29 April 2007

A New Find...

We have just added this artist to our gallery. Chris Bechler. I had to share. He's very good. He is at the beginning of his career. I can't say enough about how much I like his work.

These photos wont do them justice but here they are anyway. Oil on canvas, using a renaissance type technique of layered glazing, they glow.

28 April 2007

The Most Frightening Thing I've Learned In Years...

After digging up the past I have made an astounding discovery.

In the last twenty years, I have put on 65 pounds.

Several of you have met me now. I'm not over weight. At 6'3" I am currently 225. Normal.

65 pounds!

Where have I put them all?

It's freakin me out man!

I need a donut.

26 April 2007

Run Over By The Past...Part 3

I found myself sitting on the floor of my studio, at 2:30 in the morning, surrounded by photographs. It seems like a lifetime ago. I have changed and grown so much since then. As I sorted through the almost 1000 photos, ten years of my life, it was like a time machine. I could see myself back in those places. I could smell and feel the things pictured. I could hear the conversations we had as I click through the rolls of film.

I noticed how many times that my sister and my family were in the photos. I noticed how few, her sisters and family were in. Of all of them, I found only a few. All of the photos of her family were from long before I had even met Shelly.

For almost a decade I wondered about Shelly's family. I have tried to put myself in their place. Is there anything that could happen between my sister and I that would keep us apart for nine years? I can't begin to even imagine such a thing.

What could anything that I kept of Shelly's life, or our life together, possibly mean to them? They missed more than a quarter of her life. My photos are exactly that, my photos. My memories.

There is one photo album from her childhood. They looked happy. It's none of the people I knew. It is all Shelly had of her family. A few dozen photos from more than twenty years earlier.

There was a note book that Shelly started a letter to her father in. He died before she could give it to him. She talked about how sad she was about not being in contact with any of them.
She felt as though her sisters hated her for some reason. She didn't mention what the reasons were. She loved them all but they caused her pain, so she let them go.

I will never know what happened between them. There are no clues left. Over the years I have slowly let go of the things I kept. I gave them to worthy causes. The few things that I still have
were in some way meaningful to me. I had saved jewelry and trinkets that I have been slowly giving to my nieces. I'm not sure they even remember their aunt Shelly anymore. I saved the photos of us.

I tried to move on long ago.

I am going to send her sister the photo album and the letter to their father. For now, I am going to keep the rest. Even though I told her sister she could keep in touch, I have a feeling I wont hear from her again. At least now they know. I can stop wondering. Maybe this is the last chapter from that part of my life. Maybe now I can finally let the last of it go.

Maybe.

25 April 2007

Run Over By The Past...Part 2

I made the call to Shelly's sister.

As soon as I told her it was me, she started to thank me. She was talking a mile a minute, about how happy she was that I called.

The emotions over powered me. She sounds so much like Shelly. I hadn't said a thing other than my name for a couple of minutes. I was crying and covering the phone so she wouldn't hear me.

I finally had to interrupt her, "I tried to find you...any of you...for so long..."

She stopped talking.

"I'm so sorry...I tried...Shelly died...seven years ago...I tied to find you..."

Then we were both crying.

She wanted to know how and when. All of the details I had long tried to put behind me.
We talked about her for awhile, about the family and the things that had driven them all apart. It seems she was as in the dark about it as the rest of us. Life just seems to have gotten in the way for them. All of them too stubborn or proud to pick a phone or write a letter.

She asked me if I would send her Shelly's ashes. I still have them. She asked for photos and things that I kept.

I told her I would think about it, but In my head I was saying, "Hell no. Why should you you get any part of her. Your nine years too late."

She thanked me for calling, over and over. She thanked me for being there for her sister when the rest of them weren't.

I'm not sure why but I told her she could keep in touch. After we hung up I emailed her. I told her the things I couldn't get out on the phone. How angry I was at them. About the things Shelly went through toward the end. Asthma is not a good way to die.

She emailed me back to thank me for my honesty. Apologized some more.

I was so emotionally and physically drained I couldn't think straight. When I got home I opened the box of Shelly's things. A photo album of her family from her childhood. The hundreds of photos of our life together. Jewelry, cards and trinkets she had saved. I actually put together a small box of things to send her sister. Then I put it all back in my studio where it has been for so many years.

It all seems too close again. I won't be sending the box. At least not for now.

24 April 2007

Run Over By The Past...

Many yeas ago, when I was very young, I had a first wife. Shelly. (not her real name)She was nine years older than I was. It didn't seem like a lot at the time, but as the years past that difference got larger and larger. We spent ten years together. And even though we loved one another, we did not understand one another.

There were a great deal of things that went on, but long story short, she died. Complications from Asthmas. She was 42 yeas old.

She had three sister still living, two older, one younger. They were always a dysfunctional bunch. They would go for years without speaking to one another.

When she died, I thought they should know. I tried for four years to find them. Any of them. With no luck. I wrote to all of the addresses I had. I called all of the phone numbers. I searched the internet and public records. All the things a private detective would have done. I kept a forward on our address with the post office for more than four years, thinking that one of them would write to her eventually. None did.

After four years I stopped looking for them. I had fallen in love again. Married again, and had a child.

It has now been more than seven years Since Shelly passed. I had almost stopped thinking about all of them. I had stopped feeling guilty. I had moved passed the grief.

That is, until today.

When I came to the gallery there was an email waiting for me. From Shelly's younger sister.

She googled me and found our gallery. One of them was finally trying to find her. Just seven years too late.

As I read the email, asking me if I would help her find her sister, all of the emotions came flooding back. The pain, the anger, the guilt.

I had often thought about what I would say to them if I ever had the chance. All of the sudden I had no idea. Should I call her and tell her what had happened? Should I delete the email forget? Just let them wonder? All of the sudden I was angry at them again for not being there. For more than nine years they have had no word about Shelly.

I'm at a loss.


To Be Continued...

23 April 2007

The Cruel Muse...

At my home today there are 3 naked women lounging about. I however am at my gallery no where near said nakedness. Naked women are one of my favorite things.

Oh cruel Muse why do you mock me?

Ok, it's not that cruel. I needed to be at the gallery, and truth be told there is always at least one naked woman at my house. One of the perks of being an artists. Not really. I just happen to have a sexy wife who likes to be naked, but I digress. (Sorry baby, I had to share) Oh, and she is one of the three.

I do like talking about naked women.

Focus please! Sorry.

Actually, a very talented artist and friend, David, is using our house and back yard for a painting.

Not this one, silly, it's already done. This is his work though.

I hope he doesn't mind me talking about him and posting his work. I didn't bother to ask. But then again he doesn't know about my blog.

He has a gallery down the street from ours. Great work. I would really like to have one some day. I keep trying to talk him into trading one of his for one of mine. He can actually get good money for his is the problem. Mine are still very inexpensive and unheard of by comparison.

I'm not sure I would trade me either.

22 April 2007

Feeling Foolish...

"Haystack Rock at sunset"

*****
Over the last few days I have written and deleted six different posts. All of them about the things I am without or missing. Most likely due to the fact that we have decided to stay in the northwest. The grass is always greener...

I was playing pirates with Mr. Man when it dawned on me that, it's not about me. The big reason we wanted to stay is to make something better than what we had. This time it's ours. We're not slaving away for someone else's benefit.

When it comes right down to it, the things I think I'm missing are not whats important. Luxuries I had become accustom to but can live without quite easily.

It always humbles me when a three year old can point out the important things in life and not even know it. How selfish we become. It makes me feel very foolish.

*****

"Sailors Delight" 20 x 24 inch oil on canvas


"Lone Dory" 24 x 30 inch oil on canvas


"Electric Blue" 10 x 30 inch oil on canvas

17 April 2007

The Calm After The Storm...

The last 48 hours have been tense, to say the least.

With out going into too much detail, our partners were ready to throw in the towel after the first year in business. This year stunk for everyone in the art world except the major auction houses. I'm not sure how they do it but they are always setting records in down times. But...

We told them that was a foolish plan. We owe it to our selves to stick it out for at least one more year just to see if this was a fluke or the latest trend. The money is already spent. The gallery is open. The art is on the walls.

They held 80% of the company stock to our 20%. They were not interested in putting any more money into the gallery and pay us the back salary they owed us as well.

After many hours of back and forth along with several stiff drinks, a visit with the company lawyer. More back and forth. We now have 80% stock in the gallery to their 20%.

As well...we are pretty much on our own. We sort of were before anyway. We are in this for at least another 18 months.

Precious is nervous like never before. I am wondering if I have totally lost my senses.

All that is left is go over is the new contract and were off. Lord have mercy!

Moments Of Truth...Day Two

Thank you all, for the nice thoughts and comments. Our meetings will continue through out today as well.

Yesterday did not go very well. My read so far is that we are about to get the boot.

Our partners have basically decided that they do not want to honor our original agreement and they are unwilling to hang in for the long run.

Who in their right mind goes into business and expects to get all of their money back "and" make a profit in the first year? Who?

On the up side, they thought we did a fantastic job considering what a crumby year the art world had. We were also offered spots jobs in San Francisco anytime we want.

Today shall bring a new path. We shall see where it goes.

16 April 2007

Moments Of Truth...So To Speak

This morning shortly after I open the gallery, our business partners will show up.
I didn't sleep a bit last night and already I am on the verge of a break down. If we can survive the next two days there will be hope for the gallery and my sanity.

They have given us no clue as to what they want to discuss or their feelings about our first year. They are very secretive, at the wrong times.

We are all in this too deep to pull the plug, but they have done things that were more fooling before. We are going into it hoping that they will leave things alone(except the money they owe us, we would like that)and we can all go back to our lives. We are also expecting them to do something silly.

I hate not know what to expect. At times it's fine, but when it comes to my business and the future of my family, I at least want some kind of a clue. No such luck.

There is no room in my life for this kind of stress. It was this anxiety that drove us to move here in the first place. It found us. Or followed us. Either way I don't like it.

Let the battle begin!

*****

Just as I am about to hit the publish button, my cell phone rings. It's the partners.

They missed their flight. The make me mental. At least we have an extra five hours before they get here now.

Where are my Valium.

13 April 2007

My Isolation Continues...In Painting That Is

Here are the latest two works in the "Isolation" series.
I have been having a great time with these. I have found a very peaceful place(in my head) while painting.

This first is a 16 x 20 inch oil on canvas
This one is 27 x 39 inch oil on canvas.
The photo of the Birch trees that I posted a week or so ago has sold already. All of these have been getting a great response in the gallery.

I need to work on the photographs of them. Not all of the colors are coming through on this site. The skies have reds, oranges, violets, along with the blues, grays, and whites.

*****

On an unrelated note.
Do any of you know anything about "wine bars"? Let me know we need to talk.

11 April 2007

Good Guys And Bad Guys...

Mr. Man and I were in the yard playing with our water guns when the UPS man pulled up.
As he walked toward us Mr. Man ran over to him and excitedly said,

"It's ok, I wont shoot you. Daddy might. He's a bad guy. I'm a good guy. I'm here to save the day."

09 April 2007

Techno Hell...

My mini crisis of breaking my camera last week is becoming a bigger problem.

The camera itself, I replaced in less than 12 hours. No problem there. I must have a camera on my person at all times. I Must.

To make sure I have a back up I had my two 35 mm fixed and bought film. Yes film. I'm sure some of you remember it.

Anywho, since I have started using digital cameras I find myself not printing the photos. I download them onto my mac and in most cases forget about them until I need them.

I now have about 6044 photos on my mac from my first digital camera. Here is where things go screwy.
The new camera is a Nikon. The old camera was a Nikon. They both have the same file system.
The old was DSCNxxx.jpg, no problem. The new camera is DSCNxxx.jpg. BIG PROBLEM!
All of my photos from the first camera are now filed DSCNooo1.jpg to DSCN6044.jpg.
When I download photos from the new camera, it started with DSCNooo1.jpg.
This has my mac confused big time! It keeps telling me that those files already exist, would I like to replace them. Hell No I Don't. They are two different photos! But if I tell my mac no, it doesn't do anything with the new photo. If I tell it yes it replaces the old photo with the new one.

I am in techno hell. I knew when I bought my first digital that it was too good to be true. It made me lazy. Now I have thousands of digital files that I need to print, not to mention find somewhere to store them so I can download photos from my new camera.

Oh the humanity!

On the up side I have a cool new camera. Down side, I think I need a new mac and several external hard drives to store and catalog photos. At least Precious said it was down side. Personally it all sounds good to me. A new mac. Cool.

Exsqueeze me?

How much for the new mac?

Ok, I see the down side now.


*****

Something funny.

I accidentally flagged my own blog for having offensive content.

I can not be trusted around electronics of any kinds.

05 April 2007

This I Believe...

I spend a great deal of time pondering my beliefs. Struggling with the contradictions of some of them. At times the absurdities. The differences between my beliefs and my fantasies. That one gets a bit fuzzy at times.

After reading Alissa's post about the, "This I believe" story from NPR, like many of us I have have been trying to decide just what it is that I believe in. Maybe it's the same as the things I dream about, maybe not.

So far the list is staggeringly long. The weeding process has began in order to make a short list. My Top Ten list if you will.

Insert theme music here (imagine something between a lite night talk show and a B Porn)

This I believe: The short version, it's not Ten, but Three. Lets start with that.

1)
Above all else I believe in love. It can cure all the worlds problems. Each of us has an endless supply of love within us. However, love only works when it is given away. Love is the easiest thing in the world to share. A smile, a helping hand, a kind thought...It has tremendous power.
Love is within us at birth, we are born knowing how to love. We have to learn hate, bigotry and prejudices.

2)
Children are the greatest gift to humanity. They are every possibility of mankind. Our greatest achievements that have yet to be.
Clean slates that will learn and remember anything and everything that we teach them. Good and bad.
To harm, mislead, corrupt or abuse a child is a crime against humanity and against God. (No matter whom your God may be) Teaching children to hate and be violent against those that are different from themselves is one of the worst abuses of children. Anyone who abuses a child should be gut shot a made to suffer a long horrific death, with a constant reminder of why it was being done to them.
If we taught children love, acceptance, respect and forgiveness, we would see a very different world very soon.

Yes I see the contradiction here but it's the way I feel. Protect them, love them, nourish them or else! It could be the parent in me.

3)
No one should be allowed to leave or drop out of school before they finish college. No excuses! Especially for things like sports or acting. Once you finish school, then you can pursue what ever you want to.
All of us should have to continue our education through college. If you can't pass you take it over and over until you can. No pressure, no humiliation, you go until you understand.
The more we all know, the better off we all are.

This, sadly is assuming that schools can give us a well rounded educations that would benefit the world and not just someones political agenda. This one may be more of a fantasy.

04 April 2007

International Dream...

This morning I heard a couple talking about the "American Dream".
They seemed to be Americans. They were in town looking to buy their next home. From the sound of it they had several already.

Greedy bastards.

But I digress.

What has the American Dream become? My Grand parents spoke about it in the terms of owning their own plot of land and a house. Some place to call their own.

People flock to this country (the USA) in search of their own American dream. A better place to live. A good job. A free(in theory)country. From the state of things I would guess that the American Dream has become more about fame and fortune. The lure of Celebrity.

I don't know about all of you, but that sure isn't my dream. I despise celebrities. You can keep your fame and your fortune for that matter.

Every time I hear people talking about wanting to be rich. I think about something I learned as a child. "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the gates of Heaven,"

The funny thing is that I have never been a religious person. I avoid organized religion like the plague. I believe in God and I pray there is a Heaven. My problem is that I have no faith in man. From the dawn of religion men have used it for their own selfish and greedy desires. I think the true message of God has been lost. I do consider myself to be a spiritual person.

Sorry, my mind is wandering! The American Dream. What has it become? More importantly, what is the dream of the rest of the world? That's the question I really want an answer to.

Why does the world want to come to the US? Do they still want to come here? What is the British Dream? The French Dream? The Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, German...
They must have dreams right? What are they? I truly hope that it's not to come here and be rich and famous!

Tell me world, what do you dream about?

03 April 2007

Parental Failings...

I am a total failure as a parent this week.
We had a small party for Mr. Mans 3rd birthday. As guests are showing up, I dropped and broke my camera.

I didn't get a single photo of his Thomas the Tank Engine cake, or him blowing out candles or the excitement of his gifts...

Being only three, he will never remember any of this. I will most likely never forget. I pride myself in being overly obsessive with me camera. I can't believe I broke it, and worse, I didn't have a back up.

I am actually thinking of making a reenactment so I can shoot photos. Too OCD?