Sunday, April 26, 2009

WOW..Empty Easel, ADDICTIONary, and some CatchUp

The past couple of weeks or so, with the move from Costa Rica, shipping Pokey and TacoBelle and what belongings I have, relocating artwork, juggling finances, visiting friends and family, struggling to connect with the internet, and 16,000 other things have left me grasping for some semblance of sanity. I think I've almost got it together in Marble Falls, Texas, but there's probably a few fragments of that sanity still missing...wandering around Interstate 10 somewhere. Pokey and Tacobelle are out looking for it, so bear with me, and thanks for your patience.

First off....WOW!!! Some time back I had told you that I had submitted an article to Empty Easel concerning the blog community/camaraderie that sprang up around Karin Jurick's Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge...and how it grew and matured from there. I had hoped Dan would print it. Well, he is...on Friday, May 8....on Empty Easel. I invite you to check it out, and if you want an advanced copy of the article...EMail me.

Taking a short sabbatical from my paints for a few more days, I've been dabbling a bit into another of my "Loves"...writing. I have written a small dissertation on the inter-relation of coincidence to the universality of creation, but I won't plague you with that. But I love to write and I've become addicted to Nancy's Every Photo Tells A Story. On February 20, I stumbled onto EPTAS and noticed this painting of a gargoyle. I studied the object and purpose of the blog..that a photo or painting was displayed each day as a reference for visitors to comment on or write a piece of poetry/prose relating to it. So I wrote a little gargoyle poem that day. And was back the next day. And the next. And the next. ADDICTED....BAM!!!! My March 18 contribution below illustrates this....

"A Happy, Healthy Addiction"

"Addiction" @ El Elviana "The Enigma"

I know the hour's late, but there's stuff that just can't wait

I have to end each day with the things I have to say.

Anticipation starts each morning, reading wonders that's been said,

Wisdom, prose and poetry, are whirling in my head

Addicted? Maybe so. That's why I'm always in a hurry,

To get my poems on line, for Every Photo Tells A Story

One of the most important things I had to do while visiting in Louisiana was to visit Glen and Wendy. Gwen (Wendy) is my "OnceWife"'s younger sister. Glen is her husband of 40 years. They come as close to having a perfect mariage as I think I've ever seen of two people. They have also come to be as close friends as a person could ever be blessed with. You will hear more from me about them in the future, but for now, Glen developed esophagial cancer some months back. He has undergone surgery and chemo/radiation and the doctors say the cancer is gone. But he lost a lot of weight and is on a long road to recovery. I spent five days with them visiting, talking and a lot of praying. I wrote this poem for Every Photo Tells A Story just for them....


@ Ken Flett

We've traveled this world's highways...Its winding roads and paths

Stumbled in the rocks and briars, Found splendor in the grass

Side by side, we walked together...Shared the laughter and the tears

Two as one,,,, amid the twilight, We have reached the golden years.

Of all my fondest memories, The ones that mean so much,

Are the ones with words unspoken, Just your kind and gentle touch.

After years of drinking and partying and being an all-around typically selfish, stupid and insensitive "Man", my wife, Sharon, finally got enough and kicked my bozo butt out the door. Our two oldest children (12 and 14) chose to live with me. By the miracle of grace, they turned out super,...teacher and engineer, each with a fine family. Our youngest daughter stayed with her Momma and is now a teacher, married to a teacher. After the kids grew up and moved out, I increased my drinking habit so much that Smirnoff and Seagram stock went up 30 points. Well, the bottom fell out, but that's another story. The real story for now, is that I came to The Light. And remained there. Without getting in anyone's face or shoving stuff down their throats and leaving a bad taste, I look for opportunities to spread a little joy and share a bit of light. When Every Photo Tells A Story (March 4) came along with this painting by my treasured blogfriend, Theresa Rankin, I was led to offer this little writing...

"The Greatest Church"

Cathedrals, temples, shrines, Have abounded all the while

Mighty works of grandeur, In every shape and style

But all Man's pride and efforts, Consistently fall short,

Of the wonders of the Greatest Church,..the one inside your heart.

There's still a couple of Every Photo submissions I want to post, and 14 kazillion things to tell ya about, but I'll take a pause here and continue on the next blog, tomorrow.

Blog thought: "Want less. Have more"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

On the Bayou * Elton Louviere *

On the Bayou in Louisiana.....

Here I am down in Cajun country enjoying my first batch of boiled crawfish in about 7 years. "An' yah, Cher, ...dem's cra-vees is sumtin man, whas reely delishus for shore, I done gar-on-teed you dat." I lived in Southwest Lousiana for over 20 years and a big piece of my heart is down here with the frogs, gators and skeeters. Right now I'm staying with one of my best friends from Sulphur High School,...Jim Hopkins and his wife, Beatrice. I could go on for 14 hours about Jim and Bea, but to keep it short...they have been great. Jim is a lawyer here in Sulphur and we have talked about everything from VietNam to the mysteries of the universe to the secession of Texas. And Bea, a teacher of the highest caliber, has just plugged her ears and let us ramble.

This is also the world of Elton Louviere. Elton is an extraordinary artist whose talents extend beyond the known universe and his accomplishments, awards, and recognition reach from here to Orlando. Elton is also an old friend and my mentor. Aside from my mother, Elton has given me more inspiration on my art endeavors through life than anyone else on the planet.

We moved to Lake Charles from Houston in 1958, a year after hurricane Audrey had scourged the area. Father, Mom and I lived in a beautiful old two story house on Hodges street. Three houses down there was a young man who had started a sign painting company...Louviere Signs. I was 13 at the time, and was allowed to go visit "Mr. Louviere" from time to time. Elton was probably 8 or 9 years my senior, and I was absolutely hypnotized by the incredibly beautiful and professional signwork that flowed from hands through the marvelous Langnickel and french quill brushes. What I remember most of those earlier days was his kindness and patience to a snotty nosed kid like me that most people would have run off in a heartbeat. I was a good spectator, though, because I could sit and watch his mastery in silent awe. After we moved to Sulphur, I had no contact with Elton until about 15 years or so later when I had a part-time job (full-time at the Post Office then), with Roy Loup's Highway Signs in Maplewood. Elton was the main sign painter for Roy, and was in the last stages of sign work...preparing to venture into the realm of full-time wildlife and bayou/marsh landscapes...his true love. He is now one of the South's most respected artists. Elton, I thank you and salute you. And I urge those that read this to visit his

Tomorrow, it is off to Anacoco Lake for a few days. I'm giving the white perch fair warning. I will be going with two of the most special friends any person could ever be blessed to have. My brother-in-law Glen and his wife Wendy. The next post will be about those two and a tie-in with Every Photo Tells A Story. And I'll post that one later today, or very early in the morning.

Take care for now....your buddy in the bayou..........James

Blog thought: A little prayer plaque I had in my office: "Dear Lord, help me be the kind of person my dogs think I am."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Most Meaningful Blog

Humor Me. Please, please, please click on Enjoy The Ride below. If you don't agree with me that it is one of the best things you have done lately, then you have my permission to kick me next time you see me.


I have been taking the last few days off, visiting with my son Mark, his wife, Melinda, and my grandsons, Tyler and Andrew. Sunday, my two daughters, Traci and Tish, will pick me up for a couple of weeks in Louisiana, with my other grandsons, Justin, Drew, Lane, Jamie and Cade...That's right....7 granddaughters. I haven't been able to paint much, but since my two daughters are teachers, and their husbands, Mark and Robert are both teachers...I'll be alone during the day to get caught up with my mud-daubing. They both live way out in the country North of Lake Charles, so it'll be just me, Pokey, Tacobelle, the birds and the paints. I'll be back on line with another post probably Wednesday. Thanks for your patience.

Now...the important part. The above (and below) link to Enjoy The Ride is very important to me....and may be very important to you....I hope it is. Without being soapy or overly philosophical...I see that in this world of today we need inspiration and a little kick inside. This will do it better than anything I have ever seen in my life. If you get as much out of it as I did (do)...tell others to come give it a look. Take Care....see ya Wednesday........James


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well, I'm trying to reassemble bits and pieces of what little sanity I once possessed. The last 2 weeks of moving back to the States from Costa Rica have been a bit trying to say the least. For one thing, I accumulated ten times more "stuff" in the last three years than I would have thought possible. Two, there's those "unexpected problem demons" lurking behind every palm tree. And three, there is an overabundance of "open palm" hidden expenses. I encountered almost $300 of unexpected expenses (including bribery) in getting Pokey and TacoBelle legal and ready for the flight over. But we're here and safe....a mess but blessed.

I apologize for not doing much "blog-visiting" lately. My Sister and her husband, have graciously been giving me the "Grand Tour" of the hill country. This used to be my "stomping grounds", but it's been about 15 years. Much has changed, but, thankfully, much has not changed...and it is beautiful country. We've also been visiting Texas antique shops and art gal
lery/shops and what-not. She is in the heart of the Texas Art Community, and we have two locations that want to display some of my art. Let ya know on that.

I will be going back to Costa Rica and Panama from time to time, but for now my art direction is gonna be directed towards a more SouthWest and Texas theme...windmills, jackrabbits, wild turkeys and a big plate of juicy Texas spare ribs barbecued over a smoky mesquite/hickory grill just dripping with tangy Texas sauce and fresh potato salad,
and......OOps...lost my train of thought.

In tribute and as a passing shot to Costa Rica I am posting three of my red-eyed tree frog paintings. I did several jillion frog paintings while in CR, but I don't recall ever posting any of them....So here they are.

There are already some very nice painting/portraits submitted on Windows to the Words Art for this month...but there's plenty of room for yours. Also, for next month's Art Challenge of "Beautiful Sunrises/Sunsets" I would sure like to have a photo of a sunrise/sunset from your part of the world. Snap one and send it to me.

That's it for now....don't let the IRS spoil your day...the 16th is just around the corner

Thought for the Blog...."If you see someone without a smile...give them one of yours"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Safe and Sound in the Bluebonnets

Whew...Moving is not my idea of fun...particularly when it's another country and you have to get all your worldly possessions in 2 suitcases and a carry on. And I didn't...but I got the most important stuff....Pokey and TacoBelle. They seem to be quite content with Texas and are looking for their first Jackrabbit. They had their first experience with a white tailed deer last night. They barked twice and hid under the house...big chickens. I'm staying in the beautiful hill country of Texas, North of Austin with my sister, Margaret, and her husband for a couple weeks..then over to Louisiana with my kids for a few weeks. Then back to Costa Rica and Panama and then back to Texas to settle in some where here in the Texas Hill County.

I really appreciate the nice comments a
nd E-Mails you all have sent...big hugs. I'll make a regular post Monday with paintings or what-not, but for now, I'll leave you with some beautiful pictures and wish you a beautiful Easter weekend.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mystery Pups...Packing Up...Other Stuff

Special Bulletin...It was posted just after I wrote this blog. Every Photo Tells A Story has honored me by using another of my paintings for its subject on the April 5 post. The piece is a nest of hungry baby birds, titled "Feed Me". Please check it out this delightful blog site.

It is absolutely nervewracking to pack up and move from one country to another. And it takes a lot of time. I have
neglected visiting my blog buddies, so if you haven't seen me check into your blog, please forgive me...I'll be by to visit shortly. I may be bald and a bundle of nerves, but I'll be there. I have to get back to packing, so I'll let Pokey and TacoBelle handle the blog for a while.

Pokey here. TacoBelle iz doin the prufreedin, so if I mispell sumtin, you kin blame it onher. Evrybody knows our bestest friend what weeze got in de whole wid wurld...Tweedles...Here iz her pitchur...

Masterbuddy, "Stinkyfeet" painted 3 of ou
r buddy pups. Tweedles, up dere, was furst cuz Tweedles is soooooo speshul. Tweedles luvs de oshun and fishes and starfishes and to play in de water and chew on a bone and other fun stuff jes like us. And Tweedles can rite good wordz...jes like us.

Dis here is Linus, "Stinkyfeets" little buddy in Texas, Nancy Medina's fearless watchpug. Linus is shore purty and looks like Tweedles a bit, but not quite so hansum. But Linus is still one reel good buddy.

Up next is Otis, the loyal wonderdog of Manon Doyle, anudder one of Masterbuddy's friends. I think Otis is a Boston terror, or terrier. or sumtin like dat. I get kinda confused when it comes to foreigners, so maybe Otis is a Concord spaniel, maybe. I is a DachsieBeegleMutt, and Stinkyfeet sez I should be prod of dat. I am. It wuz 3 months fore I learnt
dat TacoBelle wuza Cheewowwow. Whatz so neet about Otis is that his eyes are soooo big. He always looks like he jes seen a big pork chop go strollin by. HAHAHAHA. Okay...Stinkyfeet wants his puter back......CYA in Texas!!!!!

That Pokey...what a ham. Gotta give he
r spelling lessons one day. Okay, I need to get more packing done, but there's a couple more items. I ran across an old black trash bag and started to put it with the other trash bags, but looked inside and found 2 of my first paintings I had sent up when I moved here to Costa Rica. Back in the early 80s is when I did my first serious painting. I only did 5 paintings. The sixth one I started was a picture of Jesus I tried using as a model a profile photo of some guy from SuperTramps' "Live in Paris" album. It was a miserable failure and I gave up for the next 25 years. The two I rediscovered are pictured here, and need some touching up. The other 3 paintings I did are who knows where. The painting above is some duck decoys I saw pictured in Ideals Magazine. The painting below was from a photo in Arizona Highways.


Pictured above are a batch of ACEOs I'm
getting blocked in so I'll have a supply of work items I can take with me in a little briefcase with my paints and ref photos. That way, If I see a nice tree to sit down and paint a while, I can.

Back to work. I hope to have everything don
e and packed and ready to go by Monday night, so I can kick back and just relax a second. See ya Monday. Have a great weekend.

Thought for the Blog.... "Our Earth was not inherited from our Fathers, but
borrowed from our Children"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WTTW Art. March Has Marched On...

I recently gave Vern Schwarz The Lemonade Award, not because he's an ole sourpuss, which he's not. But because he deserved it. He's the "Captain Kirk" of blog awards. James Kirk of Star Trek was the only one to ever pass a "No Win" Romulan challenge at Starfleet Academy. He never told anyone how he did it till ST, The Movie 3. He broke in and altered the computer program. "If you can't win, change the rules". Instead of nominating a list of other blog artists for the award, he gave it to the participating artists of Sheila and Carrie's "Art For Animals" Project. Kudos. "Aye, Cap'n...ats holdin 'er togedder." Oh, and Vern nicknamed me "The Godfather of Blog". LOL. I don't think I look much like James Brown....but I FEEEEEEEEL GOOD !!!!!

The Windows to the Words March challenge wound up with 15 submissions, 12 of which are exceptionally good. If you haven't been over to check them out, click HERE. Big, friendly, bear hugs to those that participated and have dropped by to view. There's a lot of participation events out there, so I am trying to make WTTW more personal, reliable and present subjects and reference photos that will enable the artist to wind up with a piece that may have sales appeal.

The above is what I refer to as a DAM project....Driven Almost Mad. It is my WTTW rendition of the photo of my two oldest children, Tish and Mark. I have Tish looking 13 rather than 6 and Mark looking like the neighbor's dog. So this is a work in progress that I'm sure I'll get plenty of free advice from them when I go to the States in a week. Tish wanted me to make sure I didn't let on that she was almost 42. It would be rather embarassing if her friends saw this portrait and I had blabbed that she was 42. So I won't mention that she's 42. And I'd better not mention that this photo is 35 years old, because anybody with minimal math skills could figure out that she was about 42. So..Mum's the word, Tish.

ARTISTS....The April Challenge (This month also children) is posted with the 3 children subjects on Windows to the Words Main Page.

HOTOGRAPHERS....The April WTTW Photo challenge for photos is beautiful sunrises/sunsets. 3 of the best pics will be for the May WTTW Art Challenge. Get your Honey and your camera, go watch a great sunrise/sunset together...and take a picture if ya think about it. Like this................

I am in the process of packing up to go to Texas April 8. The cost of shipping to the States is about $10 a pound. I have 14 tons of stuff. To save you the math...that's a quarter of a million dollars in freight. I don't have a quarter of a million dollars. So I'm chunking...and it's driving me up the wall. My next blog will be about this little packing venture. But for now I have to sort through this mountain of stuff. First I need to go to the bathroom. where is it?