Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years!

Happy New year everyone! I hope this year is filled with love, laughter and many many adventures.

I just want to say thank you to my family and friends (old and new) for your love and support. I could not do what I do, or be who I am without you.


Friday, December 28, 2007

Tongva Peak

I hiked up to the top of the Verdugo Mountains this afternoon and did a sketch. I learned today that the peak I like to go to has a name: Tongva Peak, after the Native American tribe who lived here before we did. Tongva means "people of the earth".

Its an incredible view of the city from up there. I could see traffic backing up on the 5 freeway. I always wonder where everyone is going and if they had a good day. I could pick out my street but not my house. Its somewhere in the lower right quadrant. To the left of where I was sitting is a radio tower. At night I can see its red light blinking from my front window.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just because I like it-

I especially love the little bug that holds up a flame to the guitar playing birds. So very "Free Bird" (no pun intended...)

The song by the way, is "A Chinese Translation" by M.Ward

Vamos a Carlos Paz

This is Paz. She's 2. Paz has a great sense of humor:

On the way back from La Cumbrecita, a beautiful little German town outside of Carlos Paz (where we stayed for our first week in Argentina), Paz (one of the cutest, sweetest, most adorable, little kids Ive ever had the pleasure of spending hours in the car with) asked someone in the car (I honestly don't remember who, it seemed such an innocent question at the time) A donde vamos? Someone answered: Carlos Paz. I'm guessing Paz liked that answer because for the next 45 minutes, like a broken record in the back of the car we heard....

-Vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, -(Brian, at least, had his headphones and an ipod.)- vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, -(why why why did I leave mine at the house????)- vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz... vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz, vamos a Carlos Paz.

I did what any mature adult would do: I laughed at her and occasionally asked A donde vamos? Which Im positively sure did absolutely nothing to encourage her.

Eventually, she fell asleep, woke up briefly and picked right back up again and then finally passed out completely until we got home.

She did the same thing on the way to Cordoba and again on the way back into Bariloche after our boat trip (she is a very smart girl so clearly, she knows to say Vamos a Cordaba and Vamos a Bariloche) but she fell asleep sooner so it didn't have the same impact.

Natalia swears that she only did this when I was in the car. But as everyone knows-- Natalia is a compulsive liar so its not wise to take her word on that.

All the same, just to be safe, its probably not a good idea to put me in the back seat with your 2 year old.

Bariloche Paintings

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays...

Here are a few oils I did while in Bariloche. The first two were at a spot Guille took us to for a picnic. The third one was a day or two later. I took the car and found a great little spot in an area we hadn't been to yet. I hiked up a trail and found a rock overlooking the lake. It was a fabulous spot until the wind picked up. That's when I realized picking a painting spot is a bit like picking a spot to pitch your tent: an exposed rock with no windbreak isn't the brightest idea in the world. The wind did add an extra challenge to the painting process: I had to hold on to my paint box to keep it from blowing away. The good thing was that it kept me from spending too long on the painting. Im still picking out tiny rocks and dirt from the thicker parts of the painting.

From the beach:

Maddie, Kelly, Morgan & Stu:

View from a rock:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Home for Christmas

I went to the Glendale Galleria this weekend. The weekend before Christmas. If that is not culture shock, Im not sure what is. I think it has been years since Ive gone near a mall between Thanksgiving and... the end of January (just to be safe). That I went at all is a testament to just how much I love my brother.

I'm not a good shopper at least not in the good ol' American support the economy, shop 'til you drop sense. I'm either a marketer's dream come true or their worst nightmare. Typically I know exactly what I want, what size and what color. This is why I love internet shopping. I don't have the patience to wander aimlessly through a mall hoping for inspiration. Seriously-- within 15 minutes Im ready to jump out of a window.

If for whatever reason I can't get what I want on the internet (leaving the country for a few weeks before Christmas and not having enough time left for shipping), I will go in... to an actual store. Its a carefully calculated move: where I park (in this case, -7 blocks away), which door I go in, what side of the aisle I walk down, which escalator I take...its all thought out to get me in and out as quickly as possible without causing any casualties. I make a bullseye for the shelf, find what I want, go straight to the register, pay and get out.

So the Glendale Galleria the weekend before Christmas? An absolute madhouse. Its a big mall. The walkways are plenty wide. The economists should be elated because it was completely packed. I had to squeeze through all the people. I think driving in Argentina left me better equipped to navigate the mall.

Nothing too surprising at the mall: the stores are doing everything they can to get you to spend money. When it comes down to it, the people really are just trying to make someone else happy. That's all fine and dandy. The one thing I did notice that surprised me-- people bringing their dogs to the mall?! When did that start and why why why?? Especially this weekend?! And if you HAVE to do it, why not carry the dog? I almost squashed a little chihuahua because the owner had it on a retractable leash and was letting it wander through the crowd. I don't get it.

Friday, December 21, 2007


We spent about a week in Bariloche with Guille, Sofi and Paz. Sofi's parents let us stay in their apartment there. Bariloche is a ski/ resort town in southern Argentina. The apartment window looks out over the lake, two of the sketches I did from the kitchen table. Guille took us to the other side of the lake to a gorgeous campsite. Natalia, Sofi and Guille actually met there on a camping trip way back when (high school, I think). I stayed back on the beach to sketch while most everyone else hiked up to see the waterfalls. Later in the week we went on a boat tour of the lake and did some fishing but I didn't paint that day (kinda hard on a boat....).

From the kitchen window:

Down the street:

On the other side of the lake:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Missed a good article in the LA times...

Christopher Knight wrote an article a few weeks ago in the LA Times about the "death" of painting and the LA art scene:

Link: "Painting gets a broader brush"

Amen, brother!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Argentina part 1

OK, so as usual, Argentina is fantastic. The first week we spent in Cordoba, mostly meeting Natys friends and hanging out. Then there was the wedding. Very different from weddings in the US. We left "early" at 5:30AM. We are in Buenos Aires now, until tomorrow, and then on to Bariloche.

So some highlights--

Food! We´ve had many Asados which is basically a lot of meat. Its true that the meat we eat in the u.s. does not compare.

Painting: not much to say there. I didnt want to paint the first few days because we had so many plans. then my back went out. That was pretty bad. good news is i spent several days by the pool, had several massages and even got to experience a chiropractor here (miracle worker). So alls well now but there were a few days that didnt go as planned....

more later ´cause im late but Im having an incredibly good time!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life is Good...

I can't understand where November went. A friend mentioned that my blog hasn't been updated lately. I just now realized the last entry was 3 weeks ago. How does that happen? I tend to blog more when Im on the road which makes no sense on one level (much easier at home where a computer is readily available) but all the sense in the world from another: my daily life isnt that exciting. Wake up, drink coffee, sit on couch and look at painting, think think think, realize painting wont paint itself- get off butt, paint paint paint... wonder what that grumbling noise is... realize coffee isnt really breakfast (yes, Its a daily epiphany) eat lunch 'cause its already past 2 (what?!?).... sit on couch, stare at painting.... glare at painting if I dont like it.....think think think.....paint paint paint..... sleep. You can copy/paste that in for the first half of the month. The second half of the month there was more thinking than painting (and many other finely honed procrastination techniques). My attention span evaporated. I blame it on the holidays and the fact that I'm leaving tomorrow for Argentina. Something Ive been very very excited about.

Oh wait--- I did take a mini road trip to Utah. I passed through Nevada and came to the firm conclusion that I really don't like it. I admit I don't know the state well. The little time I've spent in Nevada has been in Las Vegas. I can handle Vegas in small doses (maybe once a year... maybe.. but not for more than 24 hours and I have to be in exactly the right mood). I had always assumed that outside of Vegas, Nevada must be very nice so I was looking forward to finding a more interesting part of the state. It actually got worse. It made Vegas looks like Disneyland. Something about that place makes my skin crawl. I got really creeped out (this from the girl who has no problem sleeping in her car on a deserted road) and decided to keep driving rather than get a hotel room (yeah... wouldn't even sleep in a hotel there). It possibly had something to do with the really creepy couple who pulled their car next to mine in a parking lot a few hours outside of Vegas. They started yelling for my attention-- both my windows and their windows were closed...(which makes me wonder... why didn't they at least open theirs?). So I pretended not to notice and left.

Anyway, I was very excited to see the Arizona state line. I ended up in Zion NP in Utah and painted there. Zion is gorgeous. As an added bonus, you don't have that creepy feeling that you are being watched by everyone and that one of them is going to chop you up into little pieces and feed you to their genetically enhanced goldfish. Maybe I'm just more comfortable around slightly buzzed rock climbers who haven't showered in a day or two because they're camping, as opposed to really drunk bulgy eyed gamblers who haven't showered in weeks because...uh... they couldn't leave the table? Sorry if you're from NV--- no offense intended.... maybe the northern part of the state is nicer? Maybe I passed through on an off day? I'm sure the rest of the state is beautiful.

So.... Argentina. Tomorrow. I'll be traveling which means I will blog more than once a month. Stay tuned. Be good while Im away.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Claremont Museum of Art: Velocity 2007

The Claremont Museum of Art is hosting Velocity 2007 this coming weekend. I was honored to be invited to contribute a piece to the museum's fundraising event. This event is dedicated to the work and vision of Milford Zornes who will be celebrating his 100th birthday on January 25th.

Velocity 2007 is a contemporary art auction to benefit the new museum in Claremont:

Auction Preview:

Friday, November 16, 2007
6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Art Auction and Reception:
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Silent auction and reception: 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Live auction 8:30 to 10 p.m.
Guests will enjoy hors d’ oeuvres by Three Forks Restaurant and a hosted bar throughout the evening. Music will feature the sounds of Refugio Latin Jazz Trio.

Attendees will also be engaged with Fotoaktion, an interactive photography project by San Diego-based artist Perry Vasquez. With Fotoaktion, Vasquez bring the props, costumes, lights, and camera, and event attendees dress up and trip their own photo.

Auction Tickets:
$100 per person
Special High Speed package: $1,000 (includes six tickets, free membership, and other benefits)

Tickets and Contact:
Evonne Gallardo, Director of Development, Telephone: (909) 621-3200 ext. 103


Join William Moreno, Executive Director, Pilar Tompkins, Curator and Mike Verbal of Claremont Fine Art
for a discussion on approaches to collecting art
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
6:00 PM-8 PM
General Admission: $5.00
Members: Free

The Claremont Museum of Art
536 West First Street (at Indian Hill)
Claremont, CA 91711

Saturday, October 27, 2007

downtown sketches

Ive been working on a new project which has kept me "in the cave" as my neighbors call it when they don't see me for days on end. The cave is bad for my sanity so Im making a point to get out at least a little bit everyday. Sketchbooks are good for that...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

No Entry

Bar Scenes

A few small paintings I did for this weekend:

6 X 8 oil on canvas board

Friday, September 21, 2007

J.C. Leyendecker at the Fullerton Museum Center

Drop what you are doing and go see this!!

Fullerton Museum Center
301 N. Pomona Ave.
Fullerton CA

Exhibition runs until Nov. 18th.

A traveling exhibition of 50 J.C. Leyendecker pieces is on display at the Fullerton Museum Center! The exhibition originated at Stockton's Haggin Museum last year. I was in the Bay Area for a friend's wedding and was fortunately able to convince my friend Dan to drive me all the way out to Stockton to see it. It may have been out of curiosity after hearing me rant and rave over the years about Leyendecker or it may have been self preservation (knowing that I would have begged, pleaded, poked and prodded or otherwise made myself enough of a nuisance so that it was just easier just to go to Stockton) but he drove me out there on New Years Eve day to see the work of one of my heroes on the very last day of the show (for which I will be forever grateful!). It was the first time Id seen his work in person and it is, of course, 1,000 times better than print.

One of my most cherished possessions is an out of print book of his work (J.C. Leyendecker by Michael Schau). I first saw Leyendecker's work in college. An instructor brought in a black and white xeroxed copy of the book. He offered to divvy up the xerox to any students who wanted it. No one came forward so I asked, and he gave me the whole notebook. It took me 10 years to find a copy of the real thing--in COLOR (thank god for Al Gore and his invention of the internet...).

Leyendecker preceded Norman Rockwell as illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post. He was an intensely private person so records of his personal life are virtually non-existent. Best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, Leyendecker also created the "Arrow Collar Man" for Cluett, Peabody advertising. To give you an idea of how incredibly popular he and his illustrations were, in a single month during the early 1920's the firm received 17,000 fan letters that included marriage proposals for the "Arrow Collar Man". Think about it: a fictitious character received more fan mail than Rudolph Valentino
(this is according to Schau).

Legend has it that a young Rockwell would wait outside the station just to see Leyendecker get off the train. As an homage to Leyendecker (again, according to "legend"-- Rockwell fans dispute this), Rockwell stopped one short of Leyendecker's 322 covers.

For each cover, Leyendecker was paid somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000. I'm not sure what that translates to in today’s dollars but for the early 1900's he was extremely well paid. According to my history of Illustration instructor (I only remember this because I thought it was so funny), Leyendecker believed he should spend more than he made: being hungry is good-- it keeps you from being lazy. By the time he died in the 50s, he was broke and all his fans had forgotten him (ouch!). His work was auctioned off, given away or otherwise disbursed to the winds.

Which is why, I think, he is so criminally unrecognized as one of the most phenomenal draughtsman/illustrator/ artists of the 20th century. And why its so incredible to see a collection of his work. So incredible that you should drop what you are doing and go see this show.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


still have bits and pieces to clean up

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Huell Howser at Art Loft 205

Huell Howser filmed a show highlighting the Claremont Packing House and spoke with the folks at Art Loft 205. The show aired on Friday and will be re-broadcast tonight (Sunday). I missed the Friday airing but rumor has it my work can be seen behind curator Michael Knott during the interview (I got a message from the gallery today with the news). I think the show airs at 6 on PBS.... let me know if you see it!

OK, I'll out myself: I don't have a TV so I'll just have to rely on someone else to watch it and/or tape it for me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An L.A. Day

I met Jose Luis this morning at Self Help Graphics. From the get go I was struck by how far away from the corporate world I am. After staying up most of the night painting, I was typically slow this morning and didn’t leave my house until 10:20. I was supposed to meet him at 10:30. Even on a good traffic day it takes more than 10 minutes to get from my house to East L.A. I called him to apologize and tell him I was late, forgetting that I was meeting another artist. He was in Elysian Park picking up some equipment and not ready to leave yet. Phew!

Turns out they were filming a documentary on Self Help Graphics. Not only did I get to meet some of the artists there, I got a crash course on linoleum prints, monoprints, and got to see some of the collaborative pieces they were putting together for an up coming show. All very cool.

In hindsight, it seems inevitable that I would jump in and help on the shooting. And I really did try very hard to keep my mouth shut and just plug in cables, make sure nobody tripped over anything... fill in whatever holes were left open but you know... its me so.... I gave some tiny little suggestions on camera angles and then um.. maybe one or two art direction type suggestions. Shocking you say?! Well it gets worse...

Alex (with a Russian sounding last name that admittedly I cant remember and wouldn’t be able to spell even if I did...) was being interviewed for the current show he had curated: a commemoration of the founder, Sister Karen and a remembrance on the 10-year anniversary of her death. He didn’t feel too comfortable talking to the camera so I sat down in front of the camera (out of view) so he could have a human face to talk to. Well... I kind of got very engrossed in what he was talking about and sort of kind of forgot where I was and to my horror ... asked a question (ever open your mouth and realize as the words are coming out that maybe just maybe you shouldn’t be asking questions when someone you really don’t know all that well is FILMING?! but the microphone had already picked up my voice and there was nothing left to do but make an "oh crap I’m SO sorry" face and finish the question and then quickly look up at Jose Luis who was standing above me with the camera and hope that he wasn’t about to knock me senseless). I admit that I was out of line and it definitely was not my place but it did spark an interesting conversation that Ophelia (another artist) joined in on so hopefully I didn’t ruin anything. I don’t think I did because they invited me back. Besides, no one suggested duct tape to keep my mouth shut (I take that as a good sign) and when Ophelia was interviewed Jose Luis encouraged me to participate.

In both interviews, Ophelia and Alex were brought to tears talking about Sister Karen. If I had to boil it down to the essence I think the thing this woman gave them that still touches them so deeply today is hope. A simple thing that is so easy to underestimate yet powerful enough to elicit that response ten years after her death. She believed in them as human beings and as artists and devoted her life to encouraging their work and ensuring they had a safe place to express themselves.

Afterwards, Jose Luis took me to his favorite street vendor for freshly made blue corn quesadillas filled with a mushroom that grows on corn (again-- I don’t remember the name...) with a side of cactus and Mexican soft drinks. Another very L.A. experience sharing a meal with random people on the street. I loved it!

Finally, I got shanghaied into going to an L.A. city commissioners meeting on Olvera St. This is where I had major flashbacks of the worst Disney production meetings. The point of this part of the agenda was to approve the project to save a Siqueiros mural. They did that within the first 3 minutes (it should be noted that this project has been on the table for 6-7 years). Then they debated whether or not to add a paragraph thanking the people who volunteered their expertise in crafting the proposal. At issue was the wording: should we call them "volunteers" (some felt that word minimized their contribution) or "contractors" (but they weren’t paid and "Contractor" implies pay and is this ethical?....) or maybe "volunteer contractors". As they spent an excruciatingly long time discussing the thank you paragraph, I checked my voice mail and email, surfed the web a bit on my phone, googled the commissioners, day-dreamed, possibly took a nap, and came up with a pretty good plan for world peace. Wish I could remember what that was....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Street Musician

This is a 30 X 40" rough lay in of my next piece. I do plan on giving him feet--never fear...

My Neighbor just dropped by with a friend of his who is extrordinarily dialed into the Latino art scene here in LA. He rattled off about 15 - 20 artists of which I knew of exactly one. In my defense-- while it is very possible I flat out dont know of these artists, it is also quite possible that I do in fact know their work and yet my brain cells simply refuse to cooperate by putting 2 and 2 together. I blame it on the paint fumes if that is the case... that and Ive never been good at recalling names.

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting him to see a show at the Self Help Graphics Gallery before it gets taken down. Im going to get edjumacated on the history of Latino Art in LA. I am very very excited about this! I love it when random people drop by my house!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Almost done with this one!

Soooo Close. Its that last 10% that takes up so much time....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Something else I miss about having a job.

In addition to health insurance, I miss air-conditioning.

Its past 1AM and the thermostat in my un-airconditioned house has finally dropped to 85 degrees. At 10pm it was around 90. I refuse to look at it during the day. I dont know why I decided to keep an eye on it this evening. Its irrelevant, I already know its hot. Its supposed to be over a 100 for the next few days--probably longer. Im fine in the morning but by noon its uncomfortable and by 3 its ridiculous. Needless to say, I'm having a hard time concentrating on my painting. Frankly, Im having a hard time even getting off the couch. I try to put things in perspective by thinking about people in the desert, or people in the south where its hot AND humid. That hasn't helped.

At about 10pm I decided I could finally focus and paint for more than 10 minutes at a time. At midnight I put on a pot of coffee, threw all my ice in the blender and made my own frosty frappucino concoction. Seems perfectly reasonable to me that if its too hot to work in the day, I should just stay up all night and sleep through the heat. So yes, I drank the whole thing. Between working at night and going to "Camp Jeannie" (My friend Jeannie lives by the beach and naively offered me her studio & couch if it gets too hot up here) I should be able to function for the next two months.

I am very grateful not to have roomates. I am very grateful to have a friend & fellow painter who lives at the beach.

Hive Opening this Sat. Sept 1

One of my Trucker portraits will be in the Hive group show this month:
Opening: September 1st 8-12:30AM $7 at door
from Sept.1st to Sept.30th
729 S. Spring St.
LA, CA 90014

Also, Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk is Thursday Sept 13th 12- 9pm. They have a handy shuttle to take you around to the various galleries which makes the whole artwalk experience a little nicer and easier to see all the galleries.
click here for map, more info & list of participating galleries.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 18- Get out of the house!

YAY! More Shameless Plugs!!

I know I just got home but already Im itching to get out of the house. It has a lot to do with the fact that I dont have air conditioning and its been in the mid 90's here in LALA land. I'm not good in the heat.

Two fabulously talented friends will be performing this Saturday August 18. These are separate events which will be quite different from each other but both very cool.

1) Wanna Camcam (she is also a very talented visual artist--we shared a space at the Brewery artwalk in April) will be performing with Francis Awe and the Nigerian Talking Drum ensemble. They're doing a performance, and a drumming and dancing workshop. It's early in the day, but if you wanted to learn some moves or just watch the shaking, now is the time.

Ford Amphitheatre
August 18th, 10AM.

Bring the kids--- they'll love it (Plus they get in free!). Adults $5

2) "Dr. Charles J. Maxey" will be performing with the Lunar Project (myspace page)

August 18 @ 8pm
117 North Sycamore
Santa Ana CA

Its Funky space agey--- I dont know really how to describe it but its cool! Its an experimental jazz influenced ambient music/video performance thing.

Maybe get a babysitter for this one.....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Worst place to play Fetch- EVER!

This morning I backed up all of the photos I took on this trip to my hard drive. Slightly more than 500 files were transfered. I won't torture you with a slideshow but I will share a few of my favorites, starting with this one:

And if the dog jumping off the cliff is still somehow unclear, the bottom of the sign reads "Put your dog back in the vehicle!"

You know meetings were held to determine the best design. An artist probably had to draft several versions.(I would LOVE to see them!) I especially like the birds flying by. Its a nice touch and a subtle reminder that birds fly; dogs don't. ... and by the way, you are really high up.

Home Sweet Home

Got a little bit of mail while I was gone....

Sunday, August 05, 2007

homeward bound

headed to bend today...taking the long way there!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A few shameless plugs

1- Last Tuesday I went and saw my friend Joe McMurrian and his band play some mighty fine blues at the White Eagle here in Portland. I managed to make it through the night this time without losing my car. Joe and his band are outstanding especially live. If you are anywhere near Portland, you have a pulse, and a penchant for good Blues, you must go see them play (they're there every Tuesday). If you can't see them live, you can get their CD through his website:

2- My friend Mike partnered with Digital Steamworks and Kevin Kallaugher (aka KAL, the Economist’s editorial cartoonist) on a tech demo: Dancing Dubya (on YouTube)

Falling out here, Boss...

The other day I took Oxford (Ken’s dog) for a walk down the street that runs on the back side of the studio. I had been completely engrossed in a painting so I was in that state of mind where I’m hyper aware of anything painting related but oblivious to all else. I may notice things but if they aren’t related to the painting, it just doesn’t click.

Because I’m working on the trucker series, I immediately noticed the way the roads intersected across the field bordering the complex; that the afternoon light would be hitting it soon and that there were a lot of trucks moving along the road and onto the I-84 onramp. With my zoom lens I’d be able to get some good shots. The sun was behind me, so I kept turning around to see where it hit the trees and figuring how long before it was likely to make the trucks coming down the road look extra cool. I noticed, but immediately dismissed, the large parking lot on the opposite side of the road, the remaining warehouse buildings… and the group of guys (all dressed in orange shirts) sitting in the shade of the building clearly waiting for something.

I let Oxford run around in the field for a while and then went back to the studio for my camera. I’m getting great shots of trucks coming on and off the freeway with the field in between. I’m still looking behind me to see where the sun is hitting and where its likely to go. The guys in the orange shirts are now watching my every move. It vaguely occurs to me that they might be thinking I keep looking in that direction because I’m looking at them but I’m so focused on the trucks that the thought barely makes a blip.

A truck pulls into that parking lot and the guys jump up and start loading. The light is now that perfect golden light just before sunset. The driver’s got one of those Australian leather cowboyish hats and its too much for me to resist so I start taking photos of them. The guys notice and really start hamming it up. I think, wow, these guys don’t’ get out much….

I’m far away but my lens is really good so I’m zooming in and getting some great shots. The security guard (or so I thought) starts walking over to me. As he gets closer, I realize it’s a sheriff. This doesn’t particularly surprise or alarm me because in LA with the movie industry and all, its fairly common for a cop to be around big trucks as they’re loaded up with props and such. He starts chatting with me and makes a joke about my disruptive presence. I ask if its ok that I’m taking photos, and he says the guys don’t seem to mind. We chit chat as I’m snapping away, the guys are still loading but clowning around for the camera. I’m zoomed in but looking at composition, the light, etc but ignoring small details. Like what is printed on their shirts and caps. I zoom in even closer and FINALLY it registers: printed on each and every one of their shirts: Marion County Sheriff’s Inmate Work Crew.

I’m nothing if not observant… and I was right, they don’t get out much.

one more...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Truckers and Truckstops

Troutdale is a heavily used truck stop. There are trucks and truckers everywhere. Seemed a no- brainer to do a series. I used to wait tables in college at a diner frequented by truckers. From that experience I knew that while they can be gruff sometimes (I know I would be cranky after 14 days of driving), they are typically good people; they’ve got plenty of hilarious stories and more importantly (at that time at least) across the board they were the best tippers. All things being equal, I’d pick the trucker tables over the business lunch crowd any day. Regardless, the idea of hanging out at a truck stop talking truckers into letting me take a photo to do a painting off of was a little intimidating. Actually, to be honest, the idea scared the hell out of me.

I talked to my friend Cliff who tried to help me analyze exactly what I was afraid of. When that didn’t work, he resorted to calling me a chicken and all sorts of other juvenile names. I’m ashamed to admit that’s what worked. I’ve spent the last few mornings at the truck stop catching the truckers after they filled up and were going inside to pay or grab a Coke.

Some I only talk to for a few minutes, others I talked to for up to 45 minutes. I met truckers from all over the U.S. and even ones from Rio, London, and India. Richard Montgomery (“Like Montgomery, Alabama… but I’m from OMAHA!”) just turned 50 but maybe looks 40. We talked about everything from Paris Hilton to Condoleeza Rice, of course that led to Iraq, then Syria…somehow ended up talking about Orwell’s “1984”, the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis…he did a hilarious impression of an American talking to an Iraqi (he wants to be a comedian some day). My guess is this guy spends most of his time driving listening to news and talk shows. He’s very well informed and a lot smarter than he thinks. The one and only female driver I saw was from Wisconsin and was very excited about getting her photo taken for a painting. Tarry’s been driving for 11 years and LOVES her job. She’s an evangelist spreading the Word and she’s got more energy than she seems to know what to do with. A very funny lady. There were many many good stories. This is going to be a fun series.

Here are a few pieces in various states of finish. The woman by the way is an attendant at the station, not Tarry.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Scandolous Small Town Behavior

Ken and Mary made it back into town yesterday. Their home away from home is a Holiday Inn up the street. The same place I do my drive by blogging/email postings from. I swing into the parking lot and take advantage of the fact that wi fi doesnt magically stop at their walls. The other day though, I needed power and more importantly, I hadnt had my coffee yet. Ken had introduced me to several staff members before he left in case I needed anything.I went into the lobby and figured I should say hi to the manager, let her know what I was up to. Mind you I had met her before. Ken had even told her who I was, what I'm doing here, and we had chatted a bit. She seemed pretty friendly at the time.

I realize a lot of people come through there, so I wasn't horribly surprised when my greeting was met with a blank stare. I tried again by reminding her I was Ken's friend. Her eyes narrowed and she gave me the evil eye. This wasn't going as well as I'd hoped. I just wasn't exactly sure why. Did she think I was going to steal a cinnamon roll? Maybe she'd seen me in the parking lot and didn't appreciate that. She finally spoke: "You're not Mary."

Uh-oh. Not at all what I thought it was.

Mary thought it was pretty hilarious.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Death of an Ipod.

July 27th was a very sad day. After valiant attempts to resuscitate, my ipod was officially pronounced dead by the Genius at the Bridgeport Apple Store just outside of Portland.

My ipod is dead. No more music.

It’d been acting strange for a while. Occasionally it would get confused. The symptoms were there-- started to tire easily; scrolling through the music list would leave fragments of text on screen -- I just hoped it would hold out a little longer.

I’m on a road trip and my ipod is dead. This is catastrophic.

The Apple Genius felt my pain. I gained full sympathy when he learned my plight : on a road trip and far far away from my back up disk. He really tried everything to bring it back; or at least save the music. Several geniuses tried to help, talking to each other under their breath like I wasn’t supposed to hear. They kinda rallied as each learned the horror of my situation. A road trip without music?! Get Josh over here…It was a valiant effort. I think I saw a little tear in his eye when the guy called the official time of death: 6:12pm.

Sure, I can replace it, but we had such good times. Flying up the coast of California listening to godawful one hit wonders from the 70’s (and knowing every word)…. Easing into my first day in Oregon with Dustin O’Halloran and later rocking out with the Frames. Neil Young seemed an appropriate soundtrack for Mt. Hood. This is just too sad.

I really tried though. For God’s sake, I spent an entire day at a MALL trying to save it. I didn’t even paint. I went to two malls in fact (The Genius bar was booked at the first one….) Those who know me well understand what pure dedication that was. It takes a lot to get me near a mall.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

more paintings

Mt Hood

Sandy River

I 84 Overpass