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Kuwaiti Oil Fires

“Kuwaiti Oil Fires” 48″ x 20″ oil on stretched silk, 1991 was one of the last paintings I ever painted in oil. Soon after, I gave up oil painting in favor of acrylic.

I served on active duty in the United States Army. I deployed for Desert Shield. I participated in the ground war during Desert Storm. I will never forget the sight of the fires on the horizon, during the night, as we convoyed through a minefield during the start of the ground war, at the end of February, 1991. The terrible destruction, the ferocity of it, even at a distance – there’s no forgetting it. This painting hangs in my home, a part of my permanent collection, a reminder of what human beings make themselves capable of, and at what terrible cost it comes.

If we measure the worth of art by the weight of it’s meaning to the artist who creates it, this is one of my most precious works. It is certainly one that is heavy with the weight of its meaning to me, personally. I stretched the canvas for it myself, with the help of my partner-at-the-time. I used silk, in order to stretch it very tight, and for the exceedingly fine grain of the fabric. I prepared the canvas myself. I made use of unusual pigments, caput mortuum, asphaltic emulsion, and others now lost not only from the sales catalog, but also from my recollection. I painted it hoping, somehow, to communicate a moment, and an experience, to share the unshareable. It is a favorite piece with visitors to my home, and it struck me strangely, this morning, that I hadn’t written about it.

It’s very different than more recent work. It remains quite dear to me, and a painful reminder that there are no “do-overs” for some of the choices we make.

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Irises

My recent burst of inspiration resulted in some fun work in glow, mostly pretty light-hearted. It was a gray rainy day, too, and the filtered light and overcast skies resulted in creating some sunshine on canvas.

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“Irises” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas w/glow

This one results in a bright “moonlight” silhouette when charged.

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“Irises” charged and glowing.

Spring flowers haven’t bloomed in the garden quite yet, but they bloom in my studio. 🙂

The Return of Inspiration

I haven’t been as artistically productive this year as I had hoped to be, but when inspiration struck I was ready, and that made quite a lot of difference for artistic ease and general quality of life. I’m glad you stuck around! There’s more to come…

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Gypsy Drums

"Gypsy Drums" 5" x 7" watercolor on paper 1996

“Gypsy Drums” 5″ x 7″ watercolor on paper 1996

Like it’s companion piece, “Gypsy Dancer”, “Gypsy Drums”  is a small watercolor on paper that was painted on a weekend at a local renaissance fair, in 1996. This small piece was inspired by the dancing of an associate of that time, named Margrit, an exotic and passionate Armenian woman of great beauty.  Shortly after these pieces were painted, I changed artistic direction and began to work almost exclusively in acrylic on canvas, in the abstract, and exploring mixed-media work. I have often found that between big changes in style or focus, I return to small watercolors, or pen & ink sketches to ‘get by on’ creatively.

Gypsy Dancer

"Gypsy Dancer"  5" x 7" watercolor on paper 1996

“Gypsy Dancer” 5″ x 7″ watercolor on paper 1996

“Gypsy Dancer” is a small watercolor on paper that was painted on a weekend at a local renaissance fair, in 1996. I had made a major life change, and my artistic focus and direction often also change as a result. This is one of a handful of pieces of small relaxed watercolor sketches I did just before I dropped everything to work in bolder, larger acrylics in the abstract. This small piece, and the companion piece “Gypsy Drums” were inspired by the dancing of an associate of that time, named Margrit, an exotic and passionate Armenian woman of great beauty.

Augsburg

"Augsburg" 5" x 7" watercolor on paper 1985

“Augsburg” 5″ x 7″ watercolor on paper 1985

In the early 80’s, when I began to paint seriously, I painted primarily in watercolor, and on paper. This small piece (5″ x 7″) painted of the city of Augsburg, where I lived at that time, is very typical of the period. Painted in 1985, it is reminiscent, for me, of the delicate watercolor and gouache illustrations in so many of the children’s books I grew up with. This watercolor remains in my personal collection out of sentiment, however it is available for sale.

Summer Lamb’s Ear

"Summer Lamb's Ear"  8" x 10" acrylic on canvas with glow 2014

“Summer Lamb’s Ear” 8″ x 10″ acrylic on canvas with glow 2014

This light fun floral impression was inspired by a bed of Lamb’s Ear in summer, blasted by the brilliant midday sun, and having caught my eye and distracted me from conversation I attempted to capture the moment, and the quality of light. A small 8″ x 10″ piece on canvas, it is also dramatic when charged and viewed in the dark.

Charged, and glowing.

Charged, and glowing.

This one is a favorite piece of glow work; I love the perspective shift, and the appearance of a moonlit garden.