Saturday, May 12, 2012


For friends who have followed this blog,  I am sorry for just dropping off line these past weeks.  Very little painting.  I have been extremely busy with social and financial obligations, and with my ancient left knee.  Some years back I suffered a football injury then referred to as "the terrible triad".  Simply put, I wrecked the knee.  I had it surgically repaired 30 years ago and it held up well through flag football, softball, tennis, and many other activities for about 29 years since then.  Today it is swollen, sore, and occasionally making whining noises.  On the 21st, I am going to release it from it's misery, and bring in a new metallic replacement.  Wish me luck!  If all goes well, I may be back sometime in June.  You have fun!    Mike

Monday, April 30, 2012

Golden field

                                                   8"x10" Oil on linen panel
                                                 Click here to bid on this painting

I just returned from a week in Nashville Tenn.  Got to meet and paint with Anne Blair Brown, an artist I admire, in a three day workshop setting.  Just what I needed to get my art juices flowing again..   Anne is very likable and fun to be with. Got to be around a lot of other artists, who were also nice people.  The area is replete with beautiful scenery and varied painting subjects, and I can't wait to go back again for a week or two, possibly in the fall.  The little sketch above is one I did of a field almost covered with small yellow flowers.  I did about six paintings, with decent results, but the last, a larger work from inside a barn looking out into the bright sunlight would have been the best.  Unfortunately when I pulled it from my wet canvas carrier later, it slipped, scraped down across another painting, and was badly damaged.  Had so much fun that week, it hardly upset me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Today, I am starting a series of quick sketches in pastel and watercolor, similar to a couple I posted some while back.  This spring was a riot of color in my home area, trees and shrubs blossomed early.  The weather has been erratic, to say the least.  When I lived full time in California, I marveled at the fact that weather men and women were actually paid to say " fair skies, no precipitation" for six or seven months at a time.  Here, my heart goes out to the brave souls who do the meteorological equivalent of  predicting Kim K's next husband.  Well, enough about art.  Mike

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yellow house in Landrum

12"x16" Oil on linen panel

I  think I've finally finished a keeper.  I actually blocked in this work some time ago while painting in South Carolina with my friend Jane.  It is a nice old house overlooking a public park there, and we were having a great day complete with lunch out in a good restaurant.   Didn't finish the painting and thought I might wipe it off.  Now I"m glad I didn't.  I am over my slump in a way.  I finished another painting Saturday and sold it at a paint out that day, then came home and realized I had not photographed it!  Not the first time.  I never said I was smart.   Mike 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Absence explanation

Just in case anyone is still following this narrative, I thought I should make an effort to explain the lack of art on this "art works " blog.  I'll try.  I have done everything in the last couple of weeks but produce art.  I have seven paintings in process, but none finished.  I finished two small ones, but they were terrible and were scraped off, to provide nice working surfaces for art that will, hopefully, be keepers.   In the old days, eons ago, I'd have plugged away and eventually turned it around; now I just put off working and do something else,   Will the election propaganda calls never end!!!!     Mike

Monday, April 16, 2012

Last gasp

                                                      9"x12" Oil on linen panel

This is the last picture I have in my existing photo base.   I am going to shoot some of my recent paintings when I can find a little time.  The above small work was done (as usual) with my Cal Wednesday group on a day when there was a lot of mustard in the distance.  As I am sometimes wont to do, I spread it even more with my brush.  What I remember most about that day is a line of fence posts near me with a large San Simeon buzzard perched atop each one, motionless, with wings outspread.  The sight was a little awe inspiring.  It gave the appearance of a Roman legion approaching with banners uplifted.  More soon, I hope.   Mike

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just talk

This past week I encountered a problem with my air conditioner/heating unit.  It started blowing cold air when it was actually turned off.  This coincided with the return of freezing weather to my neck of the woods. Unfortunately the problem was intermittent, and only occurred  when the repairman was not present.  Eventually, after three days of frustration, the problem and the repairman were both present at the same time and it was resolved.  Yeech!!!  Hope all is well with everyone else.  Maybe I will paint tomorrow.    Mike

Monday, April 9, 2012

Study for Pat

                                                    12"x16" Oil on linen
                                                          Gift to friend                              
I frequently use small  paintings I have done on location  to scale up for for larger studio works.   This was the case with this one.   The larger version was posted some time ago in this blog.   I did this one on a beautiful spring day about two years ago.   A good friend saw and admired it a while back, and since she and her husband are warm, unselfish, people, who helped me a lot when I first moved into their community, I happily gave it to her.  Actually, I say happily, but I wish I were a better artist so I could have given a better painting.  Heading out to paint now, have a good day!            Mike

Friday, April 6, 2012

Just talk

Another fill in "talk" post with no art displayed.  I should have one or two more works to post in the next few days.  Again,  I want to thank all those who have sent such nice comments to me over the last months.  Most have come from other artists and they are really appreciated.  Artists, in my experience are good people.   In  all these years, I have only encountered one fairly well known artist who is almost universarilly disliked, indeed detested.  I won't provide his name.  (Providing a little interest in this post, hopefully, and also avoiding a lawsuit or worse.)     Hee Hee!         Mike

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


                                                     8"x10" Oil on linen panel

This is a small quick sketch done in the California spring, when mustard plant began to cover the landscape.  It was the second of two small paintings I did that day.  I believe it was another attempt on my part to experiment with landscape color aside from green.  If I ever write a book, I'm going to title it  " If it weren't for green-I'd be famous".  ( Richard Schmid, who was already famous, thought of  "Do you think it's too green?", so I can't use that).  Today's painting wasn't too bad, might post it later.         Mike

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just talk

I've been in a slump, three straight scrape offs!   I took a couple of days away from my studio, but I have commitments and I have to produce or else.  As I constantly declare, art is mostly fun for me, but it hasn't been much fun lately.  Back to the treadmill.    Mike

Saturday, March 31, 2012


                                     11"x14"  Oil on linen
                                        Gift to friend

This was painted many years ago in California, When I was just starting.   A friend and I were trying to paint like the impressionists.  This was my effort.   Looking at it today, my first thought was that I produced a painting that could only have been done by an impressionist who had had a little too much wine before starting.  I, on the other hand, had only coffee that day.   Doesn't figure!    My friend scraped his off later.   I should have, but kept mine, thinking I might work on it a little later.  The Mother of one my best friends saw it, liked it, and offered to adopt it, so I gave it to her. Today, the barn is gone, but the old house has been refurbished and looks better than ever.   Maybe I should get refurbished!                      Mike

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Read Carol Marine's blog yesterday announcing her decision to take a break from her studio for a while.  I totally understand.  She has so many balls in the air I wondered how long she would keep juggling!  Her schedule would kill me.  I am much older and have worked hard in my day, but now I goof off a lot.  And I like it!  It.s a beautiful cloudless day today.  I think I'll go flying.     Mike

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cambria Fishermen

                                                    16"x20" Oil on linen

Way back when I first got my blog going, I posted a painting of Leffingwell Landing, a beautiful promontory  jutting out into the Pacific ocean in Cambria, California.  I also noted that the local Chumash indians used to drag whales up onto the little cove beach there.  This is that cove beach.  Those are not indians, however.The fisherman are all members of the Cambria fishing club, and they were not intending to pursue whales that day.  They were actually practicing means of finding the beach in the event of a sudden onset of the dense fog that occasionally appears in that area, using police whistles and auditory signals.  The gentleman at the bow was my neighbor when I lived there.  Sigh!  I did a little 4"x5" sketch and took photos, then scaled it up in my  studio later.                            Mike

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Remembering spring

                                                         8"x10" Oil on linen panel

I selected this this little painting of a fully leaved (Is that a word?) tree to renew my hope that winter is indeed over.  This past has been an unusually benign season.   I attribute this, as mentioned in a previous blog, to the purchase of a powerful snow blower my me and a couple of my neighbors.   As I have grown older, I am more and more inclined to paint in my comfortable studio than to saddle up and drag my gear outdoors.  Not this spring, I vow!   Today, I am heading out to catch some of the trees bursting with color in my  home town.                                                      Wish me luck!                                                                                Mike

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just talk

Well, I've recovered from yesterday's debacle.   I'm going to do this one blog, and then tomorrow I am going to paint.  Ever since I returned from my California sojourn, I have been buried in various chores that keep me away from my easel.  Many of them are the result of  my believing I am starting something that I can do in a half hour, only to find that I was much too optimistic.   As those of you who actually read my misadventures have learned, I  usually run into those problems when I'm on this wonderful machine that is supposed to ease my burdens.  Two more short sentences and I may make it this time.    Made it!!!                    Mike

Monday, March 19, 2012


                                                   16"by20"   Oil on linen
                                  Swapped with fellow artist
A larger version of a subject I posted a few months ago ("Just a memory" Mar 3).   The title refers to the herd of Banded Galloway cattle in front of the barn, whose unique coloring is hard to believe..   As I noted in the earlier post, the buildings have since been demolished and the cattle removed.  This painting was done in my studio from earlier sketches.  Today has not been a good day.  Both of my computers have conspired to drive me crazy!  One has unwanted security windows popping up constantly, slowing me  and frustrating me.   The other changes fonts for no apparent reason, and all different from the one on the blog itself.  (Note the 16"x20" Oil on linen painting size above).  It's the same font and size on my worksheet, but different here.   Why?   I am a rotten typist on top of everything else.  AARRGGHH!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Old house in Marshall NC

                                                  9"x12"  Oil on linen panel 
                                                Click here to bid on this painting

This is the second painting I did last Saturday on my outing with two friends.  Hope someone likes it!   Next weekend I hope to drive up to that area and do a few more.   Weather here has been wonderful.   From now until the end of  May is when I should do many of my outdoor works because when hot, humid days arrive I revert to being a studio painter.  Eventually, September comes around again, I get my french easel out and Voila! I'm a Plein air artist again.        Mike

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just talk

Today, I'm going to be working on my new computer, trying to persuade it to play along with some of my older applications.   Those of you knowledgeable ones out there understand and I hope, sympathize.  Tomorrow I'll post another of my few remaining photos of my art.  Oh! How I wish I had taken shots of more of my paintings.   I am shortly going to resort to once a week postings or start doing more reflections, anecdotes, and humor.   Very very shortly!     " To be- or not to be----".                                          Mike

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Farm sheds and junk

                                                     9"x12" Oil on linen panel
                                                 Click here to bid on this painting

Had a great Saturday painting outing with a couple of  fellow WNCPAP  members.  It was about 55-60 degrees, sunny, no wind, and not a cloud in the sky.   Perfect.   I did a couple of small paintings, the one above and another I'll post at a later date.  We painted in a beautiful little town called Marshall.  It is having economic problems, like the rest of the country, indeed the world, but I have hopes for it.  It looks exactly the way a small town should look, and I intend to visit again before the end of this month.  Below is a photo of me  sitting with three members of the group.   Linda and Peggy who were my companions Saturday, and Kelly, who did not make it that day.                                          Mike

Monday, March 12, 2012

Old Barn on Santa Rosa Creek road

                                                     16"x20" Oil on Linen

Another barn from a California paintout.   The farmer was trimming scrub oak with a chain saw ( I feel guilty sometimes when I'm out happily painting and some farmer is working hard right around me! ).  He enjoyed seeing the painting, especially when I included him in it.  The thing I remember most about that day, though was the sight of a huge eucalyptus tree lying flat about 50 yards behind my setup spot.   It had obviously fallen a long time ago, because three other fairly large trees were growing vertically out of it's trunk!   I've never seen that before or since.  Strange!                                                      Mike

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just talk, March 5

I am writing this on a computer at my local library.   My 12 year old desktop (that's about 90 in human years) finally decided to cash in it's chips.  I have everything backed up, sort of, ---my backup drive somehow saved every thing in a file format the computer that did the backup refuses to recognize.  I'll be shopping for a new machine and then setting it up for about a week, I guess.  Expect me back then.   Wish me luck!       Mike  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Just talk

Lately I've been neglecting getting available paintings up for auction.   Today, I'm going to dig through my smaller stuff and see what I can find.  I want to thank all you nice people who have corresponded with me about my art and blog.   I think I have responded to those who enabled a response, but if I have missed someone, it's only because half the time I'm not sure what I'm doing on "comments", so forgive me.   Mike

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a memory

                                                  12"x16" Oil on linen panel

I set up to paint this scene a while back with one of my NC friends.   There were actually quite a few cows wandering around at the time.   A few minutes after we started, however, cattle trucks pulled up and started in loading the cattle.  I talked to the gentleman in charge and he told me the property had been sold, the cattle were being removed and the structures demolished.   He spoke truthfully.   I returned a month or so later and all that was left was a pile of debris.   Life goes on.      Mike

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pastel experiment

9"x12" Water and pastel

Earlier in my blog I posted a modernistic peach tree executed in pastel and watercolor.    This is a second effort in the same manner.   I was simply playing around with pastel and water and did this out of my head.   Good heavens!  Imagine what it looks like in there!  Anyway, for those of you who haven't seen a jacaranda tree, they actually are as perple (perple?) purple as the one in my art.   This work is owned by my math genius friend, Stanley.  Everyone should have a friend like him, keeps you desperately teetering on your toes.    Mike

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 I have talked quite a bit about my California painting group, so I should devote some time to the North Carolina group of which I am now a signature member.   The "Western North Carolina Plein Air Painters" is composed of oil and pastel artists living in the proximity of Asheville NC.   At this time there is no regularly scheduled meeting or painting days.   We have a problem of members spread out over a fairly wide geographical area.   This spring (Hurry! Hurry!) I am hoping we will increase the frequency of our paintouts.   Below is a photo of a few of the group during a lunch break at a place called "Hickory farms".   The lady with the sun hat sitting to the left is Peggy Taylor, who is president, prime mover, chief cook and bottlewasher, the glue that holds the group together.  Without her, we would be lost.       Mike

Monday, February 27, 2012

Early morn, Morro Bay

                                             9"x12" Oil on linen panel

On the morning that I painted this scene, the fog that had blanketed the area every day for a week was not in evidence.   My friends and I fully expected it to come rolling in at any minute and deliberated whether or not to make the attempt.  We finally decided to start, but I put aside a larger canvas for the smaller one here and started sloshing on paint.  Turned out, as you can see, to be a beautiful sunny day.  It was a nice feeling to have the Weather God smile on us for a change.   The previous inland paint out was hampered by Santana winds, which are warm winds coming from the desert in a real hurry!   I wish I had a video of the umbrellas, canvases, and artists racing across the fields!   It was hilarious.  My work flopped face down near a farm wagon in dried horse droppings.  I picked it up, waited about a week, and just brushed it off.   No problem.  It had a certain air about it, but it eventually sold.   I'll show it soon, perhaps,         Mike