For me, Thanksgiving is always a time to express gratitude. A not so small part of that gratitude is unapologetically for stuffing, one great American side that I only make and eat during this holiday.
I am grateful for a lot of other things too, of course - family, friends, a warm bed at night, health, a society that still needs my work, and food enough to keep me standing and able to put one foot in front of the other.
I'm also grateful for people who come to this country from all over the world looking for those things, and also freedoms they don't have where they're from. They are always a reminder to me that we as individuals are only as well off as the community in which we live, and if they have an alternative to stuffing, I can honestly and with gratitude declare with hand over heart, that I would be open to it.
Thanksgiving 2017 • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
To say the weather has been looney lately would be a gross
understatement. And when the weather gets looney, so does the rest of the planet. But when we humans get looney, we are the only ones, I think, to blame it on the moon.
Humans have been blaming the moon on everything they can get away with blaming it on, from mental instability and generally bad behavior, to bodily breakdowns and uncontrollable physical aggression. As far as I can determine, only tides and Wolfman have the right to blame the moon.
Fortunately, science has debunked a lot of the moon lore out there. But for those whose brains refuse scientific proof, even though they do seem to understand and accept the scientific existence of their own brains, the moon will continue to be a major source of blame for just about everything they refuse to take responsibility for.
Blame It On The Moon • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Whoa - that was fast! What was, is no longer in a short 24 hours thanks to a big wind that blew my leaves, and my painting, clear to the coast.
I painted this last week figuring I had some time before the landscape flipped. Having no expectations and being flexible aren't new concepts, they're part of staying in the present. I made a mistake thinking I had more time.
What Was Is No Longer • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Let's face it, we are a universe of drama. Stars are exploding, our very existence is ever expanding and morphing, and we as animals continue to evolve. We've gone through major drama in this country before. What's happening now is nothing new. At least right now, we're not hurling grenades and bombs at each other, literally anyway, unless you count gun violence which is referred to as an "epidemic."
I take a drive around the countryside quite often to look at what the planet is doing. It takes my mind off what's happening in my own small life, in state and federal governments, and the world. I suppose we're entitled to throw a human volcano, earthquake, tornado or hurricane out there just like the planet does, but human drama is never a lesson in humility and place in the realm of things. Human drama is always ugly and mean and cruel. Will we ever learn - I hope so.
The Drama Out There • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12"• $250
All full moons are an excuse to cut loose and act like a fool, and fall seems to be an especially fine time of the year to be foolish with the moon - Halloween is coming up, and muggles expect abnormal behavior.
In my experience, to be foolish is simply to be human. But to be foolish with a full moon is to be unconditionally, mindlessly, deliriously human.
To Be Foolish With A Full Moon 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250 • To purchase this painting on your mobile device, please scroll down and click on "View web version." The link to purchase is on the panel to the right. All others please see panel to the right.
Is there a place where we feel safe, love what we do, are healthy, embrace community, and treat all humans with love, respect and compassion all of the time? Maybe for some, but certainly not for most.
So I imagine a peaceful place for a minute or two every day so I won't forget it's there. It balances out the work that needs to be done.
Some Peace • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Like a fabric woven from the people who live there, the foothills in Maine are unique - there's no other place like it. When I married in to Maine, it was the people I loved the most. And then I fell in love with the land and the farms I passed on my drives every day that were growing food and raising critters - still a big part of life in Maine back then.
Today there's a movement afoot to protect those farms and get them producing again. I hope the young folks who are making a go of it can make a decent living. I hope too, that they continue to insist there is a way to survive doing what they love to do.
Surviving in Maine • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
I sketched this house I found on North Haven over the summer because, well, it's summer again. My garden is looking like something out of an August issue of House and Gardens - I have a flower that bloomed in July, dried it's blossoms in August, and then shot up a new shoot of flowers a week ago. It's not supposed to be doing that.
And whereas my brain is getting anxious to see fall colors, and my body is starting it's hibernation process, there's no way anything is evolving in that natural direction. It's hot, it's humid, and so it's summer, again. It's what I would call a September summer conundrum - do I love it, or am I alarmed?
September Summer Conundrum • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
So...I wouldn’t describe this summer as a banner one weather wise. It’s been a tad cool and windy. And cool and windy has been happening at the same time - reminding me a lot of winter. But as some year-rounders have rationalized, Maine’s climate builds character.
Once in a while I’ll reminisce about a week I spent on Monhegan Island - it seems to be where I go in my head when I think about a perfect summer day. This particular day the sun was in full bloom, the wind tucked away and the air worth bottling. I ignored most of the reasons artists go out there to paint and kibitzed with the locals at the coffee spot most mornings and afternoons forcing myself to paint in between. When I’m visiting a beautiful island, sitting still just doesn’t work for me, so I walked about the island. This painting is a corner I encountered. We had a lovely visit. Just Around the Corner on Monhegan Island • 8"x 8" acrylic framed to 12"x 12" • $250
We couldn't figure out what was missing. And then Tom got it. Buoys. Usually a seriously challenging obstacle course during the summer cruising months, early spring is fairly clear on Penobscot Bay.
Between a sea of buoys and armada of fishing boats, ferries, and the hoardes of summer yachters like us, the bay can be one big hazzard. It's almost worth freezing our butts off to get out a month early.
Boats and Buoys • 8" x 8" acrylic framed to 12" x 12" • $250
Forgetting again, that it doesn't warm up in Maine for good until the Fourth of July, the idea of sailing off across a 50 degree body of water in a light and finicky 50 degree breeze was not what we had envisioned over the long winter as our shakedown cruise for 2017.
It was Tom who made the first move - he unfastened the sail cover. Guess we're going sailing, I grumbled under my breath pulling on my ski jacket, hat and gloves, already cold, but always a glutton for punishment and never mind that we might be found adrift, frozen in place, both of us with goofy smiles on our faces as if we had lapsed further in to a euphoric insanity split seconds before death finally got a hold of us.
As it turned out, the sea and weather gods decided to humor the captain. The wind and tide, pushed us pleasantly down through the thoroughfare and in to Perry Creek, where we spent a cool quiet moonlit night eating baked beans and playing cribbage, and a long slow sunlit morning marveling at the surrounding beauty that was holding us captive.
Shakedown Sail • 8" x 8" framed to 12" x 12" • $250
We spot the first sail out in the bay, and life as we know it takes off like a caged bird set free. We try to work, but what's the point if our boat is on the hard. We don't bother to brush our teeth until we are forced to leave what feels like a cave now, for food. And who cares what the news says today - the weather is our master now. Something we cannot control we are now a slave to as we watch the skies like a hawk for the sun and a decent breeze. It's a miserable existence - it's spring in the life of a sailor.
Out of necessity we learn to breathe deeply to relax so that we can put things back in to perspective. We realize the need to work and earn money so that we can toss all of it, every cent, to that bottomless whirlpool in the ocean we call our boat. We acknowledge that we have to brush and floss our teeth or it will cost us a new jib. And we have to pay attention to the news and continue to participate or there will be no planet to sail on.
We learn not to be so selfish and get used to patiently waiting by counting our blessings. We remind ourselves that life will, and must, continue to go on regardless of whether or not we are on our boat, in the water, skipping along a flat sea to the sound of our sails filled with a beautiful little summer breeze heading downwind and east. Waiting • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
It was the spring of 2017 and the yard was hosting a feast of epic proportions. On the table were grubs, just grubs - but millions of them, all for the taking. The uninvited guests came from far and wide - the word was out, the party was on. Skunks silently dug divots while moles tunneled underground during the night as the homefolk slept.
And when the sun threw wisps of light across the morn, and the guests had slid back and down in to an inebriated slumber, then and only then, did the crow come. It swept in, quietly circling, searching for what might have been left behind, then floated lightly to the ground to patrol the small shallow holes and squiggly fat lines that splattered and raced across the landscape like an accidental masterpiece left by drunken artisans. It waited for a mistake.
That's what they do, the crows. They wait for a mistake.
Waiting For a Mistake • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
I've decided to embrace the weather because hell, why fight it? Besides, gray can be beautiful. It's always subtle, quiet and soft. It tones us down, cools our jets, turns off the higher frequencies.
Gray conjures up images of dank, dark cities - fogbound seaports, where a murder is committed in a back alleyway as lamposts, casting eerily diffused gangrene light, turn the color of a trickle of blood running the gutter a sticky brown.
Today however, I envision a sleepy summer house set alone. When they from away return, there will be flowers in bloom. A gull with a broken neck, dead and petrified will drape their doorstep. It is there now.
Getting in to Gray • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
I was out on a fast walk around the hill the other day, and happened upon this little parade of daffodils against an older house on a more obscure side street. With all of the metal going up around here, the slick new designer paint jobs on re-habs, not to mention Hamptons-style landscaping, this was a welcomed relief to the eyeballs. It was simple, it was humble, and it was a real Maine scene. I hope it's around come next spring, but the way things are changing, it may not be. So, for the record, I've decided to preserve this sweet little old city garden.
It's a March thing. It happens almost every year. We start looking at seed catalogs, and then BOOM, it's a good old fashioned nor'easter. Nothing like getting dumped on and back in to winter to keep you humble.
Getting Dumped On and Back In To Winter • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
The moon was west of overhead, the night cold and still in the city, when a piercing cry ricocheted through the streets like a lance being ground through a thick coat of armor. The season of yeowlers had begun. I pulled my earplugs, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, got out of bed, opened and then poked my head out the window to look around, and found I was the only sleeper awake at that hour. How can people not hear this, or maybe they do and just put their pillows over their heads?
I never can spot them, but when the weather allows for open window snoozing, their mournful quest for life and a good mate has all of the drama of an opera, a good sad one. There are anywhere from 11,000 to
30,000 homeless cats in Maine alone. Although many lost and neglected end up in Maine’s
licensed animal shelters (around 90 in all), in 2012 more than 5,000 cats were euthanized because homes could not be found for them. About one of every five cats that enters a Maine
shelter is euthanized. Puccini for sure.
Yeowlers • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
In spite of the mini skyscrapers lining the roadways, Maine is suddenly feeling like spring. But we who know better, know better than to get all giddy. We've been fooled before. We've all witnessed March barrel out of the heavens like a howling other-worldly avalanche.
So, for those of you who don't understand this to be what it really is - a brief mental respite from our deep winter drift, I offer this landscape. It's an alternative to what is really out there. Please don't believe it.
An Alternative Winter • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
I live with a marketing guy who believes Valentine's Day is one of Hallmark's greatest cons. I know other people feel the same way, so I'm really not singling out a man who I know loves me dearly, but shows it by leading me down hair-raising ski trails instead.
As it turns out, the 'ole boy wasn't far from the truth. It would appear that it all started when ancient Roman men celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from
Feb. 13 to 15 when they sacrificed goats and a dogs, and then as a finale, whipped their women with the hides of the
animals they had just slain. The men were drunk and naked of course, and the young women would line up to be
hit believing (remember blue balls girls) the ritual made them fertile. Later that night there was a matchmaking lottery where young men drew the
names of women from a jar. The couples would then hang for
the duration of the festival and if the amour was exceptional, it was considered, perhaps, a match for life.
In the 3rd century A.D., Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both named Valentine on Feb. 14 of different years. Their martyrdom
was honored by the Catholic Church, hence St.
Later in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I combined St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia to put a lid on
the pagan ritual. Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin's
Day. Galatin meant "lover of women" which was likely confused with St.
Valentine's Day at some point in part because they sound alike.
Some years later, Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized
the day, and handmade paper cards became the token of the day.
The industrial revolution in the New World led the way to factory-made cards and in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began
mass producing them.
According to market research firm IBIS
World, Valentine's Day sales exceed $18.6 billion.
So, for those who believe, Happy Valentine's Day. For the rest of us, and Valentine's Day aside, enjoy the full winter moon chaos. Hang in there, be the blizzard, and know that it will all settle down eventually as it always does and be even more stunningly beautiful.
Full Winter Moon Chaos • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
I force myself to take a walk around the neighborhood every morning without my much needed glasses on. The exercise not only wakes me up, navigating sans glasses keeps me alert and anti-depresses my eyeballs with natural light. Plus I can pretend I'm on another planet - which is pretty easy to do because I am so nearsighted it truly does look like another planet.
What I do see without my glasses however, is a glimpse of a remarkable place made up of an infinite number of shapes and colors. It's a reminder of why it's important, when I do have my glasses on, to acknowledge the simple fabric beneath the superfluous detail. The Simple Fabric Beneath the Superfluous Detail • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" 8 $250
I don't think I've been this riled up since Nixon and the Vietnam War, so I won't use this blog to rant about the current state of affairs in this country. It would be like watching Manchester By the Sea, which was an awesome movie by the way, but tough to sit through.
As a reprieve from the enormous amount of energy it takes to stay on top of what's going on out there with facts and alternate facts, I painted Silence. It helped. I'll be going for a walk in a few to test my primal instincts to survive the ice out there, in silence. After that, I will jump back in to the political arena to test my survival instincts with a loud speaker. Keep the pressure on, but take a break in silence in between.
Silence • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250
With four world leaders who embrace bullying, and who will have their fingers on nuclear detonators, in a seemingly never-ending line of misery and injustice crossing the world stage in 2017, it's not hard to slide in to a feeling of total despair. Though it would appear that the beast in man has been unleashed, remember that rational thought, love, tolerance, compassion and community are what a majority of people on this planet represent.
May The Force Be With You, our world leaders, and those who give us the information we need to make informed decisions in this next chapter.
Peace in the New Year 2017 • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250