Monet, and many others. Writers? Balzac, of course. The master. I made a pilgrimage to his home which is…

President Trump, pardon Assange

On President Trumps’ last day in office, I’ve signed the petition that urges the president to pardon Assange. For more background, here’s a recent NY Times article. If you want to add you voice to the petition, Google pardonassangeNow.