it’s a secret…

but Pat is driving a snuggly wrapped and newly commissioned painting up to FedEx as I write.

It’s for a special anniversary so I can’t show you just yet…but I will, once the bubbly has been emptied.

Meanwhile, here’s a throwback to a couple of my favorite earlier commissioned paintings…


Outward Bound 2002, for the Pomeroy Family

Waking Early

Waking Early 2006, for Kate and Mary Jo

Working on commissions gives me an added layer of meaningful connection with the patrons and I enjoy the detours in my painting schedule.

If you’ve got an interest, here’s a link to the Commission Statement on my website.

Commission Statement

Simple and honest…that’s the way I like to work.

Now go find a daffodil to hug.




Spam spam spam spam…


wave the flags of freedom…

OK that’s a bit lofty (and probably influenced by the book I am listening to about the French resistance), but I have reached my limit…

My webmaster called it a “brute force attack”,  something to do with blacklists and hackers, alls I know is that for the last year I have been flooded with bogus blog comments.
Seriously, daily dozens of ridiculously worded ersatz appreciations of everything from content to spelling of blog related matter in an effort to get me to “Approve” them and allow entry to the inner sanctum.
And today…
I have pulled the plug on those brutes.

If I unchecked the correct button, comments will no longer be allowed on my blog.
Not really a big deal except for the handful of loyal readers, you KNOW who you are, and the two or three others who occasionally wish to be heard on a given matter.
This shouldn’t affect any of you who look and lurk and generally like what you see here, and it won’t apply to all the facebook readers, but it hopefully will free up my emailbox for the countless other legitimate spam which tries to lodge there for my considered approval.

Meanwhile, life and creativity and many happy hours of painting continue on here in the studio. I’m working on a special commission which allows me to bring some blue skies and bright light into the last of these winter days. No sneak peaks since it is surprise !

But there is a whole lot of new work burgeoning on the spring horizon and the hint of an exciting new show to announce soon. Stay tuned and stay frosty out there…and…all you attackers…

keep your comments to yourself !

I feel better already.

Above painting, with flags at the ready, is Trinity and is currently waving it’s tri-colours over the hills of Santa Fe, at the Sugarman Peterson Gallery.


It’s a colorful day here in the studio and new work has been sent flying, like autumn leaves, to a gallery near you (That would be the Granary Gallery if you happen to be taking a walk on Martha’s Vineyard )… Here’s a sneak peak with Painter’s Notes to read so pull up a chair and a cup of tea…

The Reverie – 12 x 16

The Reverie72

I have been sitting here in the studio office for over four hours now,
basically avoiding the task of writing Painter’s Notes.

Yes, I have been distracted by important things…
like the glorious clear November sky,
screaming its glaze of King’s Blue Deep,
overtop of which the tapestry of fall oaks and maples are positively on fire with peak season color.

Or the twenty minutes I just spent editing the photo I had to take of the praying mantis,
who I discovered sunning herself on the air-conditioning unit outside of my easel window,
when I walked over there to get a piece of gum.

And in between I have listened to two radio interviews by Krista Tippett,
whose conversations with modern day Clerics, Mystics and Buddhist monks
often stop me in my atheist tracks
and shine a light on my own particularly flawed humanity.

So, ok focus…and I am looking, once again, at this painting…and remembering.
It was a hot summer day and the bed of zinnias which I had planted for Pat was full of flowers.
It was late enough in the season for them to have to make way for the Black Eyed Susans,
and for the garden rake to be covered over with cornflowers.

I remember that I had noticed, the day before I started the painting, that the swallowtails were spending the early morning dancing in that bed, and that the first rays of light climbing over the hill made them seem like stained glass windows.
So I had taken some quick photos before I sat with the sketchbook.
As so often happens this was serendipitous because when I came over the next morning,
and sat waiting…and waiting…for the sun to replicate those shafts of cathedral light,
the one butterfly, which I had fancied and chosen as model, returned with a broken wing.

I didn’t see it until just now,
but the colors are the same, in the summer butterfly and the autumn leaves,
and both just as brilliantly alive
with the spirit…
procrastination or reverence ?

Her Smalls – 24 x 23

Her Smalls72

I believe the origin is British
but that doesn’t matter.
Smalls…it’s just a matter of undergarments.
And the dearness of intimacy.
And the gift of props.
Like the hat box which belonged to John’s grandmother.
The tiny gloves that I wore to the White House.
The delicates which used to live on the shelves in the Muddy Creek General Store.
The leather purse and traveling iron which used to live on the shelf in Jane’s shop.
The coin silver spoon that Ted gave.
The teacup that Sue had to remind me was from her grandmother.
And that whimsical handkerchief of Polly’s which I pulled from the drawer
because of it’s red stripe, and only discovered half way through setting up the still life,
that it’s little girl was, Herself, doing the ironing.

Some of my most favorite paintings come from a single word.
And the gathering round of favorite things.
And the gift of quiet leisure in which to cherish them both.



Change is gonna come

I was standing in the studio kitchen this morning, anchoring the cherry pitting machine to the counter, and figuring out how to position the bowls to catch the pits and cherries, when the phone rang. It was Herself telling me to get over to the log cabin…they just overturned DOMA. I had been monitoring the radio closely and, hearing no reports so far, and since so many got last year’s healthcare ruling wrong in the beginning, I was skeptical. So I went to the computer and when the word “unconstitutional” flashed on the screen the tears just poured out of me. I stumbled along the path to the cabin sobbing and into the arms of my babe. The rainbow flags filled the tv screen behind her and everyone in those crowds seemed to be crying as well.

It’s mid-afternoon now. The pie just came out of the oven. Herself has headed up to the lake for a swim. Most of the tissues have been carried to the trash bin. Our facebook family has overwhelmed the cyberworld with cheers of support. I’ve listened to my trusted commentators and read the ruling from the supremes. And I’m sitting here quietly now taking in the surprising depth of the morning’s  first emotional response.

My belief has never wavered, but the torch was getting heavy and along the way it became easier to just settle for the life we had made with each other and hope for some broader equality to come for our grandchildren, both the straight and the gay ones. It’s still a very real fear to be openly gay in our neck of the woods and the scars of bigotry and hatred have not faded from my heart. So, over the last 23 years, we have kept a modest profile and done our best to be good neighbors and help where we can and kept the curtains drawn.

I think that surprising burst of emotion came in part from seeing the recent swelling of  national support for gay rights and equality, and the fact that so many more somebodies stood up and said no more, this is wrong, we have made a mistake, we have caused injustice. I was expecting change, but not certain it would be in my lifetime. And then to read in the SCOTUS Ruling that they recognized how this has been so hurtful to families and stigmatized children. NOT the homosexuality mind you…but the differentiation of CIVIL rights…

writing for the majority opinion, Kennedy notes,

“…The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the constitution protects…And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.  Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. “

What he said.

There’s more pavement to travel on this road to equality.
Pennsylvania was one of those states which couldn’t run fast enough to the capitol to pass a version of DOMA. And it’s not yet clear how the details will play out for those of us still living under such regimes. But we have the law on our side now, and a magnificent candidate now running for governor, Tom Wolf.

And we have the momentum.
As our dear friend Maureen reminded us in a note of support today,

In the words of Martin Luther King “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

As she left for the lake,
on her way out the studio kitchen door,
Pat paused and looked back
and asked, “will you marry me?”

Now, at last, I can say yes.

arent we aging well


The God of Spoons

Spoon Carvers Tea

I went searching on my website for the pic of this painting to use in today’s blog post and discovered that it had never been added to my portfolio. So I guess I was meant to read Peter’s Blog today, as I do most days actually. I need to be painting…NEED to be painting…but I wanted to quickly let you all know of a kickstarter campaign that he mentioned on his blog and it’s all about… Spoons !

Peter learned spooncarving from Wille, I learned spooncarving from Peter, and carving spoons is just about the most fun a person can have. So they want to make a movie about Wille, who is a national treasure in his home country of Sweden. And they need some money to do this and do this now as Wille is getting on in years. Basically you are pre-ordering the dvd and, as with all kickstarter campaigns, you don’t get charged unless they make their goal.

Here’s a pic for his AAC Feb 2011 magazine article which John O’Hern took of me carving a spoon on the studio porch…


And one of Peter a few years back carving a spoon on the log cabin porch…spoon-carver

So for all my woodworking pals out there…

Since it looks like Peter’s day is as chock full as mine I stole the following right off of his site rather than put it in my own words so you can read below…

and, even though I’m going to have to fight the overwhelming temptation to pick up a chunk of cherry and a knife… now I’ll get back to the easel.

From Peter…

There is now a kickstarter fundraising site set up to help get the film about Wille Sundqvist underway.



I’m in a rush right now (clean up shavings in the kitchen from last night’s spoons, help get the kids off to school, me to work, etc) – so I will write at length about this later. But let’s get it together to raise this money pronto. Shouldn’t be hard. When you get to watch this video, you will be amazed. Here’s a snippet from the kickstarter blurb

“The biggest risk this project is that Wille Sundqvist is 87 years old. He is getting tired of age but still he is working with craft everyday. Last week when I talked to Wille he said he was in good shape and that he was eager to start with recording the film in June. He told me he is refusing all orders just to make bowls and spoons for the most generous donors. This tells us how he looks upon his own status. But of course everything can happen with a man at his age.”

If you are leery of using kickstarter, you can send a check to Drew Langsner.

Make it out to:

Country Workshops – Sundqvist video project

990 Black Pine Ridge Road

Marshall, NC 28753

Happy Birthday…

to Herself !!!

This weekend we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the birth of this wonderful lady. There will be much partying and dancing and laughing and hugging and storytelling and more dancing. But then that pretty much describes every day with Miss Pat. Her spirit and spunk and giant heart are stronger for her 70 years of living but the smile behind those eyes still sparkles with youthful exuberance.

She makes every part of every day better and I am going to have to hold on tight as she leaps forward into this next decade.

You’ve got all my heart babe, consider yourself loved and

 Happy Birthday ! 


After removing a finished painting from the easel the other day I found this note hiding next to a well splattered photo of Herself…

Which made me take a closer look at what else is taped to my easel…

This one below is a bit obscured from a decade of wiping my brushes…”There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” from Leonard Cohen

And I love the extra notes reminding me to plant garlic in November and to do a painting of my spoon carving. Both of which I did.

And two favorite pics of our sweet second Berners, Gulliver, enjoying two spots she used to love on the Vineyard. She’s there at her post, by my side, watching me every day.

Just some of the things that inspire me… so what’s on your easel ?




A sunny crisp winter morning greets me here in the studio after a long quiet month of healing days. Slow and steady progress finds me able to negotiate the short commute across the lane to the studio yard and to catch up on the piles of paperwork and take short naps in the warming sunshine.

Now that the new body parts are settling in it is time to rouse the sleeping muses. It is a somewhat disconcerting phenomenon that the creative energy levels have been slow to resurface and I’m just going to have to try and trick those atrophied muscles back into gear. Perhaps just sitting in my easel chair will spark something. Or maybe aroma therapy ? sniffing an open jar of turpentine ?

Well, while my muses have been on vacation… some of my favorite artist friends have been working hard and I wanted to pass along news of these spectacular shows that are must sees…

Robert Jackson
Bob’s crazy quirky humor is on display in a group of stunning new works at the Gallery Henoch in NYC. This show was delayed due to flooding in the Chelsea Art District after Hurricane Sandy and it is winding up now but well worth a look to see the fun that his boxes have gotten up to lately.

Scott Fraser
Oh the pleasures of viewing new works by Scott. In a few days, Dec. 15, his solo show will open at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in SF. Below is a photo of the invitation which was slightly bruised in transit by the US postal system but it will provide a link for you to see more of the current work.

Michael Allen and JD Wissler
A study in… studies. These two friends have been part of a group of plein air artists who have spent hours and indeed years together out in the wilds of central Pennsylvania capturing the atmospheres on canvas. Their work has been featured in an article in the current issue of Plein Air Magazine.

My idle brushes are lifted to them all and with a bit more

New Works in Small Sizes

Gallery 1261 is about to open their Small Works show. It will be running from November 16th through December 31st…but I thought you might like a little preview…

A couple little sketches from the studio garden…

Green Bean Tea

Cadmium Harvest

And this one…Spent… which features Polly’s antique cigarettes and that ever faithful red pump…

I’ll be offline for a while…gotta go see a man about a new knee.
So, while I’m recovering…just talk amongst yourselves…and I’ll catch up with you just as soon as I’m able to manage the 50 ft. commute from log cabin to studio.

Stay frosty out there !

Small works in a big way…

All hail the return of civilized weather. When that first waft of cool air hit my lungs I all but fell to weeping. The edges of my soul were beginning to get crispy and my eyes felt like thickly glazed donuts.

With the earlier sunsets and the thin carpet of leaves, the studio is poised for a hiatus. We are once again returning to Martha’s Vineyard for an autumn sabbatical and an opportunity to work among the gulls and the waves in person.

But I haven’t been idle in the last few weeks. My brushes have been flying in pursuit of some smaller panels but no less meaningful gestures. I will shortly be loading the car to bring up new works to fill spaces on the walls at the Granary Gallery…and will be sending a parcel of new paintings out to Denver, to Gallery 1261, for their upcoming small works show in November.

Meanwhile, I thought I’d give you dear readers a sneak peek. Here, for your perusal, are the latest musings from the studio… I hope you will enjoy them with a fresh mug of  cider…or warm cup of tea.