June 30, 2008

Mr. H. Carroll Cassill, 1928-2008, Professor Emeritus, Cleveland Institute of Art

After he had passed away in a dream he told me, "I was a good teacher." TRUE! Some of his bon mots: "Manifest destiny is the theme of your work for this year. Ancient techniques are best because innovative ones become outdated. Making good art should be similar to making good food. It is OK to realize that some of what your teachers say is wrong."
I also have a distinct memory of Mr. Cassill telling April, "I feel my role here is like Ma Joad's in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. I tell everybody to stay on the car all the while knowing we might never get to that happy place in California." Well, April Gornik did get there. The print room was where it was happening. It was messy and the intelectual fire was fed by John Baird.

June 27, 2008

"Still Life"

Could this be the first Greek vase I painted?
If one believes in past lives, no. It is fun to take photos in museums, and I went hog wild with the camera in the Met's Greek vase room. The push and pull of the cube makes this anything but still.

June 26, 2008

"Shrimp Dinner"

The cat Luther was streetwise. All black, and not fixed, he came and went as he pleased. He was one of the few who could fit into the ambiguous cube. I enjoyed having the tail just touch the edge of the canvas. Tangents are a no no in art school.

June 24, 2008

"All Lights Be On"

Although our cat Ritty had never visited the Chatham light house, in 2007 he posed for a photo, used in this painting. He was a very old cat here, and little did I know he would leave us in a year's time. Gail adopted him from Grandma Gloria. He enjoyed eating mice and chipmunks. Legend has it that in his prime, he killed "Shadow" in Euclid, Ohio. He lived out his elder years in Twin Lakes, lounging on the deck sporting a harness. Ritty passed away on June 23 at 12:30 PM. He was 22 years old. His human family and friends will all miss him.

Some comments: "Ritty must certainly have been one of the best loved cats in the world. I will miss him terribly." (Missy), "Ritty was lucky to have had you all as his family. He was a sweet lover boy. " (Dianna), "We'll all certainly miss our old friend. I'm glad that he lived out his many years in a loving home." (Dr. Bob, Hudson Vet), "We all loved him like he was one of our own. We were lucky to have known him." (Lori) "He had a good attitude." Jamie

June 22, 2008

"All Lights Be Out"

When I pulled this small cat print at the Cleveland Institute of Art, the print instructor, H. Caroll Cassill, ceremoniously and silently returned a pile of bombastic abstract prints I had made. I got the message. This etching is of my pair of Siamese. After hearing a radio add for free cats on WMMS, I adopted them. They were smart enough to play fetch and raced around the Coventry apartment at all hours.

June 12, 2008

"Herculese, Artist, & Model"

I painted this in 1986, showing a jar of that body building-high protein powder, my shadow, and a vase with Herculese on it. Reminds me of the friend who said that in a past life I was a model who wanted to be an artist.

June 11, 2008

"Stop It Herculese"

A favorite theme is Herculese escaping from a fight with the Lion.

June 10, 2008

"Saltmarsh At Wellfleet"

Plein air is French for open air. I love to paint plein air because ones senses are focused. There is a limited time to capture the scene, so speed and economy of means are crucial. Unnecessary details are eliminated. (There is a pier and many houses in the distance which were not painted in.) I remember exactly how I felt last year in late July while painting this. At low tide the tiny fiddler crabs came up out of their sand holes to keep me company, each with their one large flailing claw. When my tendinitis flares up, I think of them. This painting and others like the Greek vase/wine ones can be seen at Kendall Gallery in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod.

How I Feel After Painting My But Off For 30 Years, When My Tendonitis Flares Up

Maybe Duchamp was right: Just quit making art and play chess. But I never thought art was a game. I certainly didn't want to play his anti- art game. (I know what Art is, and it is not an intellectual game. Puns and urinals do not give me goose bumps.) I can't paint for more than 45 min. with out the tendinitis flaring up. I am getting into teaching: BIG TIME. It is time to give back.

June 9, 2008


An art dealer returned this painting to me and I reworked it. There were some obvious details that to my eye needed to be fine tuned. I added a figure in the wine glass, a laurel wreath in the walking figure's hand, and a grape on the cork.

"Peel Me A Grape"

It was fun to obscure the dart decoration near the foot of the vase with a wine bottle. The half circle arc shape, following the line of grapes and figures creates a most pleasing and peacefull composition.

June 8, 2008

"Milk And Honey"

All of the objects were painted from life except the Egyptian statue which was painted from a photo. I remember painting this at Belvoir Terrace where I sometimes did painting demonstrations during class. One student suggested I add the apple slice to symbolize the sweetness of life. Another student was intrigued by my technique of using two colors simultaneously to paint pitted stone texture. "Aha! I knew it was a trick." she said.

June 6, 2008

"Toys Of The Dark Ages"

In 1995 I bought these very realistic plastic toys for one dollar each in the inner city neighborhood where my studio was located. Before painting the guns, I easily removed the orange plastic tips with pliers. These tips were presumably added to distinguish the toys from real guns. How can we expect our children to resolve conflict in a safe and sane way when this is what they play with? Around the same time a youth was shot and killed by police who thought his toy gun was real.

June 3, 2008

" I Can't Tell A Lie"

Tax time makes us think of wanting to save money.
Our economic stimulus checks haven't arrived.
Maraschino cherries have artificial color and no pits but the fancy ones have stems.

June 1, 2008

"Bhikshu, The Monk"

Made by the Chinese
A Gold Buddha
The Monk
Everything Is
Made in China