Archive for January 28th, 2009



That’s what I call this painting from a year or two back.  It’s a small, simple piece.  A little fanciful perhaps.  For me, there is something personal in the piece.

Whenever I see this piece it reminds me so much of the many jobs I had before literally falling into this career.  I remember the long days spent at real labor where there seemed to be weights on the clock hands, preventing them from moving ahead.  At the A&P I remember another guy and me loading a railroad boxcar with cases of mayonnaise  by hand, filling it completely, one case at a time, deep into the night.  I remember building chimneys with my brother in the mud and snow, hefting each chimney block up the ladder on my hip, each step a struggle as the cold permeated your core.  I remember clearing the land where my home stands, cutting the white pines down and into 8-12 foot lengths and dragging them by hand to the side of the clearing.  I remember starting my overnight shift as a waiter at Perkin’s Restaurant, knowing that there was nothing in store except cooks who just didn’t care and an endless supply of lousy-tipping kids, drunks and other nefarious creatures.  Those nights were the definition of grind, just moving forward one step at a time.

It may sound as though I’m complaining.  I’m not.  I so appreciate each of those work experiences, along with the many others I didn’t mention.  Each had a lesson.  The lesson of endurance.  The lesson of realizing what you can and cannot control.  Focusing on the task at hand and blocking out the rest of the world.  The lesson of discovering what you were and weren’t.  

So when I have what I now consider a hard day in the studio, I remember all the days spent in ice and mud, my boots soaked through and my back and shoulders aching, and I laugh.  

This is a gift.  

That was a grind…

Also, John Updike died yesterday.  Whenever I read anything, I compare them to Updike in my head.  His writing at times left me breathless, having to stop and re-read sentences and paragraphs.  He was a true master and luckily for us, he left a wonderful group of work that will live on.

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