Saturday, January 31, 2009

Missing Leg Miraculously Restored!!!!

Sounds like a National Enquirer headline. I left off Taco Belle's hind leg. So I stuck it back on (artists can do that, even without a surgeon's license)...and reworked her face and chest. Now I think I'm satisfied. I think every artist has a few paintings that they work with until they get so frustrated they declare it finished and hope it might sell some day. Then there's those that you HAVE to revisit. Kinda like returning to the scene of the crime to make sure ya didn't leave something. Only the case of a painting, it's returning to add something.

I was going to surreptiously sneak back in and edit the post with a redone substitution, but that wouldn't be right because Adebanji and Edward had already commented, and, had they possibly revisited the blog and noticed that there was now a leg where there previously wasn't one, it might cause them some concern about whether or not they were imagining things, and we certainly wouldn't want that now, would we?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pokey and Taco Belle

I get up at 3 each morning. I put on coffee, scratch the bellies of my two dogs, Pokey and Taco Belle, and then make them breakfast. I get a cup of coffee, sit down at my computer and blog-hop. I was admiring all the dog paintings that have been surfacing lately. I glance down to my left and Pokey's looking at me intensely. Down to my right, Taco Belle's giving me the evil eye. Normally, after breakfast, these two go take a nap. Thinking nothing of it, I go to a delightful Corgi pet painting by Maggie Mayer. Immediately I hear dog growls in stereo and get looks from the two that plainly mean..."You are dangerously close to having your feet chewed off". Understanding Caninese much better than Spanish, I realized they want their picture painted. So I did. And I showed it to them. They approved, but I'm not 100% satisfied with it.

I snapped this photo of em a few weeks ago, and I think it is hilarious. They do this all the time...groom each other. They don't have fleas, but I can't help but think of it as "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours". Now this is a photo that probably shouldn't be painted, because it's funny as a photo, but rather unbelievable as a painting. So I figured that if I just posted the painting, you'd think I just made it up. So I'm posting the photo, too. So there. Incidentally, they told me to tell ya Hi!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mystery Artist

I warned ya on my January 25 (TaDa) post that on Thursdays I would be posting a little portrait or sketch of an artist that has at some time in the past, visited my blog. This is my first attempt...and maybe my last if nobody recognizes it. I have to work from a profile or web picture, so that could be difficult. The picture I had to work from revealed 3 things...One, the subject is a female, in all likelihood. Two, she is probably an artist cause she's painting a canvas. And three, from the little morsel of facial exposure I had, she had to be knockdown, drag-out gorgeous. Seeing another photo, this one full face , after I finished the painting, I was right on all counts.
For some unknown reason, I did this one in miniature..3 and a half inches by 5. I'm not that good at miniatures...I like to admire people like Akiko,who is great at miniatures...but, I'm passable. My finished painting I am fairly well pleased with. I only have one problem with it. I have no earthly idea if it looks like who I painted. It should be fairly easy to recognize, but I'm the guy who said "Hey, this''ll be easy" when I got my first Rubik's cube. So I'll leave it up to you and your comments and cross my fingers.
Oh..and notice the background. I really like it, but the little yellowish area around the top of her head kinda looks like a halo. That's only fitting, tho, cause she looks like a little angel jes painting her heart out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Viva La Femme

So many artists, both old and of late, have painted the human body. No surprise, for the human body is a magnificent subject. A wonder of creation. A thing of beauty. Unless its mine, with a pot belly the size of lower Manhattan. And many choose "sin ropa" ..without clothes. Not all, mind you. I just can't picture Grant Wood's "American Gothic" with the farmer and his pitchfork, get the idea. Both the male and the female form are captured on untold canvasses. I, however, am fascinated by the female form. Well, OK,...obsessed. I decided to do a series of 10 female form studies using so much discretion it broke my heart. Minimal exposure in a field of shadow. I chauvinistically call this series "Dolls in the Shadows" after a music piece by Tangerine Dream. Feminists may be appalled by that title, but class never was my strong suit.

Illustrated above is Study One. I will paint the remaining nine when I find more models. And I try to research the subjects I paint. I scrutinized this subject to beat all get out. I find that continued intense study is an absolute necessity. I delved into the physique and mystique of "WOMAN" and learned one vital fact...the fact that I didn't learn anything. This is illustrated by the device pictured above.

Oh well, back to my frog paintings. Don't forget to check into WTTW.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cartoon Tuesday...Sometimes a Picture Needs More Than 1000 Words

Some years back, I was heavy into the Louisiana Jaycees. I did cartoons for the monthly newsletter. At that time, there was some internal friction that was causing problems. The state president, George L., wrote an editorial addressing the situation and asked me to do a cartoon to accompany the writing. I came up with a cartoon very similar to this one and left it without a caption. The cartoon was inserted into the editorial, beneath the title of the editorial..."And We Think We Have Problems." It worked. A year or so later, I noticed a cartoon by Don Martin in Mad Magazine almost identical to mine, with all the elements in the same position, except done in Don's inimitable style. It was captioned as one of the guys saying, "And we gotta clean up this mess".
This particular cartoon could actually stand alone without a caption. The one I put on it just struck my fancy, but there could be a jillion others. Anyone is welcome to comment their captions, but keep it clean. Every Tuesday, I'll post a new cartoon WITHOUT A CAPTION and let y'all fill in the blanks. The following Tuesday, I'll publish MY original caption along with a new cartoon. And I've got a ton of new ideas for cartoons. I was thinking about some this morning and got the giggles so bad I spilled my coffee (crash-tinkle-splat.....the sound of a cup of coffee breaking). But I kept chuckling mindlessly (ha-ha-ha-thud...the sound of me laughing my butt off). Anyway, I hope this works and is fun...but it depends on you all...find your funny bone. Oh, and don't forget to check into WTTW.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Musing

I'm calling this blog a "musing". I started to call it a lesson. I'm qualifid to give anybody a lesson. So I went and took a cold shower and came to my senses.
Pictured above are 3 images. The first one is my offering for the current Karin Jurick's DSFDF project assignment...A Victorian House. But...with my warped sense of humor, I added the distracted nursemaid and the old codger (yes, I used myself as a reference, thank you) freaking out and barreling down the sidewalk. Now, can this change the title of the piece from "Victorian House" to "Runaway Wheelchair" or "Negligent Nursemaid". Of course it can. It is one thing to take a reference work and duplicate it in the artist's personal style. It is another to add elements to the reference and emerge with what I consider a work of art. I usually emerge with something that could do double duty as a dartboard.

Now the second image above is of three of my friends on their mark to take off down the streets of Athens. I won't say much about them cause they didn't bring me along :-P The photo itself would make a nice painting, but..... Look closely on the upper right in the background. The third image is a blow up of a "Cat Lady". I'm painting that image. I hope my painting will say "Here is a nameless, faceless woman who, due to the cruelty of time, will pass wordlessly into tender oblivion, but her kindness will be be etched permanently into the memory of that cat's remaining 5 lives". Or something like that.

And my point is...this is the musing part....our lives, like the paintings, are so greatly enriched by the details. It is so sad that so many of us are so busy to notice and appreciate the small wonders of the creation around us. It leaves us hollow when we could have been filled with treasures beyond measure

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I normally don't post on Sunday,..but I have something I gotta tell ya about. I had an idea a while back that kept bouncing around in my head (plenty of room in there to bounce). I got with several of my blog/artist friends and approached them with the idea. They gave me the green flag and offered support and assistance. So I launched it. Click on Windows to the Words and lemme know what ya think.

Also, in an attempt to establish a bit of order and organization in my business affairs and Internet stuff (and President Obama thinks he has a tough agenda) I am activating my blogspot The View From The Volcano just for Costa Rica, Latin America and rainforest stuff....if anyone's interested. That site is just for showing off a little art, telling stories, and hoping that you'll stop and visit. I'd offer ya a cup of the world's best coffee, but I haven't figured out how to attach it to the site.

And on this site, James Parker Art, I'd like to announce, or warn you, that I'll do my best to have 3 regular features. Fun Saturday...with a funny photo.
Cartoon Tuesday..with a captionless cartoon (you supply the punch line in your comments). And...on Thursday...Smile, You're on Candid Canvas...where I'll have a drawing or painting of a blogspot artist. If you have a picture of yourself on your're fair game. Consider yourself warned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

UH OH...Somebody's in a Bad Mood

It's Saturday!!! Funny Picture Time. You know, I don't know why, but I thought of Karin Jurick doing her posting of DSFDF submissions when I saw this photo. Maybe just my weird imagination, but I know she must put up with a lot of frustration. I remember one week I sent her 3 E-Mails for my submission. The first one I forgot to attach the picture. The second one I apologized for not attaching the picture and forgot to attach the picture. But...the third time, I nailed it.


Yellow Rose of CostaTexaRica

I was born in Houston about the same time dirt was made. Houston was a lot smaller and safer then, and my childhood memories of growing up there have a kind of magical quality to them. I won't bore you with recounting them, because each of you had a childhood too, or you wouldn't be sitting there reading this, and the last thing you wanna do is read about somebody else's childhood. But I do want to dwell a second on Texas. I painted the yellow rose above and for three weeks went around mentally humming "The Yellow Rose of Texas", ...I came very close to crossing the border into LooneyBirdLand. It must have showed, cause people would come up and ask me if I needed to lay down and take a few aspirin.
Here in Costa Rica, I meet a lot of tourists from everywhere...lots of Europeans and Asians. Whether stemming from a deep sense of concern for others, or just plain being nosy, I ask a lot of questions. One of my favorite questions is "Where all have ya been on your travels"? I'm amazed how many folks have been to Texas and equally amazed at their impressions of the state, from "really sucks" to " absolutely, wonderfully fantastic". Well now, what a conundrum. But, thinking about it. Texas IS so diverse, those reactions are understandable. If a person was blindfolded and set down in South Texas, he might think he was in a tropical paradise. Set down in Galveston or Padre Island, ...Texas is white beaches by the sea. Set down in East Texas...thick woods and hiking trails. Houston or Dallas...the Metropolitan scene. Big Bend..the Grand Canyon. Abilene in February...the Arctic. El Paso...the desert. Lubbock...Mars on a bad day. So I painted this yellow rose as a salute to Texas.
I usually paint wildlife, so this rose was a bit of a challenge. I experimented around with something called Interference color. It's a pearl textured medium you mix in with your paint and it lends a somewhat iridescent quality to the painting. Not sure I like it. It sure doesn't photograph or scan well and you can notice the effect on the right of the rose. It's called interference because it "interferes" with the transmission of color and results in this lustrous image. They really are doing some neat things in the science world with visual effects. I managed to get hold of some of that material they're developing for cloaking and invisibility and mixed some in with my acrylics. I did a frog painting with it, but I haven't been able to find it, so I don't know how it turned out. Think I'll just stick with my little plastic paints.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ACEOs...Tiny Treasures or Little Litter?

From the time I was six, I've been an avid stamp collector. Back then I was also an avid bubble gum chewer. My favorite gum came with these stupid cards with baseball player pictures on them...guys I'd never heard of..Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra. I traded em with my buddies for stamps. Those stamps today are worth a few pennies. The baseball cards are today worth ('s too painful to recount). Anyway, on the intelligence and foresight scale, that rates me a minus seventeen. A baseball card and an ACEO are the same size...2.5 inches x 3.5 inches. ACEO (artist collectible edition originals) caught my attention a while back, and I thought "wow, get rich quick". I was going to sell em on EBay starting with the first one at one dollar, the second for two bucks, and so on. By the end of a year, those puppies should be going for over 300 smackeroos each. Well, that idea got filed with other old brainstorms of mine, like spinach cheesecake and bottomless coffee cups for insomniacs. I did a jillion of em tho, and still do them. I have a hundred or so drawn, color blocked in, and awaiting the detailing and finishing touches. In that state of readiness, I can carry a dozen with me, along with my paints and brushes, set up in a park or quiet, public place, display a number of finished ACEOs, spread a palette, and complete 5 or 6 a day while countless multitudes surround me in awed murmurs of ooohs and aaahs. Yeah right.
But there is a fascination with art done small. Most of the submissions to DSFDF are small, if not miniature. There is a place for large wall-size artwork (usually on a wall) and there is a place for groupings of smaller works. Smaller works don't sell for as much but I think they sell more readily...the operative word being SELL. I posted just a few of my ACEOs above. The comics are not for sale because they are MINE. They are also copyrighted. I do them as tender and loving relics of a more simple, more carefree time, and I want to prevent those fond memories from slipping away like tears in the rain. All the others are for sale if anybody's interested.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The word for breakfast here in Costa Rica is desayuno. I got creative with my desayuno. Have a great weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Surf's Up...And My Dander

Cartoons used to be my fave. I had cartoons in the yearbook. Cartoons in my school and college newspapers. Cartoons papering the walls of my study. I did this one this morning, and I see I need to practice up and buy some new pens. I usually liked to have my cartoons have an underlying theme that you could take and build a conversation around. Or a sermon. Or a philosophical discussion. This cartoon is no exception, so here it is.
A few blogs ago, I had posted a dolphin painting, and went on about the intelligence of dolphins and other creatures we consider lower life forms. I remember watching Lassie, the collie on TV. Every week, Timmy, the little bozo kid that owned Lassie, would get in a mess of trouble. Every week, Lassie would go back to Mom and Pop and bark, whine, grovel and do handstands trying to tell them that Timmy was in trouble. Mom and Pop would always come up with..."My, Lassie, you're feelin' frisky today". " Hey girl, got a new boyfriend?" or "What's the matter, Lassie, something wrong?" Now, since Lassie always stuck to Timmy like glue, don't you think the folks would notice that the bratty little kid wasn't around. I finally got fed up and quit watching...they should have let Lassie write the scripts. The dolphin in the cartoon is trying to tell the people that there is imminent danger. The people are in MuuMuuLand or somewhere. The analogy here is that our environmental problems, endangered species and climate change indicators are telling us something is wrong. We discuss, debate, rationalize and study the problems and take token actions here and there. We may wait till it's too late. I had a friend say "well, it's not certain that humans are causing climate changes. Not the point. If there's just the teeniest possiblity that we are the cause, we can't take that chance and continue on our wasteful, selfish and thoughtless course. I do get serious when I talk about the needless damage done to our home. This Earth of ours wasn't inherited from our fathers, but borrowed from our children and grandchildren. I want them to be able to enjoy its beauty. Amen


It may work well for musicians, but it's difficult to blog on a computer with no electricity. Where I am in Costa Rica "power pauses" happen often, but not usually for too long. Last night, I just crashed rather than wait for the power to come back on. Here's last night's post this morning......
A coupla days ago an amigo brought me a picture of "HAMSTERS IN LOVE". I had seen this before on a funny photos site and had thought it was cute, although my affinity for hamsters is minimal at best. Years back, when the kids were young, we had a hamster. Naturally, it got out in the house. And disappeared. Every few days or so, he would pop up and thumb his nose at us. We never could figure out where he called home, but one day my son, Mark, caught him going into the hall closet. Our hall was actually a square cubicle that had doors opening into the living room, 3 bedrooms, the bathroom. And "The Hall Closet". "The Hall Closet" was seldom mentioned amongst the family. It was as if it didn't exist. Occasionally a side glance was given to "The Hall Closet" on the way to the bathroom. It contained unspeakables...ghosts of Christmas past. Pizza boxes preserved for antiquity. 3 string guitars. Tish, my daughter, was certain that the funeral home used "The Hall Closet" for storing left-over body parts. And it contained..."THE HAMSTER". Armed with a heavy-duty tennis racket, I dismantled "The Hall Closet" piece by piece, uncovering untold wonders....the bag of goodies I thought had been left at the Salvation Army last Christmas, the untouched fruitcake from last Christmas (untouched by even the hamster), the mates for the 92 unmatched socks I had finally gotten around to throwing away, and a small, well-defined black hole. Reaching the back corner, I arrived at my cherished collection of valuable old back issue Playboys. They were confetti. All those gorgeous playmates and bunnies reduced to teeny bits of worthless paper. In the midst of the carnage, the hamster was perched like a dragon in the crater of a volcano. I grabbed an extra thick towel and snatched him up. His devilish razor-sharp fangs sliced thru the towel like a machete through butter. I bled like old faithful. Mark coerced him into his cage while I called 911 for massive blood transfusions. Mark gave him an apple since he probably hadn't eaten in ages. He ate like he hadn't eaten in ages. He croaked an hour later from acute gluttony. So I don't like hamsters. But I painted this picture anyway.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CAUTION! Vicious and Menacing Guard Dog on Duty!!!

Five years ago, had anyone told me I would occasionally get on the bus and go over to Nicaragua to visit, I would have asked him what he was smoking. Living in Costa Rica, and not quite fully a resident yet, I am classified as a permanent, but you got to work at it. Working at it consists of leaving the country for 72 hours every 3 months. I like to go back to the U.S. and visit my kids, but on starving artist wages, I often plop down 24 bucks for a round trip to Granada, Nicaragua. The first time I went I dreaded it...looked forward to it like a visit to the dentist's office for a root canal with a screwdriver. My 3 months had expired, so I had to go. Problem was I was deathly ill...I'm not sure I had ever been so sick. The entire week or ten days before, I slept 26 hours a day only to get up occasionally, stuff a few green pills the size of Manhattan down my throat and go back to bed. Actually Ana stuffed em down my throat along with a 2 gallon jug of water and rubbed me down with some kind of neat-smelling cream called Zepol. Normally that would have sent my heart rate up to about 700 beats per minute, but in my shape, I was more like a soggy pancake. Next day, Ana had an employee drive me over to Rio Frio for a "BOMBA". A "BOMBA" is a shot. With a needle that looks like a machete. No idea what's in it but down here, the pharmacist can give it to ya. Got back to the apartment, sat down in a chair and watched sweat pour off my head and form large puddles on the floor. No kidding. But I felt a little better. I think I would have died without Ana. The next day, my buddy, Jim, deposited me on the bus and left instructions with the driver where to chunk the body if I bellied up.
Now, to keep this post from turning into a novel, I will continue the future adventures into my first trip to Nicaragua in a few days. I found out later that I had a case of Dengue fever, but I did live. That fact should be obvious if you're reading this post, but I don't want to take any chances. I took pictures. Lots of pictures. Lots of pictures of dogs. Lots of pictures of strange places. Lots of pictures of dogs in strange places. The painting above is a typical door in the back streets of Granada (most of Granada is really nice) with a not so typical dog standing guard. The composition struck me as something that would really be neat to paint. So I did.

St. James of Assissi? Not!

Here in Costa Rica, my studio apartment is a stone's throw from a small creek that runs through the property. Two stone's throws from a small river that turns into "Rio Grande" after one of the frequent torrential rains we have here. I open my front door to a view of two volcanoes...Turrialba and Irazu...both about 20 miles away. And rain forests all around. Costa Rica has something like 600 different varieties of birds. One third of them nest just outside my studio, mostly over the car. Another third arise in 100 decibel, jubilant celebration each morning about 3 o'clock. And the other third just flew into my apartment a few days ago.
One morning a few days ago just before the sky began turning light, there was a terrific noise outside my back door. I mean REALLY terrific noise. My back door opens into a large, high-ceiling, open-sided warehouse. I opened the door and was plastered with a wall of birds...on my head, in my ears, down my back and up my drawers. My two dogs, Pokey and Taco Belle freaked did their owner. They funneled into the apartment like water out of a fire hose. I wasn't able to get an accurate count of all the birds in my kitchen, but I figure somewhere in the vicinity of 14 kazillion. They quit coming in after about a minute, but they found getting out wasn't nearly as easy as getting in. For at least an hour, I scooped up handfuls of birds and released em out the door. I had stragglers til late afternoon. I kept a couple of em for a few days inside my walk- in iguana/parrot cage. Darwin, my iguana, had no objection to them camping out on his back as you can see in the photo above. These birds are like little purple martins and they abound here, eating insects, but they have never massed an invasion before, or since. I get a chance to observe them, and the sparrows, and kiskadees and red doves, up close from the second floor window of my studio, and I keep a board of bread crumbs out for the moochers.
I painted these hungry little creatures on a 9x12 canvas with acrylics, and had a number of Giclee prints made, both of which are available for sale. Contact me if interested. I really think every mother in Texas and Florida with children at home should have a print of these open mouths hanging in their kitchen, just for spiritual support. And maybe in Louisiana, too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Sister....Sort Of

When I grow up, I want to be a portrait artist. The Different Strokes From Different Folks project sparked my appetite for painting people. The first portrait I did was OK. The second, really good. The third, pretty good. So I decided to paint my sister. I have an older brother and sister. My brother passed away a few years ago from cancer. I don't speak of him in the past tense because he isn't gone...we just aren't able to physically antagonize each other anymore. My sister and I have grown closer in the past few years. I used to think that sisters weren't good for much more than a doorstop or a paperweight. But with age, often comes wisdom. I love my sister. Actually, She is a beautiful woman...inside and out. But for goodness sake, don't tell her I said that. I let her win a Scrabble game every now and then, but I sure don't want her going all squishy on me.
Anyway, the portrait above is unfinished. It looks like her,sort of, but...... I think most artists occasionally have a painting they are working on, and get it to the point that they declare it "finished" for the simple reason that any further frustration from messing with it would lead to serious mental problems. Almost the case with this one. But I'll finish this one...if I pray hard enough.
So why would I post a half-finished, very mediocre painting for the world to see. Simple reason...for the two or three people that might see this post, I just don't want them to get the impression that I'm perfect. HAHAHAHAHA. Whew, I'm so corny sometimes, Kansas should nominate me as their state clown. Actually, I'd like criticism. I used to whimper and pout, but I'm a big boy now. Also, share a few word about probs you may have had when starting to paint portraits.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday is for Fun

I'm new to this blog stuff, so I'm probably doing what I shouldn't and not doing what I should. I post paintings Monday thru Friday. Sunday I walk in the woods or barbecue or visit or some other useless, worthwhile thing. But every Saturday, I'm gonna post a funny photo here that I ripped off some website. I'll always add a few comments, cause "Blabberfingers" can't keep quiet for a second. I'm never obscene or vulgar, but sometimes I'm a teeny tad naughty. I'll try to behave and keep my halo (yeah, right) on straight.
I mentioned walking in the woods. Now, all my life I've heard this saying about bears when something is said with an amount of certainty. First time I heard this old saying, I was only about 5 years old. I asked my father what it meant. He just patted me on the head and told me to go play in the street. Well, in all my trips to the woods, I never could confirm my suspicions about that old saying. This morning I ran across the photo I posted above. Whew. Man, oh, Man. What a relief. Kudos to the amazing photographer who got this shot and finally settled this mystery once and for all.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I didn't post yesterday, Thursday, Jan 8, because about two PM I was painting at my table, and my two dogs, Pokey and Taco Belle run over to me and huddle up under my feet. They're always snoozing on their mats while I work, so I asked em "Que Pasa? A few seconds later, everything in the place starts swaying. I've only been in a couple of small tremors during my 3 years in Costa Rica, and never experienced an earthquake before, but there was no doubt about what it was, and we were out the door in 1.392 seconds. We're about 20 miles from the epicenter, which was close to volcano Poas, and was not serious or damaging here....but very scary. It wasn't jolting, but rather like waves on land...and undulating effect. After it was over, I thought, "wow, kinda neat". Stupid me, not neat. Deadly. This morning we have over 20 dead with many more suspected and missing and hundreds missing. Lots of damage. As in California, or Japan and elsewhere, if you live in an earthquake-prone zone...expect em.
I researched the web last night on the recent Yellowstone earthquakes. Now THAT is REALLY scary. All of Yellowstone is in the caldera of the world's largest volcano. It is 40,000 years overdue for a major eruption. One is expected soon. However, SOON, in geological terms could be 5,000 years or so. The last major eruption happened somewhat before man started prowling around the planet, but was estimated to be over 1000 times the size of Mt. St Helens and covered areas with volcanic ash as far south as Louisiana. And that was classified as a moderate eruption, in relation to its potential. An eruption of its POTENTIAL would deliver a punch 300 MILLION times the strength of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-Bombs, destroying much of North America and enshrouding the planet in volcanic dust clouds for two years. Have a nice day.

Roswell. D.C....Klaatu Calling

On "Different Strokes From Different Folks", our first project for the year is a nightime photo of the Jefferson Monument in Washington, D.C. Our fearless leader gave us some tips on how to approach the difficulties in painting such contrasts of tone and value. Well, I remember back when I started to paint, I did two pieces..."White Cows in a Snowstorm" and "Black Cows on a Cloudy Midnight". Those were real easy, so I figured with so much dark in the photo, this one should be a snap. NOT. So I played around and messed with til I got it to the point where, although not totally satisfied, I could at least look at it without throwing up so much.
After I got it to that point I looked at it a while. Then I turned out the lights and looked at it again. It looked much better. When I turned the lights back on, I noticed that the dome of the monument looked like a UFO. Well, since it was MY painting I used my prerogative and stuck a flying saucer in it...I would have used my artistic license, but that was revoked some years back. I put in the hearts as an afterthought, cos I figured even alien space travellers need a little love and affection. I mean, if its been light years since...well, let's just say I know how they must feel.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back Steps Beggar

Had to take a blog and show this little guy off. What we have here is a Coati Mundi, known to the locals as Pizote. My friends at MINAE, Costa Rica's Ministry of the environment took a photo of him one drizzly morning at the back steps of their offices. I loved the photo and put him on canvas. The Organization for Tropical Studies, which have 3 facilities here in CR ran across him and Kathleen LeMoine at Duke University contacted me and asked if they could put my painting on the OTS holiday cards they mailed out. I was delighted and honored.
Many eons ago, back when I was young, my favorite TV program,next to Howdy Doody and Mighty Mouse was Zoo Parade with Marlin Perkins, which later became Wild Kingdom. They had a feature one show that had Coati mundis on it. I fell in love with the little critters...asked Mom if I could have one for a pet. She said "absolutely not" and washed my mouth out for cussing. Not really. Back then, that marvelous Coati Mundi was an exotic animal from a faraway land that I never dreamed I would actually see in person. Now, I have to chase em out of the garbage cans like raccoons...which they are related to.
Often, when I'm driving around, I'll see one or two out mooching. On a recent trip to Arenal volcano, I spotted a group of em which I posted above. They are all female. Guys go it solo, but the girls travel in bunches. Don't really know why this is...maybe for protection. Or perhaps a gossip session. Could be there's a sale on at Wal-Mart (HyperMas down here)
This is a 16x20 acrylic on canvas and is available for sale.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bro..Can Ya Spare a Mackrel?

On their "Cross of Changes" album, Enigma had a song called "Man is the Dream of the Dolphin". I am assuming that means that the average dolphin actually desires some of the characteristics of man....the ability to walk and talk and watch TV. To play ping pong and carry around a cell phone. Well, maybe not. But there is something almost magical about dolphins. When I was growing up in Louisiana and Texas, I loved the ferries at Galveston and Cameron. The dolphins would follow along, leaping out of the water in apparent joy. Or maybe they were trying to get our attention and tell us something. You seldom see any nowadays. I feel sure there probably aren't as many. Maybe they discovered that we aren't as interesting as they thought. Or, quite likely, they're disgusted with us for crapping in their living room.
Dolphins are quite intelligent. They don't really know how intelligent, though. If a one celled organism without a brain was discovered on Mars, we would spend umpteen jillion dollars trying to find out more about it. Studies of intelligence in "lower life forms" on this planet gets chump change. Go figure. Some fields of study do say that dolphins may actually be as smart as humans. That could be an insult to the dolphins.
Anyway, I really enjoyed painting this little fellow, and I plan on doing a few more dolphin pieces. This is an 9x12 acrylic on canvas and is available for sale.

Monday, January 5, 2009


After doing my first portrait, and it didn't turn out too bad, I thought I'd tackle a reallllllly tough assignment. Aside from my painting, I raise plants here in Costa Rica....crotons, alocasia, orchids, bromeliads and a whole bunch of other stuff. My partner and long time friend, Jim, owns a large farm/ranch where he raises crotons, dracena, schefflera, cordyline and others, for cuttings shipped worldwide, in addition to orchids and sago palms. He has quite a large operation. My studio apartment is in the main building next to the office. In the office is a secretary. Her name is Ana. I have known Ana for three years. She is a very nice person. She is sweet. She is a good secretary. She is quite intelligent. She absolutely drives me up the wall. Every day I tell her I'm madly in love with her, and that we should go populate an uninhabited island somewhere. She asks me if I want another slice of papaya. Ah, such is life...condemned to loneliness a while longer.
Anyway, Ana is delighted to pose for the camera. So I took a few shots and came up with this portrait, which I think is real good. It has good color and tones. The right proportions. Good likeness. Nice shadows and lighting quality. And it turns me on. I gave it to her. She went bananas. She was ecstatic. Mucho feliz. Delighted and excited. And she gave me another slice of papaya. Back to the drawing board. :-P

Adebanji Retaliates

When I picked up my E-Mail today, Adebanj Alade had sent his rendition of my portrait. He had previously checked out my site and liked my frog paintings so he put me amongst my slimy little friends. I was delighted. Unfortunately, the likeness of me looks just like me, but other than that, it's a great painting.

Who Dat?

The DSFDF project had a bit different year-end assignment for participating artists. Those artists that chose to participate were asked to submit a photo of themselves and in return, receive a photo of another participating artist from which they would render a portrait. I have never painted a portrait of anyone and when I received my assignment, I immediately questioned myself whether I left my brain somewhere out in the rainforest. But, always game to try almost anything once, I grabbed a canvas and some paints. The photo of my victim was a gentleman whose face was halfway submerged into shadow. The administrator of the DSFDF project didn't tell who it was I about to insult with my acrylics, so I went to past projects, snooping....using my fantastic powers of intuition and dumb luck. When I went to the week before's workboot project and ran across a painting of the subject boots filled with a little fellow who looked like "anything but happy", done by an artist named Adebanji Alade, I knew I hit paydirt. I was so confident that it was him that I was painting, I incorporatded his painting behind him in the portrait I was doing. When finished I sent an E-Mail with attached portrait to Adebanji. Sure nuff, it was him, and he was well satisfied with my attempt, even tho it made him look older. This was a really fun project.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Eye Has It

I go to Panama often. Bocas del Toro. A group of small islands just off the Northeast coast. Absolutely beautiful and actually quite inexpensive. Ten bucks for a bus ride to the border, Sixaola. Then a tourist taxi for 6 bucks to Changinola. Then a 30 minute water taxi to the islands for another 4 dollars. You can stay at a hostel for 6 bucks or a fairly nice motel for about $30. A couple of months ago, I was coming back and hopped on the taxi. Got in the back seat and there was this incredible young lady sitting there. I introduced myself and we visited for the half hour back to the border, and visited some more at the border. And visited some more on the bus. When she got off the bus at Cahuita, she waved goodbye. As the bus pulled out, she waved goodbye again. As the bus pulled away, I waved my head against the window a dozen times for not getting out at Cahuita, too, and taking a later bus back. After 62 years, I would think a little common sense would come along at some point.
Anyway, she was a beautiful creature. From The Netherlands, 27 years old, visiting Central America and then going back to Holland in a few days. Now, I know, 62 and 27. My oldest grandson is almost that old. But my interest wasn't of a romantic nature...(if I was only 30 years younger, not as ugly and a few more dollars in my pocket)...ah, one can dream. And I am so straight and gentlemanly I bore myself to tears sometimes. But there was something..some kind of chemistry or sumtin that affected me more than I can describe. I can count on the fingers of one hand the times a person has zapped me in such a fashion. You know how sometimes you can meet someone and feel as if you've known em for years. That's the way it was with Eva.
She gave me her website address and I visited it as soon as I got home and sent her an E-Mail asking her to reply back when she got home safely. She is a photographer and has a website that has some very interesting photos. One photo that really caught my eye was a close-up photo of her eye. I asked her to E-Mail a hi-res of her eye so I could paint it. She did. I did. I mailed it. She got it. She was delighted. I am delighted. Aside from being knock-down, drag-out gorgeously beautiful, she had a sparkle in her eyes that could brighten a galaxy. We communicate occasionally. If we never meet again, I feel my life has been enriched by this brief encounter with such an enchanting angel. Eva truly has the fingerprints of God all over her. I have posted her eye and my feeble attempt of a painting.