The Great Potato Planting of ’21 Leave a comment

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood
And yesterday I did.
We aim for St. Pat’s Day as Potato Planting day. . . but every day around here is Pat’s day and today most especially as it is Herself’s BIRTHDAY !!! And since this is a journal entry about the garden this photo of the Eggplant Whisperer is most appropriate to celebrate her new found gardening prowess…
Well on their way to a parmesaned casserole near her soon. Meanwhile in the studio nursery, we had around 50 lbs of seed potatoes chitting out for the last week. They arrived from The Maine Potato Lady the week before, and every available square inch of the studio was lined with boxes and dedicated lamps to aid in their preparation for planting. Then out to the wheelbarrow they came . . .
Box the First.
Raking back Ruth
Next step was to rake back the matte of hay which had been snug and cozy under a heavy blanket of snow in the Ruth Stout Bed all winter. Exposing the rich organic matter underneath I am beginning to realize the work that our soil bound friends have been doing. . . or is that chewing . . . for the last few years. All that organic matter is building a substrate of nutrient rich medium for the veg and makes for easy planting.
Rake it back.
Toss on the spuds
Round the corner and up the back leg.
Then cover ’em back up with fresh hay.
And that’s job done. Turning around you can get a peak of the RS annex which was added last fall.
The ground underneath that section, which only 5 months ago was the grass you see to the left in this pic, is still in transition. Covered with cardboard, a few inches of mulched leaves, and then a foot of loose hay. . .the grasses and weeds beneath are a muddy slick and, judging by past experience, will be for some time. So, the plan is for straw bales to provide some growing area this season and then the decomposing bales can be strewn in the fall to add another layer of goodness. By next year this section should be plantable. The squash tower in the distance straddles those bales and two extra ones on the other side. Last year this method proved successful so we’ll try again. The skinnier Pea Tower to the left got a boost of some compost added to the two rows on either side. Something for the Peas to ease into before having to contend with the hay. Today’s rain is sealing the deal and gives the gardeners a chance to rest up. So here’s to the wonders of the burgeoning Spring. . . And celebrating the most wonderful Pat Lackey. . .
Happy Birthday My Love,

The Tempest

It is late here in the studio. Dark and stormy. Outside and Inside our country.

We are in the throes Ross and I of rebuilding my website.

My job is to load all of the paintings up on to the site.

Every single one.

This major review is forcing me to take a long deep dive into my past.

Both creatively and historically.

I just came upon this painting and paused.

Prescient as in 2017 we were fully engaged in the tempest.

Not knowing where the storm would throw our boat. As the seas were building.

Tonight there is a light on the horizon.

But the monsters have been unleashed.

Be safe dear ones. And hold on tight.

These were the words I chose for the original Painter’s Notes…

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door !”

From Emma Lazarus… The New Colossus… on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty



Tea with The Prophet

Tea with The Prophet  –  16 x 20

In a year of fundamental and existential shifts
one of the most profoundly traumatic and transformative
was the untimely passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a year when not a day went by without weeping that day,
we heard the news, was truly the nadir among all the trials and sorrows.
A test from the Stoic Gods at war with the Muses.

Tribute upon tribute recorded her legacy as a “Prophet of Justice”.
That was a fine place to begin.

The hand painted teacup is among my finest
Her two gilded handles…the scales
The stalwart facade of the wooden bench
flanked by a single marble column…on the left
Iron clad lace trimming a plain muslin cloth
and the beaded stars heavenly hung in dissent
and wisps of whimsy trailing notes of the sublime

Dearest Prophet…may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Tempest in a Teacup

Tempest in a Teacup  – 12 x 13  Available at the Granary Gallery

Shivering here in the studio
the winter winds are swirling about
and a storm is brewing just over the horizon…

in a teacup ?

There is nothing that makes me happier than a monster snow storm in the forecast.
So, as  I prepare to batten down the hatches for the Nor’easter predicted to hit us soon..
I’ve created a tiny video for you to get a closer look at this temped tossed teacup…stay safe and SHOVELS UP !!!


All those damned Teaspoons

All those damned Teaspoons  –  18 x 26  Available at the Granary Gallery

I have Pete Seeger to thank for this one…and for his lifetime of advocacy and good trouble.

The aging hippie that I am was raised on ’60’s folk music
It runs through my veins and wallows around in my soul
While my fingers can still strum it plays out on my guitar

The aging artist that I am is informed by those chords
And accompanies those rhythms tapping brushes on teacups

Among the many tributes to Pete upon his passing to that big sing along in the sky
were many references to his activism. Lending his powerful musical voice to social, political and environmental justice inspired many a generation.

But this particular parable…inspired my Muses…

Parable of the Teaspoon Brigade

Imagine that there’s a big seesaw. At one end of it is a basket half full of rocks. That end is on the ground.

At the other end is a basket one-quarter full of sand. And a bunch of us with teaspoons, we’re trying to put sand in that end.

A lot of people laugh at us, they say

“Oh, don’t you see, it’s leaking out as fast as you’re putting it in.”

Well, we say, “It’s leaking out, but we’re getting more people with teaspoons all the time. One of these days, you’re gonna see that whole basket with sand so full that this seesaw is going to go zoooom-up in the other direction.”

And people will say, “Gee, how did it happen so quickly?”

Us and our damned little teaspoons.  

I don’t remember where I lifted this from but it has been carried over from one sketchbook to another and another for years until…

the Muses decided it was time
the silver topped stick was Ted’s
the well worn cane came by way of my great grandfather
the teaspoons sat in Jane’s shop
the teacups from my shelves…
the magic
the determination
the hope and the joy…
that’s all Pete…
will you grab a teaspoon
and join us ?

Feathered Harvest

Feathered Harvest  –  18 x 24  Available at the Granary Gallery

As we walk softly into these longest nights of the season
my heart skips lightly back
to the remembered warmth
of a late summer day
when there were just enough
ripened green beans
to make a supper’s serving
for two.

Last of the Season

Last of the Season  –  12 x 18  Available at Gallery 1261 in Denver

I have a few NEW PAINTINGS to begin posting…the one above has headed out to Gallery 1261 in Denver.

But it reminded me of today since I spent the morning making an addition to the Ruth Stout bed.

It is mostly Matt’s fault because he keeps texting me about how well his “undercover” veg are doing and because he is my go to garden buddy. It’s so nice to throw ideas and new gurus back and forth and he is a witty soul who takes his garden very seriously.

Here are the rapid fire pics of the process begun early this frosty morning…

A chance to finally use all the cardboard I have been saving for the entire year.

Even threw in the Quarantine Box…awe Finn

Then it was time to haul all the leaves I had corralled into a bin on the other side of the yard.

I filled the spaces in with the stash of Vineyard Gazettes…minus the crossword puzzles.
It was heart wrenching to track the Covid headlines as the island has joined the nation with the out of control surge heading into the winter. These aren’t in order but they give you an idea…

Herself arrived in time to lend a hand and it took two bales of hay to cover the new 11 x 14 foot annex. The Ruth Stout bed now boast 960 sq feet of gardening space.

So, as I feature the “Last of the Season” it feels good to be laying the foundation for the season yet to come. May we all stay safe and healthy to be here to enjoy it.

Mask UP people and I mean it.


A much needed rainy day here in the studio affords me an equally much needed rest.

The last few days of summer like weather nudged me outside to put the garden to bed and my body is respondingly sore…but my soul…that is very very much alive.

Heavy sweaty work of raking and mulching the mountains of leaves felt as cathartic as counting up all those votes here in the great state of Pennsylvania. I danced some righteously happy jigs while tossing the hay all over the Ruth Stout garden. The crows, bluejays, wrens and one shy bunny all raised their voices in joyous song while I dug up the last of the late season potatoes.

The winds of change have indeed shifted and for me, it happened in a flash. Just like that, ding dong…the weight lifted, the doors flew open wide…and there was spontaneous partying in the streets all across the land. It reminded me of the sublime enthusiasm that Skip had while directing her swan song.

The Muses are vibrating with this newfound energy and I’m listening.

First order of business is to clean up this website. It is almost 20 years old now and since we are on about the business of clearing out cobwebs I’ve signed on  to update and upgrade and give it a general overhaul.

We will be working throughout the next couple months with most of the tweaking being done behind the scenes and under the hood…or so Ross tells me. (More on his new company and adventures to come.)

Along with some design changes I will be using this opportunity to reorganize the Print section of my site. The time is upon us to make good on what I had promised to do this time last year…raise the prices on the prints. The material and shipping costs have increased even more so we have settled on $295 as the new charge for the 17 x 22 sized prints.

I’m announcing that now because, like I did last year before the holidays, it will give those who are interested an opportunity to purchase prints at the current $195 until the NEW website goes live early next year. Shipping will continue to be FREE.

A total revamp project like this signals to the Muses that I am ready to rock and roll.

Uncharacteristically…and quite surprisingly…I have absolutely no idea what I will paint next.
Which feels just right.
Herself told me she’s not the least bit worried about that.

So there you go.

I’ll bring you along for the ride…
let’s see where this train takes us !