Got a letter the other day…

Ex Libris

From the Follansbee…

telling me the website was dark.

Three days of inquiries later…she’s back up and running.

Apologies to anyone out there,
at least one of you is out there,in case you were looking to for some artwork to browse through while sipping that steaming mug of tea.

Another snowstorm is collecting energy in the wings and poised to bounce around the east coast for the next couple days. They want a blizzard on the Vineyard, already see that high tides have flooded major roads there so stay home you islanders !

Around here they want a modest 8+ inches which, as I look out of the studio windows now almost three weeks after our blizzard, would just about double what is currently left and clinging to our little patch of the planet.

The muses have been particularly pushy this week and, after fighting and fussing and generally whining Herself’s ears off…I have given in and changed course.

I threw out days of work and dozens of sketches and notes and am following their lead. They are tapping into a deeper place in my soul and, now that I’ve stopped fighting, I feel the energy shifting.

Did I need this website glitch right now ?
Maybe I just needed to check in with my external guides…you all.
So, the spinach pie has cooled while I’ve been writing,
and after a quick lunch,
and a check to see where the snow shovels ended up after the last storm,
I get to head back to work.

but holding on tight.
Be safe out there my friends.

The Reveal…

The Presentation

As I write this, on the coldest night of this snowiest winter, this little creek is frozen solid.
It flows just a few feet from our log cabin front porch
and all that magnificent autumn color has settled onto the forest floor.
The rods and reels, vest and fly boxes, weathered wicker creel and landing net,
which my brushes spent hours studying and rendering, have all been packed up
along with the finished painting, and sent north to the gallery.
Now I wait.
For this painting was a commission.
The fisherman found his way to my work, and told me his story.

Then, with a hearty hug and a healthy dose of trust, he said goodbye to his gear
and we dodged the vineyard raindrops, loaded it all up and drove back here to the studio.
I love to do commissions because,
beyond the familiar draw that compels me to the subjects I choose to paint,
there is the lure of listening for someone else’s connection to an object or a place.
For this project, there was the added challenge,
even though I live a pebbles’ throw from this creek,
of not ever having been a fly fisherman.
But, after painting every tiny hair on all those flies I can honestly say…
I am thoroughly… hooked.

This fisherman has requested to see no image of the work
until he can stand in person before it.
I can only hope that I have captured a hint of the grace,
of the peaceful sport and of the gentle man.
For tonight, I write these notes, while I await …
the The Presentation.

 And yesterday, at the gallery…


And this morning, the creek which modeled for the painting last fall was displaying another kind of beauty…


Final three…and a brand new painting !


2012 – Trinity

Painter’s Notes – click here

Vive la France

The Smock

2013 – The Smock

Painter’s Notes – click here

Our little pip.

The Muse

2014 – The Muse

Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since this twinkle faded. He’s just over my shoulder now, with every brushstroke.

And one more…


Whitewashed – 24 x 16.5

This dear little spring house is on the farm just at the top of the hill. I’ve been meaning to paint it for 25 years. Finally got around to it.

OK that’s it. NOW back to the easel for me. Stay safe all you east coasters…there’s a mighty storm brewing. Great painting weather !!!!!


Settling into Peace


It’s not quite this white outside my studio window, but the valley is peaceful and the tracks are there, we just can’t see them right now.

New paintings are varnished and Herself delivered them to the amazing John Corcoran, he won’t mind me showing off his new website… click here . He will do his magic, as he does with every one of my paintings, and make a digital record before it heads back here for framing and then off to the designated gallery, or patron.

The early morning studio delivery wagon has just pulled out of the drive with the final tubes and boxes from our winter workshop.

The teakettle is rattling on its way to boil for the first thermos of darjeeling of the day.

A brand new panel is up on the easel, with sketch ready to transfer. Palette ready for some fresh new paints. Curtain pulled back and the view in the painting above is what I have beside me, and all I need is before me.

An email has just come in from Peggy, her thought for today for the artiste,

“Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view.” Paul Klee

It certainly feels like a holiday here, the spirits of solstice are sparkling and the view is open to change.

Back to the easel now for me…YEAH !!!!!!


One more day, or perhaps two, and I’ll be finished with the latest commission.I have spent the last few weeks immersed, I wonder if baptized would be a better word, in the, previously unfamiliar, world of Fly Fishing. Every part of this adventure has been exciting to the senses. Meeting the fisherman, listening to his stories, getting acquainted with the gear, watching Tom Skerritt cast his protestant philosophy in A River Runs Through It, and sitting on the carpet of autumn leaves along the bank of my own Little Conewago Creek and listening.

I’ve had one half of the studio blocked off with the set up and I’m ready now to pack that up and let go of the still part of the term “Still Life” and tease out the last bit of magic I have been waiting to add.

Since this is a commission, that fisherman gets the first peek. But stay tuned, I am eager to share the rest of the story.

For today, here’s a look back on one of my first and favorite commissions, from the doorway in my old treetop studio, which still stands along the creek’s bank, treasures from Walt and Lin’s family and a dusting of mother nature as muse…



Painters’ Notes …

Outward Bound

I can’t imagine a Pennsylvania winter without snow.
The howling winds of a Nor’easter. Ice freezing a path across the lake.
Fields covered in white with their stubble of corn stalks stitching their way over the hills
to the horizon. Wood smoke from chimneys on distant farms. Animal tracks crisply outlined in blue white frosty morning crystal. And a shockingly peaceful quiet in the air.

But here we are. The warmest February to date.
Not enough snow so far this fickle season to take a broom to.
In my studio, leaning against a bookshelf, are the snowshoes that Walt’s father was given
in exchange for a country healing. The wooden skies and boots that Lin and the boys have worn thin,
and a leather strap of sleigh bells which now ring their history proudly each time I open the blue door.

So it was that the other morning, when I finally opened my eyes and the good dog Gulliver
nuzzled my arm awake and I managed to put on the layers of clothing in the same order in which they
had been discarded the night before, and, we two, the pup and myself, came to the cabin door…
and the wind actually blew a stinging swirl of snow in our faces…

that I began again to believe.

It only lasted a few hours.Long enough for the snow to build up on the intricate laces of the snow shoes.
For the winter light to reflect its solemn rainbow across the skies…

and for just a touch of warmer light
to remind me that this collection of objects
represents the folding in of two branches
of a great family tree
in testimony to their respect
for nature and heritage.

More snow on the way…

James Pond

Just for a few hours
I’d really like to sit on the porch
with my feet up
and almost all of the 15 layers of thermal woolen wear
laying in a pile to my right
and my snow shovel tossed into the weeds nearby
and feel the sun on my face
and have every joint in my hands be…not cold
and just listen to the birds
and the water lapping
on this shore…

pretty please.



The Art Game

There has been a facebook campaign of late to flood the social networking space with art. So far I have been a lurker, learning of some new artists and revisiting some old friends…but yesterday An artist friend of particular note, Michael Allen…

check out his work here…

convinced me to play along and assigned to me the artist Rogier van der Weyden.

So, after a morning of playing in the latest snow storm with Zoe, here is my chosen entry, The Magdalena Reading…

herself reading

because it reminds me, of course, of Herself doing the same…Drifting1

although today,
instead of sitting at the old ironing board
while the snow piles up on the log cabin roof
she is most probably making forts and playing with legos…
Happy Studio Snow Day to all…


too cold to prep…

awoke to a snowy commute to the studio…

we have been off the snow storm track for the first part of this winter so all those marvelous nor’easters are blowing right by and leaving six or seven flakes on the ground just to tease…

today… an inch !

I’ve begun the serious work of narrowing down the best compositions for the winter’s hibernation. The list…the short list…is over 30 paintings. When I count out the weeks, the days, between now and the big summer show at the Granary Gallery… July 17th for those who might wish to know… the realist in me, no pun intended, might anticipate 12-15 solid pieces, one of which will be another very detailed 8 footer. So… the pressure is on !

With my supply of ready-to-go panels dwindling I can’t wait for the weather to warm up before putting some more in the pipeline. The newly roofed garage is cleared out enough to provide ample workspace and though it is not insulated or heated the space heater and afternoon sunshine warm it up enough to work. At least that was the case until this morning.

The snow means no sun and the temps are well below freezing. Even though I keep the adhesive next to an iron and use said iron to smooth and secure the canvas to the panels…and even though I have Finnegan laying at my feet and the Koln Concert vibes warming up the rest of the garage…it was too cold for this artiste. I got one more panel wrapped and fled to the warmer studio.

A couple weeks ago I finished a painting which featured this compost pile…and uncharacteristically I’ve gone back a couple times since to tweak the light and shadows…not quite satisfied that it was singing.

Yesterday morning…as Finnegan and I made our way to work through the back gate… I passed the compost pile…


and  just that little bit of snow, almost an inch ! ,  gave a place for the raking light to…well…rake. I’m going to go back one more time…with today’s snow falling outside and the fingers warming up…and see if the muses were right.

Stay tuned.

Snow Rescue Package…

has arrived !!!

And just in the nick of time…

The winds outside the studio are howling with our third blizzard of the winter. This one is a much more serious storm for our friends to the north and I have yet to hear from the stalwart islanders who are in the path of the gale force winds…but one of them has managed to send along some fortification for our own storm weary selves…

Leave it to Wendy and James to know exactly what would perk up our spirits… Chilmark Chocolates !!!!

For those of you who have never had this treat…there is a little farmhouse in the town of Chilmark on the island of Martha’s Vineyard…and in back of that farmhouse is a little shack…and inside of that shack are a team of chocolatiers who have overcome some of lifes more difficult challenges and have found meaningful work blending and dipping and creating the most delicious candy on the planet.

If you have been there then you are familiar with the crowded dance in the tiny parking lot and the streams of visitors who wait their turn in front of the long case to choose and point and watch as the staff fill tiny dark brown fluted paper cups with the sweet delicacies. I expect that on a snowy february day there is not much of a wait…but the thoughtful effort to procure these boxes and send them south to us in the depths of winter….is nothing short of spectacular.

Pat would not let me show her face in the photo but I can attest to the smile from ear to ear…with a tiny little dab of chocolate at the curl on one side.

A great shout out of thanks to you both.  Brilliant !

Here’s a look at what Wendy is doing when she’s not playing an elf and is in her Vineyard studio…and when James gets a web site up and running I’ll pass along the link to his own amazing artwork…

And though they don’t have a web site…here’s a link to a very old NYTimes article on the startup of Chilmark Chocolates…  Click Here