Saturday, November 01, 2014

Flying the Colors

I have three painting in The Outdoor Painters of Minnesota Show at the FrameWorks Gallery on Ford Parkway in the Highland area of St. Paul.  All are nicely framed and priced at $175.  It runs through January 3, 2015.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grand Marais Plein Air Painting Competition

I enjoyed painting up in Grand Marais, MN this week.  The little tombolo on the lake walk portion of the Superior Hiking Trail is now an island because of the higher lake water levels.  I had to use a little artistic license to include the full moon in my Night Paint (it sets quite a bit further south over the Sawtooth Mts.).  The painting of the lighthouse was part of the Quick Paint event .  The painting had to be completed in 90 minutes.  The stylized view of Lake Superior was done looking out the motel window on a rainy day.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rag Rug

I'm enjoying doing a series of paintings inspired by the simple patterns and multi-colored rag rugs we have around the house.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Grand Marais Fisherman

Every morning a fisherman goes out in Lake Superior from Grand Marais, MN.  He catches lake trout, whitefish and lake herring for the restaurants in town.  I decided to paint a scene from my mind's eye of him rushing back to the safe harbor as a storm approached and more easily the stationary boat  behind  the Dockside Market and Cafe.

North Shore of Lake Superior

When I need an attitude adjustment or to recharge my batteries I like to visit the North Shore of Lake Superior.  It never fails to refresh and reinvigorate that feeling of well being that escapes during the daily grind in town.  A new adventure this time was a boat trip out of the Silver Bay Marina along the lake shore to Split Rock Lighthouse.  Also, walking along the sandy beach on Park Point in Duluth that is seven miles long and watching the "salties" (the 1000' ore boats) coming and going from the harbor.

Facebook Profile Picture

I started out hoping to replace the generic blank male character on my Facebook page with a self portrait.  It took a few tries.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Robert Thom

I bought a wonderful oil painting at an antique store six blocks from our house.  It's signed "Thom" in the lower right hand corner and has an inked stamp on the back "Robert Thom and Sons, Birmingham, Michigan".  According to the internet Robert Thom and Sons was dissolved in 1966 after being in business for 48 years.  Robert Thom appears to have painted in a realistic, illustrated style compared to Norman Rockwell.  He was commissioned to paint an illustrated history of medicine by Park-Davis Pharmaceuticals.  He exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Smithsonian Institution and has artwork in the collection of the White House and the Baseball Hall of Fame.  One person on the internet mentions owning a painting by Robert Thom that is in the style of kinetic op art.  It is 20" x 40", oil on canvas and has a nice original fame.  Robert Thom lived from 1915 -1979 and a son was born in 1955.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Movies Galore

What an abundance of good films showing in theaters now.  Three rewarding, satisfying, heartfelt and thoughtful escapes from the ordinary for everyone.  "The Lunchbox", "Finding Vivian Maier" and "Le Weekend".  I can't pick a favorite.  I loved them all.

Thursday, April 03, 2014



Thirty years we have lived in this lovely home,
And now we have a mouse in the house.
But I love it (the house, not the mouse).

I worry that it might come up from the basement,
Or invite others buddies in for merriment.
So, it's one step forward to the glue board (Stuck!),
Or two steps backward to the cheddar cheese (Snap!).
Otherwise we could Google a better mousetrap.

People are going GaGa over mid-century decor,
But our house is still dressed in Grandmother's finery.
The furniture just needs to be reupholstered with tapestry,
And the clock repairman tells us to have no fears,
"This grandfather clock is made to run for another 300 years."

Folks have come and gone on our concrete front steps.
One harsh winter we had to add a wooden patch
When a huge chunk fell out of the top stair.
Fortunately, each spring renews our hope that
We can get by with another superficial repair.

A woodpecker drummed with such diligence
That holes dotted the hollow Doric columns of our front porch.
But the quick-setting Bondo solved this nuisance.
The robins still build a sturdy nest above our oval window,
But we can coexist with them and their song, "Cheer-o, cheer-o!"

The Scottish terriers ("Down, Barney!") have also shared our home.
Their unconditional love enriches our daily routine.
But thank goodness for the Green Cleaning Machine.
When it gets humid in the summer I fret
That the floors are telling stories I would rather forget.

We contemplate moving to a new home on a cul-de-sac road,
But how can we leave behind our beautiful abode,
And the foyer when it is visited by rainbows,
Created by the sun on the beveled glass
As it shines through our stained glass windows?

And do you hear that click?
It's not the computer mouse
Or the mouse living in our house.
It's the signal from the mahogany grandfather clock:
It's getting ready to chime the time.  "Tick-Tock..."

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Grand Duke

We like our opera light.  There is a nice production of "The Grand Duke" by Gilbert and Sullivan playing in Minneapolis.  One of my all-time favorite movies "Topsy-Turvy" by director Mike Leigh is about Gilbert and Sullivan.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"Tim's Vermeer"

I enjoyed the documentary film that explores the theory that the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer used a souped-up camera obscura to create his artwork.  David Hockney is featured in the movie and had done a BBC TV series on this topic years ago.  However, the fun part is watching Tim Jenison's painstakingly objective (paint like a machine) approach dissolve into tears when he finishes his reproduced painting of "The Music Lesson."  He, like the artist in the 17th century, had used a helpful tool to create the painting, but it was his heart and soul (not just the craftsmanship) that he invested in the artwork that payed off the biggest dividends.

For Russ

I did a mash up of a painting for a friend, Russell Lunak.  He's standing at the front gate to the J. J. Hill House in Saint Paul with Mt Fuji across Summit Ave.  The Japanese characters say "Thank you".

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Poetry Contest

Last year we enjoyed attending the Sunday afternoon event where the ten finalists for the first Love Letters  Poetry Contest read their poems.  Garrison Keillor hosted the event.  It left such an impression on me I decided to give it a go this year.  Here is my try:

Fourth Honorable Mention

I take after my Dutch grandfather.
I am pragmatic to a fault.
I worry about making mistakes.
But what about love?

As the years go by, people seem to be telling me,
I've reached the crest of my hill.
I remind them I still have my giddy-up-and-go.
But what about love?

I go to work like a soldier,
At the same place for 30 years and more,
Never questioning why or what for.
But what about love?

I enjoy pushing paint around on canvas.
With some pretense, I joined the artists' tribe.
I once won the prize for "Fourth Honorable Mention."
But what about love?

Most of the time I have had the companionship of dogs.
I take Barney for a neighborhood walk twice a day.
I'll cry like a baby when he dies.
But what about love?

Live music and theater can nourish my soul.
At times in my life I need them more than I know.
They bring me joy, a gift that pays off in spades.
But what about love?

I like to go to movies on Friday night.
It helps kick off the weekend.
(Hopefully nothing too violent or sexy.)
But what about love?

I purchased a new key from the Ace Hardware Store.
It fits the lock like a glove.
But it still takes a little jiggling to open the door.
But what about love?

I wander around in the bookstore and library.
There are lots of good choices for my pleasure and enrichment.
I usually end up with more than I can handle.
But what about love?

For my health and fitness I participate in a Community Ed. class.
It meets once a week on Wednesday evenings.
Sixteen of us are getting ourselves in balance with T'ai Chi.
But what about love?

Of course, I have my lucky numbers.
I always check on page 2 of the Pioneer Press to see if I won the Daily 3.
I never actually gamble my hard-earned cash.
But what about love?

There's a tree branch in my back yard.
I have to stoop under it to take out the trash.
I could trim it off, but it reminds me to honor Mother Nature.
But what about love?

Lake Superior is like our inland sea.
Grand Marais is the lake's safe harbor.
There are lots of beautiful scenes to paint on Artists' Point.
But what about love?

Traveling near and far can be fun and exciting.
Stonehenge was a spectacular ring of standing stones.
The pickpocket in Paris had considerable dexterity.
But what about love?

After asking the same question a dozen or more times,
It deserves an honest answer:

I met a dear person 40 years ago.
Her middle name is Lou.
I saw the writing on the wall.
It said, "Love is buried deep inside you."

When it comes to my final checkmate,
I will have won the prize without cheating.
It will roll off my tongue.
"I will always love you."

For ever and ever.  Amen.

For Sara

I had a co-worker move to L. A., CA.  I enjoyed having a good excuse to paint something as a send-off.