Friday, October 29, 2010
The moose is at once elegant and clumsy. Sartorially speaking, the velvet brown of his coat is unsurpassed. His expression seems comical at times. His movements seem ungainly and locomotion improbable. That he should be a target of hunters, and the ingredient of stew, is incomprehensible and reprehensible.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The "wackytecture" series continues with this small, 16" x 20" oil painting featuring the Chirphouse in bloom. It could be a spring, summer, or even a warmish autumn day. Birds and small mammals remain hidden in the foliage, while a few brave souls dart or glide overhead.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Occasionally a hardworking child sweeps fall leaves that have accumulated in her play space. Ever industrious, the child tirelessly toils to rid the area of unwanted debris. Somewhere in the inner recesses of her mind, she is toiling in the pumpkin patch. She is Cinderella perhaps, or at least, fairy tales swirl in her mind. It is doubtful that she will go to the ball, because fairy tales are just that. But perhaps a slice of pumpkin pie is in her future.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Autumn is on its way, and my colorful abstract at the left reflects this fact. I still reflect on the wonderful paintings I saw over the summer, particularly those of one of my favorite artists, Arshile Gorky. I appreciate especially his expressive use of brush strokes and vivid patches of color. His sensitive brush strokes are unsurpassed. I marvel at his finely delineated black lines, meticulously placed, and his exquisite craftsmanship.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I am recently back from a wonderful visit to Los Angeles, which included a trip to the beautiful Getty Museum and gardens. It is quite a treasure and a must see for all. The gardens are as moving as the artworks in the museum itself. My main computer is not at all well and I do not have access to all my material. I am adjusting to the return to high altitudes. I am also recovering from an allergic reaction to a blooming tree in my front yard, which also seems to be the boulevard replacement tree for the town! There are twenty of them blooming across the street, and I counted sixty in my immediate neighborhood!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Here we are back at "The House That Chirp Built." I brightened the lawn on the left and softened the contrast of the clouds and blue sky. Some of the trees in the background have been modulated as well. The idea is to promote continuity in the environment in which the house is situated. The result is a slight differentiation between indoors and outdoors, while still retaining a hint of ambiguous space. The room on the second floor left where the purple cat peers out the window is somewhat simplified as well. I am tempted to paint an additional bunny on the left foreground, which was there originally, because it balanced the composition, but I will try to restrain myself!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Bucket Head" is another watercolor painting that was meant to be an oil. When I became adept at oil painting with the newly developed oil painting technology, I was able to paint this painting in oils, as I had originally intended. No longer allergic to the paint and painting medium, I was now free to paint in oils. The child was photographed in her backyard wearing a blue bucket as a hat. She was pretending she was at the beach. Lo and behold, through the magic of painting, she was transported to her favorite beach! "Bucket Head" is an oil on canvas painted in 2007. It is 50" x 38," the same size as the original watercolor.
Monday, June 14, 2010
This may be the final version of "The House That Chirp Built." The color might be a bit subdued for my taste, and I would love to spend more time applying paint, attending to detail, etc. But I feel that it is time to move along and work on some other paintings. I have many more ideas which I will use in the future when I continue the "House" series.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Well, I'm slowly straightening out some of the vertical and horizontal lines, but notice that the stairs would benefit from being perfectly parallel to the bottom of the canvas. A lot of editing needs to be done on the right half of the painting, and the burnt sienna room upstairs with a portrait needs fiddling with. The attic room with the reclining figure could be brightened. And the line of the roof --it definitely needs work! The interior decorator will have to be consulted as well!
Monday, June 7, 2010
The other day I was in Dearborn, Montana, picking my son up from an overnight visit at a friend's house. The air was mountain fresh, the scenery was pristine. From the dizzying precipices the blue ribbon trout fishing holes were clearly visible. I've been told it's also the site of the Cooper (as in Gary) ranch! I'm always curious as to the identity of the mysterious riders in my series of paintings. Hmmm. This is probably the final version of "Ocher Rider," oil on canvas, 24" x 36," completed in 2020.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Here is another transitional phase of "The House That Chirp Built." I've been working on the "wackitecture," which still needs straightening out as well as "wackying" up! The same goes for the landscape, animals and figures. In other words, the whole painting needs work! I do like the bright colors and the beginning of ambiguous spatial qualities in the structure.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
When we arrived in the parking lot at Swift Current Inn in Many Glacier, Glacier Park, Montana, there was quite a hub bub! Shutterbugs were all a twitter over an incident with a moose mom with two calves. The trail head to Red Rock Falls provided an idyllic backdrop for a photo op with the moose family. But all of a sudden a grizzly bear snatched one of the calves and dragged it off to certain doom! The mother moose and surviving calf continued grazing, but the tourists were in a state of shock. Tiny Montany reminded us that when humans enter the park, there is always the chance that they may become part of the food chain as well! Luckily, we made it through our adventure intact. As we left the park, we noticed another survivor of the food chain loping along the river. "Moose" is a small oil painting on canvas, 9" x 12," painted in 2010.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
"Seated Child" is part of my series of paintings about childhood. I had an idyllic childhood myself and realize that these days it's a rare commodity! This was originally a large scale watercolor. Watercolor is a lovely medium, but the paper has to be protected, and the frames are expensive and cumbersome. I did a large number of paintings on paper, which I had intended to do as oil paintings, but was prevented by a developed sensitivity to oil paints. However, with the new technological advances, I once again can paint in oils! It is very exciting to me, much as I love watercolors. In fact, one of my ongoing projects is to paint oil on canvas versions of the watercolor paintings I had hoped to paint in oil. This painting is one of the first paintings I was able to do once again in oil. "Seated Child" is an oil painting on canvas, 50" x 38," painted in 2007 from my watercolor painting done earlier.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Some viewers have expressed interest in the transitional phases of my painting. These phases can be instructional, entertaining, as well as instructional. Sometimes they serve as a precautionary tale against fiddling with a painting when it has reached a satisfactory conclusion. In addition, it is always wise to have on hand several blank prepared canvases, so that one can paint a thematic series, rather than painting many paintings on the same canvas.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
A few days ago Tiny reminded me that I am supposed to be taking snapshots of my works in progress. The various stages of paintings are often quite different from the finished result. In my case, I often edit out a lot of imagery that is rather amusing. Such is the case with this painting. It looks rather bland in comparison to the previous stage, which I failed to record. The painting is definitely in a transition phase. The whole thing needs refining, and the wacky architecture is a bit too wacky. More figures will be added, such as the one in the attic. In short, more fun will be had! So it's back to the drawing board! "The House That Chirp Built" is a 38" x 44" oil on canvas, started in 2010.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
In 2009 I worked on a series of western themed paintings, some of which related to Tiny Montany's Ghost Town Sound Project. There are many picturesque ghost towns throughout the state. Many are closed to the public and under private ownership. Some of the downtown areas of Montana municipalities, like others across the country, are in danger of becoming ghost towns due to the downturn in the economy. The rider series alludes to the horsemen riding out of the past, perhaps to the rescue of endangered communities. "Ocher Rider" is a work in progress, oil on canvas, 36" x 24" started in 2009.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Depending on the time of the year, the flow of water allowed through the series of falls affords different elements of each of the falls to become evident. So it is with Rainbow Falls. A fortuitous excursion with Tiny Montany and Ginger offered a rare glimpse of the guardian of the falls, beyond the rainbow, the froth and the thunder. "Guardian of the Falls" is an oil on canvas, 48" x 36," painted in 2004.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The White Cliffs of the Upper Missouri Breaks are spectacular. In the off season it is possible to take day trips by motorboat, provided your guide has the proper permits. Otherwise, you must canoe in with your camping gear and haul everything out. It is scenic beauty which at times seems man made--architectural and sculptural forms abound. Some were pointed out, but others can be discovered on your own. You might see, as I did, sculpted busts. such as the one in the left foreground of this painting. Or, hiking up one of the many trails along the route, you might come upon seated figures carved out of the rocks by mother nature. "Beyond Hole in the Wall" is a large scale oil on canvas painted in 2005.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In the 80s I did a series of watercolors about creativity in childhood. The "First Stroke" series deals with the imagination of children, how they think and how they develop their imagination through drawing and painting--hand/eye coordination, story telling skills, etc. I found it visually interesting to incorporate images from the child's imagination in the paintings. "First Stroke--One Hand" is a large scale watercolor on paper, 38" x 50," painted in 1985.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Here is the final version of the painting I started earlier. The pencil study was done in the 1980s, but I did not feel I could do it justice at that time. I wanted to capture the joyous enthusiasm of the children and a sense of the lyricism and rhythm of
island life. It brings to my mind some of my favorite music of Jamaica by Scotty and Eric Donaldson.
"Jamaican Children" is a 30" x 40" oil on canvas painted in 2010.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Vision Mountain fire which took place in 1995 in the month of October devastated over 12,000 acres. This series of watercolors was completed in 2003 from photographs I took in the 1980s. My original large scale watercolor, which I will show at a later date, was completed in 1989, before the fire. I am not sure which of the landscapes depicted in my paintings remained unscathed. They remain fresh in my memory, and I hope to revisit the area to determine the nature of the damage and to see how far along the rehabilitation process has progressed. I treasure the walks taken here with family and friends. "Vision Mountain 4" is a watercolor on paper, 24" x 30" painted in 2003.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
As you make your way east on the River's Edge Trail you first encounter Rainbow Falls, and after a short hike, bike or skate, Crooked or Horseshoe Falls. Once again you will be surprised by this small, yet picturesque landscape. Yucca, sage, grasses and other shrubbery meet the eye, but to me the biggest surprise of all might be the presence of cactus at this particular point in the trail. This same cactus hindered Lewis and Clark in their epic journey and should have kept them from portage around the series of falls, rather than making their way back into the Missouri between the falls. To the modern day recreational hiker, the cactus is a reminder that the high plains desert is a part of the river landscape. Cactus flowers in bright yellow and orange provide an extra visual treat. "Cacti," oil on canvas, 72" x 48," was painted in 2004.
Monday, May 3, 2010
In my childhood I climbed many a tree--koas, banyan trees and even guava trees were among my favorites. Short trunks and low hanging limbs were attributes of great climbing trees. Guava trees, though small in stature, offered their own rewards. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine a tree as magnificent as this monkey pod tree which grows in the Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu. Its canopy must be one hundred feet in diameter. I wonder if it would make a good climbing tree. If you are ever in the neighborhood of this tree, take an upward glance and perhaps I will be perched on one of the low hanging branches! "Monkey Pod Tree" is an oil on canvas, 48" x 60," painted in 2005.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years. It was quite a treat to stay in a beach house at Stinson Beach for periods of time. One particular stay was a month. When we were feeling particularly adventurous we might take a drive past nearby Bolinas, through Inverness, and even further still to a place called Vision Mountain. It looked like quite an ordinary destination at first, and one wouldn't have guessed the extraordinary sight at the end of the trail. Untold beauty, countless visions, visual jewels unfolded one upon the other. I've done a series of paintings inspired by the beauty of Vision Mountain, but none can match the beauty of Mother Nature. "Vision Mountain 2," watercolor on paper. 24" x 30," 2003.
Friday, April 30, 2010
My sister and I were very close in age, and early on, she took it upon herself to become my personal tutor. She drilled me on my facts and figures, and was the person who, along with the aid of a paper turtle clock complete with hands, taught me how to tell time. Although I was a proficient reader early on, this particular skill eluded me well into elementary school! Long before she studied photography officially and became a photography teacher, my sister was skilled in composition and design and all things visual. I on the other hand, had no sense of design or composition, and my snapshots invariably turned out black! She has been giving me photography tips ever since. This snapshot she took peaked my interest, and she graciously allowed me to paint a picture from her photo. "Red Ball" is a large scale acrylic painting on paper, 38" x 50" completed in 1980.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
One day when I was walking to a drawing class at the San Francisco Art Institute I spotted a unique seedpod. It was on the cobblestone sidewalk across the street from the school. I thought it must have fallen from a tree or a nearby bush, and looked around at the nearby foliage for the source of the strange seedpod. It looked to me like the head of an animal--an antelope or goat perhaps, and I imagined myself fashioning the rest of the creature from sticks and leaves. I thought it was quite benign, and I imagined an endearing creature trotting about in a playful manner. At least it was not sinister in any possible stretch of my imagination. It sat on my shelf for a time, and somehow it seemed to harmonize with two other objects that were visually appealing--a beautiful shell, which harbored secrets unfathomable, and a broken light bulb, which probably signified a bad idea! At worst, the seedpod was a vegan alternative to an O'Keeffe skull! At best, it represented my prancing creature! Only recently did I find out that the seedpod is native to the Southwest, and is known by sinister names--but I don't believe any of that! "Still Life with Shell" is a colored pencil drawing on paper, 14" x 35," drawn in 1979.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Take a brisk walk or leisurely jog to the pier in the early morning. Make sure to note lifeguard station number 25. The beach is fairly deserted except for the occasional gull . Walk down the pier and back, pass the empty volleyball courts and the playground equipment. No bicyclists or roller skaters are out yet.
Back home, slice the cantaloupe, heat the croissants, make coffee. Relax on the deck and enjoy the morning. "Cantaloupe and Croissants" is an acrylic and oil painting on canvas, 50" x 70," painted in 1982.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
First, dig a large moat, piling the sand in a tall mountain. Make sure the moat is connected to a vast source of water. Next, mound buckets of wet sand strategically on the mountain. Shape towers and stairways, turrets and walls. Drizzle even wetter sand hither and yon for a Gaudi-esque effect.
Take a break. Go for a long walk to the point. Have a picnic. Check the castle hours later when the tide comes in. Watch closely as each wave makes its way up the sides of the castle, making its own architectural design as it recedes. "Sand Castle" is 38" x 50," a watercolor on paper painted in 1987.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Turtles and tortoises are primordial beings from another age. This usually languorous individual snaps disapproval for being roused from its meditation. Dragonflies and over-sized hummingbirds
hover above in the perfumed air. Nasturtiums and patterned greenery abound. Other creatures
emerge from the color bytes to offer companionship to the ancient one. A contemporary naiad
soothes the savage beast in the carapace, before lowering it gently into the pond. "Turtle" is an
acrylic painting on canvas, 40" x 47," completed in 1982.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Agave is a plant with many uses, none of which were familiar to me when I first encountered it
in a friend's backyard in Santa Cruz, California. The bright yellow and dark green leaves were
striking, and more reptilian than plant to me. Each leaf seemed like an individual snake, ready
to strike at any moment. Surely the thorns would scratch the unwary, but I was more worried
about fangs inside the serpent's mouth, and the venom within. Beautiful and deadly, and a bit
playful. Perhaps it plays with its food. A bit cannibalistic--maybe it would snap up the small
birds that inhabited the yard! Maybe an agave leaf would sink its fangs into me!
Buzzing bees, heedless small birds, pixels of sunshine, swirling octagons of warm colors, and
morsels of snake meat and feathers and pricking thorns! I was obviously drunk on sunshine! Not being a drinker, I was unaware that agave is the main ingredient in tequila. Danger and pleasure both! On a quieter note, agave nectar, a natural sweetener, offers an alternative to sugar and high fructose corn syrup. "Agave" is an acrylic painting on canvas, 40" x 44," painted in 1981.
Friday, April 23, 2010
One of the treasures of Great Falls, Montana is the walking trail and bike path down by the
Missouri River. It stretches for miles along the river, and every inch has it's own story. Pelicans, geese, ducks, swallows and the occasional bald eagle share the river with beavers, rabbits and
deer. As twilight approaches, antelope make their way down the slopes on the far side of the river.
The seasonal changes are reflected in the foliage and shrubbery along the banks and overhanging cliffs bordering the river. On a typical fall day I was astonished by the coloring of a small shrub. Surely it couldn't possibly be that bright! And why were the trees in the distance so yellow? The sky itself was an unbelievable shade of blue. The fall colors seemed positively tropical. "Red Shrub." oil on canvas, 2004, 72" x 48" is a tribute to a small shrub with a tropical
tendencies near the River's Edge Trail by the Missouri River.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In the early 1950s my sister and I were very young, and spent a lot of time running errands with our mother. We sometimes played in our silvery mint green Oldsmobile, while mom dashed in to make her purchases at various grocery and department stores in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii. On one day in particular, we found ourselves in the parking lot of Sears Roebuck and Company, which at present is the Honolulu Police Department. We had settled in for a pleasant fifteen to thirty minute stint in the parking lot. It was quite safe in those days. We were parked somewhere in the middle of the rather spacious parking lot. It was a quiet and lovely day in paradise. There weren't any other people in the lot--just a lot of cars. We noticed some movement at the rear of the parking lot. Another car had parked. A figure exited the vehicle. He seemed familiar, but a little out of place, in his western attire complete with cowboy hat and boots. Instantly we recognized him as Hopalong Cassidy, our favorite hero from the television adventure show. We were beside ourselves with excitement, and couldn't help beaming with happiness! Why shouldn't Hopalong Cassidy be riding in a car in downtown Honolulu, Hawaii rather than galloping on a gallant steed on the Wild West! As he neared our car, he noticed the two adorable local girls and strode over to the car. Smiling and introducing himself, he reached into his pocket and presented us with two Hopalong Cassidy badges.
Thousands of miles away, Tiny Montany donned his cowboy hat and full Hopalong Cassidy
regalia, sharpshooters at the ready. "Bang bang! Bang bang!" He never tired of playing cowboy.
Tiny never encountered Hopalong Cassidy in real life, although he did meet the Cisco Kid thanks to his father and his advertising company. Only later did Tiny realize that Keoki Origami from
Honolulu, Hawaii was targeting him with some paper projectiles.
"Bang Bang" is an acrylic painting on canvas, 36" x 48," completed in 1982.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
"Aqua Rider" is a watercolor on paper, 24" x 18" that I started in 2009 and finished in 2010.
It is somewhat abstract and stylized, what I call an all-over painting, in which the space is filled
with various imagery and calligraphy relevant to an overall theme. I let the viewer figure out the
story. Usually my story is different from that of the viewer. It's more fun to let each person come
up with an individual version. There are chess pieces, architectural forms, animals, aerial views.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The Source--Giant Springs" is a large-scale oil painting on canvas. It measures 60" x 48." I
build all my stretcher bars--the wooden frame the canvas is stretched over--myself. No power
tools are used. It's all with hammer and hand saw and staple gun. If you're using power tools--
air hammer, power saw, power staple gun--how nice for you!
A variety of life forms, plant and animal, including a magical bird, a squirrel and a bighorn sheep
are nurtured by the spring. Bubbling thousands of feet to the surface, the Giant Spring is the source of all life's delights.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
In this 2009 painting, a purple polka dotted cat perches on a rooftop, while a squirrel contemplates his nut supply. Various small furry and feathered creatures inhabit the structure, the house that chirp built.
The painting is among the thirty paintings on display in downtown Great Falls, Montana. There are abstract, landscape, and portraiture included. Large-scale oils--the biggest is 55" x 88" and
mid-size oil paintings, mixed media paintings on paper are on display. Montana landscapes, some horses and riders, children, animals, and even an enormous monkey pod tree from my home state of Hawaii are some of the themes included in the show.
Friday, April 16, 2010
So far I prefer this earlier version of "Jamaican Children." But I'll continue to work on the oil painting. Hopefully I can bring it up to snuff before too long!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I recently decided to do a painting from a drawing I did from a photograph of five Jamaican
children in Montego Bay. Their expressions were joyous, pensive, playful. The preparatory drawing became a favorite of mine and I couldn't bear to paint over it. I really wasn't up to doing another preparatory drawing.
Somehow, living in a small town in Montana, the time seemed right to tackle the project again.
I feel comfortable enough to paint freely without a preparatory drawing. Maybe I can show it in
downtown Great Falls, which in itself will be worth the effort.
And if you're wondering what became of my previous work in progress, "Sienna Moon," it was
snatched off my easel and is presently on display in downtown Great Falls. I never got a chance to
We hung thirty paintings for the downtown Art Walk, an effort to draw people to the deserted downtown area, which has become a bit of a ghost town. Perhaps "Jamaican Children" will liven things up a bit!