December 20, 2008

Have Blessed Christmas

I painted this in 1993 from a photograph of a German sculpture. The red yellow & blue make a positive almost happy feeling. The rose was painted from life.

"Out Of Egypt"

December 11, 2008

Case Western Reserve University, Art Studio Student Exhibition

Dustin Fisher drew a very graphic portrait of his brother. Dustin is a Physics Major and was one of the best students in the class. I'm writing a letter of recommendation for an Engineering Major who is applying to IIT, RISD, & SCAD for a Masters degree in Industrial Design. These science people are the best and most responsive students I've ever had.

I teach Design and Color I & II: 2D & 3D
Joanne Giordano teaches Fibers. Jinmeng Zhang took all 3 classes and is applying to Medical Schools. That's her wire sculpture, silk scarf, and stitched photo collage in the middle. I hope it helped her eye to hand motor skills. Jinmeng offered me a free operation when she becomes a surgeon, if I need one.
Lauren Kory and Mridu Kapil were very helpful in hanging the show. They really surprised me with an extra burst of energy at the end of the semester. Those are two of the projects above us: "Figure/Ground" and "Shapes In Space"

Maxwell Stern's Kinetic Sculpture, Arts 201

I gave the 3D students a battery operated motor and they designed a kinetic sculpture. Max is an aficionado of everything hip hop: turntables, NYC subways, and graffiti.

Jinmeng Zhang's Kinetic Sculpture

Jinmeng used 4 cd's with spider & web images. The colors are inspired by the prismatic reflections.

Lauren Kwasniewski's Kinetic Sculpture

Lauren was deeply affected by a yellow jacket attack as a child. I hope she worked out some of the bad memories.

December 4, 2008

Portrait of Brian Walker

A friend commissioned this portrait in 1980. We had a photo session on the roof of his apartment in Hell's Kitchen. That is the world trade center in the background. Brian was at first freaked out that his eyes were closed. I was making a contrast of inner & outer worlds. New York is so crazy that looking inward is one way to find peace. What freaks me out, now, is that lone white cloud at the top of the towers.

preliminary sketch for Portrait of Brian Walker

I begin commissions with a small sketch. The basic composition, color harmony and size are planned. I like to hear feedback from the client. I can't ever remember having to change my initial ideas, but I am willing to accommodate suggestions.

December 3, 2008

"Self Portrait"

This image was drawn and carved into a piece of cardboard while I was looking into a mirror. My left hand was actually holding the drawing board. Layers of cardboard were peeled back to create the highlights. It was gessoed, rolled with black ink, and printed on an etching press. A surprising success, my teacher, Mr. Cassill called it the "sad poet from Ireland".

Portrait of James Bigwood

This portrait, by David L. Swazey, was painted from a black and white photograph in the 40's. The technique of using broken color gives lots of realism to the flesh hues. There is actually lots of blue, grey and green in the skin color. Red highlights at the ears, corner of eye lids, and the knuckles give the figure life. I used this style and technique for the St. Charles saint portraits.

November 29, 2008


My homage to Georges de La Tour was a challenge and a lot of fun to paint. Every object was painted from life. The moth was a casualty of the screen door, not the candle. My art dealer told me that a young boy told his parents he wanted to be an artist after seeing it. Bon Chance you little one.

November 28, 2008

"Zeus And Nike"

The earliest angel images evolved from Egyptian female figures created with bird heads and wings about 4000 BC. These developed into the Goddess Isis image circa 1800 BC. The Greek Goddess Nike, 500 BC, was derived from these Egyptian precedents. The early Byzantine Christian Church, 400-600 AD, transformed the Greek & Roman prototypes into their own.

November 25, 2008

"Vessel of Honor"

Transparent planes of primary colors overlap creating a triangle. The female form is like a vase. This old painting, 1988, inspires me to paint a new still life with a Mrs. Buttersworth syrup bottle.

November 24, 2008

"A Secret Place"

Painted in 1988, I gave this one to dear Aunt Rosie who is now departed. That's my shadow.

November 21, 2008

"Devotion and Peace" 50" x 25"

I decided to paint three angel paintings with three different color harmonies based on each of the primaries. This is the yellow one. The pose is based on an ancient Byzantine icon. I think the blue painting needs some more work. The head is too small and I want to change the pose. The great thing about a painting is that you can easily change it.

"Love And Gratitude"

This is the red angle vase painting. The attribute of this angel is love and gratitude. The inspiration is a red figure Greek vase angel. I think this is the best of the three and it was sold to a collector in California, who has a very good eye. He also has another of my favorites: "Nocturne".

November 18, 2008

"Niche One"

It is one of the first niche paintings I did. There is a relationship between these and the cube paintings. It is the relationship between the curvelinear and the rectilinear. The dichotomy of organic and mechanical is there. Architectural drawing systems and building measurements are fascinating. I love to calculate the placement of bricks and the challenge of creating a convincing illusion.

November 17, 2008


I painted this in Paris, 1987. I found this slide and decided to post it after receiving an email from an old friend who said he is opening a new gallery in Marseilles. Ooh La La. Where's that passport?

"Ms. Olympia"

This painting was purchased by the Cleve. Clinic around 1990. The vase has an image of Herculese fighting an amazon woman. The mug has an image of Ms. Olympia, the body building contest for women. The Dixie cups have a cartoon of Linus insulting Nancy. Teresa DeChant the Clinic art consultant at that time thought this would look great in the cafeteria, because it's about health. It was. The shadow is of someone who made me heart sick. I recovered.

November 14, 2008

"I Remember Euclid Beach"

University Hospitals in Cleveland, commissioned the painting on top for a waiting room. I based the painting on some photos. I shot this one not realizing there was a rainbow ending near the old woman's head. I saw it after I developed the negative and printed it. That is Ellen Spivak sitting on the blanket, reading the news paper. I painted her plein air on a beautiful fall afternoon in 1993.

November 10, 2008


A friend who knew he was dying, bought this painting. Maybe he liked it because there wasn't much to think about when looking at it. One can appreciate the movement of the lines and the gradation of the blossoms from small to large.

November 9, 2008

Three New Pieces By European Artists At The Cleveland Clinic

After visiting dear Aunt Shirley who is fighting cancer on the 8th floor, I ran into an art tour of new art acquisitions and commissions for the hospital. There is a huge display of cascading, rotating random alphabet letters hung from wires. There's a painting of a bed that looks like a roller coaster. There's also a large watercolor of a little boy rowing a boat looking at an empty space shaped like two figures. There is so much to think about here. I have an art education so I am familiar with this kind of cutting edge art. (which is not really cutting edge because it is taught in schools). I really wonder what an average, down to earth, family man thinks as he is confronted with these art works, as he leaves his sick wife. I'll have to ask Uncle John.

November 4, 2008

"Meadow On The Cove", painting in progress

The place is called "Meadow on the Cove", it is in Orleans on Cape Cod. Only wild native plants are allowed to grow. I can think of no more beautiful way to landscape. Memories of Aunt Mary's farm in Andover, OH, come flooding back.

October 31, 2008

Plein Air, Fort Hill, Eastham, MA

Painting on Cape Cod is a dream come true. There really is a "cape light". The Cape is a peninsula, extending 65 miles into the Atlantic. There is a tremendous amount of sun reflection from the ocean which creates an unusual clarity and sparkle.

October 30, 2008

Painting "Two Paths"

A passerby shot this photo of me. He told me how his father learned to paint: He bought inexpensive framed reproductions from Woolworths and painted over the existing brush strokes, one by one. I had many painting teachers. The best was Joseph Jankowski, who studied at the Art Students League. I took his painting course at the Cleveland Institute of Art circa 1973. I fear that good old classical painting techniques are now becoming a lost art

October 29, 2008

"Before The First Frost"

Ah, the joys of Plein Air painting! The French really got it right. I set up the French eisel on a perfect October day at Beckwith Orchard. That is the dalhia garden of Ray Wilkins. He is a retired professor from KSU. I had a nice chat with him. It was sad that with the economic
meltdown, he might have to downscale his retirement plans. As he had warned me, the dalhias all disintigrated after the first frost. I shot many photos of him and the garden, and plan to paint a series.

October 25, 2008


She was the goddess of women, childbirth, and marriage. Zeus cheated on her constantly. A nymph named Echo had the job of distracting Hera from knowledge of Zeus's escapades. She cursed Echo to only be able to repeat the words of others. Neoclassicissm can be a curse if the repeating of motifs leads only to the past. A painter, R. Ryan said, "Neoclassicism is cheating."

October 20, 2008

"The Wanderer"

An art dealer informed me that these paintings were kitch. I said, "Of course they're kitch. I love kitch." I also love the late work of Picabia and the neoclassicism of Picasso. Carlo Mariani can really paint. Let's not forget John Currin. Have you seen what Jim Dine is up to? He used laser scanners to enlarge Greek figurines from 100 BC, at the Getty Villa. He then made wood carvings of them. Way to go, kitchmeister!

"He Met Her In A Dream"

There is a song by Bjork with the lyric: "I miss you, but I haven't met you yet."

"Wake Upon Another Shore"

Someone called these types of paintings my "see through vase paintings". We can see the world, the ancient life in a vase.

October 16, 2008


This circus painting is quite large: 96" x 48". The three ring circus idea is mashed up with transparent planes and a gold leaf outlined horse head. The picture is from a slide as are all of the circus paintings in the following posts.

October 15, 2008

"The Source" oil on shaped canvas

This painting is going to be put up for sale at Sotheby's by a collector. Yikes. It will be the first time one of my children has been sold that way.

October 13, 2008


A Yogi once asked me "What tastes better? Lemon and Lemon or Sugar and Lemon? He was teaching me a fundamental truth about life and love. No, those aren't ants jumping on the grapefruit.

October 8, 2008

"On Both Ends At Once"

One of the first paintings I did in the Spring Street loft. I designed this to be hung from the cieling.

"The Double Twist Of Death"

I painted this at the Edward Albee Foundation, in Montauk, N.Y. in 1979. It was quite an experience being there. It is a summer workshop in a barn. I had a huge studio. There were two painters, and three writers there. One of the writers was James Lapine, who has come to great success: "Sunday In The Park With George" was written by him. Nogouchi dropped by one day wearing shorts and flip-flops...and I had dinner in Mr. Albee's famous mirrored dinning room. Excuse me for the poor quality of the picture: It's from an old slide.

October 5, 2008

"Out Of The Bottomless Sea"

In ancient Greek mythology, Poseidon lives with the dolphins in a bejeweled palace at the bottom of the ocean. In Marvel comics he lives in Atlantis. In this vase he fights a monster.

September 30, 2008

"Knucklebones I" & "Knucklebones II"

Knucklebones was an ancient game played with animal bones. This very detailed painting was lost in a collectors house fire. I was commissioned to replicate the original. Thinking about painting the same image twice reminds me of a great show of Al Held's at Emerich gallery circa 1978: Al painted two identical geometric abstracts. One was a mirror image. The paintings were hung on oposite walls and the effect was magic.

There are a few differences between Knucklebones I and II. Remember "Highlights for Children" ?

September 29, 2008

"Eagles" and "Lions"

These are paintings of doors in the Society Bank building, designed by John Root of the Chicago firm, Burnham and Root. The 1889 design shows influences of Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance styles. I have since used this pointed Gothic arch shape and proportion in many of my paintings. The turn of the century produces a plethora of synthesized eclectic styles in all the arts. Look at our current art scene: any thing goes. Art and Architecture critics are mostly confused. There is one, Barbara Rose, who got it right. In a lecture at Yale, circa 1977, she predicted what I see and embrace as an expression of the convergence of cultures, styles, & historical references: Postmodernism. Long live Robert Stern and John Currin.

September 28, 2008

"Soldiers And Sailors Monument"

The monument honoring the four branches of the Union Army as seen through a Gothic arch window of the old Society Bank building. The Civil War memorial on Cleveland's public square was built in 1894. How different Maya Lin's memorial to the Vietnam Veterans is. They both contain long lists of dead warriors. Where are the lists of the dead civilians?

September 15, 2008

"Old Stone Church"

Society Bank commissioned this and 4 other paintings in 1992 for their new building. How sad that the new Society/Key Bank skyscraper now dwarfs our beloved Terminal Tower. A fantasy: Terminal Tower could have been our Eiffel Tower, with all the other newer and taller buildings located west of the city, in Lakewood. This is a view out of the original Society Bank board room window showing the Old Stone Church, which contains some exquisite Tiffany window.

"Terminal Tower"

When the Society for Savings building was built in 1890 it was the tallest "skyscraper" in Ohio. It had 10 stories. This is a view out of the board room in 1992. The Gothic arch window is an exact representation of the existing leaded window.

"Music Festival"

This lithograph is colored with the pochoir method. "Pochoir" is French for guess what? Stencil!
Duh. Everything sounds better in French, like "Giclee", which means spurt. A mylar stencil is cut for each color with a hot burner tool, and high quality watercolors are brushed on.

September 6, 2008

1996, Cleveland Transit Station Bench, "Native American Settlements"

The first of six benches showed scenes of fishing and canoe building on the Cuyahoga River during the Whittlesey Period, 1000 to 1600 AD. This theme was not in my original design. It was suggested to me by Hunter Morrison, then the director of Cleveland City Planning. Thanks!

"Are We There Yet?",Public Art Commission, 1996, Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Only a printmaker would think of sandblasting deep lines in 1/2" thick glass, and wiping black enamel into them. When dry the surface was scraped clean with a razor blade. There are six bench-wind screens on the East bank of the Cuyahoga River. They are like huge intaglio plates that I inked and never printed. I have worked on printing a set of smaller etchings based on these images.