Monday, January 31, 2011


The big hubub today is the looming winter storm ready to ice and dump on the Midwest with the fury of Zeus, Thor and the American middle class public. Tim called to leave early since he woke up today  earlier than usual. Stiff neck or not let's go painting today. Okay,what time I chimed in? Nine and breakfast first. Ohhhh, I know it's my turn to buy. OK,breakfast but I have to drop off bills at P.O. We'll do that after. So we head for the Track's end and have the usual. I'm not going into that because it's good and still about the usual. So we head down town and run by the P.O. Incidentally we had breakfast next to guess who? George Washington. No turkey feathers!!! Tim knows this guy. He worked at Lockheed Boeing and now is retired n Peru. We strike up a conversation and in the back of my mind I am fighting the urge to ask him. Did you? Yo know the cherry tee. But I don't it would be so 6th grade. George Washington, I felt like saluting the guy. 
We are looking for a place to paint and I suggest East 8th St. as there is a place there with an old garage and some other buildings. It's  neat with the shadows and all. Tim heads for 8th St. As he is driving I am saying there, how about there...over there...Tim still is driving. Turn around let's go back that old house looks like a possibility. He does. Surprise. He parks and we start to set up. The wind is picking up as I can feel the car move with the gusts. No, that is Tim scrubbing in a base pastel layer with his palm. Hey, your'e going to have to hold that down. I'm trying to draw lines back here for the buildings and there all over the place. He smiles. Okay, I start  and I'm thinking of a guys work I saw a week ago which I really liked so I am thinking in basic forms like blocks or Monopoly houses you now those little green ones. I'm looking at the buildings and the light is from he left but it is not a clear light like Tuscon as the sky is overcast somewhat. 

With the Big Storm coming Tuesday and Wednesday I should be glad for any light. The more I work the more I realize that guy isn't a plein air painter. His work is methodically planned like a chess strategy and it just isn't working for me. Why am I doing this? Because I like his work and would like to incorporate that style into my work but it's like putting panty-hose on a donkey. Now I'm getting frustrated which is about 1 inch from pissed. "This isn't working! This is going to be the lousiest painting Iv'e done so far counting all of them. Tim," yeah I know mine isn't seeming to work either."  It's the BIG STORM messing us up. The barometer is probably below 28 millibars of mercury. What ever that means. Yeah, yeah I know atmospheric pressure, a LOW comes in and the storm follows it. But to say, Hey man the mercury is below 28 millibars sounds down right geeky and stupid. Bob Gregory, I'm not.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Snow was falling when Tim showed up at a little after noon.
Where today? Whose turn is it to buy? Yours, but my time to pick the location. Remember we started late last time. We didn't bother to eat. I have to stop by the post office. When I came out Tim pulled up, I hopped in and away we went. I think we could go down the road a bit to the parking lot of the grocery store on Strawtown Pike. I thought it would be interesting to draw up the hill the houses which sat at the bottom would add some interest. It's a tough view but we ought to try it. Tim looked down the street running in the opposite direction. Or you could do a pastel of the side city street like those you like to do. So he parked while a drizzle of snow and rain started to coat the windows. This isn't helping.

 I know but were plein air painters and were tough. Okay. Can you move your seat up there's no room back here to turn and get my paints out. Let me get something on the radio. I'll pull up. Tim slides his seat up and tunes in a station that's starting to get on my nerves. How about some New Age? Tim looks over the seat and raises his eyebrows like I'm some damn hippy. Hey, I like New Age. My nerves are shot. I just dropped off a package to IRS. I think they want to drive me to ...... Yeah. I understand. Gov. Brown had the right idea 15% for everyone. Everybody pays. The rich dont get out of paying through some loophole. I know it's the same as feudal Europe middle ages. Screw the peasants to the land in debt. 
       Well you can't take it with you, it's only money. Tim smiles. I know but. Hey, how about painting at night? Night? Yeah, it would be different lighting. I guess. When? 6PM Thurs. It'll be dark by then. We can do something in town with street lights. Okay, street lights. By the way I ask what is today. Tim looks at me. Huh. Never mind. Do you suppose this is the way it happens? What happens? Huh? Never mind. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


That's the beater car we paint in and two artists.

    It's three o'clock and Tim still hasn't showed up. Wait a minute. Here he comes. Carolyn had to get her hair fixed. I never really don't know why they call it fixed. Tim pulls up opens his trunk. I already ate. Looks like we skip lunch today. I had a couple chocolate chunk cookies for him just in case wrapped up. Tim wolfs'em down. Where we going?I don't know it's your turn to pick and buy lunch but we'll skip it today but you still have to pick the spot. Tim heads east towards Logansport on the back roads. There's snow on the shoulders so it's hard to tell if there's solid ground there or it a slide into the ditch. We finally stop about 30 minutes later stop along the shoulder where I get out and test for solid ground. It's a vista Tim like you like. Okay I'll zoom up on something out there. I choose two silos about a mile away while Tim starts on the whole scene. Just about that time a lady with a small child in an SUV pulls up. Are you guys alright? Yeah, we're painting, artists you know painters. We ll I live up the road turn in and come on up to the house. Its' safer sitting alongside the road. 

Tim looks at me."I'm good here." "Okay we'll stay put." Maybe we can check it out some other time.  This is going to be a short one today. Yeah, I know I'm about done too. I'm not real happy about this one. Me either. I'm already starting to mess this one up but I like what happened. I kept painting changing colors and trying to keep the landscape more geometric in structure. 

Yeah, I like mine too. Next time let's get started earlier. I'm tired. I'm ready for a nap. Those cookies gave me a I'm exhausted. You're just out of insulin. By the way why didn't you give one to Carolyn?

Friday, January 14, 2011


It's lost bridge again after a hearty not so hearty healthy. Lost bridge being closed offered lots of spots to paint from. When Tim got the car parked he pointed out the American bald eagle parked in a tree across the river in the picture he was in the tree top middle. We stayed on the bank and looked at it for a time. Pretty cool a bald eagle, huh? A few crows were also perched on this side and were there because of the eagle (I think sort of a celebration for them). The bald eagle was almost wiped out and is now reclaiming old territories. I set up in the backseat and Tim opened his pastels on the shotgun seat. We got to work.  "Man, that was some breakfast...they fixed it just like we asked them too". That's really good for Tracks End. I think they have a few new cooks.
It seems to me that life has surprises both good and bad. My niece has breast cancer. Our local sheriff died. His wife and I taught together for many years. I went to see him and he looked terrible from such a healthy looking 58 year old last year. I'm 62. My niece is 30 I think.
My wife's work friend lost her mother. Yesterday, I got some pretty bad news for me. Yet I spent the whole day with my son and we went to the police shooting range. I fired two rifles and a handgun. My bullet spread was pretty good for bad eyes. Today, I'm painting with my best friend.
I have a beautiful wife and many many good friends and a great bunch of brothers and a sister who is like an angel. So what's my point? Who knows what's up next? The book Eat Love Pray my wife just finished and gave it to me to has a pretty good message. I'll leave it up to you to read it or not. This was my painting.

A Zen Buddhist monk walked up to a hot dog vendor on the street corner. "Make me one with everything."

Monday, January 10, 2011



    Today, we started a little different as we were going to see a watercolorist's exhibition at the Honeywell Center in Wabash IN. Tim's wife was also going with us so we would have to drop her off after lunch and head for our painting spot.
The show was hung in the Clark Gallery of about 25 pieces of work. 

As one might guess I had my favorites as did Tim. My take on the show was first a respect for Terry Armstrong's technical prowess with watercolor. I am not, however, a big fan of photo-realism. Many of his works were done in this style. A few, however, I liked very much because they allowed for the spontaneity possibilities in watercolor. No one coming to an exhibit will like the same work. Everyone has their own particular tastes in art The one piece I am showing was my favorite. I hope Terry Armstrong won't mind me showing this favorite piece of his work as I suggest you give him a good look.
   Afterwards, we dropped Tim's wife off at home and headed north. "What do you want to paint today?" Tim was driving. 'Horses or cows' as these were a challenge. We headed on what is known as lost bridge road which was closed at lost bridge. Lost bridge was 
called lost bridge as the two roads meeting at the river didn't meet. One road was several hundred feet down the river to the west on the north bank. The bridge connecting these two roads was therefore considered to be "lost." The name stuck.
We pulled up to the bridge which had had it's timbers removed on each end. The bridge was an old cast iron riveted structure probably built in the early 1900's.

   We started working as usual. About ten mintes later a truck pulled up to the bridge. Stopped. Then it turned around. We noticed two guys in the truck. Funny how some people
don't believe closed road means the road is closed. We knew it was closed and were counting on it. Finding a safe place to pull off is tough. This would probably be we thought 'car-less.' Wonder what they wanted? Hard telling.

    Tim stopped and opened he door, got out sprayed his pastel with fixative. He got back in the car and dropped into his seat. My brush went up as the car dropped down leaving a long new "tree" stroke across the top of my painting. That's what painting in the car is about. However, that's also the challenge as well. The back seat is cramped.The front seat is not much better. We both are working in a space the size of a 1/4 sheet of plywood. This time I finished first as I was starting to mess up my painting with  'piddling' with areas that were really done. " I'm starting to ruin this." " I know I'm just about ready to quit too. We packed up. I said look at the car clock. It was 3:33 PM.
             'When numbers begin repeating themselves around you it  is often a signal that you are 
              on purpose in life, and to be awake for new opportunities. When you see a repetition 
              of numbers,  your DNA is being activated on some level. You are remembering that you 
              are now returning to higher frequency vibration also called the return of the Feminine 
              Energies, Rebirth, Christ Consciousness, Evolution of Consciousness into total    awareness. 
-Funny since we were at "lost bridge."

Friday, January 7, 2011


Drab as a clerks desk today. The snow melted off and the contrast is gone between a gray and brown neutral landscape. Atmospheric was the only kind of subject we could eke out of today's landscape. Tim drove today and as usual in the winter we started out at noon. Tim remarked at how neutral the contrast was between all the objects that made up the landscape. On top of that it was snow flurries today. This was the equivalent of painting in an steam room. On top of that finding a great inspirational subject was more difficult than usual. Low contrast, foggy like air, no good spots to pull off made for a really tough painting day. 
After almost a three fourths of an hour of driving Tim suggested we just make an atmospheric painting that just shows the effect of the snow flurries. Okay but we still a had to find a place to stop. My area in the back seat facing out the side window with Tim's seat pushed back limited my working area to just the seat width with my legs folded and crammed under me. Add to that the windows had snow melting on them as soon as the snow hit the window. My legs were going to sleep. Tim was mumbling up front that his was not going to be a good pastel drawing. I felt the same as I continued to add paint using burnt sienna brown, cobalt blue, red medium and white mixtures to the paper canvas. Only a half an hour into the painting time Tim quit. I'm done he said and I don't like it. Well mines not much better either. Let's eat. We were supposed to make two paintings today. We'll eat and then we'll see if anything else is landscape worthy. Subway subs was the bill of fair today. We're hooked on Subway's subs covered with everything "drag it through the garden" style. Afterwards we headed back home. Nothing had any kind of inspirational impact on either of us. This was kind of a bust day. When I saw his pastel I remarked at how I liked it and that it really did show the atmospheric quality of todays landscape. Success. Mine? He liked it as well.  Monday...12?  "Sure, It's my turn to select a spot. Let's make it Wabash. We can see a show at the Honeywell Center of a watercolorist's exhibit,Terry Armstrong Jan. 6 - Feb. 6  and paint somewhere downtown. Yeah, we can stop at Subway too."

Monday, January 3, 2011


Toady started as a good painting day. I had a nice spot or so I thought picked out. We get parked along the Monon trail near what was a scenic rural dilapidated old barn. I know I hate painting Indiana barns because everybody and their sisters paint them. We set up and from there it was downhill. I couldn't get seated in the backseat comfortably with my painting board as this was a new one and slightly larger. My paints were in a large zip bag and it was in the way. My water bottle was lost for a few moments. Tim didn't think the selection was very inspiring...normally I see it form the other side of the road on the way into town. Anyway, we started working and we began complaining under our breath as neither of us were having much success. Tim finally gave up. I was performing CPR on my painting and continued adding layer to layer.Tim asked if I was trying to save it as he looked over the seat to my 'mess.' I finally pulled the sheet over it and pronounced it dead. I said let's go somewhere else as today was supposed to be a two painting day as we had been finishing in less than an hour.
The usual plan was to drive around which we did with a no good several times until we ended up on old US124 by the Mississinewa Dam turn off. This corner turn was a well worn spot used by several local artists. There was a pull off just beyond the turn and we had to redeem the day. Tim parked and I took some pictures with my phone camera. This would do.
I scrubbed in color from my new palette which was a 4-sectioned Rubbermaid food holder. The paint was from last Thursday. Still wet. I was still feeling the last disaster from earlier today. I dove at this one with a brush that was sharpened like an arrowhead from years of use. With these I can draw and paint by scumbling the color on in scoops of color from the reloaded palette. This kind of painting is more like sculpting, carving and adding material to the canvas. I was working on heavy watercolor paper. This allows for drawing into the painting which was on a hard board underneath.
Tim was also having much better luck on this one. I finished in less than a half an hour and Tim worked on longer. Finally, he said that's it. We cleaned up. I took pictures. Let's leave out the earlier piece. Fine, I agree. By the way, there's a grilled steak and pepper cheese Subway with our name on it, waiting for us. Great! As we pulled out from the turn off,the aroma of the fixative on Tim's work was giving me a buzz. Let's head for Shubway.