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.

British judge rejects Assange extradition

Surprisingly, this morning a British judge rejected the US request for extradition of Julian Assange. Assange, as most of you know, is the beleaguered founder/leader of WikiLeaks. Previously, Judge Vanessa Baraitser was considered a harsh critic of Assange so her decision surprises me. Assange’s supporters expected a different decision, which would most likely spell the…

Ill-omened moon

I’ve seen blood moons before, the red moon that appears during Fall evenings, but I’ve never seen a red moon in the morning until today. When I first saw the moon, it was so bright and fat, I thought it was the sun above Lake Erie. But it is the red-colored moon. I ran to…

New palette

Christmas was wonderful again this year. One of my gifts was a new palette. My homemade one is decrepit, as you can see in this photo. I prepared the new palette–a glass-covered reproduction–by removing the reproduction and painting the backing neutral gray. The old palette, including the frame, is the same size as the glass…

White Christmas

It started snowing Thursday afternoon and didn’t stop until Christmas evening. Six-inches of snow with knee-high drifts, as you can see in this photo taken from our dining room on Christmas morning. Every year we resolve to restrict the number of gifts to a manageable number, and every year we fail horribly, as you can…