When I decided, back at the turn of the century, to try and realize my life’s goal of making painting my “fulltime job”, I thought it would be important to keep a record of the artwork. I kept track of my studio time and recorded the total hours I spent working on each painting.


Somewhere along the way I dropped the time records but I’ve kept up with the list. It is somewhat of a ritual to open the big book and note the completion of each painting, and it feels good to look back and see tangible signs of accomplishment.

I also have been keeping a running tally of the total number of paintings. I’ve been creeping up on a big milestone, #300, and the other day I went back to count and see which painting would receive that distinction…


It came as no surprise that the muses had led me to this…

Thats how the light gets in

The autobiographical sum of all of the 299 previous works, this painting shines a light on my soul and is a true milestone.

As I write this, Diana Nyad is 2 miles away from realizing HER life’s goal. I raise my brushes to her…and in the words of my other hero, Nemo…
just keep swimming…
just keep swimming.

That’s how the light gets in…

That’s how the light gets in – 24″ x 30″

Thats how the light gets in

This painting began with the title, a line from the wonderful Leonard Cohen song, Anthem whose chorus goes like this…

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

And it was taped to my easel for over a year. Now, everything on, or pretty much near, my easel eventually becomes a wiping surface for my brushes. After that much time the tattered notation was almost completely obscured by paint. But still, it and all the other quotations that surround me there are doing their job.

They are there to nudge, and in some cases to shove, my fears and doubts and ego and shaky confidence all aside. There are notes of encouragement, interesting thoughts that I lifted from the books I listen to while working, reminders when to plant garlic, and, like this one, words or phrases that I thought would be good painting titles that need time to percolate.

In addition to the notes, I have a support system of talismans. Objects that are touchstones to people and memories that have had profound influences on my creative journey. The ones featured in this painting include the well worn denim shirt, on the back of which is embroidered the cartoon character of Ziggy hand sewn for me by my very first patron, Stephanie, whose never wavering support began in our high school days.

And there is the also well worn railroad hat from my beloved Pops, Fred Decker. There’s a great photo of him wearing that hat, which is taped to the shelf behind my easel chair, wherein he is sitting next to my grandmother Mima, on the sofa in Craley, being mischievous together before they became leaders in my pack of guardian angels .

The old niblick, wooden golf putter, has been re-serviced as my mahl stick, holding up my favorite teacup is the beach stone which was handed to me by Mr. Morse and which echoes the deep connection to those Vineyard shores… and, most importantly,  looking down from above is the photograph of Herself taken on the bluff in Chilmark where our hearts were joined.

The window to the left provides the light that I need to see the panels, but the true light, the authentic self which I am constantly seeking, shine back at me from these precious objects.