Monday, December 17, 2018


Secondary thoughts.  Secondary colors created by mixing.  
Secondary subject.  Yes, this too.

The optometrist told me that my retinopathy would go away.  He said it is common in alpha types under stress, a theory of sorts which we discussed for a bit.  I then scheduled a return visit so he could once again blast a beam of light into my eyeball and take more photos.

I've paid attention to the distorted vision in my left eye.  Minor but present in everything before me.  In some ways I've tried to relax my way of seeing.  Don't look around too hard.  Look, but then close your eyes and keep them closed.  

There are owls in my pecan trees.  I know this because I hear them and then occasionally I find them.  I confirm sightings with my neighbor Roger who walks his dogs everyday and studies the birds more than anyone I've ever known well.  When we encounter one another we don't have to talk about ourselves at all.  Just the birds that we've seen or heard, comparing notes.  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Open the heart Studio

Each morning my son opens the back door and sticks his arm out and moves it around stirring the air.  This is his way of determining the temperature of the day ahead, to decide what clothing to put on, if it'll be pants or shorts, short sleeves or long.

He sits at the table with his backpack and lunchbox, dressed and ready to leave but with 10 or 15 minutes to spare.  He might reach for a smartphone or he might sit and stare.  In such a gap in his schedule he chooses rest.  For a kid in middle school his life might seem to be a series of assignments.  It's a track that adults often advise him and others his age to stay on.

I watch this boy closely as if I'm watching myself.  And before I criticize him (or overly praise him for life's simple mundane requirements like "great job brushing your teeth!") I remind myself of my own tendencies to daydream and to relax, or of how uncurious I too can be before  great statues of knowledge.  Relax, Dad.

This Saturday, November 10th, from 10am - 6pm I'll be hosting an Open Studio.  Yes, it coincides with EAST (East Austin Studio Tour), but Lockhart is really just far-east Austin.  

Hoping clients can move in by Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Every few months I meet a good friend for lunch at the same local restaurant.  One reason we are such good friends is that we both find, among many things, this restaurant to be exceptional in how unremarkable it is.  We seem to sigh in relief during our hour long meal.

 We exchanged some laughs about recent events and, like we usually do, we shared thoughts about books we've been reading, and not just the books themselves but the meandering pathways that these books must take through friends and acquaintances to reach the both of us.  And from the table beside us a fella joined in on our conversation, not in sync with our topic, but rather something unrelated, which mattered in no way at all in such an informal setting. 

I motioned my friend to a television anchored high where the wall meets the suspended ceiling.  Kanye West's voice echoed throughout the restaurant, and fellow diners' turned their heads and attention with near neck strain toward the pop star's message on national news from the oval office.

After lunch we drove off in opposing directions, my friend toward his secluded house in a patch of woods, while I turned five or six short blocks and reached my home in the middle of town.

When I enter my house I greet our two dogs and free them to the backyard.  I enter my office where I keep my laptop and write this blog entry and realize I have a couple hours until I have to pick up my daughter from school.  

There are many tasks I have before me during the next several months that involve other people's buildings, event spaces, portraits, etc.  I carve out spaces between these assignments to paint what to me feels unassigned and purposeless.  Like land whose soil is restored by the planting of prairie grasses.

Friday, September 7, 2018


"What's a query?", my daughter asked, really wanting to know about quarries.  We'd been told by the kiddie train engineer that the Japanese tea garden is on our left, and that the Alamo had been built using the very rock beneath.

A word is said, and quite often my daughter wishes immediately, sometimes before the sentence is finished, to know its meaning.

I have my whole life thought about the salt in the ocean and how strange it is that it is there.  On a few occasions, I have asked certain folks to ponder this with me, perhaps even answer it for me.

Nobody has.  And if by chance you know, in simplistic terms, please do not tell me. 

 The 12/12 house is being painted on the inside.  And within a couple more months its owners will be moving in and bringing it to life.

Friday, August 3, 2018


I borrowed a friend's guidebook about Mexico City.  It had notes in the margins and pages earmarked.  Key sites and locations.  We ended up visiting a few of her suggestions.  But what I enjoyed most were the colors and shapes.  Concrete on the tops of houses.  No asphalt shingles.  

Back home I return to an assignment of Boston.

As well as the 12/12 design/build.  Sheetrocking on Tuesday.  

A recently commissioned portrait of an old friend's parents.

Next sale for my prints at SkyLine Art Editions:

Back to School Sale:  8/30/18 - 9/3/18
25% off Everything Site Wide
Discount Code:  DORM25

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


I'm corrected much of the time.  It is an open door that feels wedged open.  My daughter is keenly aware of this, like an invitation, and she corrects me whenever she can.  

"You are not done", she says.  "A turkey is done.  Rather, you are finished."

My son and daughter draw at a small desk while I paint at my wall.  They hunker over their notebooks and fight over the electric eraser while I scrape my palette knives.  I grunt a lot and constantly remind them both that I am ok.  I'm racing not to be finished but to express something hurried.  I take long pauses.  Then I race again.  My kids enjoy this display and must have some opinion, I'm sure.

To offset my intransitive nature, I am contracting the construction of a new house that I've designed over the course of the last year or more.  Walls are going up right now.  I will post photos at the bottom of each blog post.  


Tuesday, May 22, 2018


I was seated in the corner of the Spellerberg Projects observing the rare instance when an educator explains me.  A woman was reacting to my work on this day together with her friend, as visitors to an art gallery often do, and she muttered something about impulse and expression and creativity.  I was entertained.  Honoria Starbuck, artist and teacher and new friend, stood within earshot and countered in the manner of a credentialed educator that while yes there is a certain amount of spontaneity in each of my works, there is also a balanced level of logic.  

The road is a fantasy.  Straight and unnatural.  Safe and predictable.  It is a construct that becomes symbolic when painted .  

Michael Pollan, author of a new book about the use of psychedelics, spoke so lucidly with Terry Gross about the virtue of openness that is so common to people with experience of hallucinogenics.  It either comes easily, or if it does not, one must abide by openness.  Or fight.  Or do mushrooms, I guess.  Being described as logical was a new one for me.  Mind you, this was from a painter of zen chickens who might avoid logic like a ship avoids the storm, or a vehicle avoids turns.

Monday, April 30, 2018


The pecan trees are always the last to leaf.  They then rally and make their presence known by shedding enormous quantities of pollen from their heavy, dangling tassels.  The ground outside is dusted with a color I love to see but tire of breathing.

I use a roller and palette knives and a steel blade to apply and remove paint on panels.  I work quickly, stop for stretches of time, and jump back in.  Friends of mine gasp when I describe the noises I mutter, the cursing through frustration.  Friends assume I whistle or experience sensations of peace.  But I worry the walls of my studio cannot contain my amplitude and that my neighbors might wonder.  When you try to paint the intricacies of a branch with the rounded edge of a butter knife you feel primitive, and yell you must.

I can identify types of trees more so as I get older.  Which ones are invasive or brittle, which are known for their virility or decorative gifts.  Funny how trees used to all be the same when I was younger.  But I reside in this town and look to the subtleties of seasons for my source of inspiration, for my variable, for my travel.  I find myself looking differently at people, for people who reside here as completely as I want to.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

peach street

The sunlight breaks through the fog after dropping Lucian off at school.  I coast around this neighborhood that reminds me of my grandparents' house when I was a kid.  Monaldi Drive: saying the name aloud conjures for me the humdrum of their neighborhood and the slowness of their backyard garden.  

 I make sure that no one is behind me to rage at my drifting.  I keep my camera open to shoot the baseball field, its emptiness, or the street with its canopies of live oaks that fade with each receding address. 

  I turn onto Peach street.  I say its name, Peach Street, sweetness.  Its road crumbles at the edges, no curb or sidewalk.  Any other time of year and this street might appear rough with its houses that are neglected. 

 But there is one new house at the bend.  I’ve walked to it with my family and dog, to caste our opinions about its creation.  We walk to its backyard that looks out onto a currently dry floodplain.  The kids see how far they can throw rocks and ask if they can climb down the ravine.  This Peach street that must appear dismal to so many is the envy of my children who wish we could live here.

Andi and I announce 5 minutes and manage to depart in 4.  We walk back across the school practice field with old fashioned goal posts.  My eyes scan the park edges for a Killdeer that Lucian and I spotted a week earlier.  Not knowing much about birds, we agree that it feels out of place, resembling instead those birds we see along the coast 150 miles south.

Other encounters while walking or driving.

Currently on display at Spellerberg Projects in downtown Lockhart.

Pink buttercups on Easter Sunday.

Milk and honey.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Dad claimed he lost his wallet during the movie.  I told him I'd go back to the theater to search with my sister.  It was the rare kind of opportunity to spend quality time with her where because no certain joy was expected we were able to relax.  

The last time I'd visited my grandfather's columbarium was as a kid.  But because I was so young, I was unsure if the visit was a memory or a dream.  It was a white structure that stood like a monument in a stately capital.  It was quintessentially dreamlike.

I crouched with a flashlight to look more closely under the movie seats.  In the beam of my flashlight Dad's wallet stood out against the syrupy skittled floor.  Dad would rest that night, assured his credit and identity were safe.  This was indeed a victory.  

On the way back from the theater we drove by a cemetery with the neoclassical structure on its hilltop.  We pointed to it in disbelief, though we didn't stop.  The winter air was too strong.  We chose to meander the rest of the way through the town, avoiding the fastest route.  We slowed to gaze at the old homes that remind us of something.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


The organ, I think, creates the ceremony.  I feel more gothic in the pipes than in the stained glass.

 Eugene Gigout composed Grand chœur dialogué (wikipedia: 1881).  I'd never had to choose music for a wedding procession.  But it was my immediate selection to announce my bride in 2005.  

 Until this week I hadn't listened to it for several years.  Memories that my whole body knows.  This recording is not for easy listening, and it's just the sort of thing I enjoy working with.

 I pull the background into the foreground.  This spectacle, often when we travel, overwhelms us if we allow it.  And we take pictures of things we normally do not.  We see the landscape of faraway places more easily.  Understandably.  

Friday, January 26, 2018


I bought a used set of flat files from an office furniture warehouse in 2004.  The horizontal drawers appear organized from the outside, strong and stacked like frank lloyd wright's roman bricks.  A label holder is centered on each drawer face, but I don't find that necessary yet.  I know that four or five drawers contain piles of watercolors from years past, some as old as the late 1990's.

The Spellerberg Project Space on Main Street has three white walls now peppered with tacked watercolors of mine that I pulled from these files.  On the backs of some of these are hand-written words in pencil: "St.Wolfgang field trip", or "painted in alcohol, Evansville, Ind."  Not much of a note taker, I value the few words I mustered then.  They guide me to that crouched painting position I held twenty years ago, cigarettes, loose change thrown at me, watercolor dried by direct sunlight.

Forest green.  It's a representation of green that is averaged from the various leaves of a deciduous forest.  It usually has more grey in it than I at first prefer.  But my eyes adjust, and then I'm calmed.  Like being absorbed into the surroundings, or seeing the cluster of chaos as something unified and singular.

I'm going to hang out at this small gallery space during the next few weekends.  Come in and say hello if you walk by.  Or yell down the street, email me, and I'll be there in two minutes flat.