Friday, March 20, 2009

EMPTY EASEL...And In the Beginning

I've had so many of my amigos ask me why I haven't put "The Wall" or "The Money" on my blog. Well, I put "The Money" on January 31's View From the Volcano, but I never have posted "The Wall". Not having any decent photos of "The Wall" except for this one with the bozo at the table blocking the view, I had to settle for this one.

History of "The Wall"

I originally came to Costa Rica to grow pla
nts and make a million dollars. My partner, Jim Harvey, has had a large farm in Costa Rica for 30 years...Cold River Ornamentals (Ornamentales Rio Frio). His farm is over 100 hectares (250 acres) where he grows crotons, schefflera, ficus, dracena and much more for shipping rooted cuttings all over the world. He also grow orchids (phaeleonopsis, mainly) and ships them all over from a distribution point in Florida. If you've ever bought tropicals or orchids from the major garden stores and probably started its life just outside my front door. I had plenty of great helpers to grow job was to watch. Bullfrog...I gotta be doing something. With all the time I had, I stared at the walls of my apartment. Blank walls. Hmmm...that won't do. So I bought some paints. And I bought some neat postcards of Costa Rican wildlife. I started painting "The Wall". And there you see it in progress. Pokey and TacoBelle approved whole-heartedly.

Money Talks...It Usually Says "Goodbye"

My friends from the farm and the little village I live in started stopping by daily to check my progress on "The Wall". My skill of the lingua de Espanol being limited to "Yo tengo hambre" (I'm hungry) and "Donde este banos?" (Where's the bathroom) it was a little awkward to converse, but we made do. One day, Justo, the foreman, came by with a old 5 Colone Note of Costa Rica and wondered if I could paint it. I did, and here it is. It has a very intriguing history and is worth a visit to my January 31 post on "View From the Volcano" to get the rest of the story.

Incidentally, this is a picture of my friend, Jim Harvey, owner of Ornamentales Rio Frio, on a good day. He thinks he looks like Paul Newman. Pokey, TacoBelle and I thinks he looks like Golda Meir. What do you think?

Several months ago, I subscribed to Empty Easel's newsletter. I get it every Sunday and see what's coming up for the week. Best subscription I've ever taken out, next to Playboy and Mad magazine. Empty Easel is an on-line art magazine started a little over two years ago by Dan Duhrkoop, a modest, but incredibly talented artist. Empty Easel offers practical advice, tips, and tutorials for creating and selling art. It also keeps up with the latest on social art sites and on-line art communities. It also features notable artists, competitions, and upcoming events. Dan writes much of EE himself, but has a community of artist writers what you read is straight from the horse's mouth. He also invites and welcomes article submissions. And it has so much, much more to offer. No Ads or Spam.
To me, it is indispensible. I recommend highly a visit to his site...just click the logo. And while there, go to the very bottom left of his home page and click on Dan's interview with My Art Space and leave a comment. You'll be glad you stopped by.

Several days ago I submitted an article to Dan which he is considering and I hope he will print. It centers primarily around Karin Jurick's "Different Strokes From Different Folks" challenge, but focuss
es on the marvelous "community of caring" that has grown from the seed of inspiration that DSFDF provided. Karin's flair for "care and share" has inspired me to loftier goals in my artwork and in the creation of Windows to the Words. WTTW is by no means a "copycat" challenge, but rather a tribute to Karin Jurick. I think Michelle Burnett's "Following the Masters" may follow in the same footsteps. I do know DSFDF has inspired a bunch of us. I took special pains in my article to illustrate the power of just one exercise...the year-end "Portrait Exchange" Adebanji Alade's creative mind and hands took hold of me and submersed me knee deep in slimy frogs, and I returned the favor by immortalizing him and his artwork on canvas...a true masterpiece to be remembered thru the ages..or maybe till next week, anyway. Adebanji and I E-Mail each other frequently. Inspiration has been delivered, artwork has been displayed, and friendships created. Thank you, Karin, for being you. What you've done may never be calculated in fiscal worth, but to me, the spiritual value is worth more than all the treasures in the Louvre.

P.S. If anyone wants a copy of the article, E-Mail me and I'll send it to

Have a Safe and Happy Weekend...Cya Sunday!
Your Buddy in the Rain Forest....James


  1. Wonderful post James! I'm going to check out the Empty Easel right now. I'm sure they're going to publish your wonderful writing so I'm not going to ask you to email it yet.

    I also love the fact you wrote hectares because I had forgotten that this is the measurement that the Japanese use too. They've adopted a lot of Spanish words (including pan for bread) into their vocabulary.

  2. I do believe this is one of the BEST blogs you've published. Since I have met Jim Harvey, I know he is handsome and has BLUE eyes like Paul Newman. And, the paintings of the wall, money, and Adebanji are my favorites. I have the money scene as my desktop so I see it everytime I come to the computer. Thanks - I think the street scenes would be most popular for sales items.

  3. Superb post, and you always make me laugh, and think. Love seeing your wall and money, and learning more about your life in C.R. Almost bust a gut when I got to Paul Meir's photo. Have been following DSDF since the first challenge, and Karen Jurick's work for a long time. It's an amazing community she's built. Your portrait exchange with Adebanje is phenominal!

  4. I'm so glad you shared your paintings which are amazing! I sure hope ee publishes your article. I so love our little art blogging community. (Which is actually not so little.)

    I also got a nice chuckle from the Paul Newman/Golda Meir look alike!

    PS - You and Adebanji's portrait exhange was one of the best!

  5. I really enjoyed this post James! The wall is amazing!
    Tell your friend, Jim, that he's no Paul!
    I'll check out the Empty Easel!

  6. I think he looks like Paul Newman and should start a line of salad dressings!

    I'll check out the Empty Easel too...I'll email you for the article. Thanks James!!

  7. Your buddy looks kinda like the former occupant... but I'll keep tryin' to think Newman.

  8. A kind and generous post, as usual, James Parker. Enjoyed all the paintings,especially loved your painting of the "5 Colone Note of Costa Rica." You have a safe and happy weekend, too!


  9. Wonderful post! Just a few days ago, I was wondering how you ended up in Costa Rica where all the beautiful frogs live. Now I see. Your wall is fantastic!
    Your friend, Jim, looks a bit like Paul Newman.

  10. Beautiful work James and great story on how you decided to move to Costa Rica.

  11. My man you are a veritable cornucopia of information, love it.

  12. James- You are as colorful a character as your work! Thanks for sharing your story and your creative energy!

  13. I'm so happy that I had the time to stop by your blog and stay for every bit of it. I spent a year driving from Santa Cruz California all the way down to Nicuaraga and back with my first husband. Our sole and soul purpose was to go into small villages and made kites with kids, which we did much to their delight and ours..........