Friday, October 31, 2008

October 31st, 1980 - October 31st, 2008

If you read the title, that's a span of twenty-eight years which is how long Michael and I have shared a ball and chain. That's right, we married on Halloween. Not only that, it was between races at Calder Race Course. Let me explain:

We thought a Halloween wedding would be over the top. We had two horses in that day, one in the first and the other in the last. After cooling out the one in the first, we rushed over to the race track chapel. Prepared with marriage license and blood tests, we approached Rev. Holzemer, race track chaplain at the time (bless him), and requested that he marry us quickly, as we had another horse to run. To say he was taken aback is an understatement. Patiently, he informed us that the state required two witnesses. Michael glanced around and dashed over to the HBPA to enlist the secretary, Mrs. Michael, followed by a short jaunt over to A.E. Cohen, the race track mercantile, to beg witness for our ceremony. They both acquiesced and Michael and I fondly refer to our "kosher" wedding.

Romantic? Not so much. Cheap? You bet and sans the complaining family, endless planning and pouring over ridiculous detail. Neither horse won that day but do you think we cared?

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.- Paul Sweeney

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Louise Nevelson

louise nevelsonA few posts back I raised the question of inviting ANY three living people to dinner. One comment came from artist extraordinaire Bonnie Luria of the St. Croix-nicity blog at right (check it out, one of my very favorite blogs). She stated that she would consider Louise Nevelson - believing she is an "iconoclast, an original". Even though Ms. N. has passed on, Bonnie got me reminiscing. Nevelson was alive and on fire in the New York art scene back in the early '70's when I was a student. An authentic pioneer, totally innovative and a flamboyant talent, I easily recall her matte black found object pieces at MOMA. "Sky Cathedral" is impressed on my brain forever and informed this young art student that there were infinite impressions of space and form, and that everyday materials could be arranged in compelling, provocative and genius original expression.

So, I'm further inspired to read the bio: Louise Nevelson: A Passionate Life. About a third of the way through, I'm amazed at how she escaped from stereotypical wifedom/motherhood in the '30's to travel to Europe to study with Hans Hoffman (the push-pull theorist). Speaking of Hoffman, my painting teacher studied with Hoffman at the Art Students League. It took me many years to really understand what the hell push-pull meant in a painting.

Nevelson didn't acquire real fame until into her sixties, so there's still hope for me!

sky beauty"Sky Cathedral" - Louise Nevelson

"I never feel age... If you have creative work, you don't have age or time". - Louise Nevelson

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feline Subject

Many people have asked me if I've ever painted my cats. Brushing it off as being too focused on my business of producing horse racing artwork, slow times have invited experimentation (in case you haven't noticed lately). And they're soooo endearing to me...why not?

Here's why...siamese catMy beloved Siamese is the one I'd really love to immortalize in paint (blue eyes, charming regal personality). I respect that he hates to be photographed but this is ridiculous.

Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”- Andre Dubus (remind you of any cats you know?)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fun with Photoshop

Babush and I are like-minded girlfriends these days. We'd like nothing other than to just laze around in the cooling breeze and ponder what's for dinner...

calico catOld 35mm photo of Bay Meadows, circa 1990 with Michael galloping a horse on the training track. That's the dreaded 101 freeway in the background in San Mateo, California. Bay Meadows is now defunct and I wonder what's becoming of all my memories - the great, the terrible, and the bizarre. Oh the 90's drama ...
bay meadowsI scanned the photo and pulled it into Photoshop to manipulate with all those intriguing, wacky filters. Accidentally discovering a warm fog-like image, I decided that it would make a good oil sketch to test out an Ampersand Gessobord I purchased. I've been testing several different panels for another multi-piece project I have in the cooker. The panels must be rigid and this one is cradled, meaning it has a two-inch deep frame. Surface is akin to sanded pastel paper. I like it the best so far.

The paint is still very wet and I'll have to re-shoot in a few days when the shiny areas blend in...

ampersand gessobord As yet untitled, 11"x14" oil on panel

Michael was a "big boy" in exercise terms and I made him smaller, jock-like. Originally opting for this analogous color scheme to test out a tube of iridescent copper oil I purchased from Gamblin, it dries VERY quickly and gets VERY tacky and yucky. Interesting results were obtained with mixing in various colors, however, but I became focused on the hot cadmium colors and soon forgot all about it. It sits neglected on my palette for now.

So easily distracted...

Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.
- Steven Wright

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Florida Suntan Club

As the weather cools here in central Florida, sunbathing becomes a pleasurable pursuit. The sweltering temps have subsided and the Silver River is swamped with members and their guests in this sub-tropical resort. Come early as the best spots are claimed quickly.

turtlesIn the euphoria of sun-kissed bliss, unlikely romantic liaisons often occur. Sometimes the emboldened advancements are embarrassing...

turtle and anhingaWater aerobics are popular. Yoga and other stretching exercises are encouraged.

water aerobicsIf you prefer solitude in the sun, consider your own private island, available to elite members on demand.

alligatorSerious athletic-types enjoy access to unlimited space and opportunity for long distance swims.

gator swimmingWhen you come right down to it all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. All the rest is nothing. - Pablo Picasso

Friday, October 17, 2008

Legends of Racing

Tomorrow's fourth race on the card at Santa Anita is an allowance providing mounts for the "Living Legends" - Hall of Fame champion jockeys coaxed out of retirement. They be: Pat Day, Julie Krone, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Chris McCarron, Angel Cordero Jr., Sandy Hawley and Jacinto Vasquez - it can't get any better than that. Not just an exhibition race, it's the real deal with pari-mutual wagering.

I received an e-mail today from my friend Tom Chapman out in California who is himself a former race-rider turned terrific artist. He's painted a fantastic, and I mean *fantastic* depiction of some of the legendary characters squeezing back into various silks.

living legends
The piece is an absolute hoot, and you can read more about it here, including Tom's inspiration and ideas on his website. Giclees of the original are also available.

Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men's reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ''the rat race'' is not yet final. - Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


One of the many benefits of my artists salon, "Out of Hand Artists", is the inspiration gleaned from each other. Gathering together at different members studios every other week is something I really look forward to. We exchange information, network, fill each other in on what's occurring in the arts and with ourselves, support and suggest, drink wine and just be a group of professional artists in very good company. Did I mention we all kick back with a glass or two of wine?

OoHA member Carlynne Hershberger creates highly textured, beautifully pigmented abstracts that give reference to tangible places in nature, but mostly exist in luscious form, movement and color. She and her studio/workshop partner Kelli Money Huff published a North Light Book last year, "Creative Colored Pencil Workshop". But the book is about much more. Inside you'll find fascinating exercises combining colored pencils with other mediums and of course - finger loving texture.

You could say Carlynne inspired me to put away the oils for a bit and play.

horse painting"Cavorting" 10"x13", mixed media

The image was rendered in acrylics which are not my medium as the oiler in me wants to work wet-in-wet. I found my way around that dilemma by using a very large brush, painting simply and quickly. But the real fun was going crazy with the texture. Applying both silver and gold leaf, glass beads acrylic texture gel along with a bit of black lava texture gel and many layers later, I was smiling. I felt as good as the horse kicking up the glass and metal surf.

"Paint like you're retired." - Carlynne Hershberger (Carlynne and Kelli's blog can be accessed at my list to the right.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dinner Guests

If you could invite any three living persons to dinner, who would you ask? That's the question posed by Katie Couric last night to the presidential candidates. Which of course, spurred my noggin into gear...who would I ask?

Warren Buffet, for his phenomenal knowledge of money and his generosity in sharing said knowledge. Deepak Chopra for my spiritual fix. And then I thought about who I'd invite from the art biz, a mentor type, an icon, a mover and shaker. Reality check...all my heroes have passed on. Try as I might, I couldn't think of a single art-related person from whom I would glean insight, great knowledge, or the secret to flaming art world success. Someone who'd exude an aura of gigantic significance over mashed potatoes. You know, the person who's aesthetic brilliance and insight would leave us all jaw-dropping spellbound.

So, who would YOU ask to dinner? And you artists out there, what art biz celebrity/sage/business icon is worthy of one of those precious three invites? Perhaps you would choose someone local, closer to you who has created a significant impact on your art career.

"The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it". - Author Unknown

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Reception at FTBOA

A few photos of our reception at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association last Wednesday evening. Courtesy of photographer Steve Floethe and

florida thoroughbred charitiesRealtor Lorrett Fisher, Quarter Pole Tack Shop owner Jim Au and realtor Becky Faircloth.

florida thoroughbred breeders' and owners' associationMy book partner Dale Jarusik and a couple of art lovers.

equine art exhibit 2008Friends and art lovers in front of my painting "On the Grass".

horse paintingsSculptor Mindy Colton with one of her bronzes.

equine artAnd of course moi in front of my nine-panel piece, "Diagonal".

-on seeing his 1967 retrospective
"It gives me the feeling that I should continue heading in the direction I am taking". E. J. Hughes

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Reception Tonight

The opening reception for the Florida Thoroughbred Charities Equine Art Exhibit 2008 is today, October 1st. Viewing begins at 2:30 with a "meet and greet" the artists between 4:30 and 6:30. All this takes place at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association at 801 SW 60th Ave. in Ocala.

Michael has assembled a diverse group of artists representing painting styles from realism to abstract. Same for sculpture. Besides my huge piece "Diagonal", I've added this painting that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

thoroughbred painting"On the Grass" oil on canvas, 34" x 60"

I'm pleased with the color. Throughout the years I've studied Johannes Itten and Josef Albers along with color field painters Ellsworth Kelly and Morris Louis. I recall a painting teacher making us cut up expensive Color Aid paper for projects to duplicate Itten's color theories. His book "The Art of Color" became my studio bible.

In the last few years I've discovered a modern colorist, Nita Leland. Not academic as the aforementioned, her book "Exploring Color" is still fun to browse through.

"Only those who love color are admitted to its beauty and immanent presence. It affords utility to all, but unveils its deeper mysteries only to its devotees". - Johannes Itten